Along the Susquehanna

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Chambers Pennsylvania Fowler has been mentioned and could work well. It’s approximately 1770s I think. When one wants to get earlier than that, in a colonial smoothbore it takes some research and a kit may not be the ticket.
Jim’s site says 1750s but in an email he stated 1790s. I’m deep into the research and agree. While kits are available for some appropriate guns, to do a Pennsy-made smoothbore c.1750 would basically be a build from a plank.

RyanAK the northeastern part of PA was settled by families from Connecticut, so French Fusils & New England Fowlers were probably used back then.
Yup! However… My in-laws are in Connecticut. Not sure if that sways me for or against a French Fusil. 😜
 
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Get in touch with Fred Miller in Mifflinburg. He's old , so don't wait too long. Over the years he supplied me with many French/ Indian musket stocks designed by the famous Kit Ravenshear , master armorer , Tower Of London Museum. Kit is passed on , but his designs are still with us. Tell Fred , Charlie sent you. If he can't help you , Fred can tell you who can. .............oldwood
Wait… Fred is in Mifflinburg? I’ve heard of Fred Miller for years, but didn’t realize we live in the same town. Are you local as well? Several guys have PM’d me and it looks like Union County and the greater area has a LOT of resources to help me get into something appropriate. Small world after all. I appreciate the nudge.
 
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Good afternoon!

I’ve lately been reading through the forum and a recent discussion regarding the term “haversack” in the 18th century solidified my belief that this is my kind of place. So… hello!

I like to write and tend to be long winded, so the very abridged version of what I’ve poured out below is this: What would be the most historically accurate/period correct firearm for an enterprising colonial on the Susquehanna frontier c.1755? And… what kit(s) may match up with the history in the best possible way?

The long version:

I’m writing what will probably be a lengthy note asking for some guidance about building a smoothbore appropriate for the Pennsylvania frontier during the 1750s. My sincere thanks in advance if you take time to read this missive and choose to reply. I know you all are busy!

I grew up in Northumberland County a few miles from the former site of Shamokin and Fort Augusta. I’ve spent my life in the towns and mountains of central Pennsylvania and now live with my young family just west of the West Branch of the Susquehanna River. The site of the first attack of the Penns Creek Massacre (LeRoy family) is less than a mile from my front porch and the entire country here is littered with sites and events from the French and Indian War through the Revolution. I spend a great deal of time hunting (including with a production CVA Mountain Rifle I bought with confirmation money when I was 12…), fishing, camping and wandering through a large district, and I’m interested in going deeper than books or touristing can take me. Period hunts and overnight scouts are my intent. Maybe eventually living history. (Did highly authentic ACW once upon a time…)

I’m 43 with a young family and have been thinking on a flintlock appropriate for experiencing the 1750s-1760s in this area for going on 20 years. I’m finally in a position to build a gun… I have the skill set to do good work (I build bamboo fly rods, haft historic axes, etc.) but with my young family and demanding career, I don’t think I’m up for the time commitment of building from a slab of maple. Nor are my experience and skill quite ready for a scratch build.

Yet.

So, a kit then.


Just to state: Historical Correctness is important to me. Or as historically correct as can reasonably be achieved in these times. I have a running list of relic guns from this time period that I would love to build a bench copy of… I’m just not there yet.

So then… which kit as a basis for a civilian-owned smoothbore along the Susquehanna River during the French and Indian War? I’ve done a lot of research, and as I’m sure you all know, the historic record can get fuzzy when you try to get specific as to time and place. Especially for the 1750s-1760s. I believe I have a good understanding of the generalities of frontier guns of the period, I can make some educated assumptions, but could use some assistance in narrowing things down to what an enterprising colonial on the Pennsylvania frontier - one that placed appropriate importance on the acquisition of his firearm - would have equipped himself with to provide for and defend his family. Hunting, home defense, and off a’ranging when called upon.

My interests really are centered on American “assembled” guns, rather than imported European arms… though I would certainly embrace the right arm imported to Pennsylvania for sale to colonists. But the documented ingenuity of early gunmakers and smiths to create firearms and keep them in service for frontier work is damn fascinating to me. An early American “composite” gun seems appropriate - domestically stocked with imported or reclaimed lock and barrel and reclaimed, imported or self-made furniture. Surviving historic examples seem to run from ‘cobbled’ to very fine, though all carry a sense of purpose. Something like this may need to wait for a scratch build or starting with a non-inlet stock… but maybe one of the English trade kits would be an appropriate jumping off point for a colonial-made gun? I’m not sure this is achievable working from a pre-carved and pre-inlet parts set.

Arms imported to Philadelphia for the colonial trade would also likely be appropriate. An English fouling piece or fusee of the quality above those meant for the Indian trade but not to the level of a “fine” gun seems like an achievable build to produce a correct arm for the time and place.

I’m also much drawn to the Tulle Fusil de Chasse and other French trade guns - particularly the stock architecture - but cannot seem to historically justify those guns or ones domestically stocked in that manner being present on the Susquehanna frontier in the 1750s. Ditto use of the French hardware and locks. Maybe I’m mistaken in that regard. I’m hoping to avoid any sort of elaborate ‘backstory’ of how such a gun ended up in the Susquehanna Valley. I prefer to represent the common rather than the exceptional. Again… maybe my research and understanding is incomplete on the spread of the French types and they would have been present. All that said, if historical correctness for the time and place wasn’t paramount for me, I’d likely build a French gun.

If you’ve read all that, sincerely… thank you. I look forward learning here and to eventually getting a kit in hand and enjoying the making of something that will bring years of enjoyment and learning. Any and all advice - including any additional research suggestions! - is greatly appreciated.

With gratitude,

Ryan
Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania

Good afternoon!

I’ve lately been reading through the forum and a recent discussion regarding the term “haversack” in the 18th century solidified my belief that this is my kind of place. So… hello!

I like to write and tend to be long winded, so the very abridged version of what I’ve poured out below is this: What would be the most historically accurate/period correct firearm for an enterprising colonial on the Susquehanna frontier c.1755? And… what kit(s) may match up with the history in the best possible way?

The long version:

I’m writing what will probably be a lengthy note asking for some guidance about building a smoothbore appropriate for the Pennsylvania frontier during the 1750s. My sincere thanks in advance if you take time to read this missive and choose to reply. I know you all are busy!

I grew up in Northumberland County a few miles from the former site of Shamokin and Fort Augusta. I’ve spent my life in the towns and mountains of central Pennsylvania and now live with my young family just west of the West Branch of the Susquehanna River. The site of the first attack of the Penns Creek Massacre (LeRoy family) is less than a mile from my front porch and the entire country here is littered with sites and events from the French and Indian War through the Revolution. I spend a great deal of time hunting (including with a production CVA Mountain Rifle I bought with confirmation money when I was 12…), fishing, camping and wandering through a large district, and I’m interested in going deeper than books or touristing can take me. Period hunts and overnight scouts are my intent. Maybe eventually living history. (Did highly authentic ACW once upon a time…)

I’m 43 with a young family and have been thinking on a flintlock appropriate for experiencing the 1750s-1760s in this area for going on 20 years. I’m finally in a position to build a gun… I have the skill set to do good work (I build bamboo fly rods, haft historic axes, etc.) but with my young family and demanding career, I don’t think I’m up for the time commitment of building from a slab of maple. Nor are my experience and skill quite ready for a scratch build.

Yet.

So, a kit then.


Just to state: Historical Correctness is important to me. Or as historically correct as can reasonably be achieved in these times. I have a running list of relic guns from this time period that I would love to build a bench copy of… I’m just not there yet.

So then… which kit as a basis for a civilian-owned smoothbore along the Susquehanna River during the French and Indian War? I’ve done a lot of research, and as I’m sure you all know, the historic record can get fuzzy when you try to get specific as to time and place. Especially for the 1750s-1760s. I believe I have a good understanding of the generalities of frontier guns of the period, I can make some educated assumptions, but could use some assistance in narrowing things down to what an enterprising colonial on the Pennsylvania frontier - one that placed appropriate importance on the acquisition of his firearm - would have equipped himself with to provide for and defend his family. Hunting, home defense, and off a’ranging when called upon.

My interests really are centered on American “assembled” guns, rather than imported European arms… though I would certainly embrace the right arm imported to Pennsylvania for sale to colonists. But the documented ingenuity of early gunmakers and smiths to create firearms and keep them in service for frontier work is damn fascinating to me. An early American “composite” gun seems appropriate - domestically stocked with imported or reclaimed lock and barrel and reclaimed, imported or self-made furniture. Surviving historic examples seem to run from ‘cobbled’ to very fine, though all carry a sense of purpose. Something like this may need to wait for a scratch build or starting with a non-inlet stock… but maybe one of the English trade kits would be an appropriate jumping off point for a colonial-made gun? I’m not sure this is achievable working from a pre-carved and pre-inlet parts set.

Arms imported to Philadelphia for the colonial trade would also likely be appropriate. An English fouling piece or fusee of the quality above those meant for the Indian trade but not to the level of a “fine” gun seems like an achievable build to produce a correct arm for the time and place.

I’m also much drawn to the Tulle Fusil de Chasse and other French trade guns - particularly the stock architecture - but cannot seem to historically justify those guns or ones domestically stocked in that manner being present on the Susquehanna frontier in the 1750s. Ditto use of the French hardware and locks. Maybe I’m mistaken in that regard. I’m hoping to avoid any sort of elaborate ‘backstory’ of how such a gun ended up in the Susquehanna Valley. I prefer to represent the common rather than the exceptional. Again… maybe my research and understanding is incomplete on the spread of the French types and they would have been present. All that said, if historical correctness for the time and place wasn’t paramount for me, I’d likely build a French gun.

If you’ve read all that, sincerely… thank you. I look forward learning here and to eventually getting a kit in hand and enjoying the making of something that will bring years of enjoyment and learning. Any and all advice - including any additional research suggestions! - is greatly appreciated.

With gratitude,

Ryan
Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania
I know almost nothing about that era or the guns. However, I recently purchased a Lancaster rifle [gorgeous] built by the guys who are "Cresson Mountain Muzzleloaders". They live in, build and sell rifles from that area. You might want to look at their website. They seem not to be very well known [do not advertise in Muzzleloader or anywhere else I can find]. I have seen a lot of long rifles and only a few are better than the one I have from Cresson Mountain proudly on display over my mantle . Just my 1 1/2 cents worth. Polecat
 
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Welcome from Dauphin county.
Mebby you want to research a Reedy from Gratz Pa. and there was one from Liverpool whose name i dont remember. Both of the were makers and repairs
On main st in Gratz there is a Pa. sign in front of Reedy's house.. He is long gone.
hope it helps.
OBTW Gratz is Dauphin county east of Millersburg..
The Fox.....
 
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Interesting bio account of one of the best-known Moravian gunmakers of the mid-to-late eighteenth century. Includes lots of info on the Moravian Church, and how the dedication of it's members to world-wide missionary efforts led them to make all their personal decisions re: family, profession, locale of residence, etc. based on what furthered their church's efforts. I do not know what percentage of the Swiss/German population of Eastern and Central PA were members of that faith, but it woulf appear that they had a significant econic impact on the area. I got the impression that "well-to-do, upper middle class" looked different among the Germanic immigrants from how it looked among the English.
Re: weaponry, Albrecht documented that, second only to his military contracts, his private clientele way largely Indian, and that his Native customers specifically sought, even DEMANDED, "rifle guns." I got the impression that, although they were limited to smoothbore trade guns in their dealings with the Crown and Royally-sanctioned trading houses, the preferred personal weapon for the Native warriors was a rifle, with its precision and much-greater range. If I was in the first wave of colonists to explore an area, I would want to be equally-armred... A generation later, living in a now-settled farming community, a fowler or smooth rifle might suffice for hunting and home defense.
Just some extra data for your personna-build...
Doing the same thing re: my SW Virginia and Tennessee Overmountain ancestors...
 
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smoothshooter

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Good afternoon!

I’ve lately been reading through the forum and a recent discussion regarding the term “haversack” in the 18th century solidified my belief that this is my kind of place. So… hello!

I like to write and tend to be long winded, so the very abridged version of what I’ve poured out below is this: What would be the most historically accurate/period correct firearm for an enterprising colonial on the Susquehanna frontier c.1755? And… what kit(s) may match up with the history in the best possible way?

The long version:

I’m writing what will probably be a lengthy note asking for some guidance about building a smoothbore appropriate for the Pennsylvania frontier during the 1750s. My sincere thanks in advance if you take time to read this missive and choose to reply. I know you all are busy!

I grew up in Northumberland County a few miles from the former site of Shamokin and Fort Augusta. I’ve spent my life in the towns and mountains of central Pennsylvania and now live with my young family just west of the West Branch of the Susquehanna River. The site of the first attack of the Penns Creek Massacre (LeRoy family) is less than a mile from my front porch and the entire country here is littered with sites and events from the French and Indian War through the Revolution. I spend a great deal of time hunting (including with a production CVA Mountain Rifle I bought with confirmation money when I was 12…), fishing, camping and wandering through a large district, and I’m interested in going deeper than books or touristing can take me. Period hunts and overnight scouts are my intent. Maybe eventually living history. (Did highly authentic ACW once upon a time…)

I’m 43 with a young family and have been thinking on a flintlock appropriate for experiencing the 1750s-1760s in this area for going on 20 years. I’m finally in a position to build a gun… I have the skill set to do good work (I build bamboo fly rods, haft historic axes, etc.) but with my young family and demanding career, I don’t think I’m up for the time commitment of building from a slab of maple. Nor are my experience and skill quite ready for a scratch build.

Yet.

So, a kit then.


Just to state: Historical Correctness is important to me. Or as historically correct as can reasonably be achieved in these times. I have a running list of relic guns from this time period that I would love to build a bench copy of… I’m just not there yet.

So then… which kit as a basis for a civilian-owned smoothbore along the Susquehanna River during the French and Indian War? I’ve done a lot of research, and as I’m sure you all know, the historic record can get fuzzy when you try to get specific as to time and place. Especially for the 1750s-1760s. I believe I have a good understanding of the generalities of frontier guns of the period, I can make some educated assumptions, but could use some assistance in narrowing things down to what an enterprising colonial on the Pennsylvania frontier - one that placed appropriate importance on the acquisition of his firearm - would have equipped himself with to provide for and defend his family. Hunting, home defense, and off a’ranging when called upon.

My interests really are centered on American “assembled” guns, rather than imported European arms… though I would certainly embrace the right arm imported to Pennsylvania for sale to colonists. But the documented ingenuity of early gunmakers and smiths to create firearms and keep them in service for frontier work is damn fascinating to me. An early American “composite” gun seems appropriate - domestically stocked with imported or reclaimed lock and barrel and reclaimed, imported or self-made furniture. Surviving historic examples seem to run from ‘cobbled’ to very fine, though all carry a sense of purpose. Something like this may need to wait for a scratch build or starting with a non-inlet stock… but maybe one of the English trade kits would be an appropriate jumping off point for a colonial-made gun? I’m not sure this is achievable working from a pre-carved and pre-inlet parts set.

Arms imported to Philadelphia for the colonial trade would also likely be appropriate. An English fouling piece or fusee of the quality above those meant for the Indian trade but not to the level of a “fine” gun seems like an achievable build to produce a correct arm for the time and place.

I’m also much drawn to the Tulle Fusil de Chasse and other French trade guns - particularly the stock architecture - but cannot seem to historically justify those guns or ones domestically stocked in that manner being present on the Susquehanna frontier in the 1750s. Ditto use of the French hardware and locks. Maybe I’m mistaken in that regard. I’m hoping to avoid any sort of elaborate ‘backstory’ of how such a gun ended up in the Susquehanna Valley. I prefer to represent the common rather than the exceptional. Again… maybe my research and understanding is incomplete on the spread of the French types and they would have been present. All that said, if historical correctness for the time and place wasn’t paramount for me, I’d likely build a French gun.

If you’ve read all that, sincerely… thank you. I look forward learning here and to eventually getting a kit in hand and enjoying the making of something that will bring years of enjoyment and learning. Any and all advice - including any additional research suggestions! - is greatly appreciated.

With gratitude,

Ryan
Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania


I believe it would be a fair statement to say that very few of the guns being used in any given region actually originated there. Guns changed hands quite often for various reasons and so some of them would have been used or at least carried hundreds if not thousands of miles from they were built.
 
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Ryan......Not to far from you is Knob Mtn. Muzzleloaders . Dave Keck is the owner and has a website. He is about one exit east of the river on I-80. He works from original patterns of specific m/l's, and isn't too far from you. He bought Fred Miller's precarved m/l stock operation.
 
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Good afternoon!

I’ve lately been reading through the forum and a recent discussion regarding the term “haversack” in the 18th century solidified my belief that this is my kind of place. So… hello!

I like to write and tend to be long winded, so the very abridged version of what I’ve poured out below is this: What would be the most historically accurate/period correct firearm for an enterprising colonial on the Susquehanna frontier c.1755? And… what kit(s) may match up with the history in the best possible way?

The long version:

I’m writing what will probably be a lengthy note asking for some guidance about building a smoothbore appropriate for the Pennsylvania frontier during the 1750s. My sincere thanks in advance if you take time to read this missive and choose to reply. I know you all are busy!

I grew up in Northumberland County a few miles from the former site of Shamokin and Fort Augusta. I’ve spent my life in the towns and mountains of central Pennsylvania and now live with my young family just west of the West Branch of the Susquehanna River. The site of the first attack of the Penns Creek Massacre (LeRoy family) is less than a mile from my front porch and the entire country here is littered with sites and events from the French and Indian War through the Revolution. I spend a great deal of time hunting (including with a production CVA Mountain Rifle I bought with confirmation money when I was 12…), fishing, camping and wandering through a large district, and I’m interested in going deeper than books or touristing can take me. Period hunts and overnight scouts are my intent. Maybe eventually living history. (Did highly authentic ACW once upon a time…)

I’m 43 with a young family and have been thinking on a flintlock appropriate for experiencing the 1750s-1760s in this area for going on 20 years. I’m finally in a position to build a gun… I have the skill set to do good work (I build bamboo fly rods, haft historic axes, etc.) but with my young family and demanding career, I don’t think I’m up for the time commitment of building from a slab of maple. Nor are my experience and skill quite ready for a scratch build.

Yet.

So, a kit then.


Just to state: Historical Correctness is important to me. Or as historically correct as can reasonably be achieved in these times. I have a running list of relic guns from this time period that I would love to build a bench copy of… I’m just not there yet.

So then… which kit as a basis for a civilian-owned smoothbore along the Susquehanna River during the French and Indian War? I’ve done a lot of research, and as I’m sure you all know, the historic record can get fuzzy when you try to get specific as to time and place. Especially for the 1750s-1760s. I believe I have a good understanding of the generalities of frontier guns of the period, I can make some educated assumptions, but could use some assistance in narrowing things down to what an enterprising colonial on the Pennsylvania frontier - one that placed appropriate importance on the acquisition of his firearm - would have equipped himself with to provide for and defend his family. Hunting, home defense, and off a’ranging when called upon.

My interests really are centered on American “assembled” guns, rather than imported European arms… though I would certainly embrace the right arm imported to Pennsylvania for sale to colonists. But the documented ingenuity of early gunmakers and smiths to create firearms and keep them in service for frontier work is damn fascinating to me. An early American “composite” gun seems appropriate - domestically stocked with imported or reclaimed lock and barrel and reclaimed, imported or self-made furniture. Surviving historic examples seem to run from ‘cobbled’ to very fine, though all carry a sense of purpose. Something like this may need to wait for a scratch build or starting with a non-inlet stock… but maybe one of the English trade kits would be an appropriate jumping off point for a colonial-made gun? I’m not sure this is achievable working from a pre-carved and pre-inlet parts set.

Arms imported to Philadelphia for the colonial trade would also likely be appropriate. An English fouling piece or fusee of the quality above those meant for the Indian trade but not to the level of a “fine” gun seems like an achievable build to produce a correct arm for the time and place.

I’m also much drawn to the Tulle Fusil de Chasse and other French trade guns - particularly the stock architecture - but cannot seem to historically justify those guns or ones domestically stocked in that manner being present on the Susquehanna frontier in the 1750s. Ditto use of the French hardware and locks. Maybe I’m mistaken in that regard. I’m hoping to avoid any sort of elaborate ‘backstory’ of how such a gun ended up in the Susquehanna Valley. I prefer to represent the common rather than the exceptional. Again… maybe my research and understanding is incomplete on the spread of the French types and they would have been present. All that said, if historical correctness for the time and place wasn’t paramount for me, I’d likely build a French gun.

If you’ve read all that, sincerely… thank you. I look forward learning here and to eventually getting a kit in hand and enjoying the making of something that will bring years of enjoyment and learning. Any and all advice - including any additional research suggestions! - is greatly appreciated.

With gratitude,

Ryan
Mifflinburg, Pennsylvania
Good luck with your great project! I have friends in York Co., so when I cross the Susquehanna going West from Phila. area, I know this was once the Frontier!
 
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1750's , period correct rifle would be an Edward Marshal Indian Walk Rifle of 1748. It's about 25% Jaeger rifle , and 75% American long rifle. I've personally owned , and shot , a few copies ,of this rifle , in .50. 54 , and .58. cal.. It is one of those uniquely historic , and good handling guns.
 
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Just stumbled on this thread and have scanned through it. Have not seen a mention of Martin Meylin. He was a Swiss gun maker who relocated to the Pequea valley area of Lancaster county. His shop - Still standing - is less than ten miles from Safe Harbor on the Susquehanna. It is located in Willow Street. If memory serves he worked there until 1749. A state historical marker says the first known Pennsylvania long rifle was made here before 1745.
So a long rifle, or an American influenced Jaeger would be appropriate to your time and place. I admire the fusil, but wonder how common they were in places settled by people with a Germanic background and familiarity with Jaegers.
 
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A state historical marker says the first known Pennsylvania long rifle was made here before 1745.
So a long rifle, or an American influenced Jaeger would be appropriate to your time and place. I admire the fusil, but wonder how common they were in places settled by people with a Germanic background and familiarity with Jaegers.
You just got me to thinking...
My first Colonist ancestor was Johannes Aegender, who took his family and 9 kids from Switzerland to the Lehigh Valley in 1732. He acquired a farm upon arrival, so he must have been a man of means.
I wonder what he brought with him? A Jaeger? Probably so. And maybe some handguns & muff pistols.
And, once he got here, I bet he bought one of the new longrifles being made nearby.
Man, I wonder where it got to???
 
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Solanco , This is a good place to introduce a very early Lancaster gunsmith. His name is Valentine Fondersmith. . Though he was an early smith , he worked through 1775.. I mention him in hopes , that Solanco will have one of Shumway's books to look up the gun Fondersmith built, pictured there. The gun is a marriage between a Jaeger , and a longrifle.
A KRA member gave Fred Miller , (was in business with a Don Allen 5 axis m/l stock copying machine). several original rifles to reproduce in the form of precarved copies of those originals. One of the originals Fred copied , was an original Johannas Faber rifle. It too is a marriage between a Jaeger , and a longrifle. Another amazing thing about these two rifles by different makers , is they are identical , except the Faber rifle , has a different side plate , from the Fondersmith rifle. Another anomaly between the two nearly identical rifles is the Faber rifle was built in the 1750's ,in the Staunton , Charlottesville area of Va.. I liked these two near identical rifles , I used one of Fred Millers precarves to make myself a light weight deer rifle. Super light weight , soft white maple , w/some figure , 7/8" .50 cal. , 38" barrel , rendered a rifle just under 7 lb.. ...........oldwood
 

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