At the bottom of the mysterious trunk full of old photos, slides and papers, there was a gun.
The story is that this handgun was carried by my grandmother's uncle, Paul Bouton, while he was in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. "He was a commercial agent, on the wrong side" is my father Willard's explanation.
It's an Iver Johnson Owl Head Pistol, and from what I read it was a rather cheap kind of gun, which would explain both why someone from Connecticut would have bought it and why it was just left lying around loose in a box for 100 years slowly rusting away.
Here's a story for background: www.eaglesflight.org/tales/stories/owl.htm