Thomas Oldham percussion rifle, Bedford County, PA

These images were converted from old slides using a cell phone camera. The slides were given to me by a Bedford County resident, who apparently took the pictures at a gun show. The rifle was made by Thomas Oldham, and is featured on page 128 of the 2001 book "Gunsmiths of Bedford, Fulton, Huntingdon, & Somerset Counties". The pictures in the book show that the rifle has a full length stock, a four-piece, six piercing patch-box with a Q-shaped finial, and an engraved two-screw lock bolt plate with a rat tail. The book also shows that the rat tail lock plate is signed, with "Oldham" spelled out in cursive.

The first photo shows the cheekpiece side of the buttstock. The belly and extremely low comb of the curly maple stock are straight, which is typical of Bedford County long rifles. The cheekpiece incorporates an elliptic silver inlay with an engraved spread eagle. Such eagle-themed elliptic cheekpiece inlays are common on Bedford County rifles. Deep relief carving extends from the front and rear of the cheekpiece. The buttstock incorporates a decorative line that is parallel to and near the belly of the stock and establishes the lower bound of some of the relief carving. The metal cross-pin that secures the rear portion of the trigger guard to the gun stock is visible just above the incised line. The toe of the stock is protected by a relatively long toe plate. The patchbox release projects from the toe plate near the brass buttplate. The lock panel of the stock incorporates a trailing finial with a silver teardrop-shaped inlay, but not all of the inlay is visible in the photo. Near the left-hand edge of the photo, the tip of a screw can be seen that projects from the underside of the wrist of the stock. Looking at the 2001 book, I believe that the head of this screw is hidden under the thumb plate, and believe the screw threadedly engages the rear portion of the trigger plate.
 This photo shows the left-hand side of the buttstock of a Thomas Oldham muzzle loading black powder rifle.

In an article that was published in the October, 2009 "Muzzle Blasts" magazine, James B. Whisker reported that he only knew of one rifle by Thomas Oldham that had relief carving, so this must be that rifle.

Even though the following photo is blurry, it shows the unusually tight bend in the hammer of this rifle, with a portion of the neck being parallel to the nose. For the purpose of additional identification, the two dings on the lower edge of the lock panel of the stock match the dings on the lock panel of the rifle in the 2001 book, confirming this is the same rifle that is shown in the 2001 book.
This is a blurry photo of a Thomas Oldham muzzleloader.

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