Author Topic: Morrison - Gunmaker Northumberland Co. PA (Ref. 081228-8)  (Read 6710 times)

Offline nord

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Morrison - Gunmaker Northumberland Co. PA (Ref. 081228-8)
« on: December 04, 2008, 05:27:29 PM »
UPDATE 11/6/09 -  Careful observation has revealed that the gun is signed "S M" in script. This in a worn area on the top flat.

No effort is being made to enhance or remove the patina in order to bring out the signature as it is felt that history is better served by leaving the gun as is.

Mule Ear Rifle is 52" in Total Length.  36" Barrel (Uncut as far as can be determined) Caliber .40+/-  Rifled. Rifle is exceptionally well made and balanced, though not a fancy rifle. Forged hammer is a Morrison hallmark as is the handcrafted lock assembly. Inlays and patchbox are typically Morrison.

New Photos Jan 4, 2013


Addendum 01/01/09

Samuel Morrison

Samuel Morrison, who has been identified as a gunmaker from Snyder County, Pennsylvania, actually worked in Milton, Northumberland County, Pennsylvania.  It is believed that Morrison was born in New England and ended up in Milton.  This theory would make sense, in that the football shaped sideplate is similar to the common New England semi-circle sideplate.  Per my post on Joseph Long, I believe Morrison worked with Long and may have apprenticed in New Berlin, Union County, Pennsylvania.  Hugh Morrison was a prominent minister in New Berlin and may explain Samuel Morrison's tie to New Berlin.  The sidelock (mule ear) rifle pictured in the ALR virtual library is very similar to other sidelocks, which were handforged and almost exclusively used in the Upper Susquehanna School.  The use of this sidelock mechanism is not entirely indicative of a Morrison piece.  Although the pictured rifle is likely a Morrison, it could be a product of other regional makers.  The early Morrisons are signed in script "SM," while later pieces are stamped "Morrison Milton, Pa."  Morrison is an interesting maker and unfortunately, we know little about his life. 

Addendum 01/02/09

I believe that this Samuel Morrison is the same Samuel Morrison who appeared in Pekin, Tazewell County, Illinois in the early 1840's and died there on April 1, 1850.  I might have completely overlooked him if it had not been for an ad, placed by his successor John Schultheis, in "The Tazewell Mirror", Pekin, Illinois, dated April 11, 1850. It stated that he had "taken the shop lately occupied by Samuel Morrison, deceased", and that he was prepared to repair old guns and make new ones to order. Samuel Morrison's estate file contains local bills against his estate dating as early as April 24, 1841, and referring to him as a "gunsmith". Morrison owned house and lot 13, in block 38, in the city of Pekin. He also still owned land in Pennsylvania at the time of his death.  Apparently anticipating his imminent death, Morrison sold his shop to Schultheis on February 18, 1850. Morrisons wife's given name was Maria, according to his estate file.

I have photos of another rifle, stamped simply S. MORRISON, that has a completely different type of mule-ear lock, this one being a "back-action mule ear".

Addendum 5/1/12

Curt Johnson clarified the subject and corrected me. While Sam the elder may well have traveled west, the mid west rifles were a product of Sam Jr. who passed at a young age in Illinois. Obviously this has led to quite a bit of confusion as to exactly which Morrison made some of the later guns.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2020, 04:29:59 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.