John Westbrook
The Old Gun Story


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[From the Texas Christian Advocate, 7 march 1861]

Mr. Editor - I saw not long since a musket that was used in the revolutionary war of 1776, which was to my mind no little curiosity.  It is owned by Mr. John Westbrook, of Navarro County.  It has been transmitted down from father to son, until he has by birth-right fell heir to it.  It is of English manufacture; bears some marks of antiquity and of the age in which it was made.  There are no names or dates on it save on the back the work "Tower" is engraved.  The history of the gun is as follows:

At one place in Virginia where the American army was camped for several weeks, several of the picket-guard had been killed on after another by some unknown assassin at a certain point, until that place had become a terror to the soldiers.  At length Mr. Westbrook's grandfather's turn came to stand there.  With some doubts as to the safety of his life, yet from a sense of duty and patriotism, and feeling it to be an honor to died in such a glorious cause as he was then fighting for, he took his stand.  Soon he observed something (which afterwards proved to be a Britisher who had attempted to transmogrify his appearance into that of a hog) approaching him, crawling along on his hands and knees, with a white blanket around him, imitating the grunt of a hog.  Mr. W. had resolved to fire on the first thing he saw, consequently when he saw the pretended hog he did not take time nor pains to make the usual interrogation, "who comes there ?" but with the nerve and aim that characterized the fathers of American Independence, he turned loose.  The hog disappeared instanter, and he remained firm at his post till next morning, when the followd on, and not far from the place found a British soldier laying behind a log dead, with this musket that is now in the Westbrook's family by his side.  The officers awarded the musket to Mr. W., and the old gun has been kept in the family ever since.  If the old musket was rubbed up a little it could stand the fighting of another revolutionary struggle; but Heaven forbid that there should be any occasion for it.

T. B. Ferguson



  • This story has been passed down through later generations and a handwritten History By Mid Westbrook (in the possession of Jean Westbrook Gibbons) says that the gun was reconfigured and taken to the civil war and lost at that time.  See The Zachariah Westbrook Biography

  • Submitted by Jean Gibbons Aug 2002

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