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S&W Hand Ejectors: 1896 to 1961 All 5-Screw & Vintage 4-Screw SWING-OUT Cylinder REVOLVERS, and the 35 Autos and 32 Autos


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Old 01-20-2022, 03:23 PM
Dosgatos Dosgatos is offline
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Default Who Was H.C. McM?

I recently purchased a Wolf & Klar 3rd Model .44 HE "Barbeque Gun" which shipped in March of 1930. I won't bother to letter it as it's origin is fairly obvious. It belonged to "H.C. McM" as evidenced by engraving on the side plate and the left grip. I'm curious as to who this might have been. Does anyone have any ideas?
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Old 01-20-2022, 03:31 PM
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Not likely anyone would know who that was. Google is your friend, see what it might bring up.
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Old 01-20-2022, 04:11 PM
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Could have belonged to anyone but, as you probably know, these were favorites of lawmen in the '30s/'40s and later I suppose, especially in Texas. I'd focus my search on HCMs with law enforcement history. Very nice stocks!

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Old 01-21-2022, 06:25 AM
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It will be a long process but you may get lucky. Try typing in H. C. McM________ using a list of last names that begin with McM.
As Jeff said good chance LE related.
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Old 01-21-2022, 09:56 AM
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You might consider a West Texas outlaw named Herschel Courtney "Peewee" McMinn. He grew up just west of Fort Worth and my research shows him to be in the vicinity when your gun shipped to W&K.

He worked as a safe burglar from Texas to New Mexico until December of 1932 when he teamed up with an ex-con named Archie Harton and tried to rob the Security Bank at Wingate in Runnels county.

A posse of about a dozen citizens chased them down and blew them away. Two of those men, a WWI veteran named Ross Bethea and the town barber named "Hoss" Whitfield split the reward of $10,000 in Depression era dollars for the killing of the hi-jackers.

There is much more to the story than I can relate here. PM me and I will provide you with the newspaper clippings and details.
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Old 01-21-2022, 11:18 AM
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That is way too cool!
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Old 01-21-2022, 11:52 AM
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Pan down the page to the heading "Robbery Two" to read of the gun's last use by the ill-fated previous owner.


"Wingate Texas." Wingate Texas.

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Old 01-21-2022, 12:47 PM
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This is Ross Bethea and his wife Molly at their restaurant. Ross spent a year in the trenches of Europe in WWI with Co. M. 142 Infantry, 36th Division.

The inquest to determine who got the reward said both bandits were killed by buckshot and only Bethea and the barber were using shotguns. Makes you wonder if he brought home a Model 97 Winchester "trench broom," doesn't it?

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Old 01-21-2022, 12:54 PM
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In the article, it tells that a $10,000 reward was paid by the Texas Bankers Association, $5,000 per man. In the late 1920s, bank robberies were on the rise in Texas and to combat the problem, in 1928 the Texas Bankers Association began offering a $5,000 reward for the killing of bank robbers. The printed flyers stated— Reward $5,000 for Dead Bank Robbers, Not One Cent for Live Ones. While this may have been well intentioned, pretty quickly someone came up with the idea of luring people to a bank, usually drunks or drifters, shooting them dead, then pocketing the reward money. The fact that several of those killed weren’t actually bank robbers didn’t seem to matter to too many people. Except the famous Texas Ranger Frank Hamer, later known for ending the careers of Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. Hamer figured out that robberies in Stanton, Odessa, and Rankin weren’t really robberies but were instead “murder machines” (Hamer’s words). He brought the scheme to the attention of the Bankers Association, judges, and other law enforcement officers but no one seemed to care. He finally had to go to the press to make it public. The only real effect this publicity had was for the Association to finally drop the “dead only” clause from the reward.
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Old 01-21-2022, 12:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ol' Drover View Post

The inquest to determine who got the reward said both bandits were killed by buckshot and only Bethea and the barber were using shotguns. Makes you wonder if he brought home a Model 97 Winchester "trench broom," doesn't it?
Maybe he just saw the effectiveness of buckshot in the trenches, or maybe a shotgun was all he had. I wouldn't be surprised to find a shotgun in any home in west Texas.
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Old 01-21-2022, 01:05 PM
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Great stories. Thanks for all.
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Old 01-21-2022, 01:43 PM
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I am always amazed by the amount of knowledge on this forum. Thanks to Ol' Drover for the info in post #5. It certainly sounds like Herschel Courtney McMinn may have been the owner of this gun - it is a fairly unusual set of initials. Considering Hershel's line of work he may have been hesitant to engrave his full last name on the gun.

I've posted this pic before: Two Wolf & Klars (the bottom gun letters to W&K) with the top gun the one in question here.
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Old 01-21-2022, 01:57 PM
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very interesting discussion here

I tried a google search for (just as an example) "h c mcmillan texas" simply on good luck, and found 2 1940 census entries
  • "H.C. McMillan" of Skinner Town Road, Polk Texas, born 1891
  • "Hubert C. McMillan" of Canton Road, Van Zandt Texas, born 1893
both could fill the bill...
not much luck with a google search for "h c mcm texas"

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Old 01-21-2022, 02:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daimler1989 View Post
very interesting discussion here

I tried a google search for (just as an example) "h c mcmillan texas" simply on good luck, and found 2 1940 census entries
  • "H.C. McMillan" of Skinner Town Road, Polk Texas, born 1891
  • "Hubert C. McMillan" of Canton Road, Van Zandt Texas, born 1893
both could fill the bill...
not much luck with a google search for "h c mcm texas"

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Ulrich
Actually, I tried searching "H.C. McM Texas" myself several weeks back, but came up with nothing. I even tried "McMillan".
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Old 01-21-2022, 02:49 PM
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Fold3 is a resource I have used successfully in my book research...With it you will have access to census records and military records in the National Archives going back to at least the mid-1800's......Ben
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Old 01-21-2022, 03:26 PM
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This is a very long shot, but if you want to pursue the sheriff angle there is a book called Texas County Sheriffs, author Sammy Tise privately printed 1989. You can probably get it on inter library loan. It lists all the Texas counties and all the men and women who served as sheriff between 1828 and about 1984 or so. There is an index, so rather than having to read all 594 pages, you check the index for a name that might fit.
I have a copy of the book but since we had a water leak most of my stuff is packed away. If I can get to it, I will check it for you. That may take a while.
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Old 01-21-2022, 07:00 PM
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This is a follow-up to my previous. I found the book and checked the index for "McM"s and could find no sheriffs with a name that began with McM. So, this indicates he was not an elected or appointed sheriff. May have been a deputy but no indication he was the high sheriff.
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Old 01-21-2022, 10:37 PM
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Herschel (Hursel on his death certificate, Hershel on his grave marker) Courtney (Cortney on another record) McMinn was born in Wichita Falls in Texas in 1912. At the time of his death, his parents and a couple of sisters lived in Eastland County, one county north and two counties east of Runnels County. That's where he is buried.

I couldn't find him in either the 1920 or 1930 census, the only two in which he might have been enumerated. His parents are in the 1910, 1930 and 1940 censuses. H.C. is not in the household in 1930, when he was 18.

I don't imagine it was impossible for an older teenager to buy a gun in Texas in 1930, and it's also not impossible that someone -- a father, say, or an ex-con with whom he paired off -- gave him the engraved gun as a gift.

Attached are images of his initial death certificate and a supplementary certificate issued a day later. The only change is the addition of the word "Student" as his profession.

My hunch is no better than anyone else's, but I think bank robber McMinn is less likely to be the one-time owner of this revolver than a contemporary lawman whose name we have not yet worked out.
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Old 01-21-2022, 11:58 PM
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My hunch is no better than anyone else's, but I think bank robber McMinn is less likely to be the one-time owner of this revolver than a contemporary lawman whose name we have not yet worked out.[/QUOTE]

Good point. There was also Horace C. McMurtray, an oil man who worked the rough neighborhood around the Lufkin oil patch where he would have needed a gun and who could have afforded a fancy W&K.

Horace though, died in 1935 of a ruptured appendix which is not nearly as good a story as Peewee and Archie going out in a Butch and Sundance moment in a West Texas cottonfield.

Whenever I'm guessing with little likelihood of ever finding conclusive proof...I'll go with the good story every time.
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