Tuesday, September 24, 2013

"Where the Henrys Manufactured Small Arms...."

One of the Many Historic Places
in Pennsylvania
Where the Henrys Manufactured
Small Arms for the War of 1812
and Later for the Civil War.
   Nazareth, Pa.--One of the most historical places in eastern Pennsylvania is the Henry gun factory about three miles northeast of here. It was here that the Henrys manufactured rifles, muskets and pistols for the war of 1812, for the Civil war and for the North American Fur company, of which John Jacob Astor was at one time president.
   Ever since the Henrys came to America from England, they have been identified more or less with government service, either as soldier, statesman or manufacturer of arms. The first of the Henrys in this country was Hon. William Henry of Lancaster. There he established a factory for the making of firearms in 1752. His muskets and rifles were in demand during the Revolutionary war, and he could hardly make them fast enough. He was in charge of small arms during the Braddock and Forbes expeditions in the French and Indian wars. He was present at the attack of Fort Duquesne. During the battle he saved the life of the Delaware Indian chief, Killbuck. According to an Indian custom, Henry and the chief exchanged names. It is said that to this very day the Killbuck family retain the name of Henry as the middle name, both male and female. William Henry was also active in the Revolution as deputy quartermaster general and superintendent of arms and military accoutrements. When Gen. "Mad" Anthony Wayne was contemplating the attack on Stony Point, he sent word to William Henry to "hurry up those guns." In 1784 and 1785 Henry was also a congressman.
   His son, William Henry, Jr., came to Nazareth in 1780 and entered into a contract with the state of Pennsyl-
Made Muskets Here.
vania and the United States government for the manufacture of muskets. He built a small factory at Nazareth, but the water power was poor and the demand for muskets much greater than the supply. It was to facilitate this work that he built the Henry gun factory at Bolton, about three miles northeast of Nazareth. It is situated in one of the most delightful spots along the Bushkill creek, formerly known by the Indian name, Lehlcton. This was g 1812, when the government was pressing the factory with orders for the war then waging. A few years later the works passed into the hands of his sons, William Henry third and John Joseph Henry. They jointly conducted the business till 1822, when the latter became the sole owner.
   The fame of the Henry rifle had spread along the whole frontier, and when John Jacob Astor organized the North American Fur company he ordered all his supply of rifles from the Henry factory. The rifles were to be of a certain style and the Henrys had the only factory at that time that could furnish them. Ramsey Crooks, afterwards president of the North American Fur company, was sent there by Astor to order the supply and personally compliment the gun manufacturers upon the satisfaction given by these rifles.
   The manufacture of these rifles ceased when the fur trade died out and the North American company went out of existence. During these years, many rifles and pistols were manufactured by the Henrys for the militia of the south and west and figured very prominently in the Civil war. 

[The Donaldsonville Chief, Donaldsonville, LA., Saturday, November 04, 1911. Volume XLI. Number 13 Pg. 7]

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