Author Topic: Jacob Kuntz (1780-1876)  (Read 16814 times)

Bob Smalser

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Jacob Kuntz (1780-1876)
« on: January 24, 2011, 02:47:42 AM »
Jacob Kuntz (1780-1876)

Born in Whitehall Township north of Allentown, PA on September 6, 1780.

His father Peter was a successful farmer.

He attended Egypt Reformed Church with Peter Newhard’s family as a child, and probably later Zion Reformed Church in Allentown with Jacob Neuhart’s and John Moll’s families.

He and his brother Peter Jr (1782-unk) both became gunmakers.  They could have trained under their older cousin David Kuntz (1764-1834) in Berks County, their in-law Peter Newhard (1743-1813) at Laury’s in Whitehall, their in-law John Moll II (1773-1834) at his 7th Street shop in Allentown, or some combination of the three.  The family principals would decide these working relationships, often after Sunday church over dinner.  Priority would always be to family.

Regardless of which shop they were trained in, the Kuntz, Newhard, and (later) Moll families were intermarried for seven generations before the age of mass-produced cartridge rifles, and each would be intimate with the work of the others.

Jacob married Mary Barbara Neuhart (1786-1862), daughter of Peter Newhard’s younger brother Jacob (1752-1835), Allentown cabinetmaker and occasional gunsmith.  This was the fourth intermarriage between the two families dating back to 1715.

Kuntz moved to Philadelphia in 1810.

 The Jacob Kuntz flintlock in New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art is thought by the curators to have been made before Kuntz relocated to Philadelphia, perhaps in either Peter Newhard’s or John Moll’s shop, and was donated by Wilfrid Wood in 1942.  The rifle is quite fancy for the rural, pre-industrial Allentown of 1810…even on commission.  As he didn’t marry Barbara until 1812…two years after his move…perhaps Jacob wanted to insure he was financially well-established before marriage, and the rifle was intended to be a window display highlighting his skills.





But did you also know….

…that his father-in-law Jacob served in the Pennsylvania State Legislature from 1808-1814, then served as Lehigh County Commissioner?

…and his brother-in-law Peter Newhard (1783-1860), namesake of his uncle the master gunmaker, was elected to the US Congress in 1838 representing Lehigh, Schuylkill and Berks counties? 

Peter Newhard was also re-elected to congress in 1840, then after leaving Washington in 1843 became the Burgess of the Borough of Allentown and a trustee of Allentown Academy, a private school.  Peter had trained with his father as a cabinetmaker and in 1812 opened Allentown’s first hardware store on 8th and Hamilton.  Before his election to Congress, he had served in the state legislature for five, one-year terms, and the state senate for two terms.

Perhaps his in-laws’ upscale political connections were a factor in Jacob’s move to and success in Philadelphia.  The 1850 Federal Census lists Jacob Kuntz’s home and shop in the Old Kensington neighborhood (now Fishtown) worth $8000, when a well-appointed new urban home then could have been built for around $2500.  In turn, Congressman Peter Newhard had become wealthy from his family’s real estate assets and his hardware store, and was worth $12,500.  Gunmaker Peter Newhard’s youngest child Michael farmed his share of the family holdings at Laury’s with a value of $5000, after Peter Newhard’s assets had been distributed among five other children.  And the Molls remained relatively poor with the Allentown gunshop only worth $1000.

Jacob and Barbara had the following children:

1)  Peter (1813-1914), who later migrated to Illinois. 
2)  Adam (1814-unk)
3)  Emmeline (1815-unk), who married Lewis Chester (1810-unk), a ship chandler.
4)  Maria (1817-unk)
5)  Henry A. (1829-1898), who became a Philadelphia hatter.

Jacob lived to age 95, and died in Philadelphia on August 6, 1876.  Barbara had preceded him in death, dying in 1862 at age 75.



http://bioguide.congress.gov/scripts/biodisplay.pl?index=N000068

http://www.metmuseum.org/Works_of_Art/collection_database/arms_and_armor/kentucky_rifle_jacob_kuntz//objectview.aspx?OID=40002915&collID=4&dd1=4

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Newhard



« Last Edit: January 27, 2011, 09:12:03 PM by Bob Smalser »

Offline Blacksmoke

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Re: Jacob Kuntz (1780-1876)
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2011, 08:12:37 PM »
Bob:  One of the most prolific "Kuntz" rifles ever to be photographed and exhibited! "Drool"  :P   Thanks for sharing the picture, Kuntz info and links!  :)     Hugh Toenjes
H.T.

Offline smylee grouch

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Re: Jacob Kuntz (1780-1876)
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2011, 04:40:20 AM »
Thank you so much Bob. As a self proclaimed J. Kuntz(Kunz) nut I will copy the info and put it away in my dream maker file. There is no dought in my mind that Mr. Kuntz was at the top of the heap in his day. He transended the flint-perc. period with probably more guns in art museums than all to most other makers.  Thanks again   Gary

Bob Smalser

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Re: Jacob Kuntz (1780-1876)
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2011, 06:18:17 AM »
He transended the flint-perc. period with probably more guns in art museums than all to most other makers.  

Interesting.

Anyone know of any other Kuntz rifles in museums?  Or Newhard or Moll rifles?

I'm always looking for photographs of their work.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2011, 06:19:29 AM by Bob Smalser »

Offline smylee grouch

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Re: Jacob Kuntz (1780-1876)
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2011, 06:56:00 AM »
Bob: Acording to Shumway there are Kuntz rifles in the Met. Mus. of art in NYC, (which you knew about) the Met. Mus. of Art in Phild. and The Winterthur Museum in Delaware. I also think there were some at the Smithsonian. All the rifles in these listed Mus. are what I would call high art but of course I am quite partial to any thing Kuntz. His rifles were fantastic and his pistols set the standard in Phild.   Good luck in your quest and I hope you can share your findings.   Gary

Offline smshea

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Re: Jacob Kuntz (1780-1876)
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2011, 07:32:50 AM »
Bob

 I am truly loving your posts, please keep them coming. As for pictures, I can not recommend the new KRA CD highly enough. There are a few attributed Neiharts as well as the 1787. Two great Kuntz guns ,one being the "coat of arms" swivel breech (One of my top four favorite Lehighs) and the other is the one on the cover of Ron Gables book. All great pieces! And great photos too.     

Offline Blacksmoke

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Re: Jacob Kuntz (1780-1876)
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2011, 06:46:52 PM »
Scott:    What  book are you referring to when you mention Ron Gable?  
 Hugh Toenjes  
« Last Edit: January 25, 2011, 06:47:32 PM by Blacksmoke »
H.T.

Offline smshea

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Re: Jacob Kuntz (1780-1876)
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2011, 10:33:34 PM »
OK. Book might be a stretch, Booklet maybe is a better term. Thoughts on The Northampton School of Pennsylvania Gunsmithing by Ronald G Gabel is a Black and white booklet available from him on his web site or through Jacobsburg Historical Society and I believe Dixon's has them as well. It is approx 35 pages and goes over all of the similarities that are found on guns in the area and gives some back ground info on the various Gunsmithing families in the area IE. Kuntz ,Moll ,Rupp , Hess etc. The book also breaks the area up into sub regions and briefly discusses the differences as well as similarities of the guns from those regions.  I'm not sure what it costs these days, but it is fairly inexpensive and well worth whatever it costs. I think I have like five copys around the shop ;D.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2011, 02:38:40 AM by smshea »

mkeen

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Re: Jacob Kuntz (1780-1876)
« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2011, 08:48:29 PM »
The Philadelphia Museum of Art has two Jacob Kuntz rifles in their Pennsylvania German Collection. One rifle is pictured in The Pennsylvania German Collection by Beatrice B. Garvan published by the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1982. I believe they have since republished the book. One rifle is pictured on page 159 and is listed as circa 1780. ???? Another rifle is listed on page 347. This rifle is marked on the patchbox Titian R. Peale April 9, 1841 and has other dates and Latin inscriptions. I would have to assume this is Titian Peale of the Peale family of artists.

mkeen

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Re: Jacob Kuntz (1780-1876)
« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2011, 09:01:15 PM »
Another Jacob Kuntz rifle  and pair of flintlock pistols is pictured in The Pennsylvania Germans A Celebration of their Arts 1683-1850. This book was published by the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1982.
The guns are pictured on page 109 and described on pages 113 and 114. The rifle is a swivel breech flintlock listed as 1810 to 1820 with one barrel rifled and the other smooth. At that time it was in the David S. Hansen collection. The pistols are marked J. Koons Philada and G. Nagle. Nagle is believed to be the owner from Lehigh Township, Northampton County. The pistols were in a private collection at the time.

Offline Acer Saccharum

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Re: Jacob Kuntz (1780-1876)
« Reply #10 on: January 27, 2011, 06:03:12 AM »
The gun pictured above is a beauty. One of the finest pieces of American art I know of.

Jacob Kuntz could really engrave. What we call engraving today is nearly perfect as can be, but give me a Jacob Kuntz any day. There is life and charm in his work that you just won't find in today's world.

Tom
Tom Curran's web site : http://tcurran.com/

Offline Hurricane ( of Virginia)

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Re: Jacob Kuntz (1780-1876)
« Reply #11 on: January 29, 2011, 06:41:26 AM »
There is a KRA member (?) whose name I can not recall who is a Kuntz relative and he often displays at KRA shows. He has a few Kuntz guns. Perhaps if some knows who it is, they can send me an email as I would prefer not to announce it without his permission. I will contact him personally ( or you can do so 0 and ask him to provide picture for Bob of his guns and for the ALR Museum.
There is one Kuntz attributed patchbox in the Museum under relics.

Here is the URL:

http://americanlongrifles.org/forum/index.php?topic=5698.0

HUrricane
(fgarner@verizon.net) or 703-451-2815

Offline Curt J

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Re: Jacob Kuntz (1780-1876)
« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2011, 06:18:55 AM »
The "Peter Kuntz" 1813-1914", who is listed as having migrated to Illinois, is quite likely the same man who is listed as a gunsmith in Farmington, Fulton County, Illinois, in both the 1850 & 1860 census, and in Yates City, Knox County, Illinois in the 1870 census.  His age is a little different in each listing and the name is usually spelled "Kunz", but he was born in Pennsylvania.  He had children born in illinois as early as 1849.

Bob Smalser

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Re: Jacob Kuntz (1780-1876)
« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2011, 05:25:38 AM »
The "Peter Kuntz" 1813-1914", who is listed as having migrated to Illinois, is quite likely the same man who is listed as a gunsmith in Farmington, Fulton County, Illinois, in both the 1850 & 1860 census, and in Yates City, Knox County, Illinois in the 1870 census.  His age is a little different in each listing and the name is usually spelled "Kunz", but he was born in Pennsylvania.  He had children born in Illinois as early as 1849.

I didn't have that but it makes sense that at least one of Jacob's boys would take up gunsmithing and later move to where the need was greater.

Running down your lead, Peter gunsmithed in Farmington and by 1860 had $1200 in assets.   Then I have him in 1870 in Salem, Illinois with $3100 in assets.  Then I lose track of him as a gunsmith but begin picking him up as a farmer, perhaps because Winchester won out.  His one son Louis Koons went on to work for the railroad in Chicago, as did Louis's two sons.

Unfortunately they don't seem to have any descendants who've researched extensive family trees for confirmation so there remains the possibility that this is a different guy.  Kuntz and its derivatives is a common name.
« Last Edit: February 02, 2011, 05:33:31 PM by Bob Smalser »

Offline Curt J

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Re: Jacob Kuntz (1780-1876)
« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2011, 09:33:22 PM »
Peter Kunz was still listed as a gunsmith in Farmington, Illinois in Bailey's ILLINOIS STATE GAZETTEER & BUSINESS DIRECTORY, 1864-65 but is listed in DEWEY'S KNOX COUNTY DIRECTORY, 1868, in Yates City, Knox County. Yates City is in Salem Township, and is only about six miles north of Farmington, Fulton County.

According to the original handwritten census pages, he was 32 in 1850; 45 in 1860; and 54 in 1870. His son Lewis (always spelled that way in all three census listings) was born in Illinois in 1849. Other children were Josephine, born in Illinois in 1852; and Emma, born in Illinois in 1858.

I seem to recall having something indicating that he was in Stark County, Illinois at a later date, but can't find it at the moment.

Kelsey

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Re: Jacob Kuntz (1780-1876)
« Reply #15 on: October 11, 2012, 08:58:36 AM »
Hi all,

I know this is a fairly old thread, but I thought this was worth a shot. I am doing a school project on a rifle made by Jacob Kuntz. It was owned by the Bunker Twins of North Carolina and is currently on show at the UNC Wilson Library. I am trying to find some enthusiasts who can tell me about his styles, history, anything. Any response would be greatly appreciated!  :)

Offline smylee grouch

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Re: Jacob Kuntz (1780-1876)
« Reply #16 on: October 11, 2012, 02:10:56 PM »
Welcome Kelsey and good luck with your project. There is alot of knowledge within the members here so you will probably get lots of opinions and facts. Is there any chance that you could post some pictures of the rifle you were talking about?   Smylee

Offline Hurricane ( of Virginia)

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Re: Jacob Kuntz (1780-1876)
« Reply #17 on: October 11, 2012, 06:25:30 PM »
Personal email sent to Kelsey
Hurricane

Kelsey

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Re: Jacob Kuntz (1780-1876)
« Reply #18 on: October 11, 2012, 07:46:40 PM »
I am currently waiting on permission to see the rifle outside of the case in order to take more adequate pictures; however this site, http://www.lib.unc.edu/blogs/ncm/index.php/2012/06/15/artifact-of-the-month-chang-bunkers-rifle/ contains the few pictures the library has taken of it. Thank you all for your help!

Offline smylee grouch

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Re: Jacob Kuntz (1780-1876)
« Reply #19 on: October 11, 2012, 11:49:04 PM »
Thanks Kelsey for that info and pictures. J. Kuntz was indeed a talented gunsmith.

prudence1

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Re: Jacob Kuntz (1780-1876)
« Reply #20 on: December 07, 2013, 10:00:39 PM »
I just came across this forum and thought you guys might want to know my wife's Grandfather is the person who gave this Kentucky Flintlock Rifle to the Met.
His Son, (my wife's late father) was especially fond of these Kentucky Flintlocks and told me it was his favorite rifle. His descendants were part of the original New Jersey Colony having come here in 1677. They lived in Crosswicks and Burlington- and of course they were Quakers. His family was very fond of rifles and were avid enthusiasts.
As I recall, he had quite a gun collection and a near expert knowledge on early American rifles.

Offline Hungry Horse

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Re: Jacob Kuntz (1780-1876)
« Reply #21 on: December 08, 2013, 01:33:50 AM »
 I just had the opportunity to examine a early percussion rifle, with the same stock architecture as the Kunz gun pictured. It was unsigned and not at all fancy, but the workmanship was outstanding. It had a 41" tapered octagon barrel in about .45 caliber with no indication it had ever been rifled. The engraving on the patchbox, and side plate, and cheek inlay, was cut with the finest engraving tool I have ever seen on a longrifle. It had a brass single trigger with a fancy rear gusset, and a silver wrist inlay, but no carving of any kind. This gun was in unrestored condition, and unfortunately had suffered from a previous owners attempt to start restoring it. The current owner doesn't have the money, or the inclination, to get the gun restored.

                       Hungry Horse

Offline Shreckmeister

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Re: Jacob Kuntz (1780-1876)
« Reply #22 on: December 08, 2013, 08:13:17 PM »
   Posting examples of a fine Kuntz rifle for a friend who would like to share them with you all.



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Offline Hurricane ( of Virginia)

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Re: Jacob Kuntz (1780-1876)
« Reply #23 on: December 10, 2013, 01:30:05 AM »
Thank you
Hurricane

Offline D. Taylor Sapergia

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Re: Jacob Kuntz (1780-1876)
« Reply #24 on: December 10, 2013, 04:52:10 AM »
Gorgeous rifle!  Thanks so much for posting it.
D. Taylor Sapergia
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Art is not an object.  It is the excitement inspired by the object.