CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Internationally known gunsmith and blacksmith Clarence Craigo will present the lecture “Flintlock Rifles of West Virginia” in the Archives and History Library at the Culture Center, State Capitol Complex in Charleston, on Tuesday, Sept. 1. The program begins at 6 p.m. and is free and open to the public.
The history of the rifle in West Virginia is multifaceted. Metallurgy, gunsmith styles and techniques and the use of the weapons have blended to create a beautiful weapon and tool unique to Appalachia. Craigo will discuss the materials used to create flintlock rifles, as well as the techniques, styles and tools used by early gunsmiths that are still in practice today.
Craigo was born in Ward, W.Va., attended school in Kanawha County, and spent 15 years working in the coal mines. His father influenced Craigo’s love of history by taking him to many of the historical sites in the state. These excursions and his father’s stories about Daniel Boone’s time in the Kanawha Valley sparked a love affair with colonial history that continues to this day.
Since the early 1980s, Craigo has been an active gunsmith, blacksmith and producer of the trappings used by re-enactors of the French and Indian and Revolutionary wars and fine rifle collectors worldwide. Craigo appeared in the West Virginia Public Broadcasting series Outlook highlighting West Virginia gunsmiths, and in 2012, he was a weapons expert for the History Channel’s production of Hatfields and McCoys. He works at the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, where he can indulge his passion for colonial history by examining the museum’s collection of long rifles, documents and related objects.
For additional information about the Archives and History lecture series, contact the Archives and History Library at (304) 558-0230.
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is an agency within the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts with Kay Goodwin, Cabinet Secretary. The division, led by Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, brings together the past, present and future through programs and services focusing on archives and history, arts, historic preservation and museums. For more information about the division’s programs, events and sites, visit www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.