Joseph Angstadt of Rockland Township, Berks County.



            Hans George Angstadt (variously spelled Angstet, Angsted, Angstatt, Anstat) arrived in 1733 from Gumbrechtshoffen, North Alsace, aboard the Richard and Elizabeth.  (2 PA Archives 17, 95)  With him were sons Georg (6 yrs.) and Johannes (1 yr.).  He had two other sons born in Berks County, these being gunsmiths Peter (ca. 1737) and Adam (ca. 1740).  No known work of Peter (I) has survived, however there are a number of later pieces (all post-War) usually attributed to Adam.  There is much confusion over rifles signed “A.A.” or “A. Angstadt,” however, as some if not all are certainly attributable to a later man named Abraham Angstadt [see “The Case for Abraham” by John P. Angstadt, Selected Articles from the KRA Bulletin..., pages 197-201].  Brothers Peter (II) and Joseph Angstadt were born to Adam in 1763 and 1765 respectively.  The work of Peter is fairly well-known, especially a number of rifles which were probably made early in his career [maybe late 1780s or 1790s] which feature lions worked into the carved embellishment.  The work of Joseph is less well-known, although George Shumway did illustrate one fine rifle signed “Jos. An.” in his preliminary book published in 1968, Pennsylvania Longrifles of Note, pages 12-13.  [This rifle was also illustrated in Kindig’s book.]  Despite the many years which have passed since the initial publication of this little book and the accompanying dramatic advancements in collecting knowledge, Shumway’s description of Joseph Angstadt’s work - and indeed, it is truly applicable to any Angstadt work - remains perhaps the most apt:  “It could be called Pennsylvania Dutch rococo.”  I hope to be able to uncover additional information regarding Joseph Angstadt’s life, as his work is quite unique and very appealing.