tenngun, as you stated twenties in the 1780s forties into the 1800s maybe even hunted into his late 50s (once a hunter always a hunter) could the ball block be a later addition maybe but it looks well used. I would say a lot of speculation on the use of ball blocks have been discussed in the forum, And I would also say there is a chance this item was not added as the years went bye, simply put there is no way to know for sure but sure looks like it is of the period the rifle was in use, no one will ever know for sure things like this are lost to the ages but makes me wonder also.
Such a cool collection. I wish we could know for sure whose decedents put aside their ancestor's relics for posterity. Unfortunately, it seems that so often in the past people either used stuff up or "updated" stuff (i.e. converting lock systems). I know it's not the same thing, but my grandfather's and my father's gear has been used by me since I was a boy. Though they are long gone and I preserve their memory even while adding to their hunting kits, various tool kits, etc. shoot, it reminds me that my father-in-law has an old Remington cap and ball pocket pistol in his gun cabinent. According to their family, it's been with the family since right after great-great grandaddy came over from Ireland. The holster that the gun is currently residing in post-dates the gun by 50 years but my father in law always assumed it was original. Whoever gave it a new holster never thought to write it down and slip a note in box because it was still apparently in its useful life.