Committee of Safety Pistol

Physical Description:
This .66 caliber smoothbore flintlock pistol was made by William Whetcroft of Annapolis Maryland around 1776. It has a pin fastened walnut stock. This pistol has an S-shaped brass side plate, a brass thimble and trigger guard and no butt cap.
It is stamped “WW” in a sunken rectangle on the barrel and lockplate. The barrel is also stamped “MARYLAND.”
On October 21, 1775, the Maryland Council of Safety contracted William Whetcroft to make 50 muskets per week for the Council. There are no records of a pistol being produced for the Council of Safety, but that does not mean he did not manufacture them for the Council.
This pistol may be the only known pistol made for the Council of Safety. It is difficult to guarantee though. The “WW” stamp is an identifier for Whetcroft. Also the brass mounted lock, and American wood stock are other factors leading the authors of Historic Pistols to believe this pistol is in fact a Maryland Council of Safety contract.
Flayderman, Norm. Flayderman’s Guide to Antique American Firearms…and their Values, Gun Digest Books, Iola, 2007. 9th edition.
Gardner, Robert E. Col. Small Arms Makers: A Directory of Fabricators of Firearms, Edged Weapons, Crossbows and Polearms, Crown Publishers Inc, New York: 1963, p. 208.
Smith, Samuel E. and Edwin W. Bitter. Historic Pistols: The American Martial Flintlock 1760-1845, Scalamandre Publications, New York: 1986, p. 18.
Currently not on view
Object Name
pistol, flintlock
date made
ca 1776
Whetcroft, William
Physical Description
iron (part material)
brass (part material)
wood (part material)
average spatial: 6 in x 13 3/4 in x 2 1/2 in; 15.24 cm x 34.925 cm x 6.35 cm
barrel: 1.676 cm x 21.59 cm; 11/16 in x 8 1/2 in
overall: 13 3/4 in x 6 1/4 in x 2 5/16 in; 34.925 cm x 15.875 cm x 5.9055 cm
place made
United States: Maryland, Annapolis
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
collector/donor number
The Bitter Collection of Firearms
See more items in
Armed Forces History: Armed Forces History, Military
The Bitter Collection of Firearms
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center
Credit Line
The Adriana and Edwin W. Bitter Family Collection
Additional Media

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