Author Topic: Andreas Betz  (Read 1202 times)

Offline spgordon

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Andreas Betz
« on: June 09, 2023, 06:08:18 PM »
I came across this document on microfilm earlier this week. It is confusing, since it was sent to the Committee of Observation and Inspection of Lancaster County (Pennsylvania)--which has a Salisbury Township. And the document spells the gunsmith's name differently in different places: at first, the gunsmith's name seems to be "Andrew Betty" but by the end of the document it's clear that the name ends in a "z." And the Salisbury is referred to as a "town," rather than a township.

So I think this is our Andreas Betz, who left the Moravian settlements in North Carolina in 1767 and moved to the town of Salisbury in North Carolina.

Hard to believe, though, that the revolutionary committee in North Carolina would write to the revolutionary committee in Lancaster County to request 12 rifle barrels ...


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 Mattox Forge

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Re: Andreas Betz
« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2023, 06:35:18 PM »
That is a great document. It was clearly a supply chain issue. I think the first spelling is Bettz. The z is just sloppy. The whole document seems to have been written fairly quickly.

Did Andreas Betz have any connection to the Lancaster community?

Mike

Offline Bigmon

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Re: Andreas Betz
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2023, 06:43:57 PM »
I have BETZ ancestors not so far back in my line.  In fact my Great Grandmother was aBETZ.  Her father Danial was in the 61st PVI in the CW.  But anyway the story as we know it was that their, and miy ancestor was a Hessian?
Of course, probably no connection other than the name especially since your "Betz" is from  Carolina?
But the original spelling was as you have it "BETZ".  The ones around here that still carry that name now spell it "BETTS", as there was a urder a couple generations back that caused them some shame and problems???

Offline spgordon

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Re: Andreas Betz
« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2023, 06:53:05 PM »
Betz had been in Lancaster, I think, before he moved to Bethlehem in 1747 (he moved to North Carolina in 1754, I think). In 1766, more than a decade after Betz settled in North Carolina, William Henry--no longer a gunsmith but the proprietor of a money-making Lancaster hardware store--sent rifle barrels (büchsen Läufe) and files to Betz.

There were a lot of barrel makers in Lancaster County at this time.

The "supply chain" issue that was more urgent (for most) at this point was for locks. Folks in Pennsylvania are desperate for them--and the lack of locks prevented nearly every Pennsylvania county from satisfying the musket quotas that were set in June 1775 for each.
« Last Edit: June 09, 2023, 07:53:32 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 spgordon

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Re: Andreas Betz
« Reply #4 on: June 09, 2023, 07:15:15 PM »
I think the first spelling is Bettz. The z is just sloppy.

Yes, once you see the spellings at the end of the document, it's clear that the first spelling is "Bettz." But it sure looked like "Betty" when I first read it.
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

Online Eric Kettenburg

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Re: Andreas Betz
« Reply #5 on: June 09, 2023, 10:56:04 PM »
Look out!  The professor is digging into the microfilm again!  I'll supply the vodka if requested...

Spectacular find Scott.

There were some comments in Fries' translations to indicate that Joseph Muller (who left Salem in 1774) may have been very competent at barrel making.  George Schmidt was also being paid for completed barrels but I am not clear as to whether or not he made them or if they were leftovers after Muller departed.  As of March 1, 1775, Schmidt had 80 completed barrels that were sold.  In one of Bagge's leters, he noted that after Muller left, there was no gunsmith in town and IIRC Beck was preaching and may or may not have been working at that point.  But I don't know if he was in Salem or Friedberg at that point.  And have no idea if he was capable of forging or finishing barrels.

I swear I remember a comment in Fries' work that indicated that Betz had never mastered barrel making, but at the moment I can't find it.  I'll keep looking though.  Given what I remember of the NC translations (which may not be illustrating the whole story) my impression of Betz was more of a very competent repairman and 'smith' than a gunstocker like Beck.
Strange women lying in ponds, distributing swords, is no basis for a system of government!

Offline spgordon

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Re: Andreas Betz
« Reply #6 on: June 09, 2023, 11:38:44 PM »
Look out!  The professor is digging into the microfilm again!  I'll supply the vodka if requested...

Yep, once the robins return to my backyard, I know it's time to break out the microfilms. I don't think vodka would be helpful but a spare set of eyes for when mine get exhausted would be welcome.

... my impression of Betz was more of a very competent repairman and 'smith' than a gunstocker like Beck.

I remember reading this on your website. But this document suggests that Betz was stocking up rifles, no?--though maybe not with fancy stocks like Beck ...
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 blienemann

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Re: Andreas Betz
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2023, 12:51:42 AM »
Scott - that is another great find! Thank you, and please keep them coming.

The connections between the various Moravian communities may have encouraged the Committees to talk to one another? Bethabara and Salem were familiar with purchasing rifle barrels and all sorts of goods from Lancaster over the prior decade, as you noted. Then closer to the time of this letter, the Christian’s Spring gunshop owed Dickert for a few barrels, and Dickert later owed the C’s Spring gunshop for barrels. Both Salem and C’s Spring seem to have been dealing in barrels to and from Lancaster. Your research has shown many arms and components manufactured at Lancaster, and the Committee there may have supplied other locations.

Eric, your memory is close. Here are a few tidbits from the southern arena. I think it was Andreas Betz who was good at barrel making, and Mueller not so much. Betz and the Brunner family may have known each other, or even worked together in Lancaster in the 1740’s, prior to his moving to Bethlehem. Further research might answer this question and give more detail on their trades and apprenticeships. Valentin Beck was sent away from Salem to a small nearby farming community in the summer of 1776, shortly after the Declaration of Independence was distributed. The town fathers hoped to present a neutral stance with Cornwallis and his army passing back and forth through the area, and shuttled the gunstocker out of town.

1766 Nov 21 “Joseph Mueller is in about the same old condition. Once in a while there seems hope for a real change, and the Saviour has been wonderfully good to him. He is apprenticed to Betz, but does not seem to learn much from him.”  (Bethlehem Archives, letter # 1-222, Bagge to Seidel)

1766 Nov 23 “We have received the house-clock, 12 gun-barrels and door locks from Will Henry . . . Br. Betz was not quite pleased with the gun-barrels; he is a peculiar man, as you know.”  (Bethlehem Archives, letter #1-17, Schropp at Bethabara to Ettwein) 

1767 Feb 5 “Today settlement was made in full with Andreas Betz.  He turned over a full inventory (might still exist?) of the tools in the locksmith and gunsmith shop, with a list of the outstanding debts, signed a Discharge in the presence of the Brn. Schropp and Loesch, and received about 13 pounds worth of tools with which to start business on his own account.” 

1767 Jul 22 “Several days ago we hired a gunsmith who came through on his journey.  He had a lame horse that needed resting, and asked for 14 days’ work. He is a single man from Virginia, an excellent workman. He and Jos. Mueller are making gun-barrels.  He gets 6 sh apiece and Jos. Mueller profits much in learning.” (Bethlehem Archives letter #1-22, Schropp to Ettwein, Bethabara)

1775 Mar 1 “George Schmidt is in pressing need of money to buy iron; we will buy the 80 rifle-barrels which he has finished, paying him in cash.”  (Aufseher Collegium Salem)   

1776 Feb “Sir, As glad as I would be to serve you in assisting Mr. Hopkins in purchasing of Arms according to your request, as much it is out of my power; The Gunsmith who lived in this Town, moved from hence 2 years ago, and carries on farming along with his business at present. He also never professed the making of Barrels to any perfection, but as to fitting up Barrels for being stocked, especially rifling them, he is a good hand, tho’ he has no journeyman nor apprentice, & therefore never could undertake quantities to finish. The same it is with the Gunstocker here in Town, who has nobody to work with him besides himself.” 
 (Letter Bagge in Salem to Cary) The gunsmith was Joseph Müller, who had moved away. The gunstocker still in Salem was Valentin Beck.   


Offline spgordon

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Re: Andreas Betz
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2023, 03:03:03 AM »
Valentin Beck was sent away from Salem to a small nearby farming community in the summer of 1776, shortly after the Declaration of Independence was distributed. The town fathers hoped to present a neutral stance with Cornwallis and his army passing back and forth through the area, and shuttled the gunstocker out of town.

There's no evidence (at least that I know of) that this was the reason for moving Beck from Salem to Friedberg, where he became the congregation's pastor. They needed him for something else, more important to them than gun-stock making, so they moved him. If they were concerned that having a gunsmith or gun-stock maker in town would compromise their neutrality they would have moved him long before summer 1776 (the revolutionary county committees form in late 1774 and are arming themselves in every way possible by summer 1775, at least in Pennsylvania). Indeed, arms from Salem were given to the militia in July 1776.

Cornwallis was in the port of Charlestown in summer 1776, 300 overland miles from Salem--a world away. The British were much closer to Northampton County's Moravian communities when they were in New York (1776-1783) or Philadelphia (1777-1778) and Moravian authorities there didn't send their gunsmiths away. (In fact, they gathered them together at Christiansbrunn.)

Most of the evidence (all presented by Eric) is that Beck didn't have much work as a gun-stock maker, though in early 1777 Moravian authorities note that "trade in Salem" suffered after authorities moved Beck to Friedberg, but--as Eric says--it isn't clear whether Beck's work with guns or work as a "tinker" was drawing people to town.

Authorities in summer 1775 encourage men in Salem to hide the arms they have in their homes--but this is to avoid having to serve in local militias. Nobody in Salem or the other Moravian settlements in North Carolina are hiding the fact that these communities have had gunsmiths and gun-stock makers--and its clear that folks outside of these communities are well aware of this. A Virginian tries to order muskets from Salem in early 1776 ("having oft heard that Arms are made very good in your Town") and Traugott Bagge, in reply, does not hide that there is a "Gunstocker ... in Town," though he suggests (a) he is working alone in the trade and (b) North Carolina militias will surely get first crack at any weapons made in Salem.

« Last Edit: June 10, 2023, 03:17:58 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 mbriggs

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Re: Andreas Betz
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2023, 04:53:21 AM »
Scott,
This is a wonderful find.  Thanks so much for sharing this with us.

Michael Briggs
C. Michael Briggs

Offline smart dog

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Re: Andreas Betz
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2023, 02:20:52 PM »
Hi Scott,
Cornwallis and Clinton were attempting to reach Charlestown in June 1776 but never got there and then they retreated to New York.  The issue of lock making is fascinating because it did not just affect the American cause.  In England, lock makers were the cream of the crop with respect to workmen in the gun trades.  They were the most technically proficient and highly trained craftsmen in the arms pipeline and they could do other work like making instruments, precision tools, and mechanical toys.  They could go where the work and money was but keeping them making locks was an issue of national security for the British.  Locks were always the bottleneck for ordnance supplying muskets and other arms. Hence, the government encouraged gun work for the East India Company and the African slave trade as a means to keep those skilled workers in the gun trade at times when ordnance was not issuing warrants for government arms.  That came back to bite during the AWI when the government was desperate for arms and began to actually compete with the EIC for arms.

dave     
"The main accomplishment of modern economics is to make astrology look good."

Offline spgordon

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Re: Andreas Betz
« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2023, 02:48:43 PM »
Cornwallis and Clinton were attempting to reach Charlestown in June 1776 but never got there and then they retreated to New York. 

Fair enough--but focused throughout most of 1776 (Feb-August) on the coast (Cape Fear, NC; Charlestown, SC), hundreds and hundreds of overland miles from the Moravian settlements. And he's already left for New York, as you point out, when Moravian authorities relocate Beck. Once the British are in NY, they're much closer to Bethlehem & Nazareth & Christiansbrunn than they ever were to the settlements in North Carolina and Moravian authorities in Pennsylvania don't stop gun making or try to hide their gun makers.

It would be interesting to check the original Salem diaries, rather than rely on the excerpts that happen to have been translated, to see if there's a discussion about the reasons for moving Beck. I don't think anybody has done that? (Why not?) I strongly suspect that the reasons have nothing to do with his gun making talents but, instead, have to do with the needs of others (the need for a new pastor in Friedberg). Our focus on gun making often obscures the very different and unrelated things that motivated the original actors.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2023, 03:13:11 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 WESTbury

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Re: Andreas Betz
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2023, 05:27:35 PM »
  Locks were always the bottleneck for ordnance supplying muskets and other arms.
dave     

This is a key point.
The same situation was still plaguing Springfield Armory during the entire production period of flintlock muskets, 1795 thru 1843. This is borne out by the existence of Springfield flint muskets with locks dated one year prior to the musket assembly date stamped into the buttplate return or the top of the barrel at the breech. I found that their solution, was the logical one of always producing enough locks so that there was a one months surplus of finished locks in inventory at the end of every production month. For instance, during the 1823 calendar year, 15,939 locks were finished versus 14,606 finished muskets. Average monthly production of locks in 1823 equaled 1328 and average production of muskets was 1217.

Kent
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Offline backsplash75

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Re: Andreas Betz
« Reply #13 on: June 12, 2023, 06:58:45 PM »
GREAT THREAD!!!

  Locks were always the bottleneck for ordnance supplying muskets and other arms.
dave     

This is a key point.
The same situation was still plaguing Springfield Armory during the entire production period of flintlock muskets, 1795 thru 1843. This is borne out by the existence of Springfield flint muskets with locks dated one year prior to the musket assembly date stamped into the buttplate return or the top of the barrel at the breech. I found that their solution, was the logical one of always producing enough locks so that there was a one months surplus of finished locks in inventory at the end of every production month. For instance, during the 1823 calendar year, 15,939 locks were finished versus 14,606 finished muskets. Average monthly production of locks in 1823 equaled 1328 and average production of muskets was 1217.

Kent

Large quantities of French gun locks were part of the aid we received during the Revolutionary war.  At least two American rifle survives with what appear to be French military locks (see Long Rifles of the Valley of Virginia -Edwin N. Gewirz Figure #15 and a Reading rifle with wooden box and Saint Etienne lock) but  musket locks are pretty big compared to typical rifle locks in the 1780s.



5th January 1781 return of ordnance Simcoe mentions Large casks, with new French musket locks, containing each 2000 - [qty] 2 burnt and destroyed at Richmond, VA.

Pension application of John Medearis 1 S2823     f84NC   Transcribed by Will Graves     4/25/09 rev'd 5/4/14
Quote
Halifax, April 2nd, 1781

I have been informed that, for a year or two past, there has been in Monroe's Corner Store at Hillsborough a plant Box near as large as a Chest, enclosed all round with Nails; it was very weighty & was wrote on in large Letters – 200 Gun Locks; which perhaps have been there ever since and Armory was to have been erected near Hillsboro.  If you find them, should be glad you send them here...






« Last Edit: June 13, 2023, 03:45:40 AM by backsplash75 »

Offline backsplash75

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Re: Andreas Betz
« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2023, 07:03:27 PM »
snip...

Hard to believe, though, that the revolutionary committee in North Carolina would write to the revolutionary committee in Lancaster County to request 12 rifle barrels ...




The war produced some very odd (to modern eyes anyway) arms shipments and migrations. Heth commanded a Virginia Independent company at Fort Pitt.

Quote

Brigadr. Genl. Hand
 
  Fort Pitt
 

 Invoice of Arms on Board the Boats Commanded by Messrs. Gilliard & Farar July 19th 1778

 
 
 

 362
An Invoice of Arms on Board the Boat’s Commanded by Mesr. Gillard and Farar July 19th 1778
On Board, Dr. Farar’s Boat are –
5 Musketts & 9 Fusees or Fowling Pieces Purchased in N. Carolina
6 Rifels purchased on this side the Mountain
4 – Do Purchased, in N. Carolina –
 
            On Board Mr. Turner Boat are
9 Musketts & 4 Fusees
5 Rifels & one Blunderbus                                                       Purchased in N. Carolina
 
On Board Mr. Pipes Boat are
7 Rifels & one swivel gun Wt. 2o. 0Q. 20lb the Trunion & Britch brok brought from the big Meadows on the Alegania Mountain
 
            On Board Cos. Gilleards Boat are
7 Rifels Purchased this side the Mountain
12 Smooth bore guns brought from N. Carolina
1 old Musket from                                N. Do
 
                        Mr. Camps Boat
one Rifel & 2 Fowling pieces brought from Amherst in Virginia
 
                        Capt. Weaks Boat
2 Rifels purchased this side the Mountain
3 Fowling pieces one Brass Blunderbus & one long Fusee from England
 
                        Mr. Isaac Gilleards Boat
2 Smooth guns & one Rifel from N. Carrolinia
 
                        Mr. Kyzar’s Boat
one Rifel brought over the Mountain
 
which is all the arms I discover on board the Different boats
 
 The different Men who joned the Boats on this side the Mountain are –
 
John Mills a Millwright Winsor Pipes & Abraham Pipes Overseer Wm. Kyzar overseer Palser Shilling, Black smith Wm. Weaks Overseer –
 
The Above Account is just of Men & Arms as produced to me by this Gentilmen Commanding the Different Boats under Convoy of Commidore Gilleard –
                                                                        I am sir your Humbel Servant
                                                                        Henry Heth

« Last Edit: June 12, 2023, 09:18:51 PM by backsplash75 »