"COLT SINGLE ACTION ARMY REVOLVER WITH MONTANA TERRITORY HOLSTER. SN 94649. Cal. 45 Colt. Nickel finish with 7-1/2" bbl, slightly altered front sight with 1-line address on top and 3-line patent dates on frame and the caliber on left front web of trigger guard. Fitted with eagle/rampant Colt hard rubber grips that are unnumbered and may or may not be orig to this revolver although they fit extremely well and appear to have been in place many years. Accompanied by a dbl loop russet brown leather holster made from one piece of leather with cartouche "ROCKWELL / & TOREY / BILLINGS, M.T.". This marking signifies that this holster was made when Montana was still a territory, prior to 1889, the year Montana became a state. This set is accompanied by a Colt factory letter identifying this revolver with bbl length not listed (which is accepted as meaning 7-1/2"), nickel finish and rubber stocks, shipped to Hibbard, Spencer, Bartlett & Co., Chicago, IL on August 28, 1883 in a shipment of three same type revolvers. Hibbard, Spencer, Bartlett & Co. was the main distributor for the western frontier for Colt. This revolver was the property of a rancher named James (Jim) Hart. He was born near Covington, KY in 1849 and left home at age 16. He wound up working for the government in Indian Territory teaching Indians to plow and then helped transport a band of sheep to Oregon. Apparently while traveling through the west he became acquainted with a man named Bill Culver and together they traveled to Montana to the Musselshell Valley, which is about 50 miles north and east of Billings. He worked trapping & trading with the Indians out of a trading post run by Goulding & Hatch in a horseshoe bend of the Musselshell River. When the trading post closed both Culver & Hart claimed land in the Messelshell Valley and after awhile Hart bought Culver's claim. For a while Hart worked for the SI Ranch and did a lot of trapping with Ed Goulding who has a creek that bears his name. Later on Jim Hart returned to the area of the trading post on the Musselshell and went into the cattle business. He approached the cattle business very intelligently and apparently became very successful with his ranch. He registered his brand the "TI" in September 1886. Sometime along about 1889 he began building his log ranch headquarters of three rooms with real windows and an outside door in each room. At about the same time he began corresponding with a young lady, whose name he had received from a mutual friend, and in 1890 accompanied a shipment of his cattle to Chicago. After the cattle were sold he went to Detroit to meet her and was married. She returned to Montana with him and made the ranch her home. They had two children, Dora Hart Jarrett, who was born in 1894 and a son. Leo, born almost three years later. All of this information is contained in an article by Dora Hart Jarrett, their daughter, which was published in an area history in 1974. Mrs. Jarrett, in the article, mentions many of the local area residents including the postman by the name of Barott, a Mr. Scott who had a small store in Levina (15 miles away) and names the gentleman who helped her father build a schoolhouse about two miles from their ranch, S.G. Hood, John Naderman, Henry Willis & Magnus Lindstrand. She mentions that her father always slept with his "six shooter", with five chambers loaded, under his pillow. She also mentions that at cattle roundups the chuck wagon cooks ruled the roost and names two of them as being especially memorable, one being Lem Coates, who was a Civil War soldier, and the other Liver Eatin' Johnson (sic). She states that they traveled the 50 miles to Billings twice a year for supplies, once in the fall when the whole family went and again in the spring when only Mr. Hart made the trip. She states that her father passed away in 1927 and her mother in 1946 and at the time of this writing she and her husband, Jack Jarrett, still lived on the ranch. A copy of this article accompanies this lot. CONDITION: Very fine. Bbl retains 60-70% strong orig nickel with balance bright metal which is almost indistinguishable from the nickel. Frame retains 70-80% strong orig nickel with losses only from the area in front of the cylinder. Cylinder retains about 40% orig nickel with balance bare metal, probably from storage in this holster. Grip frame retains virtually of its orig nickel. Grips are sound showing moderate wear. Ejector rod housing has a small ding on the outside radius making the ejector rod sluggish and difficult to operate, otherwise mechanics are crisp, strong bore with fine pitting. Holster is sound with a small cut near the right front part of the edge of the toe and retains generous amounts of orig russet finish. About 2" of the top of the rear edge has a very old restitching. Back of holster shows moderate to heavy wear. This is a very historic Montana revolver & holster that could stand additional research. 4-33724 JR317 (15,000-20,000)"
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