Remember this revolver? Well, a year later, I’ve got a pretty big update.
It’s not every day that you learn that one of your favorite revolvers was issued to a Marine in WWI who passed it on to his grandson, who carried it in Korea — a grandson who was witness along with his parents to the Rape of Nanking; a grandson, moreover, who fought at Chosin Reservoir (presumably with this revolver at his side) and wrote poetry about the experience; who later in life preserved the only surviving full copy of Dr. John Magee’s documentary of the Rape and donated it to the Library of Congress — all extensively documented — and I’m sure that’s just the tip of the iceberg of the deeds in this man’s life.
I’m shaking as I type this. I’ve been a history junkie since I was a kid. Majoring in it in college just fed the addiction. A third of the 20,000 or so books in our home library are history. I’ve got books on Chosin I haven’t read yet. This is really just incredible.
Years ago I was touring a preserved Colonial home in Plymouth Mass. that was furnished with items designed to show what everyday life was like back then. I noticed a pair of women’s shoes, and they looked suspiciously like any women’s spiked pumps you’d see today. So I picked one up and asked the docent if it was an accurate reproduction. She got a funny look on her face and said “Those are Mercy Otis Warren‘s shoes.” It was like an electric shock went through me — I was holding something the Conscience of the Revolution had touched. Handling this revolver feels like that now. If I can gather a complete set of documentation about Bierkle’s life and this revolver, I would imagine it’s something the National Firearms Museum might like to have someday.
The revolver’s sitting next to me here atop a printout of this remarkable Calguns thread. Don’t read it unless you want to explain why your eyes are watering like mine.