A Century-old Tragedy…

I remember reading about this rifle when it was found and thinking, “There but for the grace of god…”

137-year-old Winchester rifle found in Nevada has new home

BAKER, Nev. — A 137-year-old rifle found five years ago leaning against a juniper tree in Great Basin National Park in Nevada is now part of an exhibit dedicated to the “Forgotten Winchester” at the park visitor center near the Utah border.

The weathered Winchester Model 1873 is in a case designed to capture the way it looked when park archaeologist Eva Jensen stumbled across it on a rocky outcrop above Strawberry Creek during an archaeological survey.

Based on its condition, experts believe the weapon might have been abandoned in the forest more than a century ago.

I have a rule: Unless you’re right in your own yard, NEVER lean ANYTHING against a juniper “just for a few minutes” while you go off to do something else. Every rock and bush looks like every other rock and bush, and every patch of dirt looks like every other patch of dirt, and your chances of ever seeing that bit of kit again are reduced with every step you take away from it. Seriously, when I first heard about this rifle I really felt for the guy who lost it. Could happen to anybody who hasn’t developed that rule.


About Joel

You shouldn't ask these questions of a paranoid recluse, you know.
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5 Responses to A Century-old Tragedy…

  1. Mike says:

    Like you Joel, I’ve been guilty of leaning things up against something and promptly forgetting them. The main problem being, short term memory is only good for around four minutes. So, forgetting something like this is easier then one would think. The ” NEVER lean ANYTHING against a juniper just for a few minutes while you go off to do something else” rule is good to have, especially with valuable items.

  2. Paul Joat says:

    I’ve got a tree here that someone leaned a shovel next to about 40 years ago judging by the amount of the head that is still sticking out.

  3. Malatrope says:

    Good rule, but it’s also possible the guy got killed one way or another.

  4. Joel says:

    Sure, anything’s possible. Maybe there are scattered bones a hundred yards away. But Occam’s Razor says it’s most likely he absently set it down, couldn’t find it afterward, and went away cursing himself for an idiot.

    I’m just saying it’s very easy to do in juniper country. Anyone interested in finding the rifle’s owner should research stories of a Nevada resident shopping for Dayglo Orange guns during that period.

  5. Surculus says:

    OK, what do we know about the previous owner? 1] He was on foot. [Or else it would have gone into the saddle holster, not leant up against a tree to be found over a century later.] 2] He’s a good candidate for the inventor of sling rings. [Since if he actually *did* set it down & walk away from it & survived, he’d have a great reason for wanting to never lose several months pay in savings again!] 3] He’s dead [now, at the very least. Kinda suspect he died shortly after losing his rifle, too. That wasn’t the kindest region of the world we live in, even back then.]

To the stake with the heretic!