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Willy B.SASS#26902

Shotgun owned by Historical Cowboy

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Howdy Folk's

I bought a 97 Winchester a few years ago that had T.J. Isbell, Vinita, OK. engraved on it's left side, At the time one of our SASS members that lives in Vinita was kind enough to look up some info on Tom Isbell in the town records and we found out that he had been in the Spanish American war and had been a trick rider and roper with Zack Mulhall's Wild west show and later with the Buffalo Bill/Pawnee Bill combined Wild west show.

I thought the shotgun was interesting and put it in the back of the safe and kind of forgot about it until now, I'm going back to Cody pretty soon and thought I'd bring a picture and details to the Buffalo Bill Center and see what else I could find out. In the process of getting my info together I ran a search on TJ Isbell and hit the jackpot. Since the last time I checked him out The Cody Center and Univ. of Nebraska had done some new research which blew me away.

Thomas John Isbell

Was with the Rough Riders, Company L

Was credited with firing the first shot in the Spanish American War

Was with Buffalo Bill's Wild West and made many overseas tours with them as the show's top bronc rider

Was a close friend of Will Rodger's

Had moved to San Diego and was a long time San Diego Police officer

He died in a auto accident in San Diego at the ripe old age of 83

I can't believe my good fortune to own a gun that belonged to a man so tied to the history of this country and so many people he knew that made this country what it is.

Link to Tom Isbell's 1897 http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y7/bajafishnut/003.jpg

Hope you found this interesting

Willy B'

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What a great stroke of luck to find a piece of history like that. Congratulations on the great find and thanks for sharing the story with us.

 

Catskill Shootist,

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Thank you, western history I've found is full of wonderful

facts on how the was won.....what a treasure you found

congratulations :) and happy trails

QDG

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The engraving looks very correct for that period, not too pretty or fancy. What a nice find!

(Thou shall not covet. Thou shall not covet! Thou shall not covet!!!)

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Ah own a gun once owned by a Hysterical Cowboy ,,,,,,,, Whoops not the same ....

 

Great find .....

 

 

 

Jabez Cowboy

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Wow. That is very cool indeed.

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Cool!!! Thank you for sharing.

 

 

CPK

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The Gent I bought the shotgun from owned a small gunshop here in Santee and said he got the gun from an old Okie friend of his, Tom Isbell died in 1955 so I'm willing to bet he got the gun from Tom Isbell JR who would have been up in his years when I got the gun in 1998, I'd always wondered how it got here from Oklahoma so the new info really helped me figure it out.

 

Jabez Cowboy-- Tom Isbell is the Historical cowboy and I is the Hysterical wanna be cowboy

 

Wymore-- Yes Sir' I will see you in a couple if the creek don't rise, Lookin forward to it

 

I still can't believe I own a gun that was owned by a man who knew Teddy Roosevelt, Bill Cody and Will Rodgers and was one hell of a man in his own right.

 

Willy B'

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Never had the pleasure of meeting my Moms' Dad ,but He left Scotland with 20 pounds and five years later he was pushing a heard of cattle into the "Northwest Territories of Alberta" to start one of the first Ranches here .... He said in his Journals(that were left to me) that he didn't see another Whiteman (from outside of his party) for nine years ....

And then it was a "young Buck" in a red coat .....

 

He hasn't done a very good job of explaining how he got that many Cattle ,,,, so quickly ...

He set to Ranching 6 miles West of where I live now in May of 1870 .....

 

Jabez Cowboy

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Craig County Democrat, 17 November 1955

Newsclipping from the Rough Rider Archive, City of Las Vegas Museum and Rough Rider Memorial Collection, Las Vegas, New Mexico, 100.74

 

THOMAS P. ISBELL CLAIMED BY DEATH

 

Thomas P. Isbell, the former Vinitan who was credited with firing the first shot in the Spanish-American war, died Tuesday in a San Diego, Calif., hospital as the result of an auto accident Monday, it was learned here.

 

Isbell, who was about 83 years old, was driving his car at the time of the accident. Relatives said his death was caused by accident injuries or by a heart ailment.

 

The former Vinitan, who left here in 1914, served with Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders in the Spanish-American war. The history books credit Isbell with firing the first shot.

 

When he returned after the war, he brought with him the Krag-Jorgensen rifle which he used to kill the first Spaniard.

 

Friends recalled that when he came home on an MKT passenger train, he got off the train here on the opposite side of the tracks to avoid the crowd which was waiting for him.

 

Pioneer Cowboy

 

A pioneer cowboy, Isbell traveled in many foreign countries with Buffalo Bill's Wild West show. He was the show's top bronc rider. During his tours, he met and married a London, England, girl who preceded him in death.

 

After moving to California, he was employed as a San Diego policeman. He had retired in recent years.

 

The last time he was in Vinita was in 1949 when he came back to attend the homecoming and Will Rogers memorial rodeo. He was a close friend of the late Will Rogers.

 

Survivors include: two sons, Tom Isbell, jr., and Cody Isbell, both of San Diego; one brother, Morris (Doc) Isbell, Stockton, Calif.; and one sister, Mrs. Ed Bond, Vinita.

 

Services will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday in the Bonham Brothers Funeral home chapel in San Diego. Internment will be in San Diego.

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Willy, When I get down there with you in November,can I shoot it?

 

Hellfire

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Hellfire

Altho I think guns are ment to be shot I think this one will stay at the back of the safe, However I will let you fondle it.

my daughter and son in law seem to think it's part of their inheritance, I told them they can't have it until I'm underground, I'm thinking now that I hope they don't get in a hurry to get it.

 

Cap'n Story

That's a pretty good idea, I already found a copy of the obituary, I'm hoping to get more info at the Buffalo Bill center and the Winchester records there. I also want to visit the San Diego Police museum and see if they have any info or pictures. When I get everything togeather I'll see how much I can get into the bolt hole.

 

When I was poking around I found some Isbell family geneology info, It sounds like one of his ancestors was a hero in the Revolution and another fought for the independance of Texas.

 

If I find out anything in Cody I'll post it.

Willy B'

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Get letter of provenance from Winchester records and Cody, Wyoming Museum. Get it appraised. Get it insured. Contribute it to either the Cody or NRA Museum fro tax deduction.

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