J. P. Sites House
John P. Sites, Jr. was born in Virginia in 1821, three months before Missouri was admitted to the Union. At age 13 he journeyed with his family to Cole County, Mo. and then to Boonville where his father plied his skills with guns. From him, “Johnny” Sites learned gunsmithing. Young Johnny never learned to read or write, but he knew guns.
In 1844, at age 23, Johnny Sites moved to Arrow Rock where he became the town’s gunsmith, and one of the most skilled artisans in the country. His gunsmithing coincided with the great Westward migration in the last half of the 1800s.
Here at the Sites Gun Shop you could have your rifle repaired, converted from a flintlock to a percussion rifle, or buy the indispensable balls, lead, powder and caps to fire it. While most supplies were bartered for, the one cash-money outlay was usually for a rifle, and at considerable cost. Compare a good rifle at $25-$50 while a wagon might be $60.00 and an acre of land $1.25.
While the shop is shown regularly on tour, to see gunsmiths at work, attend the Annual Heritage Craft Festival the second weekend of October.
The Friends of Arrow Rock are also proud to own the Christopher Collection of Early Missouri Firearms on display throughout the year in their Main Street Office. The collection is the gift of Byron Christopher Shutz.
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