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Hunting and Skinning Knives manufactured by J. Russell & Company Green River Works
(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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In 1840, with the advent of the pioneer migration westward, John Russell began the manufacture of hunting and skinning knives along the banks of the Green River in Deerfield, (later annexed to Greenfield), Massachusetts. The knives had a nine inch steel blade and a wooden handle and were shipped dull so their owners could sharpen them as they wished. The knives' reputation grew rapidly as the demand for them increased with the western migration and trade with Native groups. Between 1840 and 1860, Russell's Green River Works produced 720,000 knives for the American west. Disputes were often settled with a Green River knife, the personal weapon of nearly every scout, hunter, miner, and trapper. To "give it to 'em up to the Green River" meant to bury a knife in your opponent's belly up to the trade mark stamped on the blade.
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