A Fantastic, Rare, and Beautiful Cased Pair of English Flintlock Dueling Pistols by T. KETLAND & Co., LONDON

$ 42,500.00


A Fantastic, Rare, and Beautiful high quality Antique Cased Pair of English Flintlock Dueling Pistols by T. KETLAND & Co., LONDON, circa. 1785-1790.  It is important to note that Thomas Ketland had offices in Birmingham, England and New England (Philadelphia and possibly Maryland).  The lid of the box has a brass center medallion with lifting handle and is engraved "H y Didier from I. N. D'Arcy".  10", .64 cal. octagon steel barrels secured to the stocks by (2) keys/wedges with engraved patent breeches and the bottom flat stamped with (2) large "CROWN" over "CROSSED SEPTRE" PROOF marks with "STUBS", "TWIST" and both barrels retain 95% of the original plum brown finish.  Set triggers.  The barrels have gold bands at the breech and the muzzle (which is a trait of high quality).  Very fine decoratively engraved patent breech barrel tangs.  Both pistols are all original and are in their original flintlock configuration.  The flat beveled steel locks with stepped tails and boarder line engraving are maker signed "T KETLAND & Co." and have sliding safeties.  Both locks have high quality frizzen springs with rollers, and have gold lined flash pans.  High quality engraved steel furniture includes trigger guards with pineapple finials (all steel furniture retains approx. 75% original blue finish).  Original horn tipped wood ram rods, (1) with iron worm.  Both walnut stocks are solid with (now) vacant silver rectangular wrist escutcheons (once had the owners initials or monogram but was removed long ago for some reason), sharp edges, bag-shaped grips with micro-checkering and swirl carved butts.  Both have minimal light scratches and dings from years of handling.  Both barrels exhibit light salt & pepper rust pitting around the touch holes.  Both pistols are in their original flintlock configuration and are in good mechanical working order.  A beautiful pair of dueling pistols in excellent++ condition !

Each pistol measures: 16" overall.



NOTE - Guns by this maker are generally of average quality made more for the "every man".  This set is by far the highest quality by this maker I have encountered in or out of a Museum.  The condition and originality is superb !!!

PROVENANCEThe lid of the box has a brass center medallion with lifting handle and is engraved "H y Didier from I. N. D'Arcy".

The D'Arcy family - 

The D'arcy surname is a Norman habitation name, created by adding the French preposition "de" meaning "from" to the place Arcy, in La Manche. [1]

Early Origins of the D'arcy family

The surname D'arcy was first found in Lincolnshire where the Norman Knight of the name Norman De Areci was listed as a landholder in the Domesday Book of 1086; he was granted 33 Lordships by William the Conqueror. [2]

"Norman de Areci held thirty-three lordships in the county of Lincoln by the immediate gift of the Conqueror, [3] and chose Nocton, one of them, as the head of his barony. His posterity retained it as their seat for "divers after ages," and his son Robert founded an Augustine priory there." [4]

Other early records of the name in Lincolnshire include William Daresci in the Pipe Rolls of 1191; Roger Arsi on record between 1173 and 1182; Osbert de Arcy in the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273; and a Thomas Darcy in 1276. [5]

Temple Newsom in the West Riding of Yorkshire was home to another branch of the family. "This place derives the prefix to its name from the Knights Templars, who had a preceptory here, which, at the suppression of their order in 1311, was granted to Sir John D'Arcy, whose descendant, Thomas, Lord D'Arcy, was beheaded in the reign of Henry VIII. for joining the 'Pilgrims of Grace.' The forfeited manor was bestowed on the Earl of Lenox, father of Lord Darnley, the husband of Mary, Queen of Scots." [6]

D'Arcy Tolleshunt in Essex was another ancient homestead of the family. "This parish, which is bounded on the south-east by the river Blackwater and Northfleet creek, derives the adjunct to its name from the family of D'Arcy, who were anciently its lords." [6]

The family held an extensive estate at Greenhow in the North Riding of Yorkshire since early times but again, this family seat was also forfeited to the crown during the reign of Henry VIII. [6]

POSSIBLE ID - I. N. D'Arcy, researching....

Early Notables of the D'Arcy family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was Philip Darcy, Baron Darcy of Nocton, summoned to Parliament in 1299; his brother John Darcy, created Baron Darcy de Knayth in 1332; Thomas Darcy (1506-1558) created Baron Darcy of Chiche on 5 April 1551, later known as Baron Darcy of Temple Hurst, Vice-Chamberlain of the Household and Captain of the Yeomen of the Guard (1550-1551) ; Baron Thomas Darcy (1467-1537) English nobleman, who served in military expeditions for Henry VII

United States D'arcy migration to the United States +
Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

D'arcy Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Richard Darcy, who landed in Maryland in 1637 [9]
  • Eliz Darcy, who arrived in Virginia in 1658 [9]
  • Thomas Darcy, who arrived in Maryland in 1661 [9]
  • Bartho Darcy, who landed in Virginia in 1697 [9]
D'arcy Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • John Darcy, who arrived in Virginia in 1715 [9]
  • Michael Darcy, who landed in Boston, Massachusetts in 1767 [9]
D'arcy Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • Robert Darcy, who arrived in New York in 1839 [9]
  • John Darcy, who settled in New York in 1850
  • Bridget D'Arcy, who was on record in Illinois in 1853
  • Daniel Darcy, who arrived in Allegany (Allegheny) County, Pennsylvania in 1871 [9]



THE BOOKPLATE - We are pricing the set of pistols (as is...) without the premium of the provenance until it can be proven...  The set of pistols would be priced north of $100,000.00 if proven to have been the property of William Johnson.

The bookplate of WILLIAM SAMUEL JOHNSON was rolled up in one of the barrels.  TO BE CLEAR, I cannot prove these pistols belonged to William Johnson (yet).  Not sure what to make of this but...  More research needs to be done...

According to WIKIPEDIA - William Samuel Johnson (October 7, 1727 – November 14, 1819) was an American Founding Father and statesman. Before the Revolutionary War, he served as a militia lieutenant before being relieved following his rejection of his election to the First Continental Congress. He was notable for signing the United States Constitution, for representing Connecticut in the United States Senate, and for serving as the third president of Columbia University, then known as Columbia College.

Early life

Coat of Arms of William Samuel Johnson

William Samuel Johnson was born in Stratford, Connecticut, on October 7, 1727 to Samuel Johnson, a well-known Anglican clergyman and later founding president of King's (Columbia) College, and Johnson's first wife, Charity Floyd Nicoll. Johnson received his primary education at home. He then graduated from Yale College in 1744, going on to receive a master's degree from his alma mater in 1747 (as well as an honorary degree from Harvard the same year).


Although his father urged him to enter the clergy, Johnson decided instead to pursue a legal career. Self-educated in the law, he quickly developed an important clientele and established business connections extending beyond the boundaries of his native colony. He also held a commission in the Connecticut colonial militia for over 20 years, rising to the rank of colonel, and he served in the lower house (1761 and 1765) and upper house (1766 and 1771–1775) of the Connecticut Legislature. He was a member of the colony's Supreme Court (1772–1774).

Johnson was first attracted to the Patriot cause by what he and his associates considered Parliament's unwarranted interference in the government of the colonies. He attended the Stamp Act Congress in 1765 and served on the committee that addressed the king ,arguing the right of the colonies to decide tax policies for themselves.[2] He opposed the Townshend Acts passed by Parliament in 1767 to pay for the French and Indian War and supported the non-importation agreements devised by the colonies to protest taxation without representation.

American Revolution

Portrait by Gilbert Stuart

Johnson lived in London from 1767 to 1771, serving as Connecticut's agent in its attempt to settle the colony's title to Indian lands. He sharply criticized British policy toward the colonies. His experience in Britain convinced him that Britain's policy was shaped more by ignorance of American conditions and not through the sinister designs of a wicked government, as many Patriots alleged. As the Patriots became more radical in their demands, Johnson found it difficult to commit himself wholeheartedly to the cause. Although he believed British policy unwise, he found it difficult to break his own connections with the mother country. A scholar of international renown, he had many friends in Britain and among the American Loyalists. As the English author Samuel Johnson said of him, "Of all those whom the various accidents of life have brought within my notice, there is scarce anyone whose acquaintance I have more desired to cultivate than yours." He was also bound to Britain by religious and professional ties. He enjoyed close associations with the Anglican Church in England and with the scholarly community at Oxford, which awarded him an honorary degree in 1766.

Fearing the consequences of independence for both the colonies and the mother country, Johnson sought to avoid extremism and to reach a compromise on the outstanding political differences between the protagonists. He rejected his election to the First Continental Congress, a move strongly criticized by the Patriots, who subsequently removed him from his militia command. He was also strongly criticized when seeking an end to the fighting after the Battles of Lexington and Concord, he personally visited the British commander General Thomas Gage. The incident led to his arrest for communicating with the enemy, but the charges were eventually dropped. He felt that the American Revolution was not necessary and that independence would be bad for everyone concerned.[3]

New nation

Once independence was achieved, Johnson felt free to participate in the government of the new nation, serving in the Congress of the Confederation (1785–1787). His influence as a delegate was recognized by his contemporaries. Jeremiah Wadsworth wrote of him to a friend, "Dr. Johnson has, I believe, much more influence than either you or myself. The Southern Delegates are vastly fond of him." In 1785, the Vermont Republic granted Johnson a town in the former King's College Tract in thanks for representing the interests of Vermont before the Continental Congress.[4] The town of Johnson, Vermont, the former Johnson State College, and Johnson Street [1] Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine in Madison, Wisconsin bear his name.

Constitutional Convention

In 1787, Johnson played a major role as one of the Philadelphia Convention's delegates. His eloquent speeches on the subject of representation carried great weight during the debate. He looked to a strong federal government to protect the rights of Connecticut and the other small states from encroachment by their more powerful neighbors. He supported the New Jersey Plan, which called for equal representation of the states in the national legislature.

In general, he favored extension of federal authority. He argued that the judicial power "ought to extend to equity as well as law" (the words "in law and equity" were adopted at his motion). He denied that there could be treason against a separate state since sovereignty was "in the Union." He opposed prohibition of any ex post facto law, one which made an act a criminal offense retroactively because such prohibition implied "an improper suspicion of the National Legislature."

Johnson was influential even in the final stages of framing the Constitution. He gave his fullest support to the Connecticut Compromise, which foreshadowed the final Great Compromise, with a national legislature with a Senate that provided equal representation for all states and a House of Representatives based on population. He also served on and chaired the five-member Committee of Style, which framed the final form of the document.

In her 1966 book, Miracle at Philadelphia, Catherine Drinker Bowen calls Johnson "the perfect man to preside over these four masters of argument and political strategy [i.e. fellow committee members Alexander Hamilton, Gouverneur Morris, James Madison, and Rufus King].... His presence on the committee must have been reassuring; the doctor's quiet manner disarmed."[5]


  1. ^ A Biography of William Samuel Johnson (1727–1819)
  2. ^ "William Samuel Johnson". Miltarty History.
  3. ^ Elizabeth P. McCaughey, "William Samuel Johnson, The Loyal Whig" in William M. Fowler Jr. and Wallace Coyle, eds. American Revolution: Changing Perspectives (1979), pp. 69–102
  4. ^ Swift, Esther M. (1977). Vermont Place-Names, Footprints in History. The Stephen Greene Press. pp. 282–283. ISBN 0828902917.
  5. ^ Bowen, p.235 of the 1986 edition



ACCESSORIES INCLUDE - a wonderful early red leather covered 3-way powder flask, bullet mold, tow, lead balls, extra flints, turn screw, (2) ram rod/cleaning rods with (3) attachments, and patches.  

ORIGINAL BOX -  High Quality Period English box made with early flush fitting lifting handle on the top of the lid and Measures: 19" X 8.75" X 3" with correct early English green baize lining.  It is our opinion that these pistols are 100% original to the box.  Key for front lock is missing. 


The Gun Maker: T. KETLAND & Co. (THOMAS KETLAND, Gun maker, Birmingham, 1766-died in 1816.  Marked guns "LONDON".  John and Thomas Ketland, merchants, are recorded at Philadelphia, U.S.A., 1789-1800.  Supplied U.S. government with rifle and muskets of French Charleville pattern stopped by British government, 1797.  Thomas also partnership with William Walker as KETLAND & WALKER, Birmingham, 1799-1812.  Contractor to the TOWER of LONDON Ordnance.

Ref. pp. 126-127.  GUNMAKERS OF LONDON 1350-1850, by Howard L. Blackmore, c. 1986.