New or Updated Merrill Photos, Descriptions, Provenances - Willoughbyforme
Maryland Institute

Start from the bottom of the page and read up.  Lot of good updates worth reading.  Please help identify several Merrills in my Unidentified galleries.  Anyone with a Merrill or know anyone who's a big Civil War era firearms collector, please click the Contact link and send me a note. Any feedback would be much appreciated. 


2020.03.31

Added some additional photos for the 1842 Harpers Ferry Springfield conversion (1852), and added Volume 8 - Soldier Life; Secret Service.


2020.03.29

I learned how to use the wayback tool at archive.org to search contents and photos of old/archived websites.  Hit many sites, and saw many Merrills but were mostly descriptions without any photos archived.  Did find one (11058) from one of Dennis Fulmer's archived website fulmersantiqueguns.com.  Email me if you need help with the tool.  It's waycool…  Dennis also sent me the only photo he still had - of a likely Confederate-converted rifle to muzzleloader (1180), similar to 2618 I already have. 

Also, received photos of carbine 12821 from Joe Stepongzi that I'll be acquiring when funds are available.  Needs some TLC, but that's exactly what I was hoping with my second full Merrill purchase (also have shell 13299).  

Lastly, I added all the photos for Photographic History of the Civil War - Volume 7 (Prisons and Hospitals).


2020.03.24

Added 5571 and 13173 to my list of existing Merrills, consent of Scott at auctions.gunrunner.com.  I'm also in contact with a Collections Technician at the American Precision Museum in Windsor, VT (gotta visit some day soon I hope) on a number of topics, one of which is photos and/or diagrams of any machinery at the museum that were also used by Merrill and sold in 1867 after his creditors came knocking, forcing foreclosure and sale of the machinery.  


2020.03.20

Over a year ago, I found The Photographic History of the Civil War - in Ten Volumes on babel.hathitrust.org.  Can't stress enough the greatness of that website.  I had used Adobe Reader back then to convert every volume pdf file to jpg's.  However, all the photographs came out in horrible resolution.  So, I went back to the babel site, downloaded all 10 volumes as jp2 format (hi-res images of each page), and just completed saving all the volume 1 jp2's as jpg's, so I could upload them to this site.   Also, for ease of viewing I rotated several to landscape.  Volume 1 images are now in my Miscellaneous folder, lower left on the Home page.  The rest should be available by Sunday night.

In that same folder I've uploaded photos of the 15 or so Confederate currencies I picked up.  Most are very worn, and I have two that I couldn't identify dates of printing, so if anyone has that expertise please send me a note.  I'd also like to know if any are counterfeit.            


2020.03.15

I added carbine 10199 to my site (have link for current auction on gunbroker.com) plus 13293 from Tony Cribb Ltd in the UK, uploaded three patents to the Starr Patents site, and added some really neat newspaper clippings to the New Newspaper Articles page.  Lastly, check out the patent US40,884 that Merrill received for his entrance into the rimfire cartridge firearm.  


2020.03.07

I realized I had some additional photos and details to add to the two patents for Merrill's cannon - an additional design illustration (side view) for US20,608, based on the as-build "cannon by the door" article (plus add'l photos) ; and better design illustrations and the previously missing patent office page for US23,306, with the model recently being sold at an online auction.  


2020.03.04

Received an email from Gene West of civilwararsenal.com forum.  Made contact with a recent owner of a beautiful  Harpers Ferry Springfield 1842 (1952).  Please take a look in the Conversions page.  I need to write up all the unique features between the 1841 and 1842 Springfield conversion, as well as those Mississippi model features.


2020.02.21

The University of Maryland, Baltimore College library has in its Ferdinand Claiborne Latrobe collection a most wonderful historical document, related to the Civil War.  Please go to the Latrobe page.  


2020.02.11

Great news - folks at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West Museum provided an awesome, hi-res photo of their Merrill carbine, serial #1601 left side and is confirmed as the first Merrill with the George G. Saunders cartouche.  It's also the very first instance  (and only) where the cartouche had to be stamped before the saddle bar was installed.   


2020.02.10

Weeks back, I received from Dick Berglund the list of Merrills that Frank Harrington  had recorded during his collecting years.  When I was done categorizing all the data by owner/seller, I counted over 240 NOT on my website.  Please check out Frank Harrington's List page and contact me if you are owner of any of them.  Couldn't believe he had so many rifles listed.



2020.02.08

Here's an off-topic post, but one I really loved finding last night. Several months back, I found historical Merrill-related documents at free sites like archive.org and babel.hathitrust.org.  My all-time favorite find is in the Books, Pubs collection - Parts for Small Arms, last selection in the group.  Provides all the part names as provided to the government by the arms manufacturers.


I never really thought about searching for Harper's Weekly until after missing out on several weekly originals for $99.  Babel has all the Harper's Weekly you could ever want.  Click on the links below, then on the left side click "Download Whole Document (PDF)".  They're 750MB+, so be patient.   1859  1860  1861  1862  1863  1864  1865  1866  1867  1868  1869



2020.02.06

Three weeks ago I picked up the book U.S. Military Arms Inspector Marks by authors Tony Daum and Charles Pate at a small town public library about 45 minutes away.  I had all these Merrill photos and went to work identifying as many as were still unidentified to given inspector marks.  I also sent an email to publisher Stuart Mowbray, who on the 30th replied that he had forwarded my email to Charles Pate.  Charles replied a few days later with his consent to use content from their book, along with providing some great additional information not in the book about Thomas K. Laley.   Please check out my new Cartouches page in the Research tab.


I'll be searching for any photos of the inspectors themselves, as I did for those who provided testimonials in James H. Merrill's sales brochure.  Individuals' photos add so much to the history and research I'm trying to convey. 


2020.01.17 

New galleries are now under Research | Scrolling Thru Parts - Carbine, and ...- Rifle, entitled Barrel/Receiver Underside.  Also added 5906 as the third barrel/receiver/lever only find.  Someone out there bought a complete stock 5-6 years ago.  If looking to sell, I'd like to buy it.         


2020.01.15

Received additional photos from Gene West at Civil War Arsenal forum and his 11468 (rare double-dot assembly number), and from Morphy's and 8761.  The  Part Assembly Numbers page and Scrolling thru Parts - Carbine under Research keep growing.  Also received from Dick Berglund the list of Merrill serials that Frank Harrington had documented during his many connections.  I hope to make some connections and request  them to share photos and histories/provenances.  


2020.01.06

I made it thru all the carbine photos and descriptions, and captured all the special markings I could identify.  Later this week, I'll do the same with the rifles.  Check the Special Features page for specifics.


2020.01.02

Having a separate section for Bill Moore's book, courtesy of Gerald Jordan, just wasn't enough.  I went ahead and added all Bill's Merrill photos where I already had folders and photos from contributors (125, 270, 366, 731, 1081, 1125, 3476).  For those that are in folks' private collections or museums I'm not aware of, I created new folders (493, 1023, 1208, 1806, 5246, 5312, 9953, 12968, 13939, 15765, 15910).  Wherever Bill/Gerald identified special features and/or markings, I tried to add those descriptions.  


2019.12.31

John Carlin with JC Militaria in the UK gave his consent to use his 18794 photos.   He'll be sending hi-res photos my way next week, including photos showing part assembly number on several parts.  


2019.12.28

Made significant updates to my part assembly number analysis and contributors.  I also added a page with Merrills by company by regiment (see Research pages).   


2019.12.23

Talked to Rafael Eledge and he provided his consent to using photos of his Merrills sold (12718, 14097) and currently for sale 15964.


2019.12.21

I added photos of a letter from Francis O'Neill with the Maryland Historical Society, plus two census records.  If anyone lives in Baltimore or planning to visit the city, please contact me and maybe you could do the investigative/photographic work I was hoping to do this past fall.  Wherever I have "MISMATCH" in the Merrill carbine details, I mean that parts do not match other Merrills in that carbine's serial range.  Found a recent Merrill for sale, at Horse Soldier (4791) with book by Steve Knott and his new book “Captured & Collected” firearms captured, repaired and reissued.  I need to pick up the book.  Author mentions a handful of letters that were stamped on certain parts.                    


2019.12.14

Received additional photos from friend of Hubert Lum, including additional photo details.  Also added the following carbines:  4791, 4987, 12268, 13845, 14678 and 17833.  4791 has provenance as a Confederate repair, 12268 issued to the 7th Indiana Volunteer Cavalry, and 17833 shows provenance as shipment to the Argentine government (Buenos Aires stamp).  Looking to find evidence thru the Argentine Army Museum of any contracts directly with Merrill, as well as any new Merrills to include on my site.  The fun continues.  I also added a number of photos related to the Merrill prototype cannon and model.


2019.11.11

Rick at Rick's Gun Shop in VT has carbine 14013 for sale on gunbroker.  He hadwith plenty of photos in his auction, and has another one to upload in the near future.  What i didn't realize was that I had another carbine with that number.  That lever photo wasn't 100% clear, so I moved it to the Unidentified folder.  I was sure on the 14x13,...  Oh well.  To the buyer of the  11990 carbine with SRS research confirmation, please contact me.  I'd really like to include photos here.  Thanks.


2019.11.06

Dawn at Rock Island Auction Company provided plenty of awesome photos of their 11213 carbine with wooden case, cartridge box with belt.  I also shuffled around a number of firearm-related folders to properly be under MLT or MTCo.  


2019.10.24

Another nice addition to the carbines is 913, on gunbroker by Black Swan Antiques.


2019.10.20

Been too long since my last update.  I had processed those Gerald Jordan negatives, and are now in the folder with the William Moore book images.  I'm going to see if any online colorizing service will convert them.  Other nice additions are five from a kind collector (230, 4599, 6651, 12042, 16793), updated content from James Rivest on his 3049, 5579 and 7753 from Morphy's/James Julia, and 7641 from the NRA Museum in Springfield MO.  No luck from the owners of the Totem Bight Museum in AK. 


2019.08.16

A soon-to-be-named contributor was able to receive consent from Gerald Jordan to use the book Merrill Single-Shot Breech-Loading Percussion Carbines.  Gerald also stated that he had all the original photos that will be coming my way.  I also received consent from Poulin Antiques to share the following Merrill carbine photos: 3170, 6863, 7300, 8298, 11561, 11844, 12169, 14849, 16682,  There's also a sporting rifle I need to contribute to them.   I have some good updates planned next quarter, so please check back periodically.  


2019.07.14

Finally made it back to the Rock Island Arsenal Museum.  Patrick Allie was gracious in taking the three Merrill-related carbines off the wall and into the back room.  Lighting was an issue, as was my digital camera not flashing worth squat.  Please check out 1954 (incorrectly marked 1211 as that was lockplate) and 2204, plus Jenks-Merrill #6. 


2019.07.07

I've finished my efforts to give photos and biographies to all the people Merrill had included in his The Merrill Rifle sales brochure.  Please take some time to read the profiles that I have linked.  Where you see "(???)" please try to help me find their photos.  Some folks have already identified inaccuracies in names Merrill had in his brochure.  Next up is capturing photos and biographies for those who put their inspector's marks on the Merrills, and capture those photos and profiles for prominent people listed in Terry White's book American Manufacturers of Combustible Ammunition.  


2019.07.02

From yesterday to today, I was able to receive Thomas Robinson's consent to share his 8175 on my website, along with plenty more photos (and more to come).  Look for it in the carbines galleries.  You won't be disappointed.   It's also for sale at over $8K.  Yesterday, I uploaded photos of  8123 from Jesper in Sweden, who replied to my inquiry about Merrills on the British Militaria Forum (tapatalk.com).


2019.06.29

With connection from Jim Thomas, I was able to contact Terry White, author of American Manufacturers of Combustible Ammunition.  Terry consented to my sharing his Merrill-related content here.  His book was the one that really set me on this quest to capture all the historical /biographical information that's out there for this website.  I'm looking to capture information and photos of all Terry's referenced officers and businessmen, just like what I'm almost done on the sales brochure, mentioned in my prior update.    I'm looking for contact information on authors John D. McAulay and Stuart Mowbray, if they're still alive.  Please contact me if anyone does.


2019.06.21

The Merrill Rifle (sales brochure) is available in the Books & Pubs list.  FYI on every photo you see - there's a Size icon to the very right of the bottom toolbar.  With so many hi-res, 2-5MB+ file size, you'll love the zoom capabilities.  I'm looking for anyone to help me track down photographs of offices like Major Gen. John Dix and others who provided their testimonials for James H. Merrill to use in his brochure.  Photos, research sites, anything to help.  I found the Union and Confederate Generals A-Z website, but that's leaving out loads of lower level officers.  


2019.06.18

I added galleries in the  Carbines folder for 3049. 8246 and 9959.  3049 has some neat local WI history, and the owner Jim Rivest will be providing more history and photos.  


2019.06.02

Dawn from RIAC came thru with loads of extra photos from the six Merrills in their June 20-23 auction.  One was listed as "157" but is likely a 157xx model.  I also found about a dozen new newspaper.com articles.   One talks about Merrill persuading the Russian czar to buy his Merrills (a 1970 article - need to read more of that paper), plus one that mentioned James Henry Ferguson as co-inventor of the Merrill rifle, and relationship with Jefferson Davis.  Heard from Dick Berglund that the model cannon and the little wooden model of the same are together.  Sent him an article from the Baltimore Sun that mentioned the cannon as part of a 1858 Maryland Institute Fair.  The 13299 barrel/receiver/lever (no plunger parts or anything else) will arrive tomorrow.  Hope the buyer of 15727 will agree to sell that one to me.



2019.05.19

Found several new Merrills recently - 9605 rifle, and these carbines - 461, 4844, 6596, 9157, 9553, 13299, 14227, 15727, 15793 and lastly 19073 - the highest serial I've found.  13299 and 15727 are missing several parts, but believe they should be included. I'll be receiving 13299 from Michael at Red Hill Arms, and kicking myself for not bidding on 15727, which had the plunger arm and plunger.  Rock Island Auction Company has six Merrills in their June 20-23 auction, and I've requested several photos each.  They've always come thru for me in the past.  Hoping to receive those photos next week.  I also have a handful of Starr derringers to upload.


2019.04.24

Ed came thru big again last night and today.  He was able to contact Hubert Lum and received consent to share the Merrill, Latrobe & Thoma Carbines article photos.  Hubert also sent him photos of his trio of MLT's.  They do look beautiful.


2019.04.22

Darby at The Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum (Canyon, Texas) came through today and provided photos for 8361.  Please check out the photos and write-up, along with reference to Sam Richardson.  This was one of those blind emails I sent out late October '18, asking if the museum had any Merrills  - paid off nicely indeed. 


2019.04.21

I tweaked the content in my Part Assembly Numbers page.  If anyone has an idea on what the numbers represent, I'm all ears.  I thought just maybe they represented order numbers, but then when I saw which Merrills had matching serials, like 2081 13288 14016 14097 14246 (assy nbr 68) and 608 14420 14473 (97), I then thought maybe they were numbers specific to who assembled the firearms at Merrill's factories (Sun Iron Building 4th/5th floors, then new manufactory on Belvidere Street) as a quality check.  I see no two Merrills with the same "two-numbered" assembly numbers (like my 14112 with 8 over 43).  

Maybe there's something to the  single or double-digit numbers vs. one number over another  (single digit over double digit).  Could be that government contract vs. private sale were the drivers behind the numbering scheme.  I thought maybe the two-numbered Merrills were private sale, but then there's 12298, with provenance from SRS research as having been issued to Perry Langston of the 7th Indiana Volunteer Cavalry. 

Does anyone have knowledge of other gun manufacturers of the Civil War era who dealt with the government AND general public sales?  Please help me figure out this puzzle. 


2019.04.18

Check out the updated Merrill, Latrobe & Thomas galleries in the Firearms tab.  Ed Hull, amateur historian and writer, provided a number of original photos from his co-authored (with Frank Harrington) article "Merrill, Latrobe & Thomas Carbines", that appeared in the Guns Magazine.  Dick Salzer, editor at Guns Magazine,  provided George Moller's contact information, and George gave his consent to Ed to provide his MLT photos to me.  As two of the MLT's came from the Claude Fuller Collection in the Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park, I created a gallery of the 14-page pdf as photos (tedious, but smugmug won't allow pdf uploads).  Claude provided a lot of nice historical information.  The links to the six (5) Merrill-related firearms are in the Claude Fuller Collection gallery description.  Pretty certain there was a typo in his Merrill rifle write-up- should have been 6511, not 9511. 


Found and added carbine 16175 .  This makes the fourth Merrill with the "US" stamped on the left of the stock above the saddle bar (in write-up, can't tell from photo).  My 14112 is the earliest, then 14398.   There's also one in the "Unidentified"  gallery, under the Firearms, etc. tab.  I'm looking for anyone's assistance to ID those and if new serials add them to the list of Merrills still in existence.  If they're duplicates, bummer but still better than not knowing.  Some have really good photos, but just none showing the serial and nothing in the auction details.  


2019.04.13

I had what I needed months ago to figure out where Merrill's new manufactory was located.  I just didn't realize until last night.   I had the July 1864 Baltimore Sun article that was my greatest find to date.  It went into great details about the purchase of land below the Belvidere bridge along the Jones Falls river, as well as details of the main building and operations.  I also had the Baltimore City and County Mills A-C {named}.  Check out the page Merrill Patent Firearm Manufacturing Company (manufactory) in the Research section.  Later in the day I received consent from ancestry.com on all that content.  Check it out by selecting Historical | Ancestry.   More to come...


2019.04.06

Created the rifles version of Scrolling thru Parts, under the Research tab - note the cartouches photos.  Had a handful of Dave Taylor all-in-one photos that I separated weeks back for the carbines, and did the same for the rifles last night.  I also received additional photos from RIAC for 7300 and new rifle 4792.  Paul Scott with The Fredericksburg CW Round Table (cwrtf.org) was the first and only (so far) to reply, and he included my website in the April newsletter.   I need to check on ways to capture traffic on the site, as I'm not receiving any comments directly.


2019.03.31

I found another great old book,  Civil War Guns by William B. Edwards (1962) at https://archive.org/stream/Civil_War_Guns/#mode/2up.  I excerpted five pages related to Merrills and have a new gallery.  Adds some context to the businesses in place of the former factory at the old Pump House.  Also, no excerpts yet from the ten-volume Photographic History of the Civil War, so here's the first book's link:  https://archive.org/details/photographichist01mill_0.  Just select the pdf drop-down button in the lower right section as you mouse over the pdf option to save locally.  I did find a great online site/tool that allowed me to save each pdf page as jpg - in case I find anything Merrill-related an need to upload as jpg (smugmug only allows photo uploads) - https://pdftoimage.com.  


2019.03.23

Had forgotten that I had an email with 13 photos of another Merrill patented sporting rifle from Peter at Phoenix Antique Arms (oldguns.co.uk).  Yesterday I added several photos to my Scrolling thru Parts galleries of Merrills from Harry Ridgeway at relicman.com and Jerry Bernal at Collectors Firearms.  I also received some help on the cartouches.  Check the Scrolling thru Parts parent folder description for inspector initials.  Added excerpts from another good Hathitrust book folder - Hints to Riflemen, by H. W. S. Cleveland.,1864.  Includes full page content for firearm-related manufactured products by Colt, Merrill, Spencer, Wesson, plus pages on Merrill (commentaries, testimonials, etc.).


2019.03.21

Bob Hoskins on n-ssa.net contacted me and provided photos plus some history on his 352 carbine.  I'm working thru all my photos to capture all the cartouches and who the inspectors were.  One of my best finds so far has been a hathitrust book, with some pretty awesome information - https://jameshmerrilltribute.smugmug.com/Books-Publications/Hathitrust-Books/Parts-for-Small-Guns/. 


2019.03.20

I talked to Harry Ridgeway of relicman.com tonight.  He consented to my using his 11 Merrills' photos here  - cha-ching!  Check them out - 5778, 5866, 5971, 6091, 6231, 6522r (r throughout means rifle), 10132, 10340, 10450, 10456, 12155, 14016.  I'll have to add several parts pics to the Scrolling thru Parts galleries.


2019.03.17

Realized my Special Features page wasn't really special features, so i Changed it to Scrolling Thru Parts.  Then, I went to town categorizing all the quality photos by each part.  Open up each one and put it on slide show mode.  I then created a page listing out the special features by Merrill carbines and rifles that I'd captured over the past several months.


2019.03.16

I populated the Special Features page, under the Research folder, as a way of representing the changed parts over time.


2019.03.15

I have three outstanding museums that would add plenty to my list of existing Merrills.  In my own back yard of Milwaukee is one of the greatest firearms collections in the country, the Rudolph J. Nunnemacher collection at the Milwaukee Public Museum. However, it's closed for 3-5 years to update the catalogs and check conditions.  I do have the three listed on this site, as I bought the book from 1929(?) that had a few pages of illustrations and details and historical information.


As far as trips I can take this year, the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in DC is tops on the list, right there with the Springfield Armory Museum in Massachusetts.  Each has over a dozen Merrill-related firearms, and sadly the NMAH has zero images, and very little details/history.  David Miller has consented to my coming and photographing them, and same goes for Alex MacKenzie at the SAM.


I'm also working with folks at the Maryland Historical Society and at the Baltimore Sun newspaper company for any additional archival information that I can include here.  Any photos or illustrations of James H. Merrill, his businesses (esp. the new state-of-the-art weapons factory he built in 1864 on the grounds of the old pump house - 6 1/2 acre property) would be great additions.


If anyone lives in the Baltimore area and can help with this research, please contact and let me know.  I can do only so much online with out taking a short duration trip with limited results.  Need someone local who can follow up on the archived content that's found. 


Also, if anyone has any historical materials to add to this story of James H. Merrill, please contact me at willoughbyforme@gmail.com.  Thanks, Eric.





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