gunsmith creates nostalgic muzzle loaders
LPD seeks information on paintball
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
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
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
"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
Silver and pewter were often used for mountings in
these rifles. The silver usually came from coins circulated during
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
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,
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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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
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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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.
Leeann Hendricks first born in 2007 at LRH
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
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Overton County News
415 West Main Street
P.O. Box 479
Livingston' Tennessee 38570