Author Topic: J. Dingler's John Fries Rifle (c. 1799)  (Read 433 times)

Offline spgordon

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J. Dingler's John Fries Rifle (c. 1799)
« on: December 07, 2017, 02:14:10 PM »
Have those of you who receive the KRA Bulletin read the article on the J. Dingler rifle with the very unusual patchbox finial?

As you know, I was very skeptical of the effort to link the RCA19 to Paxinosa because of engraving on the rifle.

But this article, which suggests that the figure on the final is Fries himself, standing on a barrel (as one would do when one "cries" an auction) with a bell in one hand and an item from the vendue in the other, seems to me much more persuasive. The article's facts about the Fries rebellion itself are reliable and well documented.

What did others think?
« Last Edit: December 07, 2017, 02:46:37 PM by spgordon »

Offline Shreckmeister

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Re: J. Dingler's John Fries Rifle (c. 1799)
« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2017, 06:27:42 PM »
When was this bulletin released?
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Offline Spinner

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Re: J. Dingler's John Fries Rifle (c. 1799)
« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2017, 07:17:40 PM »
I think that's a real stretch. If there were some text included, commemorating the event, or even a 1799 date it would be more plausible. That figure could represent anything. There's also no evidence presented that links Dingler to anyone involved in the Fries Rebellion.

An interesting fact not associated with that gun is that William Thomas, a Bucks County gunsmith and partner with John Shuler, was a witness to the Fries Rebellion and testified at the later trial. There is a rifle shown in Kindig's book (no. 53) that has "John Fries Gun" engraved on the patchbox lid. Based on the style, hardware and engraving I believe that the gun was made by Shuler or Thomas (or both). Their shop was about a mile away from Fries's home in Trumbauersville.

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Offline spgordon

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Re: J. Dingler's John Fries Rifle (c. 1799)
« Reply #3 on: December 07, 2017, 11:08:00 PM »
I got my KRA Bulletin yesterday.

Another fun fact regarding the Fries Rebellion: William Henry II, Nazareth gunsmith (and master of the Christiansbrunn shop from 1777-1780), was one of the judges of the trial that found John Fries guilty and condemned him to death. (John Adams later pardoned him.)

The article notes that on the underside of the barrel, I think, it says "Henry," though the article just notes this and never mentions it again.

I have no skin in this game--but it is a particularly odd figure and does seem like a figure on a barrel holding a bell and something else. Or was I just too easily persuaded by the article? What other things might that figure represent.

Agreed that nothing else about the rifle signals the Fries Rebellion--no date on the rifle, no engraved words pointing to the Fries Rebellion, etc. Just the figure.

Offline Eric Kettenburg

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Re: J. Dingler's John Fries Rifle (c. 1799)
« Reply #4 on: December 08, 2017, 12:32:27 AM »
There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that it's a dude sitting on a whiskey barrel (or a barrel full of something) holding...  well that might be interpretational, maybe a bell and a bag or something?  Definitely a guy sitting on a wooden barrel.  Yes, he mentioned the barrel was marked Henry on the underside; also, the maker being in Easton was certainly close to the 'scene of the crime' so to speak if viewed from the perspective of Fries Rebellion.

That's about all I get out of the article and the photos.  Nothing concrete otherwise, but I do believe the very interesting and odd box finial definitely is trying to convey a message so insofar as speculative interpretation goes, it would seem to have a much greater likelihood of being accurate speculation as compared to a great deal of other speculation in which many of us (myself included - not throwing stones here) often engage!!!!

 

Offline Spinner

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Re: J. Dingler's John Fries Rifle (c. 1799)
« Reply #5 on: December 08, 2017, 12:40:06 AM »
About 20 years ago I was involved with a historical society in Milford Twp., Bucks Co. PA where the Fries Rebellion started. One of the members decided to become a John Fries reenactor and appeared locally in costume, describing Fries's history. For some reason he always included a longrifle with his costume.

In 1999, to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the rebellion, he went to the Sun Inn in Bethlehem, PA (in costume) to discuss a reenactment with the owners. After talking with them he attempted to leave but was told he had to stay inside since the police had the whole block cordoned off due to reports of a man with a gun in the area. As Desi would say, he had some"xpainin" to do. I don't think they ever staged the event.
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Offline DaveM

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Re: J. Dingler's John Fries Rifle (c. 1799)
« Reply #6 on: December 08, 2017, 02:14:04 AM »
Seems plausible to me - in fact makes you wonder what in the world it would mean otherwise.  Maybe the gun was made a few years after the event?

Offline spgordon

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Re: J. Dingler's John Fries Rifle (c. 1799)
« Reply #7 on: December 08, 2017, 04:48:27 AM »
Unfortunately he did not show a photo of the "Henry" on the barrel. (Nor did he try to link it to William Henry.)