"Antique Roadshow's" Rafael Eledge Visits Rotary Club
by Bob Augustin Jr.
The Lawrenceburg Rotary Club was pleased to welcome home town boy Rafael Eledge, of Shiloh Civil War Relics and PBS's "Antique Roadshow" fame, to its February 22, 2008 meeting. Eledge, who is the son of Billy and Peggy Eledge, grew up in Lawrenceburg and is an alumni of Lawrence County High School.
Eledge is one of the country's most knowledgeable experts of Civil War and 19th Century military armaments. His life-long passion for Civil War relics began at age eleven when he received a metal detector as a gift. When he found his first Civil War bullet, which he carries with him to this day, he was hooked . After attending Middle Tennessee State University, he fulfilled his childhood dream of owning a Civil War relic shop and museum when he opened Shiloh Civil War Relics in 1995. Shiloh Civil War Relics is located just north of the main entrance to Shiloh National Military Park near Savannah, Tennessee. Eledge helped move military antiques and arms collecting into the 21st Century when he launched his web site, Shiloh Relics Online. Eledge has served as a consultant for museums, national parks, and many books and magazines.
Eledge brought with him to the Rotary Club meeting a cavalry sword and pistol that are on loan to his museum from Hank Williams Jr. The sword and pistol were a gift from Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest to his second-in-command. Hank Williams Jr. purchased the pair for $97,000.
Pictured above are Bill Phillips, Rotary Club President, Rafael Eledge, and Rotary Program Chairman J. W. Durham. For more information on Rafael Eledge and Shiloh Civil War Relics, check out his website at www.shilohrelics.com.