Introduction: James B. Whisker's 2017 book "Gunsmiths of Somerset County, Pennsylvania" describes John Mier as an individual who reportedly produced a a small quantity of guns, but is identified with various other occupations in public documents, including distiller, storekeeper, tax collector, and cigar maker. John Mier never moved away from the Somerset, Pennsylvania home of his celebrated gunsmith father Jacob Mier. Based on that, it is inconceivable that he didn't at least help his father with gunsmithing tasks.
1829-1909: Kauffman's 1960 book "The Pennsylvania-Kentucky Rifle" lists John Miers as a gunsmith in Somerset, Pennsylvania who was born in 1829 and died on June 14, 1909.
Circa 1829: Based on John Mier's obituary and the 1850 census (both included below) John Mier was born circa 1829.
1839: According to her tombstone inscription, John Mier's mother Margaret died on September 29, 1839 at the age of 38. John would have been about ten years old.
1850: The following composite image of a Somerset Borough sheet from the 1850 census was provided by Glenda Tressler Smith. The individuals listed for the family are Jacob, 57, Gunsmith; Ellen, 23; John, 21, Cigar Maker; Samuel, 18, Gunsmith; and William, 16, Wagon maker.
1860: In the 1860 census, Jacob Mier is enumerated as a 67-year-old gunsmith with real estate valued at $1550.00 and personal property valued at $200.00. Living with him were 23-year-old William, 30-year-old Ellen J., and 35-year-old John M.
1860: The following image is from the Somerset portion of the 1860 Walker map of Somerset County. It identifies the lot of gunsmith Jacob Mier, where John Mier spent his life.
1870: In the 1870 census, Jacob Mier is enumerated as a 78-year-old gunsmith with real estate valued at $800.00 and personal property valued at $150.00. Living with him were 37-year-old William, 40-year-old John, and 42-year-old Ellen. Obviously, the ages of the children are not harmonious with the 1860 census.
1873: According to the 2017 book "Gunsmiths of Somerset County, Pennsylvania" the 1873 tax records reference the estate of Jacob Mier.
1876: The following excerpt is from the Somerset town map portion of the 1876 "County Atlas of Somerset, Pennsylvania". It identifies the Jacob Miers lot, which was still owned by his heirs. It seems likely that at least some of the heirs were still living there in 1876, including John Mier, who died "at his residence on Main Street" in 1909.
1879: The following composite image is from Volume I of the 1879 book "Official Register of the United States Containing a List of Officers and Employes (sic) ... on the Thirtieth of June, 1879..." The excerpt indicates John Mier of Somerset was employed as an Internal-Revenue Storekeeper and Gauger.
1909: The following obituary of John Mier is from the June 17, 1909 issue of the "Republic" newspaper from Meyersdale, Pennsylvania. John Mier is buried at the Union Cemetery (40.0116997, -79.0800018) in the town of Somerset, Pennsylvania. His tombstone gives his surname as "Miers" and indicates he died on June 14, 1909.
In its entry on John Mier, Sellers' 2008 book "American Gunsmiths" mentions a full stock percussion firearm.
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