Valentine Libeau, Bedford County, Pennsylvania gunsmith

Circa 1790: Based on the age given in his naturalization papers, Valentine Libeau was born circa 1790.

1818: According to the 2017 book "Gunsmiths of Bedford County, Pennsylvania", Valentine Libeau placed an advertisement in a June, 1818 issue of the "True American" announcing the opening of a gun shop in Bedford where he plans to perform gun repairs and make all kinds of guns.

1819: The naturalization papers of Valentine Libeau state:

"To the honorable Court of Common Pleas of Bedford County in State of Pennsylvania.

Valentine Libeau gunsmith late a subject of William Landsgrave of Hesse Castle in the Empire of Germany being desirous to be naturalized and being of full age reports himself for registry to the Court of Common Pleas of the said County and states that he was born in Hesse Castle wither the territories of William Landsgrave of Castle Hesse in the German Empire and under the allegiance of said William Landsgrave as aforesaid and of Frances the First Emperor of Germany, that he is of the age of 29 years, that he migrated from Petersburg in the Empire of Russia, that he arrived at Bristol, in the state of Rhodesisland (sic), wither the territories of the United States on the 1st November 1816, that his intended place of settlement is in the County of Bedford in State of Pennsylvania.

Bedford, 9th January 1819"

1819-1820: The 2001 book "Gunsmiths of Bedford, Fulton, Huntingdon, & Somerset Counties" identifies this individual as Valentine Libeau, and indicates that he appears on the tax rolls of the borough of Bedford as a single freeman in 1819, and in 1820.

1820: The 1953 edition of Gluckman's "American Gun Makers" puts Valentine Leban in the borough of Bedford in 1820.

1820: According to Kauffman's 1960 book "The Pennsylvania - Kentucky Rifle", Valentine Leban is identified as a gunsmith in the 1820 tax roll of Bedford Borough.

1820: In the 1820 tax roll, Valentine Libeau's property was valued at $250.00, which was not an insignificant amount of money.

1825: The 2001 book "Gunsmiths of Bedford, Fulton, Huntingdon, & Somerset Counties" indicates that Valentine Libeau had a gun shop at 127 Main Street, Cincinnati, Ohio in 1825, and included the name Bedford on his lock plates even though no longer working in Bedford. The book reports that a pistol with Libeau's name on it is at the Henry Ford Museum.

1827: The 2017 book "Gunsmiths of Bedford County, Pennsylvania" indicates that the 127 Main Street address is given in the March 17, 1827 issue of the "Cincinnati Advertiser" newspaper.

1825-1829: The 1983 booklet "Gunsmiths and Gunmakers of Bedford and Somerset Counties Pennsylvania 1770-1900" puts Valentine Libeau at 127 Main Street in Cincinnati, Ohio from 1825 to 1929.

1830-1845: The 2017 book "Gunsmiths of Bedford County, Pennsylvania" puts Valentine Libeau on Camp Street in New Orleans, Louisiana as a gunsmith in the 1830 to 1845 time frame, based on directories and one or more census records.

A Skinner auction brochure dated October 10, 2014 offered a small cased single shot pistol for sale that has a back action lock marked "Libeau", an octagon barrel marked "New Orleans", a walnut stock stamped with a serial number 2689 that has a checkered grip. The trigger guard and other fittings are made from silver. Other Libeau New Orleans marked pistols are known that have serial numbers.

In 2020 Damon Mills Fine Antique Guns offered a pistol for sale for $1,750.00 that they describe as an English dueling pistol. The 8.5" long barrel is about 60 caliber and is marked "London". The lock, which has a sliding lock, has been converted from flint to percussion and is marked "V. Libeau". The Damon Mills website describes this as an agent marking, which seems reasonable. The Damon Mills website reports the existence of other pistols marked "V. Libeau" on the lock and marked "New Orleans" on the barrel.

1848: V. Libeau placed a recurring advertisement in the the "Daily Crescent" newspaper offering to sell various firearms and a set of gunsmithing tools. This example is from the May 23, 1848 issue.

1856-1857: The 1983 booklet "Gunsmiths and Gunmakers of Bedford and Somerset Counties Pennsylvania 1770-1900" puts Valentine Libeau at 215 Cutter Street in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1856 and 1857. The 2017 book "Gunsmiths of Bedford County, Pennsylvania" indicates that this address is found in a directory.

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