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LOT 210
Historic Colt First Model Dragoon Percussion Revolver with Holster and California Knife Identified as Owned by Captain Lafayette
Franklin Twitchell, Gold Miner and Illinois Officer in the Civil War - Serial no. 1781, 44 cal., 7 1/2 inch part round bbl., blue/casehardened/silver finish, walnut grips. This classic Colt First Model Dragoon was manufactured in 1848, the first year of production and comes with provenance identifying it as owned by a ‘49er and Civil War officer. A notarized letter from Matt R. St. Eve states that these items were purchased by his father, Raymond W. St. Eve, in
June 1984 from gun collector Ernie Hempe, his close friend. Hempe had acquired it around twenty years prior from Dr. John Twitchell of Belleville, and “These items were passed
down through his family to him from their original owner, his great grandfather, Captain Lafayette Franklin Twitchell. Captain Twitchell served in the 131st and 136th Illinois Infantry.” Additional documentation shows the set was sold by Allen Wandling of
Midwest Civil War Relics. Research by historian Albert S. Meyer on behalf of Raymond St. Eve concerning Captain Twitchell is included Captain Twitchell (1829-1908)
was a long time resident of Elizabethtown, Illinois, and enlisted as an adjutant on
11/13/1862 and was commissioned into the Field & Staff of the 131st Illinois Infantry. He was made captain of Company B on 6/2/1863 and resigned on 12/26/1863. On 5/20/1864 he enlisted as a captain in Company I of the 136th Illinois Infantry and mustered out on 11/22/1864. Prior to the war, he lost his parents in 1832 and went to California in search of gold in 1849-1852, returned home with his gold and started a sawmill, participated in the Pikes Peak Gold Rush before returning to Elizabethtown and serving during the Civil War.
The revolver has a German silver blade front sight, the one-line New York address reading from the breech towards the muzzle, “COLT’S/PATENT/U.S.” on the left side of the frame, the Ranger roll scene and U.S.M.R. marking on the cylinder which has oval cylinder stops and a single safety pin, silver plated squareback trigger guard and back strap, and a varnished walnut grip. All of the serial numbers are matching except for the loading lever which is marked “157.” The brown leather flap holster has a period modified/enlarged canvas loop. The knife has a 10 1/2 inch clip point blade inscribed “CALIFORNIA KNIFE” in a banner on the left, brass cross guard, German silver ferrule, and hardwood handle.
CONDITION: Very good plus with 25% original silver remaining on the grip straps, aged patina
on the silver and exposed brass, untouched dark patina on the iron throughout, a crisp original scene on the cylinder, mild pitting, a crack in the front of the frame, and general moderate wear. The grip is fine and has a small flake at the toe, dings on the butt, and some light scratches. Mechanically fine. The holster is very good with the noted modified/repaired loop, some tears, crackling, and rub wear. The knife is good with a mottled gray and brown patina and oxidation/ pitting on the blade, aged patina on the brass and German silver, and well-worn handle. Overall, a fascinating set identified as owned by a gold rusher and Civil War officer from the State of Illinois. Provenance: Captain Lafeyette F. Twitchell; The Twitchell Family; The Ernie Hempe Collection; The Dr. Raymond W. St. Eve Collection; The Dr. Matt R. St. Eve Collection; The Allen Wandling Collection; Property of a Gentleman.
Estimate: 14,000 - 22,500

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