The author wanted his son to have an antique gun from Zane Wilson's Collection. As those who had the opportunity and pleasure to know him know, Mr. Wilson was a very fine person, a gentleman, a war hero, and a historian as well as a conservative who the author and many others could relate to. One of the guns from Mr. Wilson's Collection is marked "P. POWELL & SON". Since the author's son has been raised in Powell, Ohio, this should be an excellent gun for his son to have in his personal gun collection that is from Zane Wilson's Collection.
P. POWELL & SON
The information below is the description of the gun as given in the Apple Tree Auction Center Catalog:
The photos below are of the P. POWELL & SON gun. This gun is a Percussion Side by Side 12 Gauge Shotgun with round 36" barrels, single ramrod, double triggers, and front action locks. It has a Walnut stock having a checkered wrist. The side of the locks are marked "P. POWELL & SON".
6050 -- P. POWELL & SON DOUBLE BARREL MUZZLE LOADER, NO SERIAL *** -- $150.00
It is first necessary to determine the maker of a gun. Apparently, the maker of this gun is P. POWELL & SON. Books are available that provide information about gun makers and gunsmiths. The first two sources below are from Zane Wilson's personal reference library.
1. The book "SMALL ARMS MAKERS" by Col. Robert Gardner has the following information about P. POWELL & SON:The information above indicates this gun was most likely made at 238 Main Street in Cincinnati, Ohio between 1870 and 1891 and was probably made by Mr. Powell himself and/or one or both of his hired hands.
Powell, P. & Son - See next entry.
Powell, Palemon - Powell established on the west side of Walnut Street, Cincinnati, Ohio in 1835. He boarded at the Congress Hall. The census of 1850 indicates he had $1,200 invested in the business and employed five hands at a total of $140 per month. During the year ending June 1, 1850, he purchased 5 tons of iron at $250 and wood at $100. He made 150 rifles valued at $3,000 and an unknown number of pistols and repairs at $340 during the same period. He was associated with Ira Brown as Powell & Brown 1855-58, then simply as P. Powell until 1870, to become Powell & Son until 1891 and Powell & Clement until 1908 or later. Powell was granted a patent on a "cartridge charger," December 22, 1868 (#85,180). The census of 1880 states P. Powell & Son, 238 Main Street, had $1,000 invested in the business and employed two hands at a total of $1,300 per year. During the year ending May 31, 1880, they produced guns and knives valued at $4,500, their material costs being $800. Possibly related to G. Powell. See also Miner, Henry.
Related information from this book follows:2. The book "Early American Gunsmiths 1650-1850" by Henry J. Kauffman has the following information about Palemon Powell:
Powell & Brown - Gunmakers at 160 Main Street, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1855-58. Palemon Powell and Ira Brown.
Powell & Clement - 180 Main Street, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1890-1908 or later. See Powell, Palemon.
Powell G. - Gunmaker of 97 Walnut Street, Cincinnati, Ohio, 1851-53. Possibly related to Palemon Powell.
Minor, Henry - Cincinnati, Ohio, 1836-45. He boarded at Congress Hall, 1836-38. He boarded with, and was probably employed by, Palemon Powell, 1841-44.The information above indicates approximately where on Walnut Street that Mr. Powell's first place of business was located.
Walnut between Smith and John, Cincinnati, Ohio
Cincinnati Directory, 1843
3. The book "Ohio Gunsmiths & Allied Tradesman", Volume 2, by Donald A. Hutslar has the following information about the Ohio Gunsmith Powell:4. The Internet has the Cincinnati City Directory of 1840 that has the following information about Palemon Powell:
Powell & Brown. Cincinnati
1856 Directory listing for Palemon Powell and Ira Brown, gunsmiths, 160 Main St. Brown was probably a clerk or handled merchandise and sales. See Brown.
Powell & Clement Company. Cincinnati
1878 According to an article in the Cincinannati Post and Time Star, 20 December 1960, John B. Clement became a partner in Powell & Son in 1878. I found that Powell & Son was still being used in directories at least through 1883.
1886-96 Directory entries for Powell & Clement, guns and pistols, gunpowder, gunsmiths, 180 Main St. Clement was living in Morrow (Warren County?)
1900 Directory entry for Powell & Clement, 418 Main St. John B. Clement, president; C.F. Southgate, secretary.
1961-63 Powell & Clement Sporting Goods Co., 631 Main St., O.C. Overbeck, president.
1964-65 no entries.
The newspaper article leaves the impression that the three story brick building at 430 Main St. was the original Palemon Powell gun store. "Gun Store moving after 131 years, but just up the street." Not true. The store had several locations through the years, 160 Main St. being the best known location. See also entries for Palemon Powell and John B. Clement; also Powell & Son (William).
Powell & Son
William Powell. Cincinnati
1875-83 Directory entires for Powell & Son, guns, pistols and fishing tackle, sporting goods, gunpowder, 180 Main St. William Powell listed as sole proprietor in 1883. John B. Clement bought a partnership in the firm between 1883 and 1886. Richard Overbeck bought the business in 1918. William F. Powell was a son of Palemon (q.v.), born in 1849 or very early 1850. An article in the Cincinannati Post and Time Star, 20 December 1960, credited William with defending his store with a shotgun during the Court House Riot of 1884, from a mob seeking guns and ammunition. A copper powder flask is known marked Powell & Son.
Powell, W. Cincinnati
1852 Directory listing as a gunsmith, 97 Walnut St. I have no idea who this person was. He was not listed in 1851 or 1853. I doubt he was a son of Palemon and Susannah Powell, especially given their ages. The initial may be a typographical error.
Powell, Thomas. Cincinnati
1864 Directory listing as gun dealers and grocers, northeast corner of Court and Race Sts. In 1865 these men were noted merely as grocers. They probably tried selling some firearms because of the Civil War.
Union Brass Works. Cincinnati.
1851 Directory listing for D.A. Powell and John Powell at Powell's Foundry.]]
1860 Directory listing for Union Brass Works, 247-49 W. Fifth St. William, Hy and James Powell. There could have been a relationship between this group of Powells and Palemon Powell. Palemon's son William would have been too young. The brass works certainly could have made brass mountings.
Powell, Palemon (1864- ). Cincinnati
A short article about Powell appeared in the Cincinannati Post and Time Star on December 20, 1960, entitled "Gun Store Moving After 131 Years, But Just Up The Street." The building that is described was certainly not Powell's original gun store which apparently opened on the 22nd of February, 1829. As can be seen from the directory entires, during the 1830's and 1840's Powell was located on Walnut Street: he then moved the business to 160, then 180 Main Street (the same building?) from the 1850's to the 1880's. The address given in the article, 430 Main Street, was the store after the Powells had died or sold out. The name of the last partnership, Powell and Clement, was retained until the store went out of business, apparently in 1963. Many individual gunsmiths worked for Powell who, unlike Neff or Neave, was a gunsmith himself. He did make muzzle-loading rifles as well as selling commercial firearms and sporting goods in general.
1829 As noted above, the gun store was opened this year. I expect the date is correct because it is specific, February 22nd, though that was a Sunday. Powell was in Cincinnati at least two years earlier; his daughter, Carloline, was born in 1827 or 28.
1831 Directory entry for Palemon Powell, gunsmith, boards at the Cincinnati light-house (?) (I have no idea what building is meant.)
1836 Directory entry as gunsmith, west side of Walnut between Water and Front streets, boards Congress Hall.
1840 Directory entry as gunsmith, Walnut between Front and Water streets; residence, Race between Front and Columbia streets. Powell's birthplace is given as Ohio.
1842 Directory entry as gunsmith, same address as above
1850 Palmon Powel, 45 gunsmith, born in Pennsylvania. Wife, Susan 33, born in New Jersey. Elldest child, Caroline, 13, born in Ohio. Also David, 11, and William, 5 months. In household, William Smith, 19, gunsmith, born in Ohio. Resident in Cincinnati, Ward 4. Powell was worth $2900, real estate Value.
1850 Manufacturers' Index: Powell had $1200 invested in his business. He employed five hands at a total of $140 per month. For the year ending 1 June 1850, he purchased five tons of iron at $250 and wood at $100. He made 150 rifles valued at $3000 and an unknown number of pistols and repairs at $340.
1853 Directory as gunsmith.
1856 Directory for Powell and (Ira) Brown, gunsmiths, 160 Main Street. See entry for Brown.
1857-58 Directory for Powell only, manufacturing rifles, guns, pistols, at 160 Main Street.
1860 P. Powell, 56, gunsmith, born in Maryland. Wife, Susanna, 46 born in Maryland. Eldest child, Caroline, 22, born in Ohio. Three other children including William, 11, born in Ohio. Resident in Cincinnati, Ward 4. Two other men were in the household. I expect they were employed at the store, though no occupations were given: James Burns, 27, born in Ireland, and Hy ---?, 35, born in Hesse Darmstadt.
1861-67 Directory entries as gunsmith and dealer in guns, etc., 160 Main Street.
1868 Directory entry with the address 183 Main Street. This address is more or less in agreement with the 1870's and 1880's address of 180 Main Street and is probably the same.
1870 Palemon Powell, 62, gunsmith, born in Ohio, Caroline, 29, born in Ohio. William, 20s, clerk in gun store, born in Ohio. Mary, 16, born in Ohio. Resident in the south one-half of Ward 8 Cincinnati. Powell's estimated wealth at this time was $10,000 in real estate and $25,000 in personal property.
1872 Directory entry as gunsmith.
1875-78 Directory entries for P. Powell and Son, guns, pistols, and fishing tackle, sporting goods, gunpowder, 180 Main Street. See entry for William F. Powell. $1000 invested in their business. They employed two hands at $1300 per year. For the year ending 31 May 1880, they produced guns and knives valued at $4500 the material costs being $800.
1883 Directory entry for P. Powell and Son. In this entry, William F. Powell lists himself as the "Sole Proprietor."
1886 Sometime between 1893 and 1886, John B. Clement was in partnership in the firm. Did Palemon Powell die during this interval? Perhaps. (I did not have the cemetery records for Cincinnati when compiling the information for Hamilton County.) The subsequent history of Palemon Powell's business can be found under the entry for Powell and Clement. Where was Powell born? He gives Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Ohio in the censuses and directories. He may have been born in Ohio; the Powell name is early in Cincinnati. Powell was given a patent, number 85,180, on 22 December 1868, for a "cartridge Charger." The 'patent drawings show a rather complex tool for reloading a pinfire case. I suppose the tool was adaptable to all types of cartridges. Among the Powell firearms reported is a heavy barreled rifle with a back-action lock marked "P. Powell, Cincinnati," and an English double-barrel 12 gauge percussion shotgun with the locks marked "P. Powell & Son." Walnut half stock percussion target rifle, .44 caliber 33 inch barrel, iron mounted, silver inlays, back-action lock, target sights, marked P. Powell / Cinti.
Powell, Palemon-O-gunsmith Walnut Front & Water, Race Front & Columbia
5. Other books, including "American Firearms Makers" by A. Merwyn Carey and "American Gun Makers" by L.D. Satterlee and Arcadi Gluckman, and "THE OFFICIAL IDENTIFICATION GUIDE TO GUNMARKS" by Thomas E. Hudgeons III have been researched regarding P. POWELL & SON and that information agrees with that above.
6. "THE GREENHILL DICTIONARY OF GUNS AND GUNMAKERS" by John Walter gives the following information about Palemon Powell producing spring-air guns:
Palemon Powell, Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. Founded in Walnut Street in 1835, this gunsmithing business traded as Powell & Brown in 1855-58, and became P. Powell & Son in 1870, shortly after which small numbers of spring-air Gallery Guns were produced in a factory at 238 Main Street. The trading style became Powell & Clement in 1891, and operations continued until 1908 or later. Eldon Wolff, in Air Guns (1958), has suggested that Powell was a retailer and distributor of the airguns, but this has not been proved.
This gun was most likely made at 238 Main Street in Cincinnati, Ohio between 1870 and 1891 and was probably made by Mr. Powell himself and/or one or both of his hired hands at the time.
The photo below was taken in 1866 during construction of the Covington and Cincinnati Bridge that was renamed to the John A. Roebling Suspension Bridge in 1984. It shows Main Street to the right of the north bridge tower with Walnut Street behind the tower. At the time this photograph was taken, the business was known as P. Powell and located at 160 Main Street which is on the right side of Main Street in the photo. The original address on the west side of Walnut Street and the later addresses for P. Powell & Son at 238 Main Street and Powell & Clement at 180 Main Street are also shown on the right side of Main Street in the photo. There are buttons above the photograph that allow you to Zoom In and Out. Zooming is most effectively performed by clicking on 'ZOOM IN' or 'ZOOM OUT' and then pressing the return key repeatedly as desired.
Construction of the bridge began in 1856 before the Civil War but was suspended by the conflict. Work resumed afterward and construction was completed in 1867. This Suspension Bridge was the prototype for New York City's Brooklyn Bridge. The photo below is a panoramic view of Cincinnati at the time.
The photo below shows the area from the south bridge tower in 2005. The author will make an attempt in the future to take photos from the same location the above photos were taken.
The photo below shows the 100 block of Main Street in 2005:
The Great American Ball Park is now located there.
The photo below shows the 200 block of Main Street in 2005:
Interstate 71 is now located below there. You can identify this area while driving down Interstate 71 cause it is one of the two bridges that have the blue towers and suspension cables.
The photo below shows 238 Main Street in 2005:
Southbound Interstate 71 is now located below there. You can identify this point while driving down Interstate 71 cause it is on the west side of the bridge directly above the southbound lanes of Interstate 71.
The photo below shows the completed bridge in 1867:
The photo below is of the 25' x 40' mural on the Covington's Ohio River floodwall that was painted in 2003 which was taken from the above photo of the completed bridge in 1867:
The photo below was taken by the author in 2006 as close as possible to the location that the above photo (and mural) was taken. It was taken in the excersize room on the second floor of the office building that is now at that location. Notice the reflections in the window. The right portion of the photo shows an outside wall of that office building that now obstructs the view. The lower portion of the photo shows the back side of the flood wall that the mural above and several others are painted on. An attempt will be made in the future to get a better photo.
The photo below is of Goliath and Spencer posing with a 64 pound broken off portion of a bridge stone that was in a pile of stones at the base of the bridge next to the office building.
The photo below shows Cincinnati as viewed from the north bridge tower in the 1920's:
The photo below shows the bridge as viewed from Kentucky during the flood of 1937:
The photo below shows the bridge as viewed from Ohio in 1999:
The author was able to locate and purchase the Copper Gun Powder Flask below for his son that would have been made at the same time and location that the gun above was made. This flask is from Clarence Cathers' Collection:
Gun Powder Flask
The book "AMERICAN FIREARMS" by Stephen Van Rensselaer has the following information about Palemon Powell and is the only source of information found thus far that indicates Palemon Powell made powder flasks:Note that the above description is erroneous in that the flask bears the name of
Powell, Palemon, Cincinnati, Ohio, about 1839-1873 - Partner of Brown (1856-1858); then changed to Powell and Son (about 1871-1873). Copper powder flask bearing name of "Powell & Son, Cincinnati, O." "P. Powell & Son, Cincinnati, O."and not "Powell & Son, Cincinnati, O."(Note the missing "P.") as can be seen in the photo below:
This flask was most likely made at 238 Main Street in Cincinnati, Ohio between 1870 and 1891 and was probably made by Mr. Powell himself and/or one or both of his hired hands at the time.