Augustus Enders, Somerset County, Pennsylvania gunsmith

Introduction: Augustus Enders is known as a gunsmith from his Civil War records. From about 1869 to about 1886 Augustus cohabited with Susan Larimer, widow of the Civil War Soldier Isaac Larimer. Early in their relationship Augustus and Susan had a son together, adding to the children Susan already had. They didn't marry, because Susan feared she would lose her Civil War widow's pension. For at least part of their time together Augustus and Susan lived at Susan's Jefferson Township, Somerset County residence, which was very near the site of what would become the east end of the Laurel Hill tunnel of the Pennsylvania turnpike.

1815: Calculating from data on his tombstone, Augustus Enders was born in 1815.

1827: Based on the information on her tombstone, Susanna (Mull) Larmer was born in 1827.

1851: An individual named Susan Mull gave birth to a son named Gideon Shaulis in 1851. Gideon died in Jefferson Township, Somerset County and is buried in the same cemetery as Susanna (Mull) Larmer. Click here to see Gideon's death certificate.

Circa 1859: Based on census records, Robert Larimer, the eldest child of Isaac and Susan Larimer, was born circa 1859.

Circa 1861: Based on census records, Alexander Larimer, the middle child of Isaac and Susan Larimer, was born circa 1861.

Circa 1864: Based on census records, Martha Larimer, the youngest child of Isaac and Susan Larimer, was born circa 1864.

1864: Susan's husband Isaac Larimer died on July 9, 1864 and is buried at the Andersonville National Cemetery in Macon County, Georgia.

1865: Augustus Enders is known to have been a gunsmith because a Civil War military enrollment document identifies him as a 39-year-old gunsmith. His height was listed as five feet, eight inches, his eyes were described as gray, and his complexion was characterized as light. He enrolled in Company D of the 79th Pennsylvania Regiment as a substitute on February 13, 1865 in Philadelphia and received his discharge in the vicinity of Washington on July 12, 1865. The following composite image of a transcript of the roster of Company D is made from the book "History of Pennsylvania Volunteers 1861-5":

The following composite image from the book "History of Pennsylvania Volunteers 1861-5" gives the history of the 79th Regiment during the period when Augustus Enders was a member.

The following excerpt from the "Historical Magazine of Monongahela's Old Homecoming Week Sept. 6-13, 1908" is included because it includes a photo of the Commander of Company D.

1867: Susan Larimer was granted a Civil War widow's pension on February 11, 1867.

Circa 1869-1886: August Enders cohabited with the widow Susan Larimer from about 1869 to about 1886, and they had a child together in 1869. The following excerpt is from Volume III of the 1890 book "Decisions of the Department of the Interior in Cases Relating to Pension Claims...":

1870: In a June 30, 1870 census record of Somerset Township, Somerset County Pennsylvania, Susan Larimer is listed as a 42-year-old white illiterate female head of a household, with the occupation of "Keeping house", real estate valued at $500.00, and personal property valued at $250.00. Also living in her household are 45-year-old Prussia-born August Enders, 11-year-old Pennsylvania-born Robert Larimer, 9-year-old Pennsylvania-born Alex Larimer, 6-year-old Pennsylvania-born Martha Larimer, and 10-month-old Pennsylvania-born August Enders, who is listed as having a foreign father. No Susan Larimer is found in the 1870 census of Jefferson Township.

1870: In the 1870 census of Jefferson Township, Somerset County, 19-year-old Gideon Shaulis is living in the household of 56-year-old William Mull as a Domestic Servant.

1875: The following notice is from the April 28, 1875 issue of the "Somerset Herald" newspaper, and indicates that Susan Larimer was then living in Jefferson Township:

1876: The following image, which is from the Jefferson Township portion of the 1876 "County Atlas of Somerset Pennsylvania", identifies the residence of Susan Larimer. The old 1876 roadbed is still visible on Lidar imagery, and the residence was located very near where the eastern mouth of the abandoned Laurel Hill turnpike tunnel is located now (40.09680277879762, -79.21951649397023). By strange coincidence, the gunsmith Eli Knupp was located at the western mouth of the tunnel.

You can still see the sunken 1876 road he lived on using Lidar imagery such as the Google map terrain option. Plug 40.096646756092085, -79.22003660307155 into Google maps and switch to terrain mode to see the sunken 1876 road just above the mouth of the tunnel, and compare it to the 1876 map above.

1880: In the June 1880 census of Jefferson Township, Somerset County, Susan Larimes is listed as a 52-year-old Pennsylvania-born female with the occupation of "Keeping house". Augustus Endes is listed as a 53-year old Prussia-born Tailor who is a boarder in the household. Also living in the household are 21-year-old son Robert Larimes a farm laborer, 19-year-old son Alex Larimes a farm laborer, 16-year-old daughter Martha, and 10-year-old son Augustus Endes, all Pennsylvania-born. The father of 10-year-old Augustus Endes is recorded as being born in Prussia.

1882: The following composite image shows a notice from the March 22, 1882 issue of the "Somerset Herald" newspaper:

1884: Construction on Knupp's tunnel began in February of 1884. Although it was never used as a railroad tunnel, it became the (now abandoned) Laurel Hill tunnel of the Pennsylvania Turnpike. I don't know if Susan Larimer was still living near the site of the eastern mouth of the tunnel when construction was imminent, but (from information above) I do know that Augustus Enders was still living with her in 1884.

1885: Susan Larimer lost her widow's pension on February 20, 1885.

1888: Near the end of his life, Augustus Enders received a health-related Veteran's pension. He applied for the pension on June 9, 1888 (Application No. 659146) resulting in Pension Certificate No. 559643.

1890: Augustus Enders appears on the 1890 Veteran's schedule of Somerset Township, Somerset County as having been a Private in Company D of the 79th Pennsylvania Volunteers from February 20, 1865 to July 5, 1865. The schedule indicates he has a Somerset address and was suffering from heart disease and rheumatism.

1892: Augustus Enders is buried in the Union Cemetery (40.01112540, -79.08021908) in the town of Somerset, Somerset County, Pennsylvania. His tombstone states, "August Enders died June 4, 1892 aged 77 yrs. & 27 ds. -- Member Co. D 79 Regt. Pa. Vols."

1896: Augustus Enders was mentioned in a Memorial Day article that was published in the June 3, 1896 issue of the "Somerset Herald" newspaper.

1902: Susan Larimer died January 5, 1902 and is buried at the Bakersville Cemetery (40.040369829, -79.21930595) in Somerset County. Her tombstone states, "Susanna Larmer died Jan. 5, 1902 aged 74 ys. 4 ms. 5 ds." (The tombstone is damaged where the month was given, but the month is recorded in the W.P.A. cemetery survey.)

1913: The following image is from the 1961 edition of a 1913 topographic map. It shows the location of the Susan Larimer residence that is shown on the 1876 map above.

2001: A correspondent reports that he heard old folks talk about a man known as "Gus Endes", including a woman who lived to the age of 99 who said Gus was illegitimate. The correspondent reports that Gus's parents were Augustus Enders and Susan Larimer, and reports that the old folks didn't pronounce the "r" in the name Enders. The correspondent also reports that he has a deed that has Gus's name on it. Gus is obviously the August Enders who was born in 1869.

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