“The first sheriff in what became the State of Indiana, John Small (1768 – 1821), was not only a militia captain, tavern-keeper and territorial legislator; he was also a master artist and craftsman, particularly as a gunsmith,” grouseland.wordpress.com reports. “House Bill 1283 in the Indiana General Assembly…designated [Small’s] ‘Grouseland Rifle’ as the official rifle of Indiana. The man behind the legislation, State Senator John Waterman (R-Shelburn) had this to say about that . . .
“What makes this story particularly interesting, and why I believe the Grouseland Rifle is worthy of being named the Indiana State Rifle, is because John Small was also commissioned by William Henry Harrison to design the Seal of the Indiana Territory – which later became the Indiana State Seal.”
Waterman continues, “We do not know if this rifle was carried in a famed frontier battle, but it most certainly provided food and protection to a pioneer family of early Indiana. This rifle and its maker are both integral parts of Indiana history and as such, the rifle is worthy of its designation as the Indiana State Rifle.”
Poetically enough, Small became known as “the Paul Revere of the frontier.” grouseland.wordpress.com offers a look at the the man, the myth and the firearm that’ve earned their place in Hoosier history. The historic Grouseland gun’s accolades are a far cry from Tennessee’s decision to designate the ever-so-modern (if entirely useful) Barrett .50-cal their state gun. Just sayin’.