Peter Engle: Probably not a Brothersvalley Township gunsmith

The 1983 booklet "Gunsmiths and Gunmakers of Bedford and Somerset Counties Pennsylvania 1770-1900" identifies Peter Engle as a Somerset County gunsmith, puts him in Brothersvalley Township circa 1800, and puts him in Maryland and other parts of Pennsylvania in other years, including (correctly) Greene County, Pennsylvania.

The gunsmith Peter Engle interests me because I am related to him through his cousin and my ancestor Clemens Engle, who was a well-known miller and pioneer in Elk Lick Township, Somerset County. Although I've just started looking, I haven't found any information that identifies Peter Engle as a circa 1800 resident of the part of Bedford County that is now Somerset County. The 1824 estate records of my Southampton Township, Somerset County ancestor Michael Korn (prepared by the gunsmith Adam Lepey II) indicate that a Peter Engle owed the Michael Korn estate $2.00, but that was probably Clemens Engle's son Peter who was born in 1780 and died in 1854.

I think the gunsmith Peter Engle was actually living fairly close to Michael Korn and Clemens Engle in 1800, but just across the state line in Allegany County, Maryland, rather than in Brothersvalley Township. I plan to continue to research Peter Engle, and add to this page as time permits. There are many records that document Peter's work as a gunsmith in Maryland.


1749: The 1891 book "History of the Upper Ohio Valley" indicates that Peter Engle came to America in 1749 and indicates that his son Ezra was also a gunsmith, stating:

"C. Engle, the present efficient circuit clerk of Tyler county, is a native of Green county, Penn., where he was born in 1817, his parents being Ezra and Nancy (Black) Engle. The father was born in Fredricktown, Md., the son of Peter Engle, a native of Saxony, who came to North America in 1749. He was a soldier in the Revolutionary war, after which great event he settled temporarily at Fredericktown, but soon afterward removed across the Cumberland mountains. Subsequently he returned to Fredericktown, where he remained about two years, and then removed to Greene county, Penn., which was the scene of his death. Our subject's father was raised in Pennsylvania, and was drafted during the war of 1812, but being a fine gunsmith was left at work in the shop, where he remained until the close of the war. ..."

Circa 1755-1833: The 1983 booklet describes the lifetime of Peter Engle as approximately 1755 to 1833.

1767: The 1983 booklet indicates that Peter Engle was confirmed in Frederick County of Maryland in 1767. He and my ancestor Clemons Engle were confirmed at the same church on the same day.

1779: My ancestor Clements Engle appears in the list of 1779 property holders in Brothersvalley Township, with 150 acres.

1780: The tombstone of Clemens Engle's son Peter indicates that Peter died on April 18, 1854 at the age of 74 years, 6 months, and 27 days. That means Clemens' son Peter was born in 1780, and also means that he would have been an adult in 1800, when the 1983 booklet claims that the gunsmith Peter Engle was living in Brothersvalley Township.

1784: In the Brothersvalley Assessment list for 1784, my ancestor Clemens Ingle is listed with five people in his household.

1795: The Equity Court Records of Frederick County, Maryland indicate that the gunsmith Peter Engle conveyed four lots in Frederick Town to John Gomber in 1795.

1796: The 1983 booklet puts Peter Engle in Allegany County of Maryland in 1796, which is accurate. On April 2, 1796 Peter Engels and Peter Bugh purchased the 335-acre Allegany County, Maryland "Mount Airy" tract from surveyor Francis Deakins, who is well known for his immense survey of lots westward of Fort Cumberland. "Mount Airy" isn't very far from where Clemens Engle settled (near Salisbury, Pennsylvania). The following excerpt from Francis Deakins' 1787 survey of lots westward of Fort Cumberland shows the "Mount Airy" tract. The numbers at the upper edge are Mason-Dixon mile markers on the state line. I suppose the "Mount Airy" tract would now be in Garrett County, but haven't checked to confirm.

1796: Clemans and Michael Angle appear as taxables in Elk Lick township (which was formed circa 1785 from what had been Brothersvalley Township). They settled just west of the Allegheny Mountain, not all that far from the Mount Airy tract.

Circa 1800: The 1983 booklet puts Peter Engle in Brothersvalley Township of Somerset County circa 1800. I don't know the basis of this information, but the authors of the 1983 booklet may have seen some yet-unidentified reference to Clemens Engle's son Peter, who was born in 1780.

1800: There is no Engle, Angle, or Ingle in the 1800 federal census of Brothersvalley Township. The only Engle I can find in the 1800 federal census of Elk Lick Township is "Clemmence", with a household of 11 individuals.

1800: A Peter Engels is enumerated as being over 45 years old in the 1800 census of Allegany County, Maryland. Also living in the household is a wife in the 26-45 age bracket and 12 children.

1801: The 1983 booklet puts the gunsmith Peter Engle in Springhill Township of Fayette County in 1801.

1802-1823: Kaufman's 1960 book "The Pennsylvania-Kentucky Rifle" indicates that Peter Engle appears in the tax lists of Greene Township of Greene County, Pennsylvania in 1803, 1809, 1817, and 1823. This is likely the basis for the statement in the 1983 booklet that puts Peter Engle in Greene Township of Greene County from 1802-1833 --- the 1833 date is probably a typo.

1824-1833: The 1983 booklet puts Peter Engle in Monongahela Township of Greene County from 1824-1833.

1833: In his will (Page 17 of Green County Will Book No. 2) which was registered February 22, 1833, Peter Engle's gunsmith tools were bequeathed to his son Barney. The following transcription of the will is by Donna Clark, and is missing the fifth clause, which relates to daughters.

"I Peter Engle of Monongahela township, Greene County and State of Pennsylvania considering the uncertainty of this mortal life and being of sound mind and memory do make and publish this my last will and testament in the manner and form following ( hereby revoking any former Will or Wills that may have been made by me) Firstly, It is my will and desire that after my death, all my just debts be paid, together with all charges and expences in relation to my funeral and the execution of this my last Will and Testament.

Secondly, It is my will and desire that after the debts and expenses above mentioned are paid, that the residue of my estate both real and personal excepting my Gunsmith tools shall remain in the hands of my beloved wife Susannah during her natural lifetime to use and enjoy the same in any manner she may see proper, in order to promote her comfort and convienience, and for her use and benefit alone over which she shall have full and eclusive control, with privlege to sell any part or parts that she may deem proper or best. Thirdly, I hereby will and bequeath unto my son Barney all my Gunsmith tools to be delivered to him by my executors herein after named as early as practicable after my death.

Fourthly, I hereby will and bequeath unto my sons, Jacob, George, Peter, Abraham, Ezra, Samuel and Christian and unto my daughters, Mary Bugh, Elizabeth (Kromer) Julia Piatt, Milly Ziegler, Marriam (Bell) Catherine Garrison, and Rebeckah Donham to them or in the case of their death then to their children, the sum of One dollar each to be paid to each of them respectively as early as practicable by my said Executors share and share alike, as early as practicable after the death of my wife, Susannah. ...

Sixthly, I hereby nominate and appoint my friends Lewis Lantz and Benjamin F. Black Executors to this my last will and testament--In the witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand this the first day of February one thousand eight hundred and thirty two. Signed, published, pronounced and declared by the above named Peter Engle to be his last Will and testament in the presence of us who at his request, and now in his presence have subscribed our names as Witness thereof.
Peter Engle
John Gapen
Benjamin Freeland.

Greene County SS
Before me Jesse Lazear Register for the probate of Wills and granting letters of Administration in and for said County this day came John Gapen and Benjamin Freeland the two subscribing witnesses to the within instrument of writing and on their solemn oaths did say that that they were present and saw and heard Peter Engle the testator within named sign, seal, publish, pronounce and declare the same to be his last Will and testament: and that at the time of doing thereof he was of sound and disposing mind and memeory according to the best of their knowledge, observation and belief.
Sworn and subscribed before me Feby 22nd 1833
Jesse Lazear Register
John Gapen
Benjamin Freeland"

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