Early memories of the Kentucky/Tennessee country as the son of a Baptist preacher who preached in such fast paced areas as Foxport, Kentucky or Gravel-Switch, Tennessee gave Wayne first hand views of some areas little changed in the late 1940's and early 1950's from the 1700's when men such as Walker, Boone and Kenton explored this country. The stories of men such as these continued to excite Wayne's imagination after the family moved back to the Eastern Shore of Maryland. As he grew up he continued to read every book about the early frontier he could get his hands on. One day when he was twelve years old he found a muzzleloader in the attic of his grandmother's house and he was hooked on these old guns. The gun he found that day now hangs in his shop. He would hold that gun in his lap while watching Fess Parker on TV, as Davy Crockett in the 1950's. He vowed that one day he would have such a gun as these men carried.
In the late 1970's, after serving eight years in the Navy and ten years on the Prince George's County Maryland Police Department and raising two children, he started attending school at the University of Maryland in his off-duty time. A professor of History gave the class the assignment of writing a paper on the Revolutionary War. Wayne decided to write about the effects of the Pennsylvania, or as it is better known, the Kentucky Rifle and its effects on the outcome of the Revolutionary War. The research for this paper focused his interest on these rifles and he was introduced to George Stanford by a mutual friend. George apprenticed many years ago with Carl Pippert who was one of the founders of the Kentucky Rifle Association and these men are recognized as two of the most knowledgeable and finest traditional builders of these rifles. Wayne was an apprentice to both George Stanford and Carl Pippert.
You can visit Wayne's website at www.waynepwatson.com
George agreed to take Wayne on as an apprentice and teach him the mysteries of 18th Century gun building. Wayne remembers that as he was leaving George's house that first night he asked George how he could repay him for what he was being taught. George said, "by doing what he had promised Carl years before, and that was to pass this knowledge to some young fellow who had a burning desire to lear about these old guns," then he said, "I promise you one thing, I'll never lie to you, if you're doing good I'll tell you, if not, I'll tell you." For the next eight years George never lied and sometimes the truth hurt, but Wayne learned the same way other gunstock makers had learned down through the ages, the hard way.
In 1989 he retired from the police force and moved to Bedford, Pennsylvania and continued making these old rifles for the next ten years at that location before moving back to St. Mary's County, Maryland in 1999. He tries to reproduce exact copies of the Master Pieces of our Colonial Period as they would look coming from the benches of the original gunstock makers. In 1991 he was approached by Michael Mann to build the Kill-Deer rifle for Daniel-Day Lewis in the 1992, 29th Century Fox's, Last of the Mohicans movie. He continues to research and make the 18th Century articles used by our ancestors in their daily lives as well as building the longrifles that fed, clothed and protected our grandparents of the 1700's and early 1800's.
Resource: Contemporary Longrifle Association Member.
Contact Wayne P. Watson at:
12405 NW 83rd Lane
Ocala, FL 34476
phone number: 352-629-4341