Author Topic: William Reid (Attributed) 090406-1  (Read 14695 times)

Offline nord

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1548
William Reid (Attributed) 090406-1
« on: April 16, 2009, 03:33:55 PM »
This attic-condition rifle is attributed to William Reid (b. 1767) of Spartanburg, SC. Comparing this rifle to the one known signed William Reid rifle, a number of furniture (guard, sideplate, etc.) and architectural features (distinctive panels, moldings and design) clearly identify this rifle as ReidвЂôs work.
The untouched flintlock (4 3/4" long) is marked "I ADGER". Adger was a Charleston hardware distributer. The mainspring was broken when the rifle was collected.
The rifle was acquired from a Georgia family in which it had been passed down for the many generations since it was new. As is sometimes the case, the family story was that an ancestor had carried it in the Revolution, thus probably unintentionally adding a decade or so to the age of the rifle.
The silver oval over the cheek piece has an engraved silhouette of what appears to an Indian speaking or breathing fire. The raised carving on the butt stock is rudimentary, but distinctive and rare on rifles made in the deep South. Note the use of checkering under the cheek piece. The same wedding band terminations are used on the heel extension and on the thimbles. The patchbox release is in the middle of the heel extension. There is a period-of-use copper wrap around the wrist repairing a break.

59 3/4" overall
44 1/2" swamped barrel .40 caliber
13" pull



What a fascinating and fresh new rifle for board members to view. A great addition for the library that demonstrates a much lesser known gunsmith but of substantial merit. Looks like a Carolina piece, and that finial on the side plate should generate some conversations. The side plate finial looks like it might be related to the NC/TN rifles made around Sumner County above Nashville. Of course, TN was originally part of North Carolina. It will be fun to see what information accompanies this fine rifle, and if the owner knows where Reid worked and/or where it was made. 

I went through Jerry Noble's 4 volumes of "Notes on Southern Long Rifles." There were a number of Reed gunmakers, most in Tennessee, but only one Reid. He was William Reid who worked in Spartansburg, South Carolina in the flintlock era.  I hope the owner provides the first initial on the name, or a picture of same so we can look at it.
I agree, nice gun and very interesting in its details.
I've never heard of Reid before, but it's obviously not the only rifle the man made. To me it has a southern flavor as well, or maybe I'm guessing that because I can't place it elsewhere.
Interesting guy on the cheekpiece star,,, I wonder if he blowing smoke out of his mouth? The engraving on the patchbox lid looks sort of like a plant of some sort, and maybe the carving behind the cheek.
Nice early repair on the wrist. I'd guess the gun has its original flint lock. Another rifle that I'd like to see more pictures of.

This certainly is an interesting rifle, and the as found condition is icing on the cake. My first inclination as to origin was way south, in VA, but the style would fit a number of places. The English lock with water proof pan suggests that the rifle dates to the first quarter of the 1800s. It is a fully developed KY Rifle and has good art and architecture.
The side plate is unique in that it has an urn motif filed into the tail; the urn was a popular device in the South in the early 1800s. The carving is tentative and follows no particular style
which is not surprising, but is pleasing nonetheless.
The cheekrest inlay is intriguing and could represent someone smoking as well as the other suggestions given here. If the gun proves to have been made in SC as someone conjectured, it is a real gem, a very rare one that that!
A fascinating rifle with a number of details that I have not seen anywhere else. The skill and artistic ability of the maker is evident. It is also one of those rifles that makes you say "if only it could talk".

Completely charming rifle and for me the Southern aspect sure makes her special.  I also love the untouched appearance.
« Last Edit: January 02, 2020, 06:45:12 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.