In April 1775 after word of events at
Concord and Lexington Mass., Royal Governor Lord Dunmore, fearing insurrection by the townspeople, removed powder from
the magazine. The Boy's Militia Company of Williamsburg, in
response to the governor's action, broke into the
magazine and removed blue painted trade guns. When they
entered, they set off a trap gun which wounded several of the
boys. No information survives on how many guns were taken or
the fate of the wounded boys.
recollection of Williamsburg c1775:
(Robert was the son of
John Greenhow, a merchant who operated a store in
Williamsburg at this time.)
"the youth of Williamsburg
formed themselves into a military corps and chose Henry
Nicholson as their Capt.; that on Dunmore's flight from
Williamsburg, they repaired to the magazine and
armed themselves with blue painted stock guns kept for the
purpose of distributing among the Indians, and equip't as
the minute men volunteers in military garb,
that is to say in hunting shirts, trousers, bucktails,
cockades and "Liberty or Death" suspended to their breasts
as their motto; that they could and did perform all the
evolutions of the manual exercise far better than the
soldiers who were daily arriving from the adjacent counties;
that their captain, Henry Nicholson, was
about 14 years old."
Being young boys they probably choose
the trade guns over the muskets due to the weight
difference. The trade gun is 6 to 7 pounds compared to the 9½
Colonial Williamsburg has
resurrected the Boy's Company and these guns have been
issued to the new company. No information survives on what the
trade guns the Boy's Company took looked like so I made
these as a typical import style with brass parts copied from
parts dug up here in Virginia. The color of the paint
was taken from samples used on various pieces of furniture,
wagons and carts of
the period. The barrels are 20 bore (gauge) and 42" long.
Weight is 7½ lbs.
with 30" and 36" barrel lengths.