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Another HUH? Todays historical picture

188 Views 6 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  imported_delmonico
Ok at first glance just another typical 1880's farm scene, make the house a frame one instead of sod and it could be anywhere in the US.

Information is lacking on this one, Butcher might have lost some of his notes on this on in the fire that destroyed about a 1/4 of his pictures, this one looks like it may have a bit of dame that way. Picture 15215 of the Butcher collection Custer County Newbrassky, 1887. Before Heading Out is the title.

Notice we have a farm family wagon loaded with the cream can, funnel still in place. Most likely headed to town to sell the cream. Creameries were sprouting up all over the area to buy cream and make butter, on local one in my area in Beatrice became the large Beatrice Foods.

Also off to the left you can see what looks like a young apple orchard.

So what is the HUH in this photo? Well going to the roof and the juck up on the roof and leaving that section at full resaloution what do we find.

A crossbow, a weapon that dates way back in time and from many cultures, but not commonly found on he Great Plains in this time period. In fact this one in this danged picture is the only one anyone I can find had ever seen a picture of or a mention of. Not uncommon for kids and even adults to have bows and arrows to hunt with, but never seen any mention of a crossbow.
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cool... I love the little girl's tiny chair ;D
could indian's have used it for hunting buffalo (the ones who were moved from the west coast to the east during the big indian move) and maybe traded it with the farmers for something else? it's an incredible picture but i'm also stumped.
The crossbow as far as I have ever seen was not used by the native Americans, the early explorers in the 15th and 16th century used it some, but firearms took over as a hunting weapon and a milatary weapon both here and in Europe very quickly as they developed into improved arms. That is what makes it so strange. Also if one looks at the limbs on this crossbow they are fairly heavy wich should rule out a kids toy.
delmonico said:
Also if one looks at the limbs on this crossbow they are fairly heavy wich should rule out a kids toy.
I can't pull back my hubby's crossbow to get it notched. That one does look fairly thick. And the length of the stock as well.

Granted the crossbow wasn't as popular as a rifle or shotgun, but wouldn't it still have been cheaper? And maybe I can't see it very well in the picture, but I don't see any mechanism for holding the string back or a trigger. Is it possible that it was hand made, maybe not finished, a job given up.


Well, the crossbow looks to be a home-made inovation. Probably ol' Roy climbed up on the roof to have a go at coyotes and such that pestered the homestead. I would not say that is it particulary strange to see a crossbow that was, perhaps, made from an old gun stock blank. They were mighty clever and ingenious, those early settlers. Some ol' boy probably thought it up on his own.
All good ideas, I have to go to work and will be in a dept with out Inter-net access till 5 CDT. I'll check in then when I get back to a more sane area of the store. ;D

Here is something to ponder though, several of us wondered if it was either used or planned to be used to hunt the creature know in the west as a "Slow Elk" not the same critter as folks travel west to shoot today, but once in a while one of them is gotten instead. ;D Ponder that a while, I'll explain "Slow Elk" when I return, but remember a crossbow don't make much noise. :eek:
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