Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Grouseland Rifle Connects Our Past and Present

As appearing in "Muzzle Blasts" (October 2012), the official publication of the National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association:

A sheriff’s deputy stands watch over the 209-year-old muzzle loader, the newly christened State Rifle of Indiana. The Grouseland Rifle, on display at the NMLRA Education Building in Friendship, was crafted around 1803 by Vincennes gunsmith John Small, who among other occupations had been named Indiana’s and Knox County’s first sheriff in 1790. Two centuries later, John Small might be pleased to see a descendant in his line, lean and tough and wearing the modern badge of a Knox County Sheriff, standing guard over one of the few remaining firearms that Small had crafted.

William Small wrote that his father stood 6’1” and weighed precisely 184 pounds, which was not unlike the stature of the young deputy now on over-watch. For a moment, time seems compressed and it doesn’t take much to imagine the presence of John Small’s spirit.