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Daniel B. Wesson

AKA Daniel Baird Wesson

Born: 18-May-1825
Birthplace: Worcester, MA
Died: 4-Aug-1906
Location of death: Springfield, MA
Cause of death: Heart Failure
Remains: Buried, Oak Grove Cemetery, Springfield, MA

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Business, Inventor
Party Affiliation: Republican

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Repeating pistol

Daniel B. Wesson apprenticed as a gunsmith under his elder brother, Rufus, and later worked with another gunsmith brother, Frank Wesson, before partnering with Horace Smith in establishing the Smith & Wesson Arms Company in 1852. In a time when most firearms were muzzle loaded, Wesson developed a lever-action pistol with a repeating action and the first practical self-primed metallic cartridge. The pistol was powerful enough that it was quickly nicknamed the Volcanic, and followed by the more famous Volcanic Rifle, but the partnership was soon in need of additional funds. Rival gunmaker Oliver Winchester bought Smith & Wesson, renaming it the Volcanic Arms Company, and first Smith and later Wesson left the business.

In 1856 Smith and Wesson formed their second, more successful partnership, the firm now known as Smith & Wesson Corporation. Their Model 1 revolver, with a "rimfire" cartridge, repeating action and an open cylinder, was an immediate success, and business boomed during the American Civil War. Wesson's most famous innovation, a safety design that prohibited accidental firing, was introduced in 1887. He remained active in the firm until his death in 1906. He was the namesake and principle funder of Wesson Hospital in Hampden County, Massachusetts.

Father: Rufus Wesson (plowmaker, b. 1786, d. 1874)
Mother: Betsey Baird Wesson (b. circa 1788, m. 18-Sep-1808, d. 1876, five sons, five daughters)
Sister: Cornelia Wesson Harrington (b. 1810)
Brother: Edwin Wesson (gunmaker, b. 1811, d. 1850)
Sister: Betsy Wesson Conner (b. 1814)
Brother: Rufus Wesson, Jr. (shoemaker, b. 1815)
Sister: Charlotte Wesson (b. 1819)
Sister: Jane Wesson (b. 1823)
Brother: Franklin Wesson (gunmaker, b. 1828)
Brother: Martin Wesson (shoemaker)
Sister: Frances Wesson (b. 1830)
Wife: Cynthia Maria Hawes Wesson (b. 1825, m. 26-May-1847, d. 11-Aug-1906)
Daughter: Sarah Janette Wesson Bull (b. 1848)
Son: Walter Wesson (Smith & Wesson executive, b. 1850)
Son: Frank Wesson
Son: Joseph Wesson (Smith & Wesson executive)

    Smith & Wesson Corporation (1856-1906)
    Smith & Wesson Arms Company Superintendent (1852-55)
    Cheney Bigelow Wire Works
    First National Bank of Springfield, MA
    English Ancestry

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