Isaac Wendel, Jr., Somerset County, Pennsylvania

Page 145 of the 1991 book "Gunsmiths of Bedford, Somerset, and Fulton Counties" by Vaughn Wisker, Sr. and James B. Whisker shows a rifle then attributed to Isaac Wendle that has the name Isaac Wendle prominently engraved on the barrel. Page 47 of James B. Whisker's 2017 book "Gunsmiths of Somerset County, Pennsylvania" shows the same rifle and attributes it to Samuel Spangler, based on the name on the lock. I believe James B. Whisker is correct when he asserts that Spangler put the name of the rifle's owner on the barrels of several of the guns he manufactured. For example, the 2017 book shows a mule ear rifle with a Spanger-marked lock and Ruslin engraved on the barrel. The patchbox finials on the two rifles are extremely similar. Here are photos of a second rifle with "Ruslin" engraved on the barrel that is now attributed to Spangler on page 42 of Whisker's 2017 book.

This naturally brings up the question of why Whisker included Isaac Wendle as a gunsmith in the biography portion of his 2017 book. Whisker's basis may be the gun barrel, the boring machine, and the woodworking tools that were sold at the vendue sale of Isaac Wendel, Jr. To me, the 16,210 board feet of chestnut, oak, and cherry lumber that were sold at the vendue sale suggest the woodworking tools may have been used in some type of construction or manufacturing, rather than gun making. All that wood could also be explained if Wendle had a sawmill or a lumber business.

This web page does not pretend to prove or disprove that Isaac Wendle was a gunsmith. Instead, it is just a starting point for a collection of information that may eventually help to answer the question.

Research on Isaac Wendel, Jr. is complicated by his father having the same name. The following item from the 1906 book "History of Bedford and Somerset Counties, Pennsylvania" provides a glimpse of the life of Isaac Wendel, Sr.:

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The following excerpt from the 1884 book "History of Bedford, Somerset, and Fulton Counties" indicates that Isaac Wendel, Sr. was taxed in Shade Township, Somerset County in 1816:

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The following item from the March 30, 1847 "Somerset Herald" shows that either the father or the son was selected for jury duty that was to begin on May 3, 1847:

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The following image is from the Somerset Township portion of the 1860 Walker map of Somerset County, Pennsylvania:

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The following item from the April 2, 1891 "Somerset Herald" indicates that Isaac Wendel, Jr. served as a Constable during a sensational murder case in 1860:

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Isaac Wendel, Jr. is buried in the Friedens Lutheran Church Cemetery which is located at 40.050230, -78.995716 in Friedens, Somerset County, Pennsylvania. His tombstone appears to indicate that he died on March 1, 1884 at the age of 75 years, five months and 19 days. The following estate-related notice is from the March 26, 1884 "Somerset Herald":

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