Milton Defibaugh, Bedford County, Pennsylvania gunsmith

Introduction: In his 2017 book "Gunsmiths of Bedford County, Pennsylvania James. B. Whisker identifies Milton Defibaugh as a Bedford County gunsmith.

1848: A list of the children of William Defibaugh from a 1936 transcript of a family Bible in Volume 2 of the "Bedford County Archives" identifies Milton as being born on December 6, 1848. A note after the transcript indicates that William taught gunsmithing to "Mailton". His tombstone also indicates he was born on December 6, 1848. According to page 42 of the 1963 book "Some Nycum Descendants" Sophia (Nycum) Smouse's daughter Elizabeth Smouse married William Defibaugh, and had the following children: David, Lawrence, Wesley, Milton, William, Sophia, Mary, Belle, Kate, Eliza, and Clara.

The following graphic shows how I currently understand the relationships among the Defibaugh gunsmiths. Red text is used to identify individuals who were known to have been gunsmiths or have been said to have been gunsmiths.

The following photo shows a framed picture of David and Milton Defibaugh in their youth, with one holding a full stock long arm and the other holding a small pistol. A cane made by Milton Defibaugh is positioned on the right side of the framed picture. The 2006 book "Bedford and its Neighbors" includes a very clear copy of the same picture, and indicates that Milton is on the left. The individual who purchased the items in August of 2013 wrote in November of 2013 that David is on the left in the picture (see below). I think David is on the left because the individual on the left looks older in the 2006 book, and David was nearly nine years older than Milton. I think the picture is printed backwards because the pistol is held in the left hand, the rifle is held backwards, and (in the 2006 book) one can see that the lock and cap lock are on the left-hand side of the rifle. Furthermore, I have seen a portion of this photo printed mirror image, with the individual in the tall hat labeled "David Defibaugh" using an adhesive note.

1850: In the 1850 census of West Providence Township, Bedford County, 35-year-old gunsmith William Defibaugh and 34-year-old Elizabeth Defibaugh are enumerated with 10-year-old David, 8-year-old Laurence, 7-year-old Wesley, 5-year-old Mary, 3-year-old Sophia A, and 1-year-old Milton. William's property was valued at $500.00.

1860: The 1953 edition the book "American Gun Makers" puts Milton Defibaugh in the borough of Everett in 1860 and describes him as the son of William Defibaugh, and the brother of David Defibaugh. The following excerpt from the 1860 census shows 11-year-old Milton Defibaugh living with his father William Defibaugh at a Bloody Run (Everett) address.

1870: In the 1870 federal census of Robinsonville, Monroe Township, Bedford County, 55-year-old William Defibaugh and 53-year-old Elizabeth Defibaugh are enumerated with 23-year-old Sophia, 21-year-old Milton, 17-year-old William, 15-year-old Eliza Jane, 14-year-old Catherine, and 10-year-old Clara. William was enumerated as a farmer with real estate valued at $2,500.00 and personal property valued at $1,000.00. I interpret the Robinsonville reference to simply mean that Milton Defibaugh was within the delivery area of the Robinsonville Post office.

1870: The following excerpt from the 1871 book "The Miscellaneous Documents" shows that Milton Defibaugh voted in Monroe Township of Bedford County, Pennsylvania in the 1870 election.

1870-1880: The 2001 book "Gunsmiths of Bedford, Fulton, Huntington, & Somerset Counties" by Whisker & Yantz indicates that Milton Defibaugh lived in Monroe Township in the 1870 to 1880 timeframe.

According to Kauffman's 1960 book "The Pennsylvania - Kentucky Rifle", Milton Defibaugh lived in Monroe Township, Bedford County, and built rifles in the late 1800s that he sold for $20.00.

1874: According to Mary Lou Cook's August 3, 2013 Defibaugh working file, Milton R. Defibaugh and Mary A. Croughan were married in Bedford County on October 29, 1874.

1875: The best I can determine, a weathered tombstone at the Everett Cemetery bears the inscription, "Infant dau of M. & M. Defibaugh died Aug. 13, 1875."

1876: A transcript from the 1900 census suggests that Milton Defibaugh had a daughter named Minnie B. The obituary of Minnie Belle Jay in the November 30, 1854 issue of the "Bedford Gazette" newspaper indicates she was the daughter of Milton and Mary Defibaugh and was born in Monroe Township on July 12, 1876. The obituary indicates she would be buried in the Everett Cemetery. The tombstone she shares with her husband Sheridan Jay includes the inscription, "M. Belle Defibaugh July 12, 1876 November 29, 1954".

1877: The following image from the Monroe Township portion of the 1877 book "County Atlas of Bedford Pennsylvania" identifies the location of the residence of an "M. Deffibaugh" near the residence and gunshop of William Defibaugh. I suspect this represents the residence of Milton Defibaugh, but more research is needed.

The following excerpt from a 1931 topographic map is included to show the "M. Deffibaugh" residence on the 1877 map is two ridges away from the "W. Deffibaugh" residence. On the topographic map, the location of William's residence is circled in red.

1877: A transcript from the 1880 census suggests that Milton Defibaugh might of had a daughter named Sadie who was born circa 1877.

1878: According to the death certificate of Charles Watson Defibaugh, he was a son of Milton Defibaugh and Mary Croughan and was born on July 12, 1878.

1878: The following excerpt is from the 1878-1879 edition of "Farquhar's Official Directory of Bedford County, Pennsylvania". It identifies a Milton Defibaugh who was a farmer in Clearville, Mann Township. More work would be needed to determine if there was more than one individual with this name in Bedford County.

1880: Milton Defibaugh is enumerated in the 1880 federal census of Monroe Township as a 34-year-old farmer. Living in his household were 32-year-old wife Mary Defibaugh, 3-year-old daughter Sadie Defibaugh and 1-year-old son Charles Defibaugh.

1882-1883: The 2001 Whisker & Yantz book indicates that Milton Defibaugh lived in the borough of Bedford in 1882 and 1883.

1886: The 2001 Whisker & Yantz book states that Milton Defibaugh was identified as as a laborer in Everett in 1886. The 1983 booklet "Gunsmiths and Gunmakers of Bedford and Somerset Counties Pennsylvania 1770-1900" indicates that Milton Defibaugh is identified as an Everett laborer in the 1886 Farquar Directory (Presumably the Bedford County directory).

1900: Milton Defibaugh is enumerated in the 1900 federal census of Monroe Township as a 51-year-old individual. Living in his household were his 52-year-old wife Mary Defibaugh, 21-year-old son Charley W., 23-year-old Minnie B, and five-year-old granddaughter Mary G. According to Mary Lou Cook's August 3, 2013 Defibaugh working file, Mary is Minnie's daughter. Here is a copy of the census record:

1910: I did not find a listing for Milton Defibaugh in my less than perfect copy of the manuscript 1910 census records of Monroe Township, Bedford County, Pennsylvania.

1920: In the 1920 census, Milton Defibaugh is listed as still living in Monroe Township, Bedford county, Pennsylvania.

1929: According to her tombstone, Milton Defibaugh's wife Mary Craughham died on June 1, 1929.

1930: In the 1930 census, Milton Defibaugh is living with his daughter Belle H. Jay in West Providence Township.

1931: Milton Defibaugh is buried with his wife Mary at the Everett Cemetery (40.01068849, -78.35832490) in Everett, Bedford County. The tombstone inscription states, "Milton R. Defibaugh Dec. 6, 1848 -- Dec. 5, 1931 ---- his wife Mary A. Craughham Oct. 20, 1847 -- June 1, 1929". His death certificate indicates he is a son of (the gunsmith) William Defibaugh and Elizabeth Smouse.

The 2001 Whisker & Yantz book indicates that Milton Defibaugh was a jeweler in addition to being a gunsmith.

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