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Description

Extraordinary Portrait of Texas Ranger Samuel H. Walker Taken Months Before His Death

[Texas Rangers]. Samuel H. Walker Half-Plate Daguerreotype, circa 1847. The oval image is approximately 3.75" x 4.75" (case is 5" x 6"). In this extraordinary daguerreotype, the dashing Texas Ranger, only thirty years old, wears his U.S. Mounted Rifles captain uniform consisting of unusual epaulettes on his blue wool tailcoat. The buttons from his white undervest are conspicuous. Remarkably, Walker died in battle only months after sitting for this portrait. According to our research, this is the only daguerreotype of this famous Ranger in private hands.

Samuel Walker (1817-1847) had become the first hero of the Mexican War for his daring mission to bring intelligence to General Zachary Taylor prior to the battles of Palo Alto and Resaca de la Palma. He was soon promoted by President James Polk to the captain of Company "C," U.S. Mounted Rifles, and in the winter of 1846, was ordered to the northeast to recruit for his Mounted Rifles. It was on this trip to Washington, D.C., New York, and Maryland that this portrait was likely made.

On that trip, Captain Walker met with Samuel Colt, at Colt's invitation. Knowing that Walker had served as a Texas Ranger with John Coffee "Jack" Hays on the Texas frontier and had effectively used the five-shot Colt Paterson revolver, Colt asked for Walker's help in redesigning the pistol. Together they produced a .44-caliber six shot named after the Texan-the Colt Walker revolver. Walker then expended some effort to get the secretary of war to authorize the purchase of 1,000 pistols.

Walker returned to the war in Mexico in early 1847. On October 9, he was killed leading an offensive against a much larger Mexican force at Huamantla, 100 miles east of Mexico City. Near his body lay his two new Colts, recently received as gifts from Samuel Colt.

Original leather embossed case lined with embossed velvet; wear limited to vertical abrasions and areas of spotting. Hinges and clasps in fine operating condition.

This image has been published in numerous books and magazines, including The Highly Irregular Irregulars, Frederick Wilkins; The Art of the Gun: Magnificent Colts, Selections from the Robert M. Lee Collection, Robert M. Lee and R. L. Wilson; The Peace Makers, R. L. Wilson.

Service and Handling Description: Miscellaneous Collectibles, Small (view shipping information)

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Auction Dates
September, 2013
21st
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