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Very interesting rifle with circa 1898 factory (not museum) letter
May 11, 2019
3:36 pm
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Did Winchester have any type of facility in Arkansas?

May 11, 2019
11:23 pm
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I googled the address and its a house in a residential area and its for sale for $199,000. RIA should of put them together and sold them as a package deal. Also on google maps they say its the Academy of holistic Arts

http://www.kwlittlerock.com/mcj/72206/AR/Little-Rock/923-W-20th-Street/3yd-CARMLS-19011721.html

Bob

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May 12, 2019
1:14 am
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Maybe James K. Lewis telecommuted.  Oh, wait . . .

May 12, 2019
2:34 am
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1873man said
I googled the address and its a house in a residential area and its for sale for $199,000. RIA should of put them together and sold them as a package deal. Also on google maps they say its the Academy of holistic Arts

http://www.kwlittlerock.com/mcj/72206/AR/Little-Rock/923-W-20th-Street/3yd-CARMLS-19011721.html

Bob  

Bob,

I don't know it matters, and I don't know who James K. Lewis is, but that house at that address was built in 1920. So what was there before 1920? Or in the year 1898? Further research would be needed. Only thing I could imagine, is if Mr. James K. Lewis was an area salesman for Winchester or something the like.

The letter does seem quite odd indeed.

Sincerely,

Maverick

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May 12, 2019
2:55 pm
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I found this clipping from Little rock in 1922 but its James K Lewis not James T. There is a note next to the clipping that mentions the 1898 letter but I can't find where that ties to the clipping.

https://www.newspapers.com/clip/20316598/james_k_lewis_advertisement_may_7/

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May 12, 2019
4:54 pm
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I decided to look this fellow Lewis up on ancestry.com.  Here are some notes about him:

He was James K. Lewis, Sr. from Kentucky.  His son James Keene Lewis, Jr. was also born in Kentucky.  Senior was a Gunsmith, and later a Traveling Salesman in the Arms Industry.  Junior was a merchant as well.  The did live in Little Rock. 

Exciting research subject for sure.

 

James

May 12, 2019
5:42 pm
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The Bracy Bros. Hardware store existed in Little Rock well prior to 1922.

https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Bracy-34

Here is a view of the E.D. Bracy Hardware store in 1910.  Great vintage picture of Little Rock and comment from a current Bracy family member. 

https://www.shorpy.com/node/9871

"On the right side of the street is the E.D. Bracy Hardware Store. It was named for Eugene Daniel Bracy (b. Dec. 7, 1876).

His brother, William Frederick Bracy (b. May 17, 1870; d. Nov. 13, 1934), also worked at this store and was married to my great-aunt Frankie Newton (b. Sept. 11, 1877; d. June 9, 1944)"

 

Since James K. Lewis was a real person and Bracy Bros. Hardware was a real Winchester dealer it seems in-congruent to have a forger smart enough to use period names and places, correct type of letterhead and then use horrible grammer.  

It is an interesting topic for sure.  I still don't see a clear motive for creating (faking) such a letter.

Looking forward to seeing what else you guys dig up on the topic.

Regards,

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May 12, 2019
6:03 pm
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I totally agree with your views at this point in time, Jeff. I've been involved with historical research for a long time like many of the folks that post here, and a lifetime of work and best-judgement can turn on a dime where conclusions are concerned with the discovery of but one record - which is another reason why clarifying one's statements is so important.  Research in the early stages reminds me of yo-yoing.

James

May 12, 2019
6:15 pm
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James,

Since you have access to Ancestry, it would seem logical that "Roosevelt" would be from the area since he purchased the rifle from the local Keen Kutter hardware store.  Can you find anything on a local resident with the last name of Roosevelt?  Based on the rifle configuration he would be reasonably affluent.

Assuming of course the letter is genuine.

Best Regards,

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May 12, 2019
6:16 pm
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I think the reason for a fraud (if it is one) is to explain the proof marks and toss the Roosevelt name in for good measure.  Maybe there was a local Roosevelt, shirt tail or regular Joe who lived in Little Rock.  Otherwise, why would a famous Roosevelt be working their business through a Little Rock hardware store?

Anyway, when I used be an attorney, we did historical real property research using Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps.  They go way the hell back and I think they would easily cover this period we are talking about.  For thems what feels like diggin', there's a shovel. Smile

May 12, 2019
7:09 pm
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Jeff:  I'll check that out by this time tomorrow.

Jeff & Huck:  Seems to me that I recall a Roosevelt in Arkansas with Northeastern ties back during the earlier crooked Clinton years.  Maybe they have deeper roots there as well.

James

May 13, 2019
5:25 pm
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I believe the letter is fake and was written to legitimize the proof marks and much later barrel. The author states (in 1898) "Winchester is thinking about proof marking all there guns, we hope you don't mind, for we went ahead and proof mark yours". 

Was Winchester considering proof marks as early as 1898? Why would they pick this gun out of the thousands they were producing to proof mark it that early?

Just my take on this.

Al

May 13, 2019
5:27 pm
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Jeff and all,

I could not find any Roosevelts in Arkansas that might be worth checking out.  All the evidence to this point in time shows James K. Lewis Sr., with relatively deep roots in the Owensboro, Daviess County, KY, area with his probable father being Robert Monroe Lewis, a farmer.  Additionally, James Senior made his move from there to Little Rock between 1900 and 1910, perhaps, shortly after 1900, since it appears likely that he had established himself in the Little Rock area by late 1898.  He died in 1936 and is buried at Roselawn Memorial Park.

One other note that interests me story-wise is that just across the Ohio River in Burlington, Lawrence County, Ohio, there was a Henry Lewis, Gunsmith, active in the 1850 to 1875 era, who might have been related to the subject Lewis.

Ya'll have a great day.  

James

May 13, 2019
7:37 pm
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All:

This thread brings to mind one of George Madis' favorite sayings; "Buy the gun and not the story".  I believe that the finish on this piece is much more recent than what either the factory or private letter would indicate.  Winchester began placing proof marks on gun commencing July 17, 1905.  I agree with Al that this was not a topic of serious discussion at Winchester when the purported Winchester letter was written.  Nice gun but I think I would have found other places to stash my cash...............

May 13, 2019
8:15 pm
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Rick Hill said
All:

This thread brings to mind one of George Madis' favorite sayings; "Buy the gun and not the story".  I believe that the finish on this piece is much more recent than what either the factory or private letter would indicate.  Winchester began placing proof marks on gun commencing July 17, 1905.  I agree with Al that this was not a topic of serious discussion at Winchester when the purported Winchester letter was written.  Nice gun but I think I would have found other places to stash my cash...............  

100% Agreement!!

Michael

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May 15, 2019
1:38 am
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Yeah the more I re-read that letter, the more I'm inclined to think its fake.

The opening address seems odd. Why wouldn't it have been directed to Mr. Roosevelt specifically to his name and address. Also the opening sentence seems strange. I mean honestly in 1898, how many people actually knew who John Ulrich was? I doubt this would have been common knowledge or a household name by any stretch. If a customer ordered a inscription / engraving in Latin, Wouldn't said customer already know what the hell they had ordered? And what the Latin phrase already meant?

Also seems very strange to close a letter with "Thank you very much". I do believe most people of that era, would have closed with "Yours Respectfully", or "Yours Very Truly", or something else. "Thank you very much", seems informal as hell. Mr. Lewis' secretary must have been a idiot if she transcribed a letter as such. 

Seems logical to gather somebody cooked up the letter to explain the proof marks on the gun. And to associate Ulrich's name with the gun, as otherwise it is not openly apparent who at Winchester engraved the gun. I don't know why one would do such a thing. But people often do a lot of things that don't make any sense. If the Cody letter has a R&R in 1901, not that big of a jump to say it was R&R at an even later date. Especially as its even noted in the auction that the barrel is a much later barrel.

 Here's a latin phrase for yah, "quod vilescit"!

Sincerely,

Maverick

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May 15, 2019
10:59 pm
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Maverick, For all the reasons that you mentioned I agree that this letter looks entirely bogus.

May 16, 2019
12:54 am
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 Here's a latin phrase for yah, "quod vilescit"!

 

Sincerely,

Maverick  

Okay, I'll bite.  Can't find it.

May 16, 2019
3:24 am
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Huck Riley said

Okay, I'll bite.  Can't find it.  

"Something Stinks!"

Was just being a smart ass! Laugh

Maverick

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May 16, 2019
4:00 am
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Maverick said

"Something Stinks!"

Was just being a smart ass! Laugh

Maverick  

My GoogleFu stinks.  Best I came up with was "because tire".  Laugh

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