Was Aaron Crissey a Somerset County, Pennsylvania gunsmith?

Introduction: Aaron Crissey is included in this web study because he is identified as a gunsmith and blacksmith in the 1983 booklet "Gunsmiths and Gunmakers of Bedford and Somerset Counties Pennsylvania 1770-1900" by Vaughn E. and James B. Whisker. There are a number of blacksmiths who are identified as gunsmiths in the 1983 booklet who are absent from subsequent publications by the Whiskers, including Aaron Crissey. It seems as if some blacksmith-related selection assumption that was used during preparation of the 1983 booklet was not used in preparing subsequent publications.

This web page is not intended to prove whether Aaron Crissey was a gunsmith. Instead, it is intended merely as a collection point for documenting Aaron Crissey's life. If something is found that positively identifies Aaron Crissey as a gunsmith, the introduction to this web page will be edited accordingly.

1815: Based on the 1850, 1860, and 1870 censuses, Aaron Crissey was born circa 1812-1819. A secondary source indicates that Aaron Crissey was born in Somerset County in 1815, and is the son of Jacob Crissey III who died in 1873. What I think I understand is that Jacob Crissey III (1785-1873) is the son of Jacob Crissey II and Catherine Bender, and Jacob Crissey II is the son of Jacob Bender I and Esther Miller. From the death certificate of Aaron Crissey's sister Mary Crissey (below) it seems clear that Aaron's father is the Jacob Crissey who married Hannah Evick, died on August 13, 1873 at the age of 91 years, 6 months, and 9 days, and is buried in the Hooversville Reformed Cemetery. Hannah Crissey is also buried in the Hooversville Reformed Cemetery, where her tombstone indicates she is the wife of Jacob Crissey and died on October 10, 1865 at the age of 72 years, 3 months, and 3 days.

1840: I did not find an Aaron Crissey household in a transcript of the 1840 census of Somerset County.

1843: The 1850 and 1860 censuses suggest that Aaron Crissey had a son named William Crissey who was born circa 1841-1844. According to a secondary source, Aaron Crissey and Jane Ryan had a son named William Henry Crissey who was born in 1843 and died in 1867.

1845: The 1850, 1860, and 1870 suggest that Aaron Crissey had a son named John Crissey who was born circa 1845-1846. According to a secondary source, Aaron Crissey and Jane Ryan had a son named John C. Crissey who was born in 1845 and died in 1911. The 2001 book "Gunsmiths of Bedford, Fulton, Huntington, & Somerset Counties" lists John C. Crissey as a gunsmith. The obituary of John C. Crissey follows. He is buried at the Mount Union Christian Church Cemetery (Mench) in Bedford County.

1847: The following item is from the May 11, 1847 issue of the "Somerset Herald and Farmers' and Mechanics' Register".

1847: The 1850 and 1860 censuses suggest that Aaron Crissey had a daughter named Frances Crissey who was born circa 1847-1848. According to a secondary source, Aaron Crissey and Jane Ryan had a daughter Frances Crissey who was born on August 31, 1847 in Shade Township, married Hugh Lambert in 1865, and died on April 11, 1867 in Stonycreek Township. Frances Lambert is buried at the Lambert Farm Cemetery in Stonycreek Township, Somerset County and the birth and death dates on her tombstone match the dates given by the secondary source. Hugh also married Frances Crissey's sister Mary (see below).

1847: The following item is from the September 28, 1847 issue of the "Somerset Herald and Farmers' and Mechanics' Register".

1849: The 1850 census suggests that Aaron and Jane Crissey had a daughter named Mary who was born circa 1849. According to a secondary source, Aaron Crissey and Jane Ryan had a daughter Mary Margaret Crissey who was born in 1849 and died in 1892. Mary Margaret (Crissey) Lambert is buried at the Lambert Farm Cemetery in Stonycreek Township, where her tombstone inscription indicates she was born October 27, 1849 and died July 18, 1892.

1850: In the 1850 federal census of Stonycreek Township, Aaron Crissey is enumerated as a 38-year-old Pennsylvania-born Innkeeper. Living in his household are 26-year-old Jane Crissey, 9-year-old William Crissey, 5-year-old John Crissey, 3-year-old Francis Crissey, 8-month old Mary Crissey, 20-year-old William McCarty (Blacksmith), 20-year-old George Lambert (Blacksmith, 18-year-old Ellen Acheson, 22-year-old Joseph Keifer (Cabinet Maker, 22-year-old George Geiseler (Laborer), all Pennsylvania-born.

Circa 1850: The 1860 census suggests that Aaron Crissey had a daughter named Nancy Crissey who was born circa 1850.

1851: The 1860 census suggests that Aaron Crissey had a daughter named Ellen Crissey who was born circa 1853. According to a secondary source, Aaron Crissey and Jane Ryan had a daughter Ellen Crissey who was born in 1852 and died in 1926. Ellen Crissey is buried at the Union Cemetery in Somerset, where her tombstone states, Ellen Crissey 1851--1926".

Circa 1852: The 1870 census suggests that Aaron Crissey had a daughter Ellen who was born in 1852.

Circa 1853: The 1870 census suggests that Aaron Crissey had a son named Elias who was born in 1853.

1854: The 1860 census suggests that Aaron Crissey had a daughter named Eliza Crissey who was born circa 1855. According to a secondary source, Aaron Crissey and Jane Ryan had a daughter Eliza J. (Crissey) Shafer who was born on November 17, 1854 and died on May 23, 1920. Eliza is buried at the Union Cemetery in Somerset, where her tombstone states "Eliza C. Shafer 1854--1920".

1855: The 1983 booklet "Gunsmiths and Gunmakers of Bedford and Somerset Counties Pennsylvania 1770-1900" indicates that Aaron Crissey was a gunsmith and blacksmith in Hooversville, of Somerset County, Pennsylvania in 1855. The 1855 reference may have some basis in the following statement in the Quemahoning Township section of the 1884 book "History of Bedford, Somerset and Fulton Counties, Pennsylvania":

1855: The following reference to Aaron Crissey is from the 1906 book "History of Bedford and Somerset Counties Pennsylvania".

Circa 1859: The 1860 census suggests that Aaron Crissey had a son named Jacob Crissey who was born circa 1859.

1860: In the 1860 federal census of Quemahoning Township (taken June 12 1860) Aaron Crissey is enumerated as a 41-year-old Pennsylvania-born Master Blacksmith with personal property valued at $200.00 and real estate valued at $200.00. Living in his household are 16-year-old William, 14-year-old John, 12-year-old Frances, 10-year-old Mary, 7-year-old Ellen, 5-year-old Eliza, and 1-year-old Jacob, all Pennsylvania-born. Conspicuously missing is wife Jane.

1860: The residence of a "A Crissey R.S." appears on the Quemahoning Township portion of the 1860 Walker map of Somerset County, Pennsylvania, and a line drawn from his name seems to indicate that he was living on the north side of Hooversville..

1861: A secondary source indicates that Jane Ryan, mother of Frances Crissey, died in 1861.

1861: This is a summary of a 1913 court case that references an 1861 court case involving an individual named Aaron Crissey. This summary is from Volume 55 (1914) of the book "Pennsylvania Superior Court Reports".

1870: In the 1870 federal census of Shade Township (taken June 30, 1870) Aaron Crissy is enumerated as a 51-year-old Blacksmith with real estate valued at $1,200.00 and personal estate valued at $800.00. Living with him are 18-year-old Ellen Crissy (at home), 24-year-old John Crissy (apprentice), and 17-year-old Elias (at home), all Pennsylvania-born.

1874: The following item is from the April 29, 1874 issue of the "Somerset Herald" newspaper. Presumably, the Crissey individuals who are listed are the children of Jacob Crissey. There is a Jacob Crissey buried at the Hooversville Reformed Cemetery who, according to his tombstone, was died on August 13, 1873 at the age of 91 years, 6 months, and 9 days -- which means Jacob was born in 1782. There is a Thomas Crissey buried at the Hooversville Reformed Cemetery who, according to his tombstone, was born on November 9, 1818 and died on January 5, 1899. There is an Eliza Crissey buried at the Hooversville Reformed Cemetery who, according to her tombstone, was born on March 22, 1811 and died on December 5, 1894. There is a Mary Crissey buried at the Hooversville Reformed Cemetery who, according to her tombstone, was born on December 20, 1826 and died on September 29, 1910.

The following death certificate of Mary Crissey indicates that she is the daughter of Jacob Crissey. This supports the theory that Aaron Crissey, named in the April 29, 1874 notice included above with Mary, is a son of Jacob Crissey.

1876: The only "A. Crissey" I could find in the Shade Township portion of the 1876 county atlas was in Buckstown. The house would have been located approximately at 40.0717420, -78.8621357.

1880: In the 1880 census of Somerset County, Aaron Crissey is enumerated as a 60-year-old Blacksmith living with his 26-year-old daughter Ellen.

1881: The following item is from the May 4, 1881 issue of the "Somerset Herald" newspaper.

1883: The following item is from the August 15, 1883 issue of the "Somerset Herald" newspaper:

1884: The following item is from the January 16, 1884 issue of the "Somerset Herald" newspaper:

1884: The following item is from the December 3, 1884 issue of the Somerset Herald" newspaper:

1893: A secondary source indicates that Aaron Crissey died in 1891. This death date appears to be wrong by two years. The following death notice is from the July 5, 1893 issue of the "Somerset Herald" newspaper. I have not been able to find the burial location of Aaron Crissey.

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