ReedyRifle-001Leonard Reedy

Leonard Reedy (August 20, 1776- April 18, 1837) has been recognized as one of the most skillful gunsmiths during the period 1650-1850. Reedy  learned his trade in the Womelsdorf- Reading school of gun-smithing. Reedy was born in Lehigh County, later moving to Schuylkill County before moving to Gratz around 1815. He was a veteran of the War of 1812. He married twice and had 13 children.  His twin sons Henry and William served in the Civil War.

In 1818 Reedy settled into a new log house and shop. He practiced his skills in Gratz for more than 20 years, but he was not to be famous in the gun world for 120 years. Through the efforts of a group of  Pennsylvania- Kentucky Rifle enthusiasts, Reedy was “discovered” and Gratz put on the gun collecting map. These enthusiasts included: Samuel E. Dyke, of Lancaster; Henry Kauffman and Dr. Lee Boyer (Gratz native), professors at Millersville COllege, and later Joe Kindig, gun collector and author of a book about Leonard Reedy.

Reedy was well acquainted with at least two other gunsmiths of the area. Jacob Umholtz sold him four acres of land in March 1830. Peter Bellis sold him 30 acres in Lykens Township in July 1830.

Reedy lived in Gratz until his death in 1837. He and second wife Elizabeth are buried in Simeon Cemetery. He was talented in many fields. His account book shows that he was a blacksmith and Justice of the Peace. His work as Justice of the Peace made him responsible to write and record documents relating to sale of property, advertisements, serve as executor of personal estates, process lawsuits, and virutally every other aspect of law. His work took him on long jaunts over Peters Mountain by horseback to Harrisburg. (The “roads” to Harrisburg at that time were little more than paths.)

After Leonard died his wife Elizabeth married again, to Daniel Bitterman before 1850. After his death, she married Jacob Shade (about 1856). The Reedy children scattered. Margaret married Daniel Good and stayed in Gratz. Benjamin lived in nearby Donaldson. William and Henry and some of their descendants settled in the Tower City area. Jacob, a boatman, died in Halifax. Leonard, Jr. died in Kansas. George died in Chicago. Edward learned gun-smithing, and moved to Ogle County, Illinois.

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Historical Marker

A historical marker honoring Reedy’s work as a gunsmith was dedicated on Saturday, September 27, 2008 on Market Street near the site of his original log cabin. The day was known in Gratz as Leonard Reedy Day. A special exhibition of Leonard Reedy Rifles and accessories was open to the public at the Gratz Community Center. Reedy’s gravestone was rededicated on this day at the Lutheran Church.

The following people and businesses gave financial support and other assistance to help purchase the Historical Marker and to celebrate the life nad work of Leonard Reedy.

Richard Kauffman Muir, PA
Ted Matter Upper Darby, PA
David Steely Ghent, MN
Joe Saltzer Lynchburg, VA
Bob Troxell New Cumberland, PA
Donna Henderson Stephens City, VA
Debbie Henshaw Crystal Lake, IL
Kelly Henshaw Cantonville, MD
Ramie and Peggy Hartman Gratz, PA
Max Schlegel Valley View, PA
Keith Bingaman Herndon, PA
Blair Keefer Muir, PA
Laura Williard Pittman, PA
Margaret Downing Springfield, VA
Twin Cedar Gun Club Gratz, PA
Claudette Satzler Lewistown, PA
Gratz National Bank Gratz, PA
Bob Fromme Lykens, PA
Michael Mace Williamstown, PA
Art Brown’s Barber Shop Williamstown, PA
Henry Knauber Wiconisco, PA
Swope’s Taxidermy Halifax, PA
Dr. Joseph Wayne Heckert Harrisburg, PA
Don’s Lykens Food Market Lykens, PA
Charles and Lois Schoffstall Gratz, PA
Koppy’s Propane Williamstown, PA
MI Industries Gratz, PA
Ron Mace Dalmatia, PA
James Smith Tower City, PA
Shorty Umberger Wiconisco, PA
Romaine and Bill Macht Langhorne Borough, PA
Mid Penn Bank Millersburg, PA
Lisi Oil Company Elizabethville, PA
Reed’s Inn Gratz, PA
The Kentucky Rifle Foundation Lancaster, PA
Wal Mart Elizabethville, PA
Dave and Lori Norris Gratz, PA
Ed and Linda Bechtel Lykens, PA
Penn Valley Printing and Design Gratz, PA
Old Timers (Gratz Schools) Gratz, PA
Priceless Rent-A-Car Gratz, PA
Ray’s Front End Shop Inc. Gratz, PA
Boardwalk Family Fun Center Gratz, PA
Ted Matter Upper Darby, PA
Wendy J. Fendt Garden City, NY
Glenn Deibert Sacramento, PA