Author Topic: G. Sloanaker 091202-4  (Read 5667 times)

Offline nord

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G. Sloanaker 091202-4
« on: December 21, 2009, 03:48:07 PM »
George Alec Slonaker
Blacksmith/Gunsmith
Bedford County, Pennsylvania

George Alec Slonaker was born on February 8, 1797 in Woodberry Township, Bedford County, Pennsylvania and died on February 28, 1875 in Alum Bank, Bedford County, Pennsylvania.  He was the son of Daniel & Margaret Hartle Slonaker.

Daniel is listed as a blacksmith in the 1799 tax records of Bedford County and in the Huntingdon County tax records of 1805 and 1807.  I suspect that George learned the blacksmith/gunsmith trade from his father.

George lived with his father in the Frankstown Township, Huntingdon County, Pennsylvania between 1802 and 1819 and appears in the Huntingdon County tax records between 1820 and 1828. Daniel died in 1824 and his estate papers can be found in the Huntingdon County records.

George married Nancy Goodwin in 1818.  They moved to Bedford County in 1829 and spent the remainder of their lives there.  They were the parents of 10 children, Margaret, Elizabeth, Jacob Weaver, Susanna, John George, Nancy Mary, Rebecca, Leah, Anna Maria and Sarah Harriet. 

The two sons, Jacob and John, worked with their father in the blacksmith/gunsmith trade.  Jacob was born in 1826 and is listed as a blacksmith in the 1850 and 1860 census in Bedford County.   He moved to Washington County, Tennessee shortly after the Civil War, where he became a farmer.  John was born in 1830 and  remained in Bedford County all of his life.  John was listed as a blacksmith in the 1860 census, but was listed as a farmer in the following census records.

George and his wife, who died in 1880 are buried in the Mt. Union Cemetery at Pavia, Bedford County, Pennsylvania. Many of their descendants are buried there also.

The following was found in two small booklets about local area gunsmiths at The Pioneer Historical Society in Bedford County.

"George Slonaker, blacksmith, weaver and gunsmith of Union Township made percussion rifles in the late 1840's.  His guns was said to be somewhat heavier than the typical Bedford rifle.  He used both handmade and commercial locks.  He was the grandfather of the missing Cox children who disappeared in 1856."

"Slonaker, George  (1797-1875)  1829-32, Greenfield TWSP., now in Blair Co., then in Bedford.  1835-43, St. Clair TWSP;  1844-70, Union TWSP.  Famous as the grandfather of the "Lost Cox children of the Alleghenies."  Taught gunsmithing to Thomas Oldham.  1829 value, $26, gunsmith; 1861, blacksmith, value $180; 1873, "Spruce Hollow" gunsmith, value $328."


















Comments:


There's a rifle that doesn't need any apologies for style or condition. Good box, nice cheek inlay, nice hammer, great side plate, and better than average stock carving for Slonaker. I think it has a great suface, well used but intact and showing its history. I really like this rifle, and the fact it is not visibly messed with... wish it were mine (are you listening, Santa?), so let's stick it in the museum. 
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Slonaker is a Bedford County maker who is not widely regarded as being one of the better artisans. This rifle puts that notion down the tubes. This is an outstanding Bedford Rifle which has something that most do not: that is the raised carving at the tang. Most Bedfords don't have any carving at that location: an exception being silver occasionally. Also, the stock is fully carved in a mix of incised and raised types.
The patchbox is very fine and it has good engraving as does the sideplate and the silver cheek rest inlay. The hammer has a rakish look that typifies a good Bedford piece and it is engraved nicely. In fact, this is one of the better looking Bedford hammers that I have ever seen with its graceful curl and shaped breast.
I could go on, and on, but suffice to say, this is a grand contribution to the Library. Send it on and will George Slonaker please take a bow!
In Memory of Lt. Catherine Hauptman Miller 6/1/21 - 10/1/00 & Capt. Raymond A. Miller 12/26/13 - 5/15/03...  They served proudly.