My father's Government Model..

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John Holbrook

Mar 25, 2006
Missoula, Montana
My father, Ernest Holbrook was elected the Sheriff of San Patricio County, Texas in 1940. A local rancher, Rob Welder gave him this Colt. My dad passed away in 1946 and the County Commissioners appointed my mother, Ruth to fill out his term. She passed away in 2001 at the age of 91.

The old Colt was well used and the slide was cracked, so I acquired a new slide and had it engraved and restored by Bill Adair in Carrollton, Tx. There were only 400 Govt. Models produced in 1940, and most went to South American governments..

I also have both of their badges and display them in a display that I use at gunshows...

Excellent. A fine tribute to your parents, and a drop-dead good looking pistol!

There's a book you need to buy to go along with the gun:

The Texas Sheriff: Lord of the County Line by Thad Sitton

This is a look at the life and job of the 1940's and 50's Texas County Sheriff AND how it affected his family.

In those days, the Texas Sheriff was THE only law in many areas and he had unprecedented power.
In some ways, the Texas Sheriff was the modern equivalent of a ancient war lord.

He also had unprecedented obligations, and often ONE man and his wife patrolled an entire huge Texas county ALONE.

The Sheriff lived much of his life in a car, and his wife ran the jail alone.
The pay wasn't great, and the responsibility was high.

The book is a good look at the era you're dad and mom lived, and is now gone in a wave of changes that stripped the Sheriff of much of his powers.
John, you have the coolest 1911's on the planet.

Do you ever make it to NM for gunshows? I would truly love to see your displays, but you are probably going to have to make me keep my distance to avoid drool all over them. BTW, my Holbrook device is still doing its job in my SA Garand.
"In those days, the Texas Sheriff was THE only law in many areas and he had unprecedented power.
In some ways, the Texas Sheriff was the modern equivalent of a ancient war lord."

The sheriff of Bee County during the same period was a tall lean and MEAN hombre named Vale Ennis. During the war a Mexican youth was drafted into the army and refused to report. Ennis went out to their house in the county, and demanded that the youth come out, as he was under arrest on a federal warrant. The father stepped out with a shotgun and Ennis, without saying a word shot him dead with a Single Action .45, then shot the kid, also to death.

Ennis was the kind of man that showed no fear, and when you looked in his eyes they were cold and the hair stood up on the back of your neck.

There was another incident concerning Ennis. Three gents robbed a bank in San Antonio and headed south. The FBI notified all the county sheriffs to be on the lookout for them. Ennis spotted their car parked at a rural grocery and was phoning on a pay phone for help when they walked out and spotted him. They started shooting and Ennis was hit three times.

He pulled his Colt and killed all three.....

My dad told me that any time I was in Beeville or anywhere in Bee County, to behave myself!!!!!

Here is a photo of me and my dad with my first deer in1943. I was 11 years old... This photo was taken by my mother outside our home in Sinton, TX... I shot the deer on the Welder Ranch just outside the town... BTW I still have the Winchester, My grandfather bought it new in 1927.


Really nice! Old Colts and Winchesters...hard to beat.

Does your Model 94 have the saddle ring? They did away with it in 1927, so some had it that year and others did not.

Nice guns....they just don't make guns like that anymore.

Thanks for sharing.

- Brickboy240
The Winchester has the saddle ring stud, however my dad removed the ring. He said that it made to much noise..

Here is the Winchester.. Wood and steel, what REAL guns are made of!!!

youve got an awfull lot to be proud of, and seems you had life experiences that most Americans wont be able to live for themselves.

you sure got a real piece of American history.

thanks for the stories.
I keep on trying to come up with something. But I'm simply blown away. That is one of the nicest family heirlooms I've ever seen. Easily one of the best looking 1911s I"ve ever seen a photo of. I think the display is a wonderful tribute.

And the Winchester you've kept for over 60 years! Simply amazing.

I'd bet you have great stories to tell. Thanks very much for sharing. Seriously.

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