Carbine Williams’ ‘collision of inventive thoughts’

On this day in 1926: Firearms inventor David Marshall “Carbine” Williams, imprisoned at Caledonia Farm, writes his mother:

“I am not in a writing mood. I am at present under stress of an unusual type of blues caused by a collision of inventive thoughts on a certain subject in my mind that is hard pressed to solve with other thoughts that come in, in the form of a most lonesome mood. Inventive thoughts in themselves to me are serious, and when other thoughts far more serious and of a most lonesome nature bombard each other at the same time in one small head [it] generally gives me the blues.”

While in prison for second-degree murder of a revenue agent in a raid on a moonshine still in Cumberland County, Williams develops — with the warden’s permission — the M1 carbine that will be used by 8 million soldiers during World War II.

His invention wins him a pardon from Gov. Angus McLean in 1929. In 1952 Jimmy Stewart will portray him in the movie “Carbine Williams.”