Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Introduction To Hampshire County's Gunsmiths

By John McKee

 Here's a brief introduction to our gunsmiths here in the county.  First of all Hampshire County was formed from Frederick Co. in 1754.  In 1786 Hardy Co. was formed from Hampshire Co.  Morgan Co. was formed in 1822 from Hampshire Co.  Mineral Co. came along in 1866. This is to give you a general idea of  how large in size Hampshire County was at this time.

 Now I'll give you some idea of the settlement of this part of Virginia.  Port of entry to our country at this time, 1735 to 1800 can generally be considered to be Philadelphia. Baltimore and Williamsburg  were also ports of entry, but for this time frame Philadelphia saw the most movement to this area.  So for the most part we were seeing the movement of people from the North to the South traveling the great wagon road down the Shenandoah Valley. This influx of people populated areas we know as Martinsburg, Harper's Ferry,Winchester, Woodstock, New Market and so on.  The important factor here is Winchester.  From there our area gunsmiths migrated to Romney and other out laying areas.

 The earliest known gunsmith was Jacob Reed.  In 1751 he was found in South Fork of the South Branch area, South of present day Moorefield.  This area at that time was Augusta county Va., but by 1754 was a portion of Hampshire county.  The next early smith that would be close to this area was George Glaze senior of Springfield, settling there around 1768.  Then we have Rudolph Rinehart,  around 1785 he was established near Augusta in or near Bear Wallow Hollow.  Frederick Sheetz set up shop around present day Fort Ashby around 1790.

 No examples exist of the work that Reed, G. Glaze senior or R. Rinehart produced.  So to study their work to see who influenced them is not possible.  However we can surmise that their work was heavily influenced by builders from  Lancaster ,York and the surrounding areas.

 Adam Haymaker and Simon Lauck Sr. both of Pa. establish shops in the Winchester Va. area around 1780 or a little earlier.  We know that George W Glaze Jr. and Frederick Sheetz of Hampshire county both apprenticed under Simon Lauck of Winchester Va. and their work reflect that of the Lauck shop. Frederick finished his apprenticeship just prior to establishing his own shop in present day Fort Ashby,(1790) and later Headsville, near the confluence of Beaver run and Pattersons creek.  This is where he produced his 1812 contract rifles for the state of Virginia.  However his normal work reflected that of the Lauck shop, with low relief carving and silver inlays found on many of his Golden Age guns.

 G. W. Glaze Jr. apprenticed a little later with Lauck and his work also reflects that of the Winchester School.

Gunsmiths here in the county were numerous, numbering up into the 40's.  All moving in and out of the county going to Ohio, Indiana and further points West.

For a more in depth study on the individual smith's . I suggest reading " Early Gunsmiths of Hampshire County" by William H. Ansel, Jr. and the ( Hampshire County Longrifle blog) both sources have a wealth of knowledge for those who want to learn more about the Hampshire county rifle. Known locally for years as the (home rifle.)

Thanks to John McKee for sharing this article with us.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The Mason County, West Virginia Gunsmith known as A.P. McDermit

By Paul Skinner

Andrew Phlem (Phlemmin, Phlemin) Mcdermit (Mcdermitt, Mcdermot, McDermott, McDermitt) is documented to have been born on July 5, 1827 to James Mcdermit (born in Big Beaver, Pennsylvania) and Susanannah Peck. There are conflicting records of his birthdate, ranging from 1827-1832. His parents were living in Mason County, Virginia by 1820, which is where Andrew married his wife Mary Shirly in 1852. His paternal grandparents were Daniel Mcdermit and Sarah Fleming. His maternal grandparents were Peter Peck and Mary from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Peter Peck was a Revolutionary War veteran.

Included is an original Bible page from Andrew Phlem McDermit's father's Bible.   
Click Pictures for Large Image 


Andrew had a brother, John, who named his son after Andrew. Andrew’s nephew was born in 1852 and opened a blacksmith shop.

Included is a photo of the Blacksmith shop with his nephew, Andrew Phlem Mcdermit.


In the 1850 and 1860 census, Andrew P. Mcdermit was listed as a gunsmith. His gunsmith profession at the onset of such an active service makes me wonder if he would have made his guns that he took into so many battles including Gettysburg. In 1865 in a tax list of Point Pleasant, he is listed as a dentist/druggist and later in 1870 and 1880 (Gallia, Ohio), he continues as a dentist . It would appear as though most of his guns were made prior to the Civil War (1850-1862).

Signed A P McDermit

There was a draft registration originating from Putnam County, West Virginia, dated July 1, 1863. At this time he is listed as age 34 and working as a dentist. This date is in conflict with the military record of service of May 1, 1862 to May 9, 1865. On this document he is listed as 25 years old at the time of entering service as a private in 1862 with the honored Ohio 61st regiment, which later was consolidated as a veteran corp known as the Ohio 82nd Regiment. It is a true honor to view the many battles including Gettysburg that Andrew P. Mcdermit was actively involved. I have pictures of the monuments that were placed to honor the men such as Andrew P. Mcdermit for their extremely active service in the Ohio 61st Regiment. These monuments can be viewed at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. I have a step by step description of Andrew's involvement during the Battle of Gettysburg. I also have the extensive list of all the battles in which Andrew P. Mcdermit was involved. He was a true American Hero.

The 61st Ohio Infantry was organized by companies from various parts of Ohio in April and May 1862. It reenlisted as a veteran regiment from January to April 1864, was consolidated with the 82d Ohio Infantry on March 31, 1865, and was mustered out July 24, 1865.

From the rear:
Principal engagements-Freemans Ford    ResacaWarrenton Sulphur Springs    New Hope ChurchGroveton    Culp’s FarmChancellorsville    Peach Tree CreekGettysburg    AtlantaWauhatchie    SandersvilleMission Ridge    Monteith SwampRelief of Knoxville    Savannah,Bentonville

Andrew P. Mcdermit's step by step involvement at the Battle of Gettysburg.

The 61st Ohio Infantry-
On arriving from Emmittsburg about one o’clock p.m., July 1, 1863, was deployed as skirmish line in advance of its Brigade and moved towards Oak Hill. Later it supported a section of Dilger’s Battery, and engaged the enemy on this ground. After an obstinate contest it withdrew with the 11th Corps to Cemetery Hill. On the evening of July 2, it moved to the assistance of the 12th Corps on Culp’s Hill, and returning lay on Cemetery Hill during the remainder of the battle.

Andrew Phlem Mcdermit died in 1899.

Special Thanks to Paul Skinner for sharing his research & photos.