Two weapons of the West now on display at Elk City Museum

It has taken several months to get the display and security system in place to put two important weapons on display at the new museum building across from the Route 66 museum. Retired teacher, Donnie Jordan has been careful to put several of his own personal treasures on display there. His most precious items include a Winchester Bureau of Indian Affairs 44-40 caliber riffle along with a 1851 Confederate Navy 36 Caliber pistol owned by Frank and Jesse James. 

“The Winchester Rifle was considered what ‘won the west’ because of the caliber of gun. The ammunition fit both the rifle and the gun. It was the first gun to be what is called a repeater or lever action because it could hold a number of shells. I bought it from Chick’s Pawn shop a long time ago,” Jordan explained. 

The rifle also has what is called a saddle ring because it could be tied to the saddle. It was one that everyone carried. The importance of this weapon is that is  marked “BIA”. Those are rare and an important weapon in the west. It is displayed with a sensor in a bullet proof case.

The other gun is one that has come through Jordan’s family. It is an heirloom that was given to him by his father, who was the oldest son of his grandfather. He personally remembers a gun collector coming to his home, trying to purchase it from his father because it was owned by Frank and Jesse James. The family connection to the James brothers comes from their family farm in Missouri.

“My grandfather, Joseph Jordan, was what was called a ‘smithy’ which means he was a gunsmith/blacksmith and his family farm was next to the James’ family farm in Kearney, Missouri. Frank and Jesse would bring him their guns to repair over the years,” Jordan continued.

The story goes that Joe worked on two guns that remained in his possession when he died. Donnie is unsure whether they were forgotten about or whether the brothers used them as payment for work the elder Jordan did for them. 

“Frank James and my grandfather’s relationship continued when they moved to the Lawton area called ‘Punkin Center’. It shows how the brother and my grandfather continued to know each other. This gun was considered a small, back-up gun for them,” ...

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Pictured: Elk City retired teacher, Donnie Jordan is seen with two of his guns on display at the new building at the Route 66 museum. His personal collection of Native American, BIA rifle and Frank and Jesse James pistol are under a strict surveillance system, alarm and bullet proof glass. Staff photo by Sheryl Ponce.

The Beckham County Record

112 E Main Street 
Sayre, OK 73662
Phone: 580-928-5540
Fax: 580-928-5547
321 N. Main Street
Elk City, OK 73644
Phone: 580-821-2634