Thomas C. Piper, Bedford County, Pennsylvania gunsmith

Introduction: Thomas Piper, the youngest son of the prominent Bedford County Revolutionary War leader John Piper, is known as a Bedford County gunsmith from tax records.

1772: Here's the signature of Thomas Piper's father Colonel John Piper, on a letter written to my ancestor John Markley in 1772.

1794: Several secondary sources indicate that Thomas C. Piper was born on December 1, 1794.

The following information on Colonel John Piper and his family is from the 1884 book "History of Bedford, Somerset and Fulton Counties, Pennsylvania". For more information on John Piper, see this 1884 book:

The following excerpt from the 1906 book "History of Bedford and Somerset Counties, Pennsylvania" provides additional background information on John Piper and his fort.

John Piper appears on the following undated Colerain Township tax list. The tax list would have to be from before 1774, because John Doddridge is on it (not shown here) and his son said he left the area in the spring of 1773. For reasons I can't explain, Henry Rhoades is also on the list, as you can see here.

The following image from the Hopewell Township portion of the 1877 book "County Atlas of Bedford Pennsylvania" identifies the location of Fort Piper:

1802: The following extract is from John Piper's 1802 will: "To all persons to whom it may concern Know ye that I John Piper of Hopewell Township Bedford County and State of Pennsylvania do make and constitute this my last will & testament revoking allother wills heretofore made by me. ... Thirdly a small tract supposed to contain eighty or a hundred acres including the Green Spring to my youngest son, Thomas. ... In Testimony where of I have hereunto set my hand and seal this thirteenth day of November Anno Domini one thousand eight hundred and two."

1816: Thomas Piper's father John Piper is buried at the Piper Cemetery (40.10142777, -78.34408693) in Bedford County. His tombstone indicates he died January 31, 1816 at the age of 86 years, one month, and one day.

1820: I did not find Thomas Piper in a transcript of any Bedford County township in the 1820 census.

1825: The 1983 booklet "Gunsmiths and Gunmakers of Bedford and Somerset Counties Pennsylvania 1770-1900" puts Thomas Piper in Hopewell Township of Bedford County in 1825.

1825-1835: The 2001 book "Gunsmiths of Bedford, Fulton, Huntington, & Somerset Counties" identifies Thomas Piper of Hopewell Township, Bedford County as a gunsmith based on tax records, puts him in Hopewell Township in the 1825 to 1835 timeframe, and states that the tax rolls identify him with various occupations, including gunsmith, watchmaker, farmer, and surveyor. The 2017 book also describes Thomas Piper as a cabinetmaker, but doesn't say that occupation is identified on a tax roll.

1828: An article in the May 16, 1828 issue of the Bedford, Pennsylvania "Democratic Enquirer" newspaper identifies Thomas C. Piper as a member of a committee that was organizing a large Bedford County drive-type hunt.

1829: The 1983 booklet indicates that Thomas Piper is recorded in 1829 with a value of $250.00, with no occupation listed.

1830: The 1983 booklet indicates that Thomas Piper served as a juror on the Court of Common Pleas in November of 1830.

1833: The 1983 booklet indicates that Thomas Piper is recorded in 1833 as a single freeman.

1833: Thomas C. Piper was a charter member of the Presbyterian "Congregation of Yellow Creek" in Bedford County, which was organized on November 8, 1833.

1835: The 1983 booklet indicates that Thomas Piper is recorded in 1835 as a surveyor.

1840: Pennsylvania Act No. 212 of January 18, 1840, "An act to incorporate the Juniata Navigation Company" identifies Thomas C. Piper as a Commissioner of the Juniata Navigation Company. The company was "...for the purpose of making a canal and slack water navigation, from the mouth of the Raystown branch of the Juniata River, in Huntingdon county, to the bituminous coal region, near the mouth of Yellow Creek, in Bedford county, and for transacting the usual business of a navigation company."

1840: I did not find Thomas Piper in a transcript of any Bedford County township in the 1840 census.

1841: The 1983 booklet indicates that Thomas Piper is recorded in 1841 as a watch maker.

1843: The 1983 booklet reports that Thomas Piper served as a Petit Juror in November of 1843.

1853: The 2001 book indicates that Thomas Piper died on November 9, 1853.

1853: Thomas C. Piper, who died at age 58 on November 9, 1853, is buried in the Piper Cemetery, Bedford County, Pennsylvania, near the Fort Piper memorial. The unbroken part of his tombstone states "Thomas C. Piper died Nov. 6, 1853 aged..."

1853-1860: The 2017 book indicates that John and James Piper were the administrators of Thomas Piper's estate, but had not yet provided an accounting of the estate to the court in 1860.

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