Author Topic: Thomas Peden Southern Mountain Rifle  (Read 13044 times)

Offline wildcatter

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Re: Thomas Peden Southern Mountain Rifle
« Reply #25 on: January 01, 2017, 10:20:38 PM »
I think the lock was originally flint. I think one thing to consider is the forward most brass screw on the side plate goes all the way through to the lock plate which could indicate the rifle started flint. Which is a trait I have seen before. If you can get a picture underneath the side plate that would be a good indicator if this rifle was ever flint. Could have been converted or could have started percussion. Although based on my early looks, I think this rifle started flint.
The lock looks typical for the time period to me. I will study the pictures more, I will say, a lot of the rifles in this area had hand made locks, as it wasn't an easy place to get in and out of to get goods.
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Offline wildcatter

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Re: Thomas Peden Southern Mountain Rifle
« Reply #26 on: January 01, 2017, 10:25:15 PM »
Nevermind, there must be something going in from the lock plate side, I thought it my be a side plate screw. Interesting rifle to say the least.
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Online Dennis Glazener

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Re: Thomas Peden Southern Mountain Rifle
« Reply #27 on: January 01, 2017, 11:39:05 PM »
Really neat gun. The stock looks like beech to me.
I thought so too, but I'm going to guess at probably cherry......but maybe not. :o

DBoone thought light colored walnut. Any chance its Butternut? I heard a story of one of the Gillespie's using "white walnut" to make gun stock. I have been told that white Walnut was butternut and was sometimes used to make southern mountain rifles. I can not back that up but here is how it looks:

Dennis
« Last Edit: January 01, 2017, 11:57:41 PM by Dennis Glazener »
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Offline Looper

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Re: Thomas Peden Southern Mountain Rifle
« Reply #28 on: January 02, 2017, 12:27:26 AM »
I'm pretty sure it was a flintlock up until the civil war. Now, it's been over 30 years since the time I'm going to share with you happened, so it is possible that I may be misremembering, but I don't think so.

Ever since I was a little kid, this rifle hung on the wall in my Papa's home. I was completely enamored with it and couldn't get enough of the stories behind it. When I was 13, I was out on the farm with Papa and we started talking about that gun. We finished up the chores and drove up to Granny's (his mother) house. While I ate a sandwich, Papa went into a back room and came out with a picture, a possibles bag, and an old powder horn.

The picture was a portrait of his great grandfather (Miles Singleton) in his Civil War uniform. He was holding his father's gun, which was the Peden Rifle. I do remember Papa pointing out that the gun used to have a flint. Apparently, the 3 brothers in the family all went to fight in the war and had their portraits taken with their father's gun before they went of to fight. I only saw the one picture, though.

The possibles bag had a letter in it that was written by Papa's Grandpa (John Singleton) The writing was very faded, the paper very crunchy, and the script was hard to read. It gave a history of the rifle, saying it had been purchased by John's Grandpa, Thomas Singleton, in 18_1. The third digit was in the fold of the paper and illegible. I think there was information about the bag and horn, too, but don't recall what it said.

I clearly remember us holding the paper in front of a lamp to be able to read it. Papa wouldn't let me touch any of it, but did show me the bag and horn. The bag was pretty ragged and the leather was very stiff. The horn was missing the end cap and had some etching on it, but I can't recall what it was.

Papa died and year or so later, and Granny ended up moving into a nursing home. I have no idea what happened to the portrait or the bag and horn. I suspect Papa's older brother had it at some point or maybe his sister. The cousins I've talked to don't know anything about it, except for one. He verified what I thought I knew, but didn't know where the stuff was. He was very thankful that I had the rifle.

At any rate, I've learned that precious few of us take the time to ensure our heritage is not lost or forgotten.

Offline Looper

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Re: Thomas Peden Southern Mountain Rifle
« Reply #29 on: January 02, 2017, 12:29:57 AM »
Really neat gun. The stock looks like beech to me.
I thought so too, but I'm going to guess at probably cherry......but maybe not. :o

DBoone thought light colored walnut. Any chance its Butternut? I heard a story of one of the Gillespie's using "white walnut" to make gun stock. I have been told that white Walnut was butternut and was sometimes used to make southern mountain rifles. I can not back that up but here is how it looks:

Dennis

I'm guessing there has to be a way to know for sure.

Online Dennis Glazener

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Re: Thomas Peden Southern Mountain Rifle
« Reply #30 on: January 02, 2017, 02:07:00 AM »
Quote
At any rate, I've learned that precious few of us take the time to ensure our heritage is not lost or forgotten.
Modify message

Amen! My grandmother was from Greenvile/Easley/Travelers Rest area of SC The reason I mentioned all three is that I am not sure which one. Had relatives in all three but my Grandmother nor my dad ever told me where she actually grew up. I know that after she and my Grandfather married and had kids they used to load them all up in an old "covered" wagon (an all purpose wagon that had a cover for it) and they would travel over the mountain from Brevard NC to visit relatives in the Travelers Rest area of SC. Oh how I wish I had quizzed my father about those trips. I am sure they had to "camp" on the way.

My great Grandmother was a member of the Gillespie gunmaker family of that same area of SC/NC. My grandmother was alive while my great grandmother Gillespie was still around and also her gunmaker brother John Harvey Gillespie was running the Gillespie gun shop in Mills River NC. I wish I had discussed the Gillespie family with my grandmother before she died in 1968. I never even thought about it! Later I found papers/information in her "important paper box" about a family owned Silver mine in Translyvania County NC but I never knew about that until after her death. It just goes to show that in order to find out about your family history you need to quiz the older generation about their early days. You never know what you will find out about your family. They rarely think about telling the younger generation.
Dennis
"I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend" - Thomas Jefferson

Offline Looper

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Re: Thomas Peden Southern Mountain Rifle
« Reply #31 on: January 02, 2017, 06:23:57 AM »
Ok, here's a picture of another Peden rifle. At one time this gun was in a museum in Simpsonville, SC, but is now back in the hands of the owner, who, I believe is a member of the Peden family. I think the date is wrong, but this gun was clearly made in the same manner as the one I have. Note, too, that this gun is stocked in cherry.


Offline WElliott

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Re: Thomas Peden Southern Mountain Rifle
« Reply #32 on: January 02, 2017, 07:18:58 AM »
Looper, it is wonderful that you have a rifle that has been your family many generations.  It is even more significant that you care for it and have made a study of the maker. Over the years, I have seen four or five Thomas Peden rifles. (I am in Georgia).  They each had the very distinctive buttplate that your rifle does. It was a signature characteristic of his rifles and makes them readily identifiable.
Wayne Elliott

Offline Mike Brooks

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Re: Thomas Peden Southern Mountain Rifle
« Reply #33 on: January 02, 2017, 03:38:21 PM »
I gotta go live on Booger Ranch Road some day. :P

I have had a butternut stock blank here for 30 years. I ran it through the planer last year and some mongo worm holes popped up. I suspect I'd have to do some patching on it but I may still use it one day. I wonder if Dunlap has any  butternut in stock?
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Offline longcruise

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Re: Thomas Peden Southern Mountain Rifle
« Reply #34 on: January 02, 2017, 09:33:38 PM »
Thanks for sharing your family's heritage with us. 

Is this rifle a candidate for the virtual museum?
Mike Lee

Offline Arcturus

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Re: Thomas Peden Southern Mountain Rifle
« Reply #35 on: January 03, 2017, 01:24:31 AM »
I would guess the wood is cherry, and if not, stained beech...
Jerry

Tizzy

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Re: Thomas Peden Southern Mountain Rifle
« Reply #36 on: January 03, 2017, 05:21:43 AM »
Thank you for posting photos of this rifle, as it was built undoubtedly by one of my ansestors. I love geneology, and after seeing this post it stoked my memory that the "Padens" which used to be spelled Peden on my maternal side were from Greenville, SC. I currently reside 30 minutes away. After looking back through my line, I tried to pinpoint exactly which Thomas Peden built the rifle to offer some useful information to you, however, Thomas Peden was a commonly used name in the family after they came over from Ireland.  Thomas Peden,   b. 1743, , , , Ireland Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 6 Mar 1825, Woodruff, Spartanburg County, South Carolina, United States Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 82 years) I hope this gives you a starting point....Thanks again for the photos and stories behind the rifle...Now I have to build one like it...lol

Offline Looper

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Re: Thomas Peden Southern Mountain Rifle
« Reply #37 on: January 03, 2017, 05:55:13 AM »
Tizzy, thanks for the information. I did find some info on a Thomas Peden, but he passed away in 1858. His shop was off Terry Rd. (which is near Peden Rd.) on a small tributary off the Reedy River. It's a little east of Cedar Falls Park. I found a reference to him on a website that had the transcript of a letter written around 1860 from Laurens County, which is close by.

"1860 about (probably after) - This letter was possibly written to Mary Terry in Indiana but it is not addressed specifically and is undated. The references to the church organization of the Sons of the Abolitionists should put it around the Civil War. Its also interesting to see that this small church also has a group of the Sons of Temperance.

' our Cuntry is getting so old and scarse of news I scarsly know what to write most all the people that you left here is ded or moved away there is but few here that you know Thomas Peden the Gunsmith is ded Mager Berry is Ded I heard to Day old Samuel Baker is Ded Nancy Baker is Ded Wilsin Baker is still living at the same plase and old Mrs Woodside and that is about all the old nabors that is left that you ware aquanted with I had like not to have thout of uncle Sipio getting quite feable and Eldan and Betty Stinises & Robert Peden Samuel Ramsy is stil alive
We still ahve peas and plenty and that is all we can expect I still live at the ______ plase I am still trying to make a living I have sold the old home plase and baut more above me I some times think of moving to the west but I have not gone yet I dont know what I may do I can make a living here yet with industry and it is about s plesant a country to live in as anny I can here of as yet perhaps ther is plases where a person cold make a living with more ease but I have got to believe that a person sees as mutch satisfaction to imployed as to live in idleness or at least I have found it so
we still have preaching Pisgay we have two preachers on this serkit this next yeare we have a good Church there now and we have Divison of the suns of temperance there also with a good manny suns the ablutionists I am in hopes there is none in your part that wold stoop so low as to belong to a clan that is devising plas to take the lives of inaset people that is doing thim no harme. I am in hopes people will learn more sence I have not heard from the west latly Brother John Famely has mostly gone west Harris Thompson and family was well last acount and doing about like they always Done
there has bin a great manny moved from this part this year to west corn is _____ hear and land high 12 15 dollars per acre
we have seven children at home yet I want some of you to write when you git this and let on now how you all are
I have bin think of writing to Isac Loper for some time but we fergot the post ofise I must Close by wishing you all well.
Gaston Terry '

[Bolin collection and transcription]"

Offline Cades Cove Fiddler

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Re: Thomas Peden Southern Mountain Rifle
« Reply #38 on: January 09, 2017, 01:30:20 AM »
.....Photo of a rifle by D.T. Peden in John Rice Irwin's book, "Gunsmith's of Southern Appalachia".....I do not recall if it is in his museum collection...
 :-*

Offline Looper

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Re: Thomas Peden Southern Mountain Rifle
« Reply #39 on: October 28, 2017, 02:14:05 AM »
I think D.T. Peden was Thomas Peden's son.

Offline dloudin

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Re: Thomas Peden Southern Mountain Rifle
« Reply #40 on: March 25, 2018, 05:25:29 PM »
Here is another Thomas Peden rifle.  Just finished cleaning up and repairing this early 1800's muzzleloader originally built by Greenville County Gunsmith Thomas Peden whose Gunshop was located along the Reedy River in Greenville County. Thomas Peden was born in Fairview, SC September 11, 1799 died December 20, 1858. This gun is in extremely good condition to be almost 200 years old. Note that it was originally a flintlock converted to cap lock.  Love the curly maple stock it is the epitome of what an vintage rifle stock should look like.

The lock originally a R. Ashmore and Son flintlock was converted to percussion cap.  R. Ashmore is known to have been a gunmaker in London circa 1768-1785, "and son" probably dates around 1800, there were other Ashmores of a later period who made only locks. Note the mounting holes for the frizzen pan, frizzen and spring this lock was originally a flintlock which was converted to cap lock likely sometime prior to the Civil War.  Had to recut the sear notch and make and install brass bushings on pivot points to take up wear.

Note the unusual double set trigger. The rear trigger is spring loaded against the sear to cock the gun you must first set the rear trigger then cock the gun. When the forward trigger is pulled it releases the rear trigger which under spring load trips the sear.

This gun is a 32 Cal Bore the cut rifling is visible in the end view of the barrel note the split hickory ram rod and folks this one shoots.

— in Anderson, South Carolina.























Offline wildcatter

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Re: Thomas Peden Southern Mountain Rifle
« Reply #41 on: March 26, 2018, 03:18:33 AM »
Great Rifle! Thanks for sharing!

Matt
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Mountain Gypsy

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Re: Thomas Peden Southern Mountain Rifle
« Reply #42 on: May 08, 2018, 06:19:01 PM »
Thank you everyone for the original post and photos and comments and replies.  Fascinating reading, you have greatly added to my education. 

Here’s some information to add to the ambiance of these fine rifles from "Peden’s of America" by Eleanor M. Hewell (House of David); page 478:

     "Thomas [Peden] was born at Fairview, S. C.  He was a gun and locksmith by trade and married Nancy, daughter of "That Redoubtable, old Whig rebel, Bill Hanna, who escaped unhung," (Allaire's Diary), one of the heroes of Cowpens, S. C.
     "They settled near the old home on the mill tract, later exchanged for a better place on Reedy River, where he built his shops and spent his life.  The Peden historian, Miss Eleanor Hewell, recalls this old couple among her earliest memories, standing in great awe of Aunt Nancy, who was a precise house wife with a horror of children.  Her hair, which was "ruddy gold," rolled away from her broad brow in a Pompadour of short natural curls.  Her caps were snowy white and had no frills the curls forming a natural trimming. Her face was handsome.  Dear Uncle Tommy and Aunt Nancy, who was a devoted Methodist, are buried at Fairview.
      Their only child, David Thomas Peden was born 1840.  He was a gunsmith, and during the War between the States first enlisted as a member of Company E., Hampton Legion, but was sent home in 1863 to engage in the manufacture of ammunition in the Confederate government works at Greenville, S. C. (A few hundred yards from the historian's home stands the site of this once famous "gun factory.")  "He was married about 1855 to Lucinda Terry, daughter of Charles and Pamela Terry. To this couple was born one child, a daughter, the mother dying a few weeks after her birth."

Thomas Peden’s birth date is 11 February 1799 and death 20 December 1858 according to “Peden’s of America."

wildcatter wrote about the apprentice David Boyd, he was probably a 1st cousin once removed.   "Peden’s of America" pg 375 lists:  David Boyd born 23 Feb 1817 died 27 Oct 1890 married 14 Oct 1841 to Mary McDill Peden, (granddaughter of Alexander) born 29 Jun 1823 died 18 Aug 1868.

I am a Peden ancestor from the House of Alexander Peden and David Peden is his youngest brother; both were born in Ireland and immigrated with their family in 1768 to Charleston, SC.  Alexander, David, and the 5 other brothers served in the American Revolution and are proven Patriots by DAR and SAR.  Their brother James (Thomas’ uncle) was also a gunsmith.  So, the gunsmith Thomas Peden (David's son) is my 1st cousin 6 times removed. 

I am anxious to wonder the halls of the gun museum at the Chickamauga Battlefield in hopes of discovering another example.  I will certainly look at these long rifles differently from now on.  Years ago, I bought a replica “Kentuckian” by Armi just to shoot and have fun with.  I was surprised and pleased when I compared it to these photos just how accurate it is, down to the curved brass butt plate, but it is only a 36” barrel, 50 cal.  While I don’t have a real Peden Rifle, I do have something to show my grandchildren when I tell them about their Peden ancestors.

Offline Looper

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Re: Thomas Peden Southern Mountain Rifle
« Reply #43 on: October 23, 2019, 11:59:56 PM »
Bump up for the curious.

Offline wormey

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Re: Thomas Peden Southern Mountain Rifle
« Reply #44 on: October 24, 2019, 05:35:43 AM »
A friend of mine has a David Peden rifle that is almost identical to two of these posted.   His came down through his wifes family in Madison County North Carolina.  His buttplate is unique and a dead giveaway to one of his rifles.  He was a good craftsman.  Wormey

Offline Craig Wilcox

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Re: Thomas Peden Southern Mountain Rifle
« Reply #45 on: October 24, 2019, 06:02:29 AM »
I like that butt plate!  Does anyone make anything like it?
Craig Wilcox
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Offline mr. no gold

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Re: Thomas Peden Southern Mountain Rifle
« Reply #46 on: October 24, 2019, 08:10:58 AM »
Mighty fine work on these Peden rifles! Lots to admire here and emulate on a new build.
The brass discoloration on Looper's rifle may be pewter or lead. It has that color. I understand that when some castings had flaws, pits and so forth, the builders filled them with lead. I have seen at least one rifle that had that done, a Lehigh rifle, I recall. Thank you for showing it here, and it had the good effect of bringing out others to be admired.
Dick

Offline Notchy Bob

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Re: Thomas Peden Southern Mountain Rifle
« Reply #47 on: October 29, 2019, 04:57:00 AM »
Thanks for sharing!  The rifle is beautiful, and it's great that your family has kept it for nearly 200 years.

There is a lot to like about this rifle.  The triggers are elegant, as is the triggerguard.

As for the stock wood, I'll defer to the experts.  Some of the grain structure up in the forend looks like cherry, but I would think cherry would have darkened more, considering the age of this rifle.  One other possibility to throw into the mix might be pecan, which grows very well in South Carolina.  Pecan is closely related to walnut, but the wood is much lighter in color.  I've seen furniture made of it and can think of no reason why it would not work in a gun stock.  You don't see a lot of artifacts made of pecan, because as nut producers they may be too valuable to cut.  I've heard of applewood gun stocks, also, but they are scarce for a similar reason.  However, there are so many unique features to this rifle, it would not surprise me if the builder selected an atypical wood for the stock.  Just a thought.

Best regards,
Notchy Bob
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Offline WESTbury

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Re: Thomas Peden Southern Mountain Rifle
« Reply #48 on: October 31, 2019, 04:30:10 AM »
LOOPER--What a wonderful family heirloom to have. Wish that I could be so blessed to have something like that from my Lancaster County Groff and Kendig ancestors.
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Offline wildcatter

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Re: Thomas Peden Southern Mountain Rifle
« Reply #49 on: November 04, 2019, 05:54:56 AM »
Here is another Peden rifle, this one has several typical characteristics and a few that aren't normal. Toe plate isn't numbered and has an added decorative extension. Also, the side plate is a little different. The trigger guard was damaged and repaired/replaced at some point, but fits quite nicely so.... Maybe it was somewhat this way originally. Anyway, thought I would add it to this discussion.































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