"Type 1" Flintlock Militia Musketoon
Offered here is a very interesting flintlock musketoon. This example is listed in George Moller's "American Military Shoulder Arms, Volume 2" as a "Type 1 Militia Musketoon. Our musketoon is consistent with the chief characteristics described by Mr. Moller in that it was made from a full length New England style militia musket. Our example, like the one pictured on page 328 of "American Military Shoulder Arms, Volume 2" is equipped with an overly large brass buttplate. This style of buttplate has become known as the "Sea Fencible" buttplate. The Sea Fencibles seem to have operated as a sort of coastal artillery and perhaps as marine detachments for several northern states. This style of buttplate is typically encountered on Massachusetts surcharged late production US Model 1812 muskets, Whitney 1812 Contract muskets, as well as Waters and Whitney M1816 contract muskets. The dates on these muskets generally run from about 1817 to 1835. Although this musketoon does not show a state surcharge on the barrel or stock, I am comfortable on attributing it to Massachusetts given the unique buttplate.
There has been very little written on these unique militia musketoons, but no doubt these were important arms for the various states that employed them. The US government did not manufacture a cavalry or short naval arm until 1833, so the vast majority of state militias would have needed to make do as best they could. These musketoons would have provided a very serviceable arm for those purposes.
Our musketoon was built with a commercial lock manufactured by A. Baker. I have not yet found any information about this manufacturer, however, I feel there is a very strong possibility that this is an English made lock. The musketoon is mounted with brass fittings that include two typical New England screw escutcheons, two ramrod pipes, nose cap, trigger guard, and buttplate. The musketoon lacks a front sight and does not show to have ever had one. The ramrod has been correspondingly shortened along with the barrel and is threaded for cleaning implements. A large 91 is engraved on the rearward lock screw escutcheon; I feel that it is probably a rack or inventory number.
The 27.25 inch long barrel is secured to the stock with one key, the forward sling swivel functions as the front barrel pin.
When I acquired this musketoon it had some issues: there was some wood loss to either side of the barrel tang, the frizzen spring was missing, the cock screw was an incorrect modern replacement, and the top jaw screw was broken and JB Welded back on. I have since had the frizzen spring replaced, the top jaw screw repaired, the cock screw replaced with a correct style one, and the wood loss repaired.
Aside from those modifications the musketoon is as-found. I believe that the cock on this musketoon is probably not the one original to the lock, but it seems to have been with the gun for a long time so I did not have that changed.
As mentioned the lock is marked A.Baker. The barrel shows a series of markings that are shown in the photos. Along with the various proofs, there is also a date of 1836 stamped onto the barrel.
Overall this is a very nice and quite attractive militia musketoon. Although the details of their service are unclear, this would make a great addition to a collection of US martial carbines and musketoons or to a collection focusing on Massachusetts arms. I have priced this musketoon in accordance with the restoration work that has been done, and at a price point that should allow even a beginning collector to add a rare musketoon to their collection.