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Obituary of Joseph R. Shuler – 192nd Pennsylvania Infantry

Posted By on September 15, 2017

Joseph Ritner Shuler was born on 28 July 1837 and died on 23 September 1910, in Liverpool, Perry County, Pennsyvlania.  He has a connection to Lykens, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania, in that he lived and worked there according to the 1880, 1890, and 1900 censuses.  Because of that connection, he is named on the Lykens G.A.R. Monument.

He was previously profiled here in the post entitled, Joseph R. Shuler – Gunsmith.

His obituary appeared in The News (Newport, Pennsylvania) on 6 October 1910:


Gunsmith Who Made the Rifle That Killed General Canby Under Flag of Truce

Joseph R. Shuler died 23 September, at the residence of his sister, Mrs. Anna E. Morris, of Liverpool, Pennsylvania.  He was the son of Hon. Joseph Shuler of Liverpool and was born in that town 73 years ago.  He was a soldier of the Civil War, having served in Company H, 192nd Pennsylvania Volunteers [192nd Pennsylvania Infantry].

He was a gunsmith and worked for his uncle, John Shuler, the maker of the famous “Shuler guns,” much used by hunters in many of the counties north of Liverpool.

While working here Mr. Shuler made a rifle which is now on exhibition in the National Museum in Washington, D.C.  The rifle has a history and was used bu Captain Jack, a Modoc Indian, to kill General Canby while holding a parley under a flag of truce.

Mr. Shuler made the gun while working in the shop of his uncle John Shuler as a journeyman.  It was made for a Mr. Spiece of Liverpool, about the fifties, who went to Clearfield County.  In about two years he wrote to Mr. Shuler telling him he had killed a great many bear and wolves with the rifle and that he was going to Missouri.  The history of the gun from that time until it was used in the bloody tragedy is a blank to your correspondent.

He worked for many years at the mines at Lykens, and also had a retail coal yard which he sold some time ago.

He was twice married.  His first wife was Miss Susan Roush of Freeburg, Pennsylvania.  That union lasted 25 years.  After the death of Mrs. Shuler he married Mrs. Kate Miller of Lykens, who died two years ago.

In declining days he was with his sister, Mrs. Morris of Liverpool.  He leaves three children, Harvey A. Shuler, Wilkes-Barre; Carrie Shuler, Kansas; Minnie Shuler, Liverpool.  His surviving brothers are Harrison Shuler of Liverpool and Z. T. Shuler of Montgomery’s Ferry.

The Harrisburg Patriot of 2 February 1898 says:  One of the most interesting relics which has been presented to the National Museum for a long time was a rifle which Capt. Jack, the notorious Modoc Indian used in his fight in the lava beds of Southern California and is thought to be the identical rifle with which Gen. Camby was murdered while holding a parley with the chief under a flag of truce.  The rifle was cached in the lava beds during the Modoc War, or just before the capture of Capt. jack.  It was brought out by Modoc Joe in the fall of 1896 and presented to Charles Pitt, the Indian interpreter at Warm Springs, Oregon.  By him it was given to M. C.  Davis, special examiner of the Pension Bureau, and sent by him here from Warm Springs.  The weapon is still in a fair state of preservation and rather of unusual form.  It has two barrels so arranged that they can resolve, one being under the other when being ready to fire, one stock with trigger and hammer doing work for two.  The clamp apparatus has been broken so that the barrels revolve now and could not be fired on this account.  The ball used to fit the rifle is of about half an ounce weight.  The barrels are heavily rifled and the weapon is capable of doing great execution.  The barrels are unusually long and the whole must weigh 16 or 18 pounds.  In the stock, now minus paint, as if gripped by the iron fingers of the coffee colored desperado, is a cavity over which is a brass lid.  In the box thus formed were kept the patches and grease.  The rifle is a little rusty, but not nearly as much as might be expected from its long exposure.  Engraved on one side of the barrel is the name of the maker, John Shuler, Liverpool, Pennsylvania.  The weapon is regarded as a weapon of great curiosity.


News clipping from Newspapers.com.


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