Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Brigham Young's Colt .31

In May of 2016 on behalf of the direct descendants of Brigham Young and in association with Michael Simens a personal friend of the Young Family, Brigham Young’s Colt pistol was put up for auction. It was said to have sold for between $550,000 and $850,000.
This is a factory engraved Colt Model 1849 Pocket percussion revolver manufactured in 1854 and presented to Brigham Young, by H.E. Dimick & Co., a major St. Louis firearms dealer. Brigham Young was Prophet at the martyrdom of Joseph Smith from 1844 until his death in 1877. This revolver was presented to the Prophet by H.E. Dimick & Company while he served as Governor of the Utah Territory (1851-1858).
Founded in 1849 in St. Louis, H.E. Dimick quickly became the largest firearms dealer west of the Mississippi and attracted a large share of public attention on account of the splendid assortment of firearms that composed their stock. Dimick was popular among mountain men, scouts, fur traders, buffalo hunters and pioneers migrating west in need of firearms and related supplies. It must be assumed that President Young, as the Governor of the Utah Territory, would have had specific dealings with Dimick in the supplying of firearms to the Utah Territory.
The revolver has deluxe factory floral scroll engraving with punch-dot background and floral accents. It was a .31 caliber percussion pistol with a 4inch octagon barrel. Due to its exquisite quality, it is believed the engraving was executed by Master Engraver Gustave Young himself, and this gun is consecutively numbered to a gun listed on one of his two existing work-shop sheets from September 1854. The flawlessly executed scrollwork covers the lug and rear two thirds of the barrel, the loading lever flats, the frame, the trigger guard bow and the bottom and upper third of the back strap. The back strap is unquestionably factory, special order inscribed as follows; "Presented to Gov. Young/by H.E. Dimick & Co." The top and sides of the hammer are decorated with Gustave Young's characteristic wolf head motif with beautifully executed additional dog heads on the left side of the frame and barrel. The hammer exhibits deluxe knurling and the screw heads are also engraved. The top barrel flat is presentation style scroll engraved "Saml Colt" surrounded by simple decorative line engraving and the left side of the frame is engraved "COLT'S/PATENT". The serial number (97326) is marked on all major parts, and the correct partial serial number (7326) is on the barrel wedge. The cylinder is roll engraved with the stagecoach holdup scene and marked "COLTS PATENT" over the serial number. The barrel and cylinder are blue. The loading lever, frame and hammer are casehardened, and the trigger guard and back strap are silver plated brass. It is fitted with a smooth one-piece antique ivory grip. The partitioned deluxe rosewood case is lined in red wine velvet and is presentation inscribed to Young. The top of the lid has a brass inscription plaque that reads, "Gov. Young/G.S.L.C./Utah Ter." Interestingly, the city was named by Young himself, “Great Salt lake City” upon Young’s arrival to the valley, hence the decorated initials “G.S.L.C.” on the plaque. The name was later shortened to its current title. The case has brass hardware including the corner protectors on the lid. The case holds the revolver, silver or German silver powder flask, two cavity "COLTS/PATENT" brass bullet mold, combination screwdriver and nipple wrench, Eley percussion cap tin, nipple pick, cleaning rod and a small knife blade from a dress knife and file often used as a watch fob marked “G. Wostenholm, I.X.L.” The gun is accompanied with an un-impeachable letter of provenance from the great grandson of Brigham Young and a period ID card that was displayed with the set in the Young household on special occasions. This is the personal Colt revolver that Brigham Young received as a gift; that he personally cleaned, loaded and kept at-the-ready and would undoubtedly have used when necessary to protect himself, his family and those who might need it from nefarious persons as was his Constitutional right.
Brigham Young’s Colt was similar to one carried by Porter Rockwell, who was the prophet Joseph Smith’s bodyguard as well as President Young’s. He carried a Colt Navy .36 caliber with a sawed off barrel.
The Colt Navy pistol seems to play a big role in early years of the Church.
There are some who wonder why the Church has not come out against what is commonly called “gun violence”. I think that followers of Christ are against ALL violence, not just that which comes from a gun. I believe there are some Mormon Liberals that like to think they hold the moral high ground and that guns could not possibly be any good. My feeling is that they feel that way until an criminal attacker/terrorist/madman starts shooting at them. Then they call 911 for someone to save them…with a gun.
Brigham Young knew the importance of self-defense.
“…do as I do—keep some person awake in your house all night long, and be ready, at the least tap of the foot, to offer a stout resistance, if it is required. Be ready at any moment to kill twenty of your enemies at least. Let every house be a fort. … I am my own policeman, and have slept, scores of nights, with my gun and sword by my side, that is, if I slept at all. I am still a policeman. Now is the day to watch. It is as important for me to watch now, as well as pray, as it ever has been since I came into this kingdom. It requires watching, as well as praying men; take turns at it, let some watch while others pray, and then change round, but never let any time pass without a watcher, lest you be overtaken in an hour when you think not;
Brigham Young -JD 1:171-172
Semper Paratus
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