John Amos, Bedford County, Pennsylvania gunsmith

Introduction: John Amos was a significant Bedford County, Pennsylvania gunmaker, and one of the few who made rifles in the flintlock era that have survived.

1800: Calculating from information on his tombstone, John Amos was born in 1800. The Whiskers' 2017 book "Gunsmiths of Bedford County, Pennsylvania" states that the birthplace of John Amos was Gloucestershire, in England.

1814-1817: The 2001 book "Gunsmiths of Bedford, Fulton, Huntingdon, & Somerset Counties" by Whisker & Yantz indicates that an individual named John Amos was taxed in Southampton Township, Bedford County from 1814 to 1817. In my opinion, this seems to be too soon for an individual born in 1800 to be appearing in the tax records.

1825: A secondary source indicates that Rebecca Border, a daughter of Johannes "John" Border and Mary Magdalena Black, married John Amos on March 29, 1825. Johannes "John" Border was the father of the Bedford County gunsmiths William Border, Samuel Border, and Enos Border. Two of the children of John and Rebecca (Border) Amos have the middle name "Border".

Here is an outline of how I currently understand the members of the Border family who were gunsmiths in Bedford County (including John Border's son-in-law John Amos):

This schematic shows how the gunsmiths in the Border family are related.

1826: The 2001 Whisker & Yantz book states that a child of an individual named John Amos was baptized in the old

1806 log church, which overlooks Schellsburg. The Whiskers' 2017 book indicates that the baptism occurred in 1826. I think this baptism is Christian M. Stouffer's wife Mary Ellen (Amos) Stouffer, who died in 1894 and is buried in the Schellsburg Cemetery. A website indicates she was born on April 9, 1826, but does not give the names of her parents. A newspaper article (below) indicates that John Amos had a son-in-law named Stouffer.

1828: The Lutheran records from the Union Church in Bedford indicate that John and Rebecca Amos had a daughter named Elizabeth Margareth who was born on September 16, 1828 and baptized on May 31, 1829.

1829-1832: The Whiskers' 1983 booklet "Gunsmiths and Gunmakers of Bedford and Somerset Counties Pennsylvania 1770-1900" puts John Amos in the borough of Bedford from 1829 to 1832.

1831: The Lutheran records from the Union Church in Bedford indicate that John and Rebecca Amos had a daughter named Rebecca who was born on March 13, 1831 and baptized on June 25, 1831. The following obituary of Mrs. Rebecca (Amos) Akers indicates she was born on March 13, 1831 in Bedford Town and was a sister of Samuel B. and Frank M. Amos. Samuel B. and Frank M. Amos were sons of the gunsmith John Amos, so Rebecca Akers was a daughter of John Amos.

obituary of Rebecca Akers, a daughter of John and Rebecca (Border) Amos.

1833-1867: The Whiskers' 1983 booklet refers to John Amos as a farmer, whitesmith, and gunsmith and puts him in Bedford Township of Bedford County from 1833 to 1867. Here is the definition of a whitesmith from Webster's 1874 "A Dictionary of the English Language":

1833: The Lutheran records from the Union Church in Bedford indicate that John and Rebecca Amos had a son named John who was born on April 13, 1833 and baptized on March 14, 1834. The obituary of John Amos, Jr. appears in the February 22, 1901 issue of the "Bedford Gazette" newspaper and indicates he was born in 1833 and was a son of John and Rebecca Amos:

Lieut John Border Amos
The subject of this sketch was born on April 13, 1833, on the old Amos farm near Bedford now owned by Adam Sellers and died on February 20, 1901, at his home in Bedford township. He was aged sixty-seven years, ten months and seven days.The deceased was a son of John and Rebecca Amos. He served his country during the civil war as a member of Company D, 55th regiment, Pennsylvania volunteers, enlisting as a private on October 12, 1861. He was promoted successively to corporal, sergeant, 1st sergeant and to second lieutenant, June 8, 1865, and was mustered out on August 30, 1865. At the battle of Cold Harbor Lieutenant Amos was severely wounded. He married Miss Sarah Mower, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Mower, of Rainsburg. Twelve children were born to them, three of whom - William, Frank and an infant daughter - preceded him to the spirit world. His wife and the following children survive him: Mrs. William Arnold, of Bedford township; Jennie and May, of Philadelphia; Charles, of San Jose, Central America; Annie and Sallie, at home; Ralph, of Bedford township; Ross, of Altoona and Mrs. George Householder, of Pittsburg. He is also survived by four brothers and two sisters - Daniel W., of Saxton; Samuel B., of Bedford township; Frank M., of Hendricks, W. Va.; Josiah, of Bedford borough; Mrs. Rebecca Akers, of Altoona, and Mrs. Elizabeth McMullin, of Missouri. Funeral services will be held tomorrow afternoon at two o'clock at the home of decedent and will be conducted by Rev. M. D. Culler, of the Lutheran church. Interment in the Bedford cemetery. Lieutenant Amos was an enthusiastic hunter and an ardent disciple of Izak Walton. He knew the haunts of the big bass and timid trout and frequently acted as guide for fishing parties composed of guests at our summer resorts. He was an honest, kind-hearted man and had many friends who will sincerely mourn his death.

1835: The Lutheran records from the Union Church in Bedford indicate that John and Rebecca Amos had a son named Daniel who was born on November 4, 1835 and baptized on February 8, 1836. His obituary in the September 24, 1909 issue of the "Bedford Gazette" newspaper includes the following: "Daniel W. Amos, machinist and a master at his trade, died at Saxton on Sunday, September 19, of hemorrhages, aged 75 years, 10 months and 15 days. He was born in Bedford in 1833 and was a son of the late John Amos. November 26, 1863, he was married to Miss Margaret Cypher, who preceded him to the world beyond. Deceased was a brother of the late Josiah Amos of this place. ..."

1838: The following death certificate of John Amos' son Samuel indicates he was born on July 7, 1838:

The following obituary of Samuel Amos (son of John and Rebecca Amos) is from the October 22, 1920 issue of the "Bedford Gazette" newspaper. It indicates that Samuel was raised in Bedford Township, which puts John Amos in Bedford Township in roughly the 1838 to 1856 timeframe.

1839: The following excerpt from the 1884 book "History of Bedford, Somerset and Fulton Counties Pennsylvania" indicates that John Amos was a Bedford County Auditor in 1839. This is too early to be a reference to John Border Amos, who was born in 1833.

1839: The Whiskers' 1983 booklet indicates that John Amos appears in a bond record for the estate of Benjamin Amos on April 19, 1839.

1840: John Amos is enumerated in the 1840 federal census of Bedford Township as being in the 30-40 age bracket. Living in his household are two males under five years old, one male in the 5-10 age bracket, two males in the 10 to 15 age bracket, and one female in the 40-50 age bracket.

1841: The 2001 Whisker & Yantz book indicates that John Amos is identified as a gunsmith in the 1841 tax roll.

1843: According to Kauffman's 1960 book "The Pennsylvania - Kentucky Rifle", John Amos is identified as a gunsmith in the 1843 tax list of Bedford Township, and was among the foremost craftsman of Bedford County.

1843: The Whiskers' 1983 booklet indicates that John Amos appears in a bond record for the estate of tavern keeper Humphrey Dillon on December 11, 1843.

1843: The obituary of Sarah (Amos) Bagley appears in the Nov. 26, 1931 issue of the "Bedford Gazette newspaper, and indicates she was a daughter of John and Rebecca Border Amos and was born in 1843: "Mrs. Sarah Jane Bagley, prominent resident of Bedford, died on Saturday afternoon at 2;30 o'clock at the home of her son, Chas. T. Bagley of Bedford, Rt. 2, of a complication of diseases after three week's illness. She was born in Bedford Jan. 20, 1843, a daughter of John and Rebecca Border Amos, both deceased. Surviving are the following sons and daughters: Mrs. Myrtle Kimmell, Mrs. Ida Stickler, Miss Sarah Bagley and Charles T. Bagley, all of Bedford; Mrs. Irvin Imler and Mrs. H.F. Reese, both of Clearfield, and Mrs. D. O. Nelson. She is also survived by 20 grandchildren and 22 great-grandchildren. Funeral services were conducted Tuesday afternoon at 2:30 o'clock from the late home in charge of Rev. G.A. Duvall, pastor of the M. E. Church here. Interment followed in the Bedford Cemetery." Sarah's death certificate identifies the names of her parents, and indicates she was born in 1843.

1843: The 1953 edition of the book "American Gun Makers" puts John Amos in the borough of Bedford in the 1840s, references the 1843 tax roll, and references a percussion rifle with "J. A" on the lock and a stock made from apple wood.

1844: The 2001 Whisker & Yantz book indicates that John Amos is identified as a gunsmith in the 1844 tax roll, and in 1844 his property value was assessed at $2,075.00. The Whiskers' 2017 book indicates that this is the last year John Amos is identified as a gunsmith in the tax roll.

1845: Based on the 1850 census, John Amos had a son named Francis M. Amos who was born circa 1845. Francis is buried at the Bedford Cemetery in Bedford County, Pennsylvania where his tombstone inscription states, "Francis Marion Amos 1845-1914".

1847: The obituary of Josiah Amos appears in the March 14, 1902 issue of the "Bedford Gazette" newspaper, and includes the following "Josiah Amos was born in Bedford township on December 2, 1847, and was a son of John and Rebecca Amos. He began teaching school when fifteen years of age..."

1847: The Whiskers' 1983 booklet indicates that John Amos served on a Grand Jury in 1847. The Whiskers' 2017 book indicates that the 1847 income of the gunsmith John Amos was $1,033.00.

1849: The 2001 Whisker & Yantz book states that a nephew Daniel B. Border was living on the property of John Amos in 1849. The book indicates that a few rifles have engravings that include the names Amos and Border, and these rifles may be the product of John Amos and his nephew Daniel B. Border. In his book "The Bedford County Rifle and its Makers", Calvin Hetrick states that the "Amos & Border Company" was a partnership between John Amos and Daniel Border, and mistakenly describes them as brothers-in-law. Hetrick praises Amos as a skillful gunsmith, and one of the best in Bedford County. A. Merwyn Carey's 1953 book "American Firearms Makers" mistakenly (in my opinion) reports that Bedford Township rifle maker Daniel Border had a gunsmith brother named Amos Border working in the same township, and connects them with the 1843 to 1851 timeframe.

The following excerpt from the 1884 book "History of Bedford, Somerset and Fulton Counties Pennsylvania" indicates that John Amos was a prominent School Director in Bedford County:

1850: The following composite image is from the 1850 census of Bedford Township. The Daniel B. Border and John Amos households are listed sequentially, suggesting they lived near one another. Daniel B. Border is identified as a gunsmith.

1855: The following item from the February 9, 1855 "Bedford Gazette" shows John Amos serving as a tax collector. The same list is published in the February 16, 1855 issue.

1855: The following announcement of the marriage of John Amos, Jr. is from the May 11, 1855 issue of the "Bedford Gazette".

1856: The following excerpt is from a long list of Poor House payments that was published in the March 28, 1856 issue of the "Bedford Gazette". It shows that John Amos was paid for supplying apples to the Poor House. The same payment is listed in the March 21, 1856 issue.

1856: The following item is from the October 3, 1856 "Bedford Gazette", and indicates that John Amos was appointed as a Vice President of the Democratic Committee of Bedford Township.

1857: Click here to read a lengthy article from the February 13, 1857 "Bedford Gazette" titled "Great Mass Meeting of the Democracy of Bedford County" that mentions John Amos.

1857: Click here to read a lengthily article from the May 8, 1857 "Bedford Gazette" titled "Democratic County Meeting" that mentions John Amos.

1857: The following is an excerpt from a Poor House report that was published in the March 27, 1857 issue of the Bedford Gazette. It shows John Amos being paid for providing straw. The report was also published in the April 10, 1857 issue of the "Bedford Inquirer and Chronicle".

1857: The following item is from the June 26, 1857 issue of the "Bedford Inquirer". Although the original Locofoco faction of the Democratic Party had died out by the mid-1840s, it continued to be used as a derogatory name for the entire Democratic Party.

1857: The following item from the July 3, 1857 "Bedford Gazette" shows a John Amos of Bedford Township attending the Bedford County Democratic convention.

1857: Click here to read a lengthily article from the November 6, 1857 "Bedford Gazette" that mentions prizes won by John Amos from the Bedford County Agricultural Society". The same news is covered by the November 6, 1857 "Bedford Inquirer and Chronicle".

1858: The following excerpt is from a lengthily account statement of the Poor House in the March 19, 1858 issue of the "Bedford Gazette", and shows payments to John Amos for corn and straw. The same payments are documented in the March 5, 1858 issue of the "Bedford Inquirer" and the February 19, 1858 and March 12, 1858 issues of the "Bedford Gazette". Click here to see an example of a Poor House report from the March 5, 1858 "Bedford Inquirer".

1858: The following notice from the March 28, 1858 "Bedford Gazette" indicates that John Amos of Bedford Township was elected to serve as a Justice of the Peace in Bedford Township.

1858: The following excerpt from the 1884 book "History of Bedford, Somerset and Fulton Counties Pennsylvania" indicates that John Amos was elected as Director of the Poor in Bedford County in 1858.

1858: The following item appears in the July 2, 1858 issue of the "Bedford Inquirer", and maligns John Amos as "The candidate for Poor Director is especially unfit, and as decidedly unpopular..."

1858: Click here to read a lengthily article titled "From Washington" that was published in the August 6, 1858 "Bedford Gazette" and mentions John Amos.

1858: The following advertisement was published in the upper left-hand corner of page 2 of the July 2, 1858 issue of the "Bedford Gazette", and promotes John Amos of Bedford Township as Poor House Director. It also appeared in the July 9, 1858, July 16, 1858, August 13, 1858, August 20, 1858, August 27, 1858, September 3, 1858, September 10, 1858, September 24, 1858, and October 8, 1858 issues.

1858: The following item was published in the October 1, 1858 issue of the "Bedford Gazette", and promotes John Amos of Bedford Township, saying he "is well known to our readers as man of good, strong, common sense and as a Democrat who has never flinched. He is the very man for Poor House Director."

1858: The following rant against John Amos appeared in the October 8, 1858 issue of the "Bedford Inquirer":

Christian M. Stouffer's wife Mary Ellen (Amos) Stouffer died in 1894 and is buried in the Schellsburg Cemetery. Her tombstone inscription includes the following, "Mary E. wife of C.M. Stouffer".

1858: The following notice is from the November 5, 1858 issue of the "Bedford Inquirer".

1858: The following item from the November 12, 1858 "Bedford Inquirer" provides a clue about the location of the farm of John Amos, suggesting it is about a mile from the Borough of Bedford.

1858: The following advertisement is from the November 26, 1858 issue of the "Bedford Inquirer". The same advertisement was published in the December 3, 1858 issue. The advertisement documents John Amos serving as a Director of the Poor House.

1858: The following advertisement is from the December 3, 1858 issue of the "Bedford Gazette", and is substantially the same as the advertisement published in the "Bedford Inquirer".

1858: The following item is from the December 10, 1858 issue of the "Bedford Gazette", and gloats that contrary to the pre-election warning, John Amos did not appoint his son as Steward of the Poor House, and did not appoint Christian Stouffer as the Miller of the Poor House.

1858: The following item is from the December 24, 1858 issue of the "Bedford Gazette", and suggests that the local Democrats are opposed to the Abolitionists (i.e., the people who wanted to abolish slavery).

1859: The following is a portion of a lengthily Poor House account published in the March 18, 1859 issue of the "Bedford Inquirer", and shows John Amos serving as a Director. The report is also included in the March 4, 1859 and March 25, 1859 issues of the "Bedford Gazette" and the March 25, 1859 issue of the "Bedford Inquirer".

1859: The following item appeared in the September 30, 1859 issue of the "Bedford Gazette", and exhibits a deep animosity toward Republican Abolutionists.

1859: The following advertisement by the Democrat Party is from the October 7, 1859 "Bedford Gazette", and shows the local members of the party to be opposed to miscegenation between blacks and whites.

1860: The following excerpt from a Poor House report is from the March 30, 1860 "Bedford Gazette", and shows John Amos receiving a six-month salary of ten dollars for serving as a Director of the Poor House. The report, formatted differently, is also included in the March 30, 1860, April 6, 1860, and April 13, 1860 issues of the "Bedford Inquirer".

1860: The following item appeared in the June 15, 1860 issue of the "Bedford Gazette":

1860: The following composite image is from the 1860 census of Bedford Township:

1860: The following item appeared in the September 28, 1860 issue of the "Bedford Gazette". It also appeared in the September 14, 1860 issue. It documents John Amos as still serving as a Director of the Poor House.

1861: The 1861 Walker map of Bedford County, which follows, identifies the residence of John Amos north of the town of Bedford. The location of the residence is along a readily identifiable stretch of Briar Valley Road (T479).

1861: The following excerpt shows a portion of a large Poor House report that was published in the March 15, 1861 issue of the "Bedford Inquirer". It shows John Amos still serving as a Director of the Poor House. The report was also published in the March 8, 1861 and March 15, 1861 issues of the "Bedford Gazette".

1861: Click here to read a lengthily article from the August 23, 1861 "Bedford Gazette" titled "Union Meeting" that was endorsed by John Amos.

1861: Click here to read a lengthily article from the August 30, 1861 "Bedford Gazette" titled "Union Meeting" that is endorsed by John Amos. The big difference between this article and the August 23, 1861 article with the same title is the number of endorsers.

1861: In her 2009 "The Biography of John B. Amos, Civil War Veteran", Ann Sinton indicates that John Border Amos, a son of the gunsmith John Amos, mustered into the Union Army on October 12, 1861 as a private. During the time John Border Amos is in the military, any reference to political activity by a John Amos in Bedford County cannot be a reference to John Border Amos.

1862: The following item from the May 9, 1862 "Bedford Gazette" documents John Amos, Jr. sending money home to his father from the Army.

1863: The following excerpt from a Poor House report is from the March 20, 1863 issue of the "Bedford Gazette". It shows that John Amos is no longer a Director of the Poor House, and shows him receiving a payment of $16.60 for work. The report is also published in the April 3, 1863 and April 10, 1863 issues, which are more legible.

1863: Click here to read a lengthily article from the May 8, 1863 "Bedford Gazette" titled "The Democracy in Council" that mentions John Amos.

1863: The following item is from the June 26, 1863 issue of the "Bedford Gazette", and mentions John Amos of Bedford Township.

1863: The following item is from the October 30, 1863 issue of the "Bedford Gazette".

1864: The following advertisement from the February 12, 1864 issue of the "Bedford Gazette" provides a clue regarding the general location of John Amos's farm, and confirms the location identified on the Walker map above.

1864: The following item in the June 3, 1864 "Bedford Inquirer" indicates that John Amos, Jr. has been wounded during his Army service.

1864-ish to ?: According to the Whiskers' 1983 booklet, records from the Orphan's Court of Bedford County show that John Amos represented the John Border family in the legal activities relating to the settlement concerning John Border's 1964 death in a railroad accident.

1865: The following item was published in the February 10, 1865 issue of the "Bedford Gazette".

1865: The following notice was published in the April 28, 1865 issue of the "Bedford Gazette". The same juror lists were published in the April 7, 1865, April 14, 1865, April 21, 1865, and April 28, 1865 issues of the "Bedford Inquirer".

1865: In her 2009 "The Biography of John B. Amos, Civil War Veteran", Ann Sinton indicates that John Border Amos, a son of the gunsmith John Amos, was mustered out of the Union Army on August 30, 1865 in Petersburg, Virginia.

1866: The following item appeared in the February 2, 1866 issue of the "Bedford Gazette". The same list appears in a more organized column format in the January 19, 1866, January 26, 1866, February 9, 1866 and February 16, 1866 issues. It also appears in the February 2, 1866 issue of the "Bedford Inquirer".

1867: Click here to read a lengthily article from the February 15, 1867 "Bedford Gazette" titled "The Congressional Revolutionists hear from the people" that mentions John Amos.

1867: The following announcement appeared in the March 22, 1867 "Bedford Inquirer", and shows that in his last year of life, John Amos of Bedford Township was elected to serve as an Assistant Assessor.

1867: The following item appeared in the March 29, 1867 issue of the "Bedford Gazette", and also shows that John Amos of Bedford Township was elected to serve as an Assistant Assessor.

1867: The following death notice appears in the November 1, 1867 issue of the "Bedford Gazette":

1867: The November 15, 1867 issue of the "Bedford Inquirer" carries the obituary of gunsmith John Amos and the marriage announcement of the gunsmith Lawrence Defitbaugh.

1867: John and Rebecca (Border) Amos are buried in the Bedford Cemetery in the town of Bedford, Pennsylvania. A broken tombstone at the Bedford Cemetery states, "John Amos died Oct. 28, 1867, aged 67 ys. 1 mo. 11 ds." Another tombstone commemorates both John and Rebecca. John's side of this tombstone states "John Amos died Oct. 28, 1867, aged 67 y'rs. 1 mo. 11 d'ys." and Rebecca's side states, "Rebecca Amos, died June 7, 1888, aged 82 yrs, 9 mos, 24 dys." The cemetery is located at 40.02653517, -78.50128135.

1867: The following Adminstrators' notice regarding the estate of John Amos was published in the January 10, 1868 issue of the "Bedford Inquirer" and was also published in the November 29, 1867, December 6, 1867, December 13, 1867, December 20, 1867, January 3, 1868, and January 24, 1868 issues. It was also published in the December 6, 1867, December 20, 1867, and January 10, 1868 issues of the "Bedford Gazette".

1869: The following notice was published in the January 15, 1869 issue of the "Bedford Inquirer", and may reference the farm of John Amos, deceased. The same for sale reference to the farm was published in the March 12, 1869 issue.

1869: The following notice was published in the February 26, 1869 issue of the "Bedford Gazette". The same notice was published in the March 12, 1869 issue of the "Bedford Inquirer".

1869: The following legal notice concerning the estate of John Amos, Sr. was posted in the February 5, 1869 issue of the "Bedford Gazette", and also appears in the January 15, 1869, January 22, 1869, and January 29, 1869 issues. The same notice appears in the January 15, 1869, January 22, 1869, January 29, 1869, and February 5, 1869 issues of the "Bedford Inquirer".

1870: The following composite image is from the 1870 census of Bedford Township, and lists the household of the widow Rebecca Amos:

1884: The following excerpt from the 1884 book "History of Bedford, Somerset and Fulton Counties Pennsylvania" indicates that Francis Marion "Frank" Amos, a son of John Amos, Sr., was a junior partner in the Union Flouring Mills at Mann's Choice, in Bedford County:

Work product:

  • AMOS, John, percussion "smooth rifle"
  • AMOS, John, percussion rifle

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