Jacob G. Briggle, Bedford County, Pennsylvania gunsmith (Jacob Briggle II)

Introduction: The 2001 book "Gunsmiths of Bedford, Fulton, Huntington, & Somerset Counties" by Whisker and Yantz indicates that there were two gunsmiths named Jacob Briggle in Bedford County -- one the nephew of the other -- and refers to them as Jacob Briggle I & II. The book also reports that Jacob Briggle II moved from Bedford County, Pennsylvania to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, but soon moved to somewhere near Carthage, Missouri. Jacob Briggle I died on June 26, 1881 and is buried at the Pee Dee Cemetery (41.66988938, -91.21465229) in Cedar County, Iowa, which is about 38-miles from Cedar Rapids, Iowa. I wonder if the presence of Jacob Briggle I in Iowa had any influence on the decision of Jacob Briggle II to temporarily move to Iowa.

1831: According to his tombstone, Jacob G. Briggle was born on September 16, 1831. According to the Whiskers' 2017 book "Gunsmiths of Bedford County, Pennsylvania", Anna Mary Briggle was the mother of Jacob Briggle II.

1832: The 2001 Whisker and Yantz book states that Jacob G. Briggle was the son of Christian Briggle, who was an 1832 immigrant from Bavaria and a brother to the gunsmith Jacob Briggle I.

1834: According to the book "A History of the Old Greenfield Township Historical Society" Union Township was created from the southern part of Greenfield Township in 1834, and later became Pavia Township.

1835: According to the 2001 Whisker and Yantz book, Christian was living in Queen in Bedford County by 1835. The book "A History of the Old Greenfield Township Historical Society" reports that Christian Briggle and Jacob Briggle (Jacob Briggle I) were residents of Union Township in 1835.

1840: In the 1840 census of Union Township, Bedford County, the Christian Brigal household has one female in the 70 to 80 age group, one male in the 40 to 50 age group, one female in the 20 to 30 age group, two males in the 10 to 15 age group, two males and two females in teh 5 to 10 age group, and one male and one female in the up to 5 age group.

1844: According to a biography in the 1878 book "The History of Cedar County, Iowa..." that was written while Jacob Briggle I was still alive, Jacob Briggle I migrated to Cedar County, Iowa in 1842. I doubt that the 1842 date is accurate, because the 2001 Whisker and Yantz book indicates that an individual identified as "Jacob Breaghill" appeared on the Middle Woodbury Township tax roll as a "gunner and riffle maker" in the year 1844. The individual on the 1844 tax roll wouldn't have been Jacob Briggle II, because he was born on September 16, 1831, and would have only turned 13 years old in 1844.

1850: Christian Briggle is enumerated in the 1850 federal census of Union Township, Bedford County as a 50-something year old Pennsylvania-born individual valued at $1,200.00. Living in his household are 45-year-old Pennsylvania-born Ann Mary Bigle, 19-year-old Jacob Briggle, 17-year-old Adam Briggle, 12-year-old Elizabeth Briggle, and 7-year-old John Briggle.

1854: According to the 2001 Whisker and Yantz book, Reverend Jeremiah Heller officiated at Jacob's marriage to Sophia Burkett on March 21, 1854.

1855: The 2001 Whisker and Yantz book states that a lock was observed with the initials "T.O. / J.G.B", suggesting an apprenticeship with the gunsmith Thomas Oldham. The following excerpt from Volume 1 of the 1904 book "History of South Dakota" (page 764) indicates that the gunsmith Thomas Oldham moved to Iowa in 1855. Jacob Briggle II would have turned 24 years old in September of 1855. This means that Jacob Briggle II was definitely old enough to have had an apprenticeship before Thomas Oldham moved to Iowa.

Circa 1856: Based on 1870 and 1880 census records, Jacob and Sophia Briggle had a daughter named Mary Jane who was born circa 1856. Mary Jane (Briggle) Haggard is buried at the Dudenville Cemetery in Dade County, Missouri. Her tombstone includes a birth date of 1853 and a death date of 1917. Her death certificate follows, and gives a birth date of July 4, 1851. Based on the census records, I think the birth dates on her tombstone and death certificate are incorrect.

1857: Based on the 1870 census, Jacob and Sophia Briggle had a daughter named Mandella who was born circa 1858. Mandilla (Briggle) Haggard is buried at the Dudman Cemetery in Jasper County, Missouri. Her tombstone indicates she was born on August 19, 1857 and died on June 27, 1922. Her death certificate follows.

1860: The 1953 edition of "American Gun Makers" puts Jacob Breigle in Union Township of Bedford County around 1860. According to Kauffman's 1960 book "The Pennsylvania - Kentucky Rifle", Jacob Breigle is identified as a gunsmith on the 1860 tax list of Union Township, Bedford County. In his book "The Bedford County Rifle and its Makers", Calvin Hetrick describes Jacob G. Breigle as operating in Union Township in 1860.

Circa 1860: Based on 1870 and 1880 census records, Jacob and Sophia Briggle had a son named Chauncey who was born circa 1860 in Pennsylvania. Chauncey Harrison Briggle is buried at the Dudenville Cemetery in Dade County, Missouri.

1861: The following portion of the 1861 Walker map shows the residence of "J. Breigel" in Union Township.

Circa 1862-1863: Based on 1870 and 1880 census records, Jacob and Sophia Briggle had a son named John who was born circa 1862-1863 in Pennsylvania.

1862-1863: Jacob G. Briggle served in Company E of the 138th Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers, as shown by this excerpt from the 1884 book "History of Bedford, Somerset and Fulton Counties, Pennsylvania":

The following composite image is from the 138th Regiment P.V.I. portion of Bates' "History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-5", Volume 4.

The following excerpt from Volume 4 of Bates' "History of the Pennsylvania Volunteers, 1861-5" summarizes the history of the 138th Regiment P.V.I. during the time when Jacob Briggle was a member.

According to the 2001 Whisker and Yantz book, when Jacob G. Briggle joined the 138th Regiment on August 7, 1862, he was identified as a gunsmith on his enlistment papers, which said he was five-foot and 11-inches tall with a fair complexion, sandy hair, and hazel-colored eyes.

According to the 2001 Whisker and Yantz book, Jacob G. Briggle was discharged from the army at Philadelphia on December 19, 1863 due to inflammation and congestion of the lungs, and was convalescing for 18 months.

Circa 1865: The following is from a transcript of an item in the May 22, 1914 issue of the Bedford Gazette newspaper: "Chauncey and Gabriel Briggle of Joplin, Mo. have been visiting among their many friends of this neighborhood the past two weeks. They left for Altoona on Saturday, stopping at the home of George and Herman Briggle over Sunday and on Monday left again for their western home. Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Briggle, the parents [of the] men, who have been dead many years, left this country 49 years ago and moved to the far west, locating in Missouri. This is the first back by any of the family." By this account, the Jacob Briggle II family left Bedford County in 1865.

1866: Based on 1870 and 1880 census records, Jacob and Sophia Briggle had a son named Franklin who was born circa 1865-1866 in Iowa. Franklin "Frank" Briggle is buried at the Dudenville Cemetery in Dade County, Missouri. His portion of the tombstone he shares with his wife includes the inscription "Frank Briggle 1866-1929". His death certificate follows, and indicates he was born in Iowa.

1868: Based on 1870 and 1880 census records, Jacob and Sophia Briggle had a son named Gabriel who was born circa 1868-1869 in Missouri. Gabriel E. Briggle is buried at the Dudenville Cemetery in Dade County, Missouri. His death certificate follows.

1870: The following excerpt is from the 1870 census of Jasper County, Missouri:

1872: Based on the 1880 census, Jacob and Sophia Briggle had a son named William J. who was born circa 1872 in Missouri. In the portion of his death certificate that follows, his birth date is given as September 26, 1875. I believe that birth date is incorrect because it conflicts with the 1875 birth of his sister Ruby May.

1875: Based on the 1880 census, Jacob and Sophia Briggle had a daughter named Ruby May who was born circa 1875 in Missouri. Ruby Mae (Briggle) Bastin is buried at the Hackney Cemetery in Jasper County, Missouri. Her death certificate follows.

1877: According to their shared tombstone at the Dudenville Cemetery, twins Albert and Anna Briggle were born September 2, 1877. Albert died that day, and Anna died a few days later.

1880: The following excerpt is from the 1880 census of Jasper County, Missouri:

1881: According to the Whiskers' 2017 book, Christian Briggle, father of Jacob Briggle II, died in 1881.

1881: Jacob Briggle I died on June 26, 1881 and is buried at the Pee Dee Cemetery in Cedar County, Iowa

1895: Jacob G. Briggle (Jacob Briggle II) died on November 21, 1895 at age 64, and is buried with his Bedford County-born wife Sophia at the Dudenville Cemetery (37.30901523, -94.08267110) in Dade County, Missouri, about 21 road-miles from Carthage, and about 15.5 miles in a straight line. Jacob and Sophia's shared tombstone states "Jacob G. Briggle Sept. 16, 1831, Nov. 21, 1895. Sophia Briggle Feb. 3, 1833, Jan. 22, 1911." This corrects the date of death given in the 2001 Whisker and Yantz book.

Work product: According to Kauffman's 1960 book "The Pennsylvania - Kentucky Rifle", Jacob Breigle made an excellent full-stocked double-barreled gun, but the rest of his known guns are only average in quality. In his book "The Bedford County Rifle and its Makers", Calvin Hetrick mentions a double rifle made by Breigle that has 26 engraved inlays that are made of silver.

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