Wednesday, July 6, 2016

George Washington buys mail order Assault weapons in 1774 without a background check

As tensions mounted between the citizens of Virginia and Royal Governor Dunmore, the Governor dissolved the House of Burgesses which in turn allowed the standing Militia law authorization to lapse.  In the wake of this, several volunteer "Independent companies" of extralegal uniformed militia were formed in various Virginia Counties.  As one of Virginia's most experienced military leaders,  Colonel George Washington led the Fairfax Independent company  and was involved in procuring military style arms and accouterments for that and other Independent companies including that of Prince William County.  In correspondence to Washington dated December 27, 1774 William Grayson requested that Washington
"... write to Philada. for forty muskets with bayonets, Cartouch boxes, or Pouches, and slings, to be made in such a manner, as you shall think proper to direct..."
In a previous letter to Washington dated November 29, 1774, William Milnor writes:
"...I have Applyed to two Gunsmiths, One palmer tells me he Can make one hundred by May next, And Nicholson says he can make the like Number by March, they both agree in the priece at £3.15. this Currcy.4 Palmer says Mr Cadvalder had agreed With him for 100 at that price, a Jersy Musquet was brought to palmer for a patern, Mr Shreive Hatter of Allexandira has one of that sort, which you may see..."
The "Jersey Musquet" was most likely a New Jersey purchased Commercial Wilson musket of the type imported during the French and Indian War.

A Wilson commercial musket

A light musket with striking similarities to the Wilson muskets survives, signed by Thomas Palmer in the collections of the Museum of the American Revolution.  

Pennsylvania Gazette Ad for Palmer ca. 1773

This Palmer marked musket has a convex side plate and distinctive "Wilson" style trigger guard, but differs from the Wilson pattern by mounting a flat commercial lock, and is cut for a bayonet.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

18th Century Dog names

I enjoy Eighteenth-century  hunting treatises, and as a dog lover I was very excited when I stumbled across
"A Catalogue of some general Names of HOUNDS and BEAGLES." from The Gentlemen's Recreation (1721 edition).  If anyone is ever in need of a name for a new pooch, inspiration can surely be found here.

Long standing favorites Lady and Rover are in the mix, as are a few less familiar names such as Sweetlips,  and Mopsie that George Washington utilized. 

The Lightfoot dog buttons at Colonial Williamsburg give us an insight into some other hound names used in Virginia in the period:

"Loiterer, Noisey, Ringwood, Rainger, Juno, Tinkerer, Tanner, Caesar, Blossom, Rover,  Piper... and two Trumpiters..."

At the very least you will likely be the only one calling  for Bluecap, Jolly boy, Spanker, or Soundwel at the dog park.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

In memoriam

"...Why, Sir, when death stares one of her sons or daughters in the face, how sweet, how comforting at that moment will be the thought that the jump from Virginia to heaven will be a short one." 
-Edward Virginius Valentine (1838-1930)

After a long, courageous fight with cancer, my wife and dear friend Barbara suffers no more.  In addition to being a devoted mother, she was an optimistic, humorous and kind woman, who loved travel, history, dance, costuming and knew few strangers.