Jacob Rusily marked rifle probably made by Samuel Spangler

The following three images are from Charles Winthrop Sawyer's 1920 book "Our Rifles". They show a rifle that is marked "Jacob Rusily".

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The next image is from the 1953 book "American Gunmakers", and references rifles marked Ruslin and Rusily. Given the difficulty of reading engraved script, I suspect they are intended to be engraved "Ruslin".

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Plate 141 of Hetrick's book "The Bedford County Rifle and its Makers" shows a double rifle with mule ear hammers that is engraved with the name "John Jacob Rusley" somewhere, and is engraved "S. Spangler" on the rat tail-shaped lock plates. One of the 37-1/2-inch long octagonal barrels is 46 caliber and rifled, and the other is 50 caliber and smooth bored. The rifle is 53-1/2-inches long and weighs ten pounds. This rifle was attributed to Rusley by Hetrick and others, but now is attributed to Samuel Spangler. Likewise, there is a silver-mounted rifle that bears the Ruslin name that is now attributed to Samuel Spangler.

James B. Whisker's 2017 book "Gunsmiths of Somerset County, Pennsylvania" indicates that:

  • John Jacob Ruslin's name is included in the records of the Saint Thomas Catholic Church in Bedford, Pennsylvania.
  • John Jacob Ruslin was a sheep farmer.
  • John Jacob Ruslin owned and operated a woolen mill.
  • John Jacob Ruslin owned and operated a tavern.
  • The guns bearing the names of Jacob Ruslin and Isaac Wendle were probably made by Samuel Spangler. Remember, back then it was common for people to be known by their middle name. Based on James B. Whisker's research into Spangler and Ruslin, one can easily believe that Ruslin was not a gunsmith, and one can suspect that the rifle pictured above from Sawyers book may be another rifle by Samuel Spangler. More research is needed to try to locate this rifle, and find if the lock is marked Spangler.

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