The old musket pictured above was retrieved from Lake Winnebago in Wisconsin two years ago. It appears to be a “trade musket” manufactured about 200 years ago. From boatingwinnebago.com . . .
“It was around 11 a.m. on Sept. 4 and as soon as I saw the barrel I knew what it was,” he said.
There — hooked on the end of his anchor — was a flintlock musket, rusted and weathered by the passage of time.
“This is crazy. It’s like one of those tall fish tales,” he thought as he held the ancient musket in hand and turned his 14-foot Lakeland fishing boat toward shore near Clarence’s harbor.
The 47-inch heavy iron barrel was coated with zebra mussels and a large portion of the wooden stock was missing — eaten way after centuries of resting at the bottom of the big lake.
The story resonates with me, because 35 years ago, I spent considerable time dragging grappling hooks along the bottom of Lake Winnebago. I worked with a Wisconsin Conservation Warden. I will simply call him “Tom” because he was a law officer that was a little off his rocker. We never found any muskets, but we did pull up a few old fishing rods and plenty of sticks.
No guns, though. Pity. I wish I had snagged that musket. Of course, just because the musket was about 200 years old doesn’t necessarily mean that it was lost on Lake Winnebago 200 years ago. Flintlocks are still in use. It could reasonably have been lost at any time up to about 1900.
©2015 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.