By Dan Mayer
This is a photograph of my great-grandfather, Charley Anderson Crow, along with his prized Winchester 1894. That rifle has a great history and was lost for many years before being returned to the family where it will stay.
The rifle began its life in 1903 when it was given to Charley Anderson Crow (Grandpa) by his former employer at the JA Ranch, Charles Goodnight, as a wedding gift. To protect this prize Grandpa carved his name into the stock. Throughout the rest of Grandpa’s life the rifle could be found standing in the corner of his bedroom…fully loaded and ready to use against the ever present coyote. All of us children knew never to touch the rifle which obviously gave it a certain mystique. In 1965 Grandpa passed away and the rifle passed to his son. Later it was passed to his daughter who sold the rifle for $25.00 for rent money. These facts were only recently discovered.
In 1966 I was discharged from the Navy and began contacting relatives in an attempt to locate the rifle but was unable to get any information. Over the next 54 years I searched, off and on, for the Winchester. It was in 2020 that during an online chat with a group of cousins I simply asked if anyone had any idea what became of Grandpa’s Winchester…no one had any idea. After we finished our chat I received a message from one of the cousins telling me that she knew the sister of the man that actually bought the rifle over 50 years ago. She asked if I wanted her to contact her and see if her brother was still alive and if so if he still had the rifle. Obviously I agreed that she should.
As it turned out he was still alive and he still had the rifle where it had hung on his wall for over 50 years. He and I exchanged many emails and phone calls discussing the rifle. In the end, although I offered him much more, all he wanted was a replacement rile that was similar to the Winchester that was hanging on his wall. I was able to procure a duplicate to the rifle and we exchanged rifles in August of 2020.
I proudly have Grandpa’s Winchester, along with his pocket pistol, on display in my office at home. It hangs in a case that celebrates Charley Anderson Crow.