Jacob Fishel, Bedford County, Pennsylvania gunsmith

Introduction: Jacob Fishel is known as a Bedford County gunsmith from an 1860 census record. A Jacob Fishel rifle was sold from the C. Wayne Shultz collection on September 9, 2017 at Martinsburg in Blair County, Pennsylvania.

1813-1863: The 2017 book "Gunsmiths of Bedford County, Pennsylvania" reports the lifetime of Jacob Fishel as 1813 to 1863. I found a tombstone for a Jacob Fishel who died April 13, 1863. The reported 1813 birth year agrees with Jacob Fishel's age in the 1860 census, and that census may be the basis for the reported 1813 birth year.

1840: There is no Jacob Fishel household in the transcript of the 1840 census of Bedford County, Pennsylvania I reviewed.

1841-1861: The 1983 booklet "Gunsmiths and Gunmakers of Bedford and Somerset Counties Pennsylvania 1770-1900" puts Jacob Fishel in Hopewell Township as a gunsmith from 1841 to 1861.

1841: According to the 2001 book "Gunsmiths of Bedford, Fulton, Huntingdon, & Somerset Counties", Jacob Fishel appears on the 1841 tax roll of Hopewell Township as a single freeman.

1846-1861: According to A. Merwyn Carey's 1953 book "American Firearms Makers" Jacob Fishel was a maker of percussion rifles in Hopewell Township of Bedford County in the 1846 to 1861 timeframe.

1849: John Fishel is buried in the Steele Cemetery (40.1333008, -78.3419037) in Bedford County. His tombstone states "John C. Fishel Mar 23, 1849 Jul. 6, 1892". In the 1860 census, John appears in the household of Jacob Fishel as a ten-year-old child.

1850: The 1953 edition of Gluckman's "American Gun Makers" puts Jacob Fishel in Hopewell Township of Bedford County in 1850.

1850: A different Jacob Fishel appears in the 1850 census of Monroe Township, Bedford County as an 11-year-old living in the household of 28-year-old Michael Fishel.

1855: Sarah (Fishel) Fluke is buried in the Bethel Brethren Cemetery (40.0763500, -78.3370900) near Tatesville, Bedford County, Pennsylvania. Her death certificate follows. The death certificate indicates that she was born on June 3, 1855 at Yellow Creek and her parents were Jacob Fishel and Christina Logan. In the 1860 census, Sarah appears in the household of Jacob Fishel as a four-year-old child.

1856: The 1983 booklet gives the name recorded in 1856 (apparently in the tax records) as "Fishall"

1857: Elmira Fishel is buried in the Steele Cemetery (40.1333008, -78.3419037) in Bedford County. Her tombstone states "Elmira Fishel Feb. 24, 1857 Dec. 22, 1871". In the 1860 census, Elmira appears in the household of Jacob Fishel as a three-year-old child.

1858: According to the 2001 book, Jacob Fishel appears on the 1858 tax roll of Hopewell Township with a log house that was valued as being worth $300.00.

1860: In the 1860 census of Hopewell township, Jacob Fishel is enumerated as a 47-year-old Pennsylvania-born gunsmith with real estate valued at $300 and personal property valued at $100. Enumerated with him are 39-year-old Christena, 10-year-old John, 9-year-old Hannah, 4-year-old Sarah, and 3-year-old Elmira.

1861: The following portion of the 1861 Walker map of Bedford County shows the residence of a "J. Fishel"

1863: Jacob Fishel is buried in the Steele Cemetery (40.1333008, -78.3419037) in Bedford County. His tombstone states "Jacob Fishel died April 13 1863".

1864: According to the 2001 book, Administrator William P. Smith filed his account of Jacob Fishel's estate on March 2, 1864. The total property value was $136.02, and the value after Fishel's debts were paid was $93.27.

1873: Christiana Fishel is buried in the Steele Cemetery (40.1333008, -78.3419037) in Bedford County. Her tombstone states "Christiana Fishel June 13 1845 Feb. 14, 1873".

1877: The farm that is marked "J. Fishel" on the 1861 map is still marked "J. Fishel" on the Hopewell Township portion of the 1877 book "County Atlas of Bedford Pennsylvania", which follows. 1877 seems to be well after the death of Jacob Fishel, so it is unclear why it is still labeled "J. Fishel". More investigation is needed. It seems possible that the farm was inherited by Jacob's son John, who would have turned 28 years old in 1877.

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