Author Topic: Speaking of 1840's weapons.....  (Read 8408 times)

Offline flincher

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Speaking of 1840's weapons.....
« on: October 06, 2011, 04:42:49 PM »
I've been reading Life Among the Apaches with keen interest since I am surrounded by some of the areas talked about in this book. I am a bit surprised at some of the references to weapons in relation to the dates being mentioned in the first and second chapters.

In the first chapter, Cremony talks about meeting a Comanche chief named Janamata in 1847 and when describing his weapons (pg. 15) he mentions that Janamata has a very good Colt's revolver carried in the top of his moccasin boot. Are there other references for Native tribes to have Colt revolvers in the 1940's?

Also, in the second chapter he talks about showing the contents of a wagon to a Lipan chief in 1849 and states (pg. 19) "The inside of the carriage was well supplied with Colt's and Sharp's rifles, Colt's pistols, a double-barreled shot gun, lots of ammunition, a spyglass, and a number of small but useful tools."  The earliest reference I can find for Sharps rifles being produced is April of 1849. If Cremony has his dates correct then the first Sharps rifles made it out west rather quickly.

Cremony often describes in the book being armed to the teeth carrying 4 revolvers, 2 heavy holster revolvers and 2 belt revolvers. I know that a single reference source isn't enough to say the southwest desert was full of Colts and Sharps in the late 1840's but...

I'm beginning to think I'm going to have to buy a whole bunch a guns for this time period.   ;D
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Offline St. George

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Re: Speaking of 1840's weapons.....
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2011, 05:06:16 PM »
Probably be a better idea to buy a few more reference books.

Many of these accounts were written decades after the fact, and memories are hazy, at best.

Vaya,

Scouts Out!

"It Wasn't Cowboys and Ponies - It Was Horses and Men.
It Wasn't Schoolboys and Ladies - It Was Cowtowns and Sin..."

Offline flincher

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Re: Speaking of 1840's weapons.....
« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2011, 06:24:22 PM »
Yes              and I did say that I know one reference isn't enough. This was published in 1868, two decades after the first recorded date in the book of 1847. Who can say that none of the material was written during the 20 years previous to being published? I agree that one reference is not enough. That does not mean that it should be tossed aside as fiction either. Very few first hand "books" exist from the 1840's. Most recorded information is in journals or letters that were not published in books and require much more thorough research if you can locate the material.

My question was stated in the original post, are there any other references to native tribes having Colts in the 1840's?
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Re: Speaking of 1840's weapons.....
« Reply #3 on: Today at 03:51:57 PM »

Offline Caleb Hobbs

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Re: Speaking of 1840's weapons.....
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2011, 06:55:47 PM »
flincher, I've come across a number of references to Indians carrying revolvers, but none that early. Unless I could find an additional source, I'd be wary of Cremony's dates. That's not to say a Comanche couldn't have taken a revolver, especially a Paterson, off of someone like a Texas Ranger. In fairness, I haven't read Cremony's book, so I don't have an idea for how accurate he is on other details.

Offline flincher

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Re: Speaking of 1840's weapons.....
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2011, 07:14:08 PM »
I agree Caleb, the date seems a bit early. That's why I ask the question. It also seems a bit early to have the Sharps rifles in Texas right after the first ones have been made. The book is very detailed in descriptions of Native life and it's lengthy at over 300 pages. I have read other accounts of people being equipped with revolvers coming through the Tularosa basin from the Santa Fe trail to El Paso. All of these accounts seem to boast about the fact that they have 24 or more shots at the ready without the need to reload. I'll have to go back and look at the dates again as these were journals and not books.

It is a little easier to research the dates and equipment when several people have several references to cross check with each other. :)
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Offline Hangtown Frye

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Re: Speaking of 1840's weapons.....
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2011, 06:58:39 PM »
I know that some folks have issues with Cremony, but I've always appreciated what he has to say in his book.  Interestingly enough he was one of the founders of the Bohemian Club in San Francisco, which is now of course considered by many to be the front for the Illuminati.  I've seen his portrait in the entry hall to the Club's building in SF, and it's quite nifty.  Sadly it shows him in his "street wear" rather than in either his rough clothing he would have worn while on the Border Commission in 1850, or while a Captain in the 1st California Cavalry during the Civil War.

Cremony's claim that he was packing two pairs of big Colt Dragoons during his time with the Border Commission is of course up to debate, as we only have his word for it. However his other information about both the Border Commission and the various exploits during the "Late Unpleasantness" can be verified elsewhere, so it's probably fairly sound.  Whether or not he was chased by Apache's for 75 miles across the Jornada del Muerte is of course another story.  Could be, but there's no outside verification that I'm aware of.  However, lots of things happen where the participants are the only ones to verify, and most of them aren't talking... And it certainly could be that these things happened to someone, just not him.

As far as having a Sharps goes, they became available (albeit in small numbers) as early as 1848, with a strange circular primer, so it's not at all impossible that a gentleman from the East, wishing to be as well armed as possible with the latest high-firepower weapons (witness the Colts inside the carriage as well) would have availed himself of one or two.  The Commissioner certainly had the funds available to him to make such a purchase.

Per Jamanta, it's perfectly reasonable to believe Cremony in this instance, since there were a number of Colt's revolvers (aka Patersons) taken from the Texian Santa Fe Expedition of 1841 and put into use by the New Mexicans who confiscated them.  From there into the hands of a Comanche isn't much of a stretch, be it by fair means or foul.  Of course Cremony doesn't state whether or not the Colt would actually work or not.  My guess is that it was more a symbol of being cool than a working weapon, but you never know.  Maybe this Comanche was a bit more cognizant of weapons care than most of his fellows.

At any rate, I have always loved Cremony's book, and it has a wealth of information in it.  Whether or not you chose to believe what he has to say is up to the reader of course.  On my part I like to look at it as a wonderful adventure story with a fair amount of good information in it, but not as an historical document per se.  However, it IS a great piece of historical literature, and worth reading.  And even if Cremony didn't actually have four Dragoons on him when he traveled the Jornada del Muerte, or was chased half of the length of it by Apache's at a gallop, it's still a rip-roaring story full of nifty information about dealing with Apache's and other Natives, from the viewpoint of the day and age.  Good stuff, I say.

Cheers!

Gordon

Offline The Elderly Kid

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Re: Speaking of 1840's weapons.....
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2011, 10:52:33 AM »
Maybe he heard the Jornada story while knocking back drinks with Sir Harry Flashman, who rode the Jornada in 1849.

Offline Hangtown Frye

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Re: Speaking of 1840's weapons.....
« Reply #7 on: October 31, 2011, 10:57:47 AM »
 ;D

Could be... or perhaps the other way 'round? 

 ;)

Cheers!

Gordon

Offline Tascosa Joe

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Re: Speaking of 1840's weapons.....
« Reply #8 on: October 31, 2011, 01:07:10 PM »
This does not exactly relate to the thread, but ...Saturday I was in a high end gun shop in Dallas and saw an extremely strange looking rifle in the rack behind the country.  I asked the proprioritor, "What's that", he took it down from the rack and handed it to me, it was a Nippe's Sharps.  That tape cap feeder sure looks odd as well as the forearm shape.  He had it priced at 15K. 

A friend of mine was working on a MS degree in Archeology, I dont know what his thesis was titled, but he was studying Indian Wars battles in West Texas.    A hunter found a skelton while out chasing white tail, he called the sheriff and the sheriff called my friend.  They figured out this was most likely a Comanche, he had been buried with a Remington-Beals revolver.  Once they determined he was a Native American, he was returned to his original burial place. 

I know R-Beals were later than the early 40's, but I thought it was an interesting tale.

T-Joe
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Offline The Elderly Kid

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Re: Speaking of 1840's weapons.....
« Reply #9 on: October 31, 2011, 11:23:07 PM »
Tascosa Joe,  would that have been Jackson Armory? It was the great antique gunshop in Dallas when I was a boy there in the 60s and I understand it's still in business. I remember going in there one day and they had a whole rack of 1860 Navy cutlasses, $25 each, but where was a highschool kid going to lay his hands on 25 bucks in 1964?

Offline Tascosa Joe

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Re: Speaking of 1840's weapons.....
« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2011, 08:14:16 AM »
Nope, but it looks like some place I would like to go!! ;D
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Offline The Elderly Kid

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Re: Speaking of 1840's weapons.....
« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2011, 10:52:46 AM »
I was in that one on a trip to NO in '65. I was 17 and we were staying at the Monteleone Hotel just a couple of blocks away. I picked up a magazine for a Browning Hi-Power there. Wish I'd known more about swords back then, they had some nice ones. Waldhorn's Antiques, also on Royale, had some great antique arms, too. I bought a Royal Navy boarding pike there in '72. Still have it.

Offline Tascosa Joe

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Re: Speaking of 1840's weapons.....
« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2011, 11:52:36 AM »
The wife wants to go back to NO to the D-Day Museum, so we may make it back.  I have not been back since Katrina.
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