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.45 caliber, 7.5" round barrel, S/N 34918. All matching numbers, barrel has JTC and "P" with large "C" indicating a condemned revolver that was sold for civilian use. Blued and case hardened finish. Comes with a hand-tooled leather "Slim Jim" holster made by J.F. Bond, Trinidad, Colorado.
Also included is a notebook of 37 letters from the Colorado ranch owner, from where this revolver came. Included in the family letters are four letters from J.K. Rogers to his wife on J.F. Bond Saddlery and Harness Company letterhead (two different styles).
Most of the letters are from Joseph Kirtley Rogers (A.B.A.M. LL.D.) to his wife Jennie E. (Robards) Rogers and date from 1878 to 1883. J.K. Rogers was born in Fayette County, Kentucky on the 14th of November, 1828 to William and Frances Rogers. The couple moved to Marion County, MO when their infant son was not yet two years of age. The wilderness of Missouri offered apparently unlimited game. It was said of William Rogers: "To shoot at these was the father's delight, and he seldom missed his game. His excessive fondness of the gun led him to the only sin which those who knew him laid to his charge, that of betting at shooting matches for the fun of pitting his sill against the best. It is said that he was never excelled as a marksman, except when he grew excited. On rainy days, or when he would go for the horses, or in search of a stray sheep, his gun - which he named Tecumseh - was his companion. He would bring two or three wild turkeys from a tree with a single bullet. His widow still recounts his exploits with a zest that stirs the blood." (Carr, O.A. Memorial of J.K. Rogers and Christian College. John Burns Publishing Company, 1885. pp. 15-16) It is unclear whether his son embraced his zeal for shooting or whether this gun was merely for protection.
In 1857, Rogers came to Christian College in Columbia, MO to assume the Presidency. The college was one of the few in the West to provide an education for women. One of the first women Rogers brought into the college, even before he assumed the top position, was Vinnie Ream, at the time the youngest student there, and apparently under everyone's protection. Lavinia Ellen Ream (1847-1914) would go on to become a world-renowned sculptor, and the only one to "sweet-talk" the President, Abraham Lincoln, into sitting for half an hour a day for five months so she could make model his likeness - the only one from life - and later to be transferred to white marble for the Capitol rotunda. She married a lieutenant in the U.S. Army and is buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
J.K. Rogers gave up his position with the College at the end of the school year in 1877. In his Farewell Address, to the Board of Trustees, he said: "To-day closes my connection with Christian College as its executive head. This step is taken...not [as] the result of a decline of interest... not yea of any disagreement between you and myself as to its management. It is caused solely by the imperative demand for rest and recuperation, which my impaired health imposes upon me." (Carr, 1885: 223)
Just a year later, Rogers left Columbia and headed for the Rocky Mountains, a popular place for tuberculosis recovery as well as other ailments. The first letter is from Denver, CO letting the family know he had arrived, and was trying to arrange passage into the mountains. By mid-August, he is not so sure this will work: "I begin to doubt is the trip will benefit me as much as I had hoped." And the following week he writes that he thinks his problem will turn out to be asthma, not consumption.
In September they passed through Colorado Springs on the way to Pueblo. There he "learned a great deal more of the cattle & sheep business.... I am much more favorably impressed with the sheep business than with the cattle, though men engaged actively in either must lead a hard, rough life...." he then begins the process of locating land and animals for a ranch.
There is a break of a couple years, then 1880 finds him again in Colorado, this time in Trinidad. His letter of May 20 states: "I feel weaker &less capable of exertion here than there [Columbia]. That results, perhaps, from greater rarity of the air." Most of the letters are about Jennie taking in boarders back in Columbia, the finances generally, and the church. Apparently the separation of the two was becoming unbearable, and Jennie was thinking about joining him. He writes in June: "This is a hard country on women. And as to a place for you, - you had better come & see for yourself. I think if you could be in Trinidad a month, you would be cured of looking for a place out here." As if to emphasize the importance of her remaining in Columbia: "It looks as if out of a family of five grown men, you [Jennie] are the only one doing anything to support the family. Four out of five not self-supporting. How long will it take us to get rich at that rate?" It was in Trinidad, for all of its hardships, that he apparently purchased this holster from Mr. Bond. Presumably, circulating the letterhead was another means of advertising for the saddlery and harness company. In July, a letter from "Camp on Cimmarron" notes: "In camp, branding & marking... Rough is no word for this life. Air not so good for me here as at Trinidad & diet worse than the air...."
A week later, back in Trinidad: "We camped for two days at a place where there was not so much as a bush, & no shade except which our wagons made, and this is frequently the case on the 'round-ups.' It is now 3 1/2 PM and Gen'l Grant is expected here at 4PM & is to have a public reception on Mitchell's Hall.... Gen'l Grant is by universal consent a man of preeminent distinction & proper recognition of the fact is proper, but that he is a great man I find it difficult to accept. HE belongs to the bull-dog type of man, and evidently found his true position on the battlefield. His mission, I think, was fulfilled and ended when Gen'l Lee surrendered at Appamattox [sic]. To put him into the Presidency was a mistake, and his country has no further need for his public services...."
Most of these letters are personal, even love letters. The letter of Aug. 15, 1880 is especially poignant. He notes that Aug. 17 will be their 25th anniversary, and they are separated by hundreds of miles. Rogers returned to Columbia in the autumn, trying to avoid winter in the mountains. There are about 4 letters from 1882 and 1883, most from sons to their mother, one at the top is from the "Home Ranch," suggesting J.K. did finally get around to purchasing something.
One of the letters from August 1882 is a sympathy note. JK died on August 24th. A resolution from 1883 states: That we tender to Sister J.K. Rogers who was the 1st Vice Pres. in Missouri for the Christian Womans Board of Missions our heartfelt sympathies in her great bereavement.... That these resolutions be spread upon the minutes and that a copy of them be furnished "The Christian" and "Monitor" for publication. (As a side note: an ebay seller just offered a postcard picturing "J.K. Roger's entrance, Christian College, Columbia, Missouri.")
Barrel is smooth with light patina brown and bright blue in the protected areas. Ejector housing has most of the blue finish with wear on the tip of ejector and on the outer edge from holster wear. Cylinder is very sharp and crisp with blue in the flutes and the outer section is a patina brown. Frame has holster wear to the high points with lots of the original case colors. Backstrap and triggerguard shows wear with blue in the protected areas. Grips have some nicks and dings with some original varnished finish remaining. Holster is in outstanding condition with very crisp markings. Hand tooling and seams are excellent.
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