James Dillon, Bedford County, Pennsylvania gunsmith

1819-1821: The 2001 book "Gunsmiths of Bedford, Fulton, Huntington, & Somerset Counties" states that in the 1819 records of Chambersburg, a single freeman named James Dillon is identified as a watch and clock maker.

1820: I did not find a James Dillon in a transcript of the 1820 census records of Bedford Borough or Bedford Township, Bedford County, Pennsylvania.

1821: The 2001 book "Gunsmiths of Bedford, Fulton, Huntington, & Somerset Counties" states that in the 1821 records of the borough of Huntingdon, a James Dillon is identified as a clockmaker and silversmith. The following excerpt is from Africa's 1883 book History of "Huntingdon and Blair Counties, Pennsylvania", and identifies James G. Dillon in the category of Silversmiths and Clock-and Watch-Makers:

1826: The 2017 book "Gunsmiths of Bedford County, Pennsylvania" indicates that James Dillon is identified as a clock maker on the 1826 tax roll of the Borough of Bedford.

1826-1844: The 2001 book "Gunsmiths of Bedford, Fulton, Huntington, & Somerset Counties" places James Dillon in the borough of Bedford from 1826 to 1844.

1830: In the 1830 census of Bedford Borough, Bedford County, Pennsylvania, the James G. Dillon household has one male in the 20 to 30 age range. Another James Dillon household appears in the 1830 census of Bedford Township, Bedford County, Pennsylvania with two males and one female under age five, three males in the five to ten age group, 2 males in the ten to 15 age group, two males in the 30 to 40 age group, and one female in the 20 to 30 age group.

1832: The 2017 book "Gunsmiths of Bedford County, Pennsylvania" indicates that James Dillon is identified as a silversmith on the 1832 tax roll of the Borough of Bedford.

1835-1842: The 2017 book "Gunsmiths of Bedford County, Pennsylvania" indicates that James Dillon is identified as a watch maker on the 1835 to 1842 tax rolls of the borough of Bedford.

1840: I did not find a James Dillon in transcripts of the 1840 census records of the borough of Bedford or Bedford Township.

1844: The 1953 edition of Gluckman's "American Gun Makers" puts James Dillon in the borough of Bedford in 1844.

1844: According to Kauffman's 1960 book "The Pennsylvania - Kentucky Rifle", James Dillon is identified as a gunsmith on the 1844 tax roll of Bedford Borough, in Bedford County.

1844: The 2001 book "Gunsmiths of Bedford, Fulton, Huntington, & Somerset Counties" indicates that James Dillon was taxed in the borough of Bedford a gunsmith in 1844.

1846: The 2017 book "Gunsmiths of Bedford County, Pennsylvania" reports that James Dillon no longer appears on Bedford tax rolls after the year 1846 and deduces that James Dillon left Bedford County because of the lack of estate documentation.

1850: I did not find a James Dillon in a transcript of the 1850 census of Bedford Borough.

There was more than one gunsmith named James Dillon in the 1800s. The March 10, 1909 issue of the "Adams County Free Press" has an article that includes the statement, "Mrs. Rebecca Ann Dillon, whose picture we present this week, was born in Guernsey county, Ohio, August 26, 1815, and is therefore about 93 and a half years of age. Her maiden name was Pulley. She resided in the county of her nativity for several years and on February 11, 1836, was married to James Dillon.

In 1849, at the time of the gold excitement in California, her husband, in company with relatives and friends, went across the great plains to the golden state to seek his fortune. He was gone fifteen months and returned by water. Mr. Dillon was more fortunate than any of the rest of his company, and returned with more gold than they. However, during his absence all the children of the family, five in number, had scarlet fever, and the eldest daughter died. Mrs. Dillon did not inform her husband of her trials during this absence, and he knew nothing of the death of his daughter until his return home.

In the fall of the same year Mr. and Mrs. Dillon moved Grant county, Indiana, where they erected a house in the woods and cleared off the timber for a farm ... Mr. Dillon worked at the gunsmith trade. In the spring of 1872 he died, and Mrs. Dillon remained on the home place until 1874, when, in company with her two daughters and their families, she came to Adams county." That James Dillon was born December 31, 1816, died May 7, 1872, and is buried in the Fletcher Chapel Cemetery in Grant County, Indiana.

R. Armstrong Farber, who died July 11, 2002 at age 89, was one of three men who pioneered the study of Bedford County longrifles. The 2017 book "Gunsmiths of Bedford County, Pennsylvania" indicates that Mr. Farber once owned a firearm that had a small lock marked "J.D." The book reports that although the firearm was made generally in the style of the Bedford County school, it exhibited stylistic influences from different counties.

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