A Rifle for 3 Centuries

Dec_5_07 Caught your latest blog entry and I have a story for you. John Kemp is a friend of mine from Edgefield SC and this is a cool tale about him and a gun he owns. Thanks, CJ Davis

As a child, John discovered his great-grandfather Samuel Marsh’s rifle in the attic of his family’s home place. The rifle, originally a .31-caliber percussion action, was built in 1850 near Lexington, SC by a gunsmith named Elijah Hall.

Although it would be politically incorrect today, John remembers playing cowboys and Indians with the old and obviously unloaded gun as a boy. This resulted in a damaged rifle that would wait many years for attention.

Realizing later on in life that he had something of great personal value, John set out to fix what he had broken. He sent the rifle’s barrel to West Virginia to have it re-bored and re-rifled. Another stop in a Pennsylvania shop got the action in order. Now a .45-caliber, the rifle was ready for its next season.

No doubt Samuel hunted with the gun in the 1800s; and John’s uncles would have used it in the 1900s. Since John now owned the land that Samuel had worked and hunted long ago, that was the logical spot for him to hunt with the gun. BTW, the property has been in John’s family since 1758, when King George II granted the then 400-acre parcel.

South Carolina’s deer herd is large, but the bucks are not always cooperative. John kept at it and hunted hard. Finally on Oct. 15, 2005, the buck that he had been looking for graced his iron sights. The quest came to a close. The rifle had now been hunted with in each of 3 centuries.