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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 10-13-2009, 06:53 PM
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Default Another old "Pawn Shop" engraved W&K comes to the surface

I recently had the opportunity to pick up a well documented old M1926 Wolf & Klar. The gun (sn 341xx) was shipped to W&K in February 1930.

It was carried by a gentleman who served as the Chief of Police in both Sherman Texas and Kerrville Texas. I received the gun and other documentation from his daughter. The package included his gun, his holster, several photos showing the officer with the specific gun, and old newspaper clippings . The photos are from the Sherman PD in 1933-34. and the newspaper clipping is from Kerrville TX in 1949.

Chief Grady Thompson began his law enforcement career in 1930 in Sherman. He became Chief of that department in 1940 and served in that role until 1947. He then moved his family to Kerrville and joined the Kerrville PD. He was named chief of that department in 1949 and held that office until his death in 1952.

When Thompson began his LEO career in 1930, he had no sidearm so a Texas Ranger gave him this "Pawn Shop" engraved Smith with the pearl steer head grips.

Some of you may have the book about Texas Ranger M. T. "Lone Wolf" Gonzaullas. In it there are some very interesting chapters dealing with Sherman during that period. In 1930 there was a trial of a black man who was charged with the rape of a white woman. There was much civic unrest before the trial so four Rangers were sent to protect the prisoner. The Rangers were Captain Frank Hamer (who later led the ambush on Bonnie and Clyde), Sergeant J. B. Wheatley and two privates. The National Guard was also mobilized from Dallas, but Governor Dan Moody had instructed the Rangers and the Guardsmen not to shoot. A lynch mob attacked the Court House and set it on fire. The prisoner, George Hughes was killed in his prison cell. Additional infantry was sent along with four more Rangers, Captain Tom R. Hickman, Sergeant M. T. Gonzaullas, and Privates W. H. Kirby and R. G. Goss. All of this happened in May, 1930. I don't know exactly when Grady Thompson began his career but it was that year and it is altogether possible that one of these Rangers was the one that gifted the S&W to him. He carried the gun his entire career and it was one of his proudest possessions.

Rarely do we get the opportunity to have an old gun tell it's story like this one.

Bob






















Last edited by bettis1; 10-13-2009 at 07:42 PM.
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Old 10-13-2009, 06:58 PM
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Fantastic revolver and post! Love old photos.
Thanks Bob!
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Old 10-13-2009, 07:06 PM
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That is a great story, and a fantastic firearm.
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Old 10-13-2009, 07:07 PM
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Bob,

You hit the Jackpot with this one!!! Congratulations
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Old 10-13-2009, 07:21 PM
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Bob, Neat gun and great history. Dan will trade you a couple of Rugers for ti! I have a feeling I've seen that gun before. Did Manny used to have it, or Powell? Ed.
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Old 10-13-2009, 07:36 PM
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Now that is the kind of gun and history that is REALLY cool. Great catch Bob
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Old 10-13-2009, 07:43 PM
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That is a great story Bob, thanks for sharing.
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Old 10-13-2009, 07:46 PM
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Thanks Mike, I think I have it fixed now. I added a couple more pictures, too.

Ed,
Neither Manny or Bill ever "coon-fingered" this 'un. As the old timers used to say: "This 'un came outa the bush."
Bob
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Old 10-13-2009, 08:10 PM
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Congrats on your new aquisition, If they could only talk.
Loved the story, the gun and especially the Harley.

Man the Kerrville TX PD had some problems in the late 30's.
The article has the citizens demanding a new Chief .
Then the entire force walks off the job the day they appoint a new one.
"City without protection for 3 hours" ...Guess they did some fast deputizing.
The boys sure loved their old boss,
Makes me want to dig deeper on what was going on there at that time.
Besides politics....
Thanks again for a great post!

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Old 10-13-2009, 08:16 PM
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Great post. I enjoy reading the history of old guns; wish they could talk.
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Old 10-13-2009, 08:42 PM
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Engine49guy,

I can help a little with what was going on in Kerrville from the article and I quote:

"The Council recommended to the City Manager that he request the resignations of the officers and also address letters to the State Liquor Board requesting the immediate transfer of Inspector M. D. Brown from Kerrville.

Cause of the wholesale resignation of the police was aftermath of an incident Thursday involving Pierce Hoggett and Patrolman Forest and Inspector Brown and said to have started over illegal parking near the Fire Station on Main Street. During the trouble Hoggett was arrested by Forest and lodged in jail. He was immediately released to the custody of friends who pledged bond. A complaint charging abusive language is pending in Justice of Peace Court but the case likely will be transfered to County Court.

The special meeting of the Council Friday night reviewed the incident and it was decided that it was for the best of all concerned that a new police department be installed and the City Manager was thus advised.

So it was for some three hours Saturday morning Kerrville was without police protection.

The new Chief of Police assumed his new duties with a statement that he would his best to handle the law enforcement in Kerrville to the best of his ability, and with fairness to all. He seeks the co-operation and wholehearted aupport of the entire citizenship.

Chief Thompson has been parking meter patrolman in Kerrville for the past two years and is thoroughly qualified and capable of the job thrust upon him. He came here from Sherman where he was chief of police for seven years."

There is also a copy of the letter of resignation that all of the departing officers signed.

Apparently at that time the Kerrville PD consisted of the Chief and four officers.

Bob

Last edited by bettis1; 10-13-2009 at 08:48 PM.
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Old 10-13-2009, 08:56 PM
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Bob:

Be careful taking that gun to Tucson, as I have strong reason to believe that once one of those scratched-up-steer-handled N-Frame guns makes it to Tucson - it never leaves the great state of AZ. Somehow Dan M seems to have some kind of magnetic ability to draw those guns into his "horde".

All kidding aside, very nice find, especially with all of the support, photos and "good stuff".
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Old 10-13-2009, 08:57 PM
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Bob

Really lovely revolver with tons of history. That's as good as it gets for me. And it's a close number to my example - #346XX.

These W&K guns have there own attraction. I've been getting more and more interested in them for some time.

I'd dearly love to find Jelly Bryce's one!! :-)

Regards.
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Old 10-13-2009, 09:03 PM
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A very neat catch you got there Bob.

I have, or had, family in the Sherman/Dennison area for many years but they've all passed now. Seems like the stories my Uncle would tell would lead you to believe the folks in the area were a bit, uhm, restless at times.

I have a Ranger book that covers that same general time frame, I'll have to dig it out but I think the title is "Trails and Trials of a Texas Ranger". I recall he wrote about some rough times in the area and included a piece on "border patrol duties" at the Red River to keep the Okies north of the Red during the depression.

About all I can regarding your gun is...WOW.
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Old 10-13-2009, 09:15 PM
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Bob,

Not to take away from this outstanding gun, it seems like a good time for the thread we have discussed. would you want to continue it with this thread or start a new one?
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Old 10-13-2009, 09:35 PM
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Dan
I'm happy to open this thread up to anyone who would like to post their "Pawn Shops" here. Why don't you start with all those that were on that post card you sent me?

Bob
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Old 10-13-2009, 09:45 PM
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Great stuff! Fantastic pics of the Chief and the gun!
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Old 10-13-2009, 10:08 PM
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Bob,

I'm not looking to post my guns, As you and I have discussed there have been many posts over the past years that discussions of Wolf & Klar have disapeered with time. I am still a newbie when it comes to these guns. I Know that I like them though

Over the past couple years now I have gone out of my way looking for W&K guns (mostly S&W's but looked at some Colts also), not just to buy but to look at an see what they offered. In that time I have found that W&K had several Sideplate patterns that seemed to be the on most of the guns I have seen. The one most common is the pattern on your new gun. I have a owned or own 2 others with that same sideplate pattern.

It also seems to me that most of the Pearl Steerhead grips I have seen are of one pattern. Now remember I am a newcomer to this and would love to hear/read all the Oldtimers/Experts opinions on these wonderful old guns.

A couple years ago there was discussion of all the W&K paperwork that was in a members hands. Is there any word on those documents.

Last edited by Dan M; 10-14-2009 at 09:56 AM.
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Old 10-13-2009, 11:21 PM
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Bob,

Thanks much for starting this thread! You have opened up a fascinating chunk of history with your latest W&K. Great stuff!

Jerry
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Old 10-13-2009, 11:26 PM
CT Smith Fan CT Smith Fan is offline
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Pretty nice Harley,That PD had class!
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Old 10-13-2009, 11:35 PM
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Great gun. Great history.

But God is it ugly.
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Old 10-14-2009, 01:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaxonPig

But God is it ugly.
And at the same time - what a beauty, huh?

Without the provenance, it would just be a good shooter that had been 'defaced' (in the eyes of the "Average Joe"). The story that goes along with it takes us to back to a much simpler day and time....

Bob, you've outdone yerself, pard.

Mark
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Old 10-14-2009, 03:07 AM
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That is awsome thanks for sharing with us.
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Old 10-14-2009, 04:39 AM
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I had an uncle that was an LEO during that same time period, while not fortunate enough to have his revolver I do have his parade baton. It is made out of rosewood with an elaborately carved handle and fancy braided cord. My mother walked to nursing school in the late '30's through the area where my uncle walked his beat.
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Old 10-14-2009, 06:27 AM
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Thank you for posting. This type of thread is very interesting to me and I am sure many others.
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Old 10-14-2009, 06:42 AM
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Hello Bob
Excellent Catch. It is very Interesting to me that Geographical Location seemed to be a deciding factor of Caliber back in those days. The Regulation Police I have in .32 S&W Long can be considered a Mouse gun to that one, that Harry Anderson The Evansville, Indiana Police Chief carried in the late 1920's time span. oddly, Thugs and Mafia figures were more Prevalent in the Upper North Region {Indiana, Chicago & Such} of the United States back then, Yet Police carried .32 S&W Long caliber weapons for protection. Kind of sounds like suicide to me... Hammerdown
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Old 10-14-2009, 07:44 AM
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I'm not sure just who first attached the term "Pawn Shop" engraving to this style (I believe that our mentor, Ed C., is the first that I heard use it so until told otherwise, he gets the honor.) That is a pretty good term because it immediately denotes a little declasse version of a common item. Additionally, and most importantly, the originator of the style was actually...wait for it now...a pawn shop!

Rather than just grossly applying SP's tag of "ugly", I might describe the style as kitsch. There is no question that when compared with the classic engraving styles of Gustave Young, the Ulrich family, Cuno Helfricht, etc. this style is aesthetically deficient. If this was a "one off" example it could be dismissed as an abuse of a gun. On the other hand, the fact that it is represented multiple times, I think that the style can be called an excellent example of a truly American art form. In the art world, it would be like comparing the primitive style of Grandma Moses to one of the classic old world artists.

What is interesting is to try to determine just how and why it evolved as a "style". We are pretty comfortable in saying at this point that Wolf and Klar, a large jewelry store/pawn shop in Fort Worth was the most prolific supplier of this style. W&K marketed their wares specifically to prominent folks in the southwest such as lawmen, oilmen, and cattlemen. These folks were, almost as a group, type A personalities. They were gregarious, ostentatious and "in your face" with their personalities and lifestyles. Many times their economic condition was a real roller coaster ride. When they came into a gusher or sold a herd or pinned on a badge, they often wanted to get some indication of their new found stature. Because of the distance and time between the market center of Fort Worth and the social center of the east coast, having the Factory produce a classically engraved gun was out of the question. They walked into W&K, laid some cash on the counter, and walked out with a shiny new toy. What we now call instant gratification.

What say you all?

Bob
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Old 10-14-2009, 08:42 AM
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Bob,

I agree with you. I just recently looked at a pre-war Colt Super Match and a National Match, both nickeled after they left the factory and both belonged to Texas Lawmen. The Rangers were the best/worst about this--some Ranger guns have the gaudiest, most poorly executed engraving, plating, hammered on silver work, etc.

Neat revolver/provenance. You have all the best toys.

Regards,
Kevin Williams
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Old 10-14-2009, 09:44 AM
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I love it.
Bob, remember that 38 M&P I had at Tulsa a couple of years back that was W&K engraved? I have not seen another K frame since. Do you encounter any?

On the history- very interesting.
I would love to know more- like how did that crowd get past FOUR Rangers???
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Old 10-14-2009, 10:19 AM
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Bob,
Terrific post!! Thanks for sharing!!! I wish I had the background on my W&K Pawn Shop gun.

Bob
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Old 10-14-2009, 10:35 AM
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Lee,

I have an old "junk" collector friend who has a K frame that is "Pawn Shop" engraved that is documented to have belonged to a Chief of the Ft. Worth PD. However, he thinks it is worth more than I do so I haven't been able to pick it up yet...still trying though.

Regarding the story about the happenings in Sherman, I'll quote from the story in Lone Wolf Gonzaullas, Texas Ranger by Brownson Malsch:

"Captain Hamer told Judge Carter (the trial judge of the black man charged with the rape) that in his opinion, the trial could not be continued in Sherman without blood being shed. The judge announced that a change of venue would be ordered and pandemonium ensued when the crowd thought that the man they sought would be removed from their grasp.

At that point Hamer received a message from Governor Dan Moody that told him to 'protect the Negro if possible, but not to shoot anyone'. Captain Hamer was quoted as telling Judge Carter 'This means the mob will get the Negro'.

The mob leaders heard about the message and decided that the alleged instruction to Hamer would apply with equal force to the National Guardsmen. It was concluded that no matter the extreme to which the crowd might go, no one was in danger of being shot. That was judged to have been the turning point in the whole ugly affair. Tear gas was used but the only result was to further enrage the crowd.

The Grayson County Court House was masonry but the interior was dry old wood and gasoline was poured in a window and ignited. The 21 man Sherman fire department responded and attempted to fight the fire but as soon as they laid hoses, the hoses were slashed. Mob leaders allowed the firemen one sound hose to put out fires which ignited on adjacent buildings but warned that if the hose was turned toward the Court House, it would be cut."

An ugly page in the history of that community.

Bob
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Old 10-14-2009, 11:30 AM
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I used to spend my teenage summers in and around Kerrville.

Bob-Great find and story

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Old 10-14-2009, 11:35 AM
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Dan,

I just went back looking for your guns and they are gone! Please put them back and tell us some of the details of them. I think that this is a good gathering place for whatever we know or surmise on this style. I hope that you, Dave, Ed, and anyone else who might have them will show them and maybe we can draw some more conclusions about the style.

Bob
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Old 10-14-2009, 12:14 PM
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Bob,

I deleted the picture because I felt like I was trying to steal your thread about this special gun of yours. I am trying to take some more pictures of guns that will show some of what I was talking about as far as sideplate engraving designs. I sure wish that I lived in the Fort Worth area. I would spend every extra hour researching W&K.
Ok Here it is one more time.

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Old 10-14-2009, 12:23 PM
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Great gun and even better story and documentation. Very rare to have such old and solid proof as to a gun's history. Quite special.
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Old 10-14-2009, 03:49 PM
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Helluva story!

I suppose the prisoner died in the fire?
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Old 10-14-2009, 06:18 PM
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allright Bob,

The sideplate pattern on your gun is one that I have seen most of. I am posting pictures of 2 more with the same pattern but I have seen at least 2 or 3 more with the same pattern.

This one unfired since it was engraved

This one is attributted to a Deputy Sheriff in Comal County Texas

And yours


It would seem that they had a pattern Book a Ranger could pick out what they wanted.

here is a picture of Lee's ol 38 M&P that letters to W&K and a 2nd Model 44 that I haven't lettered yet, they have a pattern that matches and I have seen 1 more like these.




This set of guns is what I figure was their more elaborate engraving pattern what I would call full coverage if that is what you would call it.

add this 38 M&P to this 3some for a 4some


I would sure like to hear from some of the others with these guns. I will do a post later with Steerhead pearlies.

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Old 10-14-2009, 06:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SaxonPig View Post
Great gun. Great history.

But God is it ugly.
I couldn't offend Bob by saying that, but you did it for me. Butt ugly came to mind.
To say the owner was proud of it is evident by the way it was carried.
Has anyone ever determined weather W&K commissioned the engraving or was it the local Mexican jeweler?
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Old 10-14-2009, 06:32 PM
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Paul,

Since I wasnt there I can't say for sure but I believe it was done in their Jewelry Shop side of the house. Maybe Uncle Ed can tell us from 1st hand experience
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Old 10-14-2009, 06:43 PM
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I guess by the looke of these guns the engraving actually goes through the nickle?

Have any of these guns showed up with a blue finish?
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Old 10-14-2009, 06:54 PM
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This is a great thread!! I grew up in a little town,(Ingram, TX), about 7 miles outside of Kerrville. My parents have lived there since the 60's and my grandparents spent quite a bit of time in the Kerrville area during the time period that this story was happening. I sent a link of this thread to my dad to see if he has any info on this story,(he's not real cpu savy, so we'll see) and I'll pass on any info I can get from him. Really cool that I can place places with the events that happened a good time back, thanks for putting this story out there. Great find by the way!!

Trash
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Old 10-14-2009, 08:21 PM
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From the pictures it looks like he prefered a diff. holster sometimes. more high riding like a Brill style. Maybe the holster you have is the first one he used? This is as good as it gets. The pics. of him wearing the gun is icing on the cake.
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Old 10-14-2009, 08:40 PM
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Dan,

Sort of related to Curtis's question regarding finishes - do all these guns letter as being nickel guns from W&K shipments? Or, were some refinished? It appears that some of the hammers/trigger combos may not be in the original case hardening finish.

Thanks (...and what a great collection!),

Jerry
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Old 10-14-2009, 09:53 PM
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Lots of questions here so I'll try to fill in the answers that I have.

First to Wyatt:

Good eyes man! It is the same holster. In the early pictures where he is wearing the Sam Browne Belt, the belt loop was lower...about in line with the trigger guard so the gun rode very high. The holster, as presently configured has had a professionally applied drop loop which would position the grip about mid forearm level while standing. On the back of the holster the original stitching for the first loop is evident. Apparently, in later life the loop played out or he decided that the gun was easier to access in the lower position.

Speaking of the holster there is no maker's ID on it. The only marks are a 44 over a 5, indicating that it is for a 5" .44. I would appreciate anyone's input as to the manufacturer. The basket weave and lacing are first rate. The holster is open on the end and the basket weave is nicely finished off at the end so I am sure that it started out that way. Who made it??


DW,

I'm not offended at all. The gun really is almost grotesque in our eyes today. But apparently it was just what the Chief wanted. Whether it was his affection for the Ranger who gave it to him or it just satisfied his own needs, he carried it daily for 22 years on duty. Not only did he carry it, he proudly displayed it at every photo op.


Curtis,

Regarding who did the engraving, remember that W&K was not only a pawn shop but also a jewelry store. I believe that the same motorized engraving tool that was used to inscribe rings, watches, etc. was used to do this work.



Dan,

I just got through taking the gun down to the bone and cleaning it. Although the exterior reveals the 22 yrs of hard use, the interior is in excellent shape. Just a little wear in the cylinder bolt. I can honestly say that the bore and the cylinder were cleaner than most of the guns in my safe. Apparently the Chief took good care of his firearms.

The nickel cleaned up nicely, but the engraving is cut through to the metal much like that on the 2nd model that you pictured so that gives it a dark appearance. The pearl grips look beautiful with the years of grime removed. Now I need to find a way to replace the ruby eyes.

Inside the grips are the Roman numerals X VIIII on each side. Most likely done to keep the two matching sides together by the carver.

And BTW, it's just my impression but I think that many of the elements of the primary engraving design have a distinctive Mexican or Mexican Indian (Aztec) appearance.


Lee,

Yes, the sadness of the story is reflected in the title of the chapter in the book that I quoted: "The Prisoner Roasted Alive".

As if that wasn't enough, after a rain cooled the ashes, the mob used torches to cut into the vault where the prisoner's remains were found and now I quote the author in part: "As his body was thrown out just before midnight, the vast crowd cheered and shouted. After the morbidly curious, which included women with exhausted children sleeping in their arms, had an opportunity to stare at it, the corpse was dragged to the street and placed on a truck bed. A procession of an estimated two thousand or more yelling rioters followed the truck as it headed toward the Negro section of Sherman and stopped in front of a Negro drugstore.

Throughout the day the crowd had been clamoring to get their hands on Hughes so they could lynch and hang him. Now he was in their possession, though dead from suffocation and the furnace-like heat of the court house destruction. That did not dissuade them from their intention. A noose was formed on the rope that had been brought. It was fastened around the neck of the dead man. The other end of the rope was thrown over the lower limb of a large tree that stood in front of the building. The body was hauled up with loud cheers of mass approval.

Incendiary material was collected and placed in a huge pile beneath the corpse. When the pile was set afire to cremate the body, the mob was not satisfied but, instead, the building itself was set afire. A total of nine fires were set until the 124th Cavalrymen arrived and dispersed the crowd and cut the body down."

There is more to the story but that is plenty to convey the emotion of the event. As I was reading the story I couldn't help but remember similar circumstances which befell our troops in Somalia and related in the story Blackhawk Down. The world is still only a blink away from savagery.

Bob
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Old 10-14-2009, 10:12 PM
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Great stuff Bob,

It excites me to hear of the Roman Numerals on the back of the grips. I have 2 sets that do, and 3 that dont.

Jerry,

I only have letters on 3 of my guns and they all letter as Nickle. A couple of my guns were renickled later in life. The one with the Jigged Bone grips and the 1st model triplelock with the Fire Blued screws in the sideplate.

The Mother of all BBQ guns which is what I call it, has gold plate on the Hammer and Trigger and the flutes of the cylinder. That gun came from W&K that way I am sure. It was given to Sheriff Owen Clay Matthews of Grant County New Mexico by a Texas Oilman named Burton Prince.
At Tulsa a year or 2 ago at the Dinner Meeting a gentleman named Herman Cook gave me the lowdown on Burton Prince as he knew him back in the old days, in Waxahachie Texas I started research on him but havent been able to complete it.
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Old 10-14-2009, 10:13 PM
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Hi, Bob. In the close up where he's standing behind the guy on the bike, his holster has a distinct loop around it. That's why I mentioned a Brill holster. The guy to his left carries a .45 Auto, nickle(?), with pearl or ivory grips. And it looks cocked & locked! Again. Great story and pictures.

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Old 10-14-2009, 10:31 PM
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I think it's a Brill Bob. Have a look at Jerry Campbells holster below, that goes with his Wolf & Klar. This one is marked as Brill.

Hope it helps.

Dave


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Old 10-14-2009, 10:46 PM
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Dave,

everytime I see that gun I start drooling. what a fantastic piece of American History.

Bob,

you said you cleaned the Pearl grips. Hopefully you did not remove all the gold tinting in the crevices. I think W&K applied it as an accent to the grips.
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Old 10-15-2009, 01:04 AM
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Excellent story.
I enjoyed reading the history of the revolver.
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Old 10-15-2009, 02:18 AM
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I certainly don't think this gun, or any of the W&Ks, are ugly. Of course, I'll take a fixed sighted .44 anyday over an RM. As is evident from this thread, anytime you see one these engraved .44s, it immediately spurs curiousity as to whose it was and where it's been. The story just makes them all the more special. Excellent job, Bob.
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