(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
DURING the highly picturesque period of the
opening of the Far West in the two decades
preceding the rush to the California goldfields
in 1849, travelers venturing into the wilds of
the Plains country and the Rocky Mountain
region often wrote thrilling narratives of their experi-
ences. In many of these are descriptions of the appear-
ance, customs and accouterments of both the white
trappers and Indian hunters. One of the tools or
weapons that appeared to have intrigued the fancy of
those observers and which was mentioned more specifi-
cally than any other was the "Green River" knife.
In reading several of the accounts written during
the period, there is noted the frequency with which
authors referred to these knives and a natural curiosity
aroused as to what the implements might have been and
their source of origin. Turning to various collections,
investigation reveals that several of the hunting and
scalping knives, obtained principally from the Plains
tribes, bear worn but legible letters and a brand, "J.
Russell & Co. Green River Works." Certain that this
style of knife must be of American manufacture, fur-
ther search revealed the fact that not only were the
Green River Works an American institution, but that
they were the second cutlery factory established in this
country, the first being established by Henry Harrington
in 1818. It is interesting to note that Harrington is the
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A history of the Russell Cutlery, its owners, its growth and its products is described fully in this booklet called "Those Green River Knives". John Russell founded the Green River Works in 1834 in Greenfield, Massachusetts. Using the Green River for water power, he produced various knives for hunting and skinning. These knives became world famous and were prized in the United States wild frontier. Each blade was stamped with Green River which symbolized the high quality of its manufacture. The company is now located in Southbridge, Massachusetts and is known as Dexter-Russell, Inc.
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Pages from "Those Green River Knives"
| publisher Russell Harrington Cutlery, Inc.
| date c. 1975
| location Southbridge, Massachusetts
| width 4.75"
| height 5.5"
| process/materials printed paper, ink
| item type Books/Booklet
| accession # #L06.025
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