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 Colerain Township portion of the 1820 census records of Bedford County, Pennsylvania, 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. Here is an image of the relevant page from the Colerain Township census, along with a copy of the table headings from a different page.

Jacob Stoudenour in the 1920 census of Colerain Township, Bedford County, Pennsylvania.

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 the 1830 Colerain Township portion of the 1830 census records of Bedford County, Pennsylvania the Jacob Stoudenour household has one female in the 40 to 50 age group, one male and one female in the 20 to 30 age group, one male and one female in the 15 to 20 age group, and one male in the up to five age group.
Jacob Stoudenour in the 1830 census records of Colerain Township, Bedford County, Pennsylvania.

1834: Click here to see the 1851 survey (C-221 32) for a property in Colerain Township that was made "in pursuance of a warrant granted in the name of Jacob Stoudenour for 21 acres dated the 30th of May 1834".

1840: In the Colerain Township portion of the 1840 census records of Bedford County, Pennsylvania, 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 recorded in the manufacturing and trades category.
Jacob Stoudenour in the 1840 census records of Colerain Township, Bedford County, Pennsylvania.

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

1850: In 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.
The gunsmiths Jacob Stoudenour and William Moore in the 1850 census of Colerain Township, Bedford County, Pennsylvania.

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

1851: Jacob Stoudenour's father John died in 1851. A document titled "Stoudnour Genealogy Records from Lem. Stoudnour" at the Bedford County Historical Society provides the following tombstone inscription "In Memory of John Stoudnour died Mar. 7, 1851 86 years" and also quotes from an 1851 estate document that lists John's children as "Jacob, Benjamin, John, George and Samuel, Mary intermarried with Jacob Koontz, Eliza intermarried with your petitioner, and Sarah and Michael who is deceased."

If I understand the coding Jim Whisker used in an article published in the August, 2005 issue of the "Muzzle Blasts" magazine, the estate of John Stoudenour, Sr. is no. 13 of the 1851 Bedford County estate records, and identifies Jacob Stoudenour and John Stoudenour, Jr. as sons. The article also indicates that John Stoudenour, Jr. is identified as a gunsmith in the 1838 tax records of North Woodberry Township, Bedford County, Pennsylvania. That township is now (2023) within the bounds of Blair County.

1852: A document titled "Stoudnour Genealogy Records from Lem. Stoudnour" at the Bedford County Historical Society provides the following "excerpts" from the Last will and testament of Jacob Stoudenour:

         "Jacob Stoudenour, Colerain Twp. Bed. Co., Pa. (Gunsmith and farmer) Body to be enterred in Zions church in Friends Cove according to the rites of the German Reformed church.

         Wife Margaret to have out of my personal property, 3 beds, the household and kitchen furniture----- one horse, my buggy, 2 cows, 4 head of hogs, 4 sheep, hay and feed for above stock

         After valuation of property; to be sold and half to wife; $10. to brother Benjamin and the balance divided amongst my brothers and sisters; the heirs and representatives of my brother Michael (now dead)

         William Moore (apprentice) to have tools and stock on hand.

         Real estate to wife till her death and then evaluation made and if brothers then living then desire they shall have an opportunity of taking it at appraisement and if neither of them do so it shall be sold for its reasonable value.

         $200 to be given to the administrator.

         Monies from real estate in trust to be paid to the treasurer of the Board of Education of the German Reformed Church in U.S. Interest thereon to be applied to the charitable uses of the said Board.

         An administrator to be appointed as in cases where no will is made.

         I, Jacob Stoudenour (Seal) 21st of April, 1852."

1854: Jacob Stoudenour's mother Margaret died in 1854. A document titled "Stoudnour Genealogy Records from Lem. Stoudnour" at the Bedford County Historical Society provides the following tombstone inscription "In Memory of Margaret wife of John Stoudnour died May 12, 1854 aged 78 yrs, 2 mo, 12 da.".

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.
The Jacob Stoudenour household in the 1860 census of Colerain Township, Bedford County, Pennsylvania.

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 39.92664795, -78.49099489, 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. If I understand the coding Jim Whisker used in an article that is published in the August, 2005 issue of the "Muzzle Blasts" magazine, Jacob Stoudenour's estate is number eight of the 1863 Bedford County estate records.

1863: An article Jim Whisker wrote in the August, 2005 issue of the "Muzzle Blasts" magazine indicates that the gunsmith Jacob Stoudenour's brother John Stoudenour, Jr. had a son named Jacob who was killed in the Civil War in 1863 while serving in the Union Army.

1864: The following item from the April 29, 1864 issue of the "Bedford Inquirer" newspaper references the estate of Jacob Stoudenour.

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."

1878: According to a document titled "Stoudnour Genealogy Records from Lem. Stoudnour" at the Bedford County Historical Society, Adam Diehl's 1878 petition for the appointment of an appraiser for the Jacob Stoudnour estate includes the following statements:

  • "The petition of Adam Diehl in right of his wife, Eliza Diehl, & the petition of the said Eliza who joins with her said husband both of Colerain Twp, Bedford Co., Pa. respectfully showeth: That Jacob Stoudnour of said twp. died in either Jan. or Feb. 1863..."
  • "Jacob Stoudnour died leaving a widow Margaret Stoudnour, who died on March 28, 1878 and no issue..."
  • "Jacob Stoudnour died seized in his demise as of fee, of and in the following described real estate, to wit: A tract of land situate in Colerain twp. Bedford Co., Pa. containing about 260 acres, adjoining lands of Henry Diehl, George Sellers heirs, George Smouse, John Knisely, Mrs. Susan Price, Henry Shaffer, and John Bingham, having thereon erected two log houses, two log barns, and apple orchard thereon."

    1878: According to a document titled "Stoudnour Genealogy Records from Lem. Stoudnour" at the Bedford County Historical Society, the July, 1878 appraisal of Jacob Stoudnour's property includes the statement, "the property described in writ cannot be parted and divided without prejudice to or spoiling the whole thereof and therefore they valued and appraise the same as follows: to wit: 335 acres and 72 perches at $10 per acre..."

    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." It identifies a donation Jacob Stoudenour made to the Reformed Church.

    Jacob Stoudenour work product:

  • STOUDENOUR, Jacob, percussion conversion rifle

  • STOUDENOUR, Jacob, details of a percussion lock

  • STOUDENOUR, Jacob, percussion rifle

  • Photographs of five relief-carved Jacob Stoudenour rifles appear in an article by Jim Whisker in the August, 2005 issue of the "Muzzle Blasts" magazine. Four of the rifles have rat-tail locks.

  • Randall Weitzel's article "Notes on Percussion Locks and the Bedford School" in the December, 1987 issue of the "Muzzle Blasts" magazine shows and describes a signed percussion lock made by Jacob Stoudenour.

    arrow See the Gunsmith Index for links to web pages about various old-time Somerset and Bedford county gunsmiths and pictures of the longrifles they produced.

    Go to the Korns family genealogy home page

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