William Moore II, Bedford County, Pennsylvania gunsmith

The 1953 edition of "American Gun Makers" places a William Moore in Colerain Township of Bedford County in 1810, as a gunsmith who made flintlocks that carried the marking "W. Moore". The book raises the question whether he is the father of the gunsmith William Moore who was in Colerain Township in 1850. To distinguish between these two individuals, I refer to them as William Moore I and William Moore II.

William Moore II

Circa 1833: Calculating from his age recorded in the 1850 census, William Moore was born circa 1833.

1850: The 2001 book "Gunsmiths of Bedford, Fulton, Huntingdon, & Somerset Counties" indicates that William Moore was apprenticed to the gunsmith Jacob Stoudenour by the Orphan's Court of Bedford County. The book also reports that the 1850 federal census enumerates William Moore as a 17-year-old apprentice in the household of Jacob Stoudenour. The Whiskers' 2017 book "Gunsmiths of Bedford County, Pennsylvania" indicates that Jacob and his wife did not have any children of their own and raised Moore.

1855: According to Kauffman's 1960 book "The Pennsylvania - Kentucky Rifle", William More (sic) resided with J. Stoudenour, is identified as a gunsmith in the 1855 tax list of Colerain Township, Bedford County, and produced at least one full-stock double barreled gun that did not have a patch box. The 1983 booklet "Gunsmiths and Gunmakers of Bedford and Somerset Counties Pennsylvania 1770-1900" reports that William Moore was recorded at Jacob Stoudenour's shop as a single freeman in 1855.

Conflicting death statements: In the book "The Bedford County Rifle and Its Makers", Calvin Hetrick indicates that William Moore became a well-to-do Nebraskan, and was bludgeoned to death with his own pearl-handled Smith & Wesson revolver that he had received as a present from "Wild Bill" William Cody. The 2017 book "Gunsmiths of Bedford County, Pennsylvania" notes that a William Moore of Colerain Township died in May of 1860 due to consumption (Tuberculosis) but also mentions the murder Hetrick described.

William Moore's mentor Jacob Stoudenour is said to be buried in the Friends Cove United Church of Christ Cemetery, and his tombstone is said to give a death date of January 27, 1863. The cemetery is located at 39.92665084, -78.49096075, 2.6 miles northwest of Rainsburg. An Administrator's notice regarding the estate of Jacob Stoudenour was published in various issues of the Bedford Gazette newspaper, including the February 27, 1863 issue. In the book "The Bedford County Rifle and Its Makers", Calvin Hetrick states that Jacob Stoudenour willed his gunsmith shop and tools to his apprentice William Moore. In my opinion, this casts some doubt on 1860 as being the year the gunsmith William Moore died.

Description of a double rifle made by Moore: In the book "The Bedford County Rifle and Its Makers", Calvin Hetrick references a plain but finely made double rifle made by Moore that was then in the Hyatt gun collection. The double rifle described by Hetrick is shown in Plate 143 of his book. It has Bedford-style rat tail locks that are engraved WM. Hetrick reports the rifled octagon barrels as being 40-inches long, and reports an overall length of 54-1/2-inches and a weight of 10-1/2 pounds. One barrel is 34 caliber and the other is 36 caliber. The lock panels are pointed at the rear, and do a fair job of fading into the wrist. The rat tails are well-centered with the shape of the rear of the lock panels.

Disambiguation: There were other gunmakers by the name of William Moore. I have read about a William Moore of London, England who was born in 1781, and was active as a gunmaker from the early 1800s to the mid-1800s. I have also read about poor quality imported shotguns that are marked with the name William Moore.

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