People often ask me how I got so involved in gun collecting, target shooting, hunting, etc. My answer is that we have a large and very close family with an interest in guns and sporting activities. My parents and numerous uncles and aunts always got together for a big picnic on the 4th of July. All of the many kids at these events were my first cousins and each of us got a new cap gun for every Independence Day celebration. Over the years, we all assembled quite an arsenal of cap guns. I still have my favorite one, and wish I still had them all. We often played cowboys and Indians in the woods adjacent to my house or on the farm belonging to my uncle, Mors Kirsch (MO for short).
My grandmother gave me a Red Ryder BB rifle, styled after the lever action Winchester for Christmas, when I was 10 years old. Needless to say, the BB rifle was my favorite Christmas present that year! By twelve years old my father was taking me hunting and I discovered that a 12 Gauge Shotgun could knock you on your butt or bruise your shoulder if you weren’t careful with stance and form. When I was 14, my Uncle “Mo” gave me an antique Double Barrel Percussion Pistol, which seemed to hook me for life on antique guns and their history.
Fast forward to 2008, I have been collecting primarily Civil War and Win-The-West pistols and revolvers that are positively identified or inscribed to a particular individual of po- tentially historical interest. Obviously, when you acquire guns that possibly fit the above description, you are “taking a gamble” be- cause some identified and/or inscribed guns end up at a dead end, where the historical evidence leads nowhere, but others lead to surprisingly exciting and adventurous stories, which are the primary subject of this display. In addition, my motivation and purpose is to encourage our members to research their identified guns and write their stories, so the rest of us can enjoy the tales just waiting to be discovered!