Lot #3064
Lot #3066

Lot 3065: E.M. Reilly & Co. Double Rifle of Lawrence R. Jerome from 1871

Auction Location: Rock Island, IL

Auction Date: May 21, 2023

Lot 3065: E.M. Reilly & Co. Double Rifle of Lawrence R. Jerome from 1871

Auction Location: Rock Island, IL

Auction Date: May 21, 2023

Estimated Price: $15,000 - $25,000
Price Realized:

Historic Engraved E.M. Reilly & Co. Jones Rotary Underlever Hammer Double Rifle in .500/.450 No. 1 Express Inscribed to Lawrence R. Jerome from his brother Leonard W. Jerome, Grandfather of Winston Churchill, in 1871, the Same Year the Brothers Participated in the Famous "Millionaires Hunt" in the American West with General Sheridan and Buffalo Bill Cody

Manufacturer: Reilly & Co Edward M
Model: Double Rifle
Type: Rifle
Gauge: 500/450
Barrel: 28 inch solid rib
Finish: brown/casehardened/blue
Grip:
Stock: walnut
Item Views: 1070
Item Interest: Active
Serial Number:
Catalog Page: 53
Class: Antique
Description:

This classic English double rifle was manufactured c. 1871. The Damascus barrels have Henry patent rifling, matted ribs with beaded blade front sight, two leaf rear sight (100 yard standing, 200 yard folding, both engraved and both featuring platinum sight lines), "E.M. REILLY. & Co. OXFORD STREET. LONDON. &. RUE SCRIBE. PARIS." marked on the breech section along with scroll and shell engraving, a shared extractor, sling eye on the bottom of the rib, and "HENRY'S PATENT No 411" and "No. 410" along with the serial number and London proof and view marks on the bottom. The watertable has London view marks, and the frame and furniture have fine English scroll engraving. The non-rebounding back action locks have "E.M. REILLY. &. Co LONDON." along the bottom edges, sliding half-cock safeties, and small detailed deer scenes. The trigger guard is inscribed "LAWRENCE R. JEROME./NEW YORK" on the bow and has the serial number on the tang. The highly figured splinter forearm and pistol grip stock have checkering with diamond accents, a shallow oval shadowline cheekpiece, and a smooth steel buttplate. The right side of the stock below the lock has "C," "P," and "M" markings, and the opposite side has "No 1," an "M," and "TT." The silver oval escutcheon behind the sling swivel on the buttstock is inscribed "LRJ/from/LWJ/1871." Lawrence R. Jerome (1820-1888) and his brother Leonard W. Jerome (1817-1891) were among the most prominent men in New York society in the second half of the 19th century. Brief biographies of the brothers can be found in Paul Andrew Hutton's notes at the end of the included edited edition of "Ten Days on the Plains." Each married one of the wealthy Hall sisters, and they lived in adjoining houses and together ran the Rochester Daily American until selling it in 1850. They then moved to New York City where they ran a telegraph company and became financial tycoons on Wall Street. After enhancing his wealth, Lawrence retired and briefly entered politics and was elected as an alderman in 1870 and also served on the Board of Supervisors. After a failed attempt at a Congressional seat, he dedicated his time to sport and social life. Among Lawrence's friends were Chester A. Arthur and the Prince of Wales. He had served as Collector of the Port of Rochester under President Millard Filmore. Lawrence's middle son Lieutenant Lovell Hall Jerome had also recently graduated from West Point in 1870 and was assigned to the U.S. 2nd Cavalry and was stationed at Fort Ellis in the Montana Territory in 1871 and later was a member of the burial party following the Battle of Little Bighorn. He also fought in additional Indian Wars on the plains, was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1877 for a charge at Muddy Creek in Montana, and was held as a hostage in the Nez Perce's camp in 1877 and was released in exchange for General Nelson Miles releasing Chief Joseph. Leonard was the more prominent of the brothers and is remembered today largely as the maternal grandfather of Winston Churchill, but before the famous English statesman was born, Leonard was dubbed "The King of Wall Street" and made, lost, and remade his wealth through the stock market multiple times, including running a private dining room known as the Observatory which the Jerome brothers used to manipulate the stock market. Like his brother, he received patronage from President Fillmore and was nominated as American consul to the popular port of Trieste. During the Civil War, he was the treasurer of the Union Defense Committee and donated money to support veterans and their families and also helped finance the USS Meteor (1863). He also manned a Gatling gun in defense of the New York Times (he was around a 1/4 owner) during the New York Draft Riots in 1863. By 1871, Leonard was on top and was worth millions. He was essentially a retired gentleman but didn't fully retire until 1888. He enjoyed the good life as a sportsman and was very active in New York's elite sporting clubs alongside their friends the Vanderbilts, including horse and yacht racing. He was one of the founders of the American Jockey Club and has also been known as the "Father of the American Turf." As the more active sportsman of the two brothers, a rifle presented by him to his brother is certainly fitting. All three of Leonard's daughter's married British gentlemen, including Jeanette (named for Swedish singer Jenny Lind) who married Lord Randolph Churchill and was the mother of Prime Minister Winston Churchill. As discussed in the included copy of "Custer, Cody, and Grand Duke Alexis: Historical Archeology of the Royal Buffalo Hunt," the included January/February 1987 issue of "Sporting Classics" in the article "The Millionaires Hunt" by John H. Daniels, as well as various period newspapers and subsequent publications, in 1871, the Jerome brothers were members of Lt. General Philip Sheridan's "millionaires hunt" that was guided by Buffalo Bill Cody and included prominent New York lawyer General Henry E. Davies, editor and publisher James Gordon Bennett Jr. of the New York Herald, New York Stock Exchange member Carroll Livingston, New York businessman John G. Heckscher, Bvt. Brigadier General Charles L. Fitzhugh, Philadelphia businessman M. Edward Rogers, New York sportsman John S. Crosby, Chicago businessman Samuel Johnston, Western Union Telegraph Central Division superintendent Anson Stager, Chicago newspaperman Charles L. Wilson, Col. David Rucker, Assistant Surgeon Dr. Morris Asch, Lieutenant Colonel Michael Sheridan, and Colonel William H. Emory. They were escorted by Company E of the 5th U.S. Cavalry. The party had six wall tents, a hospital tent for dining, another hospital tent for the servant quarters and kitchen, and tents and other provisions for their cavalry escort, an expensive affair that required a train of sixteen wagons plus three four-horse ambulances for their guns and baggage. Shortly after this hunt, Cody guided another hunt with very similar arrangements for Russian Grand Duke Alexis. The party arrived at Ft. McPherson via the Union Pacific and then hunted south across 194 miles down to Ft. Hays on the Kansas Pacific and killed over 100 bison, 75+ turkeys, 10 elk, 10 antelope, 25 ducks, as well as various fish, black-tailed deer, prairie dogs, rabbits, and coyotes. Just before the hunt, Leonard Jerome and General Sheridan had been in France during the Franco-Prussian War on behalf of the Grant administration. Jerome was serving as a diplomatic courier to Prince Otto von Bismark, and Sheridan had been sent as a military observer and became friends with Bismark. Jerome, Bismark, and Sheridan met together at Versailles during the siege of Paris in February of 1871. In the included copy of "Ten Days on the Plains" by Henry E. Davies (1985 edited edition), Davies writes about Jerome's participation in the hunts. He notes that Jerome "filled, to the satisfaction of all, the part of the heavy father of the expedition," and that Leonard Jerome "is too well known to require description." On page 105, He also writes, "Lawrence Jerome, mounted on his charge, Buckskin Joe, and envied by all for having so good a mount, was doing his utmost when his career was brought to an untimely end. He had dismounted to take a particularly careful shot at a buffalo he wished to secure and incautiously let go of his horse's bridle. The buffalo, contrary to the rule, running off at the shot, instead of dropping as he was bound to do, was followed by Buckskin Joe, determined to do a little hunting on his own account, and perhaps wishing to show Mr. Jerome how the thing should properly be done." The horse then ran off and turned up at Fort McPherson, leaving Jerome stranded until he was brought another horse. Magoon in his letter references a slightly different account from Buffalo Bill printed on page 168 of the included copy of "Ten Days on the Plains." It is an excerpt from a "Cosmopolitan" article in which Cody suggests Jerome dismounted because he had dropped his rifle which Magoon indicated might explain the wrist repair. In the included copy of "Life and Adventures of 'Buffalo Bill'," Cody's telling of "Leonard Jeromes' Predicament" on pages 227-228 has the same tale as the main text of "Ten Days on the Plains" with Jerome dismounting to take a careful shot and also indicates they had a jovial "court-martial" to try Jerome for the crime of "aiding and abetting the loss of a government horse, and for having something to do with the mysterious disappearance of a Colt's pistol. He was charged also with snoring in a manner that was regarded as fiendish, and with committing a variety of other less offenses too numerous to mention." Jerome's defense on the part of the lost horse was that it was the horse that had lost him. His sentence was suspended by Judge Cody. At the end of the trip, Davies also wrote about the presentation of "a magnificent cane, made of a growth peculiar to the planes, handsomely mounted and adorned with an appropriate inscription" to Jerome by his fellow hunters that he was moved by. You can imagine he must have been very pleased with being presented this rifle by his brother. Per an included provenance letter from William Magoon, he purchased this rifle in January 1972 from a dealer in northern Minnesota. The following winter, he contacted James Jerome of Bennington, Vermont, who he later found out was Lawrence R. Jerome's great-grandson. He told him about the rifle which Jerome said "was the real deal" and indicated it had probably found its way to Minnesota with Leonard Gerome's eldest daughter, Clara, whose husband, Moreton Frewen, had purchased and cleared 1,000 acres across the bay from Duluth in what is now Superior, Wisconsin, to try to ship cattle from his failed operation in Wyoming. Jerome also indicated the family wouldn't have sold the rifle but may have given it as a gift to an acquaintance or guide. Additional books and Jerome/Churchill family genealogy are also included. Moreton Frewen (1853-1924) was known to be an excellent shot and regularly shot at Sandringham with the Prince of Wales, a mutual friend of the Jeromes, prior to his move to America in the 1870s, so he would certainly be an appropriate family member to have the rifle. He reads like a character from an classic western: an English nobleman who comes to the American West in the 1870s to try to make his wealth in cattle only to be beaten back by the Northern Plains and the harsh winter of 1885-1886. He later went to India as an financial advisor ot the Nizam of Hyderabad in 1887-1889, and a double rifle would certainly have been a fitting rifle for that trip.

Rating Definition:

Very good with mostly smooth brown patina on the barrels along with Damascus patterns and traces of original finish in the protected area, 30% of the original case colors remaining with the protected areas of the locks and frame very vibrant (particularly around the hammers) and gray patina on the balance, crisp engraving, 50% original bright blue finish on the trigger guard, 20% original blue on the buttplate, some minor oxidation and pitting, and generally mild overall wear. Aside from a repaired break in the wrist, the stock and forearm are very fine and have smooth re-oiled finish, crisp checkering, a small repair below the left lock, minor marks and scratches, and very attractive figure. Mechanically excellent. This is an incredible artifact from an influential family. The fact that it is an English double rifle is fitting given the Leonard Jerome's connections to England, including as grandfather to Winston Churchill, and it is also an artifact of the American West and the "aristocratic" buffalo hunts on the plains guided by Buffalo Bill Cody in the 1870s.



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