1667 Flintlock?

Discussion in 'Firearm Identification' started by dogfood, May 29, 2019.

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  1. May 29, 2019 #1

    dogfood

    dogfood

    dogfood

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    Hi All,
    Arguably the flagship piece of the Rhode Island Historical Society's Armament Collection is a musket attributed to Joseph Williams, the son of Roger Williams, the founder of our state. Its description is as follows: "Flintlock, large bore musket; has bayonet lug. Elaborate cheek-piece on stock, wood inlay. Initials "J" "W" 1667 etched on barrel, also 1779. Length:57 in."
    It was allegedly "found in the rafters of the old Williams' home at Roger Williams Park" at some point and donated to the RIHS in 1916.
    Since it's not my picture, nor my flintlock, below is a link to it:
    http://rihs.minisisinc.com/RIHS_IMAGES/RHiX171156w.jpg
    That's the only photo available. I realize it's not a lot to go on and I will take photos of my own when I next have the opportunity.
    All that being said, do the picture and description match its timeline? I'm thinking that the bayonet lug must have been put on in the 18th Century, and that the current lock on it and maybe even the stock were as well. In short, nothing in the description nor photo screams 1600s to me, but that century is not one that I am terribly well-versed in.
    Thanks for your help,
    ken
     
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  2. May 29, 2019 #2

    Shot deer

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    I'm no expert on the 1600's, but id say it could have parts from both the 1600's and 1700's. It looks pretty old.
     
  3. May 30, 2019 #3

    dave_person

    dave_person

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    Hi Ken,
    The lock is almost certainly not from 1667. I suspect it could be a later restock using older parts. Perhaps the barrel was old and reused on a Rev War period restock hence the 1779?

    dave
     
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  4. May 30, 2019 #4

    TFoley

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    So basically, what you are saying is, that apart from the lock, the stock and the barrel, it's all original?
     
  5. May 30, 2019 #5

    tenngun

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    It could be stock at one time, lock later. A century later the five civilized tribes had handy gunsmiths making Frankenstein guns from used parts. For all of colonial America throwing stuff away just wasn’t done.
     
  6. May 31, 2019 #6

    hawkeye2

    hawkeye2

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    Just like my 5 times removed gandfather's tomahawk that's been handed down. :D
     
  7. May 31, 2019 #7

    tenngun

    tenngun

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    It is original, made before HC/PC was invented yet. I have to chuckle at those old guys some times that took what parts they had and nailed some guns together and went out and shot game Indians and redcoats without a second thought to as to the school their gun was in, correct stock architecture ect. Thank God we have better research today and can only use correct HC things.
     
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  8. Jun 6, 2019 #8

    dogfood

    dogfood

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    Apologies for the delay, folk. Here are some pictures I have taken of the musket in question.
     

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  9. Jun 6, 2019 #9

    dogfood

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    last two:
     

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  10. Jun 7, 2019 #10

    hawkeye2

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    I see a front sight and not a bayonet lug. It's too far back to be a bayonet lug and it's also behind the ramrod pipe. There is a notch cut into the tang for sighting too. I am not an expert but I don't see much there that might date to 1667. I'm sorry but I believe I would be doing it a kindness in calling it a relic.
     
  11. Jun 7, 2019 #11

    dogfood

    dogfood

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    The lug is on the underside of the barrel. I concur- the only thing that seems to be 1667 about it is the inscription on the barrel.
     
  12. Jun 7, 2019 #12

    hawkeye2

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    The only thing I can see on the underside of the barrel is the ramrod pipe and its supporting spacer. Is it hiden by the string wrapped around the barrel and pipe?
     
  13. Jun 7, 2019 #13

    dogfood

    dogfood

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    My mistake. Its at the three o'clock position if looking at it if it were shoulered.
     

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  14. Jun 7, 2019 #14

    dogfood

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    Here's one of some more of the carving on the butt
     

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  15. Jun 7, 2019 #15

    Nativearizonan

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    On the butt, in white paint is written 1916-6-7, and on the tag attached to the trigger guard also has 1916-6-? written on it. This is quite confusing given the 1667 written on the barrel scratch out the 19, and there is your 1667. Could this actually be a date of June 7, 1916? That seems far out there, but why does this possible curator attached number have the same last four digits? Coincidence? 1916 is the year the gun was supposed to have been donated, so maybe it was donated on June 7 of that year, and somebody added the date at that time? Stamping a date in an actual antique would be a serious no-no these days, but what about 100 years ago?
     
  16. Jun 7, 2019 #16

    Rev4191775

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    Looks like a trade gun French lock Stock is 1790 or so or newer Not a 1667 musket Nice gun though
     
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  17. Jun 10, 2019 #17

    dogfood

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    That's an interesting line of thinking. I'd certainly hope that wasn't the case, but anything's possible. Generally speaking, techniques were more far more lax a century ago than they are today but they generally weren't that lax at that point.
     
  18. Jun 11, 2019 at 5:33 PM #18

    Nativearizonan

    Nativearizonan

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    The thing is, in 1916, an old beat up flintlock with no particular provenance or display of masterful artistry would not have been worth more than a couple bucks. The phrase "dime a dozen" comes to mind. Make up a story and say it was found in an old house belonging to some person of historic note and suddenly it becomes worthy of hanging in a museum. It would not be like someone marked up a known valuable antique.

    I am reminded of a lady I knew who had a large old copper apple butter kettle on her hearth that she claimed had come over on the Mayflower with her ancestor. Her son told me that he had turned it over and found "made in USA" stamped on it, but didn't bother to tell his mom.
     
  19. Jun 11, 2019 at 9:18 PM #19

    dogfood

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    It definitely is well within the realm of possibility that the donor could have put the inscription on there himself.
     
  20. Jun 12, 2019 at 3:49 AM #20

    Nativearizonan

    Nativearizonan

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    It's too bad these old guns can't talk. That one might have quite a story to tell.
     

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