‘What History Is All About’

HENRY ACHIN found an 18th century pistol at Jordans Point Park in September. He said he and his sisters have also been finding old bottles and pieces of metal since the removal of the dam last spring. (Katie Doar photo)

HENRY ACHIN found an 18th century pistol at Jordans Point Park in September. He said he and his sisters have also been finding old bottles and pieces of metal since the removal of the dam last spring. (Katie Doar photo)

THE PISTOL found by Henry Achin has the inscription “Forehand & Wadsworth” on it, which dates the pistol to before 1890, according to Henry’s research. (Katie Doar photo)

THE PISTOL found by Henry Achin has the inscription “Forehand & Wadsworth” on it, which dates the pistol to before 1890, according to Henry’s research. (Katie Doar photo)

Student Finds, Researches Old Pistol

On Sept. 21, Henry Tecumseh Achin, age 11, was about to close out a fun Saturday at Jordans Point Park when he saw something curious near the river: a very old-looking gun.

“I was building a big rock sculpture at Jordans Point,” Achin said, “and it was time to go, and I just saw it lying on the banks of the river.”

On one side of the gun is a remarkably clear engraving, which reads Forehand & Wadsworth. This one detail has helped Achin determine a lot about the age and history of the gun.

According to his research, Sullivan Forehand and Henry C. Wadsworth started Forehand & Wadsworth in 1871. In 1890, Wadsworth decided to sell part of the company back to Forehand, which prompted Forehand to change the name of the business to Forehand Arms. Since the gun is branded Forehand & Wadsworth and not Forehand Arms, Achin estimates that the gun is over 130 years old.

Achin’s mother, Emily Achin, said that many other parts of the story were still missing.

“How did it end up there?” she asked. Had the gun had been lost? Had someone used it in a criminal manner before chucking it into the river?

Achin recently showed the gun to his history class at Lylburn Downing Middle School. He said that his classmates were “really surprised.”

He gave The News-Gazette a page of notes that he had typed up about the gun.

“Ever since the Jordans Point dam was taken down this year,” Achin writes, “my sisters and I have been finding cool things, like old bottles and pieces of metal.”

Achin plans on donating the gun to the Miller’s House when he’s ready.

“The Miller’s House Museum was made aware of this find during a student tour,” said Dick Halseth, president of the Miller’s House Museum. “The enthusiasm shown by Henry for his find and his research is what history is all about. Solving the mystery surrounding the gun creates a great challenge.

“We are pleased the gun will become part of the museum’s collection of river finds,” said Halseth. “We continue to have artifacts left on our porch for preservation. It is important for folks to note that these finds are considered city of Lexington property. We hope that more students like Henry will learn about and appreciate our rich local history.”

The News-Gazette

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