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Cherokee Percussion Pistol
Division of Military History & Diplomacy, National Museum of American History

Cherokee Percussion Pistol

Catalog #: 96913    Accession #: 13152
Credit: Armed Forces History, Division of History of Technology, National Museum of American History


Salola (Maker)

Salola known as Salolinita or the “little squirrel,” was the blacksmith of the Cherokee nation. He died in 1895.

Dimensions / Weight

Dimensions: 4" H x 11.5" W x 1" D

Physical Description

Cherokee percussion pistol, .28 caliber

Specific History

The inscription on this pistol identifies its maker as Salola, a blacksmith in the Oconaluftee Cherokee settlement of Quallatown, North Carolina. He provided all the settlement's axes and plows. Salola's pistol was part of the Patent Office collections transferred to the Smithsonian in 1883.

General History

In addition to axes, Salola manufactured "a number of very superior rifles and pistols," as a white visitor who met him in 1848 noted. "A specimen of his workmanship . . . may be seen at the Patent Office in Washington, where it was deposited by Mr. Thomas [in 1845]; and I believe Salola is the first Indian who ever manufactured an entire gun. But when it is remembered that he never received a particle of education in any of the mechanic arts but is entirely self-taught, his attainments must be considered truly remarkable."


Country: United States
State: North Carolina
Era: Expansion and Reform (1801-1861)
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