Unsigned George Sites, Brock’s Gap, Rockingham County, Virginia, ca. 1795
Born in 1771 George worked as a gunsmith in Rockingham County, Virginia. He received a contract from Virginia for militia muskets. The attribution of this rifle is based on a signed example in a private collection. Another similar unsigned example remains in a private collection. All 3 examples were exhibited together at the Luray Valley Museum in 2012 sponsored by the Kentucky Rifle Foundation. A photo cd is available showing details of these and 17 additional Virginia rifles.
The patchbox is of simple but beautiful design. The rear portion of the upper and lower plates (where they meet the butt plate) are strait rather than curved which is a characteristic found in rifles of the Brock’s Gap region.
The carving in front of the cheek piece is identical on all 3 George Sites rifles. The initials “J L” carved to the rear of the cheek piece identify the likely original owner as Jacob Lantz of Lantz Mills near Edinburg, Shenandoah County, Virginia.
The surface of the rifle is untouched and no restoration has been done. The lock was converted to percussion in the 1830’s and could be reconverted back to flintlock.
This is a rare Virginia rifle in superb condition, exhibited, and most likely made for a prominent Shenandoah Valley resident.
Photo credit: Kenneth Orr, used with permission of the Kentucky Rifle Foundation. Visit http://kentuckyriflefoundation.org click on KRF store to order Longrifles of the Shenandoah Valley and other publications