Michael, sorry about your dad's death, which we reported in our last newsletter.
James A. and James B. Honaker, gunmakers in the Marsh Fork area of Raleigh County, were the son and nephew of Abraham Honaker, one of the immigrant's sons. Abraham was one of the first gunmakers in America. A masterpiece rifle of his is at Colonial Williamsburg. It was made about 1825, and is thought to be the third or fourth rifle ever made entirely in America. We visited the rifle on one of our annual reunions.
James A. and his nephew James B. made the mountain rifles, workaday pieces, that were often written up by Shirley Donnelley, columnist for the Beckley newspaper. Usually James signed his rifles Jas Honaker. There is a pretty big appendix to our book, Honaker Family in America, about the rifles. Maybe you've seen it.
A lot of our members are descendants of Abraham, some of them from James A., and would be eager to have one of the rifles, in case you might decide to sell it. If I remember correctly, you are from the Martin line, so are somewhat more removed from the riflemakers, who were your distant cousins.
Whatever the disposition you may make, we would appreciate knowing, since sometimes family members ask where they may be able to see one of the rifles.
With kind regards, your cousin, Tom Hanlin, Honaker Family Assn., P.O. Box 3636, Alexandria VA 22302-0636, 703-751-7321.