MilProGuy· Member Emeritus 1946-2018
The Oldest Firearm in Your CollectionI’d be downright interested in reading about the oldest firearm in your collection, and I’m quite sure that there are many of our folks out there in cyber world who would be interested in reading the story about this particular gun and about how you came to possess it.
To kick this thread off, I’ll be happy to be the one to get the ball rolling, so to speak.
********************************My father, who is now 89-years-old, came into the possession of the unique firearm I am going to tell about back in January of 1961 when his father died at the age of eighty-seven.
His Dad (my Paw Paw) was a man of meager means all his life. The poor fellow struggled to conjure up a living for his wife and eleven children by farming a ten acre plot of land in central Mississippi, and by selling surplus eggs to the people in the city of Bolton each Saturday when he went to town to run his “egg route“. He also drove a school bus for the local school district to help make ends meet.
When Paw Paw’s father-in-law passed away back in 1916, he inherited the old gentleman‘s single barreled, Harrington & Richardson 12 gauge shotgun that was manufactured in 1901. According to my father, Paw Paw used it for many years thereafter to put the meat of countless small game animals on the dinner table for his large family.
Sometime after Paw Paw acquired the shotgun, he drove a large sled (drawn by a mule named Wheeler) down into the pasture near the edge of the woods to cut some firewood for the coming winter. Because snakebites are an ever-present possibility in this section of the county, Paw Paw always carried his loaded shotgun and a couple of spare shells with him when he headed to brushy, wooded areas to take care of any snakes he might encounter. Normally, he’d prop the gun up against a nearby tree while he took care of his chore. This time, it seems, he laid it down on the ground near the sled which was “parked” just outside the tree line.
After he’d cut a sufficient amount of firewood and had it loaded on the sled, he gave the mule the appropriate verbal command which should have got the beast moving forward. However, this particular time Wheeler decided to balk. Paw Paw laid a leather strap to the buttocks of the mule and encouraged him to get a move on, but not without the mule hee-hawing and bucking around a bit. In the midst of his tantrum, Wheeler stomped on the wooden stock of the gun with one of his hind hooves and cracked it so badly that Paw Paw had to remove the splintered stock from the gun once he got back to the house.
After a while of doing without the only means he had of bagging quail and squirrel, the old gentleman decided to make a stock for the shotgun. I remember seeing his handiwork when I was a boy, and even to my childish eyes the crudely-made stock appeared to be no more than a roughly cut out piece of board which seemed oddly out-of-place on the firearm.
When Dad inherited the shotgun after his father died, he set it aside in a closet for over twenty-four years. After his retirement from the dental laboratory industry in 1985, and finding that he had some quality free time on his hands, Dad decided to find a nice piece of cherry wood and attempt to make a more suitable stock for the shotgun. I was simply amazed when he proudly showed me the gleaming new stock he had made for my Great-Grandpa Holderfield’s venerable old shotgun.
About a year ago, Dad telephoned me and asked me to come down to his house. When I arrived he told me he wanted to pass the family shotgun down to me.
“I’ve done a little something extra to it since you last saw it back when I first made the new stock for it”, he said with a big broad grin. “Looky here at what I’ve done! I took my old dental laboratory hand-piece and put a number six round-head bur in it, and I’ve etched my name and the names of my ancestors who have owned this gun into the stock, complete with year of birth and year of death. Of course, you’ll have to carve my year of death into the stock when the Good Lord calls me up to the happy hunting grounds! Also, I‘d be quite honored if you would take your dental hand-piece drill and bur your name and year of birth into the stock underneath mine. And one other thing, son, be sure that the person you eventually pass the old gun down to will take care of it and cherish it for the grand old heirloom that it is; and not to someone who would run down and sell it at the pawn shop for a few paltry dollars.”
*****************************************Having devoted the best part of the past two years to the raising and caring for my little great-grandson (who is now thirty months old), I’ve had precious little time to myself and have not undertaken the tedious task of artfully cutting my name and year of birth into the hand made stock of the shotgun.
Of course, if I had spent a little less time here at TaurusArmed.net during the past few years , I might have found the time to add my name to the esteemed roster that is listed on the beautiful stock that my precious father made from scratch.
I hope you enjoyed reading my account and the photos I have posted. Now, it’s ya’lls turn to share about your oldest firearm.
483.1 KB Views: 1,372
335.2 KB Views: 1,271
212.4 KB Views: 963