Survival on the Spanish borderlands would require one to be tough and resourceful, this piece is an outstanding example of the ingenuity one would need in this harsh environment.
The pistol falls within the standard cavalry pattern of the early 1790’s, it is approximately .69 caliber and even includes a sash or belt hook for easy access while on horseback. It also contains a miquelet lock as the main ignition system, which was common to most Spanish firearms up until the late 19th century.
What truly makes this pistol unique is the stock, it has been crafted from a mesquite branch that had just the perfect bend in it to accept the metal components of the firearm. The loss of a firearm could present quite a dilemma, one could not travel or survive on the frontier without adequate protection. Professional repair could be a long distance away and may cost a substantial amount. The pistol shows many signs consistent with extended service and using what materials were around, the owner of this pistol was able to make a frontier repair that is still well functioning today.
We see how with imagination and determination, hallmarks of the frontier spirit, one could reverse misfortune and survive another day.
This pistol is from the Don and Louise Yena Spanish Colonial Collection, now on display in the Ralston Family Collection Center.