Red-letter revolvers


Man finds two rare guns with Fredericksburg ties


A local author and rancher couldn’t believe it when he found two pistols with historic ties to Fredericksburg. Upon the discovery, he knew he had to purchase them.

Marshall Kuykendall said the first gun he purchased was an 1854 Third Model Colt Dragoon, which had the name “L. Kuhlmann” inscribed on it.

“I saw that it had a Texas connection and I immediately wanted to buy it because I thought I could find other information on it,” Kuykendall said.

Kuykendall and a researcher named Lanny Ottosen were able to not only confirm its Texas connection, but also find out that it actually came from Fredericksburg.

“I got (information) on the Kuhlmann gun from John Clay (who purchased it at a Houston Show in 1988),” Kuykendall said. “It was originally bought from the Kuhlmann family.”

Kuykendall found that it once belonged to a man named Johan Ludwig Kuhlmann, who was part of one of the first families to come to Fredericksburg from Prussia.

The Kuhlmann family arrived in the United States in May of 1849, when their ship landed in the port of New Orleans, according to a short biography written by Kuykendall. They got onto another boat to either Galveston or Indianola, and trekked to Fredericksburg from there.

According to Kuykendall and Ottosen’s research, which cites the 1880 census, Kuhlmann and his family still resided in Gillespie County. Kuhlmann died six years later and was buried in the Fredericksburg City Cemetery, now Der Stadt Friedhof.

Kuykendall stumbled upon this gun while scrolling through websites that sell historic guns. When he saw this particular gun and the name, he knew he had to purchase it.

The second gun he acquired had the name, “D.C. Riley.” The D.C. stands for David Crockett.

Kuykendall, who is almost 87 years old, said this is the first time in his life that he’s been able to find two guns with such rich ties to Fredericksburg.

During the process of researching the Kuhlmann gun, Ottosen found the second gun with the name “D.C. Riley” on it.

“When he found it, he gave me a call and said, ‘I think you’re really going to want to check this gun out, too,’ so I looked into it, and immediately wanted to know more,” Kuykendall said.

Riley’s father, James, originally moved to Georgia from South Carolina, where he married his first wife, according to Kuykendall and Ottosen’s research. Later, he moved to Leon County, Texas, where D.C. was born on July 31, 1839.

Riley’s first wife later died and he married Harriet Yarbrough. He then moved the family to Gillespie County, and settled in the Crabapple region.

D.C. and his brother, Jim, served in Frontier Units in the county when the Civil War began in 1861. These Frontier Units formed for frontier protection since many of the able men in the area were mustered into the Confederate Army.

On March 4, 1862, D.C. enlisted in Capt. Henry Davis’s Company of the Mounted Texas Frontier Regiment, Texas State Troops, which was commanded by Col. James M. Morris in Gillespie County, according to Texas State Archives found by Kuykendall.

In the 1870s, D.C. married Amalie, the daughter of Engelbert and Rosa Herbst Krauskopf, who were both original pioneers of Fredericksburg.

D.C. died on Feb. 2, 1900. He was buried in his family lot of the city cemetery in Fredericksburg.

Through Kuykendall and Ottosen’s research, they also found out that during the times Kuhlmann and Riley would have purchased the guns, the only gun shop in town was owned by Krauskopf. He was likely the man who sold these guns to Kuhlmann and Riley.

Kuykendall said he also showed these Dragoons to people at the Former Texas Rangers Association, and some people there were very interested.

“Jody Ginn (FTRA historian) and Capt. Joe Davis (president), a retired Texas Ranger, were thrilled to see two authentic Ranger Guns from the Civil War period that had come from families in Gillespie County,” Kuykendall said.

Kuykendall and Ottosen have found out a lot about these guns through their research. But Kuykendall said he’s hoping this article, his social media postings and other efforts will find their way to someone who may know more about where the previous owners of these guns.

“I’m a historian and I have so much fun learning about this kind of stuff,” Kuykendall said. “I just want to see what I can find out.”

If anyone has more information, contact Kuykendall at, or Ottosen at