New from Ohio with a historic long rifle

Muzzleloading Forum

Help Support Muzzleloading Forum:

Pianotech70

32 Cal
Joined
Aug 4, 2022
Messages
17
Reaction score
30
Location
Mansfield, OH
Will post some pictures soon, got to get some taken that are decent. the story goes like this, even though it sounds fantastic.
The lock is an Ashmore lock, on the inside of the lock had been inscribed in lead from a real lead pencil, 1774. Unfortunately, that has been nearly wiped away by cleaning. My family came from Ireland in 1823, and landed in Lancaster, PA and from there to Ohio in Hammondsville, north of Steubenville. The rifle was purchased at that time. It had been a flintlock, and converted to percussion before they bought it. It is obviously a conversion, not only the lock but the inletting on the stock. We assume that it was a revolutionary rifle, though, how can one prove that, except the design, and that it is an Ashmore flintlock. It is also assumed to be War of 1812, but again... proof. My family used the gun in the Ohio frontier for normal hunting. According to my grandfather, Harvey Cogsill Noble (gone many years) the rifle was used in the Civil war in the Ohio militia. Yellow Creek is a creek that enters the Ohio River and has a wide mouth there. The militia had heard that the Confederates were in Pittsburgh and it was guessed that they would try to escape south down the Ohio, which I have read that they went another way. The militia took logs and made an earthwork in the mouth of the creek, making a lookout by stacking the ends in a triangular fashion out into the creek then filling the inside with large boulders and dirt. they could then crawl out onto the earth works out well into the creek and see both ways. My grandfather's grandfather ( as far as we can tell a teenager at that point) had the "old gun". He was on watch, gun loaded, and covered in two layers of oilcloth. He dropped the gun, it fell deep into the rocks of the earthwork, and they could not retrieve it. It was lost and left there. The story was passed to my grandfather, and then to my dad, Charles VanDyke Noble. Grandad was born in 1888, my dad was born in 1916. When my dad was 8 or 9 they decided to go see if they could find the earthwork. The logs were gone, but the stones were still there covered with brush and leaves. Dad crawled out on the earthwork, and routed around and found the gun. It came home, still wrapped in the oilcloth, the outer layer rotted, but the inner layer still intact. Grandma hated guns with a passion, when they moved to Alliance OH, the gun was kept in the basement. My dad showed me the gun, and both Grandpa and he told me the story. I know it is true, because both told me, and they also knew to go look for the lost gun. Grandma died in 1959, Grandpa lost the house, and the gun came to our house in McDonald in 1961. It hung on our mantle for a few years. It did not have the original ramrod (drat!) but Dad found a guy who had one though it looked like a rocking chair runner. Dad noticed some rust on the run starting to form, so we took it to the garage and disassembled it to clean it. Dad straightened the ramrod, and in dropping it into the bore, well, the gun was still loaded. The nipple had been filled with bear grease, a little thumbnail gob of it was still in the patchbox with some muslin patches which we still have. We could not find a nipple wrench to fit at Girard Hardware, Girard, OH, but he had a new thing called a visegrip. That worked. We cleaned out the powder with a car battery tester which looks like a basting bulb. The ball was really stuck, but the hardware sold us a pint of Liquid Wrench. We filled the barrel and let it sit a few days, till it started to seep out the breech hole. The ball fought us for a while, but we made a ball extracter from a rod and screw, and it cam out. A local gunsmith certified the gun safe to fire, and we did, many times. I am sure it is still safe, but.... why chance it. I have fired it maybe 50 times. It is a sweet shooter for sure. I am now 70, the gun, if the date is correct will be 250 years old in 2024, but it has been in my family for 199 years. Yeah, I know it is a fantastic story, and now I am the only one with firsthand knowledge of it, except for maybe my brother who may or may not remember the story, he is a few years younger than me. like it or leave it, I have the gun, and it goes to reenactments with me as a prop and conversation piece.
Pictures to come soon, I promise.
 

Pianotech70

32 Cal
Joined
Aug 4, 2022
Messages
17
Reaction score
30
Location
Mansfield, OH
The musket is 50 cal. 60 inches long
 

Attachments

  • 20220806_141334.jpg
    20220806_141334.jpg
    2.3 MB · Views: 0
  • 20220806_141610_01.jpg
    20220806_141610_01.jpg
    5 MB · Views: 0
  • 20220806_141524.jpg
    20220806_141524.jpg
    1.2 MB · Views: 0
  • 20220806_141506.jpg
    20220806_141506.jpg
    1.7 MB · Views: 0
  • 20220806_141452.jpg
    20220806_141452.jpg
    864 KB · Views: 0
  • 20220806_141349.jpg
    20220806_141349.jpg
    3.6 MB · Views: 0
  • 20220806_141329.jpg
    20220806_141329.jpg
    2.6 MB · Views: 0
  • 20220806_141245.jpg
    20220806_141245.jpg
    2.5 MB · Views: 0
  • 20220806_141302.jpg
    20220806_141302.jpg
    2.3 MB · Views: 0
  • 20220806_141235.jpg
    20220806_141235.jpg
    3.8 MB · Views: 0

Belleville

32 Cal.
Joined
Feb 19, 2005
Messages
248
Reaction score
164
Love the back story on your smooth rifle. Most antique arms come w/o a historical account. You once mentioned a desire to shoot it. Since it is a family heirloom, Graig Osborn in Shelby can make you a good copy of it in flint, rifled or smooth.
 

Pianotech70

32 Cal
Joined
Aug 4, 2022
Messages
17
Reaction score
30
Location
Mansfield, OH
Love the back story on your smooth rifle. Most antique arms come w/o a historical account. You once mentioned a desire to shoot it. Since it is a family heirloom, Graig Osborn in Shelby can make you a good copy of it in flint, rifled or smooth.
I have shot it many times but about 40 years ago. Hesitate to do that now, no good reason except respect for its age
 

HighUintas

40 Cal
Joined
Jan 11, 2022
Messages
255
Reaction score
178
I'd say it's a restock due to the patched up front lock bolt hole in the lock and absence of a former hole on the opposite side of the stock.

I'm not sure, but I think ashmore locks were from the 1800s, not 1700s.

That would be pretty fantastic if the lock were truly converted prior to them buying it in 1823. That would be a really early conversion.

The entry pipe is a fowler style. I'm not sure about the trigger guard
 

Pianotech70

32 Cal
Joined
Aug 4, 2022
Messages
17
Reaction score
30
Location
Mansfield, OH
I'd say it's a restock due to the patched up front lock bolt hole in the lock and absence of a former hole on the opposite side of the stock.

I'm not sure, but I think ashmore locks were from the 1800s, not 1700s.

That would be pretty fantastic if the lock were truly converted prior to them buying it in 1823. That would be a really early conversion.

The entry pipe is a fowler style. I'm not sure about the trigger guard
Interesting. I had read somewhere that an Ashmore lock was made by the father and in production until early 1800, and then A Ashmore and R Ashmore came along later and were probably family. But now I can't find that reference material anymore, and in fact can seem to find little more about the maker except that the A Ashmore was usually a shotgun lock. Didn't know that either. But there seems to be little known about the maker and the years of manufacture. I can't even locate the area of manufacture for sure, except that there was a maker in Europe, maybe UK that was called Ashmore. Looking from the inside of the lock, I doubt that any holes were for mounting, but for the flintlock part which was converted out and the holes not used. I can post a picture of the inside if that would be helpful
 

HighUintas

40 Cal
Joined
Jan 11, 2022
Messages
255
Reaction score
178
Interesting. I had read somewhere that an Ashmore lock was made by the father and in production until early 1800, and then A Ashmore and R Ashmore came along later and were probably family. But now I can't find that reference material anymore, and in fact can seem to find little more about the maker except that the A Ashmore was usually a shotgun lock. Didn't know that either. But there seems to be little known about the maker and the years of manufacture. I can't even locate the area of manufacture for sure, except that there was a maker in Europe, maybe UK that was called Ashmore. Looking from the inside of the lock, I doubt that any holes were for mounting, but for the flintlock part which was converted out and the holes not used. I can post a picture of the inside if that would be helpful

Yes I think ashmore warranted locks were english import locks.

The front hole, which looks like it's now patched, would have been a front lock bolt. Flintlock guns would typically have 2 lock bolts until the sometime in the first quarter of the 1800s.

Any markings on the barrel anywhere?
 

Pianotech70

32 Cal
Joined
Aug 4, 2022
Messages
17
Reaction score
30
Location
Mansfield, OH
Yes I think ashmore warranted locks were english import locks.

The front hole, which looks like it's now patched, would have been a front lock bolt. Flintlock guns would typically have 2 lock bolts until the sometime in the first quarter of the 1800s.

Any markings on the barrel anywhere?
front hole has been plugged, though I never paid any attention to that till you spoke of it. And there is no corresponding hole in the stock. So either the stock is not original, which is a distinct possibility, the lock is not original, or the gun is just a cobbled together who know what. I have never been able to find a manufacturers mark on the barrel anywhere. I have had the barrel out of the stock and examined it pretty closely, but no luck on any identifying marks. However, there maybe some there and hidden without deeper investigation. The stock would not allow this lock to utilize the front screw, as the tip of the ramrod would be in the way. From your remarks, then the lock may be older than the 1820s and the stock a replacement for a damaged stock. I had been told that the gun was pre-1800, but not sure the lock would verify that. My wife is starting to call this my mongrel musket. yikes, she may be right
 

Attachments

  • 20220807_203813.jpg
    20220807_203813.jpg
    2 MB · Views: 0
  • 20220807_202028.jpg
    20220807_202028.jpg
    2 MB · Views: 0
  • 20220807_202310.jpg
    20220807_202310.jpg
    1.9 MB · Views: 0

Dutch7

40 Cal
Joined
Dec 23, 2018
Messages
168
Reaction score
238
Location
WPA
Cool story, write it down and keep it with the gun for future generations. We have verbal stories of our frontier family and they have been documented and saved. This stuff is GOLD and we have to preserve it.
No matter how the gun came to be, restocked or not it is cool.
Thanks for sharing!
 

Pianotech70

32 Cal
Joined
Aug 4, 2022
Messages
17
Reaction score
30
Location
Mansfield, OH
Cool story, write it down and keep it with the gun for future generations. We have verbal stories of our frontier family and they have been documented and saved. This stuff is GOLD and we have to preserve it.
No matter how the gun came to be, restocked or not it is cool.
Thanks for sharing!
I have been asked to show the gun at reenactments and to tell the story as I know it. I am acutely aware that there may have been flaws in the story, and in the memories and tales passed down these many years. I will never forget the look othe n my father's face when he realized that the gun had been loaded for nearly 100 years and had been hanging over our fireplace for several of those years in a loaded condition. Reaching out to this group has been valuable, and a bit scary that I may look like a complete fool in eyes of those who know more than me about such guns. I am a piano technician by trade, and not easily fooled in my field of endeavor, but make no claims to historical authenticity of period muskets. The story will go on, and on, I assure you... I am just one more piece of the tale yet to be told.
 

Pianotech70

32 Cal
Joined
Aug 4, 2022
Messages
17
Reaction score
30
Location
Mansfield, OH
front hole has been plugged, though I never paid any attention to that till you spoke of it. And there is no corresponding hole in the stock. So either the stock is not original, which is a distinct possibility, the lock is not original, or the gun is just a cobbled together who know what. I have never been able to find a manufacturers mark on the barrel anywhere. I have had the barrel out of the stock and examined it pretty closely, but no luck on any identifying marks. However, there maybe some there and hidden without deeper investigation. The stock would not allow this lock to utilize the front screw, as the tip of the ramrod would be in the way. From your remarks, then the lock may be older than the 1820s and the stock a replacement for a damaged stock. I had been told that the gun was pre-1800, but not sure the lock would verify that. My wife is starting to call this my mongrel musket. yikes, she may be right
I just spent some time reexamining the barrel and still no visible markings. I even took soft chalk and rubbed the barrel in all the exposed places, hoping to highlight any inscriptions, but nothing came up. Any ideas about marks or how to find any if there are some?
 

HighUintas

40 Cal
Joined
Jan 11, 2022
Messages
255
Reaction score
178
I just spent some time reexamining the barrel and still no visible markings. I even took soft chalk and rubbed the barrel in all the exposed places, hoping to highlight any inscriptions, but nothing came up. Any ideas about marks or how to find any if there are some?

I've read of some people finding signatures or other inlays on the barrel after scrubbing grime off. But yours didn't look to be covered in grime.


I suggest posting this rifle and your story over in the antique collecting section on the American Longrifle Forum. There's many historians and collector's there who likely can help nail down location origin and period of the lock and all furniture.
 
Top