Monday, February 23, 2015

Winchester '73 Rifle

An example of a Winchester 1873 Rifle [source: Winchester Guns]

I recently told the story of my second great-grandmother, Annie Dickson.  After Annie's second husband, Malcolm Brakspear Oliver Rutherfurd, died suddenly of pneumonia in 1913, she moved from Wyoming to Los Angeles with her five sons.

My late grandmother, LaVerne Rutherfurd Smith, left me her genealogy files and family photos. Among her paperwork, I found a letter from her cousin.  This cousin, a child of Annie's son Archie Rutherfurd (1899-1972), relates in his letter a story about events that occurred after Malcolm Rutherfurd's death.  Here is the letter in full:

Upon the death of Malcolm B.O. Rutherfurd in April of 1913, his widow, my grandmother, Annie Amelia Dickson Rutherfurd, made arrangements to leave Douglas, Wyoming with her five young sons and go to Los Angeles, California to be closer to her family.

Ferris Bruner and his father took them to the railroad station.  Ferris was about 14 years old and a very good friend of my father Archie.  They had all of their personal belongings in several large trunks or crates, and strapped to the outside of one of the trunks was Malcolm's Winchester rifle.  This was done probably because it was too long to fit inside.  The station agent told them they could not ship the rifle that way, so they left it with Ferris to be reclaimed when they returned to Wyoming.

In July of 1962, my father, Archie and I made a trip to Douglas.  This was my first time there and his too, since leaving in 1913.  We went to the Ranch that Malcolm and his brother Archie owned and met the current owners, the Pextons.  We asked if Ferris Bruner was still in the area and they said he was and gave us directions to his place.  We looked him up and had a very nice visit for two days.  As we were visiting one evening, Ferris said, "I think I have something that belongs to you" and went in the back room and came out with the rifle, and related the story to us.  I am sure that my Dad had forgotten about it and was rather surprised.  Ferris said that he had never used it and had just been storing it for all those years and insisted that we take it.  I had the rifle appraised about 10 years ago and it was worth about $1700 at that time.

The Rutherfurd ranch in Douglas, Wyoming

I hope someone in the Rutherfurd family still has this rifle, which is over 100 years old by now.

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