People of the Waters - Fur Trade
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This a mid-18th century smooth bore French Marine Officer's Fusil stocked in hard maple and probably made in Canada. The general style is very similar to that of a French trade gun, the type distributed to Native American's loyal to French interests, but the distinctive brass side plate, trigger guard finials, and butt plate comb extension identify it as an officer's fusil. The forearm was destroyed in the 1994 Museum fire, but the brass ramrod thimbles remained and were incorporated into the restocking. The maple stock has the long wrist and rail common and sweeping lower butt typical of French arms of the 18th century. There is an engraved heart-shaped silver escutcheonon at the top of the wrist, held in place with a cross-pin, reading:
" I[J]onathan/Wheeler/1758." This distinctly Yankee/English decorative motif was probably added after the arm was acquired/taken and was not added by a French owner. The 49.5" long barrel is octagon for 12" at the breech and gradually tapering to full round in the French style with no wedding bands and is held to the forestock with pins. It has a bore of approximately .62 caliber. The tang comes to a gradual tapered point with a sighting groove. The original flint lock was updated circa 1830 with a high quality English-made flintlock of the same size. The lock plate is marked "London/Warranted" and has light engraving on the lock tail and under where the pan was originally located. At some point in its life, the gun was updated to percussion by removing the pan and frizzen and installing a cast steel hammer using a bolster-type drum for the nipple. As part of the 2007 restoration, the piece was reconverted to its flintlock appearance circa 1830. The wooden ramrod is a replacement. A basic search for Jonathan Wheeler of Vermont/New Hampshire was conducted in the fall of 2006 with no definitive result. Additional research is necessary to follow up on the leads that were uncovered.
Revolutionary War
Circa 1758
L-64.5 inches
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