Author Topic: Bettis, Phillip 13033-1  (Read 9784 times)

Offline nord

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Bettis, Phillip 13033-1
« on: March 19, 2013, 04:29:22 PM »
Phillip C. Bettis Gunsmith was born in South Carolina in 1836. He along with his Father and Brother were Blacksmiths also. Metalsmithing of some kind has been passed down through generations. I am a Silversmith. Phillip patented the Bettis Rifle in 1850. Phillip Bettis is mentioned in the book: Gunsmith & Allied Tradesmen by Wayne T. Elliott & James B. Whisker. Phillip and his wife raised their family in the Vickery Creek Community of Forsyth County Georgia. All of his Rifles that I have seen are Half Stock with his name written on the top of the barrels P. Bettis. On the side plate and other furnishing on the Rifles he stamped designs in the metal. The ends of the Rifle Barrels all have different designs stamped on them. They all have  hand carved designs on the left side of the stocks that I have seen. My rifle has a Brass Butt plate, Brass trigger guards and Brass Decorative Plate recessed into the stock that open up and was used to hold the caps or whatever you call those things.  There are several of his Rifles that are known of around this area where Phillp lived and worked and they are very treasured by our family.


With so little information published on South Carolina rifles, any identified rifle from that state is a valuable addition to the virtual museum. As expected, this rifle has similarities to North Carolina rifles of the same vintage, including the use of screws to attach large inlays and plates, wiggle engraved borders on large inlays, the use of a large side plate and bands on the forestock, and the strong comb. I also generally attribute the percussion drum, when filed into a square or rectangle on its outer end, to southern manufacture. This is a nice, clean little rifle, rather late, but with a double finial cap box, nice guard with flowing lines for its later vintage, and attractive double-molded oval cheekpiece. The rarity of documented South Carolina rifles makes this a great addition to the virtual museum, and one that can assist others with SC rifles in the future. I would greatly like to see a picture of the barrel signature, if it would be possible to add it to the submission, to verify the rifle is signed as stated and "cement" it as a SC rifle.
To clarify, although Phillip Bettis was born in SC, as far as is know his working career was in Forsyth County, Georgia (north of Atlanta).  He may well have been influenced by SC gunsmiths that he knew or perhaps worked with, but this is most likely a rifle he made after moving to Georgia as a youngster.  In the 1860 census he is listed, age 26, in Forsyth County, Georgia.  In any event, it certainly belongs in the Library and a collection of rifles by him, as the submitter is attempting to assemble, would be a worthwhile reference.
A nice rifle from an area that is not well represented.
Nice rifle from a maker and a state seldom heard from. The gun is in very good condition and will make a good contribution to the Libarary. The muzzle marks are truly spectacular.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2020, 05:53:48 PM by Tim Crosby »
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.