HISTORIC WINCHESTER 1866 RIFLE PRESENTED TO FRONTIER LEGEND, “CALAMITY JANE” CANARY.
Cal. 44 HRF. S# 45383.
Calamity Jane was born Martha Jane Canary near Princeton, Missouri in 1856. After moving the family to Virginia City, Montana Territory in 1861, her mother passed in 1866 & father in 1867 orphaning the children. Martha arrived in the Wyoming Territory at a young age in 1868. In 1873, Captain James Egan bestowed on her the nickname “Calamity Jane” after she saved his life during an indian battle at Goose Creek, WY. In June of 1876, Calamity Jane arrived in Deadwood, South Dakota w/ James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickock. After Wild Bill was murdered on Aug. 2nd, Calamity Jane stayed in the Black Hills where she nursed many during the smallpox epidemic. Calamity Jane became the heroin of many dime novels that championed her exploits as a frontier woman, Indian Scout & bullwacker. In 1893, Calamity Jane appeared as a story teller in Buffalo Bills “Wild West Show”. In 1896, she toured w/ Cole & Middleton, wrote an autobiography & performed at the 1901 Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, NY. Martha Jane Canary passed in Terry, South Dakota in 1903 & is buried alongside James Bulter Hickock in Deadwood. After Calamity Jane saved his life, Capt. James Egan ordered this rifle w/ presentation engraving to honor her. As the story goes, Calamity Jane left the rifle w/ an unknown gunsmith in Miles City, Montana & never returned to retrieve it. Speculation is the gunsmith removed the side plates w/ the inscription to Calamity Jane. The gun fell into the hands of Lynel Compiegne, who was a deputy sheriff in Miles City & a pioneer Nebraska cattleman. In his later years, Compiegne moved to Faribault, Minnesota. After his death, the gun passed to his friend Harry B Smith, a banker & insurance man from Faribault. The gun has been the subject of numerous articles over the years starting with the 1957 edition of Gun Digest where it was featured in an article “Collector’s Bonanza, by Major R. O Ackerman”. Smith sold the rifle to Fred Remershied of Osceola, Iowa. On Sept 28, 1957, who sold it to L K Smith. In 1969, A. D. Aspegran of Durr, Kansas purchased it from Smith. Aspegran & later owners have spent the last 50 years advertising & searching for the missing side plates.
DESCRIPTION: gold finished third model action, brass receiver has S# in block letters after trigger. Left inside lower tang is stamped “O”. Top tang channel of stock has assembly number “2300”. Toe of buttplate has matching assembly number “2300”. Engraver’s signature “LDN” is found in front of the S# on the lower tang. Louis Daniel Nimschke was a famous master engraver that worked for many of the major firearms manufacturers of the 19th century. Plain non engraved replacement side plates stand in stark contrast to the fine arabesque scroll engraving having punch dot & shaded backgrounds found on the rest of this rifle. Forward portions of both sides of the receiver feature screaming eagle heads surrounded by scroll. Rear portions of the receiver have matching scroll that extends to upper & lower areas of the receiver w/ highlights, borders & geometric shapes. Front receiver ring has a striking semi circular sunburst engraving. Brass nose cap & peak of brass crescent buttplate have matching engraving. Bbl. 24″ of straight tapered oct. configuration measuring 3/4″ across the flats at the muzzle. Sporting front sight & sporting leaf rear sight w/ leaf removed. Full length tubular mag. Plain walnut forearm & straight grip stock w/ brass trapdoor crescent buttplate. Forearm cap has sling swivel. S# indicates 1870 mfg.