The outlaw John Wesley Hardin used this revolver to kill Brown County Deputy Sheriff Charles Webb in a gunfight outside of Jack Wright’s saloon in Comanche, Texas, on May 26, 1874. Webb was attempting to arrest Hardin, whom he had wounded, but Hardin got off a fatal shot.
Sheriff John Carnes arrested Hardin and took possession of the gun belt and revolver. Carnes gave it back to Hardin when a mob later assembled and he felt that he alone couldn’t keep Hardin from being lynched. However, the belt came undone as the outlaw ran to his horse and Sheriff Carnes took possession of it once again.
The gun has an unbroken chain of custody tracing from Hardin to Sheriff Carnes, to drugstore owner Dr. Hamilton in Comanche, Texas, who gave it to his night watchman Harvey Lumpkin. Roy Sherill obtained the gun from Lumpkin, who sold it in 1970. It has since been passed through three generations of the family that obtained the gun in 1970.
The gun was on display this year in the Collectors Row section of the NRA Annual Meetings & Exhibits in Dallas, TX. It was awarded one of 2018’s 10 Best Arms silver medals by the NRA’s Gun Collectors Committee.
Logan Metesh is a firearms historian and consultant who runs High Caliber History LLC. Click here for a free 3-page download with tips about caring for your antique and collectible firearms.