This photo is courtesy of the NRA Museums, NRAmuseums.com and is included here with their express permission.
This web page is an index to information I am collecting about the muzzleloader gunsmiths who worked in Somerset and Bedford counties, Pennsylvania. One goal of this project is to provide high quality photos of antique muzzle loading rifles and pistols made by those gunsmiths, to supplement the handful of books that have been published on the subject. Toward this end, I am soliciting photographs from owners of such firearms. Working together, I hope this free website can provide far better photos of such firearms than can be provided in a print book. The photos will be published anonymously, and will be scrubbed of GPS coordinates, to protect the owners and their privacy. I AM NOT INTERESTED IN PHOTOGRAPHS PIRATED FROM OTHER WEBSITES; PLEASE DO NOT SEND THEM.
Another goal of this project is to provide transcripts of or images of documentary evidence identifying Somerset and Bedford County gunsmiths, or illuminating their lives. I have also provided a modest amount of information from secondary sources.
I've been interested in this subject since I was four or five years old, when my father held his Somerset County father's half stock muzzle loader to my shoulder, and explained how to use the sights. Standing on my maternal grandfather Allen Korns' farm (where I lived when my earliest memories were formed) one can see the farms of the gunsmiths Adam Lepley (I, II, and III) and Benjamin Troutman (My grandfather Korns' farm is adjacent to the Lepley farm). These families are all intertwined, and it's no surprise that Benjamin Troutman was an appraiser of my fifth great grandfather Michael Korn's farm, as part of settling the estate, or that one of the Lepley gunsmiths (Joseph) married a Korns.
Click here to see Vaughn E. Whisker's lists of Somerset County gunsmiths that were published in 1971 and 1982 issues of the "Laurel Messenger" (17.3MB pdf). Mr. Whisker continued his research, and with co-author James B. Whisker, wrote a book titled "Gunsmiths of Bedford, Somerset and Fulton Counties" that was published in 1991. James B. Whisker and Larry W. Yantz published a now-rare book titled "Gunsmiths of Bedford, Fulton, Huntington, & Somerset Counties" in 2001. James B. Whisker also published a book titled "Gunsmiths of Somerset County, Pennsylvania" in 2017. The book "The Bedford County Rifle and Its Makers" was written by Calvin Hetrick and published in 1973, after first being published as a section of Dillin's 1959 book "The Kentucky Rifle" (fourth edition). Click here to see Calvin Hetrick's 1947 list of Bedford County gunsmiths.
Lannie Dietle, January 12, 2020.
Here are links to the information I have collected so far. Hit the "refresh" button when you visit these pages to ensure you are seeing the latest version.
Return to the Korns family genealogy home page