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In the Classroom > Course Overview
2. Bull's Life
Origins Training Military Service Trade Family Later Years

Trade: John Partridge Bull and his Gunsmithing

Getting Started | Gunsmithing | Economic Downturn | Bull's Trade | Bull's Competition


In setting himself up in gunsmithing out of regional competition with Seth Pomeroy (see Training section for additional details), John Partridge Bull began to establish his own client list. In August 1747, Elijah Williams' account book credits Bull with mending the guns of three different customers and on the tenth of August, he delivered "one Gun Small Sort" worth forty shillings (or two pounds) to Joseph Stebbins, a Deerfield resident.

-- referenced in the account book of Elijah Williams, collections of the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association.

Bull's best years were in the 1770s as his gunsmithing tasks increased steadily. Between 1773 and 1780, he made 312 repairs, mainly to the gun lock, the most complex portion of firearms of the period. To break it down, Bull saw an increased business in the repair of guns as the Revolutionary War approached. While many individuals owned guns (Deerfield counted 89 taxpayer residents in 1771), it would appear that many of the guns were in need of repair:

year number of guns repaired
1771 16
1772 22
1773 36
1774 71
1775 88


Of Bull's total account book income (223 pounds, 18 shillings, 8 pence), thirty-five percent came from gunsmithing.

-- data compiled from the account book of John Partridge Bull, collections of the Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association.


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