Pennsylvania long rifles a hot topic at historical society banquet
Members and friends of the Weisenberg Lowhill Township Historical Society met Nov. 12 for some excellent food and a presentation by speaker Dave Laidacker who discussed Pennsylvania rifles at the historical society’s annual banquet.
Society Treasurer Althea Hahn was selling tickets for a quilt, whose winner will be chosen at 2 p.m. Dec. 14 at the society’s Christmas Cookie, Soup and Candy Sale cookie sale, which runs 8 a.m.-2 p.m. at St. Peter’s Lynnville Church, 5129 Schochary Road, Lynnville.
Historical society member Jim Bachman and his wife, Susan, both graduated from Cumberland’s Warrior Run High School in 1974.
Bachman has done much work on genealogy, including with Laidacker. He discovered they were sixth or seventh cousins.
Laidacker authored the book, “Northern Berks County Pennsylvania Gunmakers featuring Stoffel Long of Greenwich and Albany townships.”
The book was given as a door prize at the historical society banquet.
Laidacker told those gathered at the dinner that the long rifles came from Germany but many of the Jaeger rifles were short and unbalanced.
He explained that Kentucky and Pennsylvania rifles were the same guns but the Pennsylvania name was more accurate.
In the battle of New Orleans, the Americans had 250 casualties and the British had 2,000.
A ballad was written, “The Hunters of Kentucky,” but it should have been called the hunters of Pennsylvania because after 1812 the quality of these weapons was given credit for the win.
A school for gunmakers began in Allemaengel. The biggest difference was in the design of the patch box which often helps identify where the guns were made.
Some of the guns were profusely carved. Stoffel Long made both plain and decorated guns.
Laidacker said one Stoffel Long gun sold for $34,000 five years ago. The gun was valued at $50,000 but the seller had to settle for less.
There was a fleur-de-lys design, which probably originated in France, on the Roman nose drop stock, which was another point of difference.
Laidacker said his great-grandfather’s nephew, John, had a gun collection of more than 1,000 guns.
One interesting photo he showed, though without guns, was the main road through Stony Run, which included Friedens Church off to the side.
The Pennsylvania Longrifle Museum, which has 100 long rifles on display is located in Boulton, 402-403 Henry Road, Nazareth, just off Route 33.
Use the Belfast exit and turn right. The museum is about a quarter mile from the exit.