Cal Aten's Colt Single Action Revolver
Cal Aten was born on December 7, 1868 in Abingdon, Illinois and came to Texas as a young child with his family in 1876. Following in older brother Ira’s footsteps, Calvin Aten enlisted in Company D of the Texas Rangers on March 24, 1888 under Captain Frank Jones. Cal’s service with the Rangers was one of adventure and danger, and included time working along the border in far south Texas and also in the Big Bend region. One of the most electrifying episodes of Cal’s Ranger career unwound in the Texas Hill Country near present day Rock Springs. There, on Christmas night 1889, while accompanied by Rangers John R. Hughes and Bazel Lamar “Baz” Outlaw, Aten was involved in a fierce gunfight with brothers Will and Alvin Odle. The Odle brothers were killed, and as Alvin Odle lay dying he gave his engraved Colt .45 six-shooter to the young Ranger comforting him.
Joseph Trobaugh II of Pennsylvania, Cal Aten’s great-grandson kindly loaned the Museum the Colt Single Action Army 1885 Revolver from the Odle gunfight. Tucked inside the gun’s grip was a note written by Cal describing the history of the gun taken from outlaw Alvin Odle in 1889. The handwritten note reads: Taken from hand of Alvin Odle as he lay dying at East fork of Bullhead Mt. Edwards Co., Tex. Xmas night 1889
Colt Single Action Army Revolver, 1885, with Cal Aten’s handwritten note
Gift of Joseph Trobaugh, II/ 2022.028.001
For more information on the history of this artifact, see the article link below: