Friday, April 22, 2011

The Red Baron

The mast head of this blog has a 1917 DWM P08 Luger and the book The Red Knight of Germany: The Story of Baron von Richthofen by Floyd Gibbons. I just reread the book last week and I can say it’s as good as it ever was!

Gibbons, a heroic man in his own right, chronicles the story of Rittmeister Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen. Von Richtofen was the greatest of all First World War Aces, he was the “Ace of Aces” with 80 confirmed victories. It’s a fascinating read, Gibbons tracks down the families of the Baron’s victims as well as the survivors who his aerial victories.

The family of von Richthofen gave Gibbons access to the Barons letters to his mother, which humanizes the fallen ace. The book also explores the gritty and violent world of World War I aerial combat. The book offers a fascinating trip back into the world first industrial age conflict, and a taste of world war. The book is still in print and available new and used.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Shoot out at the James Farm!

Well, I’m living proof that a blind pig can find an acorn once in a while. I managed a second place finish in the cartridge category at the James Farm Frontier Revolver Shoot on April 9th.

This is unusual because I usually find a way to defeat myself by an equipment or ammunition problem. No problems this time and the match ran like a Swiss watch. As nearly as I could tell, all the competitors shot well and had a great time. The range is small and the targets are close, but it’s great fun!

The part I like best is that this all takes place on the farm where Frank and Jesse James learned to shoot and ride. There is literally history everywhere on this place. The museum contains artifacts from the Civil War and outlaw era as well as many personal items of Jesse, Frank, and Zerelda James.

If you’re in Kearney, Missouri the James Farm is well worth the visit. If you want to shoot in one of the matches, look for the notices on this blog or on the James Farm website

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Best Cap and Ball Revolver

What is the best cap and ball revolver of all time? The mighty Colt Walker? A paragon of power and size, if Superman owned a cap and ball revolver, it would be a Walker. The 1858 Remington, A modern and sleek design that was popular in the Civil War. Or is the best the exquisitely balanced Colt 1851 Navy, favorite of Wild Bill Hickok. Of course one had to consider the Colt 1860 Army, 44 caliber power on a 36 caliber frame, and wit the smoothest lines of any cap and ball revolver. Or is the best the Colt Dragoon, large and powerful horse pistols that could be carried in a holster on the belt. Vote and let us know what YOU think!

Friday, April 1, 2011

The James Farm

Frank and Jesse James were born and raised outside of Kearney Missouri. The James Farm is a wonderful historic place that has witnessed some amazing events, including the Union Militia raid in 1863 and the Pinkerton attack in 1875. Visitors to the farm have included William Quantrill, Bloody Bill Anderson, and members of the James-Younger gang. Few places are steeped in both Civil War and western outlaw history. The James Farm was also the life home of Zerelda Cole Samuel (1824-1911) and her son Frank James (1842-1915). The First grave of Jesse James (1847-1882) was located on the James Farm, Jesse’s remains were later moved to the Mt Olivet Cemetery in Kearney, MO in 1902.
Until 1978, the James Farm was owned by the descendents of Frank and Jesse James. By then, the elements had just about claimed the farm. It was in ruins. Clay County purchased the home from Jesse's grandchildren and the restoration work began. By the next summer, visitors were once again going through the farm. Many visitors expressed an interest in how they could help with the restoration of the farm. As a direct response to these requests, an organization called "The Friends of the James Farm" formed and its board of directors would like to invite you to become a member. As a "Friend" your annual membership dues ($20 and Up) will help finance the continued restoration of the farm as well as help sponsor historical research to help future generations know more about the lives and times of the James family.
The Friends of the James Farm also sponsors Frontier Revolver Shoots. I covered one of these a few weeks ago in this blog. The amount and variety of old guns and replicas seen at these events are amazing.
Milton F. Perry Research Library is located at the Jesse James Farm & Museum and is available to the public Monday – Friday from 9-4 p.m. Please call to make an appointment. 816-736-8500. Historian and genealogist Liz Murphy is available to assist researchers, please make an appointment in advance.
Adults: $7.50, Seniors (62 and over): $6.50, Children (8-15): $4.00
Children (Under 8): Free, Discounts available for groups of 15 or more.
James Farm Website :