People of the Waters - Fur Trade
OPM #:
2016.35.1
Object Name:
Musket
Description:
Smoothbore Northwest flintlock trade gun of about 58 caliber, missing the top jaw and part of jaw screw, but in otherwise original condition. Entire gun has been coated in varnish or shellac. Stock appears to be walnut. The lock plate is marked "BARNETT" and "1853" behind the hammer with proof clearly marked ahead of the hammer. The British firm of Barnett was the main supplier of guns for the Hudson Bay Company. The hammer and lock plate have a simple line border. The upper top barrel flat has the following markings: sitting fox with "JEB" for John Edward Barnett, who operated the Barnett organization from 1850-1875. The number "X4" is visible on the side flat and is probably "24," for 24 balls to the pound (.58 caliber). The 42 1/4" long part octagon barrel is equipped with a blade front sight. The ornate brass side plate is shaped like a mythical serpent/dragon known as the Hudson's Bay Fuke, a common ornament of 19th century trade muskets, and it shows great detail in the casting. Three screws hold the side plate in place. The side plate, ramrod pipes and flat buttplate are brass. The full length stock is smooth with two ramrod pipes and a buttplate secured to the stock by five screws. Complete with trumpet-head wooden ramrod that may be original to the gun. The gun has a smooth crisp dark patina, though covered in varnish/shellac. The brass has a pleasant patina and there are some scattered pressure dents and scratches in the stock from use. The edges around the lock plate are sharp. Overall a fine example of a trade gun by one of the most prominent and desirable makers.
Comments:
The man was thrilled with his new gun, even though it was costly. The gun killed at a farther distance than his bow and arrow, and it would frighten his enemies. The brass serpent on the side meant it was a gun of high quality. As well, he traded for gunpowder, lead balls, and extra flints. He would have to return often to buy more.

Guns had a profound impact on Native people. Flintlocks like this English-made musket would have been common throughout Wisconsin during the Fur Trade. It is about .58 caliber and was made by the Barnett Co. about 1850.

How it works: When the trigger was pulled, the flint held in the hammer scraped tiny pieces of hot steel off the frizzen. At the same time, the frizzen was pushed forward, exposing the powder in the pan. The sparks ignited the powder and the flash was sent to the main charge through a small hole in the barrel. This all happened almost instantly.
Found:
Near Winnepeg, Canada
Material:
Iron/Brass/Wood
Culture/Period:
Fur Trade
Date:
1853
Dimensions:
L-58.125 inches
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Amy Maile Photography Copyright 2017Amy Maile Photography Copyright 2017
Amy Maile Photography Copyright 2017Amy Maile Photography Copyright 2017