Sunday, August 11, 2013

BENJAMIN F SHANE

                              BENJAMIN F SHANE GUNSMITH AT COLD STREAM
                                                             WEST VIRGINIA

                                

JOHN SHANE WAS BORN 1803 IN FREDERICK COUNTY VIRGINIA. IN 1821 HE MARRIED CATHERINE MASON. THEY HAD SEVERAL CHILDREN INCLUDING BENJAMIN F SHANE, WHO WAS BORN ABOUT 1827. WE HAVE LITTLE INFORMATION ON BENJAMIN; THE BEST STORY THAT HE LEAVES US IS HIS WELL MADE RIFLES.

                                                        

 
THERE WAS A FRANCIS SHANE LIVING IN THE HOUSE OF  HAMPSHIRE COUNTY GUNSMITH JOHN W. RINEHART ACCORDING TO THE 1850 CENSUS. FOR SEVERAL YEARS I HAD THOUGHT THIS WAS A RELATIVE OF BENJAMIN, HOWEVER, DURING RECENT CORRESPONDENCE WITH HISTORIAN WILMER KERNS, I WAS INFORMED THAT BENJAMIN USED THE NAME FRANCIS OR FRANK. THIS WOULD INDICATE TO US THAT BENJAMIN F SHANE MOST LIKELY APPRENTICED TO JOHN W RINEHART. BENJAMIN MARRIED CATHERINE GILL.  IN THE 1860 CENSUS BENJAMIN IS LISTED AS A GUNSMITH.
 

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BENJAMIN SIGNED HIS GUNS IN THE ABOVE MANNER, "B. F. SHANE". ON A FEW OF HIS GUNS HE ADDED "AT COLD STREAM". THERE ARE SOME SIGNED B.F.S. AS STATED EARLIER HIS RIFLES ARE WELL MADE. THE WOOD TO METAL FIT IS SO TIGHT THAT ON MANY OF HIS GUNS THE TRANSITION APPEARS SEAMLESS. A TESTAMENT TO THE DURABLILITY, IS THE CONDITION OF HIS SURVIVING 160 YEAR OLD RIFLES. SO FAR, ALL OF HIS GUNS THAT HAVE SURFACED ARE PERCUSSION LOCK; IT IS DOUBTFUL THAT HE MADE ANY FLINTLOCK GUNS. MOST GUNS MADE AFTER 1835 MADE USE OF A PERCUSSION LOCK.


IN THE BOOK,  "FREDERICK COUNTY VIRGINIA SETTLEMENT AND SOME FIRST FAMILIES OF BACK CREEK VALLEY  1730-1830,"  PAGE 549 STATES A LOCAL STORE ACCOUNT SHOWED THAT SHANE BOUGHT WHISKEY BY THE GALLON.  THIS  DOES NOT APPEAR TO  HAVE HAD A NEGATIVE EFFECT ON HIS GUNMAKING SKILLS THAT WE CAN SEE. WE BELIEVE THAT HIS GUNSHOP WAS LOCATED ON COLD STREAM ROAD SOMEWHERE NEAR EDWARDS RUN PUBLIC HUNTING & FISHING . THERE IS MORE INFORMATION ON HIS LAND TRANSACTIONS IN JAMES  WHISKER'S  "GUNSMITHS OF WEST VIRGINIA".   ON APRIL 17TH 1861 BENJAMIN DIED IN  HIS GUNSHOP FROM INJURIES RESULTING FROM AN  ANVIL FALLING ON HIM. IT WOULD BE INTERESTING TO KNOW MORE DETAILS OF THIS ACCIDENT. HIS WIDOW CATHERINE, MARRIED GABRIEL MCDONALD II IN 1866 AND MOVED TO NEBRASKA.  WE HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO FIND BENJAMIN'S FINAL RESTING PLACE. WE DO KNOW THAT  HIS FATHER AND MOTHER ARE BURRIED AT BACK CREEK QUAKER CEMETERY.

IF YOU HAVE ANY MORE INFORMATION ON BENJAMIN SHANE OR PICTURES OF HIS RIFLES WE CAN ADD TO THIS POST PLEASE CONTACT US. THANK YOU.

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FOR MORE INFORMATION REFER TO

  • GUNSMITHS OF VIRGINIA SECOND EDITION BY JAMES BISER WHISKER, PAGE 134

  • FREDERICK COUNTY ,VIRGINIA SETTLEMENT AND SOME FIRST FAMILIES OF BACK CREEK VALLEY 1730-1830 BY WILMER L KERNS

  • WEST VIRGINIA HISTORY VOLUME XLV 1984 PAGE 125 "EARLY GUNMAKERS OF HAMPSHIRE COUNTY" BY WILLIAM H. ANSEL JR

       





THANKS TO COLLECTORS WHO HAVE ALLOWED US TO USE PHOTOS OF THEIR RIFLES; PLEASE DO NOT COPY OR REPRODUCE.