Kennell's Mills gunsmith, 1879

The news item below is from the October 1, 1879 issue of the "Somerset Herald" newspaper. It mentions a gunsmith shop at Kennells Mills, Southampton Township, Somerset County, Pennsylvania, but doesn't name the gunsmith(s).

Kim Logsdon Clites reports, "My Great Grandmother was a Troutman and cousins of her husband Norman Lepley were in the gun making business in Kennells Mill area." I hope to eventually be able to triangulate the identity of the Kennell's Mill gunsmith(s) from this information. Here are two news items concerning the death and burial of Mrs. Norman Lepley. The first is from the January 3, 1932 issue of the "Meyersdale Republican" newspaper, and the second is from the February 2, 1933 issue.

The obituary of Benjamin Troutman's grandson Daniel Troutman in the June 12, 1930 issue of the "Meyersdale Republican" reveals that he is the father of Mrs. Norman Lepley and her given name was Hannah, stating, "Daniel Troutman was twice married, first to Mary Kneppenberger ... Children from the first marriage... Hannah, intermarried with Norman Lepley, resides in Southampton Township..."

To identify the cousins of Norman Lepley, we have to know who his father and mother were. The obituary of Norman Lepley appears in the August 15, 1940 issue of the "Cumberland News" and includes the following, "Mr. Lepley was born at Welleresburg, Pa. April 15, 1864, a son of the late Adam and Sarah Comps Lepley. His wife, Mrs. Hannah..." Norman Lepley's cousins, therefore, would be the children of the brothers and sisters of Adam Lepley III and Sarah Comp. This makes the search for the Kennell's Mills gunsmiths complicated, because it seems that Adam Lepley III had nine brothers and sisters and his wife Sarah had six.

The US GENWEB transcript of the 1880 Federal census of Southampton Township does not identify anyone with the occupation of gunsmith. Adam Lepley III is enumerated as a 59-year-old farmer in the 1880 census, and Sarah is enumerated as his 51-year-old wife. Only three other Lepley families are enumerated in the 1880 census of Southampton Township. John Lepley is enumerated as a 42-year-old farmer living with his 37-year-old wife Susanna, 17-year-old daughter Agnes, 15-year-old daughter Ida C., 18-year-old son Lewis V., 10-year-old son Charles P., 8-year-old daughter Annie, 5-year-old son John W., 3-year-old daughter Bertha A., 8-month-old daughter Susanna M., and 81-year-old mother-in-law Catherine Riber. Valentine Lepley is enumerated as a 77-year-old farmer living with his 57-year-old wife Maria, 26-year-old daughter Elenora, 20-something-year-old son Millard, 24-year-old daughter Emma, 23-year-old nephew Jacob Sturtz, and 15-year-old nephew Henry Sturtz. Augustus Lepley is enumerated as a 28-year-old farmer living with his 24-year-old wife Manerva, 4-year-old son Walter, 3-year-old son Howard C., 2-year-old son Edward D., and 21-year-old boarder George Sturtz. Of these, I have only been able to identify Valentine Lepley as a son of Adam Lepley II. At first blush this seems to make Valentine's son Millard a potential candidate to be the Kennell's Mills gunsmith.

The following death notice for Mrs. Valentine Lepley is from the March 18, 1885 issue of the "Somerset Herald". It indicates that she was residing near Wellersburg at the time of her death.

The following news item from the June 13, 1894 issue of the "Somerset Herald" mentions Valentine Lepley. Although it was written from Kennells Mill, it is about old people in Southampton Township.

The following Southampton Township map from the 1876 Beers Atlas of Somerset County shows where Valentine Lepley was then living: In my lifetime, this has been the Leroy Troutman farm. This seems to rule out Millard Lepley as being the Kennell's Mill gunsmith because it is too far from Kennell's Mill.

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