"The Virginia Frontiersman: His Dress and Equipment—a Blending of European and Native American Traditions."
This year's History is Served luncheon and silent auction will take place at the Hotel Roanoke on February 23. Our guest speaker will be Wallace B. Gusler. Mr. Gusler, native of Glenvar, Virginia (west of Salem), was born in 1942 in Roanoke. His parents, Lester and Ollie Gusler, were residents of Carvin's Cove in Botetourt County. Wallace was the last baby to begin life in the Carvin's Cove community that was displaced for the Roanoke water supply.
Gusler was self-trained at his home workshop at Glenvar, making flint lock rifles in the style of those used on the 18th-century frontier. In 1962 he joined the staff of the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation as master gunsmith. In 1972 he became curator of arms and mechanical arts at Colonial Williamsburg. Two years later he was promoted to curator of furniture and firearms. In 1984 he was promoted to director of conservation, where he developed and supervised a department of 16 employees. He moved back to be master gunsmith in 1994, and retired in 2004 after 42 years at the Foundation.
Gusler wrote Furniture of Williamsburg and Eastern Virginia: 1710-1790 and co-authored Decorated Firearms from the Clay P. Bedford Collection and Three Centuries of Tradition about the revival of traditional arms-making. He has published many articles about firearms, furniture, and the Virginia frontier.
His wife Liza, also a Roanoke native, is the daughter of the late Lewis and Colette Pitzer of Roanoke.