Wednesday, September 11, 2013

WILLIAM REYNOLDS OF GREENBRIER COUNTY WEST VIRGINIA

               WILLIAM REYNOLDS - ONE OF WEST VIRGINIA'S FINEST GUNSMITH'S

                                                                      
 
SIGNED ON PATCHBOX LID
WM REYNOLDS & CO
   
                                                                              

 
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WILLIAM REYNOLDS WAS BORN IN NORTH CAROLINA IN ABOUT 1787.  HE PROBABLY LEARNED THE TRADE OF GUNSMITHING BEFORE HE CAME TO GREENBRIER COUNTY.  THE FIRST CENSUS THAT WE FOUND HIM IN GREENBRIER COUNTY WAS 1840. IN THE 1850 & 1860 CENSUS HE IS LISTED AS A GUNSMITH.  IT IS VERY POSSIBLE HE WAS THERE BEFORE THAT, AND IF YOU HAVE FACTUAL INFORMATION ON THIS PLEASE SHARE IT WITH US.
 
 
BEING AN EARLY MAKER, A LARGE AMOUNT OF HIS RIFLES WERE MADE USING THE FLINTLOCK.  MOST OF THE RIFLES HE  MADE FROM 1835 HAD  THE PERCUSSION LOCK.  MOST OF THE SURVIVING RIFLES WE SEE ARE PERCUSSION, BUT MANY OF THESE WERE CONVERTED FLINTLOCKS.  HIS WORK IS EXCEPTIONAL; HIS ENGRAVING AND INCISE CARVING IS MASTERFUL AND UNIQUE.  HE LEARNED HIS TRADE DURING THE GOLDEN AGE OF RIFLEMAKING AND HELD ON TO MANY OF THOSE TRADITIONS.  GUNSMITHS TRAINED IN THE 1820'S AND LATER TENDED TO USE INLAYS TO DECORATE THEIR RIFLES OR MADE PLAIN UTILITARIAN RIFLES WITH LITTLE OR NO DECORATION.

                                                            



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IN THE BOOK  " GREENBRIER PIONEERS AND THEIR HOMES" BY RUTH WOODS DAYTON , ON PAGE 199. THE AUTHOR STATES " THE TOWN OF ALDERSON HAD A FAMOUS AND EXPERT GUNMAKER NAMED REYNOLDS.  AT THE TIME OF THE CIVIL WAR THE FEDERAL SOLDIERS TOOK FROM HIM HIS TOOLS AND SUPPLIES, AND FORCED HIM TO DISCONTINUE HIS TRADE FOR THE DURATION OF THE WAR.  MANY OF HIS GUNS  ARE STILL IN GREENBRIER TODAY AND ARE GREATLY PRIZED FOR THIER FINE WORKMANSHIP ".
 
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WILLIAM REYNOLDS, GREENBRIER'S FINEST GUNSMITH DIED  IN 1868. HIS WIFE JUDITH DIED  IN 1881.  ON THE OTHER SIDE  OF WILLIAM AND JUDITH'S  HEADSTONE IS BENJ. F BROWN AND AMANDA. AMANDA IS WILLIAMS DAUGHTER.
 
 
C S A
 
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN BROWN WAS A CONFEDERATE SOLDIER AND SERVED IN  COMPANY D  27TH VIRGINIA INFANTRY. ALSO CALLED THE "MONROE GUARD".
HE SERVED THE ENTIRE WAR AND WAS TAKEN PRISONER IN 1864.
 

 
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IN 1866 BENJAMIN FRANKLIN BROWN MARRIED WILLIAM REYNOLDS'S DAUGHTER, AMANDA. IN THE 1870 CENSUS BENJAMIN F BROWN IS LISTED AS A GUNSMITH. NO DOUBT HE LEARNED THE TRADE FROM HIS FATHER IN LAW. BENJAMIN DIED 1874. WE HAVE NOT HEARD OF, OR SEEN ANY GUNS HE MADE.
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WE APPRECIATE DEBORAH F. PHILLIPS FOR ALLOWING US TO USE HER PHOTO OF THE REYNOLD'S AND BROWN'S HEADSTONE.
WITH THIS PHOTO WE LEARNED OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN BROWN, A WEST VIRGINIA GUNSMITH WE DID NOT KNOW ABOUT.
THANK YOU.
 
THANKS TO THE TWO COLLECTORS WHO SHARED PICTURES OF THEIR SIGNED REYNOLDS RIFLE. PLEASE DO NOT COPY PICTURES, THEY BELONG TO THE OWNERS.
 
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT WEST VIRGINIA GUNSMITHS SEE:
 
"GUNSMITHS OF WEST VIRGINIA" BY JAMES B. WHISKER & FRED R. LAMBERT
 
TO LEARN MORE ABOUT GREENBRIER COUNTY SEE:
"GREENBRIER PIONEERS AND THEIR HOMES" BY RUTH WOODS DAYTON
 
IF YOU HAVE ANYMORE FACTUAL INFORMATION ON WILLIAM REYNOLDS GUNSMITH , PLEASE FORWARD TO US.
THIS IS A WORK IN PROGRESS AND  WE APPRECIATE HELP.