The Winchester: Legend of the West
This is an original kind of family history which, instead of individuals alone, is centred on an object which was important to the writer’s forebears – in this case a rifle.
The writer, BBC journalist Laura Trevelyan, is the 3x great granddaughter of Oliver Winchester, born in 1810. He rose from being a penniless farm boy to be one of the most successful weapons manufacturers in the 19th century.
His Winchester Repeating Arms Company produced one of the first commercial guns to fire continuously, without having to be reloaded. It became the primary instrument in the expansion West of the United States
On Oliver’s death, control of the co ompany transferred to his son, but he outlasted d his father by y less than a ye ear. The fortu une then passed to o the son’s widow, Sarah Winchester,ter a very wealthy woman who constantly expanded her vast house, which was said to be haunted by the ghosts of the Native Americans slaughtered by the settlers usingg their Winchesters. Characters here include the iinevitable profligate grandson who sspent his inherited millions; the aunt wwho converted her elephant gun to fire tennnis balls; and the sickly son, raised by a doomineering father, who oversaw the mismmanagement and decline of the comppany. No Winchesters now manuufacture guns. Thiis book was written with full access to companycompan details, personal diaries and letters, to give a social history of the family and the firm rather than a technical history of the rifle.
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