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Rappahannock Forge

Name Street Town State From To
Rappahannock Forge   Falmouth Virginia 1750s today

Patent Date Remarks

Contract for

Owned by James Hunter, emigrated from Scotland and settle in Falmouth in 1746. He began building the mill and forge about 1750. His first musket was produced in 1776. The complex was sold in 1798. See below

The Virginia Herald, April 28, 1798
For sale, The iron works and mills belonging to the estate of James Hunter, esq. of Virginia, deceased, most delightfully situated on the falls of Rappahannock River, two miles from the town of Fredericksburg, and one mile from the town of Falmouth and tide water:
consisting of a forge 128 feet by 51 8 fires and 4 hammers,
a coal house 80 feet by 40;
a merchant mill 70 feet by 35, with two pair of French burr stones, and every other necessary apparatus for making flour, constructed upon the modern improved system;
also a grist mill 20 feet by 18, with one pair of stones;
and a saw mill 55 feet by 41 the running gears and machinery of the same are new, most judiciously fixed and executed.

Contiguous thereto are a smith's shop, 60 feet by 26, with 3 fires;
and a stable 54 feet by 27.
All these buildings are of stone, of neat and substantial workmanship.
-There are also a nailery, a tanyard, coopers, carpenters, and wheelwrights shops, with tools and utensils for the several mechanical branches, and houses for the managers, millers and workmen.

The water is taken out of the main body of the river and conducted to the works by a deep canal, capable of furnishing more large and extensive improvements The head and fall are about 19 feet. The great and various local advantages that this most valuable property possesses, cannot be accurately and fully enumerated. Few such places in America can be found that are better calculated for man to exercise his ingenuity in the erection of the vast diversity of works which require the power and aid of water. Adjoining thereto are about 7000 acres of land, on which are some farms, and a sufficient quantity of wood for the use of the iron works: There is also some good meadow land.

If the above property is not sold on or before the 1st November next, I will rent the same. -On application the terms will be made known by Patrick Home, surviving executor of James Hunter, dec'd. Rappahannock Forge, 14th April, 1798.

Rappahannock Forge was the largest manufactory of pistols in American Revolution era. Their guns were made in fairly high quality and the brass mountings were heavier but despite they followed exactly the line of the British "new model" pistols (about 1760 the British produced a.69 caliber smoothbore flintlock pistol, 9" barrel, flat siteplat without tail, flat lockplate and markings were stamped instead of engraved).

Rappahannock Forge was one of the private gunmakers of the colonies and about 80000 muskets were manufactured during the Independence War.

The company is still existing.


The Guns of British pattern, bears a serial number and are stamped RAP FORGE with a small capital A. Sometimes I. Hunter figures on the barrel.

.69 caliber flintlock, single shot Light Dragoon Pistol, 8 3/4" round barrel, marked Schreider instead of Hunter, made during the Civil War.
left right

Swivel flintlock gun, rifled barrel, walnut stock, brass furniture with steel swivel spike, produced about 1770.

Musket, marked I. Hunter and AP FORGE with a small capital A, overal length 59 1/2"

1" caliber flintlock, wall guns (mainly delivered to Fort Washington and Fort Lee)