Author Topic: The Moll-Newhard-Kuntz Triangle of Old Northampton County Gunmaking  (Read 69534 times)

Offline spgordon

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Re: The Moll-Newhard-Kuntz Triangle of Old Northampton County Gunmaking
« Reply #75 on: May 13, 2012, 08:40:57 PM »
If all the Germans in the area are describing a smooth bore gun as Glatt it is no stretch to see how an Englishman would interpret the sound as glass.
Agreed!

It did occur to me that whoever transcribed the letter--I don't know whether, Eric, you were working with the original letter or a transcription (I suspect the original letter)--may have transcribed "glass" when Horsfield wrote "glatt," but it's equally possible that Horsfield assimilated "glatt" to the more familiar English word "glass."
Check out: The Lost Village of Christian's Spring
https://christiansbrunn.web.lehigh.edu/
And: The Earliest Moravian Work in the Mid-Atlantic: A Guide
https://www.moravianhistory.org/product-page/moravian-activity-in-the-mid-atlantic-guidebook

Offline Acer Saccharum

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Re: The Moll-Newhard-Kuntz Triangle of Old Northampton County Gunmaking
« Reply #76 on: May 13, 2012, 11:50:53 PM »
Yellow-stocked guns.... oil paint w/ochre pigment?  There is a Lehigh in the Henry museum collection painted red, looks like red milk paint.
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Offline Eric Kettenburg

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Re: The Moll-Newhard-Kuntz Triangle of Old Northampton County Gunmaking
« Reply #77 on: May 14, 2012, 03:02:38 PM »
The original was written in English and the exact spelling was "glass," or I should say, that's exactly how I copied it.  Unfortunately, as usual, I was very pressed for a limited amount of time any of the occasions I went down there and so never had the time to fully copy anything - I basically just scanned through anything I could find relative to NH Co. and paraphrased anything pertinent in notes, copying exact quotes if I deemed them important and planned to use them.  I did make sure to document where everything originated!

I have more of interest, will post as soon as I can go through everything.

Fortunately, I was specifically looking into NH Co. during the exact period we are discussing here, as well as Allentown ca. 1760s-1770s, and I was looking for anything relative to guns, gunsmiths etc.  Good information to have!
« Last Edit: May 14, 2012, 03:08:29 PM by Eric Kettenburg »
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Offline Eric Kettenburg

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Re: The Moll-Newhard-Kuntz Triangle of Old Northampton County Gunmaking
« Reply #78 on: May 14, 2012, 03:10:44 PM »
I suspect you guys are correct about the use of the term "glatt."  Possibly it was being used in plural or a local slang, i.e. "glatts" or something similar, but anyway you look at it, it is darn close to "glass" and very likely exactly what was being referenced.
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Offline Eric Kettenburg

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Re: The Moll-Newhard-Kuntz Triangle of Old Northampton County Gunmaking
« Reply #79 on: May 15, 2012, 12:04:28 AM »
Microfilm MFilmXR 703

DEcember 1755, William Hays to William PArsons at Easton:
Hays acquired 100 "guns" (no further specification) as well as 100 wt powder, 400 wt of lead of which half was "swan shot"; 55 of the guns were for PArsons and were currently at Overpacks on the Durham Road.

July 1756, Letter from William PArsons at Easton to Commisioners, makes mention of a letter he had received from Horsefield which accounted for Provincial arms held by Daniel Kliest at Bethlehem; Kliest only had enough guns for about 1/3 of the men, but the guns were not good and (quote) "the men being generally as much afraid to fire them as they would to meet an indian." [unfortunately, Horsefield's letter was not there that I could find, so it was only paraphrased by Parsons]

September 1763, petition to Col. Horsefield at Bethlehem, from people at Brinker's Mill; it's a long petition, they want soldiers stationed there, and only half the petitioners have guns and are short on powder and lead.  [so half are unarmed, but on the other hand half ARE armed.]

October 1763, Commissioners in Philadelphia to Horsefield at Bethlehem, they are sending by Bethlehem stage 25 muskets to Captain Gordon at Easton, 50 muskets to CApt. Wolf at Northampton Town, 25 muskets to Capt. Hays in Allen Township.  Powder, lead, flints and shot sent along to all as well.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2012, 01:02:02 AM by Eric Kettenburg »
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Bob Smalser

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Re: The Moll-Newhard-Kuntz Triangle of Old Northampton County Gunmaking
« Reply #80 on: May 15, 2012, 01:16:09 AM »

(Where's the fun in that Bob?  ;D ;D )

By all means keep going, Eric.  I'm collecting it. 

So the issue wasn't so much there weren't guns, but the guns they had didn't work.  Perhaps both because Rhinelanders had almost zero experience with firearms in their home country, and the emergency of 1755 brought a lot of junk trade guns into the country.  Plus the evidence is still a long way from every homestead possessing a firearm.  There's merit to the argument that the massive influx of German settlers to Northamption in the late 1740's and early 1750's outstripped almost all available resources.

To wit, Marianne Wokek's Trade in Strangers, where the peak year is 1750.

But William Moll stays where he is unless you come up with something a lot better than the live interview of William Henry Moll.

Page 123-4.  Mathews, Alfred and Hungerford, Austin. History of the Counties of Lehigh and Carbon,  Philadelphia: Everts and Richards, 1884.    However loose those early histories, they remain better than rumors.

http://search.ancestry.com/Browse/BookView.aspx?dbid=14003&iid=dvm_LocHist000929-00086-1&sid=&gskw=&cr=1

Offline spgordon

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Re: The Moll-Newhard-Kuntz Triangle of Old Northampton County Gunmaking
« Reply #81 on: May 15, 2012, 01:28:14 AM »
Welcome back! (Seriously.)

I don't think anybody (here, at least) claimed that "every homestead possess[ed] a firearm." I think we were contending that German farmers (a) could obtain guns and (b) did obtain guns--and that there is no evidence to generalize that as a group Northampton County German farmers did not possess firearms. It would be beyond my abilities to know how to move from the evidence that Eric has collected to any kind of estimate of what percentage of these farmers did possess guns and what percentage did not. But its clear that one cannot claim accurately that German farmers, in particular, did not or could not possess firearms.

If you contend "that the massive influx of German settlers to Northamption in the late 1740's and early 1750's outstripped almost all available resources," you seem to be accepting that these German settlers were indeed a "market" for guns. Indeed, now they seem to have gobbled up all the available product!

Check out: The Lost Village of Christian's Spring
https://christiansbrunn.web.lehigh.edu/
And: The Earliest Moravian Work in the Mid-Atlantic: A Guide
https://www.moravianhistory.org/product-page/moravian-activity-in-the-mid-atlantic-guidebook

Bob Smalser

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Re: The Moll-Newhard-Kuntz Triangle of Old Northampton County Gunmaking
« Reply #82 on: May 15, 2012, 02:13:05 AM »
I don't think anybody (here, at least) claimed that "every homestead possess[ed] a firearm." I think we were contending that German farmers (a) could obtain guns and (b) did obtain guns--and that there is no evidence to generalize that as a group Northampton County German farmers did not possess firearms.

If you contend "that the massive influx of German settlers to Northamption in the late 1740's and early 1750's outstripped almost all available resources," you seem to be accepting that these German settlers were indeed a "market" for guns. Indeed, now they seem to have gobbled up all the available product!


They were only a market for guns to the extent that they could afford them, whether by purchase or barter.  The demographics and residual wealth of German frontier settlers was dramatically different by 1750 than they were in the 1730ís:

1)  Commoners rarely owned firearms in Germany and Alsace.  It was possible, but difficult and expensive.  They definitely didnít bring firearms with them, as besides expense, any one of the 20+ Rhine River checkpoints alone along the way would have confiscated them.

2)  There were twice as many German immigrants to Pennsylvania in the six years  between 1748 and 1754 than there were in the 27 years from 1720 to 1747.  Thatís one helluva spike in a 1685-1775 influx of over 80,000 settlers.

3)  As German immigration progressed from 1685 to 1754, the merchants profiting from it in Rotterdam, Cowes, London and Philadelphia got better at it, and it became more, not less expensive.  For a number of reasons, settlers had less and less money to spend in Pennsylvania as the wave of immigration progressed through 1754.

4)  Whether by purchase or barter, acquiring a new rifle prior to the Revolution was extremely expensive.  Equal to a yearís wages or a full-fare passage from Rotterdam to Philly.  More than a hundred acres of frontier land or a full fare passage from (cheaper) Ireland to Philly.  Or almost as much as a horse.  Acquiring one within two or three years after the merchants, shipís captains and the Penn Land Office picked you clean upon arrival, was almost impossible.

Iíve never disputed rifles were out there.  What Iím disputing (and so is Fogelman)  is given the immigration spike alone compared with available resources in Pennsylvania, there couldnít have been as many as advertised by the screenwriters.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2012, 02:30:45 AM by Bob Smalser »

Offline Eric Kettenburg

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Re: The Moll-Newhard-Kuntz Triangle of Old Northampton County Gunmaking
« Reply #83 on: May 15, 2012, 02:56:36 AM »
I'll second the welcome back.  The comment you quoted above wasn't directed at you however, but rather at Bob Lienemann, with whom I've been corresponding on this subject as well.  It's very, very hard to simply 'put the [documentable] facts out there' all by their lonesome while simultaneously avoiding any conclusions whatsoever.

My thoughts on the whole gun thing in a nutshell - speculative, for as Scott notes above, it's really impossible now in 2012 to present a clear picture - are that guns were there, guns were owned, and guns were used.  My impression is that many of the guns were probably poorly maintained and not used regularly in a martial fashion.  In fact, many of the 'poor Germans' probably had no concept at all of the Indian's blitz warfare, lightning strikes on isolated locations and then *poof* gone back over the blue mountain.  Most every period account, the only accounts I would concern myself with, tend to reinforce this interpretation, and the lack of war experience combined with a lack of constant firearm readiness basically made them sitting ducks.  Some apparently put up a fight, but most probably were already conditioned to simply get the $#*! out of there with their skins intact.  Whole lots of probablys there.  Just don't say the guns, and a market for them, weren't there, because they definitely were and have been proven to be so.

An entirely additional chapter which has yet to be examined (not in this monster thread and not in most texts, although *hint hint* there is a LOT to be found in my old friends the first hand documents), is the relationship between the way the natives were viewed pre-1755 and post-1755, and the role of the Moravians and their missionary activities among the natives in this view specifically in Northampton County.  There are ample accounts of "friend indians" (and I quote, because that term was used for the Moravian converts or near-converts) coming and going throughout the county and particularly to and from Bethlehem, and during the years of trouble, they were put into a very dire predicament and advised to stay hidden and not go 'out' lest they be harassed, imprisoned or killed.  Many of them seem to have become entirely dependent upon white charity.  I can't offer the exact location of this at the moment as it's buried, and I'm paraphrasing, but I distinctly remember reading it right from the horses' mouths ca. 1755-63.  So, to be more concise, what I'm getting at is this:  how did the relationship of area German farmers with the Moravian indians pre-1755 color their expectations and perceptions of said natives, and how did those expectations and perceptions color their level of preparedness when all $#*! broke loose in NH Co.?  I can't help but to view this as a very interesting question.

"Page 123-4.  Mathews, Alfred and Hungerford, Austin. History of the Counties of Lehigh and Carbon,  Philadelphia: Everts and Richards, 1884.    However loose those early histories, they remain better than rumors."
(I can;t figure out how to do the fancy quote box in a selective fashion)

Oh lord, WHAT RUMORS?  There are no rumors, or at the least, I don't believe that I have put any forth since the recent discovery of where he was ca. 1751-1763.  Next door to a Berks Co. gunsmithing family.  That's it.  Sure, someone taught him, someone taught them, who taught who is a big question?  I don't know.  None of us know, as currently none of us know where he was prior to 1751.  maybe he was born here, maybe he was one of the immigrants on the pre-1751 ship lists.  One thing I do know for certain, the property on the map was noted "John Moll," not William Moll.  Prior to John being there, it was noted as Moses Hyman who vacated the land ca. late 1750 and ended up in Reading.  Moll never had a warrant on it, nor anywhere else in Rockland twp. (or what became Rockland twp.)  So any smith shops or dwellings or whatever that were there were either put up by Hyman or by John Moll.  There was no William involved in that land.  Other surrounding people at the same time are George Ongstadt, David Weiser, Abm. Peter, John Frederick, Peter Preil, Jacob Plant, Lazarus Weidner.  During the 1750s, also Wm Foulke.  We would never know all this, save that repeated surveys were made ca. 1749-1751 which can provide a timeline of who was where.  I guess I have to disagree - spurious, speculative or otherwise unverifiable information is not better than rumor simply because it is put into print.  It's fine to discuss as speculation, as long as it is recognized as questionable.  BTW, where did that old, oft-repeated information about the Neiharts being from Zweibrucken originate again?  :-*
« Last Edit: May 15, 2012, 02:58:05 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 #84 on: May 15, 2012, 04:09:30 AM »
Iíve never disputed rifles were out there.  What Iím disputing (and so is Fogelman)  is given the immigration spike alone compared with available resources in Pennsylvania, there couldnít have been as many as advertised by the screenwriters.

Well ... I think you did in the recent past insist something very close to there were no "rifles...out there" among the Pennsylvania German farmers of Northampton County. "Few" is one phrase you use below; "near zero" is another:

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.

Anyway, I am glad now that it is only the imprecision of the "screenwriters" that you're disputing--and in this effort at historical accuracy I can join you. In that light, I guess we can both agree with Eric that

guns were there, guns were owned, and guns were used.

All the evidence that we have indicates this is the case: there were guns and there was a market for them among Northampton County German Farmers (NCGFs from here on out). To make any claim whatsoever about precisely how many (whether "near zero" or very few or less than half) is guesswork (or worse, since it isn't even filling in the blanks; it's making things up entirely). But less than one in "every homestead" we can be certain of, since many of the reports that Eric supplied indicates that some households did not have guns. But perhaps the next two neighbors did. Or five neighbors. Maybe 80% of the NCGFs own guns and the stories that survived are of the few outliers who lacked them and so whose stories got told? Well that's equally guesswork.

I need to add that repeatedly citing Aaron F., whose two books (on German immigration and violence against Moravians) I admire, on the issue of gun ownership smacks of desperation for an ally, since he admits in personal correspondence with you that he has not "looked much into eighteenth-century gun making."

A while back you challenged: "Provide me some specific references you think Iíve missed concerning early SE Pennsylvania..." I think Eric did that, in abundance, more than anybody could have expected (or deserved!: the amount of time that went into the gathering of that material, which he simply posted to this list, must have been enormous). What I don't understand is why this abundant, contemporary evidence hasn't resulted in a modification of the theory about the prevalence of guns among NCGFs? The theory seems to depend on a belief that the NCGFs could not obtain guns either through barter or cash. But obtain guns they did. So maybe the theory needs adjusting?


Quote from: Erasmus Darwin on November 23, 1859 at who knows what time PM
In fact the a priori reasoning is so entirely satisfactory to me that if the facts wonít fit in, why so much the worse for the facts is my feeling
« Last Edit: May 15, 2012, 04:36:50 AM by spgordon »
Check out: The Lost Village of Christian's Spring
https://christiansbrunn.web.lehigh.edu/
And: The Earliest Moravian Work in the Mid-Atlantic: A Guide
https://www.moravianhistory.org/product-page/moravian-activity-in-the-mid-atlantic-guidebook

Offline Acer Saccharum

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Re: The Moll-Newhard-Kuntz Triangle of Old Northampton County Gunmaking
« Reply #85 on: May 15, 2012, 05:31:35 AM »
Eric, to add the fancy quote box, when making a reply, note the two rows of little boxes to the rght of 'Add BBC tags:'. Go to the bottom row, second box from last, looks like a balloon from a cartoon, click that. The quote code pops up, with a blinking cursor between them. Paste your copy in there.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2012, 05:32:10 AM by Acer Saccharum »
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Offline Eric Kettenburg

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Re: The Moll-Newhard-Kuntz Triangle of Old Northampton County Gunmaking
« Reply #86 on: May 15, 2012, 12:57:23 PM »
Quote
The quote code pops up, with a blinking cursor between them. Paste your copy in there.

Well that's just keeeeewwwwwwwwllllll.

Thanks Tom!  Got it.  ;D
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Offline Acer Saccharum

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Re: The Moll-Newhard-Kuntz Triangle of Old Northampton County Gunmaking
« Reply #87 on: May 15, 2012, 02:49:07 PM »
I work for a living, keep a roof over my head, pay my taxes, and I would find it impossible to buy a nice Kettenburg or a Martin rifle today. I suspect that I am far better off than a man in Colonial times. Pure speculation that most farmers barely got by until well established and turning a profit. That would take years.
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Offline rich pierce

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Re: The Moll-Newhard-Kuntz Triangle of Old Northampton County Gunmaking
« Reply #88 on: May 15, 2012, 04:08:04 PM »
I see some reasoning that because a new rifle was a "year's wages" that this could lead to being unarmed.  Knowing little of the area and nothing of primary sources, I just note that there were guns available in the period that were much less expensive than new rifles.  There are many contemporary estates which show in their inventories, guns valued at much less.
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Offline Eric Kettenburg

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Re: The Moll-Newhard-Kuntz Triangle of Old Northampton County Gunmaking
« Reply #89 on: May 15, 2012, 04:32:51 PM »
Eggs-act-leeeee.

Using the period descriptions as a guide, it might be said that many of the arms being used in Northampton county ca. 1750s and early 1760s (both privately as well as by the militia) were not of the best quality and certainly had issues with proper function.  Perhaps, compounded by 'operator malfunction?'
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mkeen

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Re: The Moll-Newhard-Kuntz Triangle of Old Northampton County Gunmaking
« Reply #90 on: May 15, 2012, 07:30:37 PM »
I see some reasoning that because a new rifle was a "year's wages" that this could lead to being unarmed.  Knowing little of the area and nothing of primary sources, I just note that there were guns available in the period that were much less expensive than new rifles.  There are many contemporary estates which show in their inventories, guns valued at much less.
I work for a living, keep a roof over my head, pay my taxes, and I would find it impossible to buy a nice Kettenburg or a Martin rifle today. I suspect that I am far better off than a man in Colonial times. Pure speculation that most farmers barely got by until well established and turning a profit. That would take years.

Ah, the poor colonial farmer or the dumb Dutchman!  Unfortunately it is not true. Just as today there was a broad spectrum of wealth. In todays terms some of this dumb farmers living in log cabins were multi-millionaires. I have many colonial ancestors that I will never equal in wealth. If a gun is worth a years wages how could you ever sleep? In the Hans Hess inventory of 1733 one gun is valued at £1 while the bedding for one bed is equal to £3.4.7 and this does not the include the bed frame. Hans died with 11 children and  had an estate worth £395.19.11. His son Christian, a gunsmith, purchased  a total 200 acres of land in 1755 and 1762 for £256.5.0. Christian would have turned 20 in 1747, so he was making money pretty darn fast. Christian died in 1794 with an estate worth £3782. It is total nonsense to think these farmers could not purchase a gun because it cost too much. A lot of farmers had excess cash and were making money from day one.

Martin

Offline Acer Saccharum

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Re: The Moll-Newhard-Kuntz Triangle of Old Northampton County Gunmaking
« Reply #91 on: May 15, 2012, 08:08:42 PM »
What about the folks just starting out, clearing land, and on the front line of the wilderness?
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mkeen

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Re: The Moll-Newhard-Kuntz Triangle of Old Northampton County Gunmaking
« Reply #92 on: May 15, 2012, 08:45:43 PM »
What about the folks just starting out, clearing land, and on the front line of the wilderness?

Hans Hess arrived in Pennsylvania in 1717 and was below average in wealth. In the 1719 through 1724 tax lists of the Conestoga area in Chester County, he was at the 20th percentile of wealth. Eighty percent of the local population was wealthy than he was. He settled on land in the future Lancaster County that had never been cleared. In 1717 this land was four miles from Indian territory. He was on the front line of the wilderness. The land Christian purchased had never been settled and he had to clear some after the purchase. For most of his life Christian rented this land out to other people and they cleared more land to increase their income.

Books were also valuable. The one Bible on the Hans Hess inventory was valued at £1.7.0. Thirty five percent more than his gun.

Martin
« Last Edit: May 15, 2012, 09:54:36 PM by mkeen »

Offline spgordon

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Re: The Moll-Newhard-Kuntz Triangle of Old Northampton County Gunmaking
« Reply #93 on: May 15, 2012, 10:38:07 PM »
It's certainly possible that (A) folks just starting out would find it impossible to devote their resources to purchasing a gun, whatever it would have cost. Even to barter for a gun would mean to not use that surplus to barter for something else. BUT it is equally possible that (B) a gun was considered important enough that scarce resources were used to purchase one or trade for one.

The point is--or what seems to me to be the point is--that there is no evidence whatsoever for the prevalance of the former position (A). Even if we can show that early immigrants were cash-poor, had "less and less money to spend," as Bob wrote, this tells us nothing whatsoever about how they spent what little money they had or how they obtained items through other means. Nor is there even a single anecdote in a contemporary document in which an individual expresses his inability to obtain a gun for the reasons proposed in this thread. So on what basis can this argument be made and re-made over and over again?

There is, however, considerable evidence that German farmers obtained guns. Eric provided a lot of it, right from Northampton County. Many German farmers were disarmed a decade later, which means they had arms to be taken from them--and there's no reason to infer that they obtained these weapons only during that decade.

It certainly makes sense that the demand for guns rose and fell depending on frontier violence--and that at times of large mobilizations communities were made aware of the lack of guns or, as Eric has pointed out, the lack of guns that worked well. But even this deficiency needs to be explained (not just cited as if it is self-evident). Many men who showed up for militia duty without a gun may have had a gun in their household that they left home with their brother/son/wife for protection. Absent evidence, that speculation is just as possible as the proposal that these unarmed militia men came from households that never had a gun.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2012, 10:41:57 PM by spgordon »
Check out: The Lost Village of Christian's Spring
https://christiansbrunn.web.lehigh.edu/
And: The Earliest Moravian Work in the Mid-Atlantic: A Guide
https://www.moravianhistory.org/product-page/moravian-activity-in-the-mid-atlantic-guidebook

Offline T*O*F

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Re: The Moll-Newhard-Kuntz Triangle of Old Northampton County Gunmaking
« Reply #94 on: May 16, 2012, 01:02:15 AM »
Quote
Many men who showed up for militia duty without a gun may have had a gun in their household that they left home with their brother/son/wife for protection.
To draw a parallel, I have seen documentation in the past that showed when French settlers in
Canada were called up for militia duty, many of the "purposely" left their guns at home because they knew they would be issued one by the militia, at no expense to them; and upon their release from duty they kept the guns in case of future call-ups.

It is entirely possible that the same mindset existed among these Germans.  Also, I wonder how many of them were brethren who believed in pacifism as part of their religious beliefs.
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Offline spgordon

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Re: The Moll-Newhard-Kuntz Triangle of Old Northampton County Gunmaking
« Reply #95 on: May 16, 2012, 01:56:59 AM »
Also, I wonder how many of them were brethren who believed in pacifism as part of their religious beliefs.

Others on this list know more about this than I do, but certainly many of the German farmers in Lancaster County became non-associators--i.e., they would not associate in militia companies--during the Revolution, when such service in Pennsylvania become mandatory. Richard MacMaster has found, for instance, that in Earl Township, Lancaster County, "virtually all the Mennonites, Dunkers, Amish, and Moravians" became non-associators (Conscience in Crisis, 295). John Newcomer, the Mennonite gunsmith, seems to have been one of the few Lancaster County gunsmiths to refuse to make muskets in 1775 when Lancaster County's Committee of Observation required all the county's gunsmiths to stop making rifles and start making muskets.

Their pacificism wouldn't have precluded them from owning rifles, of course, which they would have used for non-martial purposes: indeed, it is these non-associators who are disarmed during the Revolution.

Severe pressure from neighbors and from the way neighbors used state laws (which assessed enormous fines against those who would not serve in militias and licensed County Lieutenants to collect such fines, if necessary, by taking their property) eventually forced many who did not wish to join militia companies to do so. At least this is what happened in many Moravian communities beyond Bethlehem. I don't know whether Mennonite communities ended up capitulating to the same degree.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2012, 01:57:59 AM by spgordon »
Check out: The Lost Village of Christian's Spring
https://christiansbrunn.web.lehigh.edu/
And: The Earliest Moravian Work in the Mid-Atlantic: A Guide
https://www.moravianhistory.org/product-page/moravian-activity-in-the-mid-atlantic-guidebook

nosrettap1958

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Re: The Moll-Newhard-Kuntz Triangle of Old Northampton County Gunmaking
« Reply #96 on: May 16, 2012, 05:35:57 PM »
Iíve read a journal that a homesteading family, the Mother and children, were chased into the cellar of their cabin by a bear that kept slamming on the door until shot by some passing neighbors.  I would suspect that given the Eastern woods were filled with top of the food chain predators, and that doesnít include us, these people would make it a priority to get themselves armed.  It wasnít just Indians that could kill or hurt you.  
« Last Edit: May 16, 2012, 05:37:37 PM by crawdad »

mkeen

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Re: The Moll-Newhard-Kuntz Triangle of Old Northampton County Gunmaking
« Reply #97 on: May 18, 2012, 06:21:47 PM »
Also, I wonder how many of them were brethren who believed in pacifism as part of their religious beliefs.

Others on this list know more about this than I do, but certainly many of the German farmers in Lancaster County became non-associators--i.e., they would not associate in militia companies--during the Revolution, when such service in Pennsylvania become mandatory. Richard MacMaster has found, for instance, that in Earl Township, Lancaster County, "virtually all the Mennonites, Dunkers, Amish, and Moravians" became non-associators (Conscience in Crisis, 295). John Newcomer, the Mennonite gunsmith, seems to have been one of the few Lancaster County gunsmiths to refuse to make muskets in 1775 when Lancaster County's Committee of Observation required all the county's gunsmiths to stop making rifles and start making muskets.

Their pacificism wouldn't have precluded them from owning rifles, of course, which they would have used for non-martial purposes: indeed, it is these non-associators who are disarmed during the Revolution.

Severe pressure from neighbors and from the way neighbors used state laws (which assessed enormous fines against those who would not serve in militias and licensed County Lieutenants to collect such fines, if necessary, by taking their property) eventually forced many who did not wish to join militia companies to do so. At least this is what happened in many Moravian communities beyond Bethlehem. I don't know whether Mennonite communities ended up capitulating to the same degree.

This is a difficult subject to get a clear picture. Initially it appears many Mennonites were unwilling to swear allegiance to the new country. Their parents had affirmed their allegiance to King George. Mennonites cannot swear an oath only affirm. This is still true today. Most Mennonites are listed as non-associators, but that organization collapsed early in 1777. Then the Pennsylvania militia was formed in March 1777. As time went on, it appears many Mennonites were members of the militia. Over time, the lack of any fighting by the militia might have reduced their reluctance along with the costs. The number of people with inactive duty in the militia is staggering compared to those who actually served. Fines could be onerous. I have seen one individual who had to pay £66.0.0.

Martin

Offline spgordon

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Re: The Moll-Newhard-Kuntz Triangle of Old Northampton County Gunmaking
« Reply #98 on: May 18, 2012, 08:32:49 PM »
Fines could be onerous.

Indeed. Although his study hasn't yet been published, Frank Fox has found that in Pennsylvania "militia fines for the years 1777-1783 totaled more than £6,000,000 continental currency. [County] Lieutenants retained and dispersed about half of this sum to cover militia expenses, and forwarded the remainder to the state treasurer"--and the "amount forwarded to the state treasurer totaled one-sixth of state revenue" for that period. So these militia fines were, so to speak, big business.

The militia system with its fines resulted from the Militia Act of early 1777. Are you saying, Martin, that the Mennonites tended to serve rather than pay these fines--in part because they gambled that there was a strong likelihood that, while they might drill with a militia unit, they wouldn't be called to serve in actual combat? I'm not sure what you meant by "that organization collapsed early in 1777"?

Scott

« Last Edit: May 18, 2012, 11:33:39 PM by spgordon »
Check out: The Lost Village of Christian's Spring
https://christiansbrunn.web.lehigh.edu/
And: The Earliest Moravian Work in the Mid-Atlantic: A Guide
https://www.moravianhistory.org/product-page/moravian-activity-in-the-mid-atlantic-guidebook

mkeen

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Re: The Moll-Newhard-Kuntz Triangle of Old Northampton County Gunmaking
« Reply #99 on: May 19, 2012, 08:03:15 PM »
Fines could be onerous.

 I'm not sure what you meant by "that organization collapsed early in 1777"?

Scott



According to the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, "Associators were volunteers who comprised the Military Association, a civilian reserve designed to repel any invasion of Pennsylvania until the collapse of the Association in the winter of 1776-1777. The Pennsylvania Militia was organized under an Act of the Assembly of March 17, 1777 that required compulsory enrollment by constables of all able-bodied white males between the ages of 18 and 53 to repel invaders."

I had a thought about the fines for non-service. Were those amounts in continental currency or Pennsylvania currency? It would make a huge difference. Pennsylvania currency was pegged to silver while the continental currency was not. Hence the saying "not worth a continental." If you could pay in continental notes it might not have been very costly.

Martin