Samuel Spangler, Somerset County, PA gunsmith

1796: The 1983 booklet "Gunsmiths and Gunmakers of Bedford and Somerset Counties Pennsylvania 1770-1900" indicates that the Stoystown gunsmith Samuel Spangler was born in 1796. I do not know what the basis for this date is.

1818: The following excerpt from the 1818 Melish-Whiteside manuscript map shows a Spangler residence near Stoystown. I do not yet know if or how this farm relates to the Stoystown Spangler gunsmiths. I am including it here for future reference. The Spangler genealogy seems difficult to research because there was more than one Samuel Spangler in Somerset County, and they may have been born within a few years of one another. The "other" Samuel Spangler died on December 11, 1888 at age 83, and is buried in the Lambertsville Cemetery in Stonycreek Township, Somerset County.

1821-1843: The 1983 booklet "Gunsmiths and Gunmakers of Bedford and Somerset Counties Pennsylvania 1770-1900" puts the gunsmith Samuel Spangler in Stoystown from 1821 to 1843.

1822: I am including the next item in case it is a clue about who the father of Samuel Spangler may be:

1823-1834: According to Kauffman's 1960 book "The Pennsylvania - Kentucky Rifle", Samuel Spangler is identified as a gunsmith in the 1823, 1829, 1832, and 1834 tax rolls of Stonycreek Township, Somerset County. The 1983 booklet "Gunsmiths and Gunmakers of Bedford and Somerset Counties Pennsylvania 1770-1900" incorrectly refers to the township as "Stoney Brook".

1829: Samuel Spangler's son George W. Spangler was born December 23, 1929 and practiced gunsmithing in Wisconsin, succeeding his father in the business.

1830: The 1953 edition of Gluckman's "American Gun Makers" mentions the existence of a flintlock rifle that has Stoystown engraved on its brass side plate. This may be the rifle Vaughn E. Whisker wrote in an article titled "Co. Had 30 Gunmakers-Gunsmiths" in the November 1971 issue of the "Laurel Messenger":

1835: On page 90 of his 1962 book "Two Centuries of Brothersvalley Church of the Brethren 1762-1962", H Austin Cooper quotes from the "History of Daniel Stoy" that was written by George F. Spangler around 1912. The quoted material tells the story of George's father Franklin Spanger walking to Stoystown at age 14 to pick up his new rifle that his great-grandfather Daniel Stoy had ordered for him from the Stoystown gunsmith Samuel Spangler. Daniel Stoy died on January 12, 1835 as Franklin Spangler was walking to Stoystown and back to fetch the rifle. This story indicates that Samuel Spanger was an active gunsmith in Stoystown in 1835. Stoystown is in Quemahoning Township. Stonycreek Township and Quemahoning township adjoin one another, with the closest part of Stonycreek Township being about 1.3 miles southeast of Stoystown.

1844-1846: The 1953 edition of Gluckman's "American Gun Makers" puts Samuel Spangler in Somerset County before moving to Wisconsin and indicates that he moved to Wisconsin in 1844 with his wife and his son George, and settled down in Monroe, Wisconsin in 1846.

1844-1846: The following is from the Monroe section of the 1884 book "History of Green County, Wisconsin":

1846: The following is from the Monroe section of Bingham's 1877 book "History of Green County, Wisconsin":

1848-1850: The following is from the 1884 book "History of Green County, Wisconsin" and shows that Samuel Spangler was a county surveyor:

1850: The following is from the 1884 book "History of Green County, Wisconsin" and shows that Samuel Spangler laid out the town of New Glarus:

1850: The 1983 booklet "Gunsmiths and Gunmakers of Bedford and Somerset Counties Pennsylvania 1770-1900" indicates that Samuel Spangler died in 1850. Based on the surveyor information presented on this web page I think this 1850 date of death is incorrect.

1851: The following is from the Cadiz section of 1884 book "History of Green County, Wisconsin" and shows that Samuel Spangler laid out the cemetery there:

1854: The following is from the Monroe section of the 1884 book "History of Green County, Wisconsin" and indicates that Samuel Spangler surveyed an addition to the town of Monroe in 1854:

1882: A Samuel Spangler is buried in an unmarked grave in Row 13/14 Block 4 Lot 2 of the Greenwood Cemetery, Monroe, Green County, Wisconsin. Also buried there in the same lot, in a marked grave, is "Catherine Spangler 1811 -- 1882".

Plate 141 of Hetrick's book "The Bedford County Rifle and its Makers" shows a double rifle with mule ear hammers that is engraved with the name "John Jacob Rusley" somewhere, and is engraved "S. Spangler" on the rat tail-shaped lock plates. One of the 37-1/2-inch long octagonal barrels is 46 caliber and rifled, and the other is 50 caliber and smooth bored. The rifle is 53-1/2-inches long and weighs ten pounds. This rifle was attributed to Rusley by Hetrick and others, but now is attributed to Samuel Spangler. Likewise, there is a silver-mounted rifle that bears the Ruslin name that is now attributed to Samuel Spangler.

James B. Whisker's 2017 book "Gunsmiths of Somerset County, Pennsylvania" indicates that"

  • John Jacob Ruslin's name is included in the records of the Saint Thomas Catholic Church in Bedford, Pennsylvania.
  • John Jacob Ruslin was a sheep farmer.
  • John Jacob Ruslin owned and operated a woolen mill.
  • John Jacob Ruslin owned and operated a tavern.
  • The guns bearing the names of John Jacob Ruslin and Isaac Wendle were probably made by Samuel Spangler.

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