Sunday, April 10, 2011

Browning Gun Shop and Home

I found it interesting when I went in to the gun shop. I had always thought it was just a gun shop, but there is a very tender story told about a man who had incredible faith. I had heard about Browning guns all my life being from Ogden, but now I know the story of the man behind the guns and somehow they take on more significance when I realize the kind of person behind them.
These are some of the guns on which the Brownings hold patents. They hold over 127 different patents on guns. Jonathan Browning was the inventor of the repeating rifle. His sons and grandsons followed in his footsteps. Jonathan was also a blacksmith and when the Saints moved west, although he desired to be in the first company, he remained behind and worked on getting others prepared. When the country wanted volunteers for the later to be called Mormon Batallion, Jonathan was one of the first to volunteer, but he was asked to stay at Winter Quarters and build wagons for those who would follow. Finally, in 1852, when Brigham Young called in all the Saints, he realized his dream of being gathered with the other members of the church. He was sent to the Ogden area when they arrived in the valley.
Of all the restored homes in Nauvoo, this is the most spacious. It has the most rooms and the largest rooms. This was the parlor. The only thing that belongs to the Browning family is the picture on the wall--the other items are furnishings of the period.
This is Jonathan Browning. What an amazing man he was!!! He found a rifle he really liked when he was 14 years of age, so he went to the maker of the gun and asked if he could learn how to make it. He apprenticed for free. When he had learned the necessary skills, he began his own business and became quite successful. His brother invited him to come to Quincy to set up his shop, and it was there that he met the early Saints. He gained a testimony of the gospel of Jesus Christ and followed the prophet of the Lord wherever he was asked to go, whatever way he was asked to to do it.
This is Elizabeth Browning, but it's his second wife, not his first. I thought it was pretty clever of Jonathan to marry two women with the same name so he didn't forget which wife he was talking to.
The kitchen table with the "stairs" going up to the loft where the children would have slept. None of the furniture in this cabin is original, but I love the way the Church has taken such pains to authenticate furniture before putting it into the sites that it is from the period and of the type of material that would have been used or known to be used in the Nauvoo area. Some of the other local sites do not take such painstaking care, and it shows.
The obviously used fire place at Browning Gun. One of the features this fireplace does not have is a "wife saver"--a crane to pull the pots out to stir the food. One of the greatest causes of death in the 1800's was women catching their skirts on fire and being severely burned. One of the biggest differences between this home and the average pioneer home was they had sufficient funds to put a cabinet in their kitchen. I've often thought, where did they store things in their log cabins? That's probably why had root cellars.
This is the bed in the log cabin behind the gun shop. Most of the families in Nauvoo, including the Brownings, built a log cabin before they were able to build a frame home or a brick home. Notice the sticks pulling the ropes tighter. These are the original "sleep number" beds. Depending on how tight or loose you made the ropes depended on how tight or loosely you slept. This also would have been a great way for keeping children from falling out of bed.
This is the obviously updated headstone of their daughter, Emma, who died as a baby. They had to leave her buried here as they left for the west, but this marker now stands as a memorial and tribute to the faith and sacrifice of her parents.

1 comment:

Mr C said...

When we went to Nauvoo, we kind of skimmed through the gun shop. It was at the end of a long busy day. I'm so glad you shared that with us.