Short history about our clan name

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Short history about our clan name

Post  ilikeapple on Tue Nov 10, 2009 1:03 am

One hypothesis is that the "Brown Bess" was named after Elizabeth I of England, but this lacks support. It is not believed that this name was used contemporaneously with the early Long Pattern Land musket but that the name arose in late years of the 18th century when the Short Pattern and India Pattern were in wide use.

Early uses of the term include the newspaper, the Connecticut Courant in April 1771, which said "...but if you are afraid of the sea, take Brown Bess on your shoulder and march.". This familiar use indicates widespread use of the term by that time. The 1785 Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue, a contemporary work which defined vernacular and slang terms, contained this entry: "Brown Bess: A soldier's firelock. To hug Brown Bess; to carry a fire-lock, or serve as a private soldier." Military and government records of the time do not use this poetical name but refer to firelocks, flintlock, muskets or by the weapon's model designations.

Popular explanations of the use of the word "Brown" include that it was a reference to either the color of the walnut stocks, or to the characteristic brown color that was produced by russeting, an early form of metal treatment. Others argue that mass-produced weapons of the time were coated in brown varnish on metal parts as a rust preventative and on wood as a sealer (or in the case of unscrupulous contractors, to disguise inferior or non-regulation types of wood). However, the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) notes that "browning" was only introduced in the early 19th century, well after the term had come into general use.

Similarly, the word "Bess" is commonly held to either derive from the word arquebus or blunderbuss (predecessors of the musket) or to be a reference to Elizabeth I, possibly given to commemorate her death. More plausible is that the term Brown Bess derived from the German words "brawn buss" or "braun buss", meaning "strong gun" or "brown gun"; King George I who commissioned its use was from Germany. The OED has citations for "brown musket" dating back to the early 18th century which refer to the same weapon. Another suggestion is that the name is simple the counterpart to the earlier Brown Bill.
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ilikeapple

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Re: Short history about our clan name

Post  TheRed on Tue Nov 17, 2009 7:48 pm

Wikipedia ftw.

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