Monday, January 26, 2009

James Perry Pierce: Keeping Dycusburg Safe

In 1874, James was chosen magistrate of the Dycusburg District, and two years later was appointed deputy sheriff of Crittenden County under R. A. Dowell, the duties of which he discharged until 1878 (The father-in-law of his daughter, Florence, John Augustus Yandell had been constable of Crittenden Co. in the 1860's). In the last year of his term he was elected sheriff, and two years later was re-elected. At the expiration of his term of office in 1882, he was elected county judge.

In this cabinet card, he is shown as the rough and ready type. The rifle in his hands is a Colt Lightning, the first model of which was produced circa 1878. This photo therefore probably dates from his terms as sheriff (and his appearance is consistent with him being about 40 y.o.). it is possible that this was a photo used in campaigning.

Alternatively, James was an avid hunter (the Crittenden paper reporting in 1890 that he was traveling to Missouri for a big hunt), and the photograph might merely show his fondness for hunting and rifles.

Special thanks to Larry Pierce for permission to use this information. Watch this site for more information about the Pierce family.


HonestJohn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
HonestJohn said...

Always interesting to see American firearms of the past. A true testament to our nation's oldest and first national sport. However, I am of the opinion there might be a bit of confusion here.

The Colt's Lightning rifle, a slide or "pump" action rifle as pictured was not introduced until 1884. Production of the Lightning rifle ran until 1904 with close to 90,000 rifles made.

It is often said a compromise was made between Winchester and Colt, to the effect that Winchester would not make a single action pistol if Colt would not make a lever action rifle.

The date you reference as 1878 for Pierce's rifle is actually the date attributed to a double action pistol Colt manufactured as the "Omnipotent" or "Lightning" which was first distributed in 1878. John Henry "Doc" Holliday is well known to have had such a nickle plated "self-cocker" pistol. The label "Lightning" was given by the frontier men of the time as the double action made firing the pistol "lightning fast." Colt also manufactured a similar large frame double action pistol called the "Thunderer."

Hope this may help is dating the picture in the context of history.

John Rush Attaway Jr.

Boca Raton, FL.