1830's-40's US Dragoon Saddle

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Joseph Sullivan
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I am not sure that nailing holsters to Pat would advance the investigation, though it might be fun.

Joe


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Pat Holscher
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I am not sure that nailing holsters to Pat would advance the investigation, though it might be fun.

Joe
Darn, the shop in this building which our Building "Manager" rented out to a tattoo parlor and piercing shop relocated after the "Manager" mustered up enough gumption to discuss their long failure to pay rent. A lost opportunity. Durn. I shall have to pass.

Pat
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Todd
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I am not sure that nailing holsters to Pat would advance the investigation, though it might be fun.

Joe
Of course, with Pat we'll need two sets, seeing as he's in the legal profession.... <img src=icon_smile_evil.gif border=0 align=middle>



<i>(topic degradation continues unabated)</i>

Todd H.
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Pat Holscher
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<BLOCKQUOTE id=quote><font size=1 face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id=quote>quote:<hr height=1 noshade id=quote>


Aha! An EXCELLENT opportunity for empirical investigation - I volunteer Pat.



Todd H.
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Coincidence,
God?s way of remaining anonymous.
<hr height=1 noshade id=quote></BLOCKQUOTE id=quote></font id=quote><font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size=2 id=quote>


I will gladly take up the study. However, in order to keep it pure, I shall have to use saddles belonging to somebody other than me. Given as this is a topic of intense debate, I fear saddle ownership by the testor would give rise to claims of prejudice.

Only quality items will do, send your saddles as soon as possible and I shall subject them to appropriate rigorous testing, in the interest of history, of course.

Pat
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Pat Holscher
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However and notwithstanding, in the spirit of exhaustive scholarly inquiry, one might ask why there was a need to nail holsters to a saddle if they were already fitted over a horn?
Indeed, that's a good question.

A reason to do it, it seems to me, might be found in the nature of firearms of the era. Given as there was no safety of any kind on any firearm at that time, the only thing that kept a loaded one from going off was caution and making sure the hammer wasn't fully cocked.

With the pommel holsters sitting over the horn, the holster wold likely stay there, but the holsters themselves might get to acting a bit like wings at certain gaits, which could produce bad results in a pinch. Better that they be fixed in place.

Of course, that's only a theory But it would be easier to nail a holster in place (which sounds like a typical military solution) on a Spanish tree as opposed to an English saddle. In either instance affixing some sort of strap would seem preferable, but apparently not.

Say, Scott, having started this interesting thread, are you still around? After reading it, what is your opinion overall?

Pat
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And, another good reason to nail the holster down would be to aid in getting the pistols out. If it is made to slip over the horn, it has some slack in it, and if a trooper needed to get a pistol out in a hurry, the holster shifting here and there, or rotating on the horn, etc., would be a bad deal, particularly as it wouldn't be real good form to have to use both hands in the effort, with one down on the horn keeping the holster in place.

Pat
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Boys, this is really great. The only thing better than conjecture is rank speculation, I always say.

Joe
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<BLOCKQUOTE id=quote><font size=1 face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" id=quote>quote:<hr height=1 noshade id=quote>
Boys, this is really great. The only thing better than conjecture is rank speculation, I always say.

Joe


<hr height=1 noshade id=quote></BLOCKQUOTE id=quote></font id=quote><font face="Verdana, Arial, Helvetica" size=2 id=quote>

I would have to speculate that most of the users had the rank of private, but that's only a guess.

Pat
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"rank privates"?

I think this discussion is getting out of hand.

Todd H.
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Ron Smith
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In fairness to Pat, he may seem to be speculating (are we about to intubate?) but he is right on track. Securing holsters to the saddle required more than dropping them over the horn. Having them fixed in position is a must. They will move about and it does become quite troublesome to draw a weapon if the holster moves in the process. I have tried this with and w/o straps, you will get straps if you don't have them. Especially with a Walker or Dragoon on baord. They will beat your thigh and knee up severly if not secured.

Many times they were held in place by straps affixed the the "plugged end" of the holster, but for EM's nailing was common practice. As I am told by more knowledgeable than I.

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Ron Smith
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Well, this topic keeps getting more and more interesting. I vote for the multiple shooters theory, both Grassy Knoll and the Drainage-System Man-Hole.

There used to be an example of a pair of holsters modified for use (perhaps even purpose-made) on a Spanish tree saddle, that at one time belonged to Jedidiah Smith (who was killed on the Cimarron Crossing in 1831). The holsters, pistol and opther accessories have long since disappeared from the museum in San Diego (stolen in the 1950's. alas), but some photographic evidence remains. Also there are numerous illustrations of holsters mounted on horned saddles during the Gold Rush, etc. But there are indeed referenced to nailing the holsters to the trees of issue saddles to hold them. I assumed that this was due to the holsters being built for a different style of saddle than the one issued to the trooper, such as a pair of holsters built for, say an 1833 saddle being issued to a trooper with an 1847 Grimsley. If the tie-down straps are in the wrong place, then indeed things can get interesting with the holsters at a gallop.

Also of note: In Wah-To-Yah and the Taos Trail by Gerrard, he mentions the fact that the Dragoons (well really Missouri Mounted Volunteers) had problems due to the cold in buckling the girth-straps of their saddles, while the Mountain Men accompanying them had no such problem, as they were using the standard Mexican Cincha ring-and-latigo system on their Mexican saddles. So at least the 2nd MMV were using "Eastern Style" saddles...but what that means, who knows. I realize that the Grimsley 1847 and the Ringgold saddles, as well as all of the English and Hussar saddles used the Buckle-and-Girth system, but God only knows as to the 1833. There most certainly are examples of Missouri-built "Spanish" saddles with billet-straps, so one can only wonder. I can't recall the wording in the manual at the present moment as to girthing the horse. At any rate, perhaps a better researcher than I can pierce the gloom of this fog of history and discover some connection here.

Gordon

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Todd, Gentlemen,
The mention of round holes in the seat of pommel holsters has resurrected a question in my mind regarding a pair of holsters I have which appear to be made to carry the M1855 pistol carbine and a Colt Dragoon size revolver. The holsters have, in the centre of the connecting strap (the "seat" area on a pair of saddlebags), a circular hole smaller but similar to the saddlebag stud hole. I have often wondered which saddle these were intended to be carried on as the Mac or Grimsley doesn't seem to have a stud - or sufficient room in front of the pommel to accomodate these holsters. I am less familiar with the Hope or Campbell saddles and wonder if the holsters were intended for carriage on one or the other of these. I believe the Hope and Campbell were being trialled at about the same time (ca.1856-1861) as the pistol-carbine was in issue with the regulars? I would be most grateful for any informed views and pointers as to where I might finally settle this question.
Thanks in advance.
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Still don't know the answer to my question posted so long ago.
still would like to know if anyone has any information.
Thank you for any help.
Dušan
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Re: the 1833 Gimsley Contract. Dragoon saddle. http://www.bisonsaddlery.com makes a faithful replica of the Grimsley 1826 Gen.Ashley pattern saddle the 1833 is copied from and that he refers to in his ordinance correspondence. http://www.borderstatesleatherworks.com also offeres the same tree in military configuration w/skirts as their Athepacas which was definately in service with CSA and USA as both Cavalry and 'Drivers' saddles for Quartermaster Corps. These continued in service as such until the 1870s. So for "Living History " Mounted this one tree and saddle will function from 1826 to 1870s and also serve for Texas Republic and CSA and Civilian drovers/hunters . http://www.militaryhorse.org/features/1833letters.php Photo is my Bison Saddlery' 1826 Ashley. Second photo is 1849 "Sitgreaves Expedition of the U S Corps of Topographical Engineers & 1849 survey out of fort Gibson of Cherokee Creek boundery. Dr. Samuel Woodhouse holding the reins on the horse.
Note saddle on officers horse with pommelholsters, high Cantle, skirts and military style metal stirrups. Photo provinence for 1833 pattern Grimsley Dragoon saddle as described in his ordinence correspondence. 1826 Gen. Ashley Pattern by GrimsleySaddlery of St. Louis MO.
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Pat Holscher
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That period photograph is really a classic.
Pat

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Pat & all. the cantle of 1849 photo is definately not a Steffen's 1833 Dragoon. and skirts and stirrups and pommel holster set definately indicate Military saddlery. As the Grimsley Dragoon with Hussar tree was issued in 1847 it would make sense for a Topographical Officer to be in possession of a practical military saddle of earlier issue (1833 Grimsley /Ashley Pattern) . Some research into the Dr. in photograph might reveal a purchase or sale.
I have since sold this 1826 Ashley replica Crpl. Jill Czarnowski who uses this as Dragoon saddle for Bents Old Fort and as personal riding saddle of choice, after hundreds of miles in McClellens. She rode it in "
Military Equitation Level III" in Dragoon Uniform at 2015 National Bivouac and Competition of U.S.Cavalry Assn. Ft.Reno OK USA. Anyone wishing to further authenticate this photo;
Woodhouse, Samuel Washington, A Naturalist in Indian Territory: The Journals of S.W. Woodhouse 1849-50 University of Oklahoma Press, #9780806124766
1833 Grimsley Dragoon Saddle photo!
page. 207 /figure 19
Photographic Provenance of "Grimsley 1833/34 Dragoon Saddle" Note Pommel Holsters, High cantle., skirts, (rawhide covered horn is lost or obscured by holster flap.) No mention is made in the Journal as to the saddle itself but still an interesting source of Historical information.
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Todd
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Standtohorse wrote:Second photo is 1849 "Sitgreaves Expedition of the U S Corps of Topographical Engineers & 1849 survey out of fort Gibson of Cherokee Creek boundery. Dr. Samuel Woodhouse holding the reins on the horse.
Note saddle on officers horse with pommelholsters, high Cantle, skirts and military style metal stirrups.
NICE! :thumbup:

I must have source on this one - I'm cleaning up the old website's material and placing it into a new form, and have quite a lot of details on early US military saddle development. This will be a MUST INCLUDE image. This is excellent view of the 'spanish' dragoon type.

I'm also going to include a gallery of good, large images of the 'Steffen dragoon' - we had a fine opportunity to examine that one some time back, and it is in no possible way a military saddle - it wouldn't have lasted more than a week or two out on campaign. It's simply an old park saddle.

I still wonder if a decent clear image will ever be found of an unencumbered dragoon or wagon saddle pommel though :problem: .
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Pat Holscher
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Up until now, the only 1833 Dragoon saddle we'd ever been fortunate enough to see a photo of was one that Todd discerned in a Mexican War photograph he's put up. Now we're lucky enough to have a second example.

Quite a find!
Pat

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Todd and Pat , I appreciate your comments and would suggest you contact Steve Stefley of http://www.bisonsaddlery.com for provenence on specification of the 1826 Ashley saddle he builds. I imagine the one in 1849 photo is closer to Military configuration as it has skirts. Those might have been added after issue though. I believe weight would be a primary consideration for military service as well as civilian however both the Ringold and the 1847 Grimsley are quite a bit heavyier especially with their double skirts so I may not be correct with that assumption. I believe they would have had staples and rings vs. rossette lattigos as well. May have been issued in black as the photo (1849) definately is black or very dark brown from service oiling. There is a copy of Dr. Samuel Woodhouse's journals are available for reading at my Pikes Peak Library special collections, as is the Journals' of Col. Dodge and other Dragoon expeditions to the Rockies.
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Image this photo is of an 1833 Dragoon Saddle replica mfg. by friend RJ Preston of OK. He made saddle to specifications furnished by Commanding General of Ft.Irwin,CA 11th ACR. I don't know that individual but the saddle looks very much like Borderstates Leatherworks 1833 Grimsley Replica.

Col. Thornton Grimsley Memorial Biography: Birth: Aug. 3, 1798
Bourbon County
Kentucky, USA
Death: Dec. 21, 1861
Saint Louis
St. Louis City
Missouri, USA

Businessman, Saddle Maker, Politician. He was an apprentice to St. Louis saddlemaker John Jacoby. After Jacoby's death, Grimsley and a partner took over the business. His saddles were popular with soldiers and as a result, Grimsley did more work for the government than any other saddler in the U.S. In 1833 he contracted to make his Spanish saddle for the new 1st Regiment of the U.S. Dragoons by recommendation of Lt. Col. Stephen Kearney. He produced a horned saddle based on the Spanish model called the dragoon saddle. He was instrumental in getting an area in St. Louis set aside as a public park and military parade ground--this area, formerly known as "Grimsley's Folly" is now known as Lafayette Park. (bio by: Connie Nisinger)
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