James Defibaugh, Bedford County, Pennsylvania gunsmith

The 2001 book "Gunsmiths of Bedford, Fulton, Huntington, & Somerset Counties" by Whisker and Yantz indicates that James Defibaugh was identified as a single free man and a silversmith in the borough of Bedford in 1829 and was identified as a gunsmith in Bedford Township in 1852. These are evidently references to information found on tax rolls. The 1983 booklet "Gunsmiths and Gunmakers of Bedford and Somerset Counties Pennsylvania 1770-1900" refers to this individual as James E. Defibaugh, and refers to him as a single gunsmith in the borough of Bedford in 1829, and locates him in Bedford Township in 1852.

About all I can tell you about James Defibaugh is to be very careful in your research because there is some highly confusing information out there. Specifically, there is a James Culbertson Defibaugh who died September 17, 1895 and is buried at the Imler Valley Cemetery (40.2105713, -78.5224533) at Imler in Bedford County, Pennsylvania. He is said to have been born on August 8, 1807, which would make him the right age to be a single freeman in 1829.

The problem with that thesis is that all available census information, and his obituary, indicate that James Culbertson Defibaugh was actually born in the 1818 to 1822 timeframe, which means that James Culbertson Defibaugh was not old enough to be a single freeman in 1829.

The 1850 federal census of Bedford Township enumerates James Defibaugh as a 30-year-old Pennsylvania-born laborer. Also living in his household are 25-year-old Catherine and one-month-old George. This 1850 census record puts him in the township where the gunsmith James Defibaugh appears as a gunsmith in 1852.

In the 1860 federal census of St. Clair township, James Defibaugh is enumerated as a 41-year-old Pennsylvania-born farmer with real estate valued at $2,500.00 and personal property valued at $300.00. Also living in his household are 35-year-old Catherine, ??-year-old George, 6-year-old Darah Malinda, 3-year-old John, and 1-year-old Mary Margaret.

In the 1870 federal census of Union Township, James Defibaugh is enumerated as a 52-year-old farmer living with 48-year-old Catherine, 20-year-old George, 14-year-old John, 11-year-old Mary, 8-year-old William, and 5-year-old Emma.

In the 1880 federal census of King Township, James Defibaugh is enumerated as a 61-year-old Pennsylvania-born laborer. Living with him are his 55-year-old wife Catherine, 23-year-old son John J, 21-year-old daughter Mary, and 15-year-old daughter Emma J.

James Defibaugh applied for an Invalid pension on May 8, 1880. The application was successful.

In the 1890 Veteran's Schedule of King Township, James Defibaugh is enumerated as having been a Private of Company B of the 91st Pennsylvania Infantry who enlisted on October 8, 1864 and was discharged on July 6, 1865.

Catherine applied for a Widow's pension on October 18, 1895. The application was successful.

The following obituary is from the September 21, 1895 issue of the "Altoona Tribune" indicates that James Defibaugh died at age 77:

I don't know what to make of this conflicting information. James Culbertson Defibaugh was old enough to be a gunsmith in Bedford Township in 1852 and was definitely living in Bedford Township in 1850. He simply was not old enough to have been a single freeman and silversmith in the borough of Bedford in 1829.

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