John Border I of Bedford County, Pennsylvania

Introduction: The gunsmith John Border who died in 1864 had a grandfather named John Border. This web page is about that grandfather, and identifies him as "John Border I" in its title. Some individuals say John Border I was a gunsmith. John Border I was the father of the Bedford County gunsmiths William Border (born 1800), Samuel Border (born 1814), and Enos Border (born 1822), and the father-in-law of the Bedford County gunsmith John Amos (born 1800). Because of this, perhaps we should wonder whether John Border I is a potential candidate to be the originator of the Bedford School of gunsmithing. Even if he not the originator of the school, he is nevertheless the father, grandfather, and father-in-law of some of the major gunsmiths who formed the school.

Here is an outline of the members of the Border family who were gunsmiths in Bedford County:

Much of what is written below about John Border I is from Kathie Kline's October 23, 1999 web page, which reports that he was a gunsmith. Kline reports that the farm of this John Border was about four miles away from Schellsburg, and reports that his occupations were farmer, rake maker, wagon maker, wheelwright, and gunsmith. She also reports that this John Border had three marriages and 19 children.

1743: "The Forgotten Ones" website of Ken E. Austin II indicates that Sebald Bader/Border, father of Johannes/John Bader/Border, was born in Maxatawny Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania in 1743.

1767: Sebald Bader is listed as a blacksmith with one head of cattle on the 1767 tax list of Maxatawny Township, Berks County, Pennsylvania. It is hard for me to imagine a blacksmith in that time and place who didn't perform at least some rudimentary gun repairs for the other settlers.

1769: Kline reports that the marriage of Sebold Border/Bader and Regina Rachel Bother occurred in Maryland on June 3, 1769. The individual Kline calls Sebold is called Sebald, Gebald or Gebalt in other sources. What you will find in old records written in cursive is that it is sometimes very difficult to distinguish some characters, such as capital G and S, or lower case a, e, and o.

1769: Although I doubt that the described location is right, the 1953 edition of "American Gun Makers" identifies Gebald Border as a gunsmith in Bedford, Pennsylvania in 1769, as does Frank Sellers' 2008 book "American Gunsmiths". The 2017 book "Gunsmiths of Bedford County, Pennsylvania" describes Gebalt Border as being a blacksmith.

1776: Kline reports that John Border was a son of Sebold and Regina Bader and was born in Frederick County, Maryland on June 29, 1776. I suspect she obtained this birth date from a church record, because it does not match the date one would get by calculating from information on the tombstone.

1776: Kline reports that John Border was christened with the name "Johannes Bader" on September 29, 1776 at the St. Peters Evangelical Lutheran Church in Frederick County, Maryland. Austin's website identifies the location of Saint Peters Lutheran Church as Woodsboro, which is 10.5 miles north-northeast of the town of Frederick, Maryland.

1788: Kline reports that Sebold Border died at age 45 in Frederick County, Maryland in 1788.

1794: Austin's website indicates that Sebald Bader/Border's wife Regina Rachel died on June 10, 1794 at the age of 45.

1794: Kline reports that Daniel Baker was appointed as the guardian of John Border on June 11, 1794.

1796: According to his memorial on findagrave.com (86699422), John Border and his wife Mary had a son David who was born in 1796.

1798: According to his memorial on findagrave.com John Border and his wife Mary had a son Joseph who was born in 1798.

1799: Kline reports that John Border was an apprentice of Taneytown, Maryland gunsmith Philip Creamer in 1799. Taneytown is 12.3 miles northeast of Woodsboro, where John Border was baptized. I'm not sure what Kline's report is based on, but I suspect she is mistaken about the apprenticeship. Curtis L. Johnson's 1993 book "Philip Creamer the most celebrated gunsmith in all the west" indicates that Daniel (not John) Borden/Border was an apprentice of Philip Creamer in 1799, and references page 236 of the book of Frederick County Indentures at the Maryland State Archives. Johnson's book goes on to report that Daniel Borden/Border was born on January 17, 1783 and the apprenticeship ended on January 17, 1804. The book also reports that Isaac Shunk was the only other known apprentice of Philip Creamer in Maryland, and reports that Isaac Shunk and Daniel Borden/Border eventually appear on the rolls of the arsenal at Harper's Ferry.

1800: The gunsmith William Border was born June 30, 1800. According to his memorial on findagrave.com, William Border's parents were John Border and Mary Magdalene (Black) Border.

1804: According to the findagrave.com memorials of John Border and his wife Mary Magdalena (Black) Border, their son Daniel Border was born on June 9, 1804.

Here is what the 1884 book "History of Bedford, Somerset and Fulton Counties, Pennsylvania" states regarding John Border I and his son Daniel:

Here is what Volume III of the 1906 book "History of Bedford and Somerset Counties, Pennsylvania" states about John Border I, his son Daniel, and his grandson Frederick:

1805: According to the findagrave.com memorials of John Border and his wife Mary Magdalena (Black) Border, their daughter Rebecca (Border) Amos (wife of the gunsmith John Amos) was born on August 13, 1805.

1806: Kline reports that John Border's name is on a list of subscribers at Shellsburg's Old Log Church in 1806, as one of the Lutherans. She also reports that the church records list the christening of some of John Border's children.

1807: According to his memorial on findagrave.com John Border and his wife Mary had a son John who was born in 1807.

1808: Kline reports that John Border is listed as a wheelwright on the 1808 tax list of St. Clair Township with 100 acres, a horse, and a cow, with a valuation of $180.00.

1808: Kline reports that John Border purchased the 153-acre "Branch Hill" property on the waters of Dunnings Creek from William and Amy Blackburn on September 15, 1808 for 300 pounds. She reports that the property is within the bounds of St. Clair Township. Because of the acreage and the reference to Dunnings Creek, I suspect that "Branch Hill" may be the 1788 Bedford Township property represented by Survey Book A-27 Page 278. The 1884 book "History of Bedford, Somerset and Fulton Counties" states "St. Clair township (now East and West St. Clair) was formed in 1814." Looking at the 1792 Reading Howell map, it becomes clear that St. Clair Township was formed from Bedford Township.

1810: Kline reports that John Border appears in the 1810 census of St. Clair township with one male and one female in the 26-45 age bracket, four males and one female under ten years of age, and one male in the 10-16 age bracket.

1811: According to his memorial on findagrave.com John Border and his wife Mary had a son Jacob, who was born in 1811.

1812: According to his memorial on findagrave.com John Border and his wife Mary had a daughter Mary M. who was born in 1812.

1814: Kline reports that John Border appears in the 1814 tax list of Napier Township as a wagon maker with 135 acres, two cattle, two horses, and a valuation of $244.00.

1814: Kline reports that John Border contributed a dollar to the Schellsburg Old Log Church in 1814 toward completing the gallery (second story seating) of the church.

1814: According to the findagrave.com memorials of John Border and his wife Mary Magdalena (Black) Border, their son (the gunsmith) Samuel Border was born on June 14, 1814.

1815: John Border was one of the witnesses to the April 13, 1815 will of William Stiger of Napier Township, along with Thomas Ellis and Thomas Shepherd.

1815: According to his findagrave.com memorial, John Border's first wife was Mary Magdalena (Black) Border, who is buried at the Schellsburg Cemetery, where her tombstone states "IN MEMORY OF Magdalena Border Was born feby 8d 1776 & Departed May the 11d 1815 aged 39 yars 3 months & 6 days".

1817: Kline reports that John Border appears in the 1817 Napier Township tax list of with a saw mill, three cattle, three horses, horses, 3 cattle, and a valuation of $328.00.

1818: According to the memorials of John Border and Mary (Ellis) Border on findagrave.com, their son Thomas was born in 1818.

Circa 1819: The circa 1819 Melish-Whiteside manuscript map of Bedford County identifies Border's Mill in Napier Township. Presumably this was a mill belonging to John Border I, since he is the only individual with the Border surname who appears in the 1817 Napier Township tax list, and the only individual with the Border surname who appears in the 1820 census of Napier Township.

I am not certain where the Border mill was located, because the waterway illustrations on the 1819 map are confusing to me.

1819: Kline reports that John Border purchased the 95-acre "Double Ridge" property from at least one Blackburn family member for $915.00 in 1819. She reports that this property adjoined other land of John Border.

1820: Kline reports that John Border appears in the 1820 tax list with a sawmill, two cattle, four horses, and a valuation of $953.00.

1820: John Border appears in the 1820 census of Napier Township with one male and one female in the 26-45 age bracket, and various children

1821: Kline reports that Herbert Otto and John Border purchased property for building a school from Mary Otto, widow of William, on January 2, 1821.

1822: The following excerpt is from the January 3, 1822 section of the book "Journal of the thirty-second House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania...":

1822: According to the memorials of John Border and Mary (Ellis) Border on findagrave.com, their daughter Sarah Ann (Border) Hite was born May 23, 1822 and their son (the gunsmith) Enos Border was born August 28, 1822. These are the birth dates that seem to be carved on their tombstones. On Enos' weathered tombstone, it is difficult to tell if it really says "Aug. 28, 1822" or "Aug. 23, 1822".

1823: Kline reports that John Border appears in an 1823 record (apparently a tax record) with a grist mill, two head of cattle, two horses and a valuation of $455.00.

1824: According to his memorial on findagrave.com, another of John Border's wives was Mary Ellis, who is buried at the Schellsburg Cemetery. Her tombstone states, "Mary wife of John Border, died Jan. 21, 1824; aged 37 ys. 3 ms. & 14 ds."

1826: Kline reports that John Border appears in an 1826 tax record with two head of cattle, two horses, and 300 improved acres, and a valuation of $125.00.

1827: The findagrave.com memorial for John Border reports that he married Sarah Salome McCollach on January 25, 1827.

1829: Kline reports that John Border is listed in 1829 tax records with the same amount of property that was captured in the 1826 tax list, and a $117.00 valuation.

1830: Kline reports that John Border appears in the 1830 census of Napier Township with one male in the 50-60 age bracket, one female in the 15-20 age bracket, one male in the 10-15 age bracket, one male in the 5-10 age bracket, and one female and two males under age five.

1832: Kline reports that John Border appears in an 1832 record (apparently a tax record) with a $240.00 valuation.

1835: Kline reports that John Border appears in an 1835 record (apparently a tax record) as a farmer with 300 improved acres, nine head of cattle, one horse, and a valuation of $76.50.

1838: Kline reports that John Border appears in an 1838 tax record with two horses and two head of cattle and a valuation of $134.25.

1840: Kline reports that John Border is enumerated in the 1840 census of Napier Township, but I don't understand the age brackets she lists, and need to look it up myself.

1841: Kline reports that John Border appears in an 1841 record (apparently a tax record) as a farmer with two head of cattle and a valuation of $40.00.

1844: Kline reports that John Border appears in an 1844 record (apparently a tax record) as a maker of rakes with three head of cattle and a total valuation of $26.00.

1847: Kline reports that John Border appears in an 1847 tax record with one acre valued at $45.00 and one head of cattle valued at $81.00.

1848: Kline reports that John and Sarah Border sold the 95-acre "Double Ridge" property on the waters of Dunnings Creek to Daniel Border of Conemaugh Township, Somerset County (his son) on February 25, 1848.

1850: Kline reports that John Border appears in the 1850 census as a 75-year-old Maryland-born individual with a valuation of $200.00. Living with him is his 50-year-old Pennsylvania-born wife Sarah, 17-year-old Caroline, 13-year-old Susannah, 9-year-old Cyrus E., and 7-year-old Catherine.

1850: Kline reports that John Border appears in a record (apparently a tax record) with one acre of land valued at $31.00 and one head of cattle valued at $11.00.

1853: Kline reports that in 1853 John Border is recorded (apparently in a tax record) with land valued at $50.00 and cattle valued at $58.00.

1856: John Border died in Bedford County, Pennsylvania on July 11, 1856 and is buried in the graveyard of the German Reformed and Lutheran Church Cemetery (40.0165000, -78.5048500) in the town of Bedford. His tombstone is difficult to read, but appears to state, "JOHN BORDER Died July 11 1856 Aged 80 ys 2 ms. 16ds." The "11" and the "2" are difficult to read, and the "2" might be a "7".

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