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Roosevelt continued to have an interest in the herd in the Dakotas until the Rough Rider leader sold his interest in 1898.
Merrifield remained in contact with his friend Roosevelt after the future president returned to the East and quickly rose through the political ranks from New York City Police commissioner to governor of New York and then served as vice president under President McKinley and then president upon McKinley’s assassination in 1901. When Roosevelt ran for re-election in 1903, Merrifield went to Spokane, Washington, to see Roosevelt’s speech, and Roosevelt was filled with joy upon seeing his old friend
and pulled him aside for a chat in the speaker’s box before the speech. Merrifield was honored to serve as Montana’s elector when Roosevelt won the election and visited with the president while in Washington, D.C., in 1905 fulfilling his elector duties. That fall, Merrifield wrote to his friend President Roosevelt seeking a position as a U.S. marshal in Montana. Marshal positions are appointed by the president, and Roosevelt granted his request after conversing with Senator Carter and Congressman Dixon of Montana. However, Merrifield would have to wait until the current marshal’s term to end before being sworn is as U.S. Marshal for Montana. Letters from Roosevelt about the process are included and demonstrate his intimate involvement in ensuring his longtime friend in the West received the position.
In the fall of 1906, two of Roosevelt’s nephews, Monroe and Steward Robinson, traveled to Merrifield’s ranch to go hunting. While there, Merrifield was injured during a fall from a haystack leading to a broken wrist preventing him from going on the trip, but he arranged suitable guides in his stead. It was at that time that Merrifield is believed to
have been presented the Winchester Model 1894 in Lot 1094. Theodore Roosevelt likely recommended the rifle as a gift for his longtime friend. Roosevelt wrote to Merrifield on November 29, 1906, thanking him for being “mighty good to Monroe and Stewart. I am greatly obliged to you.
I look forward to sending in your appointment soon.” He also wrote to Merrifield on January 16, 1907, about 16 year old Oliver Roosevelt coming out to do some hunting and asking Merrifield to write to the boy’s mother, Mrs. J. West Roosevelt of New York City, as to what steps the teenager should take. Letters like this demonstrate Roosevelt continued to pay attention to the West and to believe in the role of hunting and other
activities in cultivating a strenuous life and manly ideals. In preparation for his marshal position, Merrifield
sold his ranch and purchased a home in Helena
near the Federal Building. He was sworn
in on January 2, 1907. His badge and the
Colt Model 1903 he used during his time
as marshal along with his holster are in
Lot 1093. After his term as marshal ended
in 1911, Merrifield and his wife Miriam
moved to Flathead Lake, and he remained
in contact with Roosevelt as demonstrated
by included original correspondence, such as a letter from Oyster Bay to Merrifield in Somers, Montana, dated June 3rd, 1915, in which Roosevelt writes: “I wish I could come this summer. I should particularly like to visit Glacier National Park and stay with you at your home; but it just is not possible. By the way, I have become pretty stiff and old and the other day was thrown off a horse and ‘bust’ two ribs. However, I smashed out Mr. Barnes in the libel suit and I would have been willing to ‘bust’ every rib I had twice over to have achieved that.”
After Roosevelt’s death in 1919, Hermann Hagedorn worked to write
about Roosevelt’s life in the West. He was a friend of the former president and secretary and directory of the newly formed Theodore Roosevelt Association. He traveled and met with Merrifield and the Ferris brothers. That is when the photograph of him appearing to be wearing the revolver and holster rig was taken. Merrifield is mentioned over 100 times in Hagedorn’s “Roosevelt in the Bad Lands” published in 1921 and is naturally a major figure within the story of Roosevelt’s time in the West. Merrifield also reportedly passed down many of Roosevelt’s belongings, including his first Colt Single Action, his .40-60 Winchester rifle, and a three barrel L.C. Smith drilling to the association, with the latter being loaned after a price was not agreed upon. Merrifield passed on a decade after Roosevelt in 1929 at the age of 74.
CONDITION: The revolver is excellent and retains 95% plus of the original nickel plating, 75% of the muted original case colors, most of the niter
blue on the trigger, crisp engraving and inscription, light flash marks on the face of the cylinder showing it was used a little, and minor handling and storage wear. The grips are very fine and have very attractive natural iridescence, light handling and storage marks, and a minor chip on the
of the right grip panel. I suspect the safety notch on the hammer
was probably broken off by this same fall. With the safety notch gone
the revolver is difficult to load and unload due to the unique system used by Merwin Hulbert. This accident probably saved the gun from heavy
use and is the reason it remains in excellent condition today.” Given the photograph noted above, he clearly still at least occasionally wore the revolver in the early 20th century. Aside from the half-cock notch, the revolver is mechanically fine. The holster and belt rig are fine and have attractive russet color throughout, distinct markings, and minor wear. The watch does not run, but it is otherwise fine with minor overall wear and crisp inscription and markings.
The provenance above indicates Greg Lampe was the second owner outside of Merrifield’s family, and the lucky buyer of this historic set in
this auction will be the third owner outside of the family and the fourth owner aside from Bill Merrifield himself. It is very rare to get the chance
to be the caretaker of such significant firearms and artifacts. In a letter written shortly after he acquired this incredible set, Greg Lampe noted, “... although I have other historic pieces in my collection. I feel that this is one of the finest acquisitions I have made. It has wonderful western history, documented association with Teddy Roosevelt, certainly one of our finer Presidents and extraordinary condition. I am quite frankly thrilled to be the new owner of this wonderful set.” We are assured the new owner will feel much the same. These are the kind of historical artifacts that truly define
a collection and very rarely become available. They are certain to enhance any private or institutional collection lucky enough to acquire them. Provenance: Arthur William Merrifield from Theodore Roosevelt;
right at the butt. Per Greg Lampe, “According to family history, as related to S.P. Stevens by Blanche McDaniel, the chip occurred when Merrifield was on a hunting trip with Roosevelt, as he was climbing up on some rocks the gun fell out of the holster causing the small chip at the bottom
Blanche Merrifield McDaniel; Stephen A. Grove; The Greg Lampe Collection.
Estimate: 100,000 - 180,000

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