Meeting Jim Chappell

In February 2017 just before the book, P.O. Ackley, America’s Gunsmith came out I had a chance to visit Salt Lake City.  I was there for the Western Hunting and Conservation Expo.  A great outdoor show I might add.  My son and I were there to promote our businesses 4D Reamer Rentals LTD and Z-Hat Customs LLC respectively.

When the show was over I asked my son how he felt about a little field trip?  Where?, he asked.  P.O. Ackley’s old shop I told him.  He was excited to check it out as I was, so off we went.

Now we just planned on stopping by and getting a quick picture.  But as we were standing at the gate across the driveway snapping a quick picture a man opened the door to the house and asked if you could help us.  I said, “Well we did not intend to bother you, but we know this was P.O. Ackley’s place and just wanted a quick picture.”

Fred and Dewain Zeglin @ the Ackley Shop
Fred and Dewain Zeglin in front of the Chicken Coop where Ackley made many a barrel.

He introduced himself as Dustin.  He smiled big and said, “I’m Ackley’s Great Grandson.”  He graciously invited us in and took us back to the shop so we could get a picture in front of it.

Dustin told us he wished he remembered more about his Great Grandpa.  It was obvious that he took pride in that heritage.  He said when he was little he remembered his Great Grandpa was “Kind of grumpy, but on the other hand he was mostly deaf so he probably could not hear most of what us kids said.”

Jim Chappell with prized possessions, P.O. Ackley’s hammers.

Not much later Jim Chappell (P.O.’s Son-in-law) came home, we introduced ourselves.  Jim asked a few questions about the book and how I did my research.  I had talked to his wife Jackie many years earlier in the research phase of the book.  Also Jim’s nephew had provided a fair amount of material for the book.  Then Jim invited us into the house to visit a bit.

Jim went to his room and came out with a couple of hammers.  He said, “I rescued these from the shop a long time back because I figured they would disappear if I didn’t.”  His pride in his Father-in-law was obvious.   Jim and Dustin could not have been nicer to us if they had tried.   Good People.


4 thoughts on “Meeting Jim Chappell

  1. It was great meeting both of you, and visit for a bit.
    Seeing that Great Grandpa’s work is still appreciated and admired brings a huge smile to my face! I truly look forward to the read.

    1. My son and I very much enjoyed meeting you as well. Thanks so much for your hospitality!
      Fred Z.

  2. My son is Dustin. My grandfather was P . O. Ackley. He was a great man.

    1. As you might imagine, I spent a lot of time researching your Grandfather’s career.
      It has brought me many hours of enjoyment and entertainment. He managed to meet and/or work with some of the most famous gun people in the U.S. He trained a huge number a barrel makers and gunsmiths over the years. His influence on the gun industry is much larger than most people will ever give him credit for.

      Fred Z.

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