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Old 05-01-2017, 08:01 PM
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Default THE Texas Rangers holsters

From what we know of the dozen or so makers of what we nowadays call a Brill holster, it appears it was made only in Texas and predominantly for the Rangers; odd because it was never a particularly large force. And there being so many players during that time, not all of them in Austin by any means, I have taken to referring to the style as a Texas Rangers holster.

Here's one of the several makers in Texas: an L.A. Sessums, this one having the moulding inside of a DA revolver and appearing to be for a Colt Police Positive in 4" because my K frame M&P is still too large for it.

Most interesting: I bought it here in Australia! Seller has no idea how it got here, having bought it himself from an unpaid storage auction. It does not strictly adhere to the Brill originals: it has a single, lightweight welt vs the triple, very thick welts found in Brills and its faithful copies. Otherwise it is so faithful to the particulars of Rabensburg and Brill that I find myself wondering if there wasn't an actual specification for it; case in point is the slick-grained thin leather half-liner that is found in ALL makers' copies of the era -- and that must have been to protect the trousers because it does nothing for the pistol, being only next to one side of the cylinder.

THE Texas Rangers holsters-img_2003-jpg

THE Texas Rangers holsters-img_2004-jpg
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Old 05-01-2017, 08:57 PM
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Beautiful. He was in the next town over from me, but I have yet to see one locally.

Regards,
Bruce
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Old 05-01-2017, 09:08 PM
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More grist for the mill, Red... I'm just waiting for the book to come out!! I'll order one of the first ones off the press!!! Don't forget lots of nice sharp color illustrations!!

Great holster.

Best Regards, Les
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Old 05-01-2017, 09:19 PM
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Originally Posted by bruce5781 View Post
Beautiful. He was in the next town over from me, but I have yet to see one locally.

Regards,
Bruce
It has been VERY difficult to learn much about L.A. Sessums, unlike even the unknown Texas Ranger holster makers such as C.E. Rogers; who is even on FindAGrave as well as the U.S. Census.

Speaking of which, one would expect the gravestone to be the ultimate rendering of birth and death dates; but both S.D. Myres and Tom Threepersons grave stones disagree with official paperwork. Myres' grave says born 1872 yet his birth certificate says 1871; Tom's says born 1899 yet his death certificate says 1889 (we don't have his birth certificate and never will because he was not born as Tom Threepersons).

This particular Sessums holster is for a 1-1/2" belt, reminding us of Capt. Hughes original specification that it be for the trousers belt (though it was worn as a separate gunbelt anyway, just below the trousers belt).

The carry angle is NOT coincidentally the FBI's angle; because the Myres Threepersons No. 614 used by the FBI was developed directly from the Brill version for Myres by Arno Brill himself; and the Sessums is a copy of the Brill except for the much-thinned welt as on Myres' versions.
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Old 05-01-2017, 09:34 PM
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I have seen a couple Sessums holsters at the Wannemacher Tulsa Gun Show. Both were made for single actions. One was like the one you posted and the other was more like a Myres Threepersons. Any idea what time frame Mr. Sessums covered?
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Old 05-01-2017, 10:23 PM
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The stitching for the "strap" is quite different then the other examples you have shown. Here they are upside-down V's and the others are C shaped. The security strap looks like perhaps an add on?
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Old 05-01-2017, 11:55 PM
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Very interesting write up.
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Old 05-02-2017, 01:02 AM
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The stitching for the "strap" is quite different then the other examples you have shown. Here they are upside-down V's and the others are C shaped. The security strap looks like perhaps an add on?
Indeed the cuff is stitched to the fender differently from, say, a Brill. The strap is original: it is stitched through all the layers in the same way as the 'left' side of the cuff stitching; the 'right' side (from the backside) appears to be by hand. In both cases, on the cuff stitching, the stitching has been intentionally run off the edge of the cuff, then back on again, as a sort of overlock stitch. The use of a glove fasterner, rather than a 'durable' fastener, is another clue. And other images of Sessums that I have show the same arrangment.
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Old 05-02-2017, 01:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Kansasgunner View Post
I have seen a couple Sessums holsters at the Wannemacher Tulsa Gun Show. Both were made for single actions. One was like the one you posted and the other was more like a Myres Threepersons. Any idea what time frame Mr. Sessums covered?
The SA was, of course, the weapon of choice for the Rangers. Prices are generally high-ish for Sessums though I've seen sales of other brands that are ten times those prices. Texas Ranger holsters were created in 1907 and likely couldn't have been made with the Brill name until 1914 or so, when August bought out his employer. The style was used until roughly 1950 though the Brills themselves (including Arno) had switched to real estate by the end of the War. Both are best known for being savvy businessmen, and Arno for being the father of Gov. John Connally's wife (she and the Gov were in the car when JFK was shot).
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Old 05-02-2017, 11:25 AM
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Default Keep in mind that the Texas Rangers have always been.................

..........known for their individuality. They are not and have never been a uniformed agency. Issue items have included armaments and other hardware but any there is no indication known of issuance of gun leather. For the most part left up to personal taste and the old what works for me method.

Of course many visited the same saddle shops and purchased gun leather from the same makers.

For great information about this famed LE agency visit the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame website. Lots of images there and elsewhere on the web that illustrate the Rangers dress and equipment.
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Old 05-02-2017, 11:41 AM
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Like Tony sed, Individuality.........


You're welcome to preview this,


20th Century Rangers (pictorial) With A Story Er Two....Post 39&43




.
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Old 05-02-2017, 11:47 AM
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There is a SESSUMS as we speak on eBay right now going for 375

Vintage Rare L.A. Sessums, Longview, TX Western Single Flap Holster fits Colt | eBay
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Old 05-02-2017, 04:40 PM
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..........known for their individuality. They are not and have never been a uniformed agency. Issue items have included armaments and other hardware but any there is no indication known of issuance of gun leather. For the most part left up to personal taste and the old what works for me method.

Of course many visited the same saddle shops and purchased gun leather from the same makers.

For great information about this famed LE agency visit the Texas Ranger Hall of Fame website. Lots of images there and elsewhere on the web that illustrate the Rangers dress and equipment.
Though I'm not suggesting that there was an "issue" holster for the Rangers, we do know that Capt. Hughes had what we know as a Brill developed for the Rangers in 1907 because cities were complaining about them bristling with gunbelts. It appears that around that time the Rangers also switched to the 4-3/4" barrel SAA from the 7-1/2", in comparing late 19th century pics of them with early 20th century pics. The latter comment is deduction but for the former (the holster) we have testimony.

When I said, I wonder if there was an actual specification, I am thinking of all these makers having used a very thin lining leather only on the fender, when other holsters were not lined in that era (something we take for granted today) including Myres' Threepersons range.

Even Hamer has been pictured wearing the Texas Rangers holster :-).
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Old 05-03-2017, 04:46 PM
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Here's a L.A. Sessums left handed holster. It was taken in during a traffic stop along with a 4" M66.
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THE Texas Rangers holsters-img_0718-jpg   THE Texas Rangers holsters-img_0719-jpg   THE Texas Rangers holsters-img_0720-jpg   THE Texas Rangers holsters-img_0717-jpg  

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Old 05-03-2017, 09:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TxShooter View Post
Here's a L.A. Sessums left handed holster. It was taken in during a traffic stop along with a 4" M66.
Talk to me about that welting under the liner, inside the holster! I've seen examples of Sessums doing a similar, U shaped treatment to keep the mag button of a 1911 from making contact, but nothing like this for revolvers. When the revolver is inserted, what do you suppose it does for the gunman (traffic stops not included)?

The proportions of yours suggests it was originally for the 4-3/4" SA Colt; are you able to test this? Despite your retrieving it with a DA in it, the interior of mine, which is too small for the SA, suggests that Sessums used the same profile at the main seam for SAs and DAs (mine clearly had a DA revolver in it -- frame and cylinder markings -- yet the seam is ideally shaped for the SA while the pocket is too short and too narrow for an SA of the times).

Of course we know the Sessums for the auto is quite different, being very much like A.W. Brill's (both of which would have been created not sooner than 1929 for the 38 Super the Rangers 'adopted', vs. the 45 that had been around since 1911).
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Old 05-04-2017, 04:42 PM
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Red, I suspect you're right about the holster originally being made for a SAA, but I don't have one to test that theory. I'm attaching some more pics with the 66 in place, which fits but not well. The welt just barely avoids touching the frame under the cylinder.

The welt around the magazine release is also present on all of the 1911 holsters I've seen by Bedell Rogers, another maker from Longview. Some of Bedell's holsters also includ d a welt to lock the thumb safety in the on position.
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Old 05-04-2017, 09:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TxShooter View Post
Red, I suspect you're right about the holster originally being made for a SAA, but I don't have one to test that theory. I'm attaching some more pics with the 66 in place, which fits but not well. The welt just barely avoids touching the frame under the cylinder.

The welt around the magazine release is also present on all of the 1911 holsters I've seen by Bedell Rogers, another maker from Longview. Some of Bedell's holsters also includ d a welt to lock the thumb safety in the on position.
Thanks for the interior pic :-). It's not obvious what it does, to me, with an outside possibility it's intended to keep the pistol from rocking to the rear seam.

I know about (I assume different) Rogers maker of Brill-alikes, C.L. Rogers of Stamford. Appears in OWA&C. Research shows he was "C.L. Doc" Rogers living 1872-1955; appearing in the several Census as a leatherworker yet by 1940 has no profession listed. A bio indicates he worked from his home shop 1919-1938, which are the peak years for the Texas Ranger holster.

Would love to hear more about 'your' Rogers; both the man and his holsters. OCS&S shows a Rogers Saddlery in Longview "circa 1920s"; the book's info about C.L. is 'kinda true' as 'circa 1900' in that his hardware shop was 1903-1919 (20 years is a long time).
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Old 05-04-2017, 11:49 PM
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Bedell Rogers was a former rodeo rider who went to work in his father Robert's saddle shop in Longview. Bedell was most well known for his saddle work, but he also made both Western-style and duty rigs. He died in 1994 and I think his family might've kept the shop on Marshall Avenue/US Highway 80 going for a short while after.

My only example is for a 4" K frame and features both a severe FBI tilt and an unusual hammer shied. The strap attaches so that the shield functions as an outboard thumbbreak.

He seemed to work a lot with the Threepersons and Brill style holsters. Most of his 1911 holsters I've seen had the leather curved around the triggerguard like the Myres Ranger holsters.
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Old 05-05-2017, 02:34 AM
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Ohhhh, THAT Bedell Rogers.

Bedell Rogers (1914 - 1994) - Find A Grave Memorial

Lived 1914-1994; from another era than the oldies who built the Texas Rangers holsters. The backside of his holster indicates an influence by/of O. Ball in Texas.
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Old 05-05-2017, 08:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TxShooter View Post
Bedell Rogers was a former rodeo rider who went to work in his father Robert's saddle shop in Longview. Bedell was most well known for his saddle work, but he also made both Western-style and duty rigs. He died in 1994 and I think his family might've kept the shop on Marshall Avenue/US Highway 80 going for a short while after.

My only example is for a 4" K frame and features both a severe FBI tilt and an unusual hammer shied. The strap attaches so that the shield functions as an outboard thumbbreak.

He seemed to work a lot with the Threepersons and Brill style holsters. Most of his 1911 holsters I've seen had the leather curved around the triggerguard like the Myres Ranger holsters.
Interesting. I was under the impression Bedell was known for hats. I did not know he was into leather. Thanks.

Regards,
Bruce
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Old 05-05-2017, 09:58 AM
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The most beautiful holster that I own is this Bedell Rogers holster that I got in the S&WCA 1914 Symposium in Ohio.
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Old 05-05-2017, 08:12 PM
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Here's one I've had for several years. It was described as being "Brill like". I'll add a few more detailed pics over the weekend, but wanted to post one for those who like to compare carving styles.



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