Cherokee pistol, 1843
The inscription on this pistol identifies its maker as Salola (Squirrel), a blacksmith in the Oconaluftee settlement of Quallatown, North Carolina, who provided all the settlement's axes and plows. In addition, he manufactured "a number of very superior rifles and pistols," as a white visitor who met Salola in 1848 noted. "A specimen of his workmanship . . . may be seen at the Patent Office in Washington, where it was deposited by Mr. Thomas [in 1845]; and I believe Salola is the first Indian who ever manufactured an entire gun. But when it is remembered that he never received a particle of education in any of the mechanic arts but is entirely self-taught, his attainments must be considered truly remarkable." Salola's pistol was part of the Patent Office collections transferred to the Smithsonian in 1883.
Firearms, Native American History
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