A reader’s inquiry spurs a story on Thomas Dando

Recently we heard from Wisconsin visitor Keith Buchert who commented on one of our oldest posts – one from 2010. He was looking for the book on the history 1877-1906 of the Riverton Gun Club so he could buy one.

Riverton Gun Club History 1877-1906

The catch up on the uninformed, the famous Riverton Gun Club (RGC) held trapshooting contests by releasing and shooting live pigeons. Members paid entry fees to compete for prizes. (The RGC was covered briefly in Slides #103-106 in a PowerPoint I presented to a meeting in 2011 called “Do You Remember?“)

Keith writes:

Gun Club Silver Prize, IMAGE CREDIT: Keith Buchert

The trophy pictured on the site I once owned and sold 3 or 4 years ago. I am an advanced sporting collector and would like to know more about the historical part of the Riverton Gun Club. I have a gunning box that belonged to T. Dando and has the date of 1885. The Riverton Gun Club must have been a well-respected club because of the shooters that shot there and the quality of trophies that were given out.

I replied by telling him briefly about the RGC, sent him some of our website links, a Thomas Dando bio, and a searchable online archive for Dando’s Sporting Life Magazine.

RGC open book and slipcase

After another email exchange with Keith, I revised that 2010 post and added more information on the organization: a scanned Riverton Gun Club History 1877-1906 book and two other publications by the Club.

He responded with more information that adds to our understanding of the RGC:

Dando gunning box and plate detail IMAGE CREDIT: Keith Buchert

Thank you for providing all that information. I acquired the gunning box from a collector friend that purchased it at an auction in Maryland years ago. I will send you pictures of the gunning box. He definitely used it and it looks like a prize won at the Riverton Gun Club.

What is also interesting to me is the association T.J. Dando had with Sporting Life magazine as I did not know this. I also collect advertising smalls which include advertising pins from Sporting Life. Sporting life was the Magazine that covered both trap shooting and baseball.

Trap shooting two words signifies pigeon shooting. Trapshooting one word is used for clay pigeon shooting. But you probably knew this.

(He gave me too much credit – I did not know the distinction)

Sporting Life used celluloid pinbacks to advertise the magazine…

I also have a website that can be reached on Google under Keith Buchert’s uniquesportingcollectibles.com

I would appreciate any help you could provide locating Dando’s Book on the Riverton Gun Club.

Well, we have one of the 100 limited copies and we are not parting with it, but maybe someone else seeing this can respond.

More Gun Club minutiae, if you can persevere…

Thomas Dando, Riverton Gun Club History

Seeing that gunning box roused me to search the RGC book for Thomas Dando; it received over 400 results.

One was this high-stakes match that he won in March 1896. It required a $100 entry fee and awarded $1,300 first prize. The shooters killed 485 pigeons in this one match.

(According to officialdata.org, $1,300 in 1883 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $33,668.97 today!)

New York Times May 2, 1883
Charles Macalester, Riverton Gun Club History

In 1883, the Club secured bragging rights when The New York Times reported that New York backers of a British shooter retreated from a $5,000 bet on a match with Riverton’s Charles Macalester and Westmin

 

One more…

Annie Oakley by NH Rose c1890s
The Morning Call, San Francisco, April 1, 1894

American sharpshooter and star of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show, Annie Oakley refereed a contest on the grounds of the RGC between a New York marksman and Riverton’s crack shot, Charles Macalester.

Who wants to see more about the Riverton Gun Club? -JM, Editor

Published by

John McCormick

Former teacher at Riverton School, amateur historian, Historical Society of Riverton Board Member, website and newsletter editor

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