This is a rare example of a Type 1 Model 1816 Flintlock Musket manufactured by Adam Carruth of Greenville, South Carolina. Carruth's factory, a.k.a. The South Carolina Armory, was the only maker of US Model 1816 from the South. This musket came to be because of conflict. In great need of weapons during the War of 1812, the US government contracted several private firms to supplant the new pattern musket (which would later become known as the Model 1816) already in production at the United States' two national armories in Harpers Ferry, VA and Springfield, MA. Among the private contractors were Eli Whitney, Sr. followed by P & E.W. Blake, Elisha Buell, James Baker, H. Osborne, Daniel Nippes, Robert and J.D. Johnson, Evans, Pomeroy, Starr, Asa Waters, Marine T. Wickham, and a man named Elias Earle. Carruth was not originally contracted to manufacture the 1816 which is where the name "Elias Earle" comes into play. Earle lived in Centerville, South Carolina and was awarded a contract on February 16, 1815 for 10,000 stands of arms. Unfortunately, Earle's commitment was a bit too optimistic and he was unable to meet his obligations. Thus, Earle's original contract was transferred to Adam Carruth of the Greenville district, SC on November 14, 1816. We were able to find both Earle's and Carruth's transfer of Earle's contract from a military report to Congress in 1820. See photos.
Like Earle, Carruth experienced great difficulties in making successful deliveries of his Model 1816's to the United States government. In Robert Reilly's book, United States Military Small Arms, 1816-65, he states on pg. 5:
"Ordnance records indicate that between June 18, 1818 and September 2, 1820, 2,250 muskets had been delivered by Carruth...Financial difficulties, however, coupled with problems incurred with U.S. inspectors, apparently infringed upon Carruth's activities, and in 1822, his property, including 781 completed muskets, ultimately sold to South Carolina, was sold at auction...bringing the total to 3,031 Model 1816 muskets produced by this contractor."
This particular example is a standard Type I 1816 in .69 caliber with three barrel bands and was recently discovered in a small town located within fifty miles of Greenville. In all my travels, this is the first time I've ever encountered a Carruth musket. What's more amazing is that it's still in original flint. The lock is marked "A. CARRUTH" in a shallow upward curve. Behind the hammer, it's marked "1819" over "US". The barrel proof is a simple letter "P" just opposite of the flash pan. Being a type I, it has trigger guard cast as a single piece with the rear sling swivel standing alone ahead of the trigger bow. One other interesting side-note: the trigger guard screws and the buttplate screws are stamped with the number "14"...indicating some type of assembly number.
Overall Condition is NRA Antique Very Good with the metal turned to a heavy uncleaned patina that is remarkably smooth aside from some light pitting around the touch hole. This is original flint configuration and is not a re-conversion. See photos. While this is not uncommon for muskets found in the Northeast, it is exceptionally rare to find a Southern flintlock approaching 200 years old that has survived in its original configuration. Guns were regarded as tools throughout this region and the vast majority were converted to percussion...especially at the beginning of the Civil War when there was an acute shortage of weapons. The wood is in good shape and has never been cleaned or refinished. Some slight burnout just behind the flashpan...which is exactly what one would expect to find on such an untouched example. The lock works quite well...at both full and half cock positions. All in all, this is an exceptionally nice and original example of a very scarce Southern Made Type I Model 1816. Outside of a museum, it's probably one of the only surviving examples still in original flint configuration.