Samuel Border, Pennsylvania and Iowa gunsmith

Introduction: Samuel Border is known as a gunsmith from tax and census records and surviving examples of his work.

1814: According to his tombstone, Samuel Border was born in 1814. According to the relevant memorials on findagrave.com, his father was the individual I refer to as John Border I.

1825-1861: According to A. Merwyn Carey's 1953 book "American Firearms Makers" Samuel Border was working as a gunsmith in Somerset County in the 1825 to 1861 timeframe and made flintlock rifles early on, and then later made percussion rifles. The 1825 working date does not seem compatible with Samuel Border's 1814 birth date. Being in Somerset in the 1825 to 1861 timeframe conflicts with the 1841 Bedford County tax record referenced below.

1840-1842: The Whiskers' 1983 booklet "Gunsmiths and Gunmakers of Bedford and Somerset Counties Pennsylvania 1770-1900" puts Samuel Border in the borough of Bedford from 1840 to 1842, and indicates that his property was valued at $600.00 in 1841. The 2001 book "Gunsmiths of Bedford, Fulton, Huntington, & Somerset Counties" by Whisker & Yantz reports that Samuel Border was William Border's brother and puts Samuel Border in the borough of Bedford from 1840 to 1842.

1841-1853: The 1953 edition of Gluckman's "American Gun Makers" puts Samuel Border in Bedford County about 1841 and indicates that he later moved to Somerset County. According to Kauffman's 1960 book "The Pennsylvania - Kentucky Rifle", Samuel Border is identified as a gunsmith on the tax roll of Bedford Borough, Bedford County in 1841 and is identified as a gunsmith on the tax rolls of Conemaugh Township, Somerset County in the years 1843, 1845, 1850, and 1853. The following image shows what Vaughn E. Whisker wrote about Samuel Border in an article titled "Co. Had 30 Gunmakers-Gunsmiths" in the November 1971 issue of the "Laurel Messenger":

In his book "The Bedford County Rifle and its Makers", Calvin Hetrick ranked Samuel Border as a gunsmith with superior capability and said that Samuel Border moved to Davidsonville in Somerset County after making rifles in Bedford County for awhile, and then eventually moved west.

1843: Based on transcripts of the 1850 and 1856 censuses, Samuel and Elizabeth Border's daughter Mary Border was born circa 1842-1843. According to the findagrave.com memorial (81406442) of Mary Jane (Border) Lyman, she is a daughter of Samuel Border and Elizabeth (Herring) Border and is buried in the Victor Memorial Cemetery in Iowa County, Iowa. Her portion of the tombstone she shares with her husband states, "Jane Lyman born Feb. 21, 1843 died Dec. 31, 1929".

1843-1856: The 2001 Whisker & Yantz book puts Samuel Border in Conemaugh Township, Somerset County from 1843 to 1856, and then in Victor, Iowa. Based on an 1856 Iowa census record referenced below, I believe that Samuel Border and his entire family were in Iowa by 1854.

1845: Based on transcripts of the 1850 and 1856 censuses, Samuel and Elizabeth Border's son William Border was born circa 1845. According to the findagrave.com memorial (92274646) of William H. Border, he is a son of Samuel Border and Elizabeth (Herring) Border, was born May 20, 1845, and is buried in the Victor Memorial Cemetery, Iowa County, Iowa. The tombstone he shares with his wife gives his name as William H. Border and indicates he was born in 1845 and died in 1931.

1847: Based on transcripts of the 1850 and 1856 censuses, Samuel and Elizabeth Border's son George was born circa 1847-1848. According to the findagrave.com memorial (81406464) of George W. Border, he is a son of Samuel Border and Elizabeth (Herring) Border, was born July 4, 1847, and is buried in the Victor Memorial Cemetery, Iowa County, Iowa. The memorial does not have a photo of a tombstone.

1849: Based on transcripts of the 1850 and 1856 censuses, Samuel and Elizabeth Border's daughter Amanda was born circa 1849-1850. According to the findagrave.com memorial (142005105) of Amanda Elizabeth (Border) Border, she is a daughter of Samuel Border and Elizabeth (Herring) Border, was born February 25, 1849, and is buried in the Mount Vernon Cemetery, Linn County, Iowa. The tombstone she shares with her husband George W. Border indicates she was born in 1949 and died in 1935, and gives her name as Amanda E. Border.

1850: A sheet from the 1850 census of Conemaugh Township that was filled out on August 29, 1850 lists Samuel Border as a 35-year-old Pennsylvania-born gunsmith. Also living in his household were 28-year-old Elisabeth Border, 7-year-old Mary Border, 5-year-old William Border, 2-year old George Border, and 1-year-old Amanda Border, all born in Pennsylvania.

1851: Ann Eliza Border shares a tombstone at the Victor Memorial Cemetery in Iowa County, Iowa with her parents Samuel and Elizabeth Border. The tombstone indicates that she was born in 1851 and died in 1873.

Circa 1852: Based on a transcript of the 1856 census, Samuel and Elizabeth Border's daughter Julia S. Border was born circa 1852.

Circa 1853: Based on a transcript of the 1856 census, Samuel and Elizabeth Border's daughter Matilda Border was born circa 1853 in Pennsylvania.

Circa 1854: Based on the 1856 Iowa census (see below), I believe that the Samuel Border family moved to Iowa circa 1854.

1856: In a transcript of the 1856 Iowa census of Hartford Township, Iowa County, Samuel Border is enumerated as a Pennsylvania-born gunsmith. In the same household are 34-year-old Elizabeth Border, 14-year-old Mary Border, 11-year-old William Border, 9-year-old George Border, 6-year-old Amanda Border, 5-year-old Ann E. Border, 4-year-old Julia S. Border, and 3-year-old Matilda Border, all Pennsylvania born. All members of the household were resident two years.

1859: According to the findagrave.com memorial (92302986) of Samuel Daniel Border, he is a son of Samuel Border and Elizabeth (Herring) Border, was born February 24, 1859, died September 26, 1929, and is buried in the Pine Hill Cemetery in Scott County, Iowa. The memorial does not have a photo of the tombstone.

1862-1922: The following obituary of John D. Border indicates he was a son of Samuel and Elizabeth Border, and was born in 1862. According to his findagrave.com memorial (195846191), John Daniel Border is buried at the Oak Hill Cemetery in Linn County, Iowa.

1865: The Whiskers' 1983 booklet mistakenly (in my opinion) reports that Samuel Border died in 1865.

1865: According to the findagrave.com memorial (75013873) of Edward H. Border, he is a son of Samuel Border and Elizabeth (Herring) Border, was born January 31, 1865, and is buried in the Elmwood Cemetery, Black Hawk County, Iowa.

1886: Samuel Border is buried in the Victor Memorial Cemetery (41.7275000, -92.2895000) in Victor, Iowa County, Iowa, along with his wife Elizabeth and their daughter Ann Eliza. Their shared tombstone states "Samuel 1814-1886 Eliza 1822-1887 Ann Eliza 1851-1873 Border". This is the same Iowa cemetery where his brother the Bedford County gunsmith Enos Border is buried.

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