"COLT SINGLE ACTION ARMY REVOLVER WITH FABULOUS NEW MEXICO HISTORY WITH ORIGINAL BELT & HOLSTER RIG. SN 275496. Cal. 45 Colt. This wonderful Colt with 4-3/4 bbl, 2-line address has caliber marking on left side and 2-line patent dates with rampant Colt in a circle on left side of frame. It has Helfrechts deluxe engraving with about 70% coverage foliate arabesque patterns on frame & Helfrechts trademark sunbursts on left recoil shield & loading gate. Matching engraving extends ¾ the way up sides of bbls with Moorish pattern over top, around address, and snake & dot patterns over top strap & in ejector rod housing gullet & back edge of cylinder. Top of back strap has Helfrechts trademark fan with Moorish pattern panel down back strap which is engraved C.A. FARNSWORTH, SHERIFF / GRANT CO. 1905-1906. Fitted with deep relief carved ox head pearl 2-pc grips and overall has a fine silver plating. Accompanied by a Colt factory letter fully identifying this revolver, as found, with silver-plating, pearl grips, factory engraved & inscribed as found, shipped June 7, 1906 to Hibbard, Spencer, Bartlett & Company, Chicago, Illinois and sold to W.S. Cox, address unavailable. Later research in the form of a letter from Lawrence H. Shelley, Sheriff of Grant County, Silver City, New Mexico, dated Dec. 9, 1963, disclosed that W.S. Cox was a leading hardware store merchant in this county and at one time he worked for the Hibbard-Spencer-Bartlett Co., hardware wholesalers of Chicago. Also accompanied by a spectacular, one of a kind, possibly the only one known, fantastic jockstrap holster & cartridge/money belt. Belt is 37 long x 5-1/2 wide of 1-pc supple russet brown leather folded & sewn with sewn & riveted billets and a nickel-plated rectangular, cut-corner buckle. The open end of belt has an early brass snap and two latigo lacings & a riveted corner. Right end of belt has a dbl row of thirty-two 44/45 caliber loops with remainder of belt having a sgl row of thirty-four rifle cartridge loops. Buckle end of belt, which is also open, also has two latigo lacings with riveted corner and has a large cartouche, one right side up and other upside down of A.D. SEITZLER & CO / -MAKERS- SILVER CITY, N.M.. Belt has aforementioned jockstrap holster which is for a 4-3/4 sgl action Colt. It is made completely of a sgl piece of heavy belting leather, tooled in typical foliate & floral patterns with latigo laced back edge with toe contained in a pocket, also tooled to match with riveted corners & latigo laced edges. Center of holster has an identical cartouche to those found on belt. Top front of open edge of holster has remains of an integral hammer loop, about half of which is missing. This fabulous rig was the proud possession of Charles A. Farnsworth, who was presented the Colt presumably by grateful citizens of Grant County, although no record has been found to indicate why the presentation. In an accompanying article, The Chino Bandits, author Terry Humble states that both Farnsworth & his deputy, Charles Smith, were presented engraved Colts with their names & dates on backstraps. Farnsworth was the Sheriff of Grant County, New Mexico, with County Seat in Silver City, 1905-1906. His tenure as Sheriff apparently was only one term and reasonably uneventful as far as available records disclose. It appears that in about 1910 Farnsworth lost this Colt & rig, supposedly in a poker game, to Dwight B. Stephens, the Sheriff of neighboring Luna County, New Mexico with nothing more known of it until 1911. On Aug. 10, 1911 three outlaws by the names of John W. Gates (later identified at Irvin Frazier), John Greer & Reynold Greer thinking to rob the Chino Copper Company payroll as it was being transported from the town of Santa Rita to Hurley, stopped the automobile that usually transported the payroll, but this time was only occupied by John Sully, manager of Chino Copper Co. & two other gentlemen named Bruff & Bradley. The payroll had been sent the day before by special train and therefore was safe. The bandits, who became known as The Chino Bandits, not finding the payroll simply relieved the three gentlemen of all their valuables including money, watches & a large diamond that belonged to Mr. Sully. When the alarm was sounded a 3-man posse from Santa Rita, Constable Lon Portwood, Asst. Mine Superintendent Horace Moses & Reese Jackson took up pursuit and tracked the bandits from the site of holdup into the hills. The bandits spotted them coming and ambushed them, relieving them of their firearms & horses. Next morning a larger posse of seven men took up the pursuit from the ambush site but was unsuccessful in tracking down the outlaws. The three outlaws did not surface again until Nov. 7, 1911 when a man being held in the Luna County Jail, who subsequently was learned to have been John Gates, leader of the Chino Bandits, was sprung from jail by two armed & masked men. Apparently during the escape, Gates pistol whipped Sheriff Stephens and stole Stephens revolver before making their escape. Sheriff Stephens took up pursuit with a posse and eventually tracked the outlaws to a house on the VXT Ranch outside of Winston, New Mexico in the rugged Black Range Mtns. A running gun battled ensued with the outlaws boldly exiting the house and mounting their horses. They proceeded toward the encircling posse as though to surrender but when they came close, they calmly slid off their horses and, using them for shields, proceeded to kill Deputy Sheriff Thomas H. Hall & Deputy Allen LeRue Smithers, an Arizona Ranger (New Mexico was considered "Arizona Territory" at that time. Sheriff Stephens was apparently on the opposite side from this action and did not participate until the bandits were riding away. He came around corner of the house and killed John Greer with the other two escaping unharmed. Reese Jackson identified the dead man as the leader of the Chino Bandits and the person who had held up his 3-man posse. A note regarding the Chino Bandits: Apparently John Greer, Reynold Greer & Irvin Frazier, alias John Gates, were all former members of Francisco Maderos rebel forces during the Mexican Revolution and were defeated by Federal Troops at Casas Grandes, Chihuahua, Mexico. In this battle John Greer was apparently seriously wounded and Frazier bravely held off the Federal troops long enough to rescue Greer. This is apparently why Greer risked breaking Frazier out of the Luna County Jail. The two remaining bandits were not heard from again until Jan. 1912 when a man named Gray was arrested in El Paso for robbing Pullman cars in Santa Fe Railroad yards. Apparently during his arrest & subsequent search, a pawn ticket was found which turned out to be for this beautifully engraved & inscribed Colt. Charles Farnsworth was contacted and related that the revolver was the one carried by Sheriff Stephens the night of the jailbreak in Demming, New Mexico. Sheriff Stephens & Grant County Sheriff McGrath of Silver City traveled to El Paso and confirmed that the Colt belonged to Stephens and that the prisoner was actually Irvin Frazier, the escaped prisoner. Frazier was tried & convicted of first degree murder of the two deputies and on April 25, 1913 Frazier & another convicted murderer were hanged in Soccorro, NM. Although two different men under arrest were subsequently thought to have been the third Chino Bandit, neither could be positively identified as such and he disappeared into history. In 1913 Sheriff Stephens was killed in a prison break and our Colt went to his son, Dwight Stephens, Jr., who committed suicide in 1930 and the Colt was sold to pay for funeral expenses. It did not reappear until 1963 when it was found to be in the Collection of Vincent Krause of Urbana, Illinois. Since that time is has passed through three other Colt Collectors to the consignor. Additionally accompanied by a large binder of research material including the Terry Humble article titled The Chino Bandits, a copy of the famous "Time-Life" photograph which shows Deputy Sheriff C.H. Farnsworth (actually C.A. Farnsworth) and Pvt. W.K. Foster (an Arizona Ranger), who is wearing his badge. Farnsworth is wearing what appears to be this belt & holster rig. Also accompanying are the listings of Arizona Rangers with their enlistment & discharge dates, which lists Farnsworth as having been in the Rangers only in 1905, apparently just before his election to the sheriff's position. Additionally accompanying is a copy of a photograph of Farnsworth as the Sheriff of Grant County, New Mexico, which orig photograph hangs in the Grant County Courthouse in Silver City, New Mexico. Also accompanying are many copies of newspaper articles regarding the holdup & subsequent escape of the Chino Bandits, their shootout at the cabin and capture & trial of Irvin Frazier, alias John W. Gates. Further accompanying is a certificate of award from the Colts Mfg. Co. dated May 22, 2006 authenticating the 1st place award for Single Action Army Pre-War presented at the Annual Colt Collectors Association Show & Banquet in Kansas City, Missouri on Oct. 8, 2005. CONDITION: Very fine to extremely fine. Revolver overall retains most of its orig silver-plating with slight muzzle edge wear and some minor sharp edge wear. Grips have a repair at top right edge and left heel, otherwise are sound showing moderate wear with finefire & color. Mechanics are crisp, strong bright bore with scattered fine pitting. The belt is dry with lightly crackled surface & worn edges with a very dry & delicate tongue billet. Holster is strong & sharp with slight edge wear. This is one of the finest & most thoroughly researched and documented western law enforcement & outlaw guns that has come to market in recent history. This, together with the tragic & intriguing story involving the murder of the two law officers, make this a very desirable piece of Western lore. 4-33627 JR317 (75,000-125,000)"
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