Guns were a necessity in early Collingsworth County. A variety of wild game was plentiful and a gun was necessary to harvest the game in order to put food on the table. Deer, turkey, prairie chickens, and antelope were abundant. A family could live off the land in the early days of Collingsworth County. Income could be derived by trapping wild game and selling the hides.
Some of the guns exhibited in Collingsworth County Museum are over one hundred years old. A Winchester Model 1873 Repeating Rifle, oft-times called the “gun that won the West,” was used by Texas Ranger Wesley H. McClure in 1918-20 while patrolling the Texas border on the Rio Grande River. One of a pair of Colt 45 revolvers used by legendary Collingsworth County deputy and sheriff, Claude McKinney, between 1925 and 1955 can be seen.
Other guns on display include a muzzle-loading shotgun, a German WWI water-cooled machine gun, and a Springfield 1848 cap and ball rifle.
On exhibit is Elias White’s Civil War powder horn. Elias’ sons, Jim and Sam White, came to Collingsworth County in 1887 and established a ranch near Aberdeen.
Guns were also a necessity for the family’s protection in this sparsely populated area frequented by lawless men.