By Major Van Harl USAF Ret
Wisconsin –-(Ammoland.com)- My Revolutionary War grandfather John Harle lived in Fairfax County, Virginia. He did business with General Washington and the Mt. Vernon estate.
His first cousin Sarah Harle was George and Martha Washington’s housekeeper. Unbeknownst in history my grandfather, an unarmed farmer, saved General Washington from a vicious knife attack and in the process received a lifelong debilitating wound to his leg. General Washington took the flint lock pistol he was carrying at the time and gave it to my grandfather.
During the war my grandfather killed a British sergeant and a Hessian soldier with his Washington pistol. After his knife wounding attack grandpa John always carried a hog butchering knife as a weapon and with this device he relieved both of the dead enemy soldiers of an ear.
Shortly after the war General Washington requested the handgun back from John Harle. The pistol was engraved and returned to my grandfather in a walnut presentation case. The two ears were inserted into a small pouch and placed inside the case and are there to this day. Interesting historical provenance and of course value. The current family member who possesses the handgun has had it appraised and it is insured for $2.8 million.
This family member now lives in a state that has an open-carry law. He is having a custom holster made and is planning on openly carrying the Washington pistol. He is also developing a web site that will have a calendar with dates and times to let folks know when and where he will be carrying the Washington pistol in public. He feels it is a part of history. I would suggest there may be some ego issues involved but it would be unseemly of me to speak ill of a family member. His insurance carrier has advised against this, however there is nothing in the policy that prohibits taking the pistol unsecured into the public.
As you read the above information are you perhaps thinking the guy with the Washington pistol is an idiot? To take a piece of early American history that should be in a museum, valued in the millions and flaunt it in the face of the public where some folks may have nefarious designs on that pistol, is perhaps ridiculous.
First off, parts of the story are not correct in fact some of it is absolute Bravo Sierra (BS). Yes my grandfather was a farmer and did business with the Mt. Vernon estate. And yes his cousin Sarah was the Washington’s housekeeper. There was however no attack on the General’s life that my grandfather acted on and there was no Washington’s pistol. I also have no current family member stupid enough, that if he had such a historic pistol would carry it out in public and announce on the world-wide-web where he was doing this foolish vanity driven act.
Just suppose some bad guy used this electronically acquired information and was waiting in a parking lot with a Taser in hand planning on zapping my relative and stealing the Washington pistol. Good Lord what if, as he was “tased” he fell on the pistol and damaged it? I mean who cares if he was hurt, we are talking about (fake) history. So what is my point?
In Milwaukee a Stradivarius violin made in 1715 was stolen in the parking lot of a church. The musician who had just been playing the Stradivarius was allegedly zapped in the parking lot and the instrument was taken. The violin is valued at $6 million. The musician who endangered the $6 million Stradivarius is the (perhaps future x) concert master of the Milwaukee Symphony. It would appear this concert master has been dragging this “on loan” $6 million violin around for years to performances held in unsecured locations in Wisconsin. You know, like my pretend relative strutting around with the pretend Washington pistol. I know, I know “the older the violin the sweeter the music.”
Just to have your hands on a Stradivarius would be wonderful but to be allowed to play one on a regular basis would be perhaps a life time achievement. Would you walk about Milwaukee with a $6 million Faberge Egg and tell the world on the internet when and where you are performing this questionable act?
The problem is, what is now lost? The answer is, not just the rich sounds of a 300 year old violin but the entire violin. In time of crisis the only two things of true value are food and firearms but even in a future apocalypse I would be willing to trade some MREs and 22lr ammo for a Stradivarius and I have never even held a violin in my hands.
I understand the value and I understand the wasted loss. Oh and again there is no Washington pistol and no ears were ever harmed in the writing of this column.
1 Feb 2014 / Major Van Harl USAF Ret / [email protected]
About Major Van Harl USAF Ret.:Major Van E. Harl USAF Ret., a career Police Officer in the U.S. Air Force was born in Burlington, Iowa, USA, in 1955. He was the Deputy Chief of police at two Air Force Bases and the Commander of Law Enforcement Operations at another. He is a graduate of the U.S. Army Infantry School. A retired Colorado Ranger and currently is an Auxiliary Police Officer with the Cudahy PD in Milwaukee County, WI. His efforts now are directed at church campus safely and security training. He believes “evil hates organization.”[email protected]