Somerset County, PA gunsmith(s) named Frederick Horner

INTRODUCTION
Early research: According to Kauffman's 1960 book "The Pennsylvania - Kentucky Rifle", Frederick Horner is identified as a gunsmith in the 1805, 1808, and 1811 tax rolls of Quemahoning Township, and in the 1815, 1817, 1821, and 1834 tax rolls of Jenner Township. in an article titled "Co. Had 30 Gunmakers-Gunsmiths" in the November 1971 issue of the "Laurel Messenger" Vaughn E. Whisker repeated much of the same information:

Later research: In the 2017 book "Gunsmiths of Somerset County, Pennsylvania" James B. Whisker reports that there were two different gunsmiths named Frederick Horner in Somerset County.

One Frederick Horner is described as:

  • A son of John Horner, Sr.,
  • Appearing on the 1797 tax roll of Quemahoning Township,
  • Appearing in the 1800 federal census of Quemahoning Township,
  • Identified as a Quemahoning Township gunsmith in 1805, and
  • He and his brother Daniel are believed to have emigrated to Canada soon thereafter.

    The other Frederick Horner is described as:

  • A son of John Horner, Jr.,
  • Appearing on the 1806 to 1811 tax rolls of Somerset County,
  • Appearing in the 1810 federal census of Quemahoning Township,
  • Appearing on the Jenner Township tax rolls from 1815 to 1834, and
  • Appearing on the 1830 federal census of Jenner Township.

    I suspect that the Horner information in Whisker's 2017 book is based on Jack Horner Bell's 1980 book "Horner Patriots of Pennsylvania", which I have not seen. Form the little I know, I am not convinced there was more than one gunsmith named Frederick Horner in Somerset County.

    Here, below, is what Jack Horner Bell wrote for the February, 1984 issue of the "Laurel Messenger", about four years after publishing his 1980 book. The article mentions a Frederick Horner, born circa 1754, who was a son of the gunsmith John Horner, Sr. The article does not mention any individual named Frederick Horner accompanying Daniel Horner to Canada. The article also does not mention John Horner, Jr. having a son named Frederick. I understand that the absence of such information is not really proof of anything.

    CHRONOLOGY
    1790: The only Frederick Horner that I could find in a transcript of the 1790 census of Pennsylvania was in Franklin Township:

    1794: The following excerpt from the Franklin County, Pennsylvania warrant register shows that Frederic Horner acquired ten acres of property in Franklin County via warrant on March 24, 1794 (Survey Book C-90 Page 19).

    1797: The Whisker's 2017 book reports that Frederick Horner appears on the 1797 tax list of Quemahoning Township.

    1798: The following excerpt from the August 1974 "Laurel Messenger" indicates that Frederick Horner witnessed the April 19, 1798 marriage of Jacob Horner and Susannah Fox.

    1800: In a transcript of the 1800 census of Somerset County, there is a Frederic Horner household with one male in the 45 & up age bracket, one female in the 26 to 45 age bracket, one female in the 16 to 26 age bracket, one male in the 10 to 16 age bracket, and one male and one female in the under 10 age bracket. This is the only Frederick Horner that that I could find in the 1800 census of Somerset County. An individual in the 45 & up age bracket would have been born during or before circa 1755.

    1805: Kauffman's 1960 book reports that Frederick Horner is identified as a gunsmith in the 1805 tax roll of Quemahoning Township.
    1806: The Whisker's 2017 book mentions a Frederick Horner who appears in an 1806 Somerset County tax list.

    1808-1811: According to Kauffman's 1960 book, Frederick Horner is identified as a gunsmith in the 1808 and 1811 tax rolls of Quemahoning Township.

    1810: In a transcript of the 1810 census of Somerset County a Frederick Horner household is listed in Quemahoning Township with one male and one female in the 26 to 45 age bracket, one male in the 16 to 26 age bracket, and two males and one female in the under 10 year age bracket. One can appreciate from the age data that this Frederick Horner is (reportedly) younger than the one who appears in the 1800 census. This is the only Frederick Horner that was in the 1810 census of Somerset County.

    1811: The 1884 book "History of Bedford, Somerset and Fulton Counties, Pennsylvania" states, "Jenner township was organized in 1811, and named for Dr. Jenner, the discoverer of vaccination." I have read that it was formed from parts of the townships of Quemahoning and Conemaugh. This means that Jacob Horner may not have needed to move to show up in both Quemahoning and Jenner Townships.

    1815-1834: Kauffman's 1960 book indicates that Frederick Horner is identified as a gunsmith in the 1815, 1817, 1821, and 1834 tax rolls of Jenner Township.

    1817: The following image is from page 504 of the book "History of Bedford, Somerset, and Fulton Counties, Pennsylvania", which was published by Waterman, Watkins & Co. in 1884. It indicates that Frederick Horner was enumerated as a gunsmith in the 1817 tax list of Jenner Township, Somerset County, Pennsylvania.

    1820: I did not find a Frederick Horner household in a partial transcript of the 1820 census of Somerset County. I do not have access to the complete 1820 census of Somerset County.

    1830: In a transcript of the 1830 federal census of Somerset County, a Frederick Harner household in Jenner Township has one male and one female in the 70 to 80 age bracket. That is the only Horner household I could find in the 1830 census of Somerset County. An individual in the 70 to 80 age bracket would have been born circa 1750 to 1760. This census record makes me doubt the 2017 book's premise that John Horner, Senior's son Frederick migrated to Canada. I am certainly not a Horner genealogist, but the individual in the 1830 census seems likely to be the son of John Horner, Sr. who is described in the 1984 article as being born circa 1754.

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