Martin Meylin, Gunsmith

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Martin Meylin, Gunsmith

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Palatinate Switzerland, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
Death: 1749 (84)
Lampeter Township Lancaster, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Jacob Meili and Unknown Meili
Husband of Veronika Miley; Barbara Meylin and Anna Meylin
Father of Martin Mylin, II and Anna Margaretha Eby

Occupation: Invented Daniel Boone's rifle
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Martin Meylin, Gunsmith

Invented Daniel Boone's Gun, the Kentucky Long Rifle.


In Pennsylvania, the earliest gunsmiths that can be documented are Robert Baker and Martin Meylin.[5] Robert Baker formed a partnership with his son, Caleb and on August 15, 1719 erected a gun boring mill on Pequea Creek. In the tax records of Berks County, Pennsylvania, there were several gunsmiths plying their trade along the banks of the Wyomissing Creek.[3][6]

Martin Meylin's Gunshop was built in 1719, and it is here that the Mennonite gunsmith of Swiss-German heritage crafted some of the earliest, and possibly the first, Pennsylvania Rifles.[7] No single rifle has been found to date to be signed by Martin Meylin. Two have been attributed to him- one in the Lancaster Historical Society has been found to be a European musket of a later date and the other with a date of 1705 has been found to be a forgery- the Meylins didn't arrive in America until 1710. The Martin Meylin Gunshop still stands today in Willow Street, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, on Long Rifle Road. An archaeological dig performed in 2005 by Millersville University around the so-called Meylin gunshop found no evidence of gunmaking activity among the thousands of artifacts found - only blacksmithing artifacts were found.[8][9] The Lancaster County Historical Society has an original Pennsylvania Long Rifle smithed by Meylin that was passed down within the family for seven generations before being donated to the society in the middle of the twentieth century. This particular rifle was analyzed and the barrel removed during the Lancaster Long Rifle Exhibit at Landis Valley Farm Museum, Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 2005. The six experts on hand found the barrel was European and the stock itself dated from a later period than 1710-1750. The initials on the barrel - "MM" were found to be added later than any other part of the gun, therefore it was concluded that the rifle in the Lancaster County Historical Society could not have been made by either son or father named Martin Meylin. A document describing the history of Meylin, the Gunshop, and archeology of the shop is available online from Millersville University.[10]

Some historians [11] have written that the role of Martin Meylin as one of the earliest gunsmiths in Lancaster is not clear. The argument is that the will of Martin Meylin Sr. makes no mention of gunsmith items while the will of Martin Meylin Jr. is replete with gunsmith items, and thus the reference to Meylin as a gunsmith is more properly placed on the son. In any case, no rifle has been found to be positively attributed to any Meylin. Wikipedia

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Martin Meylin, Gunsmith's Timeline

1665
1665
Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany
1691
1691
Age 26
Zurich,Switzerland
1700
1700
Age 35
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, United States
1749
1749
Age 84
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, United States