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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Have you ever just ached to have an inanimate object talk to you - in question, a historic gun with a story to tell?

I like stories - I collect them. Sometimes I'm lucky enough to have some photo documentation as I do with this one - sometimes not. If I can link a family gun into my story - well, it doesn't get any better than that! Fortunately, this is a story about my wife's grandfather's little '03 .32 Colt Hammerless - which became his boot gun along the Texas/Mexican border back in 1913-1916 and then into Mexico after Villa from 1916- 1917 ... and off to 'Over There' in the later part of 1917. I'd do absolutely (almost) anything to get that @%%@$#%ed little Colt to talk to me - if it were possible.

Anyway, I'd like you to meet Sergeant Earl Swan, of Ft. Nacogdoches, down Texas way - near the Rio Grande River. 'Swannie' was my wife's grandfather. I never met him but his stories live on and I know quite a few of them.

Some said he was small - for a sergeant - and mistakenly assumed that he wasn't tough. On the contrary, he was as tough as steel nails and as wild as the West Texas wind! It's said that he always had an 'open door policy,' insult him or the Army and you were out the door ... on your way to 'discuss it' behind the mess tent. Apparently, because of his size, many a man gave it a whirl and none were left standing after 10 or 11 round!

That's Swannie on the left - finishing up some unfinished 'business!' :eek:

His men loved him because he was always 'first trooper' in a charge and last to dismount after making sure his men were OK. Wish I had met him. He passed quietly in his sleep in 1959 after nearly 40 years in the motion picture business - he was Hollywood's top prop-man. That little Colt killed two hotel bandido's during his stay in Havana, in 1935 while they were shooting 'Captain
Blood,' with Earl Flynn - one of Swannie's favorite drinking buddy's! .... but that's another story. I'll tell that one later.

Taking on water for the horses down on the (Rio Grande) river - 1915

The "Little poker-chip Colt" was 'acquired' in a poker game sometime shortly after he joined up with the horse soldiers - probably around 1913.


It was part of a pot in a poker game with his fellow troopers. He said that it went right into his boot that day and rode along with him after Pancho in 1916/1917. When he went to France in late '17 the little Colt rode along for the ride. He saw little action in 1916/17 - although he had often said it "got me out of a tight place in Mexico once or twice" (no details :cry: ) but in France it stopped a "kraut" in his tracks before he was "stuck" in a bayonet charge (Germans - not ours) - "with a well placed shot to the forehead!" Since Swannie was never prone to exaggeration (I am told) - I have no doubt that it was true.

Anyway .... thought I'd pass this little Colt's story along to you guys!

... from a different time and a very different place.

Harley Dude
14,651 Posts
Nice Story Zip!

That little colt is the same type of 32 pistol that I had my first gun accident with. A friend asked me to take it home and disassemble it and clean it for him. I did so and had a heck of a time getting it back together, but finally did so, picked it up slipped the loaded clip in the gun racked the slide and popped one off in the house.

I dug the round out of the block wall of my Florida home and had it patched and painted before my wife got home from work that night. The first of two accidents that happened within one year of each other. Never had a close call since. I now triple check my guns before doing the dry fire game.

Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hmmmm ... Florida block wall ... German 'Blockhead' .... that kinda verifies the
penetration factor, doesn't it.

I've been quite fortunate - no accidental firings - BUT - I DID have a friend who
shot himself (behind me) as we were walking out of an old mine up there in Inkapa!

... worst day of my life - probably his, too!

... I don't have his gun .... but I own the ''Tourniquet Ruger' that saved him!
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