Author Topic: my GGGG grand father's rifle  (Read 17068 times)

Smithow

  • Guest
my GGGG grand father's rifle
« on: October 16, 2011, 07:09:23 AM »
I have recently acquired my 4X Grandfathers rifle that he carried in the American Revolution...Yes, I have the previous owners documented including his estate sale in 1838. I have contacted a horn maker of some repute for his help in researching the info.

 "M Scott" in script and I have the
complete history of the rifle after it was sold at Robert Elliott's
estate sale in 1838.The rifle's major significance is truly to my
family's history. To realize that the piece contributed to American
history of 200 years ago is an amazing fact. A well known Georgia
horner may make a powder horn to signify the many revolutionary
battles that my ancestor was in.









« Last Edit: October 18, 2011, 02:03:36 AM by nord »

Offline nord

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1550
Re: my GGGG grand father's rifle
« Reply #1 on: October 18, 2011, 02:33:09 AM »
Your rifle has been posted as requested. After viewing the photos I feel it only fair to share my opinion of the piece and maybe ask some further questions.

Provenance notwithstanding your rifle would seem to have few of the qualities that might tie it to even the late 1700's. Even if I were to grant that the lock may have been changed or the rifle converted to percussion, the piece would seem to have none of the architecture associated with early long rifles.

I certainly understand that this rifle is a family treasure which is just as it should be. Further, I understand that you can document the rifle back to the late 1830's. Though I'd normally opine a much later piece sans documents, I can live with the 1838 date... But not even so much as a decade earlier than that.

I'd guess that the rifle was made as a rather utilitarian item. A working gun if you will. The patchbox may well have been added at some point but I doubt it to be original. And while the patchbox may be functional, in my opinion it's anything but a work of art.

While I have no doubt that your several times great grandfather served in the Revolution, I sincerely doubt that this rifle had anything to do with that part of history. I'm inclined to believe that your rifle postdates the Revolution by about a half century.

Think of it this way if you will... Photos indicate a rifle we might normally think of as being made within a few years of the Civil War. Your 1838 date stretches this back by a quarter century.  That's a long time!

Then there's the matter of your ancestor. For the sake of argument I'll say that he was a young man of twenty in 1780. Thus he was born sometime around 1760. By the year 1838 your grandfather was approaching the age of eighty. While not entirely impossible for a man of that age being presented a working rifle, I find it somewhat questionable.

Possibly someone here will put my misgivings to rest. That's why we're here. Believe me, I want the rifle to be authentic. The problem is that evidence provided by the photos seems contrary to your family records.
In Memory of Lt. Catherine Hauptman Miller 6/1/21 - 10/1/00 & Capt. Raymond A. Miller 12/26/13 - 5/15/03...  They served proudly.

Dave K

  • Guest
Re: my GGGG grand father's rifle
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2011, 02:35:29 AM »
That is great having some family history that was in the Revolution. The style of the gun sure looks allot later than that though. Almost about the age of the auction around 1838. Just my opinion, but the whole stock looks much later than even 1800. Do you suppose it was restocked? The butt plate and trigger guard also look of mush later build also. It is not unusual for information to get attached to the wrong gun as the years pass by. But, I maybe wrong.

Online louieparker

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 616
Re: my GGGG grand father's rifle
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2011, 03:00:43 AM »
I would agree with the other post ..When this rifle was made the war had long been over ..
Could be a case where there was an earlier gun that left the family and the story stayed with this one ..Sorry but its just not a Revolutionary period gun ..I have heard several stories of granddads Civil war gun that turned out to be a Springfield  rifle made in the eighteen seventies . LP

Offline flintriflesmith

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1509
    • Flintriflesmith
Re: my GGGG grand father's rifle
« Reply #4 on: October 18, 2011, 03:30:49 AM »
Smithow,
You didn't mention where your family was from but this rifle looks very closely related to some made in or around Botetourt County. Virginia (near Roanoke) in about 1835 (give or take 5 years). Maybe it was a nearly new rifle when listed in the 1838 estate auction.

One I owned in the late 1960s had almost the same side opening box and it was signed Kinser, a documented maker from the region. I'll check the files and see if M. Scott is listed in the same area.

A picture of the cheek side side would be helpful as would good close shots of the box, toe plate, and the push button in the comb--even though it appears the inlay around the button is lost.

The hook breech is an unusual feature on any longrifle and indicates a gun of better than average quality. Perhapsjust the sort of rifle an aging Rev War veteran would have been buying late in his life. That could explain the family attribution.

Gary
"If you accept your thoughts as facts, then you will no longer be looking for new information, because you assume that you have all the answers."
http://flintriflesmith.com

Smithow

  • Guest
Re: my GGGG grand father's rifle
« Reply #5 on: October 18, 2011, 03:52:13 AM »
Thanks, Robert Elliott married Elizabeth Childress in Botetouty Couny, Virginia June 1873. I grew up in Roanoke Born in  1932. This rifle may have been built after the Revolution, but he did own it at his death in 1838.

Thanks, smithow
« Last Edit: October 18, 2011, 07:12:10 AM by Smithow »

Offline LynnC

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1607
Re: my GGGG grand father's rifle
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2011, 04:06:44 AM »
Did you notice the 2 piece stock with the separation just above the entry pipe?  Perhaps part of the take down feature to go along with the hooked breech.   Fore end stays with the barrel when taken down for cleaning.  If original to the gun, it is unusual.  Other possible explanations for the splice too....

Interesting rifle...................Lynn
« Last Edit: October 18, 2011, 04:12:04 AM by LynnC »
Are You Ready to Defend Your Rights Yet???

Offline bgf

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1401
Re: my GGGG grand father's rifle
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2011, 04:25:27 AM »
Did you notice the 2 piece stock with the separation just above the entry pipe?  Perhaps part of the take down feature to go along with the hooked breech.   Fore end stays with the barrel when taken down for cleaning.  If original to the gun, it is unusual.  Other possible explanations for the splice too....

Interesting rifle...................Lynn

Lynn,
I noticed the same thing (very straight "break" across the grain), but wondered instead if it hadn't been built as a half-stock and had the rest spliced on; your idea is better.  Only argument I can think of "against" your idea is that it would be even better not to have a barrel pin before the entry pipe ( some SW Va. rifles don't have any pins until past the entry pipe), but maybe "takedown" was a new concept at that time.  Also, it has way too many barrel pins (or at least holes), but I was thinking maybe the barrel could have been shortened (new pin holes in stock) and that would explain it.  Just to be clear, I like your idea, just sharing my puzzlement over the same thing :).

Oops, on second thought, I guess it has to have a pin on the breech side if it has a hooked breech and is a takedown?
« Last Edit: October 18, 2011, 04:40:01 AM by bgf »

msmith

  • Guest
Re: my GGGG grand father's rifle
« Reply #8 on: October 18, 2011, 04:51:53 AM »
I can't find a Scott in the Virginia books I have, but Sellers has a Matthew Scott ,Floyd Virginia.

Offline flintriflesmith

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1509
    • Flintriflesmith
Re: my GGGG grand father's rifle
« Reply #9 on: October 18, 2011, 04:54:57 AM »
Thanks, Robert Elliott married Elizabet Childress in Botetouty Couny, Virginia June 1873. I grew up in Roanoke Born in  1932. This rifle may have been built after the Revolution, but he did own it at his death in 1838.

Se my pevious post about his war recod.

Thanks, smithow

Glad the regional style of the rifle matches up to your family history/roots.

I'm from Salem (born 1946) and my GGG Grandfather was from Botetourt County. He moved to Montgomery Co. just before the Civil War. During the Rev War my part of the Brumfield clan was down in Pittsylvania county and others were out on Big Stony Creek in Giles. I've never found a rifle in my family. I think they sold off the last one during the depression.
"If you accept your thoughts as facts, then you will no longer be looking for new information, because you assume that you have all the answers."
http://flintriflesmith.com

msmith

  • Guest
Re: my GGGG grand father's rifle
« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2011, 05:05:50 AM »
Floyd County,Virginia Industry 1860 List a Matthew Scott, Gunsmith, Cap. Invested 1500.00,Employees 3, Slaves 0, Gross Profits 1100.00.
Federal Census 1850 Gunsmith     Jacksonville ,Floyd VA
Federal Census 1860 Gunsmith
Federal Census 1870 Blacksmith
Federal Census 1880 Silversmith
 
Born 1817 Died 1896
« Last Edit: October 18, 2011, 06:02:18 AM by msmit »

Offline LynnC

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1607
Re: my GGGG grand father's rifle
« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2011, 06:45:28 AM »
bgf - I see some extra pin holes in the fore end.  Perhaps the stock broke and the broken section cut out and butt jointed.  Barrel could be cut and re-breeched.  Your thoughts on half stock converted to full stock are just as plausible.  A careful dis-assembly might tell.........Lynn
Are You Ready to Defend Your Rights Yet???

Smithow

  • Guest
Re: my GGGG grand father's rifle
« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2011, 07:08:21 AM »
The Matthew Scott might ?? be THE answer. Many of my Virginia ancestors were the area around Floyd County. My G grandfater enlisted in the CSA at Floyd Courthouse. Botetourt County was formed 1769-1770. Floyd was formed from Montgomery in 1831.

Please explain "hooked breech"

THANKS , Guys

PS. I have the dates that Virginia counties were formed and from what OTHER county. Very interesting info.
Smithow
« Last Edit: October 18, 2011, 07:16:55 AM by Smithow »

Offline Gaeckle

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 773
Re: my GGGG grand father's rifle
« Reply #13 on: October 18, 2011, 04:35:38 PM »
Did you notice the 2 piece stock with the separation just above the entry pipe?  Perhaps part of the take down feature to go along with the hooked breech.   Fore end stays with the barrel when taken down for cleaning.  If original to the gun, it is unusual.  Other possible explanations for the splice too....

Interesting rifle...................Lynn

Lynn,
I noticed the same thing (very straight "break" across the grain), but wondered instead if it hadn't been built as a half-stock and had the rest spliced on; your idea is better.  Only argument I can think of "against" your idea is that it would be even better not to have a barrel pin before the entry pipe ( some SW Va. rifles don't have any pins until past the entry pipe), but maybe "takedown" was a new concept at that time.  Also, it has way too many barrel pins (or at least holes), but I was thinking maybe the barrel could have been shortened (new pin holes in stock) and that would explain it.  Just to be clear, I like your idea, just sharing my puzzlement over the same thing :).

Oops, on second thought, I guess it has to have a pin on the breech side if it has a hooked breech and is a takedown?


That splice may be a repair as the rifle was crafted as a halfstock with the barrel rib being made of wood (just a guess) the rib may have broken at one time and the solution would be to splice a forstock from a previous rifle (with a possible shattered wrist perhaps?) to make a full stocked gun. Lifting the barrel from the stock may reveal points of attatchment where the rib would have been securred....just a thought........

Offline flintriflesmith

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1509
    • Flintriflesmith
Re: my GGGG grand father's rifle
« Reply #14 on: October 18, 2011, 06:01:48 PM »
Floyd County,Virginia Industry 1860 List a Matthew Scott, Gunsmith, Cap. Invested 1500.00,Employees 3, Slaves 0, Gross Profits 1100.00.
Federal Census 1850 Gunsmith     Jacksonville ,Floyd VA
Federal Census 1860 Gunsmith
Federal Census 1870 Blacksmith
Federal Census 1880 Silversmith
 Born 1817 Died 1896

A gunsmith born in 1817 would normally have served as an apprentice until about 1837-38. That suggests that this rifle was made -- as the style indicated -- no earlier than 1838. If it is the same rifle as the one in the estate of Robert Elliott it must have been brand new.
"If you accept your thoughts as facts, then you will no longer be looking for new information, because you assume that you have all the answers."
http://flintriflesmith.com

Offline Dphariss

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8517
  • Northern I Corps Kill a Commie for your Mommy
Re: my GGGG grand father's rifle
« Reply #15 on: October 18, 2011, 09:27:17 PM »
The Matthew Scott might ?? be THE answer. Many of my Virginia ancestors were the area around Floyd County. My G grandfater enlisted in the CSA at Floyd Courthouse. Botetourt County was formed 1769-1770. Floyd was formed from Montgomery in 1831.

Please explain "hooked breech"

THANKS , Guys

PS. I have the dates that Virginia counties were formed and from what OTHER county. Very interesting info.
Smithow

The hooked breech allows the barrel to be removed more easily for cleaning. The two piece stock is also a feature of this. By the removal of the ramrod loosening the lock screws and removing the key behind the entry pipe the barrel can be tipped muzzle up and lifted from the stock.

Dan
No, sir, I don't give 'em $#*!, I just tell the truth and they think it's $#*!. Harry S Truman

Smithow

  • Guest
Re: my GGGG grand father's rifle
« Reply #16 on: October 18, 2011, 10:01:40 PM »
My dumb error, the rifle does have a raised cheek piece. The replacement percussion lock has this marking W**** D. the center portion is worn off. Would the lock be significant? The rifle must have seen some heavy use. Underneath the VERY dark patina, looks like “tiger striping”. How can I repair the patch box latch ?  There is a pushbutton on top of the stock ? Amazingly the double set trigger still works very smoothly.  Even though the rifle may not have been used during the revolution, It is very interesting for my family history..

Many thanks for your input…any more input would be greatly appreciated.

Smithow

Smithow

  • Guest
Re: my GGGG grand father's rifle
« Reply #17 on: October 18, 2011, 10:24:59 PM »
msmit, please guide me to your Botetourt census records for Matthew Scott "Gunsmith"I would like to have copies of this info. I do a lot of family history work and I would like to include this data. You may send it direct to howsmit@bellsouth.net Thanks for finding it, I certainly believe this is Robert Elliot's smith

smithow ho

Offline HIB

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 301
Re: my GGGG grand father's rifle
« Reply #18 on: October 18, 2011, 10:55:39 PM »
The  W+++++++D most likely stands for 'Warranted' a fairly common stamping when this style lock was made.  A great question might be: Who was going to warrant the lock if it broke and the lock maker was unknown? Especially if the gun traveled any distance from where it was made.

Great genealogical project. One that those who follow in your family will appreciate.
Good luck,  HIB

msmith

  • Guest
Re: my GGGG grand father's rifle
« Reply #19 on: October 19, 2011, 01:05:29 AM »
While Matthew Scott is not in the two hardback "Virginia Books' he is listed in the paperback "Virginia Gunsmiths & Allied Professions" by Whisker and a pencil drawing of his  trigger parts and guard can be found on page 70 & 71 of Jim Webbs lil book. In the West Virginia Gunsmiths book by Whisker his brother John is listed as a gunsmith , Princeton, Mercer County WV.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2011, 01:06:13 AM by msmit »

Smithow

  • Guest
Re: my GGGG grand father's rifle
« Reply #20 on: October 19, 2011, 03:09:39 AM »
Now, you know that I would like the book with Matthew Scott's info. The distant relatives that I got the rifle from knew very little about R. Elliot and his rifle prior to 1838 when he died. They have kept the history of who owned it after it was bought by W. Willis at the estate sale.

Still, a joy to own the piece, since it has been passed to several generations.

Dave K

  • Guest
Re: my GGGG grand father's rifle
« Reply #21 on: October 19, 2011, 03:37:02 AM »
You are right! Any old gun is a joy to own. Then when it has family ties to it, it is even better.

Offline flintriflesmith

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1509
    • Flintriflesmith
Re: my GGGG grand father's rifle
« Reply #22 on: October 19, 2011, 04:29:01 AM »
Personal email sent with image from 1850 Floyd Co Federal census. It lists Mathew Scott and his family members. The 1850 census also lists trades on the adult males and he is a gunsmith.
Gary
"If you accept your thoughts as facts, then you will no longer be looking for new information, because you assume that you have all the answers."
http://flintriflesmith.com

Smithow

  • Guest
Re: my GGGG grand father's rifle
« Reply #23 on: October 19, 2011, 05:34:24 AM »
Many Thanks, Although the Robert Elliot/Matthew Scott rifle was not used during the American Revolution (This was the belief of some of his descendents). It is of great value to me personally. Just think, I have in my hands this old rifle (In  pretty good condition considering it's age) that my GGGG grandfather used in the Virginia mountains. I have just received today the info about Wm. Willis ownership (Estate sale in 1838) down 5 generations to Rosemarie Willis Guthrie to her son Howard Tracy Guthrie to me.

GREAT STUFF

Smithow
« Last Edit: October 19, 2011, 05:42:47 AM by Smithow »

Offline Dphariss

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 8517
  • Northern I Corps Kill a Commie for your Mommy
Re: my GGGG grand father's rifle
« Reply #24 on: October 19, 2011, 04:16:10 PM »
My dumb error, the rifle does have a raised cheek piece. The replacement percussion lock has this marking W**** D. the center portion is worn off. Would the lock be significant? The rifle must have seen some heavy use. Underneath the VERY dark patina, looks like “tiger striping”. How can I repair the patch box latch ?  There is a pushbutton on top of the stock ? Amazingly the double set trigger still works very smoothly.  Even though the rifle may not have been used during the revolution, It is very interesting for my family history..

Many thanks for your input…any more input would be greatly appreciated.

Smithow


The lock may be a replacement but it was made as a FL originally and period wise is correct for the rest of the rifle.
The dark patina is the result of sulfur in the air reacting with the linseed oil based finish.
Do not repair the rifle yourself. If it needs repair it needs to be done by someone skilled at such work. Most gunsmiths you find, ML or otherwise, lack the skills for this work.

Dan
No, sir, I don't give 'em $#*!, I just tell the truth and they think it's $#*!. Harry S Truman