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Simpson, Thomas
Place Made:
Sumner County Tennessee United States of America
Date Made:
maple –iron –steel –brass –silver
Accession Number:
The longrifle is one of the earliest and most important rifles made in the Cumberland region of what would become Tennessee and Kentucky. Thomas Simpson is first recorded in the Watauga settlements of Eastern North Carolina and East Tennessee as a member of General Rutherford’s Company in 1776. By 1787 he had permanently settled in what would become Sumner County, Tennessee. In 1791 Simpson advertised in the Kentucky Gazette that he would wager 200 guineas that he could “make a rifle gun… (better than) any man in the United States.”

This rifle, made for Colonel Gaspar Mansker, was so remarkable that Chickasaw Chief Piomingo wrote to Indian Agent James Robertson in 1793 that he desired “Simpson to make me a gun like Colonel Mansker’s.” Robertson arranged for the Federal Government to provide Piomingo with just such a firearm. The receipt for that rifle survives in the National Archives.

This rifle was made in 1791 for Colonel Gasper Mansker (d.1820) of Sumner County, Tennessee.
Credit Line:
Hankla Collection