Author Topic: The Lehigh Indian Head  (Read 72975 times)

Offline Shreckmeister

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Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #125 on: December 10, 2019, 03:23:09 AM »
I tend to think this image is a simplified version of an 18th-century lady Columbia. She’s patriotic.I don’t know why German gunsmiths would be Putting an Indian image on their rifles.
The period in which many of these rifles were created was one of the great patriotism
This article supports my position.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.theatlantic.com/amp/article/273672/

Columbia: Goddess of America. It seems few Americans are aware of Columbia (feminized version of Columbus) who is the goddess of liberty and the personification of America. As a quasi-mythical figure, Columbia first appears in the poetry of Phillis Wheatley starting in 1776 during the revolutionary war [








« Last Edit: December 10, 2019, 03:56:45 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 Mike Lyons

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Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #126 on: December 10, 2019, 04:33:39 AM »
You have the arrowhead sideplates that are sort of an Indian image.  I have no clue what the face represents.  Some look like females and some look like Indians and others look like aliens.

Offline Bill Paton

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Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #127 on: December 10, 2019, 06:14:33 AM »
I am in Shreckmeister’s camp on this. I agree a few look like Indian heads, but I believd most were patriotic symbols representing Lady Columbia or Lady Liberty. In my opinion, the “alian” look bespeaks the poor artistic abilities of makers who couldn't draw human figures. Look at all the non-Lehigh representations of human heads on finials, inlays, etc that attempt to represent hunters and such. None are much good. The distinctive hat seen on most Lehigh heads is a real match for Lady Columbia, and for Lady Liberty.

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Offline rich pierce

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Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #128 on: December 10, 2019, 02:47:53 PM »
Kind of a side thought: I never understood why “Columbia” would be chosen as the name for Washington D.C.  That article helps and if this symbol or concept or icon was so well known and popular that it would in time be chosen to name our nation’s capital, for me, it leans me more in the direction of thinking the Lehigh symbol is Columbia or Lady Liberty. 
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Offline spgordon

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Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #129 on: December 10, 2019, 04:37:42 PM »
The puzzle for me in all this is why would this particular symbol become a "decoration" uniquely on Lehigh county rifles? That is, Lady Liberty or Columbia isn't associated only with Lehigh county at this time. So if it is Lady Liberty, why wouldn't this carving show up on rifles all over the place?
Check out: The Lost Village of Christian's Spring
https://christiansbrunn.web.lehigh.edu/
And: The Earliest Moravian Work in the Mid-Atlantic: A Guide
https://www.moravianhistory.org/product-page/moravian-activity-in-the-mid-atlantic-guidebook

Offline Eric Kettenburg

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Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #130 on: December 10, 2019, 05:23:31 PM »
The puzzle for me in all this is why would this particular symbol become a "decoration" uniquely on Lehigh county rifles? That is, Lady Liberty or Columbia isn't associated only with Lehigh county at this time. So if it is Lady Liberty, why wouldn't this carving show up on rifles all over the place?

That's the $100,000 question!

For the purposes of discussion I would tend to set aside those found in neighboring eastern Berks Co., and these tend to be much more whimsical in nature and perhaps more artistic license than representation.  Peter Angstadt in particular seems to have adopted a cruciform shape which may represent Jesus, or something else entirely.  A couple unsigned pieces clearly are meant to be Indians.  And many if not most of the Berks pieces are what I would view as second or third 'generation' i.e. those seen on Stophel Long's work, he being considerably younger than the origins of the symbol (or I should say, 'apparent' origins) in NH County.  Possibly, by the early 19th century, the underlying meaning or the "why" may have given way to simply an expected decorative form.  All speculation on my part.

Broken record:  the earliest I have seen are either Moll work or potentially Wm. Antes (the swivel breech), although the dating of both is in question.  Moll's work is tough to date and so is the swivel breech.  What appears to be the earliest in my opinion is the Levi Wells pistol, the brass barrel of which seems to have been cast by Moll and is stamped underneath with both "Moll" as well as the liberty figure.  I find it interesting that the figure on that pistol is hidden under or along the side of the barrel, and is stamped almost as a 'trademark.'  The pistol generally is taken to be late War-era or possibly immediately thereafter, and it is believed Wells may have passed through or near Allentown sometime between Sept. and Dec. 1781 while commanding a cattle drive from CT and/or Long Island to Frederickburg VA.  He was already a Colonel at this point and it seems likely that he acquired it at this time.
Strange women lying in ponds, distributing swords, is no basis for a system of government!

Offline Joe Stein

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Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #131 on: December 10, 2019, 09:44:49 PM »
"I find it interesting that the figure on that pistol is hidden under or along the side of the barrel, and is stamped almost as a 'trademark.' "
I wonder if maybe that is the whole reason for it being mainly a Lehigh  thing, it started as a sort of trademark, and was known as such by people around them.

Offline Dietle

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Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #132 on: January 28, 2020, 04:59:15 AM »
Ben Troutman of far eastern Somerset County, Pennsylvania used these too.

Offline Karl Kunkel

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Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #133 on: July 04, 2023, 03:42:53 AM »
I know I'm resurrecting an old string.  I found this image of a Red Men's Lodge participating in a welcome home parade, on Sept 6, 1919 for troops returning from WWI in New Cumberland PA.

Their head dress closely resemble that of the Lehigh Indian Head, Liberty Cap.  I'm not familiar with this fraternal organization.

The image is from a paperback my father had titled "Pictorial History of the West Shore Area", published by the Cumberland County 250th Anniversary Committee.  The image was credited courtesy of Joyce Bergman Hill.


Kunk

Offline Eric Kettenburg

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Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #134 on: July 04, 2023, 03:48:18 PM »
That is quite interesting, especially given that they tie their origins back to 'secret societies' assembled prior to and during the War.

http://redmen.org/redmen/info/
Strange women lying in ponds, distributing swords, is no basis for a system of government!

Offline Sequatchie Rifle

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Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #135 on: July 04, 2023, 04:52:10 PM »
Interesting. I’ve noticed their symbol on headstones. Never really knew much about them. They were active on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee when I was growing up.
"We fight not for glory, nor riches nor honors, but for freedom alone, which no good man gives up except with his life.” Declaration of Arbroath, 1320

Offline jdm

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Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #136 on: July 05, 2023, 04:15:06 PM »
there website says one of the  societies was  " The Sons Of Liberty ".  Karl thank you for posting this information.  It's another path to research.  Jim
JIM

Offline spgordon

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Re: The Lehigh Indian Head
« Reply #137 on: July 05, 2023, 04:34:49 PM »
Here's the Red Men's parade in Bethlehem in 1920.


Check out: The Lost Village of Christian's Spring
https://christiansbrunn.web.lehigh.edu/
And: The Earliest Moravian Work in the Mid-Atlantic: A Guide
https://www.moravianhistory.org/product-page/moravian-activity-in-the-mid-atlantic-guidebook