Advocate – Baton Rouge, La.
Date:Apr 26, 1998
A crowd gathered around 74-year-old John L. Kennedy as he gripped a Colt Dragoon, circa 1850, a .44-caliber revolver designed for the Texas Rangers.
“At 4 1/2 pounds, it will absolutely wear you down. But it would stop a buffalo, much less a man,” said Kennedy, a retired Zachary businessman and gun collector.
Kennedy was giving an impromptu history lesson at Reynerson’s Gunsmith in Central, which hosted a Wild West Show on Saturday.
Kennedy, whose four great-grandfathers were Confederate soldiers, started collecting his family heirlooms as a young man- including a sword that his great-great-great grandfather used in the Revolutionary War.
“When I could get a hold of a dollar or two, that’s what I’d buy,” old guns, said Kennedy.
He also passed around a peace pipe that he said the Sioux Indians gave to President Lincoln in 1864 after the United States put down an uprising in Minnesota.
The Sioux started the uprisings during the Civil War to take advantage of the war effort focused on the South, Kennedy said.
Kennedy pointed out that the peace pipe was shaped like a club, not the typical bowl-shaped pipe. The pipe signified that the Sioux didn’t really want peace, Kennedy said. And before the Civil War was over there were more uprisings, he said.
Kennedy’s family acquired the pipe at a New Orleans auction of the estate of Edwin Stanton, Lincoln’s Secretary of War, Kennedy said.
“Someday, I’ll let the Smithsonian have it,” Kennedy said.
Gunsmith David Reynerson fixes Kennedy’s heirloom guns. In his workshop in the back of the store, the machinist-turned-gunsmith makes the parts he can’t find.
“Weapons have played a part in history from day one. The countries that have the strongest weapons are the strongest countries,” Reynerson said.
George McAllister played classic Western tunes on his Martin guitar. McAllister also writes songs in that tradition, some of which have been published and recorded by other artists.
“I just like the harmonies and the stories,” said McAllister.
Visitors also got a chance to see a Western show with cowboys in authentic dress and can-can dancers.
The show was put on by the Cajun Cowboy Shooting Society, a club that competes and performs with antique and replica guns.
The club’s president, Edward “Mongo” Burris, said they are drawn to the lore of the Wild West.
“I reckon it was a simpler time. … When a cowboy gave his word, you knew where he stood. You did your job and you tried to have some fun,” Burris said.
For Warranty Repair or to order guns and accessories, go to http://www.Reynersons.com or call 225-261-4860.