Introduction: Jacob Mier is known as a Somerset County Pennsylvania gunsmith from tax lists, census records, a newspaper article, the 1860 Walker map of Somerset County, and surviving examples of his work.
1793-1873: Here's what Vaughn E. Whisker wrote in an article titled "Co. Had 30 Gunmakers-Gunsmiths" in the November 1971 issue of the "Laurel Messenger":
1819: Edward R. Flanigan's article titled "Anthony Fricker-A Pennsylvania Gunsmith in the Context of the Early 19th Century" was published in the "American Society of Arms Collectors Bulletin" 84:11-38. It reports on the 1814 to 1821 gunsmithing ledger of Anthony Fricker of Womelsdorf, Berks County, Pennsylvania. The ledger shows that an individual named Jacob Mires worked for Fricker from March 9, 1819 to April 27, 1819, and was paid for three rifles and one gun and for putting a new stock on an old gun. Mires was paid $4.00 for each of the three rifles, $2.67 for the gun, and $1.50 for the restocking job. It is not known if this is the gunsmith Jacob Mier who shows up in Somerset in 1822 and was sometimes referred to as Jacob Myers.
1822: According to the 2017 book "Gunsmiths of Somerset County, Pennsylvania", a gunsmith named Jacob Mier was enumerated in Somerset as a single free man in 1822. The same book indicates that a wheelwright named Jacob Mier was also enumerated in 1822, and the estate of this individual was referenced in 1846.
1822-1867: According to Kauffman's 1960 book "The Pennsylvania - Kentucky Rifle", Jacob Mier is identified as a gunsmith on the Somerset tax rolls in the years 1822, 1825, 1832, 1837, 1844, 1849-1853, 1861, and 1867.
1824: The 1824 tax list of the Borough of Somerset identifies Jacob Myers as a gunsmith, single with a value of $100.00.
Circa 1827: Based on the 1850 census (include below) and her tombstone Jacob Mier's daughter Ellen was born circa 1827. Her tombstone gives her name as "Ellen J. Mier".
1829: The July 20, 1829 issue of the "Baltimore Patriot" newspaper includes the following: "Somerset, Penna. An impudent rascal with a gun on his shoulder yesterday morning stepped into the house of Mr. Jacob Meyers, Gunsmith of this place, but seeing nobody but a child in the room very deliberately took down a silver watch and 'cut stick.' The thief was not discovered in time for pursuit with much hope of success."
Circa 1829: Based on the 1850 census and John Mier's obituary (both included below) Jacob Mier's son John Mier was born circa 1829.
1830: Jacob Meyers is enumerated as a gunsmith in the 1830 census of the borough of Somerset. His household included one male and one female under five years old, and one male and one female in the 30 to 40 age group. The 1953 edition of Gluckman's "American Gun Makers" puts Jacob Meyers in Somerset County in 1830 and raises the question if this is the same individual as "Jacob Mier" and "J. Meyer".
1830: The following excerpt is from the book "History of Bedford, Somerset, and Fulton Counties, Pennsylvania", which was published by Waterman, Watkins & Co. in 1884. It is from an 1830 a list of the names of prominent citizens in the borough of Somerset.
1831: According to his tombstone, Jacob Mier's son Samuel Mier was born on October 7, 1831. Beth Page reports that Jacob Mier and Margaret Risinger were the parents of the gunsmith Samuel Mier.
Circa 1834: Based on the 1850 census (included below) and the information on William's tombstone, Jacob Mier's son William was born circa 1834. William's tombstone gives his middle initial as "B".
1839: According to their shared tombstone, Jacob Mier's wife Margaret wife died on September 29, 1839 at the age of 38.
1847: The following was published in the April 20, 1847 issue of the "Somerset Herald and Farmers and Mechanics Register" newspaper.
1847: The following was published in the September 14, 1847 issue of the "Somerset Herald and Farmers and Mechanics Register" newspaper. This notice was also published in the September 28, 1847 issue.
1850: The following composite image of a Somerset Borough sheet from the 1850 census was provided by Glenda Tressler Smith. The individuals listed for the family are Jacob, 57, Gunsmith; Ellen, 23; John, 21, Cigar Maker; Samuel, 18, Gunsmith; and William, 16, Wagon maker.
1859: The following is from the 1884 book "History of Bedford, Somerset and Fulton Counties, Pennsylvania". It indicates that Jacob Mier was a Burgess in Somerset in 1859.
1860: The following image is from the 1884 book "History of Bedford, Somerset, and Fulton Counties, Pennsylvania". It is from an 1860 a list of the names of prominent citizens in the borough of Somerset.
1860: In the 1860 census, Jacob Mier is enumerated as a 67-year-old gunsmith with real estate valued at $1550.00 and personal property valued at $200.00. Living with him were 23-year-old William, 30-year-old Ellen J., and 35-year-old John M. The ages of the children in the 1860 census are not harmonious with the ages given in the 1850 and 1870 censuses.
1860: The following image is from the Somerset portion of the 1860 Walker map of Somerset County. It identifies the residence of gunsmith Jacob Mier.
1870: In the 1870 census, Jacob Mier is enumerated as a 78-year-old gunsmith with real estate valued at $800.00 and personal property valued at $150.00. Living with him were 37-year-old William, 40-year-old John, and 42-year-old Ellen. The ages of the children are fairly harmonious with the ages given in the 1850 census.
1873: According to the 2017 book "Gunsmiths of Somerset County, Pennsylvania" the 1873 tax records reference the estate of Jacob Mier.
1873: Based on the Jacob Mier estate reference in the 1873 tax record mentioned above, the gunsmith Jacob Mier is the individual of that name who is buried in the Union Cemetery, in the borough of Somerset. The tombstone there states, "Jacob Mier died Mar. 15, 1873 aged 80 years. Margaret his wife died Sept. 29, 1839 aged 38 years." The cemetery is located at latitude 40.011161, longitude -79.080215.
1876: The following excerpt is from the Somerset town map portion of the 1876 "County Atlas of Somerset, Pennsylvania". It identifies the Jacob Miers lot, which was still owned by his heirs.
1885: The following was published in the September 2, 1885 issue of the "Somerset Herald" newspaper.
1908: The following item is from the August 27, 1908 issue of the "Somerset County Star" newspaper.
1909: The following article, which mentions Samuel Mier's father Jacob Mier, was published in the February 25, 1909 issue of the "Somerset County Star" newspaper.
1909: The following obituary of John Mier is from the June 17, 1909 issue of the "Republic" newspaper from Meyersdale, Pennsylvania. It indicates that John and Samuel Mier are sons of "Jacob Mier, a celebrated gunsmith in the early history of Somerset". John's tombstone gives his name as "Miers".
Sellers' 2008 book "American Gunsmiths" mentions a Jacob Mier in Frederick County, Maryland, and gives a date of 1762. I don't know if the date is intended to be a birth date or a date when this Jacob Mier was working as a gunsmith. I include a mention of Sellers' entry here in case it provides a clue to the ancestry of Jacob Mier of Somerset, Pennsylvania. Sellers indicates that the source of his information is Hartzler.
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