Monday, June 9, 2014

Concealed Carry Participant, Porter Rockwell's Guns

Orrin Porter Rockwell’s 202nd birthday is the 28th of this month. To celebrate I thought I’d focus on the guns of Ol’ Port.
Porter was ahead of his time. He understood the importance of concealed carry and did it often. He carried a sawed off 1851 Colt single action Navy .36 caliber revolver in his pocket. He even filed off the trigger guard for better conceal ability.
A story of Port goes like this:
A young gunslinger got the drop on Rockwell. “Say your prayers,” he demanded. Rockwell replied, “You wouldn’t try and shoot a man without a cap on your pistol, would you?” The instant the man glanced at his gun, he was blown from his saddle by Rockwell, who had a gun hidden in his pocket.
Port understood concealed carry.
The first generation Colt single action Navy revolvers were produced in 1851. The most popular chambering was .45 but Port seemed to like the .36 maybe because it was smaller and not as heavy. He often wore two Colts in his belt for some open carry action.
The cylinder of this revolver is engraved with a scene of the victory of the Second Texas Navy at the Battle of Campeche on May 16, 1843.
He also carried the Hawken rifle. This was a .54 caliber black powder rifle. The Hawken brothers, Jacob and Samuel, were from St. Lewis, Missouri. They started to make guns together about 1825 to service the fur trade. This gun weighed about 8 ½ pounds, had a 28 inch octagonal barrel with a hooked breech system. The Hawken was known as an extremely accurate weapon and was used by Indians and settlers alike.
These two weapons truly helped to tame the west.
Porter was known as the “Avenging Angel” because of his expertise with these weapons.
It seemed Rockwell had been one who dared to test the hunters' wisdom: a buffalo bull could not be stopped with a shot between its horns, through its skull. But Rockwell stalked around to the front of a big one and—naturally—tried him out.
October 3, 1869 During a speech by U.S. Vice President Schuyler Colfax, Porter objected to his being called a killer and reportedly yelled, “I never killed anyone who didn’t need killing.”
June 9, 1878 At Porter Rockwell’s funeral, Apostle and future Church President Joseph F. Smith spoke and said the following about Porter:
“They say he was a murderer, if he was the friend of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, and he was faithful to them, and to his covenants, and he has gone to Heaven and apostates will go to Hell… Porter Rockwell was yesterday afternoon ushered in Heaven clothed with immortality and eternal life, and crowned with all glory which belongs to departed saints. He has his little faults but Porter’s life on earth, taken all together, was one worthy of example, and reflected honor upon the church. Through all his trials he had never once forgotten his obligations to his brethren and his God.”
June 21, 1878 The Church owned Deseret News wrote of Porter after his June 9th death, “Honorable in all his dealings, true to his friends, and his word, firm in faith; feared only by cattle thieves, and mobocrats and their supporters.”
A cowboy ballad from the 1850’s says:
Old Port Rockwell looks like a man,
With a beard on his face and his hair in a braid,
But there’s none in the West but Brigham who can
Look in his eyes and not be afraid;
For Port is a devil in a human shape,
Though he calls himself “Angel,” say vengeance is sweet,
But he’s black, bitter death, and there’s no escape,
When he wails through the night his dread war cry, “Wheat! Wheat!”,
Somewhere a wife with her babes kneels to pray,
For she knows she’s a widow and orphans are they.
(The war cry “Wheat!” is in reference to a phrase Porter would say to something that was good. Basically, it was a 19th Century way of saying something was cool.)
I think this ballad was probably anti-Port or anti-Mormon or both, but the fact that the ballad exists is a testament to Porter Rockwell’s reputation with a gun.
Many, including Church members, don’t like Orrin Porter Rockwell. I think they listen to the anti-Mormon rhetoric that exists about him. My sentiments agree with the Apostle Joseph F. Smith:
“He was the friend of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, and he was faithful to them, and to his covenants, and he has gone to Heaven and apostates will go to Hell…”

Semper Paratus
Check 6
Burn
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