HISTORIC AMERICAN COLONIAL MILITARY FOWLER OF MARVEN BECKWITH WHO FOUGHT AT BUNKER HILL.
Cal. 70. NSN. Bbl. 41 1/2”.
This musket is in remarkable condition, after seeing both French & Indian and Revolutionary Wars. This military fowler is pictured and described in 2005 text by Tom Grinslade “Flintlock Fowlers; The First Guns Made in America”.
This fowler was assembled in America circa 1740 from circa 1720 fur trade era European components including brass hardware and barrel mounted on a gorgeous curly maple stock with exception of cast figural American sideplate. The owner was obviously proud of this gun as two 1.5” engraved plaques are mounted on either side of buttstock w/ his name “MARVEN” & “BECKWITH”. Marven Beckwith (1736-1812) from Southing, CT saw service in the French & Indian Wars (1756-1758), listed on the rolls at Fort William Henry of the 2nd Regt CT, 5th company. In 1761 he is listed again in the 5th company under a different captain at Crown Point. “With the alarm of Lexington and Concord (April 19, 1775), Marven once again took down his ancestral fowler. It has been updated with a bayonet, to meet the British on their own terms. Although CT had been alarmed within two days of Lexington and Concord, Marven and Abigail now had seven children, and it took a while to arrange another military absence. He marched to Boston on May 16 and would be away from six months. He was there on June 14, when Congress adopted his old 2nd CT regiment as one of the very first in what was declared to be the Continental Army, and Marven was one of the very first soldiers in that new US National Army. No one was there ahead of him! Marven was there on June 17, when his regiment participated in the battle of Bunker Hill. And he was there when George Washington took command of the new National Army on July 3, 1775”.
A 6-paged monograph details Marven Beckwith’s history w/ this military fowler he carried during the French & Indian and Revolutionary Wars. The 2nd CT became the 22nd Continental regt. just prior to Bunker Hill when Congress created the first National Army, George Washington would take command July 3rd when he arrived in Cambridge. With Marven’s enlistment expiring in December, along with the other men of the 2nd CT/22nd Continental, Washington ordered no serviceable arms were to leave the army of departing soldiers. On Dec. 9th Washington confiscated the parading CT troops arms, including this one. They were marked for identification & eventual return to their owners. This musket has a number “34” thinly and precisely carved on right side of buttstock making it among the first National arms of the United States. It is not known how much longer this musket remained in service, but we can surmise it was at least used during the siege of Boston and at Bunker Hill. There are a pair of heavily worn initials above the plaque on right side of buttplate that could possibly denoted a soldier carrying this arm after Beckwith. The battle of Princeton was just a month away. The history on this musket is unknown after that, but was in the collection of pioneer collector Jim Dressler for many years.
This musket has the feel of a fine piece of furniture from the 18th century, especially in the finish of the wood showing long service on the American frontier but obviously revered and cared for over 250 years.