John Johnson, Somerset County, Pennsylvania gunsmith

1768: The 1953 book "American Gunmakers" indicates that John Johnson was born in 1768 in Straussburg, Germany, and originally settled in Bucks County, Pennsylvania before moving to Listie in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. The book says he made plain flintlock rifles and muskets with walnut or maple stocks lacking butt plates, and sometimes engraved his name on the barrel.

1790: The 1983 booklet "Gunsmiths and Gunmakers of Bedford and Somerset Counties Pennsylvania 1770-1900" puts John Johnston in Listie, Somerset County, Pennsylvania in 1790. The 2001 book "Gunsmiths of Bedford, Fulton, Huntington, & Somerset Counties", and its 1991 antecedent "Gunsmiths of Bedford, Somerset and Fulton Counties", also identify John Johnston as a gunsmith in Listie, Somerset County, Pennsylvania in 1790. This is implausible, as worded, because Somerset county was not created from part of Bedford County until April 17, 1795.

Even the Listie reference is troublesome, because Listie isn't known as an early settlement, as far as I can tell. It seems like a late 1800s mining town. Here's what Volume II of the 1906 book "History of Bedford and Somerset Counties Pennsylvania" has to say about Listie:

The obituary of Simon Krebs in the March 9, 1933 issue of the "Meyersdale Republican" newspaper indicates that Listie mine is named for Bedford County Attorney Humphrey Tate's daughter Listie. That means the town of Listie is related to the naming of the mine. The correspondent who identified the obituary reports that the Listie mining company was chartered on June 20, 1892. Another correspondent indicates that Listie used to be named Snyder's Mill, named after one of her Snyder ancestors.

1850: Both the 1991 and the 2001 books rsport that John Johnson was still active at, or in the environs of, Listie in 1850. If born in 1768, John Johnson would have been about 82 in 1850. I didn't see him in the transcript of the 1850 Somerset Township census that I looked at, but maybe it was not complete.

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