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Author Topic: Haymaker rifle  (Read 2472 times)
Shreckmeister
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« Reply #15 on: June 03, 2013, 12:20:55 PM »

Haymaker7,  So you contention is that all the examples of rifles with the maker's initials that we have
mentioned in this thread must have been the personal rifles of the maker's?  Because others do exist
of which I have seen at least 3 or 4 personally and I believe more than 1 by the same maker not including
Haymaker.
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Johan (Yock), John, William and Lincoln Shreckengost. Father, son, grandson and great grandson.  4 Generations of gunsmiths in Pennsylvania.
spgordon
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« Reply #16 on: June 03, 2013, 12:26:40 PM »

I think you have to remember from 1775 to 1815, the United States was either at war with England, or expecting to go to war with England or France. If a British Officer was killed with a rifle that was made in your shop and signed by you, what was going to happen to you if the British army ever came to your town? There were several periods of crisis between the end of the Rev. War in 1783, and the start of the war of 1812. The later war did not end until 1815.         

Except that, in the midst of the period you describe, Tench Coxe (United States Purveyor of Public Supplies, who is contracting for thousands of rifles) insists in a letter to Henry Dehuff in Lancaster that "every makers name is to be on his rifles" (Coxe to Dehuff, 24 December 1806). In an earlier letter to Henry Pickel of York, Coxe notes that "one rifle marked Pickel" was rejected because of its lock (Coxe to Pickel, 9 May 1805). So neither Coxe nor the riflemakers seem to have thought that putting names on rifles was unwise because of some danger during wartime.

I'd would be more persuaded by the explanation that names weren't put on rifles because it wasn't prudent to do so in wartime if rifles were being signed beforehand and then this practice was prudently suspended during wartime or during the build up to war.

But it seems, instead, as if most rifles aren't signed during the war years just as most weren't signed before; and many rifles were signed during the war years (evidenced by Coxe's correspondence) when the government was requiring it.
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Dennis Glazener
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« Reply #17 on: June 03, 2013, 12:42:03 PM »

Quote
If a British Officer was killed with a rifle that was made in your shop and signed by you, what was going to happen to you if the British army ever came to your town?

Possibly this:

http://www.umich.edu/~ece/student_projects/bonifield/treason2.html
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mkeen
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« Reply #18 on: June 03, 2013, 01:12:41 PM »

John Newcomer was a Mennonite and yet he signed some of rifles. The problem of great unsigned Colonial and Federal craftsmanship extends to other products and not just long rifles. Furniture is one area where very few pieces are signed by the maker. Would you be committing treason if you created an extremely ornate high chest of drawers or a pewter inlaid schrank? Clockmakers sometimes signed the dial and sometimes they did not. Some believe it was up to the purchaser if the clockmaker's name appeared on the dial. How many blacksmiths signed their work? Even Conestoga wagons, probably the most expensive item an individual could buy, were not signed by the maker. Maybe most craftsmen relied on word of mouth - the Twitter of the day!

Martin
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JTR
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« Reply #19 on: June 03, 2013, 02:18:20 PM »

I don't think we'll ever know why some makers signed their guns and others didn't. Or even why in some areas, say Lancaster, where a number of makers seemed to have signed, or in Reading where almost none did...

As for the AH guns, I don't believe anyone is contesting that Adam Haymaker was the maker, nor am I grasping the importance of whether one or both might have been Haymakers personal guns at some point, or the AH simply his signature as maker.
As to which gun some guy had in hand when he was killed in 1774 is probably impossible to prove beyond question at this late date, without a document describing the gun in very fine and exacting detail, especially given the similarity of these two rifles.
But Jesse, if you have the documents and your satisfied that they prove the point, it's your story and that's all that counts, so stick with it!

John
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John Robbins
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« Reply #20 on: June 04, 2013, 03:10:28 PM »

I think people are making the 21st century assumption that people could read and write. If a person wanted to do the work I'm sure you could research those makers who left written documents... but who didn't sign their rifles. I think there are far more makers who didn't sign their work because they couldn't write. Only about 30% of the population of 18th century America were literate.
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Bob
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« Reply #21 on: June 04, 2013, 06:30:28 PM »

Gunmakers were skilled craftsmen and were businessmen, well above common laborers.  I'd be surprised if a large percentage were illiterate.
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spgordon
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« Reply #22 on: June 04, 2013, 09:02:30 PM »

Not sure where the 30% literacy figure comes from. In an important book called Literacy in Colonial New England (1974), K. Lockridge showed that, among white New England men, 85% were literate between 1758 and 1762 and 90% between 1787 and 1798. Among Moravians--and plenty of these early gunsmiths were Moravians--literacy rates were basically 100%. One would need to investigate figures for other groups. Among German immigrant men, for instance, by the Revolution the literacy rate seems to have been something about 80% (judging by one's ability to sign one's name, which is the sort of evidence most literacy studies depend on).

Many if not most gunsmiths--like most tradesmen, who always had a higher literacy rate than farmers--would have had to keep ledgers and accounts, which speaks to a very high level of literacy.

Besides, the same men--who must have been literate--sometimes signed and sometimes didn't sign their rifles. So it can't be a matter of 'if they were able to sign their names they would have signed their guns.'

Scott

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Dphariss
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« Reply #23 on: June 04, 2013, 10:56:02 PM »


BTW the rifle at http://www.kentuckylongrifles.com/html/hancock_taylor.html
is apparently the one in the Historical society.

Dan
[/quote]

After looking at both sets of pictures, they're no doubt two different AH rifles. And adds to the assumption that ol Haymaker used his initials as advertising, just like a number of other gunsmiths had during the time.

So Jesse, you have proof that one or the other rifle was owned and used by Taylor? That's very exciting as absolute proof of just about anything from that time is pretty scarce , and I'm sure others here as well as myself would enjoy seeing it!

John
[/quote]

My question would be is the rifle featured in the Kentucky Rifle site in the Kentucky Historical society collection as they seem to state or not? I.E. does KHS  have both of them? Did the Taylor family have 2 AH rifles back in the day? Not outside the realm of possibility and might even be a probability if AH made a good rifle its likely his brother Richard had one too.
So far as the AH initials? We have two apparent examples. Thats it. This is the evidence. Trying to stretch this to mean they were his personal rifles is simply supposition which I do not subscribe to. There is nothing what-so-ever to support this. There ARE a number of rifles with somewhat flamboyant signatures by various makers so the AH carving is not surprising. It is what it is.

Dan
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« Reply #24 on: June 05, 2013, 09:50:53 AM »

I think people are making the 21st century assumption that people could read and write. If a person wanted to do the work I'm sure you could research those makers who left written documents... but who didn't sign their rifles. I think there are far more makers who didn't sign their work because they couldn't write. Only about 30% of the population of 18th century America were literate.

According to several references I have, there was a higher percentage of literate people in the Americas in the 1700s than there were from 1870-1940.
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"We fight not for glory, nor riches nor honors, but for freedom alone, which no good man gives up except with his life. Declaration of Arbroath, 1320
JTR
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« Reply #25 on: June 05, 2013, 01:14:36 PM »

Judging by some of the spelling, grammar, and simple sentence construction I see used on this and other forums, Id say were losing ground on literacy!  Shocked

John
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John Robbins
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« Reply #26 on: June 05, 2013, 02:59:31 PM »

Hey, it's not MY fault my keyboard can't spell!
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Dennis Glazener
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« Reply #27 on: June 06, 2013, 04:51:44 PM »

James B Whisker's book "Gunsmiths and Allied Tradesmen of VA" has what appears to be the same rifle that is on Mel's site, on page 116 and on the next page there is a John Haymaker rifle with "JH" carved behind the cheek piece. Guess this initial thing ran in the family.
Dennis
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George
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« Reply #28 on: June 10, 2013, 11:05:54 AM »

All the information on this site is why I enjoy it so much.I have a half stock(beleave it to have been full stock origionally) with a barrel marked with what I always thought was AC but now think it to be AH. The marking is very worn but almost identical to the stock marking shown in this thread as being AH. This rifle is shown in Jan's pictures of the 2011 Norris Show along with my swivel breech,but the barrel marking is not shown and I doubt it would show up in a photo.
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