Wednesday, April 24, 2013

SIMEON AND EVAN P WARD GUNSMITHS

SIMEON WARD PREACHER AND GUNSMITH
SON
EVAN P WARD
GUNSMITH AND CONFEDERATE SOLDIER


CLICK PICTURES FOR
LARGER VIEW







                             

SIMEON WARD was born in Frederick County Virginia in 1804. Simeon Ward lived near LeHew in Hampshire County. His first wife was Sarah Johnson , she died in 1857.  Simeon married again in 1869 to Sarah Racey  who died in 1886. Simeon died January 8 1877.
Simeon was a gunsmith and is stated as such in the 1850 census. He also preached the gospel and belonged to the Timber Ridge Christian Church near High View . He even traveled with Rev. Christy Sine ( 1798-1858) spreading the message of salvation and the word of God.  In the 1860 census Simeon is living with his son Evan P Ward. Evan is listed as a Gunsmith and Simeon is noted as a " Minister of the Gospel".

In the 1870 Census Simeon is listed as a Gunsmith.

After some searching and talking to several collectors and students of the Hampshire County Long Rifle there is currently no known examples' of Simeon's work. Of course the work could be unsigned and we may never know who made it. If you know of Simeon's work please contact us.  We have been more fortunate in the search of Evan P Wards' work. We know of five rifles made by Evan.  Three are signed E P W and one is signed E P Ward.  The  signature on the fifth rifle is so badly worn, it is difficult to see.  Through comparison we have concluded that it is also the work of Evan P Ward.
Evan was born September 29 1827. Evan married Margaret Spaid (1837-1910).  Early on in the Civil War, Evan joined the 114 TH Virginia Militia. Later on he went into the 18TH Virginia Cavalry.
During the Battle of Lynchburg on June 17 1864 Evan was wounded.


Evan died from the results of that wound several months later on February 2 1865. Evan is buried near his parents,  in Timber Ridge Christian Church Cemetery.



Signed E P Ward

Signed E P W





You can also find his name on the Confederate Memorial in the Indian Mound Cemetery in Romney.

Many of the guns made in Hampshire County went to war during the Civil War. Recently a attributed Evan P Ward Rifle was located in Tennessee . The family who had the rifle said one of their ancestors carried the rifle during some of the Civil War. 



 We have noticed,  on all of Evans rifles,  the hinges on both the patchbox and the capbox are flat. We have not seen this on any other Hampshire County rifles.

If You have  any additional information or questions on the Ward's and their rifles ,  please contact us .


For more information on Evan and his Father read.

Frederick County Virginia
Settlement and Some Families of
Back Creek Valley
1730-1830.
by Wilmer L Kerns PH.D.
You can find this book in the Hampshire County Library



THANKS TO THE OWNERS OF THESE RIFLES THAT ALLOWED US TO PHOTOGRAPH AND POST THEM.
PLEASE DO NOT COPY PICTURES.







Sunday, April 14, 2013

CHARCTERISTICS OF A HAMPSHIRE COUNTY RIFLE

The Hampshire County Rifle

The Hampshire County Rifle is a muzzle loading long rifle that was made in the boundaries of Hampshire County from the late 1700's, though the late 1800's. I think it is possible that a few could have been made as late as 1900. The Hampshire County Rifle is a Kentucky Rifle such as the one Daniel Boone carried. The Kentucky Rifle is truly the first American Rifle. These long rifles with beautiful maple stocks and stunning patch boxes were first made by German immigrants in Pennsylvania. The Germans were already familiar with rifling firearms in the Jaeger Rifles from their homeland.
The German Jaeger had a large caliber and short rifled barrel. The rifles they made here had long barrels with smaller calibers. Calibers seen on Hampshire Co. rifles range from about  36 to 50, with the larger calibers on earlier rifles and smaller calibers on later rifles. Barrels on Hampshire Co. guns seem to range between 30" to 46" in length. Typically the early rifles had longer barrels and the later ones shorter. These barrels were also mostly octagon shaped. Most Hampshire County rifles have Double Triggers, one being a set trigger as these rifles were made for accurate shooting. Hampshire County Rifle's are almost always stocked in Maple and some have wonderful Curl & Tiger stripe. Most Hampshire County rifles are full stock, though a few guns 1850's and later are halfstocks.
A star inlayed with coin silver on the cheek piece was common on Hampshire rifles
The first guns made here were flintlock; then around 1830 percussions started to show up, and probably from 1835 on, most rifles made here had the percussion lock. The earlier Hampshire County rifle had a wider, taller butt on the stock, and many of these were carved, some incised, and some relief. These are the most sought after rifles, and they rarely ever surface. On these rifles you will typically find a star inlayed on the cheek piece made from coin silver.
The early Hampshire County rifle looked the same as the Winchester Virginia, Charles Town, and Shepherdstown West Virginia rifles. Probably about the time that the percussion lock came into use, maybe even a little before Hampshire County makers began to develop a unique style of rifles. Today collectors call it a "School". In this case, the Hampshire County "School" rifle had the famous Roman Nose Stock. This is also about the time that carving on guns was replaced by coin silver inlays: hearts, weeping hearts, stars, fish, ovals, crecent moons, etc. Most of these inlays had some Christian meaning, which now collectors call symbolism. From this time on the acorn also began to dominate the finial on the engraved brass patch boxes. This is not to say the flower or pointed finial was not used anymore, just not as much. Another thing almost unique to the Hampshire County rifle is that once percussion locks dominated our area rifles, there were small brass lid boxes on the cheek piece side that were used for percussion caps. Naturally, these are called "Cap Boxes." You do see a few of these on Ohio guns, but not many.
Many, but not all, of our Hampshire County Rifles are signed by the maker on the octagon barrel between the breech and the rear sight. It is nice when you can find a signature whether initials or the entire name as this leaves no doubt as to who made the rifle. But through careful study and comparison to other signed pieces, you can usually determine who made the rifle. This should give you some idea of what a Hampshire County Rifle is.

JAMES RINEHART


JAMES EDWARD NELSON


                                                       ATTRIBUTED JACOB SHEETZ



TOP TO BOTTOM
ATTRIBUTED JACOB SHEETZ
ATTRIBUTED JACOB SHEETZ
ATTRIBUTED ROLAND SAVAGE DAYTON


                                                                 TOP GEORGE YOUNG
                                                          BOTTOM JOHN W RINEHART
                                                                                   

JACOB KLINE
BRASS BARRELED PISTOL