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  1. #1

    Post Training - gunsmiths

    One clue I have to my Gt. Grandfather William W. Haughton, who was born in England, is that he was a "gunsmith". He is listed as such on the U.S.1860 Fed'l Census, as well as the 1870 and 1880 ones. I have not yet found a passenger list for him; however, I do know that he was in NYC by 1855. (date of first marriage) The place of his birth is obscure. Oral tradition says Leicestershire--but metallury doesn't seem to have been rife there circa 1840-50. He was born as early at 1826 possibly up to 1833.

    Main Question: What are possible localities in Lancaster or Leicester or neighboring counties for receiving training as a gunsmith or an occupation that would have allowed him to slip into that by his 30s.

  2. #2
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    Main Question: What are possible localities in Lancaster or Leicester or neighboring counties for receiving training as a gunsmith or an occupation that would have allowed him to slip into that by his 30s.
    Birmingham.

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    As Peter rightly says, the most likely location is Birmingham, which has been a gun making centre since the early 1700's. The problem is that almost all manufacturing was undertaken by family concerns who have mainly vanished without trace. Searches for records of gunsmiths on both sides of my family tree have so far yielded nothing in the way of records beyond references in trade directories.

    The most likely source for information would appear to be "Birmingham GunMakers" by Douglas Tate, published in 1997. It might be worth your while approaching your local library as the book has a cover price in 3 figures.

    Best of luck, hope you are more successful than me.

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    Unfortunately, my experience suggests that although Birmingham was a centre for gun making he could have been apprenticed anywhere in the country.

    I am reseaching a family of gunsmiths in Romsey, Hants. They seem to have carried on the trade there for about 200 years, from the mid 18th C onwards and I'm aware of several apprenticeships for a gunsmith recorded in Andover, north Hampshire, in the 1740s and 1750s; on that basis I suspect that your man could have come from almost anywhere.

    Colin

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    Thanks.
    Quote Originally Posted by Colin Moretti View Post
    Unfortunately, my experience suggests that although Birmingham was a centre for gun making he could have been apprenticed anywhere in the country.

    I am reseaching a family of gunsmiths in Romsey, Hants. They seem to have carried on the trade there for about 200 years, from the mid 18th C onwards and I'm aware of several apprenticeships for a gunsmith recorded in Andover, north Hampshire, in the 1740s and 1750s; on that basis I suspect that your man could have come from almost anywhere.

    Colin

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Texas View Post
    I have not yet found a passenger list for him; however, I do know that he was in NYC by 1855. (date of first marriage)
    Keep in mind that the Birmingham spelling of Haughton can also be 'Horton'. As in Horton Square which is named after a former (modern day) Lord Mayor of the City. I used to know his daughter who acted as Lady Mayoress during his term in Office.

    In those days, although someone might have been a skilled craftsman, it doesn't mean that they were literate and the name may have been recorded phonetically.

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