Jonathan Dormayer ("Dunmeyer") biographical material

Jonathan Dormayer was reportedly the son of the gunsmith Peter Dormayer, the brother of the gunsmith David Dunmyer, the brother-in-law of the gunsmith Elias Knupp, and the uncle of the gunsmith Charles Monroe Knupp.

Jonathan Dormayer is known for a distinctive style of percussion rifle that continued to be manufactured by his nephew Charles Monroe Knupp after Jonathan died. Whether signed or unsigned, these rifles are easily identifiable by the unique shape of their patchboxes, locks, and lock bolt plates, and by their engraving and carving. The locks are often engraved with the initials "JD" or "CMK". Since Peter Dormayer remained a gunsmith all his life, but few rifles are attributed specifically to him, it is reasonable to suspect that he helped Jonathan manufacture rifles. Jonathan's younger brother David was even more severely wounded during the war, but is said to have done some stockmaking after the war.

The 1953 edition of Gluckman's "American Gun Makers" puts Jonathan Dunmeyer in Sipesville, describes a halfstock lightweight boys rifle with a brass patch box and inlays of silver, and states that he also produced some plain rather crude rifles.

According to Kauffman's 1960 book "The Pennsylvania - Kentucky Rifle", Jonathan Dunmeyer is identified as a gunsmith on the Somerset Township tax rolls for the years 1852, 1853, 1856, 1861, and 1872, and in his estate appraisal some gun tools and other items were appraised at $9.00.

1826: The information on Jonathan Dormayer's tombstone indicates he was born in 1826.

1850: In the 1850 federal census of Somerset Township, Peter Dunmire is enumerated as a 55-year-old Pennsylvania-born gunsmith. Also living in his household are 53-year-old Barbara Dunmire, 26-year-old Elisabeth Dunmire, 22-year-old gunsmith Jonathan Dunmire, and 18-year-old laborer David Dunmire, all Pennsylvania born.

1850-1885: The 1983 booklet "Gunsmiths and Gunmakers of Bedford and Somerset Counties Pennsylvania 1770-1900" puts Jonathan Dunmeyer in Sipesville from 1850 to 1885.

Circa 1851?: Donna Knupp reports that Barbara Knupp (1827-1883), sister of Levi Knupp (1837-1885), married Jonathan Dunmeyer (1826-1885). The 2017 book "Gunsmiths of Somerset County, Pennsylvania" indicates that Elias, Levi, and Isaac Knupp were brothers of Jonathan's wife Barbara.

1852: The following excerpt is from the 1906 book "History of Bedford and Somerset Counties Pennsylvania". I suspect that the referenced Sarah A. Dunmire, born September 5, 1852, is one of the children of Jonathan and Barbara (Knupp) Dormayer. The Stonycreek Township tombstone for a Sarah Mosholder that I could find is at the Walker Cemetery at Shanksville, and the tombstone states, "Sarah A. wife of J.B. Mosholder died Apr. 26, 1897 aged 44 ys. 7 ms. 14 ds." I can't explain the discrepancy between the date of death on the tombstone and the date of death given in the excerpt below. John B. Mosholder and his second wife Catherine are buried in the same cemetery. The marriage license application of John B. Mosholder and his second wife Catherine Miller also indicates that his first wife died on April 26, 1897.

1860: In the 1860 census of Somerset Township, Jonathan was enumerated as a 33-year-old individual living with his 33-year-old-wife Barbara and a 21-year-old apprentice Eli Knupp (his brother-in-law).

1864-1865: Jonathan Dormayer was mustered into Company G of the 93rd Regiment of Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers on September 17, 1864. On October 19, 1864 he was shot in both thighs at Cedar Creek, Virginia. After two amputation operations that removed most of his left leg, he was discharged at Baltimore on April 1, 1865. He filed a claim for an invalid pension on May 30, 1865, and was awarded a pension.

Here's what Volume II of the 1906 book "History of Bedford and Somerset Counties Pennsylvania" has to say about Company G:

1864: The following published roster of Company G of the 93rd Regiment of Pennsylvania Veteran Volunteers indicates that Jonathan "Dunmeyer" was mustered into service on September 17, 1864 and was wounded at Cedar Creek, Virginia on October 19, 1864.

1865: The following discharge document shows that Jonathan Dormayer was discharged from the Union Army on April 1, 1865 as a result of gunshot wounds to both thighs and amputation of his left leg. It describes him as five feet nine inches tall, with a dark complexion, blue eyes, and light hair who was a farmer at the time he enlisted.

1865: The following May 30, 1865 pension application indicates that Jonathan Dormayer went through two separate amputation operations on his left leg. Donna Knupp reports that Jonathan Dunmeyer had a pension of $24.00 for his Civil War injury.

1867: Jonathan and Barbara Dormayer's daughter Minnie is buried in the Union Cemetery at Somerset, Somerset County, Pennsylvania. Her tombstone states "Minnie M. Bingner June 13, 1867 Aug. 8, 1934".

1870: In the 1870 federal census of Somerset Township, Jonathan Dunmier is enumerated as a 43-year-old Pennsylvania-born gunsmith with real estate valued at $2,000.00 and personal property valued at $970.00. Living with him are 43-year-old Barbara Dunmier keeping house, 18-year-old Sarah Dunmier, 14-year-old Adaline Dunmier, 12-year-old Delila Dunmier, 10-year-old Barbara Dunmier, 7-year-old Theresa Dunmier, 3-year-old Minerva Dunmier, and 77-year-old gunsmith Peter Dunmier with real estate valued at $300.00, all Pennsylvania-born.

1870: The following November 29, 1870 document is Jonathan Dormayer's application for money to purchase an artificial leg.

1873: The signatures on this October 21, 1873 document use the spelling "Jonathan Dormayer":

1874: Here is a February 21, 1874 court document that lists Jonathan and David Dormayer as lineal descendants of Peter Dormayer:

1874: The following legal notice to Jonathan Dormayer, et. al is from the March 25, 1874 issue of the Somerset Herald, and concerns the estate of Jonathan's father, the gunsmith Peter Dormayer,.

1875: Here is a November 24, 1875 document related to the estate of Peter Dormayer that references Jonathan Dormayer as Peter's eldest son:

1880: In the 1880 federal census of Sipesville, Jonathan Dormayer is enumerated as a 53-year old gunsmith residing with his wife Barbary and 13-year-old Minnie M.

1883: The following September 11, 1883 document summarizes the hospitalization of Jonathan Dormayer during the Civil War, and indicates that the second amputation took the upper part of his left thigh.

1883-1885: The following photo shows the tombstone of Jonathan Dormayer. Jonathan is buried in the Pleasant Hill Methodist Cemetery in Somerset Township with his wife Barbara (Knupp) Dormayer. The cemetery is located approximately at Latitude 40.009886, Longitude -79.023199. Jonathan Dormayer's tombstone panel states: "Jonathan Dormayer died Jan. 11, 1885. Aged 58 yrs 5 mos 24 dys". Barbara's panel states, "Barbara Dormayer died Aug. 5, 1883, age 55 yrs 7 mos 6 dys".

1885: In the January 1, 1885 estate inventory of Jonathan Dormayer, his estate was valued at $3,151.79. The inventory included gunsmith tools and other items valued at $9.00, blacksmithing tools valued at $9.25, and a lot consisting of gun barrels and a coal stove that was valued at $9.00.

1885: The following Administrator's notice regarding the estate of Jonathan Dormayer is from the February 18, 1885 issue of the Somerset Herald.

Circa 1885: The following undated document references the January 11, 1885 death of Jonathan Dormayer, and requests the increase in pension the applicants believe he should have received.

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