Author Topic: ALR Museum Gunmaker: Henry Tope Peru, Illinois ~1848-49  (Read 3318 times)

Offline Hurricane ( of Virginia)

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ALR Museum Gunmaker: Henry Tope Peru, Illinois ~1848-49
« on: January 02, 2009, 05:59:50 PM »
Please view the work of  Henry Tope of Illinois and comment as appropraite. Plase add any information you have about him, as his listing in "Sellers" American Gun makers has very little information. There is  a Shumway Series, "Gunmakes of Illinois, Volume 1" but I have not been able to identify and acquire Volume 2 or more if it was ever published. Perhaps someone has an additional Volume and could add his known biography.

Click here to see Tope"s rifle:


Offline Curt J

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Re: ALR Museum Gunmaker: Henry Tope Peru, Illinois ~1848-49
« Reply #1 on: January 02, 2009, 08:28:16 PM »
Yes, Volume II of "Gunmakers of Illinois" was published in 2005 (I'm the author) and does contain a bit more information on Henry Tope, including a newspaper advertisement of his and his estate inventory and sale bill. Most of the genealogical information on him has come to light since the book was published. This rifle was also unknown at the time the book was published, although an unsigned rifle "said to have been made in Magnolia, Illinois" that had been handed down through a local family is pictured. It is a much plainer rifle, and is also a fullstock. Interestingly, it also has brass mountings except for an iron buttplate, as does the signed rifle pictured here.

Henry Tope was the oldest son of George and Elizabeth (Everhart) Tope, and was born in Jefferson County, Ohio in 1813. The family moved to Harrison County (now Carroll) in 1822 and settled four miles south of Centerville (now Carrollton) near Tope's Mill's. Henry Tope was apprenticed to a gunsmith named John M. Holmes in Carrollton, Ohio. After completing his apprenticeship, he operated a gunsmith shop of his own at Tope's Mill's for several years before moving to Illinois in 1844.  During that time (June 16, 1836) he was married to Miss Catherine Croghan, also of Carroll County. They moved to Magnolia, Putnam County, Illinois, in 1844. In March or April of 1848 Tope moved to Peru, LaSalle County, Illinois, and opened a shop in "the large frame house north-east of the Steamboat Hotel", according to his advertisement placed in "The Bureau Advocate", in April of 1848. Tope and his wife both died in the cholera epidemic in July of 1849. Their four children all survived cholera, and were taken back to Carroll County, Ohio, to be raised by grandparents. Neither Henry Tope nor John M. Holmes, who taught him the trade, were previously known to the Association of Ohio Long Rifle Collectors, so are not included in the five volume set of books, "Ohio Gunsmiths & Allied Tradesmen".

Most of the biographical information is from, "History of the Tope Family", by Melancthon Tope, 1896, revised by A. D. Maddux, 1981, 1989. There were some errors in geographic locations in Illinois, which I have corrected here.