George W. Spangler, gunsmith

Introduction: In 1844 at the age of 14, George Spangler migrated from Somerset County, Pennsylvania to Wisconsin with his gunsmith father Samuel Spangler, and became a prolific Wisconsin gun maker. I think it is reasonable to believe that he would have assisted his father in the gunsmithing business in some capacity before the move, even prior to becoming a teenager.

Here is what Vaughn E. Whisker wrote about George Spangler and his father in an article titled "Co. Had 30 Gunmakers-Gunsmiths" in the November 1971 issue of the "Laurel Messenger":

1829-1884: According to the following excerpt from the 1884 book "History of Green County, Wisconsin", George W. Spangler was born December 23, 1829 in Pennsylvania, and was the son of the gunsmith Samuel Spangler.

1856: Jerald T. Teesdale's article "The Gunmaking Industry in Wisconsin" in the March 1949 issue of the "Wisconsin magazine of history" mentions that George Spangler advertised in Monroe newspapers in 1856.

1860: The following advertisement is from the January 4, 1860 issue of the "Monroe Sentinel" newspaper:

1861: George Spangler advertised in the December 25, 1861 issue of the "Monroe Sentinel" newspaper.

1873: The following is from the Monroe section of the 1884 book "History of Green County, Wisconsin" and indicates that George Spangler served as a trustee that year:

1876: The following is from the Monroe section of the 1884 book "History of Green County, Wisconsin" and indicates that George Spangler served as a trustee that year:

1877: The following excerpt is from the "Village Directory for 1877" portion of Bingham's 1877 book "History of Green County, Wisconsin":

1880: The following is from the Monroe section of the 1884 book "History of Green County, Wisconsin" and indicates that George Spangler served as a trustee that year:

1882: The following is from the Monroe section of the 1884 book "History of Green County, Wisconsin" and indicates that George Spangler served as an alderman that year:

1883: The following is from the Monroe section of the 1884 book "History of Green County, Wisconsin" and indicates that George Spangler served as an alderman that year:

1884: The following is from the Monroe section of the 1884 book "History of Green County, Wisconsin" and indicates that George Spangler served as mayor that year:

1884: The following is from the Monroe section of the 1884 book "History of Green County, Wisconsin":

1888-1890: Teesdale's March 1949 article indicates that George Spangler was the Mayor of Monroe, Wisconsin in the 1888 to 1890 timeframe.

George Spangler's house at 1218 17th Avenue in Monroe is property 68053 of the Wisconsin Architecture and History Inventory, State Historic Preservation Office, Wisconsin Historical Society, Madison, Wisconsin.

1890: The January 14, 1890 issue of the "Monroe Independent" newspaper contains a notice that states, "Married, in this city this morning at the residence of the bride’s parents, at 7:00 am, Anna M., only daughter and child of Mayor George Spangler and wife, to Robert K. Bigelow, of Litchfield, Connecticut, by Rev. M. Benson of the M.E. Church.'

1893: The August 1, 1893 issue of Monroe's "Evening Times" newspaper includes the following item, "Mrs. M. A. Raney and Mr. and Mrs. John A. Raney of Altoona, Pa., who have been visiting their sister Mrs. George Spangler and family for the past few months left this morning for Chicago where they will spend a week at the World's Fair and then return to their home in Pennsylvania."

1898: Teesdale's March 1949 article indicates that George Spangler branched off into hardware when the demand for guns dropped off after the Civil War. The following item is from Volume XLIX of "The Metal Worker" (January to June, 1898):

1911: The following excerpt is from the 1911 "Polk's Wisconsin State Gazetteer and Business Directory":

1913: George W. Spangler is buried at the Greenwood Cemetery in Monroe, Green County, Wisconsin--the same cemetery where his father Samuel is buried. An inscription on one tombstone states "George Spangler died Apr. 9, 1913 aged 83 yrs." The inscription on another more recent-looking tombstone states "George W. Spangler 1830--1913". Jerald T. Teesdale's March 1949 article indicates that the obituary of George Spangler is included in the April 5, 1913 edition of Monroe's "Evening Times" newspaper.

Teesdale's March 1949 article indicates that George Spangler made Schuetzen target rifles, and single and double-barrel shotguns and hunting rifles. George Spangler also made superposed combination guns, with one rifle barrel and one shotgun barrel.

I've seen photographs of a number of George Spangler rifles. For example, one was a half stock percussion rifle with a relatively heavy octagon barrel that is pinned with a lateral brass key that passes through lanceolate brass escutcheons. The nipple has a brass flash guard, and the stock has a brass cap box. The ramrod ferrules are mounted to a typical under-rib. The double set triggers are protected by a brass trigger guard.

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