Author Topic: John Rupp I....?  (Read 41362 times)

Bob Smalser

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John Rupp I....?
« on: November 27, 2010, 06:29:15 PM »
I'm tying down more detail from recent archive collections on Allentown gunmakers, but don't have all the reference books on rifles y'all do.

In gunmaking references I keep reading about "John Rupp I" and "John Rupp II", but can't match them up with actual people contained in other archives, and KRA.org doesn't identify two John Rupps either:

http://kentuckyrifleassociation.org/findmaker.asp?choose=byschool&school=13

I have Herman Rupp (1756-1831), and his father, Alsace immigrant John George Rupp (1721-1807)….plus the Alsace line of Rupps that extends three generations back from Alsace to Switzerland  And in the next generation I think I also have John Rupp II (1789-1848), Herman's nephew.  (John Rupp II’s birth year is also found as 1786.)

Who I can’t differentiate is the John Rupp collectors refer to as “John Rupp I”.  Besides Herman's father, the candidates are all Herman’s brothers, as Herman didn’t have any uncles according to my sources:

John George Jr (1758-1909)
Johannes (1760-1826)
Johannes (1762-1840)

Or in the next generation:
John Rupp (1798-1835) - John B1762's son



Can anyone help?

And from other family researchers proofing the Newhard monograph, I’ve also acquired additional Newhard-Kuntz relationships.  More input is always welcome.




« Last Edit: November 28, 2010, 04:11:22 AM by Bob Smalser »

Offline Ky-Flinter

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Re: John Rupp I....?
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2010, 08:23:00 PM »
Bob,

I looked thru my books and was hoping for better results.  Here is what I found.

Kindig lists one rifle by "John Rupp" in Thoughts on the Kentucky Rifle (#62).  On page 175, Kindig states, "As of yet we have found no written record of John Rupp."  He also cautions that Rupp should not be confused with "J. Roop", "whose work is considerably later and much inferior."  Kindig also states his belief of a close association between the Molls and Rupp, "although Rupp worked much earlier than most of the Molls."  On page 180 Kindig says he believes John Moll apprenticed with Rupp.

RCA Vol. 1 shows a smoothbore signed "Herman Rupp 1793" (#57) on page 242.  No mention of John Rupp.

In The Pennsylvannia-Kentucky Rifle by Kauffman, plate 44 (page 51) shows a rifle Marked "J. Rupp", but no other info.

Kentucky Rifles and Pistols 1750-1850 shows a rifle signed "John Rupp" (page 16) and a smoothbore signed "J.R." on the wrist piece and attributed to John Rupp (page 17).  On page 22-23 is a smoothbore attributed to Herman "or the elder John Rupp", but there's no other info on the "elder".

-Ron
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Offline Eric Fleisher

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Re: John Rupp I....?
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2010, 10:42:48 PM »
According to Ron Gable's research presented in 1982, Adam Herman Rupp had a brother John who was believed to be a gunsmith. This John Rupp, the elder was listed as a smid in the tax record starting in 1789. He died in 1836.  A. Herman had another brother named Andrew.  Andrew Rupp had a son John born in 1786 and died in 1848. John Rupp, the younger made guns from 1812 to 1848.

Bob Smalser

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Re: John Rupp I....?
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2010, 10:58:06 PM »
Thanks Ron and Eric.

What I was going on is this Dixon's display from 2009, which tracks with Mr Gabel's paper stating John Rupp I was Adam Herman's brother:



Except that birth and family records show that Adam Herman had two brothers named John....

....Johannes George Rupp Jr (1758-1809), who was born in Macungie and died in Scull Hill, and...

.... Johannes Rupp (1762-1840), who was born in Macungie Twp but married a York
Pennsylvania girl and moved there around 1789.

Mr Kettenburg’s monograph on Lehigh Valley rifles says that Adam Herman Rupp’s (1756-1831) work is sufficiently close to John Moll I’s (1746-1794) that there is little doubt of a senior-subordinate relationship.  That tracks nicely with what I have, as dates, events and distances all fit, plus the Moll shop then was the largest (save perhaps the Moravians) with the greatest demand for labor.  There are more artifacts remaining, Moll was chosen for wartime weapons contracts, plus Moll wasn’t also trying to farm 345 acres like Peter Newhard (1746-1813) was.

Without fleshing out the Rupps further...and both John Rupps appear to be too young...from the family point of view William Moll (1712-1780) is the most likely candidate for the gunmaking patriarch.  The Moravians (Andreas Albrecht 1718-1802) needed cash more than labor, and later ran pay schools specifically for that purpose…and in the mid-1750’s neither the Newhard nor Moll families had much cash.  There is no doubt William Moll was a gunmaker (Who else would leave a rifling machine to his descendants?), and he likely doesn’t appear on tax rolls because like many, he left his Berks County origins to squat on vacant land further out on the frontier until he had accumulated sufficient resources to buy it.  The Molls don’t officially appear until 1764 in Allentown, but they easily could have been in the area as early as 1750, and William Moll could have taught his son John and Peter Newhard together....which tracks with other's  observations that Moll's and Newhard's work were closer to each other than either were to the Moravian's.

« Last Edit: November 28, 2010, 03:37:19 AM by Bob Smalser »

Bob Smalser

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Re: John Rupp I....?
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2010, 03:42:23 AM »
Family member Ralph Spears provided a document that along with other nuggets, states Johannes Rupp (1762-1840) of York County was a blacksmith there.  That leaves John George Rupp Jr as the most likely candidate for "John Rupp I".

It needs a relook of York and Macungie tax rolls and later business directories, but it's a strawman to start with.  The "smid" referred to in 1789 tax rolls could also be the John Moll who moved to York.  Gunsmith usually contains the word "Buechsen" in it somewhere.  For my purpose, it's clear that there isn't a "John Rupp" sufficiently old to be the teacher of Peter Newhard or John Moll.

Thanks again for helping narrow this down.



Common Regional Origins
1)  Sensinger Family: Rosenwiller, Alsace
2)  Newhard Family: Rumbach, Palatinate (Note 2)
3)  Kuntz Family:  Niederbronn, Alsace
4)  Schmalzhaf (author’s) Family:  Bonfeld, Kraichgau
5)  Moll Family:  Weisenheim am Sand, Palatinate
6)  Rupp Family:  Wimmerau, Alsace
« Last Edit: December 02, 2010, 04:05:53 PM by Bob Smalser »

Offline Eric Kettenburg

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Re: John Rupp I....?
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2010, 03:29:49 AM »
Where is there documentation of Johannes Moll being involved in wartime contracts?  I have yet to find it.  Lots of speculation, but no actual documentation.  Don;t get me wrong, I'm sure he was involved w/ the Allentown "factory," but too many authors for too many years have taken gross liberty with speculation and presented it as fact.  Speculation if fine, provided it is recognized as speculation.  The only documentation of Moll during the War indicates he was doing what he needed to do to survive, and it wasn't making guns after Allentown dried up.

I think we tend to glamorize what some of these guys were doing, and NH county in particular must have been a b***h of a place to make a living as a gunsmith.

Didn't one of the John Rupps supposedly fall into the Susquehanna and drown?  The Kindig rifle is an interesting lumpy beast of a rifle, and frankly (don;t mean to insult anyone including it's present owner) but I could easily see it as a restocked signed barrel.

For those of us who obsess upon the Northampton area work, it is very sad to see many of the "missing links" (rifles) which could clarify some of the connections and go a long way toward illustrating the regional stylistic development remain unpublished, especially here in 2010 when it seems ridiculous to do so.
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Bob Smalser

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Re: John Rupp I....?
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2010, 06:31:15 AM »
1)   Lots of speculation, but no actual documentation....

2)  …The only documentation of Moll during the War indicates he was doing what he needed to do to survive, and it wasn't making guns after Allentown dried up.

3)  ….I think we tend to glamorize what some of these guys were doing, and NH county in particular must have been a b***h of a place to make a living as a gunsmith.

4)  …Didn't one of the John Rupps supposedly fall into the Susquehanna and drown? 

1)  What is it then are you doing when you state that Herman Rupp's work was so close to John Moll's that Rupp must have apprenticed under Moll?  You don't have a recorded apprenticeship contract to look at because they were rarely recorded at a courthouse.  Or define to someone not particularly interested in collecting exactly what this whole "attribution" business is all about, if not reasoned deduction?  Like Brent Wade Moll (below), my target audience is family members and their descendants, not your community, and logical deductions clearly reasoned and sourced are a far cry from wild speculation.   But you are correct….I should add a note differentiating deduction from fact on the “Allentown Factory”, and where Moll and Newhard would have (likely) spent their militia drill and active-duty days, and where they would have (likely) taken weapons requiring major repair.  Even without an armory locally, it would be a foolish company commander indeed to have Moll and Newhard performing bayonet drill when he also had 150 finicky flintlocks of various makes, vintages and conditions to bet his men's lives on, not to mention all the government-owned gear.

2)  Below I’ve scanned page 54 (of 300 pages) from Dennis Kastens’ Neuhart Chronicles Vol IV to demonstrate the level of (sourced) detail available on selected Newhards and their Moll and Kuntz in-laws (also Hess and Henry among others).  It’s been in print since 1988, and why the collecting  community apparently hasn’t used it escapes me.  Otherwise there wouldn’t be recent errors in deduction that “three Newhard brothers immigrated” when there were four and they weren’t brothers…that Moll I was an immigrant when he wasn’t…or was older than Newhard when he wasn’t.  Further, those who haven’t studied the (recent) works of Aaron Spencer Fogelman and David Hackett Fischer may be missing important context and perspective to make sound cultural deductions about early Pennsylvania Germans. Hence the questionable deduction that Native American decoration on selected rifles were whimsical when only a decade before a 23-year reign of Indian terror ended that had resulted in thousands of civilian casualties and refugees.  There is also Brent Wade Moll’s research found here, that provides rich detail on the “12,000 stands of arms” at Allentown under CPT Styles, Lt Hagner and 16 armorers, of which Moll was one:
http://www.angelfire.com/pa5/mollpa/


3)  Few if any except John Moll I and his descendants were attempting to make their living exclusively from gunmaking.  His contemporary Peter Newhard farmed properties that would grow to 345 acres, and gunmaking was a sideline used as a source of cash, the scarcest of all commodities to subsistence farmers, which is the principle reason William Moll is a better candidate for gunmaking patriarch than Andreas Albrecht, without even looking at rifles (see previous comments).  Same with the Kuntz and Rupp families….all farmers with 125 acres or more.

4)  Peter Moll II, age 35, drowned in 1883 at the Portland PA site on the Delaware River where he was establishing a washboard manufactory….probably in the mill pond.  He left his 29-year-old wife Amelia with four children ages 11, 9, 5 and 4. (Kastens Vol IV p.57) Oerter, David Kuntz, and John George Rupp also died early, but from illness.

Quote
Kastens, Page 54:

ELIZABETH NEUHART (Ref. Vol. II, p. 41)

* Aug. 27, 1771, near Allentown, Pa.

+ June 1, 1842, Hellertown, Pa.

Married: c. 1795

JOHN MOLL II

* May 13, 1773, Allentown, Pa. + c. 1834. Hellertown, Pa.

Her father: Lorentz Neuhart/Neuhardt * 1740, + Aug. I, 1817

Her mother: Maria Magdalena Schneider * c. 1746, + Nov. 1, 1815

His father: John Moll I

* c. 1747, + Nov. 1794

His mother: Lydia Rincker (Rinker)

Children: (All baptized Zion Reformed, Allentown, Pa.)

1. John Moll. III * Nov. 13, bp. Dec. 11, 1796 (sp. Abraham Rincker and (wife) Gertrude ••. the mother's brother, a captain in the Revolution, and the War of 1812). He + Aug. 29, 1883 Allentown. Married Apr. 20, 1824 Elizabeth Ueberroth of Allentown (newspaper) * + Apr. 10, 1897.

2. Peter Moll * Oct. 13, bp. Nov. 10, 1799 (sp. Peter Moll and A. Marie Neuhardt) + June 8, 1879 at Hellertown. Married Mary Shafer * Aug. 24, 1806, + May 21, 1888.

3. Catharine Moll * May 27, bp. June 10, 1805 (sp. Christian Neuhardt and (wife) Elizabeth.)

4. David Moll * Apr. 22, bp. May 24, 1807 (sp. Daniel Neuhardt and Margaret Fuchs), + Aug. 31, 1853 at Hellertown. Married Dec. 6, 1835 Elizabeth Weber, both of Hellertown (newspaper). She * Jan. 3, 1810, + May 25, 1859. .

5. Mary Magdalena Moll * Mar. 13, bp, Apr" 22, 1810 (sp. David Neuhardt and Mary Magdalena Horn).

6. Nathan Moll * July 2, bp. Aug. 7, 1814 (sp. Peter Franz and (wife) Catharine). + _

Married Feb. 24, 1838 Rosina Lie at Hellertown (newspaper). Became a gunsmith and moved westward (about 1860?).

The three John Molls were all noted gunsmiths of Allentown. John (I) is first noticed in the tax list for 1772 recorded as a single man. (A John Moll appeared on the 1764 list--but that a different individual and married, or had been.) He married April 28, 1772 Lydia Rincker (Rinker) by Abraham Blumer. As "John Moll gunsmith" he secured a lot in' Allentown, 60' x 230', from Melchior Tanner and wife Barbara, consideration t 45.00. Deed Book El, p. 649 at Easton, Pa,

This property remained in the Moll family until sold Jan. 31, 1884, at which time it was identified as 129 N. Seventh Street (but now a parking lot). He also secured improvement rights to the adjoining lot of the same size, which he fenced in and built a stable in which he kept a cow but no horse. He was enrolled as a private in the Allentown Militia Company during the Revolution. Pa, Archives, 5th Series, Vol. 8, pp. 85,230,336. He served one tour of duty in the United States service as a substitute for Mich. Cline for 22 days beginning Aug. 9, 1781. Ibid. p. 322. He was occupied in the military gun repair shops established in Allentown where huge quantities of guns and related equipment were brought in, processed, and shipped out. After the war, he returned to making rifles, reputedly of very high quality though not many known examples survived to the 20th century.

John and Lydia had two other children, also baptized Zion Reformed, Allentown: #2 was John Jacob Moll * Mar. 1, 1776, + before 1790 census; #3 Peter Moll * Nov. 26, 1779 (who served in the War of 1812, came home and became a rich man). The parents were buried in the "Old" Allentown Cemetery, but without surviving gravestones. However, the Liberty Bell Chapter, D.A.R. placed a large
bronze plaque at the 10th and Turner Street corner of the cemetery commemorating the Revolutionary soldiers interred therein. It includes one John Moll with his life span. He died intestate with wife and son, John, becoming the administrators. His inventory, including a wide assortment of gunsmithing tools and supplies, was appraised at t 394.15.9 on Jan. 31, 1795. On Aug. 11, 1796,
son John petitioned the Orphans Court at Easton for partition of his father's real estate, stating that it consisted of the Allentown lot and adjoining improvement (previously described). It was adjudged to this son at valuation t 255.8.4. Register's File #1702; Orphan's Court Docket 6, pp. 44 49, both at Easton. This property described in the 1798 U. S. Direct Tax as consisting of 50 perches (= 50/160 acre) of land, a two story log house 31' x 22', a stable and 2 other outbuildings.

John Moll continued the Allentown gunsmith business, but seems to have gone into semi-retirement about 1820 when he sold some tools, equipment and supplies to his son, John I II, now age 24. While not recorded, we know this son came into possession of the real estate, probably about the time of his marriage in 1824, with his parents and siblings departing for Hellertown about the same time.

The 1820 census shows parents and all 6 children living in Allentown, and the 1830 census has parents and 5 children living in Hellertown. His other sons, Peter, David and Nathan also became gunsmiths as we shall see, so it is probable the father continued active with them until the early 1830's. There was no probate for John Moll II, as he had made all arrangements in his 1ife time.

He was known to have been successful in his trade, and in addition his wife was an equal heir in the large estate of her father, Lorentz Neuhardt. Moll was an executor and rendered his final account on Jan. 6, 1823. We can be sure his widow was well provided for and that his children were given a meaningful inheritance. This couple were faithful members of Allentown Zion Reformed congregation while residing there. John appears in records of the Lower Saucon Reformed as attending preparatory communion service Apr. 1827, Apr. 1830 and N6v. 1831. John & Elizabeth may have been buried in the adjoining cemetery but gravestones did not survive to the 20th century (there or elsewhere in the township)…..

 http://www.kastensinc.com/neuhart/
« Last Edit: November 29, 2010, 05:27:18 PM by Bob Smalser »

Offline JTR

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Re: John Rupp I....?
« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2010, 04:58:25 PM »
 [/quote] My target audience is family members and their descendants, not your community,[/quote]

Interesting. Thanks for the clarification.

John
« Last Edit: November 29, 2010, 05:03:31 PM by JTR »
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Offline Eric Kettenburg

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Re: John Rupp I....?
« Reply #8 on: November 29, 2010, 05:32:21 PM »
Kastens' work assuredly is the defining work in print on the subject - I used it quite copiously when researching the Neihart family on a preliminary level.  My interest is different from your own however - as I am not a descendent - in that I was not terribly concerned with who begat who etc.  :D unless it happened to tie into gunmaking in the Allentown area.  I do take issue with Kastens' note concerning the earlier 1760s Allentown Moll being a different John Moll based upon marital implications in the tax documents; these early tax lists have been heavily edited upon reprinting over the years - the 19th century authors being particularly guilty of this - however the original microfilmed documents make no such marital assertions.  Could it have been a different John?  Sure - we weren't there!  But I have yet to see any reason to believe it wasn't the same John.

It's been a few years now since I corresponded with Brent Moll.  He does have some excellent information, especially of a familial nature, but his references to John Moll being one of the 16 armorers ties back to the old William Heller article which is only cursorily documented if at all and does not allow one to follow the chain of information back to a first-hand source.  As of the time that I type this, to my knowledge, there is no surviving list or payroll of the men working at the Allentown factory other than that Cowell and Tyler were in positions of authority.  I did find an obscure reference to one single individual, a man named John Butler, but that was all.  Going by the documentation which has survived (I've referenced everything on my site somewhere, usually within the body of the particular article segment), it seems that Cowell and Tyler brought workmen along with them from Philadelphia when they were sent to establish the factory at Allentown.  I feel sure that they hired "locals" as well, but as yet there is no *documented* reference to this so as silly as it seems I have to consider that in a speculative sense.  Most any time one finds a textual reference to the Allentown factory and the "16 men" that worked there, it almost always ties back to either the few references in the PA archives (and I tried to document all of them, including a few which I had not seen referenced previously) or, once again, to the old Heller article.  Neither source provides a list of individuals involved, so the approach I took was to scour the surviving tax lists and land records; it's a start, anyway, albeit nothing provable.  When I initially began delving into the NH county area, as witnessed by the old article which now is floating about the internet which you have noted, I was quite guilty of speculation without specifically pointing out that it was indeed speculation.  I would like to think that my more recent work which I've published (site) has progressed beyond that to a more scholarly level - at the least, that is what I have worked toward - and that I have tried to effectively reference everything that can be documented.

My current approach when coming across a statement is to "follow the chain" backwards to the source.  Unfortunately, when it comes to much of what has been printed regarding NH County, the source often is something along the lines of Heller's article or others like it, or the 19th century histories, and these are essentially dead ends because their few references typically do not lead anywhere and/or contradict the first-hand tax, land or church information which still exists.  While I'd love to accept some of it at face value, I have a terribly hard time doing so.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2010, 06:44:22 PM by Eric Kettenburg »
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Offline Eric Kettenburg

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Re: John Rupp I....?
« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2010, 05:44:30 PM »
I just double-checked Heller's article:  "The Gunmakers of Old Northampton," by William J. Heller, originally published in Volume XVII of the newsletter of the Pennsylvania German Society.  The article is dated November 2, 1906, not the 1920s as I was trying to remember.  This article is the source of practically all modern assertions that Moll and Neihart worked at the Allentown factory.  However, Heller does not note a single source.  If he had access to one, I can't imagine where it could be because as of the current time it has not been found within any surviving records archived from NH County.  This type of article was very common to the 19th/early 20th century:  how does one verify such information if neither county, state, church records or otherwise do not support it?
« Last Edit: November 29, 2010, 05:46:54 PM by Eric Kettenburg »
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Bob Smalser

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Re: John Rupp I....?
« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2010, 11:12:37 PM »

Interesting. Thanks for the clarification.

All that means is I want human interest readable by laymen…incorporating faces and names to otherwise dry archives…it doesn’t mean I’m willing to take flights of fancy with facts.  But “who begat who” tells us that the Rupps arrived with relative wealth, the Newhards with less, and the Molls with probably none at all, which is extremely important to deduce their behavior in the absence of formal records.  And like my other articles on how their more recent tradesmen forbearers made their living primarily with hand tools (shipwrights and boatbuilders), publishing this in your venue provides me the advantage of excellent, expert commentary so I can tweak these pieces to improve both accuracy and clarity.

…I do take issue with Kastens' note concerning the earlier 1760s

Me too….but Kasten’s 1988 work didn’t have the advantage of incorporating Fogelman’s 1996 work on the paths to land ownership under the Penns, and the details of Quaker-Penn-Settler political conflicts:

That John Moll I had as much or more gun work as he could handle from 1776 to 1781 remains a logical deduction.

1)  He had one of the few full-time gunmaking shops dating from 1764, and the fact that it still existed in 1776 meant that it was making ends meet or better.  Moll probably had two or more apprentices and workmen, one of whom as you have deduced from surviving artifacts may have been 20-year-old Herman Rupp.  Real military threats and Indian terror dated from 1755, and prewar militia provided their own firelocks as the Quaker hierarchy safe in Philadelphia were reluctant to encourage or fund frontier militias.  

2)  In a previous life I had some experience with prepositioned armory stocks and can quote manpower space requirements for modern weapons.  If I were dealing with farmer-owned flintlocks of mixed vintage, make and condition…and later lowest-bidder acquisitions of mixed make and quality instead of interchangeable-part M16-types, I’d probably at least triple those requirements.  Moreover, “800 muskets on hand” and “12,000 stands of arms” aren’t unimpressive quantities when Allentown had a mere 50 buildings and 300 inhabitants (two-thirds of them children), even to a guy who used to build brigade-sized equipment sets….regardless of how many workers were imported from Philadelphia or joiners recruited locally.

3)  The Molls were poor then, and needed the work.  While John’s father William died possessing more than he owed in 1780, that fact doesn’t mean much.  He and his son owned no land except the one lot with their shop in Allentown, and the adjacent lot with barn they leased.  They owned a cow to feed John’s three young sons born between 1773 and 1779, but didn’t even own a horse for transportation.  And with only the cow and his wife’s kitchen garden, John needed (then-scarce) cash for even the basics of family support.

4)  William and John’s pre-1764 arrival in Allentown coincides nicely with the Penn’s campaign to evict squatters from vacant lands.  Thomas Penn had closed his mortgage office in 1755, demanding cash yet refusing paper money, which drove many second-generation Pennsylvanians whose families had originally homesteaded closer in to Philadelphia to squat on land further out on the frontier.  By the late 1750’s Penn increased evictions but came to realize his high land prices and strict policies were the cause of the decline in his revenues.  In 1765 he reversed those policies, but by then William and John Moll had already committed themselves to a shop in Allentown.  I strongly suspect why so little is recorded on gunmaker (Who else but a gunmaker would leave a rifling machine marked “WM 1747” to his descendents?) William Moll was by Moll’s own design.  He was probably a squatter.

Last, I also support your assessments of Allentown joiner Jacob Neuhardt also making guns and the unlikelihood of any formal relationships between the Molls or Newhards and the Moravians.  I would only add the cash equation to your rationale.  The Moravian “pay schools” open to non-Moravians weren’t formally established until 1783, and if they did make earlier exceptions they would want cash for them, something neither the Newhards or the Molls had in the late 1750’s.


« Last Edit: November 29, 2010, 11:17:43 PM by Bob Smalser »

Offline Eric Kettenburg

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Re: John Rupp I....?
« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2010, 12:05:01 AM »
I doubt John Moll was a gunsmith in 1764 - the earliest accounts of Allentown mention there being no arms fit for use in the town or possibly the entire township, certainly understandable given the complete lack of $$$ in the local population.  The first reference to him as a gunsmith was the 1773 assessment.  Earlier assessments (not all) do note some trades, but he was not noted as such until 1773, so either he was not a smith or because he was unmarried his trade was not noted.  There were smiths noted in Allentown early on - Froelich and Leidecker - but nothing noting a trade for Moll. 

I think we'll have to agree to disagree on the William Moll issue.  I have yet to see anyone produce an actual document proving the man even existed - yes, there are printed references to him throughout the 19th/20th century, but when tracing them backwards, nobody seems to be able to point to the location of an original document, even the 1780 probate inventory which is referenced.  It seems to have vanished if it ever existed - I know I for one would love to see it (seriously).  I sincerely doubt the validity of the rifling machine.  I'm sure it's an old rifling machine, but it was very common in the 19th century during the early "roots movement" (as I like to call the explosion of interest in early history among those families that had been for some time established here) to produce wishful artifacts.  A rifling bench in 1747, dated no less, in a poor frontier backwater like NH or Berks Co.?  Why?  No American smith of the time could have made a rifle barrel cheaper than one could have been obtained (imported) in Philadelphia, and they have been documented to have been easily obtainable via purchase or trade.  This issue of the bench is of course speculation on my part - I just don't buy it's authenticity, although on a romantic level it is obviously appealing!!!!
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Re: John Rupp I....?
« Reply #12 on: November 30, 2010, 07:55:39 AM »
... wishful artifacts....I just don't buy it's authenticity, although on a romantic level it is obviously appealing!!!!

Noted.  I'll tone that down.

But what about John Rupp the elder?  Isn't he also somewhat of a wishful artifact?  The guy your writings point to as the senior John Rupp I have as a blacksmith moving to York County around 1789.  "Schmid" in the archived tax records could be a lot of things, but more likely a general blacksmith than a gunsmith.
« Last Edit: November 30, 2010, 07:56:34 AM by Bob Smalser »

Offline Eric Kettenburg

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Re: John Rupp I....?
« Reply #13 on: November 30, 2010, 05:12:27 PM »
There was a John Rupp taxed in Macungie during the "right" period of time, and he *seems* to have been Herman's brother.  He was taxed as a smith only, but his brother Herman was likewise and we here in 2010 certainly have very striking evidence of Herman making rifles.  There is of course the issue of the extant signed rifles by John Rupp, although most are obviously much later rifles.  Very little relevant information seems to have come to light in reference to a senior John Rupp.  I've never really dug too hard into this family as when I was writing the article series I posted online, I was focused upon the period around the War (and the period immediately preceding it) and these Rupps flourished during the period following the War.  When it comes to this family, I'm only aware of the scant information that is easily-obtainable, much of it already published.  I did come across a few references when in Philly searching through the archives, but I don't have them to hand at the moment; just off the top of my head, there are a few surviving records of Herman Rupp being involved with family matters relative to a blacksmith who lived a township or two over, but I can't recall his name at the moment.  I'll dig out my copies and notes and see if I ever came across anything pertaining to John as well.   
Strange women lying in ponds, distributing swords, is no basis for a system of government!

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Re: John Rupp I....?
« Reply #14 on: December 01, 2010, 03:54:00 AM »
A Rupp family member contacted me tonite with some new information on a brother of the Rupp patriarch who immigrated i(probably n 1750 with his brother and sister)....one John Francis Rupp (1749-1816).  We'll run that one to ground, too.

Offline Eric Kettenburg

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Re: John Rupp I....?
« Reply #15 on: December 01, 2010, 04:41:57 AM »
THAT is certainly interesting!
Strange women lying in ponds, distributing swords, is no basis for a system of government!

Bob Smalser

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Re: John Rupp I....?
« Reply #16 on: December 01, 2010, 05:52:02 AM »
THAT is certainly interesting!

He's real.  The Mormon library has 20 family trees with him on it and Ulrich as his father.  Half of them state he was from "Switzerland" and the other half from "Germany", but that's a common mistake.  There is zero doubt his parents were  from Wimmerau, Alsace, where they spent their entire lives.

Haven't found if he immigrated with his brother or later, but he married a local girl  in 1775 in Westmoreland, Armstrong County NE of Pittsburg at age 26, and died at age 67 in Kittaning.

He produced sons Johann Adam 1787-1870, Jacob 1789-1846, John George (named after his older brother) 1795-1871, and John Francis 1799-1847.

Seems there were are no shortages of "John Rupps", although if a middle name is listed, more often than not that's what the individual was called.

Unfortunately it wasn't until the 1860 federal census that enumerators asked what the householders did for a living.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2010, 05:00:28 AM by Bob Smalser »

Offline Eric Kettenburg

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Re: John Rupp I....?
« Reply #17 on: December 01, 2010, 02:16:05 PM »
Many of the old tax lists note a trade, although it is haphazard and there certainly is no logical progression or apparent pattern.  More after the Revolution than prior, although there are some gems to be found on the 1760s lists.

Can't find my notes on John yet but Herman Rupp was involved fairly intimately with the administration of the estate of Theobald Fahringer who was a blacksmith up in Lehigh Township.  Also some involvement with Dewalt Fahringer, and there may have been some guardianship of children involved at one point as well.
Strange women lying in ponds, distributing swords, is no basis for a system of government!

Bob Smalser

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Re: John Rupp I....?
« Reply #18 on: December 01, 2010, 05:03:30 PM »
Many of the old tax lists note a trade, although it is haphazard and there certainly is no logical progression or apparent pattern. 

Yes, but the census lists are all on an instant database no further away than a few keystrokes.  Tax lists take some finding, often at a county courthouse and either undigitalized or badly scanned, although an outfit called Docstock.com has cleaned several old PA archives up and provides them in searchable format for a minimal fee.

Bob Smalser

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Re: John Rupp I....?
« Reply #19 on: December 01, 2010, 09:51:02 PM »
Did y'all know that like the Newhard-Kuntz and Newhard-Moll gunmakers, the Rupp and the Schreckengost gunmakers were in-laws to each other?  At least twice?

Gunmaker Benjamin Schreckengost (1788-1868) married Susanna Oury (1791-1844), who was the daughter of immigrant Catharina Rupp, gunmaker Herman Rupp's aunt.

...and...

Jacob Simon Rupp (1822-1902) married Mary Ann Schreckengost (1829-1904).  Jacob was a first cousin to gunmaker Herman Rupp, one generation removed.

« Last Edit: December 02, 2010, 02:05:44 AM by Bob Smalser »

Offline Eric Kettenburg

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Re: John Rupp I....?
« Reply #20 on: December 02, 2010, 07:40:39 PM »
Andreas is Herman's brother Andrew, correct?  Why does it say "Williams" under his name?  There were one or two interesting points I came across in reference to him in NH county records, never followed up on them though as he wasn't involved in arms work.
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Re: John Rupp I....?
« Reply #21 on: December 02, 2010, 08:01:55 PM »
Andreas is Herman's brother Andrew, correct?  Why does it say "Williams" under his name?  There were one or two interesting points I came across in reference to him in NH county records, never followed up on them though as he wasn't involved in arms work.

Williams Township

Offline jdm

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Re: John Rupp I....?
« Reply #22 on: December 03, 2010, 05:51:12 AM »
   I've enjoyed your discusion  on the Rupp family and other gunsmiths of Northampton County.  I thought you might like seeing a few pictures of what I be live is a John Rupp rifle. It has an egg shaped wrist ,arrow head lock plate And J.R. on the patchbox lid. The other two are from the same area a little later I feel. Hopefully I've got this photobucket thing figured out.        JIM
                              http://i1195.photobucket.com/albums/aa394/jdmck58/IMG_0371.jpg  
« Last Edit: December 03, 2010, 05:53:21 AM by Mck »
JIM

Bob Smalser

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Re: John Rupp I....?
« Reply #23 on: December 03, 2010, 04:08:28 PM »
I thought you might like seeing a few pictures of what I be live is a John Rupp rifle. It has an egg shaped wrist ,arrow head lock plate And J.R. on the patchbox lid. The other two are from the same area a little later I feel. Hopefully I've got this photobucket thing figured out.  

Great, thanks.  But that's only one photo.  Go backwards one URL to get the URL for the whole album you created on that rifle, or copy and paste the photo URL's separately.

« Last Edit: December 04, 2010, 01:25:01 AM by Bob Smalser »

Bob Smalser

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Re: John Rupp I....?
« Reply #24 on: December 03, 2010, 05:59:59 PM »

I think we'll have to agree to disagree on the William Moll issue.  I have yet to see anyone produce an actual document proving the man even existed...  I sincerely doubt the validity of the rifling machine.

 "The Gunmakers of Old Northampton," by William J. Heller, originally published in Volume XVII of the newsletter of the Pennsylvania German Society.  The article is dated November 2, 1906.

...my current approach is to follow the chain back to its source.

This is probably the original source....a live interview of William Henry Moll of Allentown by Alfred Mathews or Austin Hungerford before Moll's death in 1889:

“The father of John Moll (1st), whose name was William, was also a gunsmith, and plied his trade as early as 1747.  His great grandson William, has an heirloom descended from him, a device for cutting threads on screws, neatly made of iron, and bearing in plainly legible characters the inscription ‘April 10, 1747 – W.M.’  “ (Mathews and Hungerford p123-4)

Mathews, Alfred and Hungerford, Austin, History of the Counties of Lehigh and Carbon,  Philadelphia, Everts and Richards,1884.  
http://search.ancestry.com/Browse/BookView.aspx?dbid=14003&iid=dvm_LocHist000929-00086-1&sid=&gskw=&cr=1
« Last Edit: December 03, 2010, 06:04:44 PM by Bob Smalser »