Monday, June 11, 2012

Muzzle Loaders and Biker Bars

Jeff probably has writer’s cramp from signing twenty copies of his book, John Small of Vincennes:  Gunsmith on the Western Frontier ( Writer’s cramp is also called “scrivener’s palsy.”  But scrivener’s palsy sounds nasty and incurable and medieval, and not something you can relieve by flapping your hands at the wrist. We’ll just call it writer’s cramp.

We’ve left the grounds of the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association in southeastern Indiana, where Jeff has spent the day answering questions and autographing books for visitors who’ve come to see the Grouseland Rifle. This newly named State Rifle of Indiana was crafted by gunsmith John Small sometime around 1803.

Small was Indiana’s first sheriff, a colonel in the territorial militia, and a master craftsman who made long rifles, pistols, and tomahawks for many of the great figures of the period, including George Rogers Clark, Meriwether Lewis, and William Clark.

His Indian name was “Big Knife.”  John Small was pretty much a pioneer action hero.