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Cas City Forum Hall & CAS-L  |  CAS TOPICS  |  NCOWS (Moderator: Will Ketchum)  |  Topic: A Two Gun Man vs. A Four Gun Man 0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
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Author Topic: A Two Gun Man vs. A Four Gun Man  (Read 1032 times)
Cash Creek
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« on: July 07, 2017, 06:45:52 am »

A Two Gun Man vs. A Four Gun Man

   Some armchair historians like to poo-poo the Two-Gun Man as portrayed in early day Westerns. The two-gun toting movie stars included Tom Mix, Hopalong Cassidy, The Lone Ranger and others. The Armchair Boys claim that most gunfighters only carried one pistol as a rule and that the two-gun man is a Hollywood myth.

  So it comes as somewhat of a giggle that there was perhaps a time when frontiersmen may have actually carried as many as four pistols. Check out this extremely rare image of Capt. Francis Marion 'Dave' Poole (1837-1899) of Missouri.
Dave Poole: A Four-Gun Man
Photo courtesy of the William J. Stier Collection.
   Actually, this two-gun controversy has more to do with cap and ball pistols being so unreliable you would be a fool not to carry two pistols in the early days (1860s-70s). And as some civil war buffs have pointed out to me, those old guerilla fighters often had even more pistols hanging off their saddles. And it is true that Hopalong and the two-gunners on the Silver Screen carried later model pistols, which gives a grain of truth to the complaint about Hollywood building up the two-gun man, when in fact, the later gunfighters, Hardin, the Earps, etc. only tended to carry one pistol. Still. . .
Arizona Republic, May 31, 1899
   Francis Marion Poole, better known as Captain Dave Poole died at 1:30 yesterday morning at his residence five and one half miles northeast of the city after a prolonged illness. His funeral was conducted by the Rev. E. McCreary and took place at the residence. He was a noted character in the days of the war. He early joined Quantrill's band and participated in all the stirring events which made that organization famous among its friends and notorious among its enemies. He was among the foremost in the Lawrence raid. Those that knew him said that he was a quiet man except in times when action was required. Major John Edwards in his book: "Quantrill and His Men" gives Capt. Pool a conspicuous place. At the close of the war, with many other members of the band, he settled down to peaceful pursuits. He was possessed of considerable wealth, most of which was lost by reverses while he was living in Texas.

   The portrait shown here was presumably taken in Sherman, Texas, on Christmas Day 1863. It's a little ironic to me that Sherman is where Olive Oatman ended up after her ordeal in Arizona. Dave Poole went the other way, arriving in Phoenix, Arizona.
   My incomparable tracker, Gay Mathis, has unearthed another, longer obit that ran in the Weekly Phoenix Herald on June 1, 1899 and provides more details on this fascinating frontiersman. Selected quotes are as follows:
   "He has been sick for several weeks, his illness developing into dropsy of the bowels which disease terminated fatally."
   "Mr. Poole leaves a wife and two children and one or two children by a former marriage. . ."
   "He was born in Missouri about 61 years ago.  When the civil war broke out he was yet little more than a boy but in those days and in that region, there were no youths. Those who were no longer children became at once men and women."
   "Though perhaps misguided [he led the "Guerilla charge at Centralia" and was prominent in the Lawrence, Kansas massacre], he was no coward and the work assigned to him was always accomplished or efforts exhausted in that direction."
   "After the war he returned to peaceful pursuits unlike some of his companions [The James and Youngers, for example], and later moved to Texas, where he engaged in stock raising and where it was said he became very wealthy. Reverses overtook him, and some years ago he came to this valley [Phoenix, Arizona] settling west of town, but later moved on the ranch where he lived at the time of his death."
   End of quotes. If his ranch was five-and-a-half miles northeast of downtown Phoenix in 1899, that would probably put it at about Northern Ave, between Fifteenth Street and 24th Street.

* hh.jpg (166.59 KB, 576x904 - viewed 109 times.)

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« Reply #1 on: July 07, 2017, 09:09:42 am »

Ah well,..... not quite.  Percussion pistols of the period we portray were not "unreliable."  Those guns were and still are just as reliable a any cartridge firearm.

The issue that created soldiers and raiders with multiple pistols was the time required to reload.  The time required to reload could and would get you killed.  It was not uncommon for a raider to simply drop a pistol that had been shot dry and pull another.  Not at all uncommon for a raider to have four pistols on his person and ANOTHER four in pommel holsters on the saddle.


Hollyweird still got it wrong though.  As usual.
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