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Author Topic: Hans George Angstadt  (Read 3915 times)
zimmerstutzen
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« on: January 15, 2010, 07:25:49 PM »

Are there any known examples of Hans's work.  He opened his gun shop on the Lobachsville Pike in Rockland Township, Berks County in 1747.  According to Genealogy research I did, he was trained in Saxony and lived in Gumbrechtshoffen, Alsace Lorraine where he married.  He came to Philadelphia.  And I understand was the father of Johannes Angstadt and grandfather of Jacob Angstadt.  (I am a descendent)

I do plan to see the exhibit in Reading.  But they advertise examples of all four Angstadts.  By my count there were really either five or six.    Jacob, Adam, Peter, Peter,  John (Johannes) and the patriarch Hans.   The guns listed in the book were from later generations than Hans. 
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Eric Kettenburg
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« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2010, 09:23:17 PM »

To my knowledge - and I have had a particular interest in the work of Joseph and Peter Angstadt - I do not believe there are any known surviving signed rifles of George Angstadt, nor any attributed pieces.  The period during which he would have been working is sufficiently early enough that it is unlikely any attribution could be made based upon regional style, and lacking signed work, any type of attribution would at best be entirely speculative (and a bit silly!).  That being said, I personally would love to find a signed piece!
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Eric Kettenburg
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« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2012, 02:19:50 PM »

Resurrected!

Zimmerstutzen:  since you mention geneaology research, do you have any documented information which proves that immigrant Hans George and his son Adam (father of documented gunsmiths Peter and Joseph) were actually gunsmiths or gunmakers?  What I mean by using the term documented is some *primary source* i.e. a will, probate list, tax record, property record etc. which indicates these two individuals were gunsmiths?  This would be a very important find.

Thanks!

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nord
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« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2012, 02:36:57 PM »

So... Which A. Angstadt???

















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Eric Kettenburg
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« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2012, 02:54:18 PM »

No, I'm not talking about the whole Abraham/Adam thing.  Hans George arrived in 1733 and is frequently referenced as a gunsmith; his sons Adam, Peter and Johannes (variously) are also referenced as such, although I am not aware of any signed rifles by either Peter or Johannes, and the "A. Angstadt" or "AA" signed rifles are a hot topic - in that sense, I tend to lean toward many of them being Abraham as was put forth by John Angstadt (iirc) a number of years back.  In retrospect, I realize that there was only one Adam working as a gunsmith (again, iirc) and I remembered that there are one or two surviving period advertisements late in his life, so he was definitely a gunsmith and father of Peter and Joseph.  So, the real question here, which I feel is a VERY important question in light of recent information discovered in reference to Johannes Moll, is:  is there ANYTHING surviving to document Hans George as a gunsmith?

BTW, this one here I would personally view as Abraham Angstadt given the decorative style and Abraham's location.  jmho.
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zimmerstutzen
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« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2012, 03:23:46 PM »

My Angstadt stuff has been filed away.   I was working on another branch of the family recently, but did uncover references to probates for some, as well as some tax lists.    Unfortunately my much older cousin knew more about this than I and his memory has been fading for the last couple of years.   In the Berks County archives, I found that two the the Angstadt brothers married sisters.   

The original information about Hans George came from the history of Rockland Township, Berks County.  I found the information about the marriage in Gumbrechthoffen, Alsace, from another source.      The information that he was trained in Saxony came from yet another person's research and I have been trying to verify that.   Some old occupational records from the early 1700's have survived in Germany, but because Alsace has gone through so many changes, the information I have found has been taken by others from Alsatian church records.       

The early Pennsylvania tax lists, frequently do not mention the occupation.       

Jacob Angstadt's daughter Mary Ann, married Dewalt Bieber and that is my line.   
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smshea
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« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2012, 05:15:43 PM »

It the consensus that the rifle pictured here is the same A Angstat that built the rifle Rich pictured in the other thread? The signatures are very similar except the rifle pictured here is signed A Angstadt (or A Angstaitt depending on who's looking at it) while the rifle from Dixons as well as the Schimmel in the library are A Angstat.
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Eric Kettenburg
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« Reply #7 on: May 09, 2012, 05:29:58 PM »

I think that's a very tough call.  I would like to see a picture of the signatures side by side to begin with, or at least both pictures in one place to compare.
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zimmerstutzen
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« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2012, 09:34:10 PM »

According to the passenger lists, on Sept 28, 1733, the ship, Richard and Elizabeth, landed in Philadelphia.  The captain turned in lists of passengers (male) that included:

Georg Anstet  married age 37, George boy age 6 and Johannes boy age 1.
notations said he was from Zutendorf and Gumbrechthoffen Alsace and headed to Bieber Creek which starts near Dryville, Rockland Township, Berks County
  he was accompanied by his wife Eva Catharina (Shafer) and a 4 yr old daughter Eva Catherine

There was also, according to Church records in Gumbrechtshoffen a child named Jacob born in 1724, whether he died in infancy or eventually came over separately is unknown.

He does not appear on the 1734 tax lists.  

Hans George Angstadt and Eva Catharine had four more children  Peter born 1737, Adam 1740, Esther and Barbara.

The 1767 tax lists for Berks County, Ruscumbmanor township,  list an Adam Angstatt as owning 102 acres, 1 horse, 2 cattle and 3 sheep for which he paid a tax of 5 pounds.   There is a notation next to his name "g. m."       (Gun Maker?)

through out the tax lists there are sometimes listed the occupation as farmer, or weaver.  sometimes it just says "s.m.", "g. m." or "f. m."  

for 1767 in Rockland township, there is John Angstadt with 212 acres, and taxed at 4 pounds,  but no occupation listed.  Peter Angstadt is listed as paying the single man tax.  (yes single men paid a special tax)  

There is a listing for George Angstadt,( also no occupation listed, having no land or animals, but he was still charged a tax of 6 pounds, which is really steep for someone that had no land.  

John, Abraham and Jacob Angstadt are all listed in Rockland Township in the 1790 census.

The Register of Wills office indicated that letters of Administration were issued for John Angstadt on 8-14-1806, for another John Angstadt on 7-24-1824 and for Jacob Angstadt on Jan 14, 1814.  

Peter Angstadt's will was probated on 12-12-1815.      I'll have to find the abstract.  
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Eric Kettenburg
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« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2012, 09:45:28 PM »

I have a copy of Peter's will and probate list.  He died with the debts totaling more than the value of the estate and everything attached, iirc.  Not a lot of "stuff" either, and not much land.  His poor wife probably had to sell everything.  If I can dig out the copy, I can forward it to you.  He was able to sign his own name but it looks kind of shaky.

"g.m." on the tax lists means he (Adam) had a grist mill.
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smshea
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« Reply #10 on: May 09, 2012, 10:34:48 PM »

Here are three signatures. The first is the one pictured here. The second is the one Rich posted in the other thread from Dixons and the third is the schimmel in the library. The one from Dixons and the schimmel are virtually identical except where someone tried to touch up the G on the schimmel.
Your thoughts?


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rich pierce
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« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2012, 12:39:45 AM »

Though not a student of the Angstadt family of gunmakers, those signatures are sure to close to normally speculate they were done by different hands.  Could a son have used the same signature?  Adam b 1740 d 1812- could he have really made both rifles?  The early one makes sense for a guy born in 1740.  The later one- does it look like a guy in his 60's made it?  That is of course a ridiculous, and unanswerable question.
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Eric Kettenburg
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« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2012, 05:57:43 AM »

The second two sure look the same, although it looks to me like a good bit more than just the "g" was "touched up."  The first is similar but sufficiently different that one could interpret it as being by a different hand, or the same guy at a later or earlier time.  I wouldn't personally require that all signatures need be always exactly consistent.

I don't think any of them are pre-1800 (or if Dixon's earlier gun is, it sure isn't by much) and the one illustrated here is really pushing the 1812 envelope.
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zimmerstutzen
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« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2012, 07:28:16 AM »

Last names are spelled differently

Angstadt. Vs Angstat.

Also the first t is not crossed like the other two

in addition the initial A is quite different.  the top picture shows a straight bar across the "A" while the other two have fancy circles.      The right side  down stroke portion of the A is curved whereas the others are straight.   Also, the fancy sweeping curve leading into the "A" on the top has a double line at the lower side.  The latter two do not. 

Is this due to a change in personal style over years, a different person, or perhaps an attempt at a forgery. (take an old rifle and add a name, why else the different spelling.)

 
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Eric Kettenburg
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« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2012, 08:49:55 AM »

My biggest problem with viewing any of these as Adam Angstadt of Rockland/Kutztown, is that NONE of these signed A Angstadt rifles (either pictured here or elsewhere) look even remotely like the work of Peter and Joseph, his sons, and in fact, not only do they look entirely different but they all look later.

Going back through records recently.  All three (Father Adam, sons Peter and Joseph) are variously taxed as smiths or blacksmiths in Berks Co., post War.  Now, Peter and Joseph have left us a good number of ca. mid/late 1780s through early 19th century rifles to look at, and if none of them were signed, we'd probably be attributing every last one of them to one individual; they're quite homogenous in other words.  Furthermore, they are both "folky" as well as conservative in stocking, and VERY UNIQUE which is an important point.  Knowing that these two were brothers, in roughly the same location, and that their father was also a smith of some kind, I don;t think it's much of a stretch at all to speculate that their father taught them.

So:  if these A. Angstadt rifles or A.A. rifles are Adam, or some of them are, why don;t they look ANYTHING AT ALL like the work of his two sons?  They look like they have an awful lot in common with upper susquehanna work, certainly much more so than Rockland/Kutztown, and they look later - much more comfortably fitting with what many including myself would view as 19th century.  Coincidentally (really?), there's this Abraham Angstadt who iirc (I admittedly have not paid much attention to his geneaology nor these particular Angstadt rifles) was working somewhere much closer to the 'up the river' region, Schuylkill Co. I believe.

The only other way I see this working is that all three immediate relatives - Adam, Peter and Joseph - were primarily blacksmiths or general smiths.  Perhaps Adam never made guns - will have to go back and look through my paperwork to see if he was ever specifically noted as a gunsmith.  Anyway, perhaps either Peter or Joseph began making rifles, and taught the other.  This too would explain a continuity of style and at the same time leave Adam out of it, again reinforcing the notion that all the AA rifles are a later Abraham in a different location.
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smshea
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« Reply #15 on: May 10, 2012, 09:12:27 AM »

I had spent the better part of an afternoon comparing those two signatures side by side and I have looked at the one on the schimmel under pretty heavy magnification. The vertical engraving on both signatures is heavy, while anything curved is very light. I cant see any evidence that the signature was touched up other than the "G". If it was,  it was done extremely well and by another hand than the butcher who did the "G". Whoever did that certainly didn't know how to color inside the lines. The barrel was most defiantly scrubbed at some point and then blued/browned or some such thing.  I do agree that all of these guns are likely 1800+ give or take. The Dixons gun and the schimmel have the same signature as the the other Angstats Ive seen with round hole finial patch boxes like the Dixons gun. I believe those guns were all made by the same hand. Ive had others try to convince me that the builder of the top gun is the same, of this I am not as sure.      
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Eric Kettenburg
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« Reply #16 on: May 10, 2012, 10:04:59 AM »

Well just to throw another wrench into the works, Adam had a slightly older brother named Johannes/John.  The chart in the other thread doesn't show it, but I believe he was the father of a son named Abraham who was about the same age as Adam's son Peter (in other words, Peter and Joseph had a contemporary first cousin named Abraham).  A older Abraham than the Schuylkill Abraham, and this one was down in the Rockland area too.

 Huh
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Eric Kettenburg
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« Reply #17 on: May 10, 2012, 10:11:41 AM »

Let's just theorize for a moment that Dixon's Angstadt from the other thread, which looks to be about the earliest of ANY "A. Angsxxxx" or "AA" rifle I've seen, was made by Adam late in his life.

WHY would rifles by both of his sons look extremely similar to each other, yet rifles by said sons retain an earlier appearance into the same period as the assumed Adam rifle, and why would both sons build rifles which looked absolutely nothing like the assumed Adam rifle?

Perhaps it's just me, and I certainly do not have all the answers, but I find this impossible to explain in a plausible manner.  The 'simplest' explanation as I see it is that either we do not have a bona fide signed, *or* unsigned and recognized, Adam Angstadt rifle, or alternately, he was a general smith and was not a gunstocker.
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zimmerstutzen
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« Reply #18 on: May 10, 2012, 04:45:15 PM »

Hans George Angstet's father back in Alsace was named George as well.  Hans George's mother was Anna Maria Schneider.  Both Parents born about 1675.

Hans George Angstet had a son Jacob, born in Alsace June 29, 1724 that apparently did not arrive in Philadelphia with the family, whether he died is unknown.   

George Angstadt ( 11-29, 1726 to ?) married Sophia Nothart and had a child Anna Rosina Angstadt (August 14, 1749 to ?)

Eva Catherine Angstadt (1729 to ?) married Jacob Zanger (Sanger) and moved to Rockingham County VA

Johannes Angstadt (1732 to Aug 14, 1806) married (1) Maria Kolb (2) Margaretha Durrenberger
          they had at least three children:
                (1) Jacob Kolb Angstadt (abt 1760 to Dec 9, 1813)  married Magdalena Yoder, (1764 to 9-25-1857)   dau of Jacob Yoder
                (2) Abraham Angstadt (Dec 1764 to 1842)  married Catherine Yoder, dau of Jacob Yoder
                (3) Maria Barbara Angstadt (July 1, 1758 to?)

The 1790 census lists John, Jacob, Abraham as heads of households in Rockland Township. 

The earlier 1767 tax list has a Peter Angstadt as a single man.  He would have been 30 years old then.  Peter apparently married after that date.  But is not listed in the 1790 census that I could find.

There was another Abraham Angstadt that owned a farm in the SE corner of Ruscombmanor Township near the Rockland Township line in 1860.   
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Eric Kettenburg
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« Reply #19 on: May 10, 2012, 08:02:13 PM »

OK I finally dug out my books and notes.  A pain in the a**!

Adam w/ sons Peter and Joseph were all listed as blacksmiths in the earliest post-War Berks tax lists.  According to John Angstadt's old article in the KRA bulletin, they later were noted as gunsmiths.  We KNOW Peter and Joseph were gunsmiths.  Adam later ran Angstadt and Son in Kutztown and received government arms contracts; according again to John's article, he employed Joseph and Abraham.  I would question whether he was actually making guns, or running a business with employes doing the grunt work - I see that as an unknown.  John also notes that Adam and brother Peter (the elder, his brother, not his son the wacky lion carver) were trained as gunsmiths and he proposes the Johannes Moll who was a neighbor when they were the appropriate age - at the time John Angstadt wrote the article, the indenture which ties that John Moll to the Allentown John Moll (as the same guy, a gunsmith) was not yet found, so John was not sure if it was the same John Moll.  That's a neat idea, and a possibility which would also probably rule out George Angstadt as the master gunsmith, and would render Moll as the regional master who was training these guys (but who trained him?................)

John Angstadt contends that basically all these AA or A. Angstadt rifles are Abraham, and I would tend to agree with him.  Dixon's rifle is something of an anomaly, largely due to the carving.  I don;t currently have an answer for the question of which A Angstadt made it.  I can only reiterate that if it was made by Adam, it is EXTREMELY weird that his two sons maintained work which looked absolutely nothing like his but maintained continuity with each other.  This idea almost seems impossible to me, but I've learned to never say never!

ANGSTAAAAAAAAAAAAADTS!!!!!! (he yells to the sky, shaking fist......)
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Eric Kettenburg
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« Reply #20 on: May 10, 2012, 08:05:17 PM »

Peter the gunsmith in Rockland was definitely married, as his wife is noted in his will and he specifically mentions her.  I *think* going by memory that her name was Catherine.  I'll have to go dig out the will and I can offer more concrete information.  Thanks for posting that information, as the genealogy is ALWAYS important when trying to figure out who was where at what time etc.
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zimmerstutzen
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« Reply #21 on: May 10, 2012, 08:37:49 PM »

I know Peter left his house and thirteen acres to his widow.  That much is in the will extract on line. 

Somewhere I have more expansive lists of the Angstadt grandchildren.  There were a host of name duplications.  which made things quite confusing.   

There are a few historical maps of Berks County from 1825, 1860 and an 1876 county atlas.  I have the 1860 map downloaded and there are many Angstadts living along the Lobachsville Pike in 1860
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rich pierce
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« Reply #22 on: May 11, 2012, 12:31:09 AM »

I am still intrigued/crazy about the Dixon's A Angstadt rifle.  I only got to see one side in a glass case.  To me the carving would be appropriate for a 1760's-1770's rifle, while the other features of the rifle I cannot estimate earlier than 1790.  It seems unlikely to me that a young gunmaker would use such a robust and early style of carving on a gun built in the latest local style.
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Eric Kettenburg
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« Reply #23 on: May 11, 2012, 07:44:49 AM »

I definitely do not see the carving as being representative of that early a period.  Admittedly, it takes the more "standardized" early form of the scroll with the upward branch, but it has lost the "classic" early sculpting of say Marshall's rifle or RCA42.  It is much more flat and 2 dimensional, a degenerative form.  There are a number of funky Berks or western Lehigh rifles that utilize this semi-symmetrical dual scroll off the cheek form of carving, none opf them this well executed but usually more folky and actually with earlier appearance than this rifle.  Also, what IS interesting is that if you look closely at the carving immediately behind the cheek, you can see the little parting tool cuts fanning out out of the junction between two scrolls which both Peter and Joseph and some later Kutztown area makers used; almost an engraving practice, as opposed to wood carving.  Looking as some of the best of the later assumed-Abraham rifles, the man could certainly carve well and engrave well, and he did use on at least one occasion (off the top of my head) the "small circular hole" box as Scott noted above on a much later rifle (a wender).  I guess the bottom line is, to my personal way of thinking, I really don't know what to think.  MAYBE this is a composite rifle, i.e. evidence of a shop with multiple employees?  I really don't know.  It's sufficiently similar yet sufficiently different enough (relative to virtually all of the others) to throw a wrench into what would otherwise be a very tidy, neat hypothesis.
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Atrus27
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« Reply #24 on: December 24, 2012, 01:30:21 PM »

I know this thread is a few months old, however I just found this site.  I recently found out through my cousins hard work that I am a decedent of the Angstadt Line of Gun Smiths.  I have seen them online for sale for close to 10k.  I am just wondering if there is anyplace that has some Angstadt rifles on display?  Would be really amazing to be able to see something that a relative did over 200 years ago.  Thank you all for any information you can get.  I Live in Berks County so I am hoping there are some still in the county they were made.
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