After making more than 330 rifles during his 92 years of living, Bob Brenneman of Swanton has decided to “retire” from that particular hobby, and is pictured above holding gun #333. Brenneman said that it was in his early years that he became interested in how guns worked, from the butt to the end of the barrel, so he became a gunsmith. The quality of his work is well-known among gun owners in the area. When a reporter asked Brenneman what Garrett County was like when he was growing up, he said that when he was “coming of age” there was nothing wrong with a boy grabbing his .22 caliber rifle and heading for the woods. At times it was a necessity, he said, because even a youngster with a small-caliber gun could put meat on the table. “Once outside, a young man could find a mix of wilderness that he could literally get lost in,” he said. “There were rhododendron growths where a man even on horseback could get lost. And there were tree canopies so thick that a squirrel could travel several miles without touching the ground.” “I just can’t stand up for very long anymore,” he said almost apologetically, adding, “My muscles just can’t take it.” He said that he is going to miss the work, “but it’s just as important to know when to quit as it was to know when to start.” Brenneman and his wife Margarite have been married for 64 years. Photos and info taken/provided by Glenn Tolbert.
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