Collections › MESDA Collection › Long Rifle

Long Rifle

Artist/Maker:
Ledford, Henry
Place Made:
Davidson County North Carolina United States of America
Date Made:
1840-1850
Medium:
wood –iron –silver –brass
Accession Number:
5964
Description:
This impressive silver-mounted rifle is the one of the finest examples of Henry Ledford’s work and the absolute best featuring a percussion lock. While at least five of Ledford’s surviving rifles have silver inlays only one, a privately owned flintlock rifle, possesses as much intricately engraved silver.

DESCRIPTION: Half-stock long rifle with a percussion-lock and double-set triggers. The octagon-shaped barrel is stamped “H. Ledford.” The stock is elaborately inlaid with silver. Highlights of the silver inlay include a fanciful inlaid “Man in the Moon” circled by a ring above the cheek rest with an architectural corbel below. The rifle also features an eight-pointed star at the rear of the cheek piece. A stylized cornucopia and elegantly scrolled acanthus leaves fill the butt stock of the lock side.

MAKER: Henry Ledford (1795–1856) was the most talented and prolific gunsmith working in Davidson County, North Carolina. With rifles so strongly influenced by those made in Salem by Moravian gunsmiths, it is quite possible that Ledford trained under one of the Voglers in Wachovia. Subtle differences in Ledford’s work separate his shop from Salem rifles but the quality of his guns firmly places him atop his class in the Davidson School of longrifles.

CONDITION: Excellent, with no replacements or missing elements.

REFERENCES: John Bivins Jr., Longrifles of North Carolina (York, PA: G. Shumway, 1988).

William W. Ivey, North Carolina Schools of Longrifles, 1765–1865 (Thomasville, NC: William W. Ivey, 2010).

RELATED OBJECTS: Four other, much less elaborate, Ledford Rifles are in the collection: Acc. R-13, Acc. R-20, Acc. R-29, and Acc. R-35.

Credit Line:
James H. Willcox Jr. Silver Purchase Fund