Author Topic: Joseph Mills gunsmith Bedford County PA  (Read 1748 times)

Offline Shreckmeister

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Joseph Mills gunsmith Bedford County PA
« on: July 30, 2020, 06:32:36 PM »
A barrel signed, relief carved Joseph Mills Bedford County rifle at a rural auction in Somerset County.
The rifle was missing it's lock and tang, but otherwise in fantastic condition without any wood loss except at the forward area of the lock and original finish.  The original lock and tang were later recovered.
The man who put the rifle in the auction said he picked the rifle from an estate he cleaned
out.  Appears to be a hand forged lock signed J M. 







« Last Edit: August 04, 2020, 02:53:12 PM by Shreckmeister »
Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.

Offline JTR

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Re: Stroke of unbelievable luck
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2020, 06:40:20 PM »
You're one lucky guy!!!
John
John Robbins

Offline WESTbury

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Re: Stroke of unbelievable luck
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2020, 06:46:42 PM »
Schreckmeister--You had best buy a Lotto ticket before the spell wears off!  ;)
"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 Loudy

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Re: Stroke of unbelievable luck
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2020, 07:21:39 PM »
Shreckmeister, 
Great story!  Excellent that you were able to reunite the lock with the rifle.  It's wasn't luck that compelled you to find and speak with the seller of the gun.  Also not luck that got you to think of asking him about the missing lock.  There's a lesson for us there on how to make your own "unbelievable luck".  I admired the fierce looking eagle inlay on this gun in your earlier post in response to Louie's "Lets see your Eagle" thread.  Very cool gun.  The lock sure looks like it started life as a flinter.  In your photo I believe I see signs of filled holes in the plate.  Can you send photos of the back side of the lock and lock mortise area? 
Thanks,
Loudy     

Offline lexington1

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Re: Stroke of unbelievable luck
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2020, 07:41:17 PM »
You lucky dog! Are you going to post some pictures or just tease us?

Offline D. Taylor Sapergia

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Re: Stroke of unbelievable luck
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2020, 08:08:31 PM »
How great to see a genuine Bedford Co. lock.  I'd say, from the evidence of the filled holes before and after the carved away pan and fence, and the filled hole where the frizzen spring was attached, that the lock plate at least was originally a flintlock.  the hammer looks like an afterthought.
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Offline Joe Stein

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Re: Stroke of unbelievable luck
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2020, 08:32:29 PM »
Here's another vote for originally flint. You can see the shape of the lockplate edge where the frizzen spring finial rested. I can't recall any specifics about Mills' percussion guns, but if the rifle started out as a percussion, wouldn't it have had the characteristic Bedford hammer shape, considering the lockplate shape fits the classic Bedford shape?
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Offline Avlrc

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Re: Stroke of unbelievable luck
« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2020, 08:43:25 PM »
Awesome, and what a wonderful lock.  You must be living right.

Offline okawbow

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Re: Stroke of unbelievable luck
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2020, 08:51:58 PM »
Looks like a JA to me, as in John Amos.
As in life; itís the journey, not the destination. How you get there matters most.

Offline Shreckmeister

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Re: Stroke of unbelievable luck
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2020, 08:58:00 PM »
Shreckmeister, 
Great story!  Excellent that you were able to reunite the lock with the rifle.  It's wasn't luck that compelled you to find and speak with the seller of the gun.  Also not luck that got you to think of asking him about the missing lock.  There's a lesson for us there on how to make your own "unbelievable luck".  I admired the fierce looking eagle inlay on this gun in your earlier post in response to Louie's "Lets see your Eagle" thread.  Very cool gun.  The lock sure looks like it started life as a flinter.  In your photo I believe I see signs of filled holes in the plate.  Can you send photos of the back side of the lock and lock mortise area? 
Thanks,
Loudy   

I'll certainly post photos of the back side of the lock when I get a chance.
Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.

Offline Shreckmeister

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Re: Stroke of unbelievable luck
« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2020, 08:59:45 PM »
Looks like a JA to me, as in John Amos.
   The barrel is signed Joseph Mills and matches with the patchbox and eagle.  Here's a closer pic of the signature on the lock.
The lockplate is very similar to the one on page 108 in Dr. Whiskers book.



« Last Edit: July 30, 2020, 09:06:25 PM by Shreckmeister »
Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.

Offline Bob Roller

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Re: Stroke of unbelievable luck
« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2020, 09:05:52 PM »
I think it was a flintlock when it was made and the percussion hammer is what it is
which is an expedient to get the gun shooting again.
Bob Roller

Offline Shreckmeister

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Re: Stroke of unbelievable luck
« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2020, 10:09:10 PM »
I think it was a flintlock when it was made and the percussion hammer is what it is
which is an expedient to get the gun shooting again.
Bob Roller

Bob, it could definitely win an ugliest hammer competition.
Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.

Offline Shreckmeister

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Re: Stroke of unbelievable luck
« Reply #13 on: July 30, 2020, 10:15:02 PM »
Loudy



Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.

Offline JTR

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Re: Stroke of unbelievable luck
« Reply #14 on: July 30, 2020, 11:10:50 PM »
The Lock is certainly originally flint.
Now, whether the rifle was could be another question. You know the usual indicators, and wonder if you can tell/measure whether the barrel has been shortened at the breech end? Muzzle end?
A suitable fix might be to find an original Bedford percussion hammer that fits (good luck on that one) (But not impossible) and pop it on. I think most would agree that Bedford percussions look better than the flint versions.
Great find and catch, needless to say!!!
« Last Edit: July 30, 2020, 11:18:15 PM by JTR »
John Robbins

Offline WESTbury

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Re: Stroke of unbelievable luck
« Reply #15 on: July 31, 2020, 12:20:57 AM »
Confession, I really do not know anything about the Bedford style lock. What is the notch in the lockplate just below the tapped hole for the frizzen spring?
"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."
President Lyndon B. Johnson October 21, 1964

Offline JTR

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Re: Stroke of unbelievable luck
« Reply #16 on: July 31, 2020, 01:00:39 AM »
Westbury, Just decoration.
Bedford percussion locks are very distinctive.
John
John Robbins

Offline WESTbury

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Re: Stroke of unbelievable luck
« Reply #17 on: July 31, 2020, 02:49:05 AM »
Westbury, Just decoration.
Bedford percussion locks are very distinctive.
John

Thanks John for the reply. The lockplates themselves must be some of the narrowest ones out there. I think that some of the hammers on the percussion conversions are some of the most distinctive I've seen. The rifles themselves are very pleasant to look at.

Kent
"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."
President Lyndon B. Johnson October 21, 1964

Offline Shreckmeister

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Re: Stroke of unbelievable luck
« Reply #18 on: July 31, 2020, 05:30:47 AM »
JTR there is no indication of shortening. Muzzle decorated. Barrel lugs have not been moved. Original pin locations. Notch for flint clearance. Hole for forward lock bolt. I think the gun was orig flint. Fact that it resided near Bedford adds credence since Mills left Bedford during flint era and moved to OH.
« Last Edit: July 31, 2020, 05:34:14 AM by Shreckmeister »
Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.

Offline Bob D

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Re: Stroke of unbelievable luck
« Reply #19 on: July 31, 2020, 06:37:47 AM »
Rob...How lucky can a guy be!   Beautiful in every sense of the word.  Hope to see a photo of the complete Rifle even with it's locks current configuration.
How long is the barrel?    Bob D

Offline Bigmon

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Re: Stroke of unbelievable luck
« Reply #20 on: July 31, 2020, 02:15:53 PM »
Please more photos of the rifle also?
Thanks

Offline Shreckmeister

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Re: Stroke of unbelievable luck
« Reply #21 on: July 31, 2020, 02:39:12 PM »
Westbury, Just decoration.
Bedford percussion locks are very distinctive.
John
  I believe there is a nib on the back of the frizzen spring extension that anchors into that depression to keep the spring from moving.
Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.

Offline Shreckmeister

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Re: Stroke of unbelievable luck
« Reply #22 on: July 31, 2020, 02:41:00 PM »




Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.

Offline WESTbury

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Re: Stroke of unbelievable luck
« Reply #23 on: July 31, 2020, 02:44:17 PM »
Westbury, Just decoration.
Bedford percussion locks are very distinctive.
John
  I believe there is a nib on the back of the frizzen spring extension that anchors into that depression to keep the spring from moving.

Normally the "nib" that keeps the frizzen spring from pivoting about the frizzen retaining screw is located farther from the screw and closer to the bend of the upper and lower leaves of the spring.


« Last Edit: July 31, 2020, 06:03:15 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."
President Lyndon B. Johnson October 21, 1964

Offline Shreckmeister

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Re: Stroke of unbelievable luck
« Reply #24 on: July 31, 2020, 02:58:33 PM »
Disclaimer: Iím judging that from the photos of Mills locks in Dr Whiskers book.
Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.