STYLE: Mounted in wrought iron and having a curly maple stock, this rifle is a classic southern Appalacian longrifle, typical of rifles made from northeastern Tennessee west to the Knoxville area, and south into northern Georgia. Characteristic details are the elongated cigar-shaped patchbox, the exceptionally long barrel tang, the long top or heel extension of the buttplate, and the scrolled iron guard. Many such details migrated into Tennessee from southwestern Virginia. Contrary to popular belief, mountain rifles were not less expensive due to their iron mounts, for such furniture was actually more time-consuming to fabricate than brass castings.
MAKER: This rifle was made by Rice Duncan (c. 1775-c. 1835) of Washington County, Tennessee. his son Rice Duncan Jr. (1813-1847) also made rifles in Washington County and neighboring Sullivan County, where his kinsman Alfred Duncan (b. 1804) was also a rifle maker. The Duncans were contemporaries of the prominent riflemaking Bean family in Washington County, and the similarities of style suggest the families may have trained or worked together at one time.
RELATED MAKERS: The Bean family was also from Washington County, having originally settled Bean Station in Hawkins (now Grainger) County on the eve of the Revolution. Their guns are characterized by wrought-iron furniture, long barrel tangs, and long butt plate heel extensions. The patchbox is usually cigar-shaped. This gun reflects all the characteristics of Washington County.