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Guns and Colonists, 1773-1775 [United States] (ICPSR 3573)

Principal Investigator(s): Oberly, James, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire; Tausig, Benjamin, University of Michigan


This data collection is a supplement to the study AMERICAN COLONIAL WEALTH ESTIMATES, 1774 (ICPSR 7329). It contains data on the the number, types and values of firearms and blade-edge weapons, and the number of servants and slaves, owned by 919 decedents having resided in 21 colonial counties. Demographic information includes age of decedents and the date the probate inventory was taken.

Access Notes

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Study Description


Oberly, James, and Benjamin Tausig. Guns and Colonists, 1773-1775 [United States]. ICPSR03573-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2008-08-27. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR03573.v1

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR03573.v1

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Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    American Colonies, eighteenth century, firearms, historical data, history, indentured servants, personal wealth, slaves, weapons, wills

Smallest Geographic Unit:    county

Geographic Coverage:    Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York (state), North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, United States, Virginia

Time Period:   

  • 1773--1775

Date of Collection:   

  • 1969--1976
  • 2002

Unit of Observation:    individual probate inventory

Universe:    919 probate inventories issued mainly between 1773 and 1775 for decedents from 21 United States colonial counties.

Data Type(s):    administrative records data

Data Collection Notes:

Please disregard the column locations and LRECL, and other data dictionary attributes noted in the "Producer Codebook" section of the ICPSR codebook, as they are not applicable to the ICPSR-produced data file. The correct column locations and LRECL for the ICPSR-produced data file can be found in the SPSS and SAS setup files, and Stata dictionary file. The full-product suite of files produced by ICPSR have originated from an SPSS system file provided by the data producer.


Sample:    The sample design aimed to ensure representativeness. Contiguous counties were grouped into units of approximately 20,000 wealth-holders, out of which a representative county was drawn based on the number of wealth-holders in each county. The cases in the sample were then weighted, first to reflect the age distribution of the total population, and then to take into account those individuals who did not have their estates probated. Please refer to the codebook for ICPSR 7329 for further information in regard to sampling.

Weight:    Please refer to the codebook for ICPSR 7329 for further information in regard to weighting.

Data Source:

Jones, Alice Hanson. AMERICAN COLONIAL WEALTH: METHODS AND DOCUMENTS (NY: Arno Press, 1977), 3 vols.


Original ICPSR Release:   2008-08-27

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