6270 Este Ave.
Cincinnati , OH 45232
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.44 caliber, 24" octagonal barrel, S/N 1302. Blued finish, barrel is not dove-tailed for a rear barrel sight, factory original 900-yard rear barrel sight mounted on the brass frame. Featured brass frame with period inscription on left side plate "MAJ. G. L. FEBIGER to T. R. Biggs, Cin. O." Varnished wood buttstock with rounded brass buttplate. Wood cleaning rod in butt trap. Sling Swivels mounted on right side; very rare factory original leather sling with metal buckle and hook attached to right side of barrel and buttstock via factory rings.
This rifle was ordered from Henry as a gift, because the inscription was applied/engraved at the factory.
Accompanied by a thick folder of extensive paperwork including copies of National Archives service and pension records concerning G.L. Febiger, an original CDV of Febiger and written in ink on the back "George L. Febiger, Paymaster, USA." Also included is a larger photocopy of the same image contained in a Civil War era wood oval frame approximately 14" x 12". In the file are additional documents, research and notes related to Febiger and to Biggs.
George L. Febiger was born in Pennsylvania in either 1822 or 1823, lived in Hamilton County, Ohio and worked for T.R. Biggs & Co. (a wholesale grocer & Commission merchant house) in 1858. He accepted an appointment as Paymaster in the U.S. Army with the rank of Major on May 4, 1861. He served initially in the District of Missouri (stationed at St. Louis) until December 27, 1862 when he assumed charge of the Pay District of Mississippi (comprised at the time of parts of the states of Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi and Louisiana). Febiger remained in that capacity until December 1, 1864 when he was appointed President of the Board of Examination of offices of the Pay Department for the Districts of Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kansas and the Territories of the Dakotas, Nebraska, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona.
At the end of the Civil War, he returned from the West to duty at St. Louis and according to the accompanying documents, continued to serve in the U.S. Army with promotion to Lt. Col. on Dec. 31, 1879 and then to Assistant Paymaster General on Feb. 28, 1881. He retired from service on Dec. 8, 1886 (although not yet 65, he had served 25 years). He then returned to civilian life and subsequently died January 22, 1891 at New Haven, CT. from Bright's disease.
George Lea Febiger was the son of Christian Carson Febiger, the adopted son of Revolutionary War Hero Hans Christian Febiger (1749 [Denmark] – 1796). The elder Febiger was once described by “Ripley’s Believe It or Not!” in a 1942 newspaper column as “the only soldier who took part in every important battle of the Revolutionary War from Bunker Hill to Yorktown.” George was also the brother of John Carson Febiger (1821-1898), Rear Admiral USN, serving during the Civil War with distinction, and who served as Commandant of the Washington Navy Yard 1876-1880. George Lea Febiger also had a son, Lieut. George Lea Febiger, Jr. (1876-1900), who died in the Philippine Insurrection. John Carson and the younger George Lea Febiger are buried in Arlington.
Thomas R. Biggs was a successful merchant (and former employer of George L. Febiger) who was also apparently a large landowner. His father, Zacheus Biggs was a member of the Ohio Senate in 1820-21. Thomas followed in those footsteps by serving in the Senate from 1868-1870. Records indicate T. R. Biggs died ca 1876.
Both men, Zaccheus and Thomas Biggs were instrumental in platting and settling Terrace Park, Ohio. In 1869, Thomas built his house in "Gravelotte," a large estate and subdivision along the Little Miami River, at what would become 720 Elm Street. Thomas donated just under 2 acres to the growing town for a school - the location of Terrace Park Elementary School - and another lot in 1876 for the first St. Thomas Episcopal parish church.
The file also includes a handwritten note indicating this Henry rifle was originally purchased from Mrs. Josephine Lee Smith (D.O.B. 2-22-1908) on Jan 30, 1986. Mrs. Smith indicated the gun had belonged to her husband's grandfather, Thomas R. Biggs.
This highly desirable inscribed Henry rifle is in overall very good to near fine condition displaying considerable original muted blue mixed with a plum brown patina on the barrel assembly. The brass frame shows a beautiful taffy colored patina. The hammer shows the majority of its original case color and there are traces of original color on the lever. The action and markings are crisp, the bore is very good and the wood buttstock is overall very good with scattered old mars and scratches from carry and storage with considerable original finish still present. The leather sling is in overall very good condition and the four-part wood cleaning rod in the butt trap is also very good. This exact gun is listed in Wiley Sword's The Historic Henry Rifle on page 79.
A rare opportunity to obtain a great example of the legendary Henry rifle that remained in the original family of the high ranking Civil War Officer it belonged to until sold in 1986 to our consignor!
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