Andrew Baker, gunsmith, who probably apprenticed in Bedford County

Introduction: Andrew Baker is known as a Blair County gunsmith from the 1880 census, and from Blair County history books. The history books report that he is the son of Potter Baker and was born in Bedford County. One of the books reports that he was born in 1807. A Peter Baker in the 26-44 age group appears in a transcript of the 1820 census of Woodbury Township, but the only child in the household is under ten years old. If this individual was Andrew's father, the census record suggests that Andrew may have been an apprentice living with another family in 1820. An Andrew Baker appears as a single free man in the 1831 and 1832 tax rolls of Woodbury Township, Bedford County. An individual born in 1807 would have been about 25 or 26 years old in 1831 and 1832. If this is the right Andrew Baker, the census record suggests that he would have already learned the art of gunsmithing before leaving Bedford County.

1800: A Peter Baker in the 26 to 44 age group appears in a transcript the 1800 census of Providence & Colerain Townships, Bedford County. In his household is a female in the 26 to 44 age group and two females in the under ten age group.

1807: Andrew Baker's tombstone indicates he was born on December 10, 1807.

The following excerpt is from the 1892 book "Biographical and Portrait Cyclopedia of Blair County, Pennsylvania". It indicates that the gunsmith Andrew Baker was born in 1807 in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, and was the son of Potter Baker.

1820: A transcript of the 1820 federal census of Woodberry Township lists an Andrew Baker in the 26-44 age group living with a female in the over-45 age group. A transcript of the 1820 federal census of Woodberry Township also lists a Peter Baker in the 26-44 age group, living with a female in the same age group and male in the under ten age group. Based on the ages given, none of the Bakers in the 1820 census appear to be the gunsmith Andrew Baker who was born in 1807. If the Peter Baker in the 1820 census is the father of the gunsmith Andrew Baker, it suggests Andrew may have been an apprentice living with another family in 1820.

1822: An 1822 deed releases property from Jacob Hay of Maryland to an Andrew Baker of Woodberry Township, Bedford County. This seems to be the same Andrew Baker who is listed in the 1820 census in the 26-44 age group.

1831-32: The 2001 book "Gunsmiths of Bedford, Fulton, Huntingdon, & Somerset Counties" by Whisker & Yantz indicates that Andrew Baker appears as a single free man in the 1831 and 1832 tax rolls of Woodbury Township, Bedford County. He would have been about 25 or 26 years old then, which probably means that he learned the art of gunsmithing in Bedford County.

1833-1837: The 2001 Whisker & Yantz book indicates that Andrew Baker appears in the 1833 to 1837 tax rolls of Frankstown Township in Huntingdon County.

Circa 1833: Together, the 1892 book and the 1850 census indicate that Andrew and Jane Baker had a daughter named Elizabeth who was born circa 1833.

Circa 1834: Together, the 1892 book and the 1850 census indicate that Andrew and Jane Baker had a son named William who was born circa 1834.

Circa 1837: Together, the 1892 book and the 1850 census indicate that Andrew and Jane Baker had a son named Joseph L. who was born circa 1837.

1840-1845: The 2001 Whisker & Yantz book indicates that Andrew Baker appears in the Blair Township portion of Huntingdon County from 1840 to 1845. The book says that after Blair County was formed, Andrew Baker lived in the vicinity of Newry.

Circa 1841: Together, the 1892 book and the 1850 census indicate that Andrew and Jane Baker had a son named Thomas J. who was born circa 1841. This may be the T.J. Baker whose tombstone in the Newry Lutheran Cemetery in Blair County indicates he was born in 1841 and died in 1909.

1842: The 2017 book "Gunsmiths of Bedford County, Pennsylvania" indicates that on May 28, 1842 Newry resident Andrew Baker acknowledged having received his portion of the estate of Andrew Friedley, Sr. in accordance with the will of Andrew Friedley, Sr.

1843: The following excerpt is from the 1911 book "Twentieth Century History of Altoona and Blair County, Pennsylvania..." It establishes that Andrew Baker was born in Bedford County and practiced gunsmithing in Newry, which is in Blair County. It also shows that Andrew's son Charles A. Baker was born in Blair County in 1843.

Circa 1846: Together, the 1892 book and the 1850 census indicate that Andrew and Jane Baker had a daughter named Mary who was born circa 1846.

1849: Together, the 1850 and 1880 census records and the 1892 book indicate that a son named John Q. Baker was born to Andrew and Jane Baker in late 1849. This may be the John Q. Baker who whose tombstone in the Newry Lutheran Cemetery in Blair County indicates he was born in 1849 and died in 1922.

1850: The following excerpt from the 1850 census of Blair County, Pennsylvania identifies Andrew Baker as a gunsmith:

Circa 1854: The May 31, 1892 Blair County, Pennsylvania marriage application no. 3631 of 49-year-old widower Marcus L. Barker and 38-year-old widow Mary E. Donnelly indicates that Mary is the daughter of Andrew and Jane Baker and was born in Newry, Pennsylvania, which indicates she was born circa 1854.

1880: In the 1880 census, Andrew Baker is enumerated as a 72-year-old Pennsylvania-born gunsmith. Living in his household are 66-year-old Jane, 30-year-old John (a farmer), 20-year-old Clara, and 8-month-old William.

1880: Andrew Baker's wife Jane is buried at the Newry Lutheran Cemetery in Newry, Blair County, Pennsylvania.. Her side of their shared tombstone states "Jane Wife of Andrew Baker Born Mar. 14, 1801 Died Mar. 1, 1880".

1887: Andrew Baker is buried at the Newry Lutheran Cemetery (40.39495532, -78.43975152) in Newry, Blair County, Pennsylvania. His side of the shared tombstone states "Andrew Baker Born Dec. 10, 1807 Died Jan. 21, 1887".

Work product:
Heritage Auctions listed a long rifle with a 50 caliber 43-1/4-inch-long octagon barrel with the signature "A. Baker" on the top flat of the barrel. The curly maple stock has a low comb, a moulded cheek piece, a toe plate, and an engraved four-piece patch box with five piercings. The cheek piece has a silver inlay with a primitive engraved eagle. The rifle has double set triggers and a Goulcher commercial lock.

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