Spiller and Burr Pistol Factory records
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Spiller and Burr Pistol Factory records

Descriptive Summary

Repository: Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center. 130 West Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta, GA 30305. 404.814.4040. reference@atlantahistorycenter.com
Creator: Burton, James Henry, 1823-1894
Creator: Butler, Reese Helm, 1883-1886
Creator: Spiller & Burr.
Creator: Spiller, Edward N., 1825-1871
Title: Spiller and Burr Pistol Factory records
Dates: 1863 March 23, undated
Quantity: 1.0 Folder
Identification: ahc.MSS334f

Biographical/Historical Note

Edward N. Spiller (1825-1871) was born in Rappahannock County, Virginia to Henry and Anne Strother Calvert Spiller. About 1850, Spiller moved to Baltimore, Maryland, and began a dry goods business. At the outbreak of the Civil War, he moved his business to Richmond, Virginia. During his time in Richmond, Spiller founded the Spiller and Burr Pistol Factory, which received a contract from the Confederacy to produce 15,000 pistols. Spiller lived in Atlanta, Georgia, for a short time after the war. He later decided to return to Baltimore and reestablish his dry goods business. Additional biographical information about Edward N. Spiller has not been determined.

James Henry Burton (1823-1894) was born in Jefferson County, Virginia. He was educated in Pennsylvania and trained at a machine shop in Baltimore, Maryland. In 1844, Burton began work in the United States Armory at Harpers Ferry, Virginia and became the master armorer in 1849. In 1855, he moved to Enfield, England and became chief engineer of the Royal Small Arms Factory. In 1861, Burton took charge of the Confederate armory in Richmond, Virginia. He soon became superintendent of all Confederate armories. Additional biographical information about James Henry Burton has not been determined.

Reese Helm Butler (1833-1886) was born in Harpers Ferry, Virginia. Sometime during the early 1850's, he became a Brooklyn-trained machinist and later worked in the United States Armory at Harpers Ferry. In early 1862, James Burton recruited Butler to work as the superintendent of the Spiller and Burr Pistol Factory. Butler became the superintendent of the Raleigh Bayonet Factory after the Spiller and Burr Pistol Factory moved to Georgia. After the Civil War he was superintendent and partner in the Atlanta Machine Works in Atlanta, Georgia. Additional biographical information about Reese Helm Butler has not been determined.

Scope and Content Note

This collection consists of two letters from "E. Shepperson" about the Spiller and Burr Pistol Factory and a compilation of business letters and agreements written by James Burton and Edward Spiller. The papers include two contracts between the Spiller and Burr Pistol Factory and the Confederacy and correspondence between the two regarding the pistol factory.

Index Terms

Firearms--Confederate States of America
Georgia--History--Civil War, 1861-1865
Spiller & Burr.

General Notes

America's Turning Point: Documenting the Civil War Experience in Georgia received support from a Digitizing Historical Records grant awarded to the Atlanta History Center, Georgia Historical Society, Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, and the Digital Library of Georgia by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Spiller and Burr Pistol Factory records, MSS 334f, Kenan Research Center at the Atlanta History Center.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, 1974

Description Control

This collection was re-processed in 2012.


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. All requests to publish, quote, or reproduce must be submitted through the Kenan Research Center.

Container List



1Records, 1863 March 23, undated View online.