Author Topic: Who is Allemängel Longrifle Maker “J. Baer”  (Read 770 times)

Offline cwbuff

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Who is Allemängel Longrifle Maker “J. Baer”
« on: May 13, 2020, 01:51:52 AM »
For many years I have been trying to figure out who the person is behind the signature of “J Baer” on my original flintlock longrifle. Multiple people, including some on this forum, have told me that if the rifle were not signed, it would be attributed to Stoffel Long or Jacob George, exhibiting the characteristics of rifles of the Allemängel region between Berks and Lehigh Counties, especially Greenwich and Albany Townships in Berks County. (See topic at https://americanlongrifles.org/forum/index.php?topic=44242.0 ).

Given that there are so many candidates for J. Baer in eastern Pennsylvania, it was suggested that I anchor my analysis to the Allemängel region contemporary with Stoffel Long and Jacob George. I haven found an interesting candidate. I thought I would post my findings here for those interested and maybe someone can contribute.

First some background - For many years, researchers have speculated that there must be some connection between gunmakers Stoffel Long and Jacob George. In fact there is. Dave Laidacker describes the connection in his recent book,  “Northern Berks County Pennsylvania Gunmakers featuring Stoffel Long of Greenwich and Albany townships.”  In his book, Dave shows the documentary evidence that Stoffel Long and Jacob George were neighbors. When Stoffel’s father Michael died in 1799, Stoffel was only 8 years old. Henry George, Jacob George’s father, was appointed as the legal guardian of Stoffel Long. Henry George, a farmer, was also a gunmaker who doubtless taught the trade to both his son Jacob and also to Stoffel Long. Stoffel Long died in 1858 and is buried in Friedens Church Cemetery, in Stony Run, Albany Township, Berks County.

Through some research, I found a “J. Baer” with an interesting profile. He has the right name, is in the right place at the right time and has some key characteristics and connections. He is Jonathan “Jonas” Baer. He was born in 1796 in Weisenberg Township, then Northampton County (today Lehigh County). He died in 1878 in Albany Township, Berks County. He is buried in the New Bethel Zion Church Cemetery in Grimville. Grimville is less than 4 miles from Stony Run.

Jonathan Bear was a farmer by occupation. He has been described as six feet tall and very strong. His father was a blacksmith. At some point he held the office of constable. The wife of his son Charles was Judith Greenwald. Her grandfather was Captain Jacob Greenwald, Patriot soldier of the American Revolution. I believe this is the same Jacob Greenwald, described in Dave Laidacker’s book, who was one of the twelve “free, honest and lawful men” who determined what to do with the estate and minor children of Michael Long, father of Stoffel Long.

Next step is to try and find any tax or other records that may identify him as a gunsmith (in the same manner that Dave Laidacker did with Stoffel Long). I am not interesting in publishing anything. I would just like to identify this gunmaker.

Offline Eric Kettenburg

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Re: Who is Allemängel Longrifle Maker “J. Baer”
« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2020, 04:27:24 AM »
Certainly sounds like an interesting candidate.  It's the right area for the rifles signed 'J. Baer.'

Not sure how long, if at all, Long may have apprenticed with Henry George.  Henry very definitely was a gunsmith, but Stoffel was only @8 in 1799 and Henry was dead by January 1804, at which point Stoffel Long would have been @12-13 yo.  It's doubtful he would have began any meaningful apprenticeship before 10 or 11 at the earliest, if indeed any type of formal apprenticeship was undertaken, so I strongly suspect that he most likely learned the trade from and/or initially worked with Henry's son Jacob George.
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Offline Hungry Horse

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Re: Who is Allemängel Longrifle Maker “J. Baer”
« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2020, 08:34:35 AM »
I own a longrifle that is unsigned, the only other rifle with architectural similarities that I have seen pictures of is a Lehigh style rifle signed J. Baer.  I would be interested in seeing pictures of your rifle, and compare some of the unusual details of my rifle, with yours. From research of the barrel maker, that made and marked the barrel on my gun, I found that he quit making barrels about 1815, which would make your gunsmith about eighteen.

  Hungry Horse

Offline cwbuff

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Re: Who is Allemängel Longrifle Maker “J. Baer”
« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2020, 12:11:50 PM »
Some pics.



















Offline Hungry Horse

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Re: Who is Allemängel Longrifle Maker “J. Baer”
« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2020, 05:38:57 PM »
 My gun was converted to percussion but obviously was used very little after its conversion due to a marked lack of pitting around the lock, and on the barrel. My gun is .45 cal. Smoothbore with a tapered barrel. The trigger on my gun is single, with fancy work behind the trigger pad, and is made of brass. The lugs under the barrel are made of folded very thin sheet brass ( and are the cause of the guns poor condition, since the barrel and stock separated when the lugs pulled out of the dovetails), and the sights have the engraved lines that bracket them, like your rifle. The patch box has no side wings, and is held in the stock by small brass nails, as does the side plate which is made of thin sheet brass. The engraving on my gun is similar to that on yours, but more elaborate.

  Hungry Horse

WESTbury

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Re: Who is Allemängel Longrifle Maker “J. Baer”
« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2020, 06:57:31 PM »
cwbuff---That is a great looking rifle, possibly an outstanding addition to the Bruce Miller Library, as Baer is in the Library, as far as I can tell.

To my novice eye, Lehigh rifles have a very classic look to them. My Lehigh is a Hess rifle, somewhat more "gussied up" than most Hess rifles. Photo attached.

Thanks for posting the photos.

 


Offline cwbuff

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Re: Who is Allemängel Longrifle Maker “J. Baer”
« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2020, 07:25:51 PM »
Great looking rifle WESTbury. I need to take some better pictures of mine. PS: there is a "prayer hole" in the patchbox.