Jacob Sturtz, Somerset County, PA and Muskingum County, OH

Introduction: The following excerpt from page 582 of the 1892 book "Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Muskingum County, Ohio" indicates that Muskingum County, Ohio gunsmith Jacob Sturtz was the son of Christian Sturtz (Junior) of Somerset County, Pennsylvania. The article also indicates that Jacob Sturtz was the son-in-law of Jacob Gaumer. Jacob Gaumer was a Southampton Township, Somerset County gunsmith who moved to Muskingum County, Ohio. Christian Sturtz. Jr. was an early owner of the Southampton Township, Somerset County farm of my grandfather Allen Lester Korns, and is buried where my grandmother Gladys Korns' garden was located. Click here to trace the ownership of the farm back to 1767. This farm of Christian Sturtz, Jr. is adjacent to the farm of the early Somerset County gunsmith Adam Lepley II. As shown below, there were also adjacent Christian Sturtz and Adam Lepley properties in the area between Comps Crossroads and Gladdens Run.

For reasons expressed below, I suspect that Jacob Sturtz learned gunsmithing before moving to Ohio. Obvious candidate gunsmithing mentors in Southampton Township are Adam Lepley II and Jacob Gaumer. Because of that, this web page includes some chronological information on those potential mentors. For more detailed information on Adam Lepley II and Jacob Gaumer, see the web pages about them that are linked above. Benjamin Troutman's one-year gunsmithing apprenticeship did not begin until November 27, 1807, which in my opinion makes him less likely to have been Jacob Sturtz's mentor.

I am a descendant of Christian Sturtz, Sr. who is buried at Comp's Church. That ancestry makes me a distant cousin of the gunsmith Jacob Sturtz.

In the above 1892 account, Jacob Sturtz is described as a Veteran of the Revolutionary War. Given his purported 1787 birth date, that is an obvious mistake, and I crossed it out. As shown by the following excerpt from the same 1892 book, Jacob Sturtz was instead a Veteran of the War of 1812.

1756 baptism of Jacob Gaumer: Jacob Sturtz's father-in-law Johan Jacob Gaumer was baptized on July 30, 1756 at the Lehigh Church in Lower Macungie Township, Lehigh County, Pennsylvania. (Lehigh County was formed from a portion of Northampton County in 1812.) This establishes that Jacob Gaumer was old enough to have potentially been a gunsmithing mentor to Jacob Sturtz.

Circa 1769 birth of Christian Sturtz, Jr.: From what I've read, Christian Sturtz, Jr. was born circa 1769.

1776 birth of Adam Lepley II: The 1884 book "History of Bedford, Somerset and Fulton Counties, Pennsylvania" indicates that the individual I identify as Adam Lepley II (gunsmith, and next door neighbor of Christian Sturtz, Jr.) was born on August 5, 1776 near Willard's gap (39.849511, -78.950048 by my reckoning) in what is now Larimer Township, and was one of the first settlers in Southampton Township. This establishes that Adam Lepley II was old enough to have potentially been a gunsmithing mentor to Jacob Sturtz. The Larimer Township portion of the 1884 book indicates that Adam Lepley I was a blacksmith.

The following excerpt from the Southampton Township portion of the 1884 book puts Adam Lepley II in the area that would become Southampton Township before 1800, and describes him as a blacksmith.

1787 birth of Jacob Sturtz: According to the 1892 account included above, the gunsmith and gun powder manufacturer Jacob Sturtz was born in 1787.

1787 survey of Christian Sturtz: The C-202 page 163 survey was performed on December 18, 1787 survey for Christian Sturtz Sr. or Jr. The property was located on a tributary of Wills Creek known as Tub Mill Run. I haven't been able to identify the location of Tub Mill run.

1789-1850 Susana Gaumer wife of Jacob Sturtz: According to the findagrave.com memorial (69896027) of Susana (Gaumer) Sturtz Baughman, she is the daughter of Johann Jacob Gaumer and Maria Catherine (Sowash) Gaumer, and was born in 1789. She is buried in the New Hope Lutheran Cemetery, Muskingum County, Ohio, where her tombstone includes the statement, "Susana wife of Jacob Baughman formerly the widow of Jacob Sturtz Oct. 1. 1850".

1789 militia list: Jacob Gaumer, Christian Sturtz, Sr., and Christian Sturtz, Jr. are not included on the 1789 Londonderry Township militia list. Adam Lepley I is included on the list.

1790 census of Bedford County: The following composite image is from the book "Heads of Families First Census of the United States: 1790 State of Pennsylvania". I believe it lists both Christian Sturtz, Sr. and Christian Sturtz, Jr. because I have seen both individuals listed as "Christopher" in another census document. Census takers were writing in cursive, and speaking to people who probably had a heavy German accent, and weren't always careful. For example, I've seen my own surname spelled five different ways in the cursive Somerset County census record of the family of one of my Greenville Township ancestors.

The following composite image is from the book "Heads of Families First Census of the United States 1790 State of Pennsylvania". It identifies the Jacob Gaumer household next to the Adam Lepley I household in the 1790 census of Bedford County. The juxtaposition of Adam Lepley I and Jacob Gaumer suggests that Jacob Gaumer was in the part of Bedford County that is now southeastern Somerset County.

1795 initial formation of Somerset County: Somerset County was formed from part of Bedford County on April 17, 1795 but did not include what is now Southampton Township.

1800 annexing additional area to Somerset County: "...that part of Bedford County in Londonderry township, lying westward of a line to begin on the top of the Little Allegheny mountain, where the Maryland line crosses the same, thence running along said mountain a northerly direction to where the mountain breaks, thence a straight line to the breast works..." was annexed to Somerset County by an act that passed on March 1, 1800.

1800 Londonderry Township assessment list and census: Christian Sturtz Junior and Senior are listed on the 1800 Londonderry Township taxables list of Bedford County. Christian Sturtz and Christian Sturtz, Sr. are also found in the 1800 federal census of Londonderry Township, Somerset County.

1801 formation of Southampton Township: The 1884 book "History of Bedford, Somerset and Fulton Counties, Pennsylvania" states, "Southampton township was formed in 1801. It then included the present townships of Allegheny, Greenville, Northampton and Larimer."

1802 Sturtz property: The following image is from the northern part of the WPA survey map of Southampton Township, with the property of Peter Troutman (father of the gunsmith Benjamin Troutman) in the northeast corner. Southwest of the Troutman property, and highlighted with red, are the properties of a Christian Sturtz and an Adam Lepley that adjoin one another. The Christian Sturtz property (C-201 Page 246, C-201 Page 247) was surveyed in 1802. The Adam Lepley property was part of the adjacent Joseph Rhoads property (C-168 page 206) that was surveyed in 1786. Regardless of which Adam Lepley (I or II) and which Christian Sturtz (Sr. or Jr.) owned these properties, their juxtaposition helps to demonstrate that the Lepley and Sturtz families knew one another. If you look closely, you will notice that a property of the gunsmith Benjamin Troutman adjoins the eastern boundary of the Adam Lepley property.

The following excerpt from the WPA survey map has been rotated so north is at the top. Here are gps coordinates that correspond roughly to the three red dots:

  • 39.798665698, -78.80335690 roughly the center of the Christian Sturtz property.
  • 39.79296134, -78.79717709 roughly the center of the Adam Lepley property.
  • 39.78860856, -78.7905252 near and hopefully on the northwest end of the slender Benjamin Troutman property.

    1805 Southampton Township tax list: The following alphabetical 1805 list of taxables in Southampton Township, Somerset County, Pennsylvania is from the 1884 book "History of Bedford, Somerset and Fulton Counties, Pennsylvania". It identifies Jacob Gaumer, Christian Sturtz, Jr., Christian Sturtz, Sr., and Adam Lepley as residents of Southampton Township. I suspect but have not proven that the Widow Sturtz in the 1805 tax list is the widow of the Jacob Sturtz who appeared in the 1800 Londonderry assessment list but does not appear in the 1805 list. I wonder the referenced Adam Sturtz is the individual who married the gunsmith Jacob Gaumer's daughter Catherine.


    1807 Adam Lepley I leaves for Ohio: The biography of George Lepley in the 1881 book "History of Knox County, Ohio" indicates that he came to Knox County, Ohio with his parents Adam and Barbara Lepley in 1807. This suggests that references to Adam Lepley of Southampton Township after 1807 do not reference Adam Lepley I.

    Circa 1808 migration to Ohio: The Washington Township section of the 1905 book "Past and Present of the City of Zanesville and Muskingum County, Ohio" includes the statement "...in 1808 Jacob Gaumer and Jacob Sturtz were residents." Based on the 1810 census referenced below, I think that Jacob Gaumer and Jacob Sturtz were still in Somerset County in 1808.

    1810 stone house: According to a local oral tradition I heard in the 1960s while standing in the yard of the large Southampton Township stone house of Adam Lepley II, the house was built in 1810. When it was demolished, it was clear that it was built adjoining a smaller stone house that was later replaced by the wood-based addition that I remember. There was also a separate and much smaller stone house in the yard of the big house that survives in a photo, and in my cousin's memories of the remains of the foundation. These things are harmonious with Adam Lepley II being one of the earliest settlers in Southampton Township.

    1810 Christian Sturtz Jr. & Sr. in the census: Christopher Shortz Junior and Senior are included in a transcript of the 1810 census of Southampton Township, along with Adam Shortz.

    1810 a young Jacob Sturtz is still in Somerset County: According to the account included above from the 1892 book, Jacob Sturtz would have been about 21 years old and already a father when he moved to Ohio with his father-in-law Jacob Gaumer in 1808. In reality Jacob Sturtz and Jacob Gaumer were still living in Somerset County, Pennsylvania at the time of the 1810 census of Southampton Township, in which they both appear. In a transcript of that census, the Jacob Shortz household has one male and one female in the 16 to 26 age group, and one male in the up to 10 age group. I suspect that Jacob Gaumer and Jacob Sturtz moved to Muskingum County, Ohio in 1811, and that agrees with the family lore of Jacob Gaumer that is published in the Salem Township portion of the 1882 book "History of Muskingum County Ohio".

    An obvious question: Considering the subject of this website project, an obvious question is whether Jacob Sturtz learned gunsmithing in Somerset County, Pennsylvania or Muskingum County, Ohio. From what I've come to understand, most gunsmiths learned gunsmithing in their youth, as apprentices to experienced gunsmiths. If born in 1787, Jacob Sturtz would have been about 23 years old by 1810, and already had family obligations. I suspect that like most long rifle gunsmiths, Jacob Sturtz learned gunsmithing in his youth, before assuming the obligations of marriage and fatherhood: perhaps from Adam Lepley II. However, since Jacob Sturtz married a daughter of the gunsmith Jacob Gaumer, he may have learned gunsmithing from his father-in-law before or after marriage. Since he had more than one potential gunsmithing mentor in Pennsylvania, and because people back then tended to learn their trades early in life, I suspect that Jacob Sturtz learned gunsmithing before moving to Ohio.

    Circa 1811-1813 birth of Charles Sturtz: The 1905 book "Past and Present of the City of Zanesville and Muskingum County, Ohio" indicates that Charles Sturtz "...was born November 22, 1811, near Gilbert, Ohio, and was a son of Jacob Sturtz, who came from Somerset county. Pennsylvania, to Muskingum county in 1808. ... In the pioneer days, before the era of railroad travel and when western Pennsylvania and Ohio were but sparsely settled, the Sturtz family decided to cast in their lot with the citizens of Muskingum county and therefore made preparations for the journey. They took two long poles and made a sled on which their household effects were loaded and Mr. Sturtz walked the entire distance from Pennsylvania..." According to the findagrave.com memorial (70404656) of Charles Sturtz, he is a son of Jacob and Susana (Gaumer) Sturtz, was born February 19, 1813, died August 26, 1895, and is buried in the New Hope Lutheran Cemetery in Muskingum County, Ohio.

    1814 death of Catherina Gaumer, mother-in-law of Jacob Sturtz: Catherina Gaumer (wife of Jacob Gaumer) is buried in the New Hope Lutheran Cemetery of Muskingum County, Ohio. The German-language tombstone is eroded, but the name "Catherina Gaumer" is still very legible. The top of the tombstone carries the date "1759", which is assumed to be the year of birth. An older photograph of the tombstone reveals the date "1814" near the bottom of the tombstone, which is assumed to be the year of death.

    1815 Christian Sturtz, Jr. receives an indenture: In 1815 Christian Sturtz, Jr. received an indenture from entrepreneur Samuel Riddle for the land where Christian Sturtz, Jr. was eventually (in 1830) buried. The indenture describes the metes and bounds of the property and traces the ownership of the land back through various entrepreneurs to James Rose in 1767. Christian Sturtz, Jr. may have lived on and improved the land prior to 1815. Various purchase and tenancy arrangements and squatting possibilities exist.

    There is a back story to property transactions in this part of Southampton Township that I don't really understand. As shown by the WPA survey map of Southampton Township, many properties date back to 1767. A document signed by "Christ Stortz" and other local residents including Adam Lepley suggests that the 1815 indenture may have formalized a purchase that had previously taken place. The document (Deed Book 8 Page 191) includes the statement, "The undersigned citizens of Southampton have at sundry times made purchases of several tracts of land situated in Southampton from two tracts called the great survey and smith land which was surveyed into 14 sections and by sundry means conveyances have vested in Samuel Riddle and the Juniata coal company Pennsylvania and the original lines as Run on the ground have not been regarded in laying off the several farms sold by Sam Riddle and Juniata coal comp..."

    The following excerpt from the WPA survey map of Southampton Township uses a red star to identify the property associated with the 1815 indenture. A green star is used to identify the previously mentioned 1802 property in the Comp's Crossroad area that belonged to Christian Sturtz, and a blue star is used to identify the previously mentioned adjacent property of an Adam Lepley. To be perfectly clear, Adam Lepley II lived next to the Christian Sturtz property that is marked with the red star.

    1818 move to Adams Township: The following excerpt is from the Adams Township (page 304) section of the 1892 book "Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Muskingum County, Ohio":

    1820 death of Jacob Gaumer: Jacob Sturtz's father-in-law Jacob Gaumer is buried at the New Hope Lutheran Cemetery in Muskingum County, Ohio. His 1927 replacement tombstone states, "Jacob Gaumer, Sr. soldier of the American Revolution. Came from Pennsylvania to Ohio in 1806. Original proprietor of this cemetery. Died in 1820 his wife Catherina is buried in adjoining grave, first burial in the cemetery."

    1823 birth of Adam Sturtz: According to the findagrave.com memorial (33000722) of Adam Sturtz, he is a son of Jacob and Susana (Gaumer) Sturtz, was born on April 8, 1823, died February 18, 1894, and is buried in the Prairie Chapel Cemetery of Stafford County, Kansas.

    1825 birth of Andrew Jacob Sturts: According to the findagrave.com memorial (48774900) of Andrew Jacob Sturts, he is a son of Jacob and Susana (Gaumer) Sturtz, was born on July 23, 1825, died on August 24, 1909, and is buried in the Hazel Dell South Cemetery, Cumberland County, Illinois.

    1826 death of Christian Sturtz, Sr.: The modern bronze grave marker for Christian Sturtz, Sr. at Comp's Church states "CHRISTIAN STURTZ MAJ 5 PA BN CONT LINE REVOLUTIONARY WAR 1744 1826". The following estate record synopsis is from the May 1981 issue of the "Laurel Messenger":

    1827 the Great Survey deed conveys property to Adam Lepley adjoining land of Christian Sturtz: The 1827 great survey deed (Deed Book 11 pages 462 to 468) conveys tracts to various individuals. It conveys several tracts (No. 16, 27, 28, 29) to Adam Lepley, including several (No. 27, 28, 29) that adjoin the land of Christian Sturtz.

    1827 election as fence viewer: The Adams Township section of the 1905 book "Past and Present of the City of Zanesville and Muskingum County, Ohio" includes the statement As the election had not been by ballot, as the statute directed, a new election was held April 2, 1827, when there were chosen: ... Jacob Sturtz and Powell Christman, fence viewers...

    1830 death and burial of Christian Sturtz. Jr.: Christian Sturtz, Jr. died in 1830 and is buried in a now unmarked two grave cemetery in Southampton Township, Somerset County, Pennsylvania. The following estate record synopsis is from an article titled "1830 Estates in Somerset County" in the May 1982 issue of the Laurel Messenger. It shows Benjamin Troutman serving as a Bondsman in the estate of Christian Sturtz, and indicates that Christian's wife is named Margaret.

    1831 death of Adam Lepley I: Adam Lepley I and his wife Barbara Lepley share a modern looking tombstone at the Bethel Cemetery in Knox County, Ohio. The tombstone lists Adam's lifetime as 1748 to 1831 and lists Barbara's lifetime as 1755 to 1842.

    1834 death and burial of Jacob Sturtz: Jacob Sturtz died in 1834 and is buried in the New Hope Lutheran Cemetery in Muskingum County, Ohio on ground donated by Jacob Gaumer, and where Jacob Gaumer is buried. In addition to having a tombstone, Jacob Sturtz's grave has an old stone marker that states, Jacob Sturtz War of 1812.

    The yellow star on the following excerpt from the 1852 Bennett map of Muskingum County identifies lot 28, where Jacob Sturtz's father-in-law Jacob Gaumer settled. The yellow circle identifies the New Hope Lutheran Cemetery (40.06968864, -81.85193790) where both men are buried. Due north of Mechanicsville there is a property marked "Jacob Sturts hrs." I do not know if this was the property of the Jacob Sturtz who is the subject of this web page. In addition to Gaumer and Sturtz, there are other surnames on this portion of the map that may trace back to Somerset County, such as Bowman, Shirer, Shroyer, Stoner, and Wertz.

    1853 death of Adam Lepley II: Adam Lepley II died on March 7, 1853 and is buried in the Lepley Cemetery in Southampton Township, Somerset County.

    1860 map shows the Christian Sturtz, Jr. and Adam Lepley II farm locations: The following image from the 1860 Walker map of Somerset County shows the location of the farm of Adam Lepley II relative to the Christian Sturtz farm, which is marked "J. Sturtz" on the map. My GG-grandfather Daniel Korns bought the Sturtz farm from John Sturtz or his estate in the 1870s, and it is still owned by descendants of Daniel Korns. As a child, I walked back and forth between the two farms quite a few times, and played in the barns of both farms.

    1860: The following image is also from the 1860 Walker map of Somerset County, Pennsylvania. The "Luth. Ch." is Comps Church, where Benjamin Troutman and Christian Sturtz, Sr. are buried. I suspect that the "Mrs. Troutman" residence is the location of the 65 acres that Benjamin Troutman willed to his wife. The approximate location (39.7942327, -78.7882028) of the "Mrs. Troutman" residence is easy to determine based on the turns in Comps Road.

    The following excerpt from a 1929 topographic map shows nearly all of Southampton Township. A red circle shows where Christian Sturtz, Sr. is buried, on property he donated for Comp's Church. The gunsmith Jacob Sturtz's grandfather Christian Sturtz, Sr. is also buried there. A red dot shows approximately where Mrs. Troutman was living along Comps Road and Powder Run in 1860. The Christian Sturtz, Adam Lepley, and Benjamin Troutman surveys described above were somewhere intermediate to Comps Crossroads and Gladdens Run. The green star is the farm where Christian Sturtz, Jr. (father of the gunsmith Jacob Sturtz) lived and is buried. The blue star identifies the location of the stone farmhouse of the gunsmith Adam Lepley II. The purple star shows where the Lepley gunsmithing tools and long rifle parts were found. Adam Lepley II is buried on the hillside above and north of the purple star. Knowing that Jacob Sturtz manufactured and sold gunpowder in Ohio, and noticing Powder Run in the area where several families associated with early gunsmiths were located, I have to wonder if one of those families had a powder mill on Powder Run, and if they were Jacob Sturtz's gunpowder manufacturing mentor. (I am not aware of any early families in the area named "Powder" that the stream might be named for.)

    In the map above, note the stream name "Leapley Run" a short distance north of the blue star. That stream name tells you Adam Lepley II was one of the first settlers there, since the sources to that stream are on his farm, including the spring that serviced his stone farm houses.

    Saltpeter: If gunpowder was really manufactured near Comps Crossroads, then an obvious question would be where did they get the key ingredient of saltpeter? The answer seems to be a cave in Bedford County, in what is now the Sweet Root Natural Area, about 15.3 miles to the eastward of Comps Crossroads in a straight line. An article about the cave is published in the January 26, 1967 issue of the "Bedford County Press and Everett Press" newspaper. The following excerpt about the cave is from the Southampton Township, Bedford County portion of the 1884 book "History of Bedford, Somerset and Fulton Counties, Pennsylvania":

    In lieu of mining, saltpeter could also be manufactured using a process that involved urine. For a brief summary of how black powder was made, see pages 128 and 129 of Kauffman's 1960 book "The Pennsylvania-Kentucky Rifle". For more detailed information, see the 1776 pamphlet "Essays Upon the Making of Salt-Petre and Gun-Powder" that was published by the New York Committee of Safety.

    Conclusion: This page contains a great deal of speculation. That makes me uncomfortable because some may misinterpret my musings as facts. Nevertheless, when I am aware of that the Sturz's lived next to the Lepleys at two different Southampton Township locations, and when I am aware that Jacob's father-in-law was a gunsmith, it is hard not to wonder if Jacob Sturtz learned about gunsmithing from the Lepleys or his father-in-law before migrating to Ohio. Likewise, when I see a stream named "Powder Run" running through the area where at least three families associated with gunsmithing lived (Lepley, Sturtz, Troutman), I have to wonder if one of those families taught Jacob Sturtz how to make gunpowder. My wondering about these things does not make them true. It does, however, seem to make them worthwhile subjects for further study.

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