What is this? Carvings on stock

JPChurch

First Sergeant
Joined
Dec 30, 2016
Location
Manassas VA
Nice '42!!!! My brother has our family heirloom '42. Harper's Ferry, 1851. It's missing the ramrod. Other that than it has wonderful patina like yours. The locks on these '42's are really strong, nothing like the repros the Italians make. I have an ArmiSport 42. Bought it when they first came out. They're really expensive now. I wouldn't buy one for the price they want these days.
 

Jeff in Ohio

Sergeant
Joined
Oct 17, 2015
One thing you can be sure of - those are personal markings and they were added "outside of military service."
In the late 1950s, my father had a jeep on the farm, painted yellow.
Standard military issue jeep.
But yellow. Like NELLYBELLE, the yellow jeep in the Roy Rogers 1950s TV series, which was driven by Roy's TV sidekick.
I don't know if my Dad painted it or got it already painted.
I am sure that it was not painted yellow while in the military service.
I am sure those carvings were NOT made while your nice musket was in the military service.
 
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Kurt G

Sergeant Major
Joined
May 23, 2018
One thing you can be sure of - those are personal markings and they were added "outside of military service."
In the late 1950s, my father had a jeep on the farm, painted yellow.
Standard military issue jeep.
But yellow. Like NELLYBELLE, the yellow jeep in the Roy Rogers 1950s TV series, which was driven by Roy's TV sidekick.
I don't know if my Dad painted it or got it already painted.
I am sure that it was not painted yellow while in the military service.
I am sure those carvings were NOT made while your nice musket was in the military service.
There are accounts that members of Co. K , 1st Michigan Sharpshooters , carved clan symbols such as turtles into the stocks of their rifles . Co. K was nearly 100% Native American .
 

Jack7171

Private
Joined
Feb 28, 2021
There are accounts that members of Co. K , 1st Michigan Sharpshooters , carved clan symbols such as turtles into the stocks of their rifles . Co. K was nearly 100% Native American .
A bit more digging not only showed fouled anchors, but also an old Roman army symbol with a snake or dolphin wrapped around an anchor,, that meant haste slowly,,, it was called "Festina lente",,
 

Jeff in Ohio

Sergeant
Joined
Oct 17, 2015
There are accounts that members of Co. K , 1st Michigan Sharpshooters , carved clan symbols such as turtles into the stocks of their rifles . Co. K was nearly 100% Native American .
Well, there we go, there are few clear rules without an exception or two. It is also true that sharpshooters likely considered themselves special and therefore an exception to rules that applied to other soldiers, eh?
 

Kurt G

Sergeant Major
Joined
May 23, 2018
Well, there we go, there are few clear rules without an exception or two. It is also true that sharpshooters likely considered themselves special and therefore an exception to rules that applied to other soldiers, eh?
Perhaps . The regiment was largely used as regular infantry but the Co. K members often tried to obscure their appearance with vegetation and by rubbing dirt into their uniforms before a battle . I guess the officers let them do things that an ordinary soldier wouldn't be allowed to . They suffered heavily at The Crater and Confederates mentioned their carved captured rifles .
 

FORREST42

Cadet
Joined
Jan 31, 2021
I am sure someone will be around to help you soon. Just my guess, I would say the one looks like the Naval chain and anchor while the other looks like a modified version of a Star of David. @ucvrelics may have a better idea. Good luck on your quest and it looks like an amazing piece. Congrats.
The possibility exists that the carvings are meant to display that the owner was a Jewish Navy Veteran or a current Jewish military person when the carvings were made. Strange things have happened under the midnight sun, but the strangest i ever did see was the night i cremated Sam Mcgehee. Quote from Robert W. Service Author of The Cremation of Sam Mcgehee and other stories of the far north. Seriously, I have studied the American Civil War for 65 years and have come to the decision that we today will never know or understand the strange things that came out of that period in history. We can only speculate on events like this one. One of the strangest things I have come across in my years of collecting Civil War artifacts was a Albumen Photo of Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest. I had determined that it was Authentic , but wanted an Expert,s opinion. I located a Artifact dealer named Hendershott in Little Rock , Arkansas who was reputedly an expert on such matters .Turns out he was no expert at all. So, I took the photo to Memphis Tenn and consulted with an attorney who was an expert by the name of Montague, and had originally purchased the Saber owned and used extensively by Gen. Forrest and of which he dispatched several Union Soldiers with. Montague had purchased the saber from Mary Forrest Bradley, Forrest,s Grand Daughter. Montague owned many actual personal items which were the property of Gen Forrest and therefore was an actual expert on Forrest,s life. Montague offered me $50.000.00 for the photo and I declined the offer. This was back in 1995 and I still have that photo in my possession. I have not checked in to finding out its value since Montague made his offer in 1995 but it has increased in value I am sure of that. At one point in time I decided that I would take the offer of $50.000.00 and attempted to contact Montague and found that he had died. So, I will have to assume that it will be with me until I am dead. Hopefully someone will be able to help you determine the origin of the carvings on your firearm. Research and getting to the right person who really knows and is an expert is the only way you will be able to determine what may be the reality of the history of the item.
 

FORREST42

Cadet
Joined
Jan 31, 2021
The reason I have suggested that the carvings are of Jewish origin is the fact that unbeknown to many historians and the casual interest of some readers is that there were many Jewish soldiers in both the Confederate and Union army,s . This is not now nor has it been taught in Civil War Circles in the past. It is only caually mentioned in uncirculated literature and has actually been suppressed by historians and other parties. Judah P. Benjamin was a Jewish Confederate and he was a member of Jefferson Davis cabinet. Check out Judah P. Benjamin at Google form an interesting history of his life.
 

Jack7171

Private
Joined
Feb 28, 2021
That's the stuff I love hearing about!,,and I agree, I will undoubtedly never know what they mean,, but I think for me, that mystique, and the quest to try decipher the story each relic has to tell,,is a main factor for my interest in collecting.
 

Jeff in Ohio

Sergeant
Joined
Oct 17, 2015
I remember reading somewhere that some soldiers carved the name of their sweetheart on the stock just where it would touch their cheek when they were aiming and firing, so as to remind them of better times and home at the most trying of times.

Some Kentucky rifles would have the first name of a wife or sweetheart carved on the stock, same side as the lock, and to no on the cheek side - and these seem to be mostly carved upside-down so that if the user was holding the rifle in firing position, he would be able to look down and read that name as it held the piece to his shoulder!
My favorite Enfield in my collection is a nice Barnett Model 1853 with some design carving on the wrist area of the stock, but also has "JENNY" carved upside down on the right side of the buttstock!
 

FORREST42

Cadet
Joined
Jan 31, 2021
That's the stuff I love hearing about!,,and I agree, I will undoubtedly never know what they mean,, but I think for me, that mystique, and the quest to try decipher the story each relic has to tell,,is a main factor for my interest in collecting.
 

FORREST42

Cadet
Joined
Jan 31, 2021
In reference to Your rifle and its carvings I made comments concerning Juda P. Benjamin as a member of Jefferson Davis cabinet. I guess that I have too much info stored in my memory and simply get some of it confused when trying to recall it. Judah P. Benjamin was the Secretary of War for the confederacy, appointed by Jeff Davis himself and escaped along with Jeff Davis and the other members of his cabinet and made it all the way to England and became a Barrister in English Law circles. Pour old Jeff though, got captured and was imprisoned by the U.S. Govt. Kinda like Roger Stone did. Hah, times aint changed have they.
 

Jeff in Ohio

Sergeant
Joined
Oct 17, 2015
My favorite published story on what some markings mean was a detailed article in a 1960s "Gun Report" about a French model 1842 back-action lock musket which had been cut down and otherwise "shotgunized" with cut back stock and barrel.
The writer had dismounted the barrel from the stock, and found many initials stamped on the bottom of the barrel, including "AL"
He opined that arm was a secret and experimental weapon which had been sent for secret testing on the American frontier during the Blackhawk War of 1832, and who is one of the most prominent participant in the Blackhawk War - Well, of course the answer is Abraham Lincoln, and so those initials AL stamped on the bottom of the barrel, along with what we now know to be various inspectors' marks, must mean that this special test arm was used by none other than Abe himself!
The article even pictured a detailed display he had made for a gunshow.
 
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