Author Topic: Atkinson 120304-1  (Read 8186 times)

Offline nord

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Atkinson 120304-1
« on: May 01, 2012, 12:59:56 AM »


This is a fascinating rifle, folksy yet well stocked and well decorated for its era and place of origin. I only wish I could read the date more clearly, seems to be Aug. 21, 18_7. The unclear digit seems to be a "0" but that's too early, or possibly a "2." If the owner could read that date for us, it would be helpful.

The gun was made either in Tennesse or southern Kentucky just above TN where Tennessee influences were strong. The Atkinson family was originally from VA, moved to TN after the Rev. War, and some gunsmithing members moved up into southern KY in Wayne Co. Another, James Atkinson, was in Pike Co. in the hill country of southeasten KY a few years after the Rev. War. Several gunsmiths have been identified in the family, but it seems one or two have so far eluded us, including this J. C. Atkinson. There was a James C. Atkinson born about 1842 to gunsmith father Peter H. Atkinson in Wayne Co., KY, but too late to be the maker of this interesting piece. While unproven, Peter Atkinson had a brother named James who may have been a gunsmith in TN and later KY. Since Peter named one of his later sons James C. Atkinson, it "sorta" suggests Peter may have named him for his brother, or perhaps an uncle, whose middle initial we do not know. While the iron furniture, particularly the extended heel on the butt plate, modified "banana" box and TN style cast nose cap all seem to suggest TN, the butt architecture, four pipes, diamond inlays, and scooped cheek were all used in areas of southeastern KY with TN influences. was the modified "inverted T" side plate. The relatively snug side facing around the lock plate is more frequently found in KY than TN for guns in this mixed state area. Long story short, a toss-up here between TN and KY, probably with a lean toward TN if the barrel date is "1827;" but could be either state very easily.

I suspect that this rifle is much better looking in actuality than the photos show. How I would like to find one like this! It's in a class by itself, almost. It is signed and dated as well, for the little that tells us, but it nevertheless belongs in the Library with no doubt on my part. We are too far separated in time from these old guns to get a clear picture of what went on with them, so we need to just pick up what is left and go on with what we do know. Someone will bring some new facts to the table one of these days.
Added by Dennis Glazener 9/1/13 more information on this rifle was provided by Roger Sells (see this link) Below are the parts that pertain to the original rifle.

The original rifle is made from walnut.  ~~  The original rifle has an iron butt plate, patchbox, thimbles, and trigger guard.  It has 40 poured pewter inlays and nose cap. A few of the inlays have gotten loose over the years and someone in the past has put a nail in them to hold them in. ~~ original triggers are a bit heavy.  It has a very nice rear sight ~~I think it is a .38 cal~~ The original barrel is a straight 15/16 across the flats, and I think it is about 41 inches  in length (I haven't measured it in a while, so I could be off a bit).
« Last Edit: November 25, 2019, 04:00:51 AM by Dennis Glazener »
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.