The first Colt revolvers, produced between 1836 and 1841 were the .36 caliber Paterson model “belt” or “holster” revolvers. Calibers ranged from .28 to .36 and were manufactured at Sam Colt’s plant in Patterson, New Jersey. They were fragile and fired only five rounds. Still, they proved to be effective in warfare against the Indians.
In January, 1844 Sam Houston informed Texas Ranger Captain Jack Hays the Texas Navy was being taken out of service and had a supply of surplus Colt revolvers. Hays secured them for his Rangers and just in the nick of time.
On June 8th the Colt carved its niche in Texas history. Hays and fourteen Rangers each armed with two revolvers stood off eighty Comanche in the Texas Hill Country at the Battle of Walker’s Creek, killing thirty while losing only two killed and five wounded.
“Had it not been for the five-shooting pistols,” Hays wrote, “I doubt what the consequences would have been.”
A Comanche warrior later said the Rangers “had a shot for every finger on the hand.”
When the war with Mexico began in 1846 Samuel Walker served as a scout for General Zachary Taylor before joining Texas Mounted Rifles under the command of Colonel Jack Hays.
In October, 1846 he mustered out of the federal service and rejoined the Texas Mounted Rifles. On a trip east he met with Sam Colt and suggested improvements on the Patterson revolver including a trigger guard, sturdier design and .44 caliber, creating the legendary, “Walker Colt.”
Walker rejoined the Texas Rangers in Mexico but never lived to see his pistol become the greatest handgun of its time. He was killed during the Battle of Huamantla on October 9th, 1847.
My great-great grandfather Moses Trimble served in the Texas Mounted Rifles under Hays and Walker. In 1848 he named his first-born Sam Walker Trimble and the name Walker has been passed down through each generation to this day.