KENTUCKY RIFLE, Attributed to Henry Maugher
"In the Black" Carved Buck and Ball Rifle with Painted Highlights
This fullstock rifle is attributed to Henry Maugher and measures 56 inches overall, with a full octagon 40 3/4 inch swamped smooth bore barrel in .52cal. This rifle dates circa 1790-1800 and is in untouched condition. Maugher is considered the premier gunsmith of the Oley Valley, Berks County Pennsylvania and his workmanship is (in my opinion) superior to other Oley Valley makers who apprenticed to him such as John Derr. The workmanship, stock style and carving on this rifle is very neat and typical of Maugher. I have had the good fortune of owning a signed Maugher in the past and there is no doubt in my mind that this is neat rifle is by Maugher. The brass mountings are typical Maugher in detail with a thumb nail triggerguard finial. The outstanding butt plate has an early "ribbed" heal return. The stock carving still has polychrome salmon colored paint in the incise carving behind the cheekpiece. I have owned two rifle from the same area/school with polychrome highlights to the carving.
Maugher was born in Germany and immigrated with his parents in 1762 at the age of twelve. He probably apprenticed to one of the early Reading makers but is listed as a gunsmith in the tax reords of 1781.
Much thanks to Patrick Hornberger's fine book "Berks County Longrifles & Gunmakers 1750-1900".
Condition: Excellent! Original surfaces to the strong tiger maple stock and the brass in "in the green". No wood missing or restored. There is 1/2" of the rear triggerguard strap missing where there probably was a casting flaw.