Page 9 - Auction84-Book2
P. 9

   Asked if he had any final words he replied:
"No, I came here to die not to make a speech"
When Mr. Will Wirsing died, he left the gun to his son, Chris Wirsing. I don’t remember the year but it was quite sometime after the Wirsing Gun Shop liquidation auction in 1972 that I purchased the gun from Mrs. Chris Wirsing.” Will Wirsing had a shop at Fort Smith and also operated in Indian Territory. In 1904 and 1905, Wirsing listed himself
as “The Gun Man” in his advertisements. In 1937, Wirsing was featured in
“The American Rifleman” and “The Sporting Goods Dealer” magazines which
noted that he had contacts with Indian Territory outlaws and owned Cherokee Bill’s .38-56 Winchester. They are astonishing primary source interviews with Wirsing who would pass away less then a
year after the interviews were given. In “The Sporting Goods Dealer” article, Wirsing notes that he first moved to Indian
Territory in 1894 while Cherokee Bill and the Cook gang were active and relates some of the activities of the outlaws and
notes that he repaired the lock on Cherokee Bill’s cell in the Spring of 1895. He also did repair and maintenance work for
Judge Parker, the famous “Hanging Judge” of Fort Smith. He claimed to have warned Deputy U.S. Marshall Frank Dalton
that his revolver needed work shortly before Dalton was killed, and noted that he owned Bob Dalton’s revolver and
Cherokee Bill’s .38-56 Winchester. The rifle was then passed it on to his son Chris. Their gun-shop was robbed in 1938, but
the newspaper indicated this rifle was not stolen though it was on display twelve feet away. In 1949, “The Sporting Goods
Dealer” magazine had an article about Chris Wirsing noting he had been left Cherokee Bill’s rifle by his father. A 1967
“Southwest Times Record” newspaper article shows Wirsing holding the rifle and his sister Myrtle holding Bob Dalton’s
revolver and includes a statement from him saying his father had added the Cherokee Bill name on the stock “shortly
after” he came into possession of the rifle. The same basic information was also shared in the “Sequoyah County Times” in 1971. A 1973 letter from Preston Rose to Myrtle Wirsing indicates he wanted to purchase the rifle at that time to go with the Bob Dalton revolver he purchased from the Wirsing Repair Shop auction.
CONDITION: Fair with a very attractive Wild West appearance overall with mottled brown and gray patina, spots of minor oxidation/pitting, and general mild overall wear. The wood is good and has some minor flakes at the edges, general dings and scratches, and some age evident in the paint. Mechanically fine. Documented Winchester rifles and other firearms from the West are always desirable, but those owned and used by the lawmen and outlaws of the late 19th century are definitely especially desirable. This historic Winchester certainly has a lot of character and a storied past with the provenance to back it up!
Estimate: 60,000 - 90,000
Bill: The Most Feared Man in Indian Terroitory

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