An item from the Hudson Valley with huge historical significance is expected to attract lots of bidders at an upcoming auction.

Morphy Auctions is accepting bids on a Kentucky Longrifle that is expected to fetch up to a half-million dollars. The firearm is an important piece of history and tells the story of two important historical figures.

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The rifle was presented by the Marquis De Lafayette to a Native American guide who had a brave, yet tragic story. Given as a gift to Chief Tunis in Kingston, NY in 1824, the rifle includes a plaque that reads "Presented to Chief Tunis by Lafayette." The rifle, which was apparently well used, is carved with the words "Bear" and "Deer" and features notches with the number of each animal that was taken down by the rifle.

Morphy Auctions

Lafayette and Tunis met during a hunting expedition in the Beverkill Valley. Tunis was hired as a guide for the famed French military man who helped contribute to America's victory during the Revolutionary War.

Tunis's story may not be as famous as Lafayette's but is nonetheless fascinating. The young Tuscarora Indian was brought to the area when his family resettled from the Carolinas into the Beverkill Valley which is now Ulster County. Somehow, Tunis was lost in the woods and taken in by a white family who adopted and raised him. The Native American sided with the white man, breaking into an Indian camp to free captured spies and leading soldiers to a lead mine where they found materials to make bullets that would be used against the Indians.  But because he was a Native American, Tunis was never fully accepted by his community. When he fell in love with a white woman, her family turned him away. Heartbroken, Tunis eventually fled to the woods where he lived in solitude.

Morphy Auctions

Pre-bids for the rifle are now being accepted by Morphy in advance of the live action on May 18 at 10am.

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