George Clouse, Bedford County gunsmith

Introduction: George Clouse is known as a Bedford County gunsmith from tax, census, and estate records and a directory listing.

Circa 1808: Based on the information on his tombstone, George Clouse was born circa 1808.

1840: The following reference to George Clouse is from the 1884 book "History of Bedford, Somerset, and Fulton Counties, Pennsylvania". It indicates that he came to America in 1840.

James B. Whisker's article about Valentine Feltus Clouse in the March, 2010 issue of the "Muzzle Blasts" magazine indicates that Valentine's father George emigrated to America to avoid military service, and met his future wife Christina Friend while enroute to America via ship.

1840-1850: The 2001 book "Gunsmiths of Bedford, Fulton, Huntington, & Somerset Counties" by Whisker & Yantz puts George Clouse in South Woodbury Township from 1840 to 1850. As shown farther below, the 1850 census puts the gunsmith George Clouse in Napier Township. I did not find George Clouse in the South Woodbury or Napier township portions of my somewhat murky copy of the 1840 manuscript census records of Bedford County, Pennsylvania. That doesn't seem surprising for someone who reportedly immigrated to the United States sometime during 1840.

1849: An article included below indicates that George Clouse's son W. H. Clouse was born in 1849. This would be the 12-year-old individual named Henry who is listed in the George Clouse household in the 1860 census of South Woodbury Township.

1850: Based on the 1860 census of South Woodbury Township, the Gun Maker George Clouse had a son named Valentine who was born circa 1850. The 2001 Whisker & Yantz book indicates that George Clouse was the brother of the gunsmith Henry Valentine Clouse and the father of the gunsmith Valentine Feltus Clouse. Felty Clouse's tombstone in the New Enterprise Cemetery indicates he was born in 1850, stating, "Valentine F. Clouse 1850 -- 1936".

1850: According to Kauffman's 1960 book "The Pennsylvania - Kentucky Rifle", George Clouse is identified as a gunsmith on the 1850 federal census of Woodbury Township, Bedford County. That is incorrect. George Clouse is actually identified as a gunsmith in the 1850 census of Napier township, as shown by the following composite image:

The gunsmith George Clouse in the 1850 census of Napier Township, Somerset County, Pennsylvania.

1855: Based on the 1860 census of South Woodbury Township, the Gun Maker George Clouse had a son named Nicholas who was born circa 1855.

1855: The 1953 book "American Gunmakers" lists George Clouse as a gunsmith in Woodbury Township, Bedford County, PA in 1855. According to Kauffman's 1960 book "The Pennsylvania - Kentucky Rifle", George Clouse is identified as a gunsmith on the 1855 tax roll of Woodbury Township, Bedford County. According to Whisker's article in the March, 2010 issue of the "Muzzle Blasts", the township was South Woodberry.

1855 & on: James B. Whisker's article in the March, 2010 issue of the "Muzzle Blasts" magazine indicates that George Clouse was a taxable in Broad Top Township in the 1855 to 1886 timeframe, and indicates that on the 1855 tax roll, George Clouse was identified as a gunsmith, and on the 1864 tax roll he was identified as a locksmith. The article also indicates that George Clouse had property in South Woodberry Township in 1863. Although this is harmonious with the information in 2001 Whisker and Yantz book, I suspect the township identities are transposed, based on the 1860, 1870, and 1880 South Woodbury Township census records and the 1861 and 1877 maps that are included below.

1856: Based on the 1860 census of South Woodbury Township, the Gun Maker George Clouse had a son named Elias who was born circa 1857. Elias Franklin Clouse is buried in the Friends Cove United Church of Christ Cemetery in Bedford County, Pennsylvania, where his tombstone indicates he was born in 1856 and died in 1936.

1859: Based on the 1860 census of South Woodbury Township, the Gun Maker George Clouse had a daughter named Susan who was born in 1859. A web page about Susan indicates she was born on July 17, 1859, married Franklin Ebersole Kagarise, died on January 18, 1941, and is buried at the Salemville Cemetery in Bedford County, Pennsylvania.

1860: George Clouse appears as a 50-year-old German-born Gun Maker on page 15 of the 1860 census of South Woodbury Township, Bedford County, Pennsylvania. Also listed in the George Clouse household are 32-year-old Christiana Clouse, 12-year-old Henry Clouse, 10-year-old Valentine Clouse, 5-year-old Nicholas Clouse, 3-year-old Elias Clouse, and 10-month-old Susan Clouse. The preceding family, beginning on page 14, is that of William Rock. Based on the 1861 map shown below, the proximity to the William Rock family in the 1860 cendsus seems to indicate that George Clouse was living near Brumbaugh in 1860.
The George Clouse household in the 1860 census of Bedford County, Pennsylvania.

1861: The following image is from the South Woodbury Township portion of the 1861 Walker map of Bedford County. It shows the residence of G. Clouse near the residence of W. Rock and near the place that is now known as Brumbaugh (see below for a map that shows Brumbaugh).

1862: The obituary of George W. Clouse appears in the September 10, 1945 issue of the "Altoona Mirror", and includes the statement "He was born in New Enterprise on May 20, 1862 a son of George and Christine (Friend) Clouse." Such references to a New Enterprise address are probably based on the family being served by the New Enterprise Post Office. Here is a copy of the obituary from the September 14, 1945 issue of the "Bedford Gazette" newspaper.

1863: The 2017 book "Gunsmiths of Bedford County, Pennsylvania" puts George Clouse in South Woodberry Township in 1863.

1864: The 2001 Whisker & Yantz book indicates that George Clouse usually appears on the tax rolls as a farmer, but in 1864 he was identified as a locksmith.

1864: The following death certificate of Herman Clouse indicates that he was born at New Enterprise on October 30, 1864, and was the son of George Clouse and Mary Christine Friend, who were both born in Germany. The February 12, 1895 Bedford County marriage license application of Herman Clouse and Annie Ferry and the October 21, 1911 marriage license application of Herman Clouse and Effie Koontz indicate that Herman's parents were George and Christine Clouse.

1868: The following death certificate of Lydia (Clouse) Feight indicates that she was born at New Enterprise on September 6, 1868, and was the daughter of George Clouse and Christina Friend, who were both born in Germany. The obituary of "Mrs. Lydia Clouse Feight" appears in the November 6, 1924 Altoona Tribune and includes the statement, "She was aged 56 years and was born at Brumbaugh near New Enterprise."

1870: In the 1870 census records of South Woodbury Township, George Clouse is listed as a 61-year-old farmer who was born in Hesse Cassel:

1877: The following image is from the South Woodbury Township portion of the 1877 book "County Atlas of Bedford Pennsylvania". It shows the residence of a "G. Clouse" near the populated place that is now known as Brumbaugh. Brumbaugh is located where the A. W. Reed distillery and hotel are shown.

1878: The following image is from the 1878-1879 edition of "Farquhar's Official Directory of Bedford County, Pennsylvania", which was "Printed at the Inquirer Office, Bedford, Pa." It lists George Clouse as a gunsmith in New Enterprise. This probably means he was served by the New Enterprise Post Office. It certainly doesn't support him being in Broad Top Township at this time.

1879: George Clouse is buried in the New Enterprise Cemetery in Bedford County, Pennsylvania. His tombstone indicates that he died on November 24, 1879, and was 71 years old at the time of his death.

The 2001 Whisker & Yantz book indicates that indicates that the estate inventory of George Clouse included gunsmithing tools valued at $15.00, blacksmithing tools valued at $10.00, tin working tools valued at $2.00, and iron and steel lots valued at $1.50 and $1.00 respectively.

1880: In the 1880 federal census, Christiann Clouse is enumerated as a 52-year-old German-born individual. Living in her household are 28-year-old Pennsylvania-born gunsmith Valentine Clouse, along with 18-year-old George, 16-year-old Harmon, and 12-year-old Lydia.

The following reference to George Clouse is from the 1911 book "Twentieth Century History of Altoona and Blair County Pennsylvania..." It seems to indicate that the gunsmith George Clouse was living in Bloomfield Township when his son W. H. Clouse was born in 1849, and that W. H. Clouse was reared in Bloomfield Township, and that George Clouse died in Bloomfield Township. W. H. Clouse being reared in Bloomfield Township is difficult to reconcile with the 1860, 1870, and 1880 census records and 1861 and 1877 maps that are included above. It is also difficult to reconcile with the simple fact that Bloomfield Township was not incorporated until late in 1876.

The following article by the Reverend C.W. Karns was originally printed in the "Altoona Mirror" newspaper. In 1933 it was published as part of a compilation titled "Historical Sketches of Morrisons Cove". Reverend Karns indicates that the gunsmith George Clouse settled in South Woodbury Township at the base of Cove Mountain. Morrisons Cove is located between Tussey Mountain, Dunning Mountain, and Evitts Mountain. The western boundary of South Woodbury Township is formed by Dunning Mountain. The eastern boundary of South Woodbury Township is formed by Tussey Mountain. The southern border of South Woodbury Township is formed by Evitts Mountain. Officially, there is no Cove Mountain in South Woodbury Township. That makes me think that Cove Mountain is a local name for either Dunning Mountain or Evitts Mountain, or perhaps the two together, since they form one ridge. The following reference also indicates that Felty is still living on the home place, which is itself a location clue when combined with other information.

The following excerpt is from Van Horn's 1986 book "Bible, Axe, and Plow". It indirectly suggests that Felty lives in the southern end of Morrison Cove, and says he lived along the mountain north of the old Brumbaugh Distillery. People make strange use of compass directions in this region, and whereas we might say Dunning Mountain is west of Brumbaugh Distillery, Van Horn references Dunning Mountain as being north of Brumbaugh Distillery. Once you know where Brumbaugh Distillery was, Van Horn confirms the "G. Clouse" on the 1861 and 1877 maps is the residence of the gunsmith George Clouse.

1901: Based on the type font, the following appears to be a transcript of an obituary of George Clouse's wife that was published in the November 13, 1901 issue of the "Altoona Tribune" newspaper. It indicates that her children Valentine and Lydia are still living at the old home place at Brumbaugh. The 1928 date has to be a typographical error. Her tombstone at the New Enterprise Cemetery states "Christina Wife of Geo. Clouse Died Nov. 4, 1901 Aged 73 Years."

1902: The following 1902 map identifies the location of Brumbaugh, and labels Morrison Cove. By comparing this map to the 1861 and 1877 maps above, you can see that the George Clouse residence was nestled in the crook formed by the juncture Evitts Mountain and Dunning Mountain. You can also see that Bloomfield Township is just north of South Woodbury Township.

1906: The following excerpt from the 1906 book "History of Bedford and Somerset Counties Pennsylvania" describes Brumbaugh:

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