My great-great-great-grandfather, William Schreckengost, was a gunsmith in the mid-1800s. He raised a family in Western Pennsylvania and made distinctive long-rifles designed to shoot from the forearm (for accuracy) and sometimes outfitted with dual, over-under barrels. One of these beauties is still in the family after all these years, being passed down through the generations. Here are several shots of “the rifle”:
Scouring the internet produced records of some rich S(c)hreckengost history. Below is a snippet of what I found regarding the Shreck gunsmiths of PA:
It was also during this time, during the 1840s and 50s, when the most well-known Schreckengost family gunsmiths, descendents of Conrad, William (1821-1894), Levi, and Lincoln Schreckengost (1865-1949), started to create their particular firearms. William Schreckengost of Putneyville, Wayne Township, owned a general store/inn/gunshop along Mahoning Creek, although tax lists “consistently show him as a gunsmith.” His guns are frequently encountered. He was an unusually good engraver. He lived in Putneyville, Armstrong County, all his adult life. He married three times: to a Miss Nulph; to Pricilla Potts, mother of gunsmith Levi Schreckengost; and to Mary Heller. His tools, guns, and gun parts were sold at public vendue on 8 October 1894. A number of guns, ranging from a heavy barrel target model to a double barrel rifle (over-under) were offered.
The sons of William built distinctive and affordable rifles ($28) for the local population. They purchase their locks and imported German silver for inlay work from a Pittsburgh firm. The butt-stock design of the rifle is a “roman nose” pattern and was designed to be fired from the upper arms, and not the shoulder, for better accuracy. As was already noted above, William and Lincoln also built exotic guns such as “over-under” rifles, heavy target rifles, or short sporting rifles. All rifles build by William, Levi, and Lincoln Schreckengost were percussion cap.
I can’t even begin to guess what a rifle in this fine a condition would be worth… and as such this family treasure is kept in an undisclosed location. This rifle is in the family of rifles called Pennsylvania-Kentucky rifles, crafted in those and surrounding states by German settlers beginning in the 1700s. You can read more about these rifles here: