Colt Single Action Storekeeper’s Model


The year was 1933.  Austin Milroy “Catt” Crismon took keen interest in the empty flat bed Ford truck that pulled up to his Mobil Oil filling station, the only gas station still open in town.  The other one closed when the bank failed several years back.  Catt had not seen the truck before and with Maynard, Arkansas being a very small town, he knew every local car, truck, and any people that might come to town.  Maynard was close to the Missouri state line.  However, folks just didn’t usually come through Maynard on their way north as better roads existed close by to the east and west of Maynard.  To see a stranger in town was unusual!  With no one else in the store, Catt went outside and asked the driver now standing outside of the truck if he needed gas.  Another older man was standing at the opposite side of the truck.  When the young taller one said, “Fill ‘er up, Pop” Catt immediately became suspicious.  Why, it had been perhaps months since anyone said fill the tank.  It just wasn’t done.  First off, most local folks didn’t have the cash to spare all at once.  Times were tough back during the depression.  Secondly, and much to Catt’s displeasure, folks would say, “Give me a gallon.”   This really griped Catt as he knew the person wanted just enough gas to get him to the Missouri state line just six miles away.  Not only was gas cheaper in Missouri, but the state sales tax was several mills less.  Catt understood his neighbor’s motivation, but it still chapped him some.  Now with these two stranger fellers saying fill the tank, Catt figured that he had better be very aware and careful here.  Catt mumbled something about being right back and went into the store.  Now the word “store” was somewhat of a stretch.  Shelves offered a few staples like flour, sugar, tobacco, and such but no food items needing refrigeration were stocked.


Catt was no stranger to Colt Single Actions; he had purchased his first one in 1885 at the age of 16.  He reached under the cash drawer and took out his nickel plated Colt Single Action revolver.  It was a .45 caliber gun with a 3 ½ inch barrel and known as the “Sheriff’s Model”.  This same type of gun was also referred to as the “Storekeeper’s Model.”  These were not names actually assigned by Colt.  The purpose of these short barreled revolvers was they could be more easily concealed when carried or the gun could be strategically placed somewhere for quick access.   About 85% of the guns had either the 3 ½ or 4 inch barrel.  Most guns were manufactured in .45 COLT caliber.  The first shipments were made in 1882.  The last black powder version was shipped in 1899.  The last smokeless powder Sheriff’s Model gun was shipped in 1927.  While the exact number is not known, it is estimated that about 1,200 of these unique Single Action revolvers were manufactured.


In the store Catt stuck his Sheriff’s Colt Single Action inside his belt and made sure it was concealed by his jacket.  Outside as he pulled the pump lever back and forth to manually fill the glass pump barrel to the 10 gallon mark, he remained aware of where the two men were.  The driver remained close to Catt while the other sauntered into the store.  Catt informed the stranger what the gas cost was and the man gave him a twenty dollar bill.  As Catt went into the store to make change he noticed the other man was still inside the store and close to the door.  The man outside started up the truck.  As Catt stepped behind the counter to open the cash box, he drew his Sheriff’s Model Colt and kept it in his right hand out of site while keeping a wary eye on the stranger.  Yep, just as he expected, the stranger started to draw a handgun from his coat pocket.  Before the robber could bring his gun up to firing level Catt fired off three quick shots!  All three missed the would-be robber who ran out of the store, gun in hand.  Black powder gunsmoke filled the small store.  By the time Catt could find his way through the gunsmoke and to the front door the truck was speeding down the gravel road with the gunman robber desperately clinging onto the bed of the truck.


Catt looked at the twenty dollar bill in his left hand and thought, “That’ll just about pay for the broken windows I shot out!” 


The Maynard Jail shown below is located on property next to the house once owned by Catt.  That was his home with the porch to the left of the jail.  The buildings to the right of the jail are the Maynard Community Center and City Hall.  In 1956 the families of Mary and Bob visited Grandpa at this house and examined the jail.  When asked if anyone was ever thrown into the jail, Grandpa replied, "Old Charlie gets drunk about once a month when his retirement check comes in and the Town Marshall lets him sober up in the jail."  The jail  is about six by six feet in size.  A normal sized man could not stand up inside the jail.  No facilities exist in the jail.  The bars of the door were made from straightened out old wagon wheels.  Other than Charlie, it's doubtful anyone was ever held in this jail more than once.  Perhaps we need more jails like this today!     

Next Story            Return