Joseph Thomas, Somerset County, Pennsylvania gunsmith

Introduction: Joseph Thomas is identified as a gunsmith by the 1870 assessment of Allegheny Township, Somerset County that was included as an exhibit in the election case of Cessna vs. Meyers. He appears in the 1840 to 1870 censuses of Allegheny Township, and the general location of his farm on the waters of Wambaugh run has been identified via 1860 and 1876 maps.

Circa 1815: Based on census records, the gunsmith Joseph Thomas was born circa 1815.

1840: In the 1840 census of Allegheny Township, Somerset County, Pennsylvania, Joseph Thomas is enumerated as an illiterate free white male in the 20 to 30 age group who was engaged in agriculture.

1850: Joseph Thomas appears as a 36-year-old Pennsylvania-born farmer in the 1850 census of Allegheny Township, Somerset County, Pennsylvania, with property valued at $200.00. Also enumerated in his household are 28-year-old Elisabeth Thomas, 8-year-old Job Thomas, 7-year-old Abraham Thomas, 5-year-old Lydia Thomas, and 3-year-old Rachel Thomas, all Pennsylvania-born.

1860: Joseph Thomas appears as a 45-year-old Pennsylvania-born farmer in the 1860 census of Allegheny Township, Somerset County, Pennsylvania, with real estate valued at $300.00 and personal property valued at $150.00. Also enumerated in his household are 43-year-old Elizabeth Thomas, 17-year-old day laborer Job Thomas, 15-year-old Abraham Thomas, 13-year-old Lydia Thomas, 11-year-old Rachel Thomas, and 4-year old Elizabeth Thomas, all Pennsylvania-born.

1860: The following is from the Allegheny Township portion of the 1860 Walker map of Somerset County, Pennsylvania. It shows the location of the Joseph Thomas farm along Wambaugh Run (There is no other possible Thomas in the 1860 census of Allegheny Township.)

1870: The following excerpt is from "Exhibit XX -- Assessment of 1870 for Allegheny Township" (Somerset County, Pennsylvania) in the election case of Cessna vs. Meyers that is published in "The Miscellaneous Documents Printed by Order of the House of Representatives 1871":

1870: Joseph Thomas appears as a 55-year-old Pennsylvania-born laborer in the 1870 census of Allegheny Township, Somerset County, Pennsylvania. Also enumerated in his household is 35-year-old Pennsylvania-born Elizabeth, who was keeping house.

1876: This is an excerpt from the Allegheny Township portion of the Beers 1876 "County Atlas of Somerset Pennsylvania". The farm that had been labeled J. Thomas" on the 1860 Walker map is labeled "D. Weyand" on this 1876 map. My best rough estimate for the location of the farm, based on it being on a tributary of Wambaugh run, is 39.964135, -78.806467.

According to a findagrave.com memorial (40500711) and the cemetery records written by Darryl Reed and Hope Weigle, this Joseph Thomas (father of Jobe and Abe Thomas) is buried at the Manges Cemetery (40.1457847, -78.8377526) in Shade Township, Somerset County, Pennsylvania. The year of death is not known. An un-named son of Joseph Thomas is also buried there. (Other individuals named Joseph Thomas are buried elsewhere in Somerset County.) A small portion of the eastern edge of Shade Township adjoins the northern tip of Allegheny Township.

1929: The following excerpt from a 1929 topographical map shows the terrain along Wambaugh Run, where Joseph Thomas's farm was located. It would have been in the general location of the name "Wambaugh", east of Wambaugh Run. Based on the stream on the 1876 map above, it appears to be the place at the end of the dashed line trail. The Pennsylvania Turnpike now runs along the east side of Wambaugh Run.

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