Author Topic: I wonder how credible this is  (Read 16261 times)

Offline Dennis Glazener

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Offline Tony Clark

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Re: I wonder how credible this is
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2012, 04:50:59 AM »


Well, I don't know but that rifle in the teeny weeny picture sure don't look like it dates to 1776 to me. Extraordinary claims need extraordinary evidence the way I see it.

Offline Fullstock longrifle

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Re: I wonder how credible this is
« Reply #2 on: January 01, 2012, 05:42:33 AM »
No way that rifle is the double used by Timothy Murphy, it was probably made at least 60 years later than they claim.  Makes you wonder where the curator of the museum got his degree.

Frank
« Last Edit: January 01, 2012, 05:43:30 AM by Fullstock longrifle »

Offline smylee grouch

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Re: I wonder how credible this is
« Reply #3 on: January 01, 2012, 05:58:30 AM »
40 cal sounds small for a 200 yard shot. Not saying its imposible but to me it just sounds too small.   Smylee

Offline JIM FRANCIS

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Re: I wonder how credible this is
« Reply #4 on: January 01, 2012, 06:35:42 AM »
I AGREE WITH FRANK AND TONY. NO WAY IN THE WORLD THAT RIFLE IS THAT OLD.    JIM

Offline nord

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Re: I wonder how credible this is
« Reply #5 on: January 01, 2012, 06:37:39 AM »
Percussion must have come earlier than I thought... Or maybe not.
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Offline louieparker

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Re: I wonder how credible this is
« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2012, 06:46:08 AM »
Dennis
 I would say that during the Revolution , the tree that  provided the wood for that stock was a seed or maybe a sprout !....LP   

Offline Tony Clark

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Re: I wonder how credible this is
« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2012, 01:05:46 PM »


The really sad part is many people see this firearm in the museum and are being "educated" as to what a revolutionary war rifle looks like... supposedly. I think the fault does fall on the curator of that museum. It's there responsibility to know what they are representing is factual and authentic. That is the purpose of a museum. Many collectors fall into the trap of wanting to place an inordinate value on pieces they own for obvious reasons. That is all part of the learning process for them. The gunsmith ledger that is talked about in the article sounds interesting but they say they only have the one page of it which talks about a double rifle, wonder where the rest of it is.

Offline JTR

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Re: I wonder how credible this is
« Reply #8 on: January 01, 2012, 05:07:44 PM »
Wow, there's some serious BS-ing going on there, with the picture of the gun, and in the article!
It looks like a typical 1840/50s swivel breech, that someone has added some carving to. It would take some serious wishful dreaming to make that into a Rev War rifle!

John
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Offline rich pierce

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Re: I wonder how credible this is
« Reply #9 on: January 01, 2012, 05:24:39 PM »
Curators can't be expert in everything and there's unconscious desire to have the real deal.  As a scientist I know that tendency is there, and one needs skeptical colleagues to keep things in check.  It could all be true (each dot) but unconnected.  Murphy may have had a swivel rifle by this Worley, Worley could have used some of the same style elements for 40 years, etc.  Doesn't mean this Worley is the one Tim Murphy owned.  There's nothing connecting the dots.
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Offline Majorjoel

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Re: I wonder how credible this is
« Reply #10 on: January 01, 2012, 07:28:33 PM »
I see a Huntingdon County mid 19th century rifle pictured here. A pretty rare swivel breech for this area. Joe Douglas and family used this same patchbox style. Does anyone have any information on the Worley gunsmith?  The picture is a little vague regarding the forstock area but what little shown appears to be no wood along the barrels. If true, this would be the clincher for me here.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2012, 07:39:51 PM by Majorjoel »
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Offline 490roundball

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Re: I wonder how credible this is
« Reply #11 on: January 01, 2012, 07:47:26 PM »
if there is documenttion for the Worley barrels, what are the odds that they are original and were reused?  that is certainly not unheard off - A back action percussion lock and new wood and old barrels.


or it could be like the famous George Washington hatchet,  the handle has been replaced four times and the head twice.   ;D
« Last Edit: January 01, 2012, 07:50:07 PM by Rick Losey »
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Offline Dan'l 1946

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Re: I wonder how credible this is
« Reply #12 on: January 01, 2012, 08:37:15 PM »
  It looks to me like a flintlock that was converted to percussion by a blacksmith. But a 200 yard shot with a .40 caliber rifle seems unlikely to me.

Offline Tony Clark

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Re: I wonder how credible this is
« Reply #13 on: January 01, 2012, 08:59:52 PM »
Curators can't be expert in everything and there's unconscious desire to have the real deal. 

Your right Rich, although I have known museum people that actually knew what they were talking about. The thing with this rifle is, as the article states, they are representing it as important as George Washington's silver mounted pistols! Don't you think that claim would deserve just a little bit of research? When just a very little bit would make it obvious that this rifle is not what the collector represents it to be?


Offline JTR

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Re: I wonder how credible this is
« Reply #14 on: January 01, 2012, 09:44:21 PM »
Dan'l, despite it having a flint hammer now, that gun was most likely never a flintlock.
The lock is just a common commercial back action percussion lock made from about the 1830s to the end of the percussion era.
And the style of the gun matches the time period of the lock.
The barrels might be older and re-used as mentioned, but at 40 cal, likely aren't Rev War period barrels either.

And I agree with Tony, given the significance they are giving this gun, they really need to check their research. Maybe the museum curator needs to check the dates of the Rev War and George Washington!  ;D

John
« Last Edit: January 01, 2012, 09:49:32 PM by JTR »
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Offline smokinbuck

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Re: I wonder how credible this is
« Reply #15 on: January 01, 2012, 10:16:13 PM »
Dennis,
Rifle made in 1776 or not? The article doesn't say that this is the rifle used by Murphy for his shot, just that he "may" have owned it. It states pretty clearly that Murphy borrowed a rfle from Ellerson that was probably used for the shot.
Mark
Mark

Offline Tony Clark

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Re: I wonder how credible this is
« Reply #16 on: January 01, 2012, 10:27:26 PM »
Dennis,
Rifle made in 1776 or not? The article doesn't say that this is the rifle used by Murphy for his shot, just that he "may" have owned it. It states pretty clearly that Murphy borrowed a rfle from Ellerson that was probably used for the shot.
Mark

That is another thing that was stated in the article that I found amusing. Murphy was the best shot but Ellerson had the best rifle, so He believes Murphy borrowed it to make "the shot'? What kind of rifle exactly did Ellerson have? Why was it the best? What makes him think that he borrowed it to make the shot? I realize this is just a newspaper article and it can't be expected to give all the facts, but come on...

Offline Dennis Glazener

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Re: I wonder how credible this is
« Reply #17 on: January 01, 2012, 11:52:31 PM »
Quote
No way that rifle is the double used by Timothy Murphy, it was probably made at least 60 years later than they claim.  Makes you wonder where the curator of the museum got his degree.

Frank
That's what I was thinking, as far as the curator goes, I have talked with several curators that knew far less about old rifles than I do and that's not a lot! At one time (may still be there) there was what appeared to be about a 36 caliber percussion mountain rifle at the Guildford Courthouse Museum that was supposedly carried by a local Rev War militiaman. I would have dated the rifle circa 1840! But the park ranger there assured me that the family had provenance back to their ancestor that carried it at that battle! (like the hatchet it probably had the barrel, lock and stock each replaced several times)!
Dennis
 
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Offline mr. no gold

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Re: I wonder how credible this is
« Reply #18 on: January 02, 2012, 12:42:41 AM »
Perhaps Eastwind will come on board to tell us about some of his forebears, who I believe were among the Worley family of barrel makers and sometime gun builders. The Worleys had a barrel mill in the first third of the 1800s, and they made barrels for S. Miller among and other builders in the upper schools.
No way that this one goes back to the Rev War. Such a rifle would look like the Wm Antes double in the Kansas State Historical Society.
As to Washington's silver mounted flintlock pistols, they are legit and are at West Point in the museum.
This could be a case of the gun having come out the Murphy family and they believed that it had been his; that is a fairly common frailty of family lore. Many guns with imputed history proved to be much later than the supposed event.
Dick

Offline jdm

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Re: I wonder how credible this is
« Reply #19 on: January 02, 2012, 01:35:24 AM »
Does anyone  know what year Mr. Murphy  died?  Did he live long enough to own a rifle this late? Years ago  Jerry Noble  and I were set up at a gun show together. A man brought in a carved rifle that had Benn in his family sense  the Rev war. He wanted to know about it. I  told him I didn't believe it was that old.  He did not accept me assessment. So  I ask Jerry what he could tell me about the rifle. His answer " The man who made it is still alive and if he's not somebody killed him. The owner was not happy.  Family history does get embellished.    JIM
JIM

Offline 490roundball

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Re: I wonder how credible this is
« Reply #20 on: January 02, 2012, 02:01:24 AM »
Does anyone  know what year Mr. Murphy  died?  Did he live long enough to own a rifle this late?  

He died in 1818 - so - nope


and also -

Murphy was a RIFLEMAN - and from what is actually known of his life's history a good one.  A history teacher from the Mohawk Valley did a lot of research and put together a biography of Tim Murphy about 10 years ago.  Murphy grew up on what was the the frontier, shot in matches, hunted to eat and fought.  Why would a man like that carry an inacurate rifle??  just to make life harder??
« Last Edit: January 02, 2012, 02:49:41 AM by Rick Losey »
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Offline Curt J

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Re: I wonder how credible this is
« Reply #21 on: January 02, 2012, 03:10:23 AM »
The man who made this rifle wasn't even born yet, 20 years after the Rev. War!  Nice enough rifle, just way wrong for the story that goes with it.

Offline Tony Clark

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Re: I wonder how credible this is
« Reply #22 on: January 04, 2012, 03:39:30 AM »
After reading this article the other day I couldn't help myself from taking a moment and emailing the director of this museum and further inquiring about the facts surrounding his decision to exhibit this rifle along with the claims they are making surrounding it. I also stated my opinion as to its date of manufacture which would make those claims impossible.
I received this very nice reply back this afternoon and basically, the director is adamant that they have sufficient evidence to support their claims.

Please note his statement "At the moment, the evidence points to this being the double-barreled rifle that history says Tim Murphy used during the Revolutionary War."

I was wondering if someone would do this gentleman a favor by providing him with the appropriate information to get a better understanding of the truth of the matter? I know there are many very knowledgeable collectors, authors and gun builders who participate in this forum... would someone take a moment to shoot him an email and help him out?



Carle J. Kopecky, Director

Schoharie County Historical Society

Old Stone Fort Museum Complex

145 Fort Road, Schoharie, NY  12157

director@SchoharieHistory.net





The following is his correspondence to me:


Dear Mr. Clark:

 I appreciate your interest in the Murphy rifle.

 At the museum, I / we use a variety of methodologies to identify and date an artifact.  They include the material and style of manufacture, any inscriptions or trademarks, verbal and written provenance, and corroborating research.  The process is ongoing for this object as well as for the single-barrel rifle which accompanied it, and I have serious doubts about that one.  

 In the interest of getting the word out about this acquisition, we verified it as completely as possible in a reasonable time, and described it briefly.  We did relate some of the previously-published history concerning Murphy and his double-barreled rifle, which is well-known.  The initial identification of this rifle was based on documents that have accompanied the weapon for several generations.  I referred to that documentation as an attribution, not as a fact.  The existence of the rifle has been well-known for a long time, but being in private hands very few had actually seen it until now.  Another source was a drawing of Murphy’s rifle done by the well-known artist Rufus Grider in the late 19th Century.  You may be familiar with Grider’s drawings of powder horns.  This specimen matches that drawing.  So the association of that rifle with Murphy goes back at least that far.  

 Is it possible that the rifle was made in the early 19th Century and still belonged to Murphy?  Yes.  Timothy Murphy lived until 1818.  Is it possible that the documents accompanying the rifle were faked at some point?  Yes – the ledger sheet was probably not torn from a book, but is more likely a transcription.  However, the provenance indicated by that ledger compares favorably with a 1911 history of Easton Pennsylvania gunsmiths.  There are some possible discrepancies, so more detective work can certainly be done.  One question which may never be answered to my satisfaction is how Murphy, a simple farmer/woodsman in 1776 could have afforded a £20 rifle!

 A number of local experts have a similar opinion to yours, and a few do not.  One must be careful not to use style alone for such early rifles, since there are too few examples to cite them as the exclusive style of that early period of American rifle-making.  If you care to assist us, I would be particularly interested to see examples of any Golcher over-under rifles of the 19th century.  We would also like follow the story of the Committee of Safety musket manufactory set up by John Golcher in Philadelphia, later moved to Lancaster when the British threatened Philadelphia.  Is there a connection between Golcher, Isaac Worly of Easton, PA  and Jacob Worly – his son? – of Lancaster?  The former Worly shop in Lancaster is supposedly where the ledger sheet came from.

 At the moment, the evidence points to this being the double-barreled rifle that history says Tim Murphy used during the Revolutionary War.   With so much folklore about Murphy, and it is possible that some of the war stories were embellished by referring to a rifle he actually acquired later in life, and this was repeated by historians.  It is even possible that the gun itself is an elaborate hoax, but if so it would have to have been perpetrated before Grider saw it in the late 1800s.

 Our best judgment at this time is that this is the Murphy double-barreled rifle long known by Revolutionary War historians and enthusiasts, until proven otherwise.  If and when that proof is obtained, we will revise the object description accordingly.

 Sincerely,

 Carle Kopecky

« Last Edit: January 04, 2012, 04:10:13 AM by Tony Clark »

Offline 490roundball

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Re: I wonder how credible this is
« Reply #23 on: January 04, 2012, 03:54:08 AM »
so, don't confuse me with the facts.
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Online Robert Wolfe

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Re: I wonder how credible this is
« Reply #24 on: January 04, 2012, 04:36:12 AM »
Rick, that seems a little rough since he did ask for help in pursuing the question further.
Robert Wolfe
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