H.W. Mortimer, a noted London gunsmith, made these dueling pistols in the 1790s. They belonged to William “Lord” Morton, a prominent Lexington merchant, until Henry Clay acquired them in 1809. Clay might never have used them in a duel, but they probably were the pistols his son, Henry Clay Jr., fought with in the Mexican War, where he was killed. They were converted from their original flintlocks to percussion caps. A Clay descendant recently donated the pistols to Ashland, The Henry Clay Estate.
H.W. Mortimer, a noted London gunsmith, made these dueling pistols in the 1790s. They belonged to William “Lord” Morton, a prominent Lexington merchant, until Henry Clay acquired them in 1809. Clay might never have used them in a duel, but they probably were the pistols his son, Henry Clay Jr., fought with in the Mexican War, where he was killed. They were converted from their original flintlocks to percussion caps. A Clay descendant recently donated the pistols to Ashland, The Henry Clay Estate. Tom Eblen teblen@herald-leader.com
H.W. Mortimer, a noted London gunsmith, made these dueling pistols in the 1790s. They belonged to William “Lord” Morton, a prominent Lexington merchant, until Henry Clay acquired them in 1809. Clay might never have used them in a duel, but they probably were the pistols his son, Henry Clay Jr., fought with in the Mexican War, where he was killed. They were converted from their original flintlocks to percussion caps. A Clay descendant recently donated the pistols to Ashland, The Henry Clay Estate. Tom Eblen teblen@herald-leader.com

Henry Clay’s pistols recall era when politicians settled grudges with bullets, not tweets

January 05, 2017 11:58 AM

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About Tom Eblen

Tom Eblen

@tomeblen

Tom Eblen is a columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader who writes about life, people and issues in Lexington and Kentucky. A Lexington native, Eblen was the Herald-Leader's managing editor from 1998 to 2008.