Thursday, March 27, 2014

If this is Thursday it must be postcards, 135

The Vincent Gun-shop exhibit, Campus Martius Museum, Marietta, Ohio

One of the exhibits at the Campus Martius Museum in Marietta, Ohio is a replica of the Vincent Gunshop as seen on this postcard published by H.K. Barnett, of Allison Park, Pennsylvania.  The tools and patterns used by this father and son are shown in the photo on the card.  The Vincents were eminent gunsmiths in southeastern Ohio.  I found an article on Google books that appeared originally in the Association of Ohio Long Rifle Collector publication written by William Reynolds, dated I think 1980, that provides interesting information about the Vincents.  The article also included photographs of the men, where they lived and worked and their rifles.  See the link below to access the document.

Here is a synopsis of the material in the article.  John Vincent, the father, was born in 1809 and apprenticed as a cabinetmaker when he was young.  He had a very good business making spinning wheels at his home on Rocky Point and also a farmed a large tract of land.  He did not start making guns until he was 38 years old and joined Aman Ford a gunsmith at Watertown.  Vincent learned enough from Ford to become a very skilled gunsmith. 

Vincent’s son, John Caleb or Caleb as he was called, was born in 1841 and like his father took up the cabinetmaker’s trade at an early age.  He became interested in his father’s gunsmithing work squeezing in time between the farm chores to learn the skills he would need to establish his own business later at Vincent Station.   Vincent Station is located not far from Marietta just off highway 550.  Today the name has been shortened to Vincent.  Rocky Point, where his father lived, is east of Vincent.

These two men made an estimated 300 to 360 guns with perhaps 80 to 90 examples surviving to the present day.  John Vincent was primarily a farmer who manufactured and repaired spinning wheels and guns on the side while his son, Caleb, wished to be a full time gunsmith.  Caleb acquired a property from his uncle Henry Earl Vincent and built his home at Vincent Station.  For a short period of time he had his gunsmith shop in the back of a grocery store then later he built a separate shop.  Although he worked full time at making guns and was more popular as a gunsmith than his father he would not sacrifice quality for speed and only produced between 10 and 15 new guns a year.  He did do a lot of gun repair work as well as making new guns. 

The rifles manufactured by these men have become quite collectible and have for the most part remained in private collections or in the possession of families whose ancestors bought the gun directly from the father or son.  

We visited the Campus Martius Museum in Marietta on the recent trip and took a few photos seen below of the Vincent Gun exhibit.  The museum has several displays ranging from early Ohio and Marietta history, the Civil War, the Appalachian migration into Ohio, and the Rufus Putnam home.  

For more information about John & Caleb Vincent gunsmiths, please see:

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