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Archives 01-03-2007
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Local gunsmith creates nostalgic muzzle loaders
LPD seeks information on paintball vandal

Livingston man arrested for TDOT break-in
Destiny Leeann Hendricks first born in 2007 at LRH

 

Local gunsmith creates nostalgic muzzle loaders

Roger Sells is works diligently hand-crafting a "Tennessee" muzzle loader. One rifle can take up to 100 hours.

By DALE WELCH, Hilltop Express with permission
As craftsmen of old, Roger Sells spends hours producing not only a fine work of art, but something that shoots, too. Since he retired from Fleetguard, he spends even more hours on the craft he absolutely loves.

Sells' passion used to be racing motorcycles. In one race, the winner would receive a muzzleloader rifle. When he wound up in sixth place and no prize, he decided he would make one for himself.

"When I turned 30 years old," Sells said smiling, "I quit biking and took into this."

He recalled when he was in high school, he used to run with his English teacher's boy. He went with them once to the home of Wes Goodman, a traditional gunsmith.

"He was a farmer," Sells said. "His home was up high and he made guns in under the drop of the house. His tools are now in the Museum of Appalachia, in Norris, Tennessee."

Sells said his English teacher bought two guns for $35 each from Goodman. Now, those guns are worth thousands.

When Sells decides on a particular style, he uses an overhead projector to get the correct proportions and makes a pattern. On some styles, he can order ready made parts, but on some, its more practical and cost efficient to make them.

One of his favorites is the Tennessee Rifle, often called the Southern Mountain Rifle. Rifles built in Eastern Tennessee before about 1815, were the work of gunsmiths who migrated to that area from neighboring and more settled states. These gunsmiths brought the designs and procedures they had learned in the East and set to work turning out guns that met local needs using the materials provided by the land around them.

Some collectors classify these rifles as "Southern Kentuckies", although Tennessee was a part of North Carolina until it became a state in 1796.

One important difference between the "Kentucky" and the "Tennessee" was the use of iron for fittings, instead of brass. Iron was abundant in the region. The metals needed for brass were not successfully mined until the turn of the 19th Century.

Silver and pewter were often used for mountings in these rifles. The silver usually came from coins circulated during this period.

Walnut and maple were the favorite woods for stocks, but other woods, including cherry and ash, were sometimes used.

These early guns often utilized the more simple "banana style" patchbox, long barrels, wide buttplates, and wide trigger guards. A very few may have included relief carving.

On some of the rifles, it takes about 200 hours to get it just right. On the Tennessee rifle, it used to take him about 40 hours. Now, it takes him about 100 hours.

"I donÕt know if it's my eyes," Sells said, "or IÕm just getting more picky."

Sells also belongs to a couple organizations revolving around his craft. One is the American Mountain Men Association, dedicated to the preservation of the traditions and ways of the nation's most daring explorers and pioneers, the Mountain Men. He said there are about 620 members across the county. The group does re-enacting. Initiation into the group requires certain days in the woods with just a rifle, gun powder, a blanket, and a flint fire starter.

The other association he belongs to is the National Muzzle Loader Rifle Association. Sells attends only a couple of muzzle loader shows, one in Lexington, KY, and the other in Louisville, KY.

Since he has retired, he has been covered up in rifle-making things. He was busy getting out his latest and finest editions just before Christmas. After those, he'll just start on another one.

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LPD seeks information on paintball vandal

Livingston Police have received many reports of damage due to vandalism from paintballs.

Damage was reported to the Old Cee Bee Building, Hulls Auto Sales, Verizon Wireless, and residences in the Hidden Valley area and the Cedar Street area, along with numerous street signs.

Livingston Police have questioned individuals in these cases.

Anyone with information concerning recent paintball vandalism or suspect information is urged to contact Livingston Police Department at (931) 823-6496. All calls are held strictly confidential, according to the LPD.

 

 

 

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Livingston man arrested for TDOT break-in

A Livingston man is in custody and has been charged with 2 counts of Burglary and 3 counts of Theft of Property after a Livingston Police investigation.

Richard Owens, 31, of Hilham, was taken into custody by Livingston detectives and charged with the November 10 burglary of the Tennessee Department of Transportation Engineering Department and the Department Of Transportation Maintenance Garage located on the Bradford-Hicks Drive.

Allegedly, Owens entered the buildings and took a digital camera, along with Stihl chainsaws and a gas blower, valued at over $1,000 dollars.

Additionally, Owens was arrested and has been charged in the November 26 theft of over $500 of property belonging to Bennie Sells of Livingston.

Allegedly Owens took carpentry tools and fishing equipment from the Sells property without the ownerÕs consent.

Livingston Police have recovered several of the items reported stolen in these cases

Owens was jailed on a $12,000 bond, and awaits a hearing before General Sessions Judge John Officer.

 

Destiny Leeann Hendricks first born in 2007 at LRH

Carson Oliver/OCN
The Livingston Regional Hospital New Year's Baby for 2007 was Destiny Leeann Hendricks, who arrived at 6:25 a.m. Monday, Jan. 1, weighing 8 lbs. 15.2 oz. and measuring 20.75 inches in length. On hand with parents David and Katrina Hendricks, of Gainesboro, is delivering doctor Amy Hix Pharris. The New Year's Baby received gifts from Overton County News, Livingston Enterprise, Xpress Lube, Livingston Regional Hospital, Livingston Flower Basket, Bank of Overton County, Brown's Flower Shop, Garrett Drug Center, The Fitness Zone, The Apple Dish, Bows Petals N' Lace, E.B. Gray Jewelry, First National Bank, WLIV, Medical Arts Center, American Bank & Trust, and State Farm.

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Overton County News
415 West Main Street
P.O. Box 479
Livingston' Tennessee 38570
tel 931.823.6485
fax 931.823.6486
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