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Two Historic Percussion Handguns with Provenance from the Pioneering Keener Family of California -A) Colt Model 1851 Navy Percussion Revolver with Holster and Factory Letter - Serial no. 123540, 36 cal., 7 1/2 inch octagon bbl., blue finish, walnut grips. These two handguns are identified in included notarized statements from J. Kenneth Rowland as owned by his grandfather Henry Keener, “an early pioneer of Visalia, CA.” Additional documents also indicate the Colt Model 1851 Navy was also owned by John D. Keener (1822-1902), Henry Keener’s father, who was an early pioneer at Visalia, California, in 1852 and is listed as captain of the first westbound families coming to Tulare County who built Fort Visalia and lived through the first winter there. He went back to Missouri and brought in the first American cattle to the county in 1853 and sold them to Henry Miller of Miller & Lux and made five trips back eastward to drive cattle.
Henry A. Keener (1847-1931, incorrectly listed as born in 1843 in the included family history) also went on to be a major figure in the town. He married Fanny Stevenson in 1876. Her family was among the first settlers at Fort Visalia which was the first community structure in Visalia, California, and was built in 1852. In the 1870s, Henry Keener ran a stage line between Visalia and Porterville, and he also owned a bakery with his son-in-law Ed Rowland in Visalia. Keener was elected the first sheriff and tax collector in 1877, and in 1879, he was elected county treasurer. He later also served as under sheriff, city councilman, and assessor. The included documents indicate that the Keener and the Stevenson families homesteaded in the area and “divided the land in which the border became Main Street [in] Visalia.”
The Colt Model 1851 Navy revolver’s factory letter indicates it was one of fifty revolvers in a shipment to John G. Parker & Sons in New York City on March 29, 1862, in .36 caliber with 7 1/2 inch barrels and “Blue/Brass” finish. The revolver has dovetailed blade front sight, the one- line New York address, “COLTS/PATENT” marked on the frame, matching visible serial numbers, replacement wedge and toe screw, and hand-scratches letters reading “H I A K.” The dark
CONDITION: Good as period modified with 75% plus of the refinished blue finish remaining on the frame, gray and brown patina on the barrel, aged patina on the brass, and general moderate wear. The grip is also good and has mild scratches and dings, a dent near the center on the left, and heavy lower edge wear on the left including a chip at the toe. Mechanically does not function. B) C. Curry San Francisco Retailer Marked Engraved Deringer Percussion Pocket Pistol - NSN, 41 cal., 1 3/4 inch flat top round bbl., brown/casehardened/ German silver finish, walnut stock. The pistol has seven groove rifling, a fixed German silver blade front sight, “C. CURRY/SAN FRANCo CALA/AGENT” on top of the barrel (Charles Curry, West Coast agent for Henry Deringer in 1858-1863), “DERINGER/PHILADELA” on top of the breech plug and on the lock, scroll and floral engraving, and a checkered stock with bird’s head grip. In the included notarized statement J. Kenneth Rowland writes, “The Henry Deringer, marked C. CURRY - SAN FRANCO CALA - AGENT was found wrapped in a blanket by my Grandfather, Henry Keener as he walked on a trail over the mountains to Nevada.” CONDITION: Good with mostly gray patina, distinct markings and engraving, broken hammer screw, aged patina on the furniture, and mild overall wear. The stock is also fine and has visible but worn checkering, a thin tension crack at the screw on the left, and mild handling wear. Mechanically fine.
Provenance: The Keener and Rowland Family; Property of a Gentleman.
Estimate: 5,000 - 7,500
200 brown “Slim Jim” leather holster has no visible markings and an open toe.

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