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An 1860 Indian Cent That Conveys A Story Of Death And Despair .

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 Posted 05/04/2021  5:58 pm Show Profile   Bookmark this topic Add ExoGuy to your friends list Get a Link to this Message
The below Indian cent was stamped by the Schwingel brothers, Charles and Philip, of Erie, PA. They were farm boys from nearby Kearsarge who, following the Civil War, tried their hand at gunsmithing in the big city. Following the death of their father, they returned to the family farm.




Having acquired this counterstamp about forty years ago, I've yet to see another. When I researched the Schwingel name at the Erie library, I learned that there were no others by that name in the area. Many gunsmiths stamped their work, but I've yet to find evidence of any Schwingel-stamped firearms.

My research on their coin brought to light a tragic story of death and despair. The story was big news in Jamestown, NY, some fifty miles distant from Erie.

Jamestown Daily Journal
Monday Evening, October 18, 1880

"MURDER NEAR ERIE."


A Man Kills his Brother During a Dispute
- The Murderer in Jail.


Mr. Charles Schwingel, a young man of good family, living upon his farm near Kearsarge, a short distance from this city, was on Friday night last shot and killed by his brother Philip. Charles, with
some of his neighbors, had spent the evening drinking hard cider and playing cards. Philip came
home from Erie late at night, very drunk. After the neighbors had left -- at the request of Charles'
wife -- the hour being late, Charles and Philip fell into a dispute. Philip spoke insultingly of his
brother's wife, and Charles resented the insult by striking Philip with a pitcher, cutting him. He
drew a revolver, and as Charles turned away from him shot him through the back. Charles died
almost immediately The aged mother of the men, hearing the disturbance, fell as she was hastening
down stairs and dislocated her hip. Philip was duly arrested and is now In jail. The inquest rendered
a verdict substantially in accordance wllh the foregoing facts.

We learn from neighbors of the Schwingels that the two men are in bad repute in the neighborhood,
being notoriously drunken aud quarrelsome. In extenuation of Philips' crime it is urged that he has
been twice badly hurt, once in a fight, and once by a fall, and in consequence has lost all control of his
temper. The Schwingel farm which was left in good shape by the boys' father at the time of his death
some years ago, is, we understand, heavily mortgaged. The murdered man was thirty-three years old.

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A follow-up news story reported that, "Philip was tried, convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to the Allegheny Penitentiary." It seems ironic that the Schwingel brothers, who once jointly pursued a career together as gunsmiths, saw a firearm devastate their family. It was tragic happenings like this that fueled the political temperance movement back then.
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 Posted 05/04/2021  6:05 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Coinfrog to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Quite a story!
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 Posted 05/04/2021  6:33 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add halfamind to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Great research and a tragic story, indeed.
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 Posted 05/04/2021  9:12 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Rothery to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Very interesting history! Good thing their last name wasn't one letter longer
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 Posted 05/04/2021  9:17 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add TNG to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
That is a cool story. I will have to look around for Schwingel gunmakers info. Probably shot with a .22 or more likely .32 rimfire pistol.

Wonder if they made tear gas guns for Lake Erie Chemical Co.?
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Edited by TNG
05/04/2021 9:24 pm
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 Posted 05/04/2021  9:26 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Ty2020b to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Quite the tragic yet ironic backstory. Thanks for sharing! I always enjoy reading the backstory behind all of these.... your research is appreciated Exo!
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 Posted 05/04/2021  9:58 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add ExoGuy to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Thanks, all, for your interest, thoughts and compliments. I'm always interested in gathering additional info on on any and all U.S. c/s's. I'm planning to donate my c/s database, pics and many articles to the Newman Numismatic Portal for future collectors to build upon. Attaching contemporary history to old coins is a pursuit that, IMHO, too few collectors are engaged nowadays.
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 Posted 05/04/2021  11:22 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add PlumCrazy814 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
We learn from neighbors of the Schwingels that the two men are in bad repute in the neighborhood,


...and notoriously known to mutilate coinage...

That is one cool story you dug up!
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 Posted 05/05/2021  01:28 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add Parklane64 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Very informative post, ExoGuy, thank you. You have piqued my interest.

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 Posted 05/05/2021  08:35 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add thecoinguy1964 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Amazing find, and it appears that father George, fought in the Civil war, upon coming to this country, as a immigrant from Germany in 1834.
https://www.findagrave.com/memorial...es-schwingel
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 Posted 05/05/2021  09:51 am  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add ExoGuy to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
@ thecoinguy1964 .... Thanks for the father's gravesite link. That was not available to me, back when I originally researched this c/s. Many German gunsmiths c/s'd coins. Likely, the sons sons learned something of the trade from their father.

Gunsmiths were valuable assets to Civil War regiments. That said, I can find no record that George or the boys served. Do you have any details on George? Since the family owned a farm, I presumed that George's main occupation in the early 60's was that of a farmer. In researching early gunsmiths, I've found that many pursued multiple occupations.
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 Posted 05/05/2021  2:35 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add MrPink2018 to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
man, you just never know what you'll discover once you start diggin' around for info. thanks for sharing that interesting tidbit of history around that coin. ExoGuy, I'm just curious: how did you happen upon that coin?
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 Posted 05/05/2021  2:57 pm  Show Profile   Check westcoin's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add westcoin to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
Post of the week here! Great background to a rather plain looking counter stamp. Kudos ExoGuy!
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 Posted 05/05/2021  3:30 pm  Show Profile   Bookmark this reply Add ExoGuy to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply
@westcoin ... Thanks for the encouragement!


Quote:
I'm just curious: how did you happen upon that coin?


I can't remember .... It was three or four decades ago, and I've acquired some 2,500 c/s's since then.

On the plus side, . my memory's still fairly well intact. I can still remember my first two wives' social security numbers ....
Edited by ExoGuy
05/05/2021 3:31 pm
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 Posted 05/05/2021  4:39 pm  Show Profile   Check daltonista's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add daltonista to your friends list Get a Link to this Reply

It's that fifth wife who'll stump you every time!

"I ain't good-looking, but I'm willing to try."
--- Dave "Snaker" Ray: 'It's All Right,' 1963
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