Jacob Stoudenour, Bedford County, Pennsylvania gunsmith

Introduction: Jacob Stoudenour was a prolific gun maker in Colerain Township, Bedford County, Pennsylvania, and one of only a handful of Bedford County gunsmiths who made flintlock rifles that have survived.

1795: Based on age information in the 1850 and 1860 federal censuses, Jacob and Margaret Stoudenour were born circa 1795. The 1850 and 1860 censuses indicate that Jacob Stoudenour was Maryland-born and Margaret was Pennsylvania-born. The Whisker's 1983 booklet "Gunsmiths and Gunmakers of Bedford and Somerset Counties Pennsylvania 1770-1900" indicates that the gunsmith Jacob Stoudenour's father was John Stoudenour.

After 1816: The Whiskers' 1983 booklet puts Jacob Stoudenour and his father John in Colerain Township, Bedford County after 1816.

1819-1863: Based on tax records, the 2001 Whisker & Yantz book "Gunsmiths of Bedford, Fulton, Huntingdon, & Somerset Counties" puts Jacob Stoudenour in Colerain Township from 1819 to 1863.

1820: The Whiskers' 1983 booklet indicates that Jacob Stoudenour's Colerain Township property adjoined the farm of his father John. In a transcript of the 1820 census of Colerain Township, Jacob Stoudenhour appears next to a John Stoudenhour, which is presumably Jacob's father. The Jacob Stoudenhour household has two males and one female in the 18-26 age group, and one male in the 16 to 18 age group. The occupation of two of the individuals was manufacturing. I wonder who the other individual engaged in manufacturing was.

1824: The Whiskers' 1983 booklet indicates that Jacob Stoudenour was taxed 24 cents in 1824.

1825: The 1953 edition of "American Gun Makers" puts Jacob Stoudenour in Colerain Township of Bedford County sometime around 1825. According to Kauffman's 1960 book "The Pennsylvania - Kentucky Rifle", Jacob Stoudenour is identified as a gunsmith in the 1825 tax roll of Colerain Township. Kauffman reports that Jacob Stoudenour was a prolific gunmaker, and made both flintlock and percussion firearms.

1830: In a transcript of the 1830 census of Colerain Township the Jacob Stoudenour household has one female in the 50 to 60 age group, one male and one female in the 20 to 30 age group, one female in the 15 to 20 age group, and one male in the up to five age group.

1840: In a transcript of the 1840 census of Colerain Township, the Jacob Stowtingnower household has one male in the 40 to 50 age group, one female in the 15 to 20 age group, one male in the 10 to 15 age group, and one male in the 5 to 10 age group. One member of the household was engaged in manufacturing.

1841: The Whiskers' 1983 booklet indicates that the recorded value of Jacob Stoudenour was $1081.00 in 1841.

1850: In a transcript of the 1850 census of Colerain Township, Jacob Stoudenour is listed as a 55-year-old Maryland-born gunsmith with a value of $3,000.00. Also living in the household are 55-year-old Margaret Stoudenour and 17-year-old gunsmith William More, both Pennsylvania-born.

1850: The following information from the 1850 agricultural census shows the scale and productivity of Jacob Stoudenour's farm.

Circa 1851-1853: The Whiskers' 2017 book "Gunsmiths of Bedford County, Pennsylvania" indicates that Jacob Stoudenour's father John died in 1851. The Whiskers' 1983 booklet indicates that Jacob Stoudenour's father John Stoudenour died in 1853.

1854: The Whiskers' 2017 book indicates that Jacob Stoudenour's mother Margaret died in 1854.

1860: In the 1860 federal census of Colerain Township, Jacob Stoudenour is enumerated as a Maryland-born 65-year-old gunsmith with real estate valued at $5,000.00 and personal property valued at $1,200.00. Also living in his household are 65-year-old Margaret Stoudenour, 22-year-old Catherine Reighart, and 11-month-old Malinda Reighart, all born in Pennsylvania. This census provides a basis for estimating that Jacob Stoudenour was born circa 1795.

1861: According to Kauffman's 1960 book "The Pennsylvania - Kentucky Rifle", Jacob Stoudenour is identified as a gunsmith in an 1861 business directory.

1861: The following image from the 1861 Walker map of Bedford County identifies the residence of J. Stoudenour in Colerain Township.

1863: Jacob Stoudenour is said to be buried in the Friends Cove United Church of Christ Cemetery, and his tombstone is said to give a death date of January 27, 1863. The cemetery is located at 39.926681, -78.490956, 2.6 miles northwest of Rainsburg.

1863: The following Jacob Stoudenour estate notice is from the April 3, 1863 issue of the "Bedford Gazette". It is also included in the February 27, 1863 issue, and several other issues.

1864: The following item is from the April 29, 1864 issue of the "Bedford Inquirer" newspaper.

In the book "The Bedford County Rifle and Its Makers", Calvin Hetrick indicates that Jacob Stoudenour willed his gunsmith shop and tools to his apprentice William Moore. The Whiskers' 2017 book indicates that Jacob and his wife did not have any children of their own and raised Moore.

Sellers' 2008 book "American Gunsmiths" reports that the signature that was usually used by Jacob Stoudenour was "J.S.". Sellers reported Hetrick as his source for the information.

1871: The 1953 edition "American Gun Makers" indicates that Jacob Stoudenour died in the year 1871. Based on the information presented on this page, I think that is incorrect.

1877: The following image from the 1877 book "County Atlas of Bedford Pennsylvania" identifies the farm as "Mrs. Stoudenour":

1878: A tombstone in the Friends Cove United Church of Christ Cemetery bears the inscription: "Margaret Wife of Jacob Stoudenour Died Mar. 28, 1878 Aged 82 yrs. 10ms. & 21ds."

1880: The following item is from page 25 of the book "Acts and Proceedings ot the Synod of the Potomac of the Reformed Church in the United States in General Convention at Woodstock, Va., October, 1880."

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