Author Topic: A.H Chapin - Earlville, NY 090809-1  (Read 11437 times)

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A.H Chapin - Earlville, NY 090809-1
« on: August 10, 2009, 06:08:34 PM »
A New York State percussion rifle made by A.
(Ambrose) H. Chapin of Earlville, N.Y. (Madison Co.)
Some biographical information in Vol. 1 of the "New York State
Firearms Trade" books (Swinney/Rowe), Chapin was born 1802 or early
1803 and died March 11, 1890. It is also cited that he worked in
Earlville from 1836-'75.
This rifle is stamped "A.H. Chapin/Earlville" on the top flat.
The barrel is also stamped "Remington" (underneath the stock). The
overall length is 48 1/4"; barrel 31 3/4". Caliber is approximately .
41. Length of pull is 14". The lock is marked "Steele & Warren/
Albany". The stock is maple.
This gun was purchased in 1851 by Chauncey Buell of Lebanon,
N.Y. His son, Philander Buell had kept a diary and on September 2,
1851 made the following entry: "Rained a little this morning & father
& I went to Earlville this a.m. Father brought home his new rifle
from Chapin's cost $16.00" (attached is a photo of the page in the
diary with this entry along with a close up photo).
When this rifle was purchased in the mid- 1980's, it had been
stored with a cleaning rod with patch down the bore, and patches
still in the cap box.


Just a superb little target rifle by a fine NY maker. Chapin was highly skilled and the attention to finish and detail on this gun is very precise. The tiger flame maple wood used for stocking the piece is quite beautiful. Overall condition is what one always hopes to find on a good rifle.
That the history accompanies the gun is a nice touch, as well. Every gun had one, but over the years, the pickers, dealers and collectors didn't bother with the who, what or where, every rifle once had.
Post it to the Library with all due haste. This rifle is highly representative of the type of gun made in NY state in the mid 1800s.

This is a nice, neat little rifle rifle, probably made to impress friends at week-end shooting matches. It has survived in remarkable condition. Interesting extended tang, fine checkering on wrist, and butt with almost parallel comb & toe lines not seen on guns made further west. Great eagle inlay in cheekpiece. This is a great example of New York work for the museum, with typical New York single trigger, guard with scrolled rear spur, and checkered wrist. We could wait a long time for a better one to come along.

From the History of Madison Co, NY.

Thomas Buell from New Hampshire 'took" a large farm in south east quarter of the county , settled and located his family there. The farm passed to his son Chauncey and then to his son Philander. All died there. The farm was then owned by a James E. Morgan.
The Buells were "prominent in public matters and society. " a grandson was noted for his music.

My home town is about 40 miles to the north of Earlville and this is what I'd expect of a "Utica" rifle. Great lines and a wonderful showpiece. Add the provenance and this is a real treasure.

One thing we need to make clear... This is a very different gun than you'd find in the Southern Tier of NY at that time. From an indeterminate line running roughly from Norwich, NY westward  to somewhere in the rough hills south of Buffalo, the rifles south of that line generally showed a heavy Upper Susquehanna influence and are very unlike their more northerly cousins.

This is likely best explained by the river systems used as modes of travel and transportation prior to the building of railroads and canals and lasting up until the Civil War. The Mohawk Valley provided access to western NY from Albany and New York City while the Susquehanna provided access to the Southern Tier from Harrisburg and points north. The west branch of the Susquehanna providing access into the Allegheny territory from the south also.

Different people... Different guns. 
« Last Edit: January 02, 2020, 05:22:02 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.