Author Topic: Need help ID'ing Southern Pistol  (Read 2781 times)

Offline gibster

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Need help ID'ing Southern Pistol
« on: July 14, 2008, 03:45:21 AM »
Below are pictures of a pistol that I have had for several years and had always felt that it was made in North Carolina.  However, I sent pictures to Mike Briggs and he didn't seem to think so.  He wasn't sure where it may have been made.  Here is a description of the pistol followed by pictures.

The pistol has a 9 1/2 inch barrel and has a .39 caliber rifled bore.  J WOOD is stamped on the top of the barrel.  The first 3 3/4 inches are octagon and the remainder is round.  There is a single line cut into the barrel at the transition surrounding the barrel.  The tang is 5 1/4 inches long and terminates in a point.  It is secured to the stock with a single screw.  The rear sight is located on the breech and there is a bead front sight.  The trigger guard is iron and is secured with two screws to the stock.  The lock, is secured with a single screw and marked J WOOD WARRANTED above the main spring, and is stamped J WOOD on the inside of the lock plate.  There is a single ram rod thimble made if iron mounted on an under rib.  The nose cap, side plate and two inlays are poured.  The inlays are five-pointed stars and are located on each side of the butt.  Perhaps this is an indication that the pistol was made for an individual traveling to Texas.  But this is only speculation.  The stock is made of an unknown type of wood, perhaps Apple (?).  There are two repairs to the stock.  Wood has been replaced between the lock and the tang, and wood has been replaced along the right side, between the lock and the nose cap.  This pistol is very unique as it uses a “Pill Lock” which was only used for a few years, prior to the Percussion system.  Another unique feature of this pistol is that it uses a lock better known as a “Mule Ear” or “Side Slapper” lock. 
There are three J Wood’s listed in John Bivins’ book Longrifles of North Carolina.  Two (Jesse born in 1805 and James born in 1829) of which worked in Jamestown, Guilford County North Carolina.  The other, Joham Wood (born 1798), worked in Mountain Creek, Rutherford County North Carolina.   Personally, I think that it could have been either Jesse (b. 1805) or Joham (b. 1798) that could be the maker of this pistol, but that is only my opinion.  I haven't seen the work of either of these two makers, so this is only a guess.  I feel sure that it isn't James (b. 1829) since he signed his work J M Wood.  I have one of his rifles and this is the way it is signed. 







Any in-site, opinions and/or comments would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks.
Eric

timM

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Re: Need help ID'ing Southern Pistol
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2008, 05:10:32 AM »
Interesting pistol Eric.  I see that Frank Sellers lists no less that than 18   J. Wood gunmakers!  He also lists one H.T. Wood "unlocated mule ear 1/2 stock".  Send me an email if you would like a scan of this page of listings. tim

Offline gibster

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Re: Need help ID'ing Southern Pistol
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2008, 06:16:47 AM »
Thanks Tim.  I have a copy of Seller's book.  Most of those listed seem to have been later than this ignition type was used.  Some of the others are listed as quite a bit earlier than it was used.  Also, the pistol has what I consider to be southern features, and most of the ones listed in Seller's book are further north than I would think these features are found.  I could be wrong, wouldn't be the first time.  Just trying to get some other opinions on this.  I have shown the pistol to Jerry Noble and he also feels that it is southern.  In fact, he included a few pictures in his book, NOTES ON SOUTHERN LONG RIFLES - Vol 3 (Pg 29).  I would really like to pin this one down.  It really is a unique pistol.  I appreciate your response.
Eric