Author Topic: Help me identify rifle signed W H?  (Read 1555 times)

Offline JSperry

  • Starting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 25
Help me identify rifle signed W H?
« on: June 02, 2019, 06:19:55 PM »
Need help identifying new rifle.   The rifle was originally identified as a William Hollenback Rifle from Hampshire County, WV. However, after looking closely at the signature, the dashes after the W would spell William but there are not enough dashes to spell Hollenback.   Does anyone recognize anything suggesting where this rifle would have been made and by whom?  Also, does anyone have a William Hollenback Rifle?    I would love to see how it is signed.   Thank you and I look forward to your responses.














Online Levy

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 541
Re: Help me identify rifle signed W H?
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2019, 02:24:49 AM »
I can't help with ID, but purchased a .34 halfstock from a gentleman at the CLA Show a few years back and it has the same stock shape and is signed exactly like yours.  He said that the gun came out of Alabama.  I did look and found a W. Hobbs located there.  Mine has a Dimick style trigger guard and a toilet seat cab box.  The bore on mine is excellent.  The bolster that the nipple screws into is part of the barrel.
James Levy
James Levy

Offline JSperry

  • Starting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 25
Re: Help me identify rifle signed W H?
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2019, 05:30:35 AM »
Hello James Levy,
Would it be possible for you to post a few photos of your rifle including the signature?  I am interested in seeing the dashes after the initials.  Thank you!
Jeff

Online Levy

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 541
Re: Help me identify rifle signed W H?
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2019, 01:13:09 AM »
I can try, but since I've never posted a picture before (or tried), I can't guarantee good results.  James Levy
James Levy

Online Levy

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 541
Re: Help me identify rifle signed W H?
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2019, 03:07:23 AM »
I sent you a PM with some photos attached.  Hope you get them.  Post them if you wish for comparison.  James Levy
James Levy

Offline JSperry

  • Starting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 25
Re: Help me identify rifle signed W H?
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2019, 05:22:26 AM »
Thank you for the excellent photos James.  I’m not convinced the dashes after the H are for Hobbs.   Both signatures are nearly identical and I think the last name of this rifle maker has 6 letters instead of the 5 letters in Hobbs.   After looking through Sellers book, there are several Gunsmiths with the initials W H.   Hopefully someone will have another suggestion.




Offline JSperry

  • Starting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 25
Re: Help me identify rifle signed W H?
« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2019, 03:05:39 AM »
Here are a few more photos of the W H rifle. 






host gif online

Offline JSperry

  • Starting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 25
Re: Help me identify rifle signed W H?
« Reply #7 on: June 09, 2019, 04:41:39 AM »
Hello again.  After showing the W H signature to several folks, a local gun collector told me he remembered seeimg 2 rifles with the exact signature about 40 years ago and was told the rifles were Hugill rifles.   The name William Hugill fits the dashes.   William Hugill was born about 1795 and died in 1873.  He lived and worked in Harrison County, West Virginia just outside of Clarksburg along Elk Creek.  I also spoke with Ed Rayl and he said he bought a rifle marked the same way about 10 years ago in Harrison County and was told it was a Hugill Rifle.   I am convinced that both my rifle and the rifle in the photos from James Levy are both William Hugill Rifles. 

I would be interested in seeing other examples of Hugill rifles if they are still in existence. 

Offline Mike Brooks

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9927
    • Mike Brooks Gunmaker
Re: Help me identify rifle signed W H?
« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2019, 03:19:00 PM »
I would  have never been smart enough to figure out that the number of dashes would correspond with the number of letters in the name. Good thing there's a bunch of smart guys who think about stuff like that.
NEW WEBSITE! www.mikebrooksflintlocks.com
Say, any of you boys smithies? Or, if not smithies per se, were you otherwise trained in the metallurgic arts before straitened circumstances forced you into a life of aimless wanderin'?

Offline Avlrc

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 738
    • Hampshire County Long Rifles
Re: Help me identify rifle signed W H?
« Reply #9 on: June 11, 2019, 08:00:34 PM »
Well, I am glad you found out who really made those rifles.  Now ole William Hugill can finally get the credit he deserves.  Some collectors just take what the seller suggested as gospel.   A collector is doing everyone a service when he digs a lil deeper and finds the facts.  I wonder how many rifles have been misattributed.  I know from experience I have owned a few.  Hopefully a few more Hugill's will show up now, since we know what to look for. Thanks for posting.

Offline JTR

  • member 2
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3254
Re: Help me identify rifle signed W H?
« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2019, 06:55:49 PM »
I have to agree with Mike here, as I've never heard of dashes after initials referring to letters in a name.
I've seen the engraved circle or dot between initials many times. But I guess if the initials and the dashes on the barrel fit the architecture of this maker, must be so...

Pretty cool that you guys slouthed out the maker!
John Robbins

Offline Avlrc

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 738
    • Hampshire County Long Rifles
Re: Help me identify rifle signed W H?
« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2019, 08:22:44 PM »
Funny on the  dash where the second "I" in William would be,  he dotted the invisible "I".  You can see this on both of these rifles.  I wonder if he was not  comfortable with engraving.

Offline Dennis Glazener

  • Administrator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 15023
  • 2005 Transylvania County NC Heritage Day Event
    • GillespieRifles
Re: Help me identify rifle signed W H?
« Reply #12 on: June 12, 2019, 08:40:09 PM »
Funny on the  dash where the second "I" in William would be,  he dotted the invisible "I".  You can see this on both of these rifles.  I wonder if he was not  comfortable with engraving.

Or it might just be a dot between the initials. I have see a lot of initials seperated by dots or asterisks (mid-height of letters as that one is).
Dennis
"I never considered a difference of opinion in politics, in religion, in philosophy, as cause for withdrawing from a friend" - Thomas Jefferson

Offline Avlrc

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 738
    • Hampshire County Long Rifles
Re: Help me identify rifle signed W H?
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2019, 10:03:13 PM »
Funny on the  dash where the second "I" in William would be,  he dotted the invisible "I".  You can see this on both of these rifles.  I wonder if he was not  comfortable with engraving.

Or it might just be a dot between the initials. I have see a lot of initials seperated by dots or asterisks (mid-height of letters as that one is).
Dennis
True. That actually makes more sense, as he did not dot any other invisible 'I".
« Last Edit: June 12, 2019, 10:06:25 PM by Avlrc »

Offline JSperry

  • Starting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 25
Re: Help me identify rifle signed W H?
« Reply #14 on: June 17, 2019, 11:12:27 PM »
Hello again,
While looking through Jim Whiskers book, Gunsmiths of Virginia, Second Edition, I noticed the rifle on page 112 identified as a William Hollenback Rifle has a patch box and side plate that is almost identical to the rifle I recently purchased and identified as a William Hugill Rifle that is pictured above.   Does anyone out there know the whereabouts of this rifle shown below from Jim Whisker’s Gunsmiths of Virginia book?  And if found, would it be possible to get a photo of the signature?  Is it possible this rifle has been misidentified or have I been wrong in my conclusion?  What are your thoughts?   Jeff Sperry








Offline Tanselman

  • member 2
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 915
Re: Help me identify rifle signed W H?
« Reply #15 on: June 18, 2019, 07:36:26 AM »
Jim Whisker, when photographing many of the longrifles he captured on film, often accepted the attribution of the owner when there were only initials [or no initials] on a rifle being photographed...assuming the owner had done the necessary homework to identify the maker. But on many rifles where few, if any, examples with fully signed barrels were known, the original owners were at times mistaken in their attributions. We are fortunate today to have more rifles being discovered, often with a last name, or with provenance that identifies the maker if unsigned. Early owners, and even Whisker, did not always have the advantages we have today...including social media such as this site.

Regarding the gun pictured in Jim Whisker's Virginia book, and seeing all the good information that has already been posted in this thread, I think there is a very good chance the gun in the Virginia book was mistakenly identified by the original owner based on limited knowledge and trying to "fit" a name that was "most likely" to be the maker based on initials on the barrel. It is unfortunate that in some of our early longrifle books, the authors did not state clearly whether a rifle was signed with first initial and last name, attributed based on initials, or simply attributed by the owner based on his/her knowledge of longrifles. 
Shelby Gallien
« Last Edit: June 19, 2019, 07:05:45 AM by Tanselman »

Offline WElliott

  • member 2
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 573
Re: Help me identify rifle signed W H?
« Reply #16 on: June 19, 2019, 05:55:19 AM »
As usual, Shelby’s analysis is spot on. 
Wayne Elliott

Offline Avlrc

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 738
    • Hampshire County Long Rifles
Re: Help me identify rifle signed W H?
« Reply #17 on: June 19, 2019, 06:33:05 AM »
As usual, Shelby’s analysis is spot on.
Agree.

Offline JSperry

  • Starting Member
  • *
  • Posts: 25
Re: Help me identify rifle signed W H?
« Reply #18 on: June 19, 2019, 03:22:12 PM »
Thank you Shelby,
I am relatively new to collecting and can’t imagine what I would do without the books from Jim Whisker and others.  We are fortunate that he photographed so many rifles.  I was just trying to determine if anyone knew anything about the W H rifle in the Virginia Book and if the signature on that particular rifle was the same as my rifle.  While looking through Frank Sellers book..American Gunsmiths...I found over 20 gun makers with W H names that would match the dashes on my rifle.  I am certain that the same hand made both guns.   I would still be in doubt if I had not shown the rifle to an older gun collector in Harrison County that recognized the signature and said “  that’s a Hugill rifle son, haven’t seen one of those for over 40 years”.   He also said he remembered seeing a nice flint Hugill years ago...maybe it’s the one pictured in the Virginia book? 
Jeff Sperry