Author Topic: Help needed to idrntify smoothbore flintl;ock rifle  (Read 1049 times)

Offline RSB1

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Help needed to idrntify smoothbore flintl;ock rifle
« on: September 30, 2019, 01:57:28 AM »
Short version of a longer story....I inherited a smoothbore flintlock muzzleloading rifle from my my 4th great grandfather, Abel Ogden Penfield (1787 – 1871). His father was Sgt. John Penfield (1747 – 1829). Sgt. John Penfield  fought in the Revolutionary War. I believe that the original owner of this muzzleloader was  Capt. Thomas Brush (1715 - 1802). He also fought in the Revolutionary War. This muzzleloader has a bore diameter of 0.54”. Its barrel length is about 44” and its total length of about 59.5”. It has some interesting letters (possibly initials) carved into both sides of the butt stock and something which appears to be a Roman Numeral (XXII) carved into one side of the butt stock. It also has NO proof marks or maker’s marks of any kind on any of the metal parts that I can see. Since the original owner (Thomas Brush) died in 1802, it must have been built before that date. The Roman Numerals (XXII) carved in the butt stock suggest to me that it was associated with some sort of military organization. Can anybody tell me anything about this muzzleloader? Is there a possibility that it could have been used in the Revolutionary War?

Abel Ogden Penfield (1787 – 1871).
Born: New Fairfield, Fairfield, CT
Died: Pittsford, Rutland, VT
Abel worked from 1812 to 1820 as an apprentice in the clothier’s trade in Hartford, VT. He came to Pittsford in 1820 and bought a share of the Pittsford Manufacturing Company and operated the Woolen Mill and Grist Mill with his brothers.

Sgt. John Penfield (1747 – 1829).
Born: Fairfield, CT.
Died: Pittsford, Rutland, VT
On November 1, 1770 he married Eunice Ogden, who was born in Fairfield in 1753. He moved with his wife to New Fairfield in about 1778 and then to Pittsford, Vermont.
He served as a sergeant in Captain Hubbell's Company, 16th Regiment of the Continental Army (American Revolution) in Pittsford, VT

CPT Thomas Brush (1715 - 1802).
Born: Huntington, Suffolk County, NY
Died: Fairfield, Fairfield County, CT and buried in New Fairfield Cemetery, New Fairfield, Fairfield County, CT
He was Justice of the Peace of Fairfield County, CT. He lived in New Fairfield, CT. The inscription on his grave stone says “Capt Continental Line Rev War”. A “Tho’ Brush” is listed on a “Pay Role for Horse Travel Capt. Peter Penfield Company 16th Regiment…New fairfield July 17 1779”

Any ides? Thank you.



















Offline Bob McBride

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Re: Help needed to idrntify smoothbore flintl;ock rifle
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2019, 04:21:27 AM »
I will make a quick observation. The initials ‘IP’ translate to JP fitting in with your story. ‘No IIXX’ is ‘#18’ and likely indicates military service. Experts will chime in shortly I’m sure.
-Bob

My Highland ancestors were sentenced to ‘Transportation’ in lieu of death by King George after the Battle of Culloden. Serving time in Dixie since 1746.

Offline rich pierce

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Re: Help needed to idrntify smoothbore flintl;ock rifle
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2019, 04:32:25 AM »
First impressions and over-reaching guessing: It’s a militia musket, not a smoothbore rifle, English lock and furniture and styling , looks maple stocked, probably not made in New England but could be anywhere from Connecticut to Maryland. 1770s or somewhat earlier.
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Offline WESTbury

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Re: Help needed to idrntify smoothbore flintl;ock rifle
« Reply #3 on: September 30, 2019, 04:42:43 AM »
Looks like one of the New England Fowlers  c. 1770-1780 that appear in Tom Grinslade's book Flintlock Fowlers. It is a very nice looking "un-monkied with" piece. You are a lucky person to have it. The lock with an unbridled pan is very similar to one shown on page 47 of Grinslades' book.

It looks as though the muzzle end of the stock was cut back to allow for a bayonet.

Forgot to add that the escutcheon and what appears to a beaver tail molding around the barrel tang are typical British influenced characteristics of some fowlers made in New England.

It is difficult to determine the exact source of arms of this period.

Your fowler is a historic piece of American History, treasure it.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2019, 05:12:22 AM by WESTbury »
"We are not about to send American Boys 9 to 10 thousand miles away from home to do what Asian Boys ought to be doing for themselves."
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Offline 120RIR

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Re: Help needed to idrntify smoothbore flintl;ock rifle
« Reply #4 on: September 30, 2019, 05:27:46 AM »
Beautiful...don't do anything to it other than perhaps dust it now and then.  It appears to be in completely untouched condition which in terms of market value (not that you'd ever sell it I'm sure) can ruin a period piece.  The lack of what's referred to as a "bridle" connecting the pan to the frizzen screw is generally an early feature - suggesting that at least the lock is pre-Rev War.  Either way, yes, 1770s is a perfectly justifiable period attribution.

Offline Mike Brooks

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Re: Help needed to idrntify smoothbore flintl;ock rifle
« Reply #5 on: September 30, 2019, 03:46:52 PM »
Several things. It is a very nice musket probably made somewhere in New England probably for the revolutionary War.  The flat faced cock on the English  lock appears to be a period replacement as it should be round faced to match the lock, not a big deal and a very common repair for the period. The sideplate suggests manufacture in Connecticut to me. The buttplate is from an English gun and the trigger guard appears to be Dutch. It was very typical for these guns to be made up from parts from several old busted up guns.  The No XXII is scratched on the stock upside down so it can be read while in hand.
 This gun has some value, possibly $5000 give or take a $1000, possibly much more with the documentation. If you clean or alter this gun in anyway way the value will drop to less than $2000 so please leave it EXACTLY as it is. it's a wonderfull gun, I wish my family had guns like that still in the family.
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 vtbuck223

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Re: Help needed to idrntify smoothbore flintl;ock rifle
« Reply #6 on: September 30, 2019, 05:04:37 PM »
I will make a quick observation. The initials ‘IP’ translate to JP fitting in with your story. ‘No IIXX’ is ‘#18’ and likely indicates military service. Experts will chime in shortly I’m sure.

RSB1...thank you for posting this. It confirms for me something that I have suspected but find very little reference to concerning IP carved initials representing Joseph Perkins who was responsible for repairing many thousands of muskets and firearms prior to, after, and during the Revolution for the continental army. There are many references which show examples of Perkins mark as being a stamp...but I suspect that there were some that were carved as yours is and that there are many old muskets out there which have IP in the stock and the owner thinks if is just the initials of a previous owner. There is only one reference that I have been able to find concerning this and it is in Moller's "American Military Shoulder Arms" Vol 1...and that is just one photo of IP carved into the stock without any further information.


Offline Bob McBride

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Re: Help needed to idrntify smoothbore flintl;ock rifle
« Reply #7 on: September 30, 2019, 05:15:55 PM »
It does look almost like it could be a rudimentary stamp as, if so, a lot more care was taken in doing straight lines at an angle on the stock than I would think would be normal for a carving of that type done by an armory.
-Bob

My Highland ancestors were sentenced to ‘Transportation’ in lieu of death by King George after the Battle of Culloden. Serving time in Dixie since 1746.

Offline smart dog

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Re: Help needed to idrntify smoothbore flintl;ock rifle
« Reply #8 on: September 30, 2019, 07:33:27 PM »
Hi Folks,
I suggested to Rodney that the gun might have some connection to the Hills family of gunsmiths in Goshen, CT.  The side plate is very similar to those often used by Medad Hills.  I would really like to read Joe Puleo's opinion and urge Rodney to contact Joe.  He is a member on this forum.

dave
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Offline Mike Brooks

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Re: Help needed to idrntify smoothbore flintl;ock rifle
« Reply #9 on: September 30, 2019, 08:13:59 PM »
Hi Folks,
I suggested to Rodney that the gun might have some connection to the Hills family of gunsmiths in Goshen, CT.  The side plate is very similar to those often used by Medad Hills.  I would really like to read Joe Puleo's opinion and urge Rodney to contact Joe.  He is a member on this forum.

dave
Ditto.
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 WESTbury

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Re: Help needed to idrntify smoothbore flintl;ock rifle
« Reply #10 on: September 30, 2019, 08:36:57 PM »
It would be nice to get a view of the buttplate return and a view of what looks like a beavertail carving around the barrel tang.

Hills would sometimes use distinctive buttplates that had a long narrow return; Grinslade pages 69, 74, 75, 76, & 77. Also, some fowlers by Hills had a very narrow beavertail around the barrel tang; Grinslade page 75. As Tom points out in his book, the Hills used what ever was on hand at the time for fowler components.
"We are not about to send American Boys 9 to 10 thousand miles away from home to do what Asian Boys ought to be doing for themselves."
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Offline Brent English

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Re: Help needed to idrntify smoothbore flintl;ock rifle
« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2019, 04:20:01 PM »
Gee Whiz, I'd give my eye teeth for something like that in my family tree.  In case you didn't hear it enough from the other posters, let me reiterate: don't mess with that gun.  It's a truly remarkable artifact and best left just as it is.  I hope future generations of your family recognize the remarkable piece of American history you hold. 
Done right is better than done fast.

Offline JV Puleo

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Re: Help needed to idrntify smoothbore flintl;ock rifle
« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2019, 09:03:46 PM »
I like it. You don't see many totally untampered with early guns these days. I suspect it's a fowler with a bayonet lug added to use as a musket. When this was done is anyone's guess but probably no later than the 1792 Militia Act and possibly as early as the Revolution. The lack of a bridle on the frizzen only means it was a relatively inexpensive lock. I'd be curious to know if there is an internal bridle but in either case, it's largely useless as a dating feature because locks were made like that right to the end of the flintlock period. The convex lock surface is more significant. In the 1760s and 70s the fashion was changing from convex surfaces to flat surfaces so, generally, the convex locks are earlier as Mike has already pointed out.

The "IP" has nothing to do with Joseph Perkin...heck, those are my initials too but it is really significant that the person in your family whose dates match the gun had those initials. Short of DNA, I'd say that was about a good a provenance as you can find with an American gun.

I see a lot of guns with family stories and about 99% of the time the gun doesn't come close to the presumed dates of the owner so this one is a treat.

I could use some really good photos of that lock, inside and out for the chapter in my book (which I'm working on right now) that deals with the lock making trade. They wouldn't be easy to take though... cell phone photos won't do but if you'd like to try send me a PM and I'll give you some tips on how to do it.

Offline Daryl

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Re: Help needed to idrntify smoothbore flintl;ock rifle
« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2019, 11:45:35 PM »
I will make a quick observation. The initials ‘IP’ translate to JP fitting in with your story. ‘No IIXX’ is ‘#18’ and likely indicates military service. Experts will chime in shortly I’m sure.

umm - not an expert at anything, however, like most, I have numerous opinions & first hand knowledge on a lot of subjects.
Pretty sure the Roman Numeral for 18, is XVIII thus, XXII would be 22.
The IP appears upside down to me, not the Roman Numerals, just as there is an No (as in #) in front of those letters.
here it is, right side up. As well, the 2 vertical lines appear to have been added later and do not match the style or depth of the XX.


« Last Edit: October 02, 2019, 11:56:19 PM by Daryl »
Daryl

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Offline Bob McBride

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Re: Help needed to idrntify smoothbore flintl;ock rifle
« Reply #14 on: October 03, 2019, 12:08:07 AM »
Well there you go.
-Bob

My Highland ancestors were sentenced to ‘Transportation’ in lieu of death by King George after the Battle of Culloden. Serving time in Dixie since 1746.

Offline WESTbury

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Re: Help needed to idrntify smoothbore flintl;ock rifle
« Reply #15 on: October 03, 2019, 12:34:58 AM »
RSB1

 It is "No XXII"(No 22) possibly indicating it was Weapon No 22 in an infantry company inventory.

My SWAG on your fantastic inheritance is that the "musket" was originally a fowler possibly originally owned by Thomas Brush. It was altered to accept a bayonet, common practice with civilian guns, particularly those that were owned by members of militia units.

Obviously, it was possibly issued to your ancestor John Penfield during his period of active service. How it got in the particular militia unit John was in is a good question. Perhaps Brush brought it with him to that particular militia company, and used until he left the unit, at which point the weapon would have been issued to another infantryman, maybe John.

Thomas Brush was obviously promoted at some point and was a member of a Continental Line unit. Eventually, many Continental Line units were issued French Charleville M1763 or M1766. Brush as an officer would not have carried an infantry musket.

Like I mentioned, this is my GUESS and opinion. The truth could be very different, but it makes for a good story. Now who is J W ?
"We are not about to send American Boys 9 to 10 thousand miles away from home to do what Asian Boys ought to be doing for themselves."
      Lyndon B. Johnson Oct 21, 1964

Offline smart dog

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Re: Help needed to idrntify smoothbore flintl;ock rifle
« Reply #16 on: October 03, 2019, 01:00:35 AM »
Hi,
Rodney posted more photos on the Muzzleloading Forum site showing the lock, wrist plate, butt plate, and trigger guard.  There are 3 fowlers and muskets shown in Grinslade's book that share almost identical hardware.  All are attributed to the Hills family of Goshen, CT.

dave
 
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Offline WESTbury

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Re: Help needed to idrntify smoothbore flintl;ock rifle
« Reply #17 on: October 03, 2019, 01:19:51 AM »
Bingo!
"We are not about to send American Boys 9 to 10 thousand miles away from home to do what Asian Boys ought to be doing for themselves."
      Lyndon B. Johnson Oct 21, 1964