Author Topic: Bunker Hill Musket  (Read 2630 times)

Offline johngross

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 60
Bunker Hill Musket
« on: October 13, 2019, 08:10:26 PM »
I came across this on another forum. Thought it might interest some of you folks since I know you may have fought in the battle.  :)


Gun that fired the first shot at the Battle of Bunker Hill up for auction

https://news.justcollecting.com/gun-fired-first-shot-battle-bunker-hill-revolutionary-war-morphy-auction/?fbclid=IwAR1zvv-37_BFYP9VYdXOGhsIYo2ApSHxDCA0KcpDikk_svSUqB6al46Ztvc


Offline WESTbury

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 173
  • Marble Mountain- Southern I Corps May 1969
Re: Bunker Hill Musket
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2019, 08:51:29 PM »
I was too old at the time so they put me in the reserves.
"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 JTR

  • member 2
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 3246
Re: Bunker Hill Musket
« Reply #2 on: October 13, 2019, 11:35:12 PM »
It's sad that it passing out of the original family's hands after all these years, but will no doubt make someone else's day!
John Robbins

Offline Elnathan

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1343
Re: Bunker Hill Musket
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2019, 01:43:32 AM »
Dutch musket, possibly an early 18th century one that was reworked to conform with the new style of bands that was popularized by the French post-1763. While I'm sure that the musket belonged to John Simpson, I wonder if it isn't one he acquired a year or two later in the war after we began importing large numbers of such muskets for the Continentals, rather than the one he carried at Bunker Hill.
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying...cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects. -Robert A. Heinlein

Offline 120RIR

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 145
Re: Bunker Hill Musket
« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2019, 04:22:32 AM »
I can't help but be very skeptical of family attributions.  I have an acquaintance with a long family history in the colonies, Society of the Cincinnati, etc. all very, very well documented.   A direct relative was on Bunker/Breed's Hill that day, again wonderfully documented and the family has a Bess claimed to have been used by said relative on the battlefield.  While some of the parts are Rev War including the lock, peculiarities of the stock, barrel, other parts clearly indicate a 1790s period - likely a re-stocked and cobbled-together militia musket using many war-time Bess parts.  I'll never tell.   

Offline WESTbury

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 173
  • Marble Mountain- Southern I Corps May 1969
Re: Bunker Hill Musket
« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2019, 05:09:21 AM »
I became interested in the Rev War when I was ten years old living in Pittsburgh and watching Johnny Tremain and The Swamp Fox in the late 1950's. My mother bought me the American Heritage book on the Rev war. She also told me about our Rev War ancestor Jacob Becker aka General Becker of Pennsylvania.

Well it turns out that our ancestor Jacob Becker was indeed in the Rev War, as a private in Captain Christopher Folck's Pennsylvania Militia Company.
"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

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 4187
Re: Bunker Hill Musket
« Reply #6 on: October 14, 2019, 01:39:22 PM »
Hi,
Yes these attributions are always suspect particularly after the forgeries marketed by Kimball Arms years ago.  However, this musket is plausible.  I agree that it may be Dutch but the style looks right for the Rev War period and colonists had Dutch imports going back decades before the war.

dave
"Flick Lives!"

Offline Elnathan

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1343
Re: Bunker Hill Musket
« Reply #7 on: October 14, 2019, 02:06:25 PM »
Hi,
Yes these attributions are always suspect particularly after the forgeries marketed by Kimball Arms years ago.  However, this musket is plausible.  I agree that it may be Dutch but the style looks right for the Rev War period and colonists had Dutch imports going back decades before the war.

dave

Dutch muskets were used all over the place all through the 18th century, and I don't find the idea of a Dutch musket per se at Bunker Hill the least bit implausible. It is just that this particular one is patterned after the 1763/66 Charlesville muskets, and it was my impression that the Dutch started reworking their old muskets into the new style for export when the Americans started buying muskets in large numbers and had become familiar with the newer French patterns. That would be in the 1777-80 period, a few years late for Bunker Hill.

I could be wrong about the timing of the rebuilding, but prior to the Revolution it seems unlikely that there was enough demand for arms that it would have been worthwhile for the Leige/Dutch arms merchants to convert older muskets to the newer pattern, and while colonial gunsmiths were familiar with banded barrels prior to the Revolution via captured French muskets from the French and Indian War I don't think that they really caught on until we started getting shipments of 1766 pattern muskets during the Revolution. So my guess is that this musket was issued to Simpson a year or more after Bunker Hill, and is the one he carried throughout most of the war. Still his, still a Revolutionary War gun, just not THAT one.
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying...cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects. -Robert A. Heinlein

Offline Mike Brooks

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9879
    • Mike Brooks Gunmaker
Re: Bunker Hill Musket
« Reply #8 on: October 14, 2019, 03:11:56 PM »
This is a Dutch type III musket according to my quick research. The type III existed in that time period. I  don't know if it is legit or not, and really don't care that much...BUT, it is more likely this musket was one of the batch bought by Franklin when he was searching for muskets in Europe for the cause. Tens of thousands of odd muskets came into this country from Europe, but not early on. It's possible it didn't even reach this country until after Bunker Hill.
 It is a fine old gun with a fine story. As with all fine old guns with fine old stories there isn't anyway to prove the connection. What you're buying here is an old Dutch Type III musket that may have been used in the rev War.
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

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 173
  • Marble Mountain- Southern I Corps May 1969
Re: Bunker Hill Musket
« Reply #9 on: October 14, 2019, 04:23:49 PM »
The New Hampshire Commission is probably worth more than the musket. That is real documentation.

The musket never the less is a historical piece, that may, as Mike points out, have been carried in the Rev War.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2019, 03:01:31 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."
      Lyndon B. Johnson Oct 21, 1964

Offline smart dog

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 4187
Re: Bunker Hill Musket
« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2019, 04:57:21 PM »
Hi,
It is my understanding that the Dutch used convex shaped locks after 1760 or so.  Between 1730 -1760 (approx) they usually used flat locks.

dave
"Flick Lives!"

Offline Mike Brooks

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 9879
    • Mike Brooks Gunmaker
Re: Bunker Hill Musket
« Reply #11 on: October 14, 2019, 05:26:56 PM »
Hi,
It is my understanding that the Dutch used convex shaped locks after 1760 or so.  Between 1730 -1760 (approx) they usually used flat locks.

dave
My understanding as well.
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 Molly

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1048
Re: Bunker Hill Musket
« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2019, 02:06:51 PM »
If it's the one on the Morphy auction someone likes it to the current tune of $75,000.

Offline WESTbury

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 173
  • Marble Mountain- Southern I Corps May 1969
Re: Bunker Hill Musket
« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2019, 10:52:41 PM »
I re-read George's 2009 piece in the American Rifleman, which is available on-line. Morphy's "describer" needs to read it a little closer.

Does anybody know who Jonathan Holstein, author of the 50 page research pamphlet put together for the current owner, is? I put his name in Amazon's books and came up with a fellow that is an expert on quilts. Perhaps the Simpson family has a quilt used by John Simpson at Bunker Hill. Just a thought.
« Last Edit: October 17, 2019, 12:00:40 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."
      Lyndon B. Johnson Oct 21, 1964

Offline debnal

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 338
Re: Bunker Hill Musket
« Reply #14 on: October 18, 2019, 05:26:44 PM »
The musket is now up to 100K! At least two people like it.
Al

Offline WESTbury

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 173
  • Marble Mountain- Southern I Corps May 1969
Re: Bunker Hill Musket
« Reply #15 on: October 18, 2019, 08:50:26 PM »
By the way, that reference in Morphy's write-up on Lot #2172, to an existing Type III Dutch Musket branded "CITY OF BOSTON" is quite amusing and is meaningless. Boston was officially known as "Town of Boston" until March 19, 1822 when the citizens of Boston accepted a charter to be incorporated as "City of Boston".

Facts can be annoying.
"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 JV Puleo

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 636
Re: Bunker Hill Musket
« Reply #16 on: October 19, 2019, 10:21:00 PM »
By the way, that reference in Morphy's write-up on Lot #2172, to an existing Type III Dutch Musket branded "CITY OF BOSTON" is quite amusing and is meaningless. Boston was officially known as "Town of Boston" until March 19, 1822 when the citizens of Boston accepted a charter to be incorporated as "City of Boston".

Touche!
I suspect that Morphy's descriptions just parrot whatever the seller says. There is also a hum-drum pair of Ketland export pistols in that sale with an extremely fanciful description. The condition is very good but there is nothing about them that is terribly special and they definitely aren't "American Made in Ketland's Philadelphia Facility"...since no such facility ever existed.

Offline Molly

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1048
Re: Bunker Hill Musket
« Reply #17 on: October 23, 2019, 01:02:29 AM »
How does this auction operate?  I saw the flyer which bills it as a two day auction, 10-22 and 10-23 yet when you go to the various pages on the website they show items reflecting "bids".  Is ther any live bidding on site or is it just posted and the bidding ends at the close of the day 10-23??  I don't think I saw anything designated as "sold".

Offline WESTbury

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 173
  • Marble Mountain- Southern I Corps May 1969
Re: Bunker Hill Musket
« Reply #18 on: October 23, 2019, 02:12:19 AM »
I "watched" the live bidding for a while this morning. Bids were being placed by the floor and by internet bidding. Todays session was for lot numbers beginning with a "1".

Tomorrows bidding will be for lots beginning with a "2". Several of the longrifles realized pretty good numbers.

The final sales price will be published later. The only way to see what each lot sold for until the winning bids are published is to actually watch the auction in real time.
"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 WESTbury

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 173
  • Marble Mountain- Southern I Corps May 1969
Re: Bunker Hill Musket
« Reply #19 on: October 23, 2019, 04:35:46 PM »
To get the correct story about who may have fired the first shot in the area where Private Simpson was with John Stark's command, read pages 141 through 159 of Richard Ketchum's Decisive Day originally published in 1962. It was not Simpson, but a Lieutenant Dana with Knowlton command. Knowlton's troops were positioned to the right, looking toward the British line, of Stark's New Hampshire troops. Starks positioned his men, to include Private Simpson, immediately next to the Mystic River, not on Breed's Hill. The first shot in that area of the battle was possibly fired by Lt Dana of Knowlton's Connecticut troops.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2019, 03:04:00 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."
      Lyndon B. Johnson Oct 21, 1964

Offline smart dog

  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 4187
Re: Bunker Hill Musket
« Reply #20 on: October 23, 2019, 06:17:05 PM »
Hi Westbury,
You need to be careful of some things Ketchum wrote as well.  I have all his books and read them multiple times.  He is a good author but recited and perpetuated some famous Rev War stories promoted by early 19th century writers that were never well documented.  A classic is the story of Timothy Murphy shooting his double barreled rifle to kill Fraser at Saratoga.  It may have happened that way but there is no reliable source for it.
https://allthingsliberty.com/2013/03/the-myth-of-rifleman-timothy-murphy-and-the-power-of-the-written-word/

Moreover, the famous "double rifle used by Murphy to kill Fraser" in the Old Stone Fort Museum in NY is a complete mismatch for a Rev War period rifle. 


dave
"Flick Lives!"

Offline WESTbury

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 173
  • Marble Mountain- Southern I Corps May 1969
Re: Bunker Hill Musket
« Reply #21 on: October 23, 2019, 06:45:37 PM »
I agree that when reading about events that took place centuries ago, you may not be getting the complete set of facts. This is probably especially true of battles where a great deal of confusion about time and details gets muddled.

https://allthingsliberty.com/2013/06/the-whites-of-their-eyes/

What we need is Mr. Peabody's Wave-Vac machine.

Was anyone watching the online auction to get a price for what this musket sold for?
« Last Edit: October 23, 2019, 07:18:52 PM 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."
      Lyndon B. Johnson Oct 21, 1964

Offline WESTbury

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 173
  • Marble Mountain- Southern I Corps May 1969
Re: Bunker Hill Musket
« Reply #22 on: October 23, 2019, 07:21:38 PM »
The musket and paper went for $400k.
"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 mr. no gold

  • member 2
  • Hero Member
  • *
  • Posts: 1878
Re: Bunker Hill Musket
« Reply #23 on: October 23, 2019, 07:55:16 PM »
It appears that a 'good story' sells the merchandise far better than no story at all. I'm on the edge of my seat wondering what the 'Lion...' gun will fetch. Still and all, a good job by the auction house for the client.
Dick

Offline WESTbury

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 173
  • Marble Mountain- Southern I Corps May 1969
Re: Bunker Hill Musket
« Reply #24 on: October 23, 2019, 08:34:16 PM »
Yea, and tack on the 20% buyers premium Morphy charges and a whole lot of insurance.
"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