New firearms display at the Sweetwater County Historical Museum


(Sweetwater County, Wyo. - June 30, 2021)     A new firearms exhibit - the first in a series - is now complete and on display at the Sweetwater County Historical Museum in Green River.

“Single Action Revolvers” is the first of a planned series of exhibits titled “Firearms of the American West.” The exhibit features six vintage revolvers, a contemporary Ruger Vaquero,

and an Uberti reproduction of the Colt Walker of 1847, a huge pistol that was, arguably, the most important handgun in American history; a powerful, six-shot percussion revolver that

rescued the Colt company from certain bankruptcy.

The Walker reproduction and Ruger Vaquero are included in the exhibit to provide museum visitors the opportunity to handle a single-action percussion revolver as well as a cartridge revolver, if they so desire. Upon request, patrons can request the “hands-on” feature from museum staff, which includes a short presentation about single-action revolvers on the frontier.

Among the handguns in the exhibit are the .44-caliber Remington New Model Army percussion revolver that belonged to “Big Nose” George Parrot, and old west highwayman and cattle rustler. In 1878, Parrot and his gang murdered a Carbon County, Wyoming, deputy sheriff named Robert Widdowfield and Union Pacific special agent Tip Vincent in the wake of a bungled train robbery not far from Medicine Bow. Parrot was later arrested in Montana and returned to Rawlins, the county seat of Carbon County, for trial. He was sentenced to hang on April 2, 1881, but attempted a jailbreak, fracturing the skull of a jailer in the process. After the failed escape, a lynch mob took him from his cell and hanged him from a telephone pole.

Murderous in life, Parrott’s story was bizarre in death. Two doctors named Thomas Maghee and John Eugene Osborne took charge of Parrott's body after his death. The top of his skull was sawed off and is believed to have been used as an ashtray. Much of his skin was removed, tanned, and incorporated into a pair of shoes, which Osborne wore to his inaugural ball after being elected Governor of Wyoming.

Also included in the exhibit is a special display of Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office badges; some from the museum’s collection, and others on loan from Gary Bailiff, himself a retired Sheriff of Sweetwater County and Sweetwater County Commissioner, and Betty Blackwell of the High Desert Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution.

The museum is located at 3 East Flaming Gorge Way in Green River. Hours are 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Tuesday through Saturday, and admission is free.