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Rounds Donates Civil War-era Rifle to Center

Mike Rounds
Alex Wong/Getty Images

PIERRE – A Civil War rifle owned by former Gov. Mike Rounds has been donated to the South Dakota Cultural Heritage Center.

KCCR radio reports that the Model 1861 Springfield rifle was used by his great-great-grandfather, Leopold Joseph Balza.

Rounds says Balza was an infantryman with the 18th Wisconsin Volunteers, a group that participated in one of the Civil War’s most famous campaigns.  After the war, Balza settled near Cavour in South Dakota, got married and started a family.

When Rounds became Governor, the family asked that he keep the rifle as a memento in his Capitol office.

Cultural Heritage Center officials say they are honored by the donation. No decision has been made on how to publicly display the gift.

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