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The Pre-Revolutionary North Carolina Rifle

Yes, we know there are those seeking the Holy Grail of the North Carolina rifles styles from before the American Revolution. They can try to point to one gun or another here and there. The facts are there were a great many guns, and they weren’t like what they were or are searching for. So, what is the problem and why the push for a “school” or “schools” of pre-revolutionary rifles?

“Fire Strikers,” a.k.a., “Strike-a-Lites” in the American fur trade

A popular tool in the days of the 18th century North American frontier was the “fire striker, or “strike-a-lite,” or “fire steel” or, well there are a number of names for these things. The purpose is obviously to start a fire. The design is simple: a piece of carbon steel, which is struck against a piece of flint, chert, or similar rock, thus making sparks, which would then fall onto some sort of tinder, thus creating fire.

“Tub Mills” on the 18th Century Virginia Frontier

When you travel in our southern mountains, one of the first things that will strike you is that about every fourth or fifth farmer has a tiny tub-mill of his own. Tiny is indeed the word, for there are few of these mills that can grind more than a bushel or two of corn in a day; some have a capacity of only half a bushel in ten hours of stead grinding. Red grains of corn being harder than white ones, it is a humorous saying in the mountains that “a red grain in the gryste (grist) will stop the mill.”

Jarrett’s Fort on Wolf Creek

Just like Byrnside’s Fort, Jarrett’s Fort was one of the chain of small private forts through the Revolutionary War era Greenbrier Valley, which served mostly a defensive purpose, as a place to house local inhabitants in times of danger, as well as to garrison Virginia militia “Indian Spies,” who were tasked with patrolling the likely travel corridors for Indian war parties.

Late 18th Century West Virginia: Indian Attacks, Daniel Boone, and the Coal River – or is it Cole?

It’s important for us – especially Kentuckians – to remember that Daniel Boone moved to (what is now) West Virginia in the later part of the 18th century, I believe around 1788, from Kentucky, staying there until around 1797, at which point he reluctantly returned to Kentucky, before remembering why he didn’t like Kentucky anymore. And then he moved to Missouri around 1799. West Virginia gets no credit for its period of Boone residence. In the words of Rodney Dangerfield, “we get no respect – no respect at all.”