M.SMITH, GREENFIELD MASS
The gun in the photos below is a Flint to Percussion conversion 14 gauge Fowler Shotgun with an octagonal to round 30" barrel and front action lock. It has a Walnut stock having a checkered wrist and brass furniture. The lock and hammer have some engraving. The barrel is marked "M.SMITH GREENFIELD MASS". This gun is from William Shellhorn's Collection.
This gun was purchased because it is a Flint to Percussion conversion Shotgun and includes brass furniture. The author purchased this particular gun because his favorite sister-in-law lives in Greenfield, Massachusetts.
1. The book "American Firearms Makers" by A. Merwyn Carey has the following information about M. SMITH:2. The book "THE NEW ENGLAND GUN The First Two Hundred Years" by Merrill Lindsay has a photograph of the gun below built by M. Smith:
Smith, Martin about 1830. Shop located at Greenfield, Massachusetts. General gunsmith.
Our subject gun is shown at the same angles below:
The following description is also given:The description above indicates that Martin Smith purchased the lock which is signed "R. North." The photo below is of the lock of our subject gun showing it is apparently by a different maker:
8. Massachusetts Rifle. "M. SMITH/GREENFIELD/MASS" is stamped on the left side of the barrel breech of this Massachusetts rifle made in the 1820-30 period. The barrel is octagonal at the breech with a sighting groove filed into the barrel tang. The patchbox lid and hinge are shaped and engraved around the edges in a style particular to Smith. Martin Smith purchased the lock which is signed "R. North." The furniture is brass and so is the trigger! Brass triggers are rare in New England, being employed to my knowledge only by Martin Smith.
Loa. 53", Bbl. 37 3/4", bore .53 caliber. du Mont Collection.
The lettering is worn but is marked something like:
N S H M O A
The book also describes a gun for which there is no photograph provided as:The "State of Massachusetts Small Arms Makers" section of the book as compiled by John Bicknell gives the following information about Smith, Martin:
22. Curly Maple Rifle of the Greenfield School. The engraving on this patchbox cover and hinge back and the shape of the hinge back, the wrist checkering, and the use of curly maple for the stock lead me to attribute this New England Rifle to Martin Smith of Greenfield, Massachusetts. Smith worked in Greenfield, which is along the Connecticut River Valley in Massachusetts. His patchbox cover shape and engraving are the best clue to the identity of this maker, thanks to a signed Smith rifle now in the John duMont Collection. DuMont's rifle is signed "M. Smith-Greenfield, Mass." on the right side of the barrel at the breech. The patchbox cover engraving is as nearly identical as handwork could make them on the two rifles. Smith, who worked at the very end of the flint period -1820s to 1830s- purchased English locks. This one is signed "Alford" and was probably made in Birmingham although I do not find him listed in the Birmingham proof-house book. Perhaps he made only locks, which did not require proofing, and not complete guns. Cast brass hardware and octagonal barrels seem to have been preferred by Smith, but his use of cast brass triggers is unique. One might suppose that a brass trigger would bend if you were scared by a bear and pulled too hard. Leonard Collection.3. The book "UNDERHAMMER GUNS" by Herschel C. Logan has the following information about M. SMITH:
Name Location Dates Type Smith, Martin Greenfield 1810-40 Fl. riflesThis book also shows the underhammer gun below by M. SMITH with the given description:
M. SMITH Greenfield, Massachusetts, circa 1835
6-inch, round-octagon, smoothbore, barrel. Stamped on the top flat of the octagon section:
Trigger plate and escutcheons are of brass. Polished walnut grips. A splendidly preserved piece by a little-known maker.
Total length 10 inches.
This gun was most likely made between 1810 and 1840 by Martin Smith in Greenfield, Massachusetts. It has a brass trigger that M. Smith is the only known New England small arms maker to employ.