Scarce Colt Model 1848 Third Model “Dragoon” revolver with a fascinating history. This massive .44 caliber revolver weighs in at over 4 pounds and comes directly from the great grand nephew of the original owner, Thomas C. Newman Jr., born in 1843 in Kentucky. His political loyalties or military service during the Civil War remain unclear, although his nephew Micajah T. Newman is confirmed to have served in the U.S. 11th Kentucky Infantry, and Thomas C. Newman Jr. is listed as enrolled in the federal draft in 1863. When his father, Thomas Charles Newman, wrote out his deathbed will in 1864, he granted Newman Jr. a large portion of his estate, while his “two disloyal children” Marian and Nancy, received only $5 each. In 1870, Newman Jr.’s wife Elizabeth was found raped and murdered, and his 5-year-old daughter severely beaten. The suspect, described as a “negro boy” and former slave Bob Gray, confessed to the crime after his arrest. While being transferred from the courthouse to the jail, an enraged mob lynched Gray, impaled his decapitated head on a pike, and displayed it on the courthouse lawn.
Thomas C. Newman Jr.’s revolver remains in very good
condition with a wonderful, uncleaned plum patina. The action is crisp and
mechanically perfect. The revolver has all matching serial numbers of #15,344.
The brass trigger guard and backstrap have traces of silver wash in places. The
date “1860” is professionally engraved on the backstrap, with “T.C. Newman
1865” lightly scratched above. The cylinder retains all of its original
nipples. The wood grips are in good condition with some wear at the bottom
corners. A typed letter included with the pistol states that the spring in the
loading lever and one screw on the frame have been replaced. The original
leather holster has a weather resistant tarred coating and a simple flap
closure via a pewter finial. The very thin, minimalist belt loop with riveted
attachment is remarkable intact.
The lot includes a signed letter from great grandnephew T.R. Newman Jr., numerous genealogical records on the Newman family, a photocopy of Thomas Newman’s 1864 will, and a copy of the full account of Elizabeth Newman’s murder and Bob Gray’s lynching from the 1913 A History of Muhlenberg County by Otto A. Rothert. This is a fantastic Colt Dragoon from Kentucky with a fascinating family history.
Inventory Number: HAN 198 / Sold