John Matthias, Huntingdon County gunsmith

This project intentionally includes individuals who may have mistakenly been identified as Somerset County gunsmiths, to facilitate additional scrutiny.

The 2017 book "Gunsmiths of Somerset County, Pennsylvania" (mistakenly, in my opinion) identifies John Matthias as a Somerset County blacksmith and gunsmith in Rockwood based on the following passage from Volume III of the 1906 book "History of Bedford and Somerset Counties Pennsylvania". The referenced passage makes no mention of John Matthias ever living in Somerset County.

The 2017 book then implies that this is the John Peter Matthias who is buried in Larimer Township, Somerset County, and quotes the military service and obituary of that individual. Based on his obituary, John Peter Matthias was a Larimer Township, Somerset County farmer who enlisted in the 54th Regiment of Pennsylvania Volunteers at Glencoe, Somerset County during the Civil War, and who was retired and residing with a son in Meyersdale, Somerset County, at the time of his May 9, 1901 death. I don't understand why it was assumed that this John Peter Matthias of Larimer Township, Somerset County is the Huntingdon County gunsmith mentioned in the 1906 biography (above) of H. Charles Matthias, and I don't understand why it was assumed that he was a gunsmith in Rockwood (formerly Mineral Point), Milford Township, Somerset County. It was John's grandson H. Charles Matthias who was a Rockwood blacksmith, and H. Charles Matthias didn't move to Somerset County until 1903.

The obituary of John Peter Matthias is from the May 16, 1901 issue of the "Meyersdale Commercial" newspaper, and states, "John Matthias - After a short illness brought on by a heavy cold this gentleman and soldier passed to the life beyond at an advanced age on Thursday May 9th, at his home in this borough. His wife died several years ago and of late he had been living with his son George. He was a pleasant old gentleman and greatly liked by his associates and friends. He sold his farm in Larimer after Mrs. Matthias death and lived a retired life. When he came to this country he landed in New York city. His first job there was turning a cylinder press for a New York printer. His fellow workman was a Negro. He stuck to the job manfully a half a day but was so disgusted with [it] that he never went back to get his pay. It was the hardest labor, he used to say he ever struck. He leaves a number of children all married, established in life and doing well. He enlisted from Glencoe in Company G 54th P. V's. and served his full term. He was a brave and capable soldier doing good work for the old flag. His remains were taken Sunday to Larimer and laid to rest in the Temple burying ground, his pastor of the Evangelical church officiating. Thus is mustered out another of the country's valiant defenders."

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