John Horner, Somerset County, Pennsylvania gunsmith

The 2001 book "Gunsmiths of Bedford, Fulton, Huntington, & Somerset Counties" by Whisker and Yantz indicates that an advertisement in the 1861 "Boyd's Pennsylvania State Directory" identifies Quemahoning Township, Somerset County resident John Horner as a gunsmith. They refer to this individual as John J. Horner. The 1983 booklet "Gunsmiths and Gunmakers of Bedford and Somerset Counties Pennsylvania 1770-1900" refers to this individual as John Horner, Jr., indicates he was born in 1804, puts him at Jenners Crossroads in Quemahoning Township of Somerset County from 1825-1863, and indicates that he was in the 1861 edition of Boyd's Directory.

1860: I suspect that the "J. Horners" residence on this Quemahoning Township portion of the 1860 Walker map of Somerset County, Pennsylvania is the residence of the John Horner who died in 1862 and is buried near the illustrated residence.

1860: There is only one John Horner household in the 1860 federal census of Quemahoning Township. John Horner is enumerated as a 77-year-old Pennsylvania-born farmer with a personal estate of $400.00. He is living with his 72-year-old wife Catherine. If the ages are recorded correctly, John was born circa 1783 and Catherine was born circa 1788.

1862: Based on the age given in the 1860 census, this appears to be the John Horner who is buried in the tiny Horner Farm Cemetery (40.1162340, -79.0026640) in Quemahoning Township, Somerset County, Pennsylvania. The tombstone inscription states, "John Horner, Sr. Died Mar. 8, 1862 Aged 79 Ys..." The rest of the inscription is unclear. John Horner's first wife is also buried there. Her tombstone states, "Memory of Catharine Consort of John Horner. Died Feb 5th 1846 Aged 61 Years 7 Mos & 19 days." In the inscription, only the "1" isn't perfectly legible. The maiden name of the first wife is said to be Kimmel.

The Catherine who is said to be John Horner's second wife is buried in the Jennerstown Cemetery (40.1585000, -79.0640000) in Jennerstown, Somerset County, Pennsylvania. Her tombstone states, "Catherine Horner, died Feb'y 23, 1882, aged 93 Y'rs 6 Mo's 15 D'ys". This age fits with the individual in the 1860 census. The maiden name of the second wife is said to be Good.

In the 1850 federal census of Quemahoning Township, John Horner, Sr. is enumerated as a 66-year-old Pennsylvania-born farmer with property valued at $2,600.00. Living with him is his 62-year-old wife Catherine Horner.

In the 1840 federal census of Quemahoning township the John Horner household has one male and one female in the 50 to 60 age group, one male and one female in the 15 to 20 age group, and one female in the 10 to 15 age group.

In the 1830 federal census of Quemahoning Township, he may be the John Harner who is enumerated. That household has 1 male and one female in the 40 to 50 age group, 1 male and one female in the 15 to 20 age group, 3 females in the 10 to 15 age group, 2 males in the 5 to 10 age group, and one male and two females under age 5, for a total of 12 individuals.

Based on the maiden name of his first wife, and the large family size reported in the 1830 census, I wonder if the John Horner mentioned in the following extract from the 1906 county history is the gunsmith:

The John Horner mentioned in the 1906 county history is also mentioned in the following excerpt from the 1884 county history:

In the 1820 federal census of Quemahoning Township, the household of a John Horner has one male and one female at least age 26 and under age 45, one male and three females at least age 10 and under age 16, and 2 males and three females under age 10. Two people in the household were engaged in agriculture.

In the 1810 federal census of Quemahoning Township, the household of a John Horner has one male in the 26 to 44 age group, one female in the 16 to 26 age group, and one male and three females under age 10.

In the 1800 federal census of Quemahoning Township, the household of a John Horner is clearly that of a different John Horner. It has one male and two females in the age 45 and up group, one male in the 26 to 45 age group, two males in the 16 to 26 age group, and two males in the 10 to 16 age group.

In his book "Gunsmiths of Somerset County, Pennsylvania", James B. Whisker mentions another John Horner who was said by Jack Horner Bell to be a gunsmith. This individual is believed to have been born around 1721, and came to live within the present bounds of Somerset County in the circa 1796 to 1800 timeframe as an old man. Since this individual came to the area so late in life and died in 1803, I elected not to include him in this website study because I don't know if he still worked as a gunsmith after he came to the area.

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