Author Topic: Saskatoon calling: Tracing the history of Spencer repeating carbine #23029  (Read 342 times)

Offline Danzakreski

  • Citizen
  • *
  • Posts: 5
  • Liked:
  • Likes Given: 1
Dan Zakreski here.
My Dad taught at a day school in Fond du Lac, Sask, in 1957-58, moving south with my Mom when I was born.
He returned with a Spencer carbine that had been at the school.
Is there a book/article that explains how an American cavalry carbine from the Civil War ended up in northern Saskatchewan?


Offline RattlesnakeJack

  • Deputy Marshal
  • Top Active Citizen
  • *
  • Posts: 1802
  • Liked:
  • Likes Given: 3
Dan, this is a repeat of the response I posted in the Spencer forum here ...

As a Model 1865 Spencer located in Canada, there is a more than passing chance this carbine might be one of the Spencers acquired for militia service by the United Province of Upper & Lower Canada (i.e. pre-Confederation Canada), along with other metallic-cartridge breechloaders, in response to the Fenian Raids of 1866-70.

In 1866, the Province of Canada bought 1,300 M'1865 Spencer carbines, while the British War Department bought 1,000 M'1865 Spencer carbines and 2,000 M'1865 Spencer rifles, which were loaned (and eventually transferred outright) to Canada.(Other breechloading acquisitions were 3,000 Peabody rifles and 1,000 Starr carbines, both of which were single-shot.

A Company of the Queen's Own Rifles of Toronto, armed with Spencer rifles and carbines -


In October of 1870, 100 Spencer carbines (along with 250 Peabody rifles) were shipped by the Dominion Militia Department to the Fort Garry Stores for service in "the North West Territories" (i.e what became Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.) Apparently, it was from these Stores that Spencer carbines were issued to the thirty Métis men hired as armed escort and scouts for the British contingent of the Boundary Commission surveying and marking the 49th Parallel west to the Continental Divide in 1872 and 1873.  These men were permitted to retain their carbines following their service.
Rattlesnake Jack Robson, Scout, Rocky Mountain Rangers, North West Canada, 1885
Major John M. Robson, Royal Scots of Canada, 1883-1901
Sgt. John Robson, Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, 1885
Bvt. Col, Commanding International Dept. and Div.  of Canada, Grand Army of the Frontier

Offline RattlesnakeJack

  • Deputy Marshal
  • Top Active Citizen
  • *
  • Posts: 1802
  • Liked:
  • Likes Given: 3
As a follow-up , here is a detail cropped from the Boundary Commission Scouts group image -




Studio portrait of a Rifleman of the QOR with his Spencer rifle, with one of the Canadian-purchase Model 1865 rifles shown on the right -




I would love to have an original Spencer, especially one as gorgeous as yours appears to be, but have settled for a modern reproduction -

Rattlesnake Jack Robson, Scout, Rocky Mountain Rangers, North West Canada, 1885
Major John M. Robson, Royal Scots of Canada, 1883-1901
Sgt. John Robson, Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, 1885
Bvt. Col, Commanding International Dept. and Div.  of Canada, Grand Army of the Frontier

Offline Danzakreski

  • Citizen
  • *
  • Posts: 5
  • Liked:
  • Likes Given: 1
Wow! Thanks so much for the background, and the photos. I got a real shiver from the pics.
As to your one point ... "In October of 1870, 100 Spencer carbines (along with 250 Peabody rifles) were shipped by the Dominion Militia Department to the Fort Garry Stores for service in "the North West Territories" (i.e what became Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta.) Apparently, it was from these Stores that Spencer carbines were issued to the thirty Métis men hired as armed escort and scouts for the British contingent of the Boundary Commission surveying and marking the 49th Parallel west to the Continental Divide in 1872 and 1873.  These men were permitted to retain their carbines following their service."

Are you aware whether the serial numbers from the carbines shipped for service in the "North West Territories" were ever recorded?

Offline Sir Charles deMouton-Black

  • THE ANCIENT SUBSTANCE ENDURES - ALL LESSER PROPELLANTS SHALL FIZZLE
  • Deputy Marshal
  • Top Active Citizen
  • *
  • Posts: 6130
  • Liked:
  • Likes Given: 182
I looked at my copy of DEFENDING THE DOMINION, Canadian Military Rifles 1855-1955, David W. Edgecombe, service Publications, 2002. very interesting, but I cannot find any serial numbers for arms other than material transferred back to stores from the NWMP. (NO Spencers)
NCOWS #1154, SCORRS, STORM, BROW, 1860 Henry, Dirty Rat 502, CHINOOK COUNTRY
THE SUBLYME & HOLY ORDER OF THE SOOT (SHOTS)
Those who are no longer ignorant of History may relive it,
without the Blood, Sweat, and Tears.
With apologies to George Santayana & W. S. Churchill

"As Mark Twain once put it, “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.”

Advertisers

  • Guest

Offline RattlesnakeJack

  • Deputy Marshal
  • Top Active Citizen
  • *
  • Posts: 1802
  • Liked:
  • Likes Given: 3
Specific serial number records for Canadian military longarms are extremely sparse, and I am unaware of any for the Spencers.

Another interesting tidbit from Edgecombe: although 100 Spencer carbines were shipped to Fort Garry, only 93 were received ... seven of them apparently having been stolen en route!

He also references a record that, as of 1 April 1874, Fort Garry Stores still held all 250 Peabody rifles, but only one Spencer carbine.
Rattlesnake Jack Robson, Scout, Rocky Mountain Rangers, North West Canada, 1885
Major John M. Robson, Royal Scots of Canada, 1883-1901
Sgt. John Robson, Queen's Own Rifles of Canada, 1885
Bvt. Col, Commanding International Dept. and Div.  of Canada, Grand Army of the Frontier

 

SMF spam blocked by CleanTalk

© 1995 - 2021 CAScity.com