M. J. Whitmore of Potsdam, New York, worked at the Wagon & Gun Shop and is believed to have been the man who trained Lewis L. Hepburn of Remington fame. He was one of the men listed on a breech loading patent in 1860 and also received a patent for a "clock, calendar." Many of Whitmore's surviving firearms utilize the swivel breech mechanism and have long metal actions like this example. Most, however, are over/under combination guns, but this unusual mid-19th century arm has four barrels. Three are .40 caliber and rifled and one is .410 caliber smoothbore. The paired rifle barrels share a blade front sight and adjustable notch rear sight, and the other rifled barrel and smoothbore barrel have individual sets of sights. All four barrels and the left side of the action at the wrist are stamped with "M. J. WHITMORE/POTSDAM N.Y." The barrels have floral engraving patterns and the action has additional floral engraving as well as rural scenes and patriotic motifs. There is clever trap compartment in between the barrels that contains a wooden ramrod. The butt has numerous engraved German silver inlays, including a reposed stag, a cabin scene on the patch box door, a sun, and stars. The engraving and stock inlays are similar to known Whitmore rifles manufactured in Massachusetts by Nathaniel and Nathaniel Gilbert Whitmore and pictured in the included copy o the article "My Magnificent Whitmore" by David Wood, Jr. suggesting a family connection. N. G. Whitmore was the master armorer at Springfield Armory and also manufactured a very fine rifle for General Grant that was displayed at the Smithsonian.
Good with mostly a gray patina with light pitting overall on the barrels, action, and hammers. Some of the engraving patterns are now faint. The moderately worn German silver components are lightly aged and have mostly crisp designs. The wood is very good and has some minor marks. It is mechanically fine.
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