Author Topic: Gunmakers (St. Clair-Z)  (Read 2058 times)

Offline Dennis Glazener

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Gunmakers (St. Clair-Z)
« on: December 13, 2020, 12:24:15 AM »
St.Clair, Samuel H. – 1823/49 – Union/Jackson Township, Snyder Co. / Walker Township, Juniata Co. – St.Clair was the uncle of Samuel and William Laudenslager and John George Ulrich. He was born in 1793 and died in 1849.  In 1835 and in 1838 he was assessed as a gunsmith in Union Township.  He owned 58 acres and lived along the Penn’s Creek very close to New Berlin.  He made carved and inlayed rifles of very high quality.  Ewing faults him for the fact that his work wasn’t varied, and he evidently instilled this sameness into the work of his nephews. More recent scholars daisagree with Ewing and do NOT see that "sameness" in St. Clairs work . Their work also exhibits nice carving and ornate and engraved patchboxes, but the designs are often much like St.Clair’s.  Because of his proximity to the Baums and Smiths in New Berlin, more research needs to be done on the influence either of them might have had on St.Clair.  Later in life he moved to Kratzerville            ( Synder Co). where Samuel Laudenslager and John George Ulrich are also known to have lived.  At least one rifle is known that is signed by both St.Clair and Laudenslager.

St.Clair, Samuel H. Gun #1

St.Clair, Samuel H. Gun #2
The unusual features of this gun:
a. Eagle finial patchbox
b. Signature is present in 3 places : barrel flat, cheek piece , in the carving.

Stewart – unknown – Lewistown, Pa. – noted by Gluckman.
Straub, John – 1847-1923 – Monroe Township – Gabel identifies him as having worked in the percussion period. Gluckman and Whisker noted he specialized in heavy target rifles and showed good workmanship.

John Try – ca. 1880/90 – Adams Township – He made half stock rifles that show a plainness that is typical of late period guns.
  Ulrich, John George – ca. 1860 – Juniata Co. /Monroe Township, Snyder Co. – George was born in 1820 the son of Samuel Ulrich.  His mother was a sister to the wife of S.H. St.Clair from whom he probably learned the gunsmithing trade. He is also known to have worked with his cousin Samuel Laudenslager.  In 1850, Ulrich was living in Walker Township, Juniata Co., next to Samuel Laudenslager.  By 1860 he was assessed as a gunsmith in Monroe Township, Snyder County. At least one rifle in known that is signed by Samuel Laudenslager on the top of the barrel and “J.G.U.” on the bottom of the same barrel.  Ulrich’s work looks very much like the work of Samuel Laudenslager and shows the same attention to detail with pierced patchboxes and nice brass work often going up the nose of the rifle.  He signed his guns in script “JG+U”.

Ulrich, John George Gun #1

Unagst, Isaac – ca. 1850 – West Beaver Township – Isaac was 38 in 1850 and was listed in tax records as a gunsmith.  His work has not been identified.

"J.W." Barrel signature ( Wetzel, Watt, ?????)  (Morphys Auction)

Walkey, Samuel (Walker) – ca. 1850 – Snyder County – Gabel identifies him as a gunsmith working during the percussion period.  Gluckman noted he “made fine Snyder Co., Pa. style, inlaid percussion Kentucky rifles.”
Watt, J. - unknown-Juniata Co., PA – there were possibly several members of the Watt family that made rifles in McVeytown area in the flintlock through the percussion period.
  Weirack (Wairick), William () – 1832/40 – Center Township (Centerville) – none of his work has been identified.
Wetzel, Henry – ca. 1850 – Middlecreek Township – In 1861 he was assessed as a “sickelsmith”.  Other records called him a gun barrel maker.  Sickles and other tools, including a hoof knife, have been found in the county with his name signed on the tool.  He was 59 in 1850.

Wetzel, Jonathan – 1826/45 – Center/Jackson Township – Wetzel lived close to New Berlin on the Snyder Co. side of the Penns Creek.  The road where he lived is today Broadway Road.  He was assessed in the 1829, 1833, and 1835 assessments as living in Center Township and was living in a log house with a barn and two cattle along the “Middlecreek”.  This might indicate that he only moved to the New Berlin area later in life.  He was the brother of Henry and according to tradition; he made his rifles from barrels produced by his brother. His guns are hard to locate, but one rifle that was originally flintlock, shows nice incised carving but no patch box.  He signed the rifle, “J. Wetzel” in script.  Other guns by him are signed “J W” and show nice patchboxes and inlays.

Wetzel, Johnathan  Gun #1

Wiker, Adam – ca. 1820 – Hartley Township, Union Co. – none of his work is known.
Worley, John G. – ca. 1848 – Beaver Township – Ewing identified him as a gun barrel maker.

  Young, A. – 1830/50 – Middleburg – one gun made by him was sold over the internet in 2004.  The rifle was signed “A Y” and was identified as being made in Snyder County.  A search of tax assessment records from 1829 to 1841 for all of Snyder County did not locate any gunsmiths named “Young”.  It is known that some of the Young gunsmiths later worked in Centre Co.  Known Young rifles all show typical Snyder County architecture.

Young, D. – c. 1840 – Middleburg – a rifle made by him is in the collection of the Snyder Co. Historical Society.  This rifle indicates that he was a fine maker.  He was mentioned in Smith’s article for the Snyder County Historical Society. He probably later worked in Centre County. The information on this rifle states: The information on the gun identifies it as: “ made by Daniel Young, Middleburg, Pa.  45” barrel, 12” stock decorated with flowers and ornaments bronze and silver inlayed fish on the barrel engraved on the firing mechanism: J&W Aston Abranter”
Young, Joe – ca. 1820 – Middleburg area? - There were several gunsmiths with the same name.  Evidently some of them also signed their guns “Joe Young”.  At least one worked in Virginia, one in eastern Pa. and one in Ohio.  It is possible that the Joe Young associated with Snyder County came from one of these other areas or possibly moved to one of these other areas later.  How the Young gunsmiths are related is unknown.

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