Last spring Paul Moran, of St. Joseph, MN, made a significant donation to the museum with his great-grandfather’s 1860’s Wesson rifle. The museum had a photo of Paul’s ancestor, John Moran, in a stylish fur coat, purported to be a buffalo coat. The rifle was made by the Frank Wesson Company and was patented in 1862. It is a .32 caliber with a 24 inch octagon barrel. What makes this rifle unique is it’s two trigger style. This is one of the first breech loading guns to use rim fire cartridges, removing the need to have a separate percussion cap.
Paul’s family has just called it “Grandpa’s Buffalo Gun.” John Moran, as a young adult, lived in Iowa, Neberaska, and Wisconsin before coming to the Avoca area with his father and brothers. He married Sarah Short in 1911 and they had eleven children.