Author Topic: William Henry longrifle  (Read 22206 times)

tonyw

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William Henry longrifle
« on: May 30, 2014, 05:20:00 PM »
I'm writing from England......I'm an American who grew up along the Delaware River in New York and who owns a W HENRY BOULTON PENN  longrifle that I would like to get some info on or to certainly add to the list of existing examples.  It's stamped on the barrel as I've written it above.   Tiger maple stock with engraved brass patch box and an eight pointed oblong brass star inlaid on the cheek piece along with incised engraving and a silver half moon inlaid below the cheek piece.  There are silver inlaid fish running down the barrel stock along with incised carving at the ramrod ferrule.  Unconverted flintlock  with a silver shield inlaid at the top of the wrist that is engraved H with a 4 under it.  The barrel is 40" and unswamped and in excellent condition as is the whole gun.
  
Would love to get some thoughts on this and would gladly send along some pics once I know how to download them onto this site.  I'm a new member as of today.  Many thanks for any input into the description and I'll reply once I hear from anyone.

thanks   tony

Added photos 6/1/14 - Nord  ( What a partner,, he beat me to it...Hurricane)



















« Last Edit: June 01, 2014, 09:48:42 PM by Hurricane ( of Virginia) »

Offline mr. no gold

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Re: William Henry longrifle
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2014, 06:03:43 PM »
Welcome to the ALR Forum, Tony. You will find many here willing to help you with your rifle. It sounds like a fine example of Henry's work. However, everything here comes down to photos, photos, photos. The more the better and of good quality. Even they are a poor substitute for having the gun in hand to examine it. Still and all you will get more facts and opinions about the gun than you ever imagined. Thank you for coming on board.
Dick

tonyw

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Re: William Henry longrifle
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2014, 07:51:06 PM »
Hey Dick

Thanks for the reply.  Can you give me some operating instructions on how to download pics onto this forum.....can't find any icons to do that.

Thanks, tony

Offline Majorjoel

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Re: William Henry longrifle
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2014, 08:24:06 PM »
Welcome to the ALR forum Tony! If you follow the instructions from this tutorial to post your photo's....http://americanlongrifles.org/forum/index.php?topic=10.0
Joel Hall

Offline spgordon

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Re: William Henry longrifle
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2014, 08:46:56 PM »
I'd encourage you to check out the Jacobsburg Historical Society website. JHS preserves the history of the Boulton gunworks, built by William Henry III in 1812-13: http://www.jacobsburghistory.com/

William Henry III (1794-1878) partnered with his brother, J. Joseph Henry (1786-1834), in operating Boulton, but Joseph Henry was based in Philadelphia from 1807-1822. In 1822, after the death of their father (the Nazareth gunsmith William Henry II, who had spent his last years, very ill, in Philadelphia with his son), J. Joseph moved back to Northampton County and within a few years bought his brother's share of the Boulton works.

William Henry II (1757-1821) does not seem to have produced any rifles at the Boulton gunworks (though he had some financial interest). He had built a gunworks on the Bushkill a decade earlier (1798) that he converted to a grist mill in 1803. He operated his gunshop out of Nazareth, PA, from 1780 to 1815 or 1816.

It seems likely (but not certain) that a rifle with a barrel stamp of "W HENRY BOULTON PENN" would date from 1813-22, when William Henry III was running Boulton solo.

Scott G.
« Last Edit: May 30, 2014, 08:47:32 PM by spgordon »
Check out The Lost Village of Christian's Spring:
https://christiansbrunn.web.lehigh.edu/
And The Letters of Mary Penry: A Single Moravian Woman in Early America
http://www.psupress.org/books/titles/978-0-271-08108-3.html

tonyw

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Re: William Henry longrifle
« Reply #5 on: May 30, 2014, 08:49:41 PM »
I was assuming it was a Henry lll production, just prior to 1821-22??

Offline spgordon

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Re: William Henry longrifle
« Reply #6 on: May 30, 2014, 08:59:05 PM »
I just meant to note that William Henry III was operating alone (sort of) at Boulton from 1813-22, so the rifle would seem to date from those years. Perhaps other list members can help date the rifle to the later part of that period based on the description you gave (patch box, inlays, carving) or the photos when you are able to load them. -- Scott
Check out The Lost Village of Christian's Spring:
https://christiansbrunn.web.lehigh.edu/
And The Letters of Mary Penry: A Single Moravian Woman in Early America
http://www.psupress.org/books/titles/978-0-271-08108-3.html

tonyw

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Re: William Henry longrifle
« Reply #7 on: May 30, 2014, 11:11:37 PM »
Thanks, Scott. 

Offline JCKelly

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Re: William Henry longrifle
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2014, 05:33:26 PM »
Photos of the Henry Factory on Bushkill Creek, Boulton, Pennsylvania are shown as plates 17 and 18 in The Kentucky Rifle, by Captain John G.W. Dillin, 1924. William Henry, and William Henry, Jr (the Boulton maker) are discussed on page 20.

This shop was later razed by local people afraid of children getting hurt playing there. When I saw the rubble Spring 1963 there was a lime pile, possibly used for annealing steel parts. As it was covered in poison ivy, I was not so enthused about digging. Went there as part of an Ecology Class trip to see the old-growth Hemlock forest, that being the climax growth tree in eastern Pennsylvania.

If perchance you should be so unfortunate as to lack a copy of Dillin, then get thee one. It is the primary book for anyone interested in the American long rifle. Armchair critics will be glad to point out Capt Dillin's errors of 90 years ago.

tonyw

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Re: William Henry longrifle
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2014, 08:22:33 PM »
thanks JC


Dillon is on the way actually......just as of today.  Found an old copy here in Merry old England on the cheap....

Offline JTR

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Re: William Henry longrifle
« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2014, 02:38:37 AM »
Tonyw,
If you don't want to have to figure out the picture posting routine here, email the pictures to me if you like, and I'll post them for you.
John
John Robbins

Offline GrampaJack

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Re: William Henry longrifle
« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2014, 02:46:06 AM »
Lucky to  find it "on the cheap". Now a days "on the  cheap" and any book on antique guns is non sequitur. Welcome to the board, we can always use help from across the pond.  Jack

Offline aka california eddillon

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Re: William Henry longrifle
« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2014, 05:09:04 AM »
Welcome Tony.  Nice to see expats joining in.  Have your read the photo loading tutorial?.  If you have a problem, I'll put them up for you.  Please post here if you need help.  I'll take care of it.
Cheers,
Ed
In memory of Capt. Frederick H. Dillon, Commander 235th Ordnance Bomb Disposal Company.  MIA October 10, 1943.  His brother, Private Daniel B. Dillon, 85th Division, KIA northern Italy September 23, 1944.

Offline fm tim

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Re: William Henry longrifle
« Reply #13 on: June 01, 2014, 05:32:21 AM »
If you reference the American Society of Arms Collectors website:

http://americansocietyofarmscollectors.org/resources/articles/

There is a dual article by Ron Gabel and Bob Sadler named :
"The Henrys: Gunsmiths and Arms Manufacturers"

Ron discusses the family history, Bob discusses the Henrys and arms manufacturing

Lots of other good articles from authors like W. Gussler, S. Dyke about a huge diversity of firearms, swords, patchboxes, etc.

There are a number of articles about Lehigh Valley gunsmiths and firearms, many by Ron Gabel.

All downloadable.

Offline Hurricane ( of Virginia)

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Re: William Henry longrifle
« Reply #14 on: June 01, 2014, 07:40:48 AM »
I will post the photos tomorrow.
Hurricane

tonyw

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Re: William Henry longrifle
« Reply #15 on: June 01, 2014, 09:49:59 AM »
I don't know how much banter is acceptable on this forum, so I'll keep it short.  Many kind thanks to all who have offered help and advice already....really great.  Already feels like family.  Glad to be of any help as eyes on the ground over here if needed.  I'll await Fred's upload of the pics.  Thanks  Tony

Offline spgordon

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Re: William Henry longrifle
« Reply #16 on: June 01, 2014, 09:42:29 PM »
In addition to the resources mentioned above, you might consult (on this forum itself):

http://americanlongrifles.org/forum/index.php?topic=22490.0
Check out The Lost Village of Christian's Spring:
https://christiansbrunn.web.lehigh.edu/
And The Letters of Mary Penry: A Single Moravian Woman in Early America
http://www.psupress.org/books/titles/978-0-271-08108-3.html

tonyw

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Re: William Henry longrifle
« Reply #17 on: June 02, 2014, 10:05:13 AM »
Is it true that the ALR Museum has only one Henry rifle in it's collection? 

Offline mr. no gold

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Re: William Henry longrifle
« Reply #18 on: June 02, 2014, 05:05:14 PM »
Tony, the ALR Library has an Abraham Henry rifle on display. It has Lancaster characteristics and appears to be a somewhat early rifle. It is worth taking a look at. Your gun is a later piece and was likely made at Boulton. Thank you for posting the photos of your gun, by the way. Nice rifle and fun to look at.
Dick

tonyw

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Re: William Henry longrifle
« Reply #19 on: June 02, 2014, 06:52:03 PM »
Thanks for that, Dick.  I'll have a meander.  Are the Henry guns that rare on the ground?

Offline Majorjoel

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Re: William Henry longrifle
« Reply #20 on: June 02, 2014, 08:03:07 PM »
I have been honing in on page 2 here for several days hoping to see your pictures and from Mr. No golds post just discovered them placed back on page one ::). I wish there was a smiley face icon that shows me blushing!  A very nice Henry rifle Tony and thank you for showing it!
Joel Hall

Offline Majorjoel

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Re: William Henry longrifle
« Reply #21 on: June 02, 2014, 08:10:37 PM »
A question for you Tony. Did you find your rifle over there in England? Just curious as there have been several American longrifles turned up across the pond. Quite a few nice powder horns as well. It gets me to thinking about the histories behind your guns ownership and time periods it left the states finding a home in jolly ole England.
Joel Hall

tonyw

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Re: William Henry longrifle
« Reply #22 on: June 02, 2014, 09:31:07 PM »
hey Joel,

It did turn up over here in a Militaria and Arms sale of English and Continental items.  I troll over here for Civil War objects and so come across things like this every now and then.  I don't believe that there is any provenance with it but I could chase that up.  It is quite surprising how much stuff does turn up here, especially Civil War. 

Offline spgordon

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Re: William Henry longrifle
« Reply #23 on: June 03, 2014, 03:25:46 AM »
I don't know ... that barrel signature looks awfully odd to me. But I am no expert so I would welcome hearing what others think.

For starters, the "W" and the "H" are different "fonts," for lack of a better word, than the other letters: they have serifs and the other letters don't. The "W" and "H" look like a pair, linked by that period/dot between them. The other letters look added on later: they aren't aligned and they are much more lightly inscribed than the "W" and the "H."

There are quite a few other signed Henry barrels and even more locks. None of them seem as amateurish as this barrel signature.

Anybody else have thoughts?

The rest of the rifle seems a bit of a hodge-podge. Does the lock look original to the gun?

If you didn't have the barrel signature, which obviously points to a particular date, when would you all date the rifle based on the rest of its features?

Scott
Check out The Lost Village of Christian's Spring:
https://christiansbrunn.web.lehigh.edu/
And The Letters of Mary Penry: A Single Moravian Woman in Early America
http://www.psupress.org/books/titles/978-0-271-08108-3.html

tonyw

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Re: William Henry longrifle
« Reply #24 on: June 03, 2014, 10:18:24 AM »
 It would strike me (no pun intended) that the words on the barrel are all struck with individual dies, which makes sense.  Without engraving the signature, the only other way to do this would be cold struck dies.  It wouldn't work to have a single, long one as you couldn't get the letters to embed deep enough into the barrel to have an effect.  It's a bit like old silver.  Hallmarks were all struck with individual dies and they all have their own individual character. although silver is much more soft than a steel barrel and there we do find "name" dies of numerous letters.    A common single dye for the W.H would make sense as well in order to get the dot correctly positioned. 

If indeed we are working with cold struck dies, imagine the amount of strike power needed to impress letters into a hard steel barrel.  Good reason why each letter doesn't line up neat and tidy......

The colour inside the impressions is consistent with the rest of the guns patination.  Also, if you compare the engraved work on the patchbox and the engraved work on the lock, they are clearly from the same hand.  The gun doesn't show any evidence of another lock (ie: extra or outboard holes from other mechanisms that had different fittings or any adjustment of size in the recess to which the lock fits)

All this said, I bow completely to those with more experience with Henry rifles specifically and flints in general.