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Enchanté: 1937

October 1937. "Family of Joe Kramer, farmer near Williston, North Dakota." Photo by Russell Lee for the Resettlement Administration. View full size.

October 1937. "Family of Joe Kramer, farmer near Williston, North Dakota." Photo by Russell Lee for the Resettlement Administration. View full size.


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I'm Delighted!

Best title I've seen yet. I just look here to laugh out loud. Not that I'm highfalutin. Thanks, Dave.

Model 1886

I think it's a Winchester Model 1886. It's definitely a lever action: it's shown clearly in another photograph, but unfortunately at an angle that precludes absolute certainty as to the model. It does have a "half-moon" stock. Winchester shows an "extra light rifle" version of the M1886 with a magazine tube about the length of this one, but it's unclear that's historically correct. I found an authenticated M1886 manufactured in 1887 (#5524, really in .45-90, though the Cody letter says .40-82) described as having a "half magazine" and that has no visible magazine tube at all. From 1886 to 1935, there were some 160K M1886s produced, with myriad factory options. Caliber could be anything from .33WCF to .50-110 Express.

The Rifle

The rifle shown in the picture has an octagonal barrel. Unfortunately, this rules out the Winchester Model 1903, 1905, and 63 as none of them were produced with an octagonal barrel. It is, of course, impossible to say what the rifle is with so little to work with. My vote is one of Winchesters lever action rifles with the magazine tube cut down by a local gunsmith or the owner due to a dent deep enough to impede the magazine follower and/or spring. I don't think it is a factory "button" magazine due to the weird length of the magazine tube exposed at the end of the forearm.

Back to 1903

The Winchester 1905 has a longer operating plunger rod due to its longer cartridges, longer than the rifle shown. The condition of the rifle and its short operating plunger leads me to the older model 1903. The model 63 introduced in 1933 is a later twin to the 1903 with the same short length operating plunger so it could be an abused model 63.

1903 or 1905?

To me, the barrel looks a little heavier than the Winchester 1903. I think it is the Winchester Model 1905, which used a box magazine and came in .32SL and .35 WSL. The two models are almost identical to each other besides the chambering and magazine, so it's pretty much impossible to tell for sure from the picture.


It appears to be a Model 1903 Winchester semi-automatic, manufactured from 1903 until 1932. If so, it was chambered for .22 Winchester Automatic. It might be a Winchester Model 63, the successor to the M1903, chambered in .22 Long Rifle.

Given nearly all of the bluing seems to be worn off the barrel, I favor the older M1903 rather than the later M63.

The rifle

Can anyone identify the rifle? The barely-tapered look of the barrel and the distinctive metalwork at the end of the forestock are unlike anything I'm familiar with in that era.

Now I know

how to fix my sagging front porch, if I only had a log.

...and Momma Emma only wishes she had another shoe string.

The Dog

The dog has got the photographer's number. Russell Lee better watch his step.


Somebody threw out a perfectly good corncob.


Standard of living statistics don't ever seem to include having a dog.

Watch where you aim that camera

Joe seems emphatic that he does not want his picture taken.

Possibly Joseph C. Kramer

Age about 46, originally from Germany, his wife Emma, also about 46, originally from Michigan, and their daughter Florence, aged about 9, born in Minnesota. Siblings Floyd (age 6), Lawrence (11) and Clarence (17) not shown. All living in Williams County, North Dakota, at the time of the 1940 U.S. Census.

Little did they know

That 76 years later their humble village would be the richest city in America.

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