Author Topic: The Lehigh Indian Head  (Read 71372 times)

Offline nord

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1548
Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #25 on: February 06, 2011, 11:38:59 PM »
Have a look at the patchbox on the Schroyer exhibited in the library. Jim Whisker opines Tammany.  I opine an indian but can't say with certainty who or which is represented.
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.

Offline spgordon

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1282
Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #26 on: February 06, 2011, 11:42:25 PM »
Its not possible determine with any degree of certainty. Speculation can be interesting and a lot of fun and there might even be a "consensus" but it will still be a guess.

I generally agree with this. But circumstantial evidence can be convincing (on here or in a court of law) even if there is no "smoking gun" (an 18c gunmaker explaining it in a letter).

After all, this list seems very comfortable discussing attributions of rifles to particular makers when the gun is not signed. Each of those attributions is made based on circumstantial evidence, not a "smoking gun" (a signature).

Scott
« Last Edit: February 06, 2011, 11:48:02 PM by spgordon »
Check out: The Lost Village of Christian's Spring
https://christiansbrunn.web.lehigh.edu/
And: The Earliest Moravian Work in the Mid-Atlantic: A Guide
https://www.moravianhistory.org/product-page/moravian-activity-in-the-mid-atlantic-guidebook

Offline smylee grouch

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 7558
Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #27 on: February 06, 2011, 11:43:24 PM »
I think the study of this ornament ties in  with the mission statment of this forum.   It would be fun and educatioinal if some one does find more documentation on it.

Leatherbelly

  • Guest
Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #28 on: February 07, 2011, 03:42:30 AM »
Perhaps it isn't an Indian at all!

Offline spgordon

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1282
Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #29 on: February 07, 2011, 07:08:35 PM »
This from the PA Gazette:

November 25, 1772
The Pennsylvania Gazette
FOUR DOLLARS Reward.
LOST, or taken out of a waggon loaded with hops, betwixt the river Sasquehanna and Philadelphia, upon the 5th, 6th, or 7th day of this present month November, a strong board CASE, without mark or direction, inclosing a very neat new FOWLING PIECE, 4 feet 2 inches in the barrel, 5 feet 5 inches the whole length of the gun, with a curled walnut stock, sliding loops, mounted with brass, the foresight and thumbpiece silver, the makername John Newcomer, engraven upon the hind part of the barrel, near the figure of a manhead, and J. Newcomer engraven on the lock. Whoever has found the same, is desired to deliver it to Joseph Vandegrist, at the sign of the Cross keys, in Chestnut street, Philadelphia; to Caleb Way, at the sign of the Waggon, on the Philadelphia road; to Matthias Slough, at the sign of the Swan, in Lancaster; or to James Wright, in Hempfield, near Susquehanna, and they shall receive FOUR DOLLARS reward. JAMES WRIGHT.

Note the remark "Near the figure of a manhead." Could that be a reference to our "indian head" decoration?

A search of the rest of the Pennsylvania Gazette finds about 20 uses of the term--nearly all referring to engravings or etchings on watches (from the 1760s to the 1780s). Would be interesting to look through books that study decorations on 18c watches to see if this symbol appears on any.

Scott
« Last Edit: February 07, 2011, 08:13:17 PM by spgordon »
Check out: The Lost Village of Christian's Spring
https://christiansbrunn.web.lehigh.edu/
And: The Earliest Moravian Work in the Mid-Atlantic: A Guide
https://www.moravianhistory.org/product-page/moravian-activity-in-the-mid-atlantic-guidebook

Bob Pearl

  • Guest
Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #30 on: February 08, 2011, 04:39:16 PM »
1740-50 J. Bashire, London; Cherokee Nation

I thought this might be a good illustration. Notice how the dress is more to the taste of the artist and how the feminine quality to the faces make these "Savages" look less fearsome. The Moravians had a close relationship with the Cherokees. This steel engraving is in the collection at MESDA and included in the book, The Regional Arts of the Early South.

Offline Jay Close

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 104
Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #31 on: February 08, 2011, 05:47:59 PM »
I have a vague recollection that John Bivins wrote an article decades ago (perhaps in Muzzle Blasts?) speculating that the figure was not an American Indian but an oriental figure. I recall he illustrated several possible design sources from popular prints or ceramics all in keeping with the European fascination with the Far East that was current in the mid-18th c. 

There is also a period quotation that Gary Brumfield would probably have to hand about a gathering of rifle companies during the Revolution. That quotation implied that the home region of those companies could be read in the styles of their rifles.....18th c. "colors", if you will.  The head (Indian or not) may have evolved into an expected regional motif that customers demanded as a badge of affiliation. It's origin may be secondary to its regionalism.  That is, the issue of why it originated may be a different one from why it persisted.

Just stirring the pot.

-- Jay

Offline Robby

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2584
  • NYSSR ―
Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #32 on: February 08, 2011, 08:09:37 PM »
Seems everyone that likes these rifles has a different idea on the meaning of this enigmatic figure. The best one I heard is that it is a symbol of defiance, in referenced to the English calling us "$*@~*$" to the French. I got a big kick out of it, and who really knows. Maybe my source for this will weigh in.
Robby
molon labe
We the people are the rightful masters of both Congress and the courts, not to overthrow the Constitution but to overthrow the men who pervert the Constitution. A. Lincoln

Bob Smalser

  • Guest
Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #33 on: February 14, 2011, 05:40:02 AM »


I suspect they were one of the ranging companies of frontiersmen volunteers protecting settlements earlier in the French and Indian War.


This is why you'll like the Kenny. If I remember rightly, he sets the Dec. 1763 Paxton Boys raids at Conestoga and then Lancaster is a larger context of "vigilante" activity before and after.

You are right.  I really like Kevin Kenny’s Peaceable Kingdom Lost, but more than for more details on the original Paxton Rangers and their ties to the later Paxton Boy vigilantes.  Kenny does a great job summarizing the soup-to-nuts of colonial Pennsylvania, from the immigrants to the Indians to the politics.  A highly-recommended read.  Thankyou.

But he crams so much detail into 280 pages, he also makes some mistakes, one of them one of your favorites. ;)

Quote

My text:

… A smaller but pivotal incident in the Lehigh Valley occurred in October, 1763.  Twenty three people were murdered and scalped, thirteen of them young children, after local friendly Lenape Delaware Indians went on a ten-mile rampage after being robbed while staying at a local tavern (Note 18). Gunmaker John Moll relocated from Berks County to Allentown (then Northampton Town) just months after the 1763 incident, probably because of the increased demand for weapons there.  That demand may also have been the impetus for a local 19-year-old farmer named Peter Newhard to take up gunmaking, providing insight into the questions of when and why Newhard began and who trained him.  

Note 18:  Sources again conflict.  Joseph Mickley counts 23 killed in Whitehall and Allen townships based on live interviews with survivors in 1819 and archived letters, and that the perpetrators were local friendly Delaware Indians trading in Bethlehem.  Kevin Kenny states 31 were killed in Northampton and Lehigh Counties based on newspaper articles in the Pennsylvania Gazette and Pennsylvania Journal of 13, 17 and 23 October, 1763 respectively, and that the attacks were made by Ohio Valley-based Delawares led by Teedyuscung’s son, Captain Bull.  As Lehigh County wasn’t established until 1812, I assume he was repeating the error made by his secondary source, C. Hale Sipe, in his 1929 book, which also references Mickley. I’ve used the original Mickley version because it is closest to the original sources and reflects what the local settlers believed at the time, highlighting the terror of potential random attacks by neighboring friendly Indians during the wide-spread uprising of Pontiac’s Rebellion.  The beliefs of provincial officials, however, point to Captain Bull and western Delawares trading with friendly Moravian Indians in Bethlehem as the perpetrators, but no source offers an explanation why Indians from the Pittsburg area would carry pelts and skins 300 miles to Bethlehem to trade (Kenny 128, 255, 282; Mickley; Sipe 450-63).


http://www.archive.org/stream/indianwarsofpenn00sipe#page/458/mode/2up

http://books.google.com/books?id=9UNCAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA26&ots=vacL8mwzGK&dq=joseph+mickley+a+brief+account&output=text#c_top
« Last Edit: February 14, 2011, 09:55:33 AM by Bob Smalser »

Offline Karl Kunkel

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 954
Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #34 on: February 14, 2011, 06:32:57 AM »
I really enjoyed "Peaceable Kingdom Lost".  I found it an enjoyable and educational read.
Kunk

Offline spgordon

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1282
Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #35 on: February 14, 2011, 08:31:45 PM »
Yes, maybe two of my favorite mistakes: using current county names that didn't exist in the period under discussion and repeating this error (if you think it's an error) from an earlier source. Kenny could certainly have got this information from Sipe. Here is Sipe, the first (A) being a quotation from the PA Gazette (where Sipe drops in the bracketed phrase) and the second (B) being Sipe in his own voice:


A. Early this morning came Nicholas Marks, of Whitehall Township, [Lehigh County] and brought the following account.... (p. 458--this is the one you've referenced above)

B. Others are of the opinion that it was perpetrated by Captain Bull and his warriors after committing the murders in Northampton and Lehigh Counties.... (p. 460)



At least Kenny, by referencing Sipe in his own footnote, acknowledges straightforwardly where his information came from.

Scott
« Last Edit: February 14, 2011, 11:27:04 PM by spgordon »
Check out: The Lost Village of Christian's Spring
https://christiansbrunn.web.lehigh.edu/
And: The Earliest Moravian Work in the Mid-Atlantic: A Guide
https://www.moravianhistory.org/product-page/moravian-activity-in-the-mid-atlantic-guidebook

Tony Clark

  • Guest
Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #36 on: December 19, 2011, 09:32:53 PM »


 There is little doubt that this image is a man wearing a "Phrygian cap"  and is a common symbol denoting liberty, solidarity and revolutionary spirit. It dates back to Greek times and can be found on many items besides firearms from the revolutionary period.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phrygian_cap

Offline Fullstock longrifle

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1035
Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #37 on: December 19, 2011, 10:59:40 PM »
Thanks for that information Tony, it certainly makes sense.

Frank

Offline spgordon

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1282
Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #38 on: December 19, 2011, 11:08:16 PM »


 There is little doubt that this image is a man wearing a "Phrygian cap"  and is a common symbol denoting liberty, solidarity and revolutionary spirit. It dates back to Greek times and can be found on many items besides firearms from the revolutionary period.


Very interesting.

What are the other revolutionary-period items that the image appeared on? I'd hoped at one point to look at late eighteenth-century watches (see post above) but never did pursue that.

The puzzle still remains as to why--with relation to firearms, at least--it seems to only appear on rifles from the Lehigh Valley region, which would seem to have no logical connection with this particular representation of revolutionary spirit.

Thanks!

Scott
Check out: The Lost Village of Christian's Spring
https://christiansbrunn.web.lehigh.edu/
And: The Earliest Moravian Work in the Mid-Atlantic: A Guide
https://www.moravianhistory.org/product-page/moravian-activity-in-the-mid-atlantic-guidebook

Offline mr. no gold

  • member 2
  • Hero Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 2654
Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #39 on: December 20, 2011, 12:17:27 AM »
Good article, and a rational explanation for the Lehigh rifle figures. This may well be the origin, but with exceptions noted above. As for myself, I always tend to question statements that have factual errors that should not be there. I refer to the statement in the Wikipedia Phrygian Cap citation. It seems to include Turkey as being Asian. This area was historically known as the Levant or even the Orient. Asia is Asian and just that. And it seems to me that Phrygia was part of the Greek sphere way back then; guess that Greece was in Asia as well, by that Asian attribution. Oh well, geography was never my strength.
But then, with all the errors in media these days, guess that this is just one more example of the lack of education that marks contemporary journalism.
Dick

Offline Kermit

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3099
Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #40 on: December 20, 2011, 01:31:24 AM »
Phrygian cap. A symbol of freedom. I like it. As good a speculation as exists. Just that, and nothing more--so far. Keep at it, scholars!
"Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly." Mae West

Tony Clark

  • Guest
Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #41 on: December 20, 2011, 01:43:47 AM »
As for myself, I always tend to question statements that have factual errors that should not be there. I refer to the statement in the Wikipedia Phrygian Cap citation. It seems to include Turkey as being Asian. This area was historically known as the Levant or even the Orient. Asia is Asian and just that. And it seems to me that Phrygia was part of the Greek sphere way back then; guess that Greece was in Asia as well, by that Asian attribution. Oh well, geography was never my strength.


The Western part of Turkey where Phrygia was located was known as Asia Minor or "small Asia" the derivation comes from a Greek word.


Offline nord

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1548
Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #42 on: December 20, 2011, 02:00:33 AM »
A George Shroyer motif. No question about an indian head. More of a question as to just who it might represent.

 
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.

Offline Kermit

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 3099
Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #43 on: December 20, 2011, 03:12:03 AM »
Nord-- why "no question?" Is that "no question in my mind," or is there something you didn't say? Just curious...
"Anything worth doing is worth doing slowly." Mae West

Offline nord

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1548
Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #44 on: December 20, 2011, 04:44:55 AM »
I guess I'd say with the hairstyle and features that I've come to agree with others much more knowledgeable than myself that this is the representation of an indian. Dr. Whisker seems to believe Tammany. For all I know it could be Tonto but I'd probably go with Whisker before I concluded Tonto.  ;D

The real problem here is that old George has been silent on the matter and I don't see this changing anytime soon. I can't say that I've ever seen another similar piece by Shroyer and I suspect that your opinion is as valid as mine or that of anyone.

Merry Christmas.
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.

Offline Dr. Tim-Boone

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 6534
  • I Like this hat!!
Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #45 on: December 20, 2011, 04:51:40 PM »
From the US Army Quartemaster Museum
The Phrygian cap (often called the Cap of Liberty) supported on the point of an unsheathed sword and the motto "This We’ll Defend" on a scroll held by the rattlesnake is a symbol depicted on some American colonial flags and signifies the Army’s constant readiness to defend and preserve the United States.


BTW, the one on the Shroyer patchbox does not appear to be the same graphic as the Lehigh character............  The one on the Rupp patchbox lid (later gun) look more like a turban and feather... But those early guns from Lehigh sure look like a Liberty cap to me.


BTW: Turkey is geographically, politically and officially part of two continents - Europe and Asia. The smaller northwestern portion (Thrace) is part of Europe, while the larger portion (Anatolia) is part of Asia (Asia Minor).  Phrygia was apparently what is now known as Anatolia (Asian Turkey)  

See http://phrygians.org/



It would be interesting to see what else can be found about this cap in Lehigh Valley history..

The phrygian cap is on the NY state flag adopted 1778 based on a revolutionary war flag  according to the state website

Please see this article for very interesting information on contract guns in America as well as the Commanwealth of Pennsylvania barrel proof mark with a Phrygian cap over a P
http://asoac.org/bulletins/91_stewart+reid_pennsylvania.pdf


De Oppresso Liber
Marietta, GA

Liberty is the only thing you cannot have unless you are willing to give it to others. – William Allen White

Learning is not compulsory...........neither is survival! - W. Edwards Deming

Offline Eric Kettenburg

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4008
    • Eric Kettenburg
Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #46 on: December 20, 2011, 04:55:22 PM »
Much as it pains me to agree with Tony  ;D ;D ;D ;D (where's the fun in that?) I have never, ever, viewed the heads that are inlaid or carved into Northampton/Lehigh rifles as representative of Indians.  Berks is a different story - a number of the heads I have examined on Berks rifles (as Patrick Hornberger mentioned earlier in the thread, primarily attributable to the upper Townships) are clearly meant to represent Indians complete with feather or feathers.  These decorative interpretations are worthy of a completely separate examination; let's not confuse the two.

I think it is a BIG mistake to view the representations of two distinctly different regions as the same.  This thread specifically made note of the "Lehigh" area, by which most people mean the arms made in the vicinity of Allentown.  All of these 'portraits' that I have personally viewed appear - to me - to clearly represent a woman (some of an obviously buxom nature...) wearing a Phrygian/Liberty cap.  I have not, to date, found similarly-executed representations on any other object of the region, which if you think about it is surprising.  Nor are their any surviving written reference to date; if there are any to be found, I suspect Professor Gordon will find them!

The closest thing I have found to compare to what is found on these Allentown-area rifles can be seen on the earliest US (i.e. post-War US) coinage:















(Poor quality scans, don't have much time at the moment)

What is interesting is that these early representations also coincide with the period during which the bulk of these effigies are assumed to have been carved/inlaid upon the rifles, i.e. the period immediately following the War, say approx. 20 years give or take.  

Why Northampton/Allentown?

The earliest carved version of this head which I have viewed is found upon an unsigned and currently unpublished rifle which I would attribute - based on style, carved detail and furnishings - to John Moll Sr.  Yes, an attribution only, but I feel an intelligent attribution based upon comparison with slightly later signed rifles.  I believe the rifle in question dates to the period 1775-1785 and appears somewhat contemporary to the signed and dated Oerter rifles.

I am firmly convinced Moll was involved in the War effort ca. 1777-1779 when a very important gunsmithing/gunstocking/gun repair arsenal was established at Allentown.  All of the men who signed rifles which feature this "liberty head" were men who have for any years been considered as prime candidates for having been involved with this arsenal.  Furthermore, during this period of the War, the population of Northampton Co. exploded - following the evacuation of Philadelphia - and it became a crucial crossroads of men and materials necessary to the War effort.  It also became a hotbed of patriotic fervor.

So, my personal opinion (which is of course speculation) is that this representation originated as something basically akin to a 'club' symbol, something like a badge which developed amongst a small group of men in a confined area all working at the same trade at the same time for the same cause.  The concept of the Liberty Cap or 'Lady Liberty' was an important anthropomorphic evolution of the drive for independence, was well-known throughout the colonies, and it seems to me only natural that much like practically every other object within the budding United States it would be interpreted via a visual regional dialect of sorts.

Everyone else's mileage may vary.
« Last Edit: December 20, 2011, 05:02:17 PM by Eric Kettenburg »
Strange women lying in ponds, distributing swords, is no basis for a system of government!

Offline Lucky R A

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1619
  • In Costume
Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #47 on: December 20, 2011, 06:09:51 PM »
      A few other gunsmiths who used the Indian head were Wlm. Antes, E. Bloom (both of Bucks Co.)   There is then Wlm. Troutman who worked in western Pa. but I believe served his apprenticeship possibly in the Lehigh Valley.   I am sure there were others, but these come to mind as I have made copies of their work over the years.   
       While the early settlers did not share the "noble savage," idea of revisionest history, I doubt that they put an Indian head on the guns as a sign that they could make "head shots."   If the enemy was close enough to see the symbol, you did not have to worry about "head shots."
"The highest reward that God gives us for good work is the ability to do better work."  - Elbert Hubbard

Offline Dphariss

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9681
  • Kill a Commie for your Mommy
Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #48 on: December 20, 2011, 06:27:15 PM »
Thank you Eric.
I am not well informed on early American Coinage but apparently should be.

Dan
He who dares not offend cannot be honest. Thomas Paine

Offline spgordon

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1282
Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #49 on: December 20, 2011, 10:50:47 PM »

I am firmly convinced Moll was involved in the War effort ca. 1777-1779 when a very important gunsmithing/gunstocking/gun repair arsenal was established at Allentown.  All of the men who signed rifles which feature this "liberty head" were men who have for any years been considered as prime candidates for having been involved with this arsenal.  Furthermore, during this period of the War, the population of Northampton Co. exploded - following the evacuation of Philadelphia - and it became a crucial crossroads of men and materials necessary to the War effort.  It also became a hotbed of patriotic fervor.

So, my personal opinion (which is of course speculation) is that this representation originated as something basically akin to a 'club' symbol, something like a badge which developed amongst a small group of men in a confined area all working at the same trade at the same time for the same cause.

Linking the varied riflemakers who carved this figure on their work to a shared experience in the Allentown factory is a great insight--and very persuasive (to me) because it helps answer the most puzzling question as to why this liberty symbol, which as the coinage indicates is by no means peculiar to Northampton County, would appear only on Northampton County rifles.   

I suppose this means, then, that "the figure of a manhead" on the pre-1772 Newcomer rifle isn't this same figure, since it would have appeared on a Lancaster County rifle before the revolutionary period.

Does anybody know what this "figure of a manhead" might refer to? As I mentioned in a post a while back, whatever the "figure of a manhead" may have been it also seems to have been engraved on watches in the 1760s and 1770s.

Scott
Check out: The Lost Village of Christian's Spring
https://christiansbrunn.web.lehigh.edu/
And: The Earliest Moravian Work in the Mid-Atlantic: A Guide
https://www.moravianhistory.org/product-page/moravian-activity-in-the-mid-atlantic-guidebook