Author Topic: Enoch Morse, Jr. 100128-2  (Read 9456 times)

Offline nord

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 1548
Enoch Morse, Jr. 100128-2
« on: February 04, 2010, 04:29:34 PM »
Maker:         Enoch Morse, Jr., Avon (now Lake Villa), Lake County, Illinois, 1842 - 1850 or later; and Waukegan, Lake County, Illinois, 1860 -1867.
Length overall:        55 7/16"
Barrel length:          39 7/8"
Width across flats:  1" at breech;  .900 at muzzle
Caliber:                 .40
Rifling:                    7 groove
Length of pull:         12 3/4"
Weight:                   10 lbs.
The lock on this rifle has been converted from flint, although this rifle was never flintlock. My best guess is that it was a new lock that the gunsmith converted when he built this rifle. This is not unusual on a gun built in the 1840's, since flintlocks were rapidly becoming obsolete. It was quite likely cheaper to buy a flinlock and convert it than to buy a new percussion lock. The lock is stamped WALKER. This rifle has a single-set trigger and an elevation adjustable rear sight, which were no doubt considered "high-tech" during the 1840's.
The 1850 census lists Enoch Morse, Jr. as a gunsmith in Avon Township, Lake County, Illinois. Morse was 43 years old, born in New York. His wife, Annie, was 35, also born in New York. A son, Chauncy, age 11, was born in Ohio. A daughter, Julia, age 4, was born in Illinois. Morse owned real estate valued at $5,000. A search of Illinois Public Domain Land Tract Sales, reveals that Enoch Morse, Jr. bought eleven tracts of land in Lake County, between May 25, 1842, and August 11, 1845.
The 1860 census lists him as "E. E. Morse", gunsmith, in the City of Waukegan, Lake County. His land holdings were now valued at $15,700, and he owned personal property worth $1,200. His son Chauncy is listed as a student at law.  Morse is still listed as a gunsmith in various Illinois State Directories through 1867.


This rifle has great color and nice architecture. The wood is a fine piece of Illinois tiger maple and Morse knew exactly what to do with it. No doubt that this piece was meant to be used given that it has a single set trigger and an elevated rear sight and it looks like it would be a fun gun to shoot. It is very representative of rifles made just east of the River.

The gun is in good condition with a clean name stamp, has an "interesting" cheekpiece with the inscribed line below the cheek running on out almost to the butt plate, perhaps a way to identify this maker? It's a good quality gun for the later era it was made in, and is therefore a good candidate for the virtual museum. Morse picked a nice piece of curly maple for the stock.

Worthy of study.  The cheekpiece is particularly distinctive. 

This is the only known rifle by this maker, so it is hard to say whether or not the cheekpiece details would identify his work.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2019, 01:40:29 AM by Dennis Glazener »
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.