Author Topic: The Moll-Newhard-Kuntz Triangle of Old Northampton County Gunmaking  (Read 54112 times)

Bob Smalser

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For your reference, this is a refinement that is part of an article that is scheduled to be published in Muzzle Blasts Magazine.  It corrects a date error on Peter Kuntz (1790-1862).

« Last Edit: November 25, 2019, 08:20:23 PM by Dennis Glazener »

Offline Tom Currie

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Bob, Thanks as always for sharing your research.

Online Eric Kettenburg

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Bob, if Johannes Moll was born in 1746, how was he owning property by 1751 in Berks Co.?

And the evidence for William Moll merely existing, let alone being his father, is... where?

I AM NOT TRYING TO BE A SMARTA**

However, these two pieces of MISinformation are repetitively circulated around the internet and they are just plain wrong and/or unprovable, and it is doing a disservice to all who attempt to research the Molls to continually repeat them.

Resume.
Strange women lying in ponds, distributing swords, is no basis for a system of government!

Bob Smalser

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Bob, if Johannes Moll was born in 1746, how was he owning property by 1751 in Berks Co.?

And the evidence for William Moll merely existing, let alone being his father, is... where?


See the "B" in B1746?  It stands for "before".  As he died 48 years later in 1794, the odds say he was closer to the 60-65 years old expected for men rather than 48.

And we've been through the William Moll arguments before.  They are hardly misinformation, as besides Moll family records recorded by two published Moll genealogists, they are based on a first-person interview with William Henry Moll.  And that's solid enough to leave it there until someone comes up with something better. 

Long strings of coincidences usually aren't.  And waiting for the 1760 equivalent of social security numbers is one of the reasons y'all had almost none of the linkage data posted above until Dennis Kastens and I walked this information forward beginning with German church records, testing and correcting it along the way with university historians specializing in the colonial period.  While Ron Gabel did a great job in the 1960's based on old Lehigh County histories and records, those histories were chock full of errors y'all have been repeating ever since.  One of which I just caught and corrected above, only because I was missing an 1860 Census mis-scanned as "Runtz" instead of "Kuntz".

As priorities for apprenticeships and jobs went to 1) Immediate Family Members 2) Extended Family Members, and 3)  Fellow Church Congregants, this "who-begat-who" stuff is vital.  Add cultural, economic, situational  and spiritual belief systems, and a number of other conclusions kicking around the collecting community based on analysis of artifacts alone are questionable, and deserve a challenge.

Quote
The signed, heirloom tool William Moll left to his gunsmith descendants for “cutting threads” could have been a number of tools ranging from a common screw plate (called a die today), to a large reamer, to a rifling machine.  Whatever it was, it was sufficiently large and valuable to merit initials and date of completion (1747), a factor in favor of a more complicated device than a mere screw plate.  Moll was also around 35 when he made that tool -- far beyond the years when he would have been overly infatuated with minor achievements.  Of greater importance to the issue of William Moll’s existence (some students of the period claim both he and the rifling machine are figures of myth) is that the referenced Mathews and Hungerford passage was taken from either direct correspondence with, or more likely, a live interview with great grandson and gunsmith William Henry Moll, who was alive at the time the book was published and had the tool in his shop.  Thus, he undoubtedly knew exactly what the tool was and accordingly, what William Moll did for a living.  The younger Moll already had nine noted gunsmiths in his lineage; neither he nor his interviewer had motivation to fabricate another, and he clearly told his interviewer that William Moll was a gunsmith.  Further, the Mathews narrative reads as though the interviewer actually saw the device but merely didn’t pursue with Moll a more precise description of what it was. 
   Why can’t more be found on William Moll?  Recent unpublished research by Dave Madary shows “gunsmith” John Moll  as occupying land adjacent to other people’s Berks County land warrants (surveys) in the 1750’s, but without a land warrant of his own.18 This could mean the warrants pertaining to him and his father William were lost, but it more likely means they were poor squatters homesteading illegally, a common condition on the frontier, especially between the years 1718-1732, when William Penn died and proprietorship of the colony was contested.  All homesteaders arriving in those years began as squatters, accordingly were poorly-documented during their squatting years, and the Molls are thought to have arrived in 1731.  William Moll is hard to pin down perhaps because he was only one step ahead of eviction by the Land Office and wanted it that way.  Further, while they eventually prospered, the Molls remained poor for some time.  Tax records show by 1772 John I owned a cow to feed his new family but didn’t even own a horse for transportation (Kastens Vol IV 53; Kenny 23-30; Silver 7-8). 
« Last Edit: May 01, 2012, 05:01:46 AM by Bob Smalser »

Online smylee grouch

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Bob: There are many references to Kuntz-Rupp as partners or at least working together. Are there any Kuntz/Rupp conections anywhere in that family association?    Smylee

Bob Smalser

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Bob: There are many references to Kuntz-Rupp as partners or at least working together. Are there any Kuntz/Rupp conections anywhere in that family association?  

Sure.  And more, although the Rupps didn't begin until a generation after Moll and Newhard began in 1763-1764.  As Peter Newhard's will inventory mentions John Rupp I, they clearly had a longstanding relationship.  All these families attended Egypt Reformed Church together (except the Rupps, who were Lutheran), and when Zion Reformed was established in Allentown in 1772, it shared pastors, trustees and resources with Egypt for some years.  

But what evidence we have to date shows Moll and Newhard had a strong professional and personal relationship.  And that one, the other or both trained the early Kuntzes and Rupps, and in turn the Rupps trained the Schreckengosts and the Kuntzes Joseph Clippinger.  Although evidence is strong that Newhard trained David Kuntz and Moll trained Jacob.  Priority for apprentices would also go to Moll, as Newhard also farmed between 100 and (later) 300 acres without older sons and was only a seasonal gunsmith.




Rupp-Schreckengost intermarriages include Susanna Oury (1791-1844), daughter of 1750 immigrant Catharina Christina Rupp (1749-1825), to Benjamin Schreckengost (1788-1868).   Also Jacob Simon Rupp (1822-1902), a first cousin to Hermann Rupp, to Mary Ann Schreckengost (1829-1904).  Also Christine Ferringer (1800-1893), who was the granddaughter of Herman Rupp’s sister, Maria Clara Rupp (1750-1798), to John Jacob Schreckengost (1793-1893), Samuel Franklin Rupp (1873-1960) to Maude Belle Schreckengost (1880-1936) and Charles Hebert Rupp (1878-1953) to Viona G. Schrecengost (1880-1966).  (LDS Genealogical Library; Rob Watt).


« Last Edit: May 01, 2012, 07:34:17 AM by Bob Smalser »

Online Eric Kettenburg

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I see, I wasn't sure what the "B" stood for.

All I can say about the William Moll mess is, *sigh*

« Last Edit: May 01, 2012, 01:36:13 PM by Eric Kettenburg »
Strange women lying in ponds, distributing swords, is no basis for a system of government!

Bob Smalser

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All I can say about the William Moll mess is, *sigh*

Quite the story you've got going there.


Fine.  And what do you propose in return?  

That Johannes Moll was dropped out of the sky by a stork?  Or was a runaway redemptioner apprentice silversmith whose name wasn't even Moll?

Show me some evidence other than rumors started by three gun collectors swapping lies over drinks at the bar, and I'll run it through the historians here and in Germany.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2012, 03:28:27 PM by Bob Smalser »

Offline spgordon

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I know nothing about these gunsmithing families but have learned a lot by reading this thread and the earlier, longer one back in late 2010 (http://americanlongrifles.org/forum/index.php?topic=13303.0).

So my only contribution can be this: we shouldn't underestimate the degree to which families misunderstand and misrepresent their own histories. They don't do this (typically) maliciously or to deceive others. They are usually deceiving themselves--or convincing themselves of things, filling in gaps that don't make sense to them. Generally, the stories they tell are more interesting for what the reveal about the teller--or the period in which they are being told--than about the subjects of the story themselves. A key question, I think, to always ask is: why is this story being told? what good does it do for the person or persons telling it?

The stories told by the gunsmithing family about which I do know a lot, the Henrys of Lancaster & Northampton Counties, show this pretty clearly. The Killbuck story (William Henry of Lancaster saved the life of a Delaware Indian during Braddock's defeat in summer 1755) is entirely fabricated--by William Henry III, I believe, in the early 1860s, but for understandable reasons: he was trying to make sense of his family's deep & persistent connection with this family of Delawares who had taken the Henry name. Eighteenth-century remarks as well as the stories that other family members told (before and after WH III's invention) explain the families' connections very differently: no battlefield rescue, no Braddock, etc. Indeed, William Henry I was not with Braddock--despite the repetition of this "fact" over and over and over and over and over again.

So: it is not possible to know how or when William Henry and Killbuck first came to know each other or why their relationship was so significant to Killbuck that he took William Henry's name when he was allowed to join the Moravian church in 1789. But the fact that we cannot know how they met (or propose a replacement "fact" for the inaccurate one) does not mean that we cannot know with a high degree of certainty that the story that has been passed down is inaccurate in nearly all aspects.

« Last Edit: May 01, 2012, 06:46:36 PM by spgordon »
Check out The Lost Village of Christian's Spring:
https://christiansbrunn.web.lehigh.edu/
And The Letters of Mary Penry: A Single Moravian Woman in Early America
http://www.psupress.org/books/titles/978-0-271-08108-3.html

Online Eric Kettenburg

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Bob, I do not feel a need to propose anything.  I am content to state that currently Johannes Moll's origins are unknown, and any more is speculation.  I don't have a problem with a loose end, regardless of how long it may remain loose.  My biggest problem with the armada of internet genealogists, in fact, is their seemingly homogenous need to tie up all loose ends regardless of documentation or - more appropriately - lack thereof.  I am not accusing you of this at all however I am certain you will take it personally as you always seem to do.  I'd like to compliment you highly re: the Neihardt work you have proffered.  It seems quite well-considered and documented, and when I have a chance to read through it all I anticipate updating the portions of my own website which deal with Peter Neihardt.  I am not focused on genealogy but at the same time I do wish for the bit of historical background info I put "out there" to be accurate.  I will certainly credit you for it.  I simply do not understand your apparent eagerness to jump on the William Moll bandwagon when there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever to back up that particular storyline.  It has been fairly extensively proven by now (not only by myself and my own targeted research but also via the work of others in unrelated areas) that most - if not all - of the late 19th century "Histories" are highly unreliable and sorely lacking in documentation.  Furthermore, the mysterious William Moll "tool" monogram and date is (1) quite vague in and of itself, and (2) falls squarely into a period that is well-reecognized amongst collectors and researchers as being the birth of a pseudo-documented genealogy movement in America, a period when everyone and his brother had some old relic or another of a family's grand history.  No, this does not automatically disqualify it, but it has to render it highly suspect at the least and the complete - COMPLETE - lack of any other evidence that a man named William Moll even existed has to call the whole brief story into considerably more than serious question.

So my proposal is, "I don't currently know, and I don't care to put something entirely questionable into hard copy where it will be subsequently interpreted (wrongly or not) as fact."
Strange women lying in ponds, distributing swords, is no basis for a system of government!

Bob Smalser

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Re: The Moll-Newhard-Kuntz Triangle of Old Northampton County Gunmaking
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2012, 11:50:55 PM »

... we shouldn't underestimate the degree to which families misunderstand and misrepresent their own histories.



No doubt about it.



In September 1737 an immigrant ship full of Palatine Germans unloads in Philadelphia and through a translator the men all take an oath of allegiance to the King front of four English justices to obtain settlement rights on the frontier.

The court and later land office records note the three Neuhart men aboard as “brothers” from “Zweibruecken”, the old Lehigh County histories repeat what was recorded, and as a few of their children became famous and wealthy as gunmakers, politicians and landowners, every publication since has used those old histories…including the family in 1917 creating the monument above to their forbearer…and including some publications today. 

Except the records are incorrect.



The Neuharts were part of a party of at least 17 members from the village of Rumbach, which is around 30 road miles from the city of Zweibruecken, but then part of the old Holy Roman Empire’s Duchy of Zweibruecken.  There were four Neuhart men, not three, the senior being Frederick above.  And they weren’t brothers, but a half-brother, a nephew whose age was hidden to obtain half fare, and a second cousin.

Just don’t expect me to believe Johannes Moll dropped out of the sky into Allentown in late 1763 as a trained, practicing gunsmith.  Somebody trained him.  And in the first generation hand-to-mouth subsistence farming economy of the 1730’s through early 1760’s, that person was most likely to have been his father trained in Germany, just like Frederick Neuhart trained his oldest son to be a cordwainer, and Michael trained his to be a weaver.  There wasn’t much of a market on the frontier for guns, hence there weren’t many gunsmiths being developed, because there wasn’t the money to buy guns or the parts to make them.  Which also makes the idea that youngsters then could have been self-taught implausible.

A rifle then cost more than a hundred acres of frontier land, almost as much as a full-fare passage from Rotterdam to Philadelphia, and almost as much as a draft horse.  Early probate and sheriff inventories of household goods mention the snares and bird nets early settlers used for hunting, but few guns.  Official correspondence after every Indian incident from 1755 to 1763 includes loud pleas for weapons and ammunition, because few settlers owned them.  That situation would improve rapidly between 1763 and 1775-6 as the frontier economy improved and Pennsylvania easily fielded battalions of frontier riflemen for service in Boston and Long Island, but the actual evidence says the starting point for Moll in 1763 and Christian Springs in 1762 was near zero.  That’s most likely why “John Moll, Gunsmith” moved from his Berks farm and shop to Allentown.  After burying the 13 mutilated and scalped children killed in the Whitehall Township Massacre in October 1763, the provincial government finally approved substantial weapons and money for defense of the frontier, and families who didn’t own firearms were ready to spend what money they had to buy them.  There was finally a market for servicing and making weapons, and for the first time that market was well-funded.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2012, 12:11:39 AM by Bob Smalser »

Offline spgordon

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Re: The Moll-Newhard-Kuntz Triangle of Old Northampton County Gunmaking
« Reply #11 on: May 02, 2012, 03:11:27 AM »
Bob, if I understand correctly, the cause and effect story you're telling goes something like this: there wasn't a need on the frontier for rifles (which were expensive) until Indian attacks made them seem necessary, so the production of rifles began in earnest only after this (Moll moving to Allentown in 1763 signals the start of this development).

If that's the case, why wouldn't the phenomenon you describe have begun in the late 1750s? By 1763, Indian attacks or (more important) the conviction that such attacks were imminent had been persistent since 1755 in the areas of Pennsylvania that you are interested in. The Whitehall Township Massacre in October 1763 wasn't the beginning of anything, was it?

So, does it make sense that "there was finally a market for servicing and making weapons" only in 1763? And, even were that the case, what is the evidence that only then "that market was well-funded"?

*******

The issue of the prevalence (or not) of guns in colonial America is, as I'm sure you know, a very controversial one. Bellesiles's Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture (2000) made very similar claims about the absence of guns in probate records--but only by deliberately falsifying data; it first won, and then was stripped of, the Bancroft Prize. Bellesiles's critics (Clayton Cramer's Armed America [2007] or James Lindgren's "Counting Guns in Early America" [2002], which is explicitly about probate records) have pretty much refuted the thesis that guns were scarce in colonial America. Have you consulted any of these thorough analyses of the prevalence of guns in colonial America?
« Last Edit: May 02, 2012, 03:24:29 AM by spgordon »
Check out The Lost Village of Christian's Spring:
https://christiansbrunn.web.lehigh.edu/
And The Letters of Mary Penry: A Single Moravian Woman in Early America
http://www.psupress.org/books/titles/978-0-271-08108-3.html

Bob Smalser

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Re: The Moll-Newhard-Kuntz Triangle of Old Northampton County Gunmaking
« Reply #12 on: May 02, 2012, 03:59:39 AM »
... why wouldn't the phenomenon you describe have begun in the late 1750s? By 1763, Indian attacks or (more important) the conviction that such attacks were imminent had been persistent since 1755 in the areas of Pennsylvania that you are interested in. The Whitehall Township Massacre in October 1763 wasn't the beginning of anything, was it?

Good question.  The short answer is while the province provided guns to militia forces, all of whom were volunteers in Pennsylvania, there simply wasn't enough money in the hands of the typical family to purchase firearms much before the early 1760's, when the first generation of sons was sufficiently grown to speed up the ongoing but slow process of land clearing.  The sequential father-son wills of John II Moll's in-laws below demonstrate the expense of horses alone for continuing land clearing consumed much of the farm’s productivity.  (Also keep in mind the wills below reflect one of the more successful and wealthier families in the county)  Add to that the thinly-manned forts Franklin and Weisner constructed along Blue Mountain provided a false sense of security.

So South of Blue Mountain for a number of reasons there was a lull in Indian attacks between those of 1755, when settlers simply fled rather than fought, and 1763 attacks that were part of Pontiac’s Rebellion, when settlers were willing to fight but largely didn’t have weapons:

Quote
LANCASTER, October 17th, 1763
   
   Sir:  (Governor Hamilton) I arrived here on Monday night from Northampton.  I need not trouble your Honor with a relation of the misfortune of that county, as Mr. Horsfield told me he would send you an express, and inform you fully of what happened.  I will only mention, that in the town of Northampton (population 300), there were only four guns, three of which were unfit for use, and the enemy within four miles of the place.
                  Respectfully yours,
                                    (Colonel) JAMES BURD (Mickley 30)

While Whitehall wasn’t attacked again on such a scale, townships west and north of Blue Mountain certainly were.  The Franklin County Schoolroom Massacre the following July being just one.

Quote
The transition from hand-to-mouth subsistence farming to an economy we’d recognize today in the Lehigh Valley took almost two generations, with University of Toronto geographer James Lemon stating that for southeast Pennsylvania as a whole, homesteaders weren’t selling a significant amount their production as surplus until the third generation.  The evolution of local economic life beginning with two adults with small children building a log-cabin farmstead in the wilderness in 1738 to large, prosperous farms and mills worth several thousand pounds (probably Pennsylvania pounds) in the wills below was slow, especially in the first generation before the family’s sons were grown.31  While the local markets: a trading post at Bethlehem 6 miles distant, a foundry (Durham Furnace) 21 miles distant, and major markets in Reading and Philadelphia 37 and 65 miles distant, all over largely unimproved roads and trails, were certainly part of that evolution, they weren’t the drivers.  The ability to convert forest to productive farmland was the driver, and that largely didn’t reach fruition for the families who settled the Lehigh Valley in the late 1730’s until the second generation reached adulthood around the time of the Revolutionary War (Kennedy 598; Lemon 27).
   For example, Rifleman Christopher’s father Frederick Neuhart (1699-1765), according to various Lehigh County and church histories, was the owner of one of the most prosperous farms in the area at the time of his death.  The location was on the lower Jordan Creek; land that is now at or within the city limits of Allentown.  A provincial tax was assessed Jan. 2, 1765.  He was taxed for 305 acres (of which 85 acres were under cultivation), eight horses, seven cattle and eight sheep, indicating a sizeable farming operation for that period. His will as Frederich Neuhart of Whitehall Township, cordwainer, was executed on Jan. 1, 1764, was signed “Fridrich Neihart”, and made the following provisions:

(1) To two sons, Frederick & Lawrence the sum of 30 pounds each.
(2) To eldest son, Christopher, five shillings, as his full share of my estate because of advancements in my life time.  
(3) To wife Maria Margaretha all real and personal estate during her natural life, afterward to my children: Frederick. Lawrence, Daniel, Peter, Juliana wife of Stephen Schneider, Salome, Sophia, and Elizabeth Barbara, share alike. (Note this excluded Christopher, whose farm purchased in Mt Bethel Township with his father’s assistance in 1762 had failed by 1764, perhaps due to some natural disaster).
(4) Executors to be friends, George Knauss and George Jacob Kern (1737 fellow immigrant and nephew of the owner of “Trucker’s Mill” in Heidelberg Township 14), with power to see that minor children are educated and to bind them out to learn trades or husbandry. Witnesses were Thomas Hunsicker, Johannes Roth, and J. Okely. Probated May 14, 1766.   (Kastens Vol IV 14-16; Klees 191-96; Register's file #428 at Easton)

   Frederick’s farm was acquired by purchase from the original homesteader, John Eastburn, in November, 1746.  Twenty years later, only 85 of 305 acres were cleared and in tillage with five grown males working the land.  And at four to five acres per horse, three to four per cow and two per sheep, over 70 of the tilled 85 acres were required just to support the farm’s livestock, leaving only 10-15 acres to feed and provide income for the nine residents of the farm, which alone would have been marginal. (University of Michigan historian Michael Kennedy states that in southeast Pennsylvania, a minimum of 125 tillable acres was required to produce marketable surpluses.) Plus they didn’t need eight horses just to till 85 acres, as later generations would own half that many to farm similar tracts.  They owned extra teams because land clearing remained a major part of their efforts.  When he wrote his will in 1764, Frederick’s cash legacies to his sons (including Christopher) show he had accumulated over 60 pounds in the 27 years since his largely penniless arrival on the frontier.  How much cash was derived from the farm and how much from Frederick’s and his older sons’ seasonal trade as cordwainers?  Probably most was derived from their trade, as all the local farmers needed substantial shoes to do heavy work, and as of 1764 the farm acreage arithmetic indicates the farm was still a capital asset under development, with most of the farming effort being reinvested in the cycle of land-clearing and tillage to increase productive farmland acreage as opposed to producing short-term income.  Thus by 1764 there was some cash income, but most of it probably came from shoemaking (Kennedy 590; Lemon 28-29, 64-65, 94, 152-53, 181, 205).
   In turn, Frederick’s third son Lawrence’s (1740-1817) will of 1814 demonstrates a largely complete transition from the hand-to-mouth subsistence farming of 1740 to a cash-based economy of 1815, with an attendant rise in cash on hand and cash values.  Lawrence’s assets included 183 acres along the Jordan Creek (his share of his father’s farm) plus additional acreage in “Northampton County” (in 1812 Allentown and the original family farm had become part of Lehigh County), plus a grist mill he built in 1790 that continued operation into the 20th Century.  Note that in his lifetime Lawrence at least doubled the number of acres he originally inherited.

(1)  Fifty pounds to Zion Reformed Church.
(2)  Fifty pounds to the poor of Northampton County.
(3)  To son Jacob my plantation of 100 acres with water rights, valued at 2100 pounds.
(4)  To sons Johannes and Daniel the mill and its nine acres, plus adjacent woodlands, together valued at 3100 pounds.
(5)  To son Friedrich 17 acres plus the land I gave him in my lifetime.
(6)  To son Daniel all the land and buildings he now farms plus the adjacent woodlands.
(7)  To son Friedrich and daughter Elizabeth, wife of Johann Moll, my 24 acres in Heidelberg Township.
(8)  To daughters Elizabeth, wife of Johann Moll, Anna Maria, wife of David Jundt, and Salome, wife of George Jundt, the 142-acre tract I own in Northampton County.
(9)  Executors will be my son Friedrich and my son-in-law Johann Moll (today known as gunmaker John Moll II).   (Kastens Vol IV 36-37; Register’s File #218 at Allentown)

Two sons aren’t mentioned in the will: Christian who in 1798 married and moved west to establish a farm on 182 acres of prime Susquehanna River bottomland in Columbia County, and Peter who in 1800 established a blacksmith shop on Sumner Avenue in Allentown.  As there appears to be no enmity involved (both sons named boys after their father in the years following his death), it is highly likely their father helped them establish new farms and businesses and merely didn’t mention that in his will.  Hence his actual wealth accumulation was probably two parts greater than his will reflects.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2012, 04:04:30 AM by Bob Smalser »

Online Eric Kettenburg

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Re: The Moll-Newhard-Kuntz Triangle of Old Northampton County Gunmaking
« Reply #13 on: May 02, 2012, 04:10:07 AM »
Bob I do agree completely that the impetus for firelock readiness in the Allentown area following the massacre increased dramatically, and Moll's "coincidental" appearance there at the same time probably is part of a larger story.  However,

"Just don’t expect me to believe Johannes Moll dropped out of the sky into Allentown in late 1763 as a trained, practicing gunsmith."

He did not drop out of the sky. We know exactly where he was for the preceding 12-13 years:  as an adjoining neighbor to the Angstadts in what would become Rockland twp. Berks Co.  A neighbor to a family which produced a number of known gunsmiths.  Georg Angstadt has long been believed to have been a gunsmith, and I believe (I will have to dig it up as I'm going by memory only at the moment) there is some very cursory documentation to this effect.  So Moll is on 50 acres - for 12 to 13 years - next to a whopper of a farm run by an old guy believed to be a gunsmith, whose son Adam was a known gunsmith and whose grandsons Peter and Joseph have left ample evidence of their work for us to examine, and when he (Johannes) sells his property in 1763 he is noted in the document as a "gunsmith."  Meanwhile we still have no evidence at all for a William Moll.  Furthermore, while many fathers did indeed train their sons, an equal number of non-tradesmen (easily and equal number, if prob. not more I would wager) farmed them out to artisans for training.  The notion that Johannes must have been a gunsmith because his father was a gunsmith is a very, very specious argument with no basis at all in fact.  Why, in fact, is it not equally likely that Johannes emigrated to America sans family?  I'll have to revisit the Palatine lists but I do recall that there are one or two John/Johannes Molls who arrived prior to 1750/51 when he first appears on the Rockland property.  I think 1747 or 48 for one?  I might also add that building a functional rifle or musket is not rocket science, and imported locks/barrels/furniture were EASILY available everywhere for sale (this is documented), as well as scavenged components.  It does not take much at all for anyone who has simply looked at a gun and has even a rudimentary talent for utilizing some simple wood tools to get a functional firearm going.  There are numerous extant examples of surviving American flint arms that were obviously stocked by competent amateurs with no 'formal' training.  I'm not saying that is the case with Moll, but I certainly see no reason to dismiss the scenario (a speculative one) as readily as you seem willing to do.  What Frederick Neuhart did in relation his descendants' training is completely irrelevant here, as he was not Moll's father nor was he a neighbor ca. 1751-1763.
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Online Eric Kettenburg

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Re: The Moll-Newhard-Kuntz Triangle of Old Northampton County Gunmaking
« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2012, 04:16:55 AM »
Furthermore I should add that there is an existing, very early (in appearance) smooth rifle/musket kind of thing of unknown origin that probably - based upon what I currently know of American provincial arms development - dates to the 1750s or 1760s if not earlier, and it is "signed" with large amalgam filled block letters "CHRISTOPH. MOLL."  The letters are executed exactly the same (i.e., enormously) as two later restocked barrels which are marked, "JOHANNES MOLL."  No I do not have pictures currently, but I suspect it will be published one of these days.  It is certainly earlier than any surviving John Moll rifle.  I know of two other collectors who have viewed this rifle many years ago and feel likewise that it is a very, very early piece.

Edit:  checked my notes, one guy claimed that he remembered it being marked Christophel Moll, but I he's going on a memory of seeing it somewhere around 40+ years ago.  It is in fact marked exactly as I describe above.

So:  Christoph/Christophel/Christopher - brother? father? uncle? cousin?  have to dig out the papers but I think there was a Christophel in Berks and thence - dare i say - NC?  Maybe I'm thinking of someone else.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2012, 04:30:04 AM by Eric Kettenburg »
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Offline spgordon

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Re: The Moll-Newhard-Kuntz Triangle of Old Northampton County Gunmaking
« Reply #15 on: May 02, 2012, 04:30:51 AM »
Bob, you've used this quotation about Northampton Town in October 1763 before, and one begins to suspect that your entire generalization about the lack of guns "on the frontier" depends on this single piece of evidence (and ignoring any evidence to the contrary). We covered all the pieces of your claim about this some time ago, so I'll provide the link to it: http://americanlongrifles.org/forum/index.php?topic=14597.msg155649#msg155649

And I can't resist copying as well my remarks on that bit of evidence from then: "even good evidence requires interpretation and understanding. Why were there only 4 guns (3 of them unfit for use) in Allentown in October 1763? Is it possible (indeed, probable) that the town had more guns earlier but many had left with the militia men who owned them or had been taken by authorities for use by soldiers between 1755-1763? My point here is that, even if entirely accurate, this count of guns at this snapshot of time needs to be explained and understood before it's (mis)used as representative of how many guns existed in the entire county."

That is: what justifies moving from this fact that there were few guns in Allentown in October 1763 to an assertion about the number of guns present in Northampton County generally (or, as you often seem to imply, the Pennsylvania frontier more generally)? Is there any other evidence about how prevalent guns were on this or any frontier in Pennsylvania?

Your response, I am sure, will involve suggesting that frontier households did not have "enough money" to buy guns--which is shown by pointing to the evidence of Allentown in October 1763--and so we're back at square one.
Check out The Lost Village of Christian's Spring:
https://christiansbrunn.web.lehigh.edu/
And The Letters of Mary Penry: A Single Moravian Woman in Early America
http://www.psupress.org/books/titles/978-0-271-08108-3.html

Bob Smalser

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Re: The Moll-Newhard-Kuntz Triangle of Old Northampton County Gunmaking
« Reply #16 on: May 02, 2012, 04:54:38 AM »
The notion that Johannes must have been a gunsmith because his father was a gunsmith is a very, very specious argument with no basis at all in fact.  

Those are all good points above.  

But they entirely ignore the fact that a Moll grandson specifically mentioned that Johannes Moll had a father named William who was a gunsmith.  And had absolutely no reason to fabricate a story.  Add to that two Moll genealogists who report family records stating that William died intestate in Northampton County and that there are records accordingly in the Easton Courthouse, and even if the records can no longer be found, that’s stronger evidence than speculation about gunmaking neighbors or a young Moll immigrating alone, which was uncommon until the peak immigration years of the early 1750’s.

But I’m hardly married to the notion of a William Moll.  I only want to see something more solid before I erase him.

While the Berks farms were settled earlier and were more developed than Northampton farms, I can’t overstate relative costs.  Even for locks and barrels.  A plain rifle with accoutrements then cost roughly six to eight English pounds, which was a year’s wages for the average worker.  In turn, a full fare for passage from Rotterdam to Philadelphia cost 8 pounds, a hundred acres of vacant frontier land sold for five pounds, trade guns two to three pounds, military muskets three to four pounds, a horse 10-12 pounds, a piano 20 pounds and a 60’ by 230’ building lot in downtown Allentown 45 pounds .  Until their farms became more productive, the money wasn’t there.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2012, 05:27:12 AM by Bob Smalser »

Bob Smalser

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Re: The Moll-Newhard-Kuntz Triangle of Old Northampton County Gunmaking
« Reply #17 on: May 02, 2012, 05:16:22 AM »
Bob, you've used this quotation about Northampton Town in October 1763 before, and one begins to suspect that your entire generalization about the lack of guns "on the frontier" depends on this single piece of evidence.

I like Burd’s letter for its brevity and poignancy.  But there are several other references to weapons shortages  in Francis Fox’s” Sweet Land of Liberty, the Ordeal of the American Revolution in Northampton County” and Nester’s “The Frontier War for American Independence”. 

When the Continental Congress asked Pennsylvania to raise rifle companies in 1775, the Pennsylvania representatives’ planning figure was two men per township.  Not because there weren’t more men, but because there weren’t many more men owning rifles and possessing the requisite skills.

Here’s one quickie on p46 of Fox, and this was in 1775 when weapons were much more common than they had been in 1763:

“…provide each man with a good firelock, one pound of powder, four pounds of lead…committeemen to meet in Easton May 22 (1775) to report on how well their township had complied with the committee’s orders.  In truth however, the committee knew that due to a lack of arms not more than 50 men in the entire county could turn out as they had recommended.”

The good news is there are professional historians arguing the same topic, and I hope Aaron Spencer Fogelman (Hopeful Journeys.  German Immigration Settlement and Political Culture in Colonial America) picks up this ball and runs with it:

“…I have never looked much into 18th-century gun making but always wanted to, as there are a number of important topics involved.  My sense is that a lot of people did not own guns, as there simply were not enough gun makers or imports to keep up with the exploding population.  My adviser from the University of Michigan, John Shy, disagrees rather vehemently with me.  You might be interested in his book "A People Numerous and Armed." … The essays in this book came out in the 1960s and 1970s and were very influential among early American military historians.  In fact, they are still standard reading.”

Again, like the notion of William Moll, I’m not married to any of this.  I only want to see solid evidence rather that lore and mythology, because all the evidence for German immigrants to Pennsylvania is to the contrary.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2012, 05:37:58 AM by Bob Smalser »

Offline spgordon

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Re: The Moll-Newhard-Kuntz Triangle of Old Northampton County Gunmaking
« Reply #18 on: May 02, 2012, 05:36:30 AM »
 I only want to see solid evidence rather that lore and mythology ....

Relying on Aaron F., who admits that he has not "looked much into eighteenth-century gun making" (but wants to!), rather than on John Shy is odd in the extreme. If you would like "solid evidence rather than lore" regarding the prevalence of guns generally (not Northampton County in particular) in colonial America, read Clayton Cramer or James Lindgren.

Citing two instances in which there were shortages of weapons and ignoring the many, many instances that show the contrary is part of the method that Bellesiles used to build up his picture of the scarcity of guns in colonial America. Cramer and Lindgen demonstrate at length and in painstaking detail the willful blindness to contrary evidence necessary to believe that these instances are in any sense representative.

... because all the evidence for German immigrants to Pennsylvania is to the contrary.

Evidence of? There is no "evidence" whatsoever about gun ownership among German immigrants to Pennsylvania, is there?
« Last Edit: May 02, 2012, 05:44:17 AM by spgordon »
Check out The Lost Village of Christian's Spring:
https://christiansbrunn.web.lehigh.edu/
And The Letters of Mary Penry: A Single Moravian Woman in Early America
http://www.psupress.org/books/titles/978-0-271-08108-3.html

Offline spgordon

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Re: The Moll-Newhard-Kuntz Triangle of Old Northampton County Gunmaking
« Reply #19 on: May 02, 2012, 05:48:26 AM »
When the Continental Congress asked Pennsylvania to raise rifle companies in 1775, the Pennsylvania representatives’ planning figure was two men per township.  Not because there weren’t more men, but because there weren’t many more men owning rifles and possessing the requisite skills.

Whoa, I think this appeared after I first read your post or I missed it the first time.

Where did you get this information from--not the 2 men per township but the reasons for it (contemporaries believed that there weren't more than 2 men per township owning rifles)?
Check out The Lost Village of Christian's Spring:
https://christiansbrunn.web.lehigh.edu/
And The Letters of Mary Penry: A Single Moravian Woman in Early America
http://www.psupress.org/books/titles/978-0-271-08108-3.html

Bob Smalser

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Re: The Moll-Newhard-Kuntz Triangle of Old Northampton County Gunmaking
« Reply #20 on: May 02, 2012, 06:03:56 AM »

…read Clayton Cramer or James Lindgren.

 

I’m not interested in arguing about various gun control agendas.  Especially yours.  Nor am I a fraud who fabricates or short-sheets evidence.

But I am researching colonial Pennsylvania south of Blue Mountain, and the situation among German immigrants there in the first thirty years of their settlement was almost entirely different than in colonies that had mandatory militia laws like Cramer’s Maryland, Virginia and New England.

Provide me some specific references you think I’ve missed concerning early SE Pennsylvania, and I’ll happily pursue them. 
« Last Edit: May 02, 2012, 06:04:49 AM by Bob Smalser »

Offline spgordon

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Re: The Moll-Newhard-Kuntz Triangle of Old Northampton County Gunmaking
« Reply #21 on: May 02, 2012, 06:08:54 AM »
OK, how about this that surrounds the quote you cherry picked from Frank Fox's book.

Fox does state (with no citation) that the Northampton County Committee "knew in advance that due to a lack of arms not more than fifty men in the entire county could turn out as they had recommended." Note that this is Fox talking, not a quotation from the Northampton County Committee's minutes.

In the next paragraph, Fox notes that the Committee Minutes report that 2300 men joined the militia in Northampton County--and that the Committee required that all militiamen "provide themselves with arms and ammunition." Hard to see how they would require this if the arms were not available. Its other demand was that "shopkeepers be forbidden to sell or dispose of any arms or ammunition without the consent" of at least one committee member. Seems like there were arms around and that the concern was that they would end up in the hands of the "wrong" folks.

On the following page, Fox describes Lewis Gordon (committee chairman at the time) searching for provincial arms loaned to Northampton County during the French and Indian War, reimbursing officers for arms purchased for their battalions, and collecting 57 rifles made by local men (presumably recently).

Suggesting that there was a scarcity of arms in Northampton County in 1775 requires one to ignore this (and other) evidence.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2012, 06:10:03 AM by spgordon »
Check out The Lost Village of Christian's Spring:
https://christiansbrunn.web.lehigh.edu/
And The Letters of Mary Penry: A Single Moravian Woman in Early America
http://www.psupress.org/books/titles/978-0-271-08108-3.html

Offline spgordon

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Re: The Moll-Newhard-Kuntz Triangle of Old Northampton County Gunmaking
« Reply #22 on: May 02, 2012, 06:13:09 AM »

I’m not interested in arguing about various gun control agendas.  Especially yours. 

If I have a gun control agenda, I am unaware of it. And if you find in anything I wrote anything about a gun control agenda, you're mis-reading.

Cramer certainly writes to undermine what he sees as Bellesiles gun control agenda. Lindgren, from what I can tell, has no axe to grind except the accurate reading of evidence (and exposing fraud where it has occurred). But I'd be interested to know if you read them differently--if you bother to read them.
Check out The Lost Village of Christian's Spring:
https://christiansbrunn.web.lehigh.edu/
And The Letters of Mary Penry: A Single Moravian Woman in Early America
http://www.psupress.org/books/titles/978-0-271-08108-3.html

Bob Smalser

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Re: The Moll-Newhard-Kuntz Triangle of Old Northampton County Gunmaking
« Reply #23 on: May 02, 2012, 06:18:05 AM »
...In the next paragraph, Fox notes that the Committee Minutes report that 2300 men joined the militia in Northampton County--and that the Committee required that all militiamen "provide themselves with arms and ammunition."

Sure.  But did they actually show up with arms and ammunition as the committee wished?

If they did, the province wouldn't have had to buy the 12,000 stands of arms it had in Allentown alone by 1777.

But again, my text reads the weapons situation was improved by 1775 when Thompson's Rifle Battalion was formed.  My focus on weapons shortages is 1763.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2012, 06:29:01 AM by Bob Smalser »

Bob Smalser

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Re: The Moll-Newhard-Kuntz Triangle of Old Northampton County Gunmaking
« Reply #24 on: May 02, 2012, 06:25:23 AM »
If I have a gun control agenda, I am unaware of it. And if you find in anything I wrote anything about a gun control agenda, you're mis-reading.


Then why associate me with Bellesiles?  Based on the reviews, I never bothered to read him, let alone use him as a reference.