L. L. Hepburn- Colton & Ilion Gunmaker

By Larry B. Schuknecht

The picture below shows L. L. Hepburn on the porch of his old home in Colton, N.Y circa 1900 to 1905 and was given to Jerry Swinney for his archives by Lorena Reed, the Colton Town Historian.

(The following is an excerpt from my book Development of the American Double Gun which is available for purchase on Ebay as a CD. Click Here to read more about it.)

Lewis Lobdell Hepburn (March 2, 1832- Aug. 31, 1914) was born in Colton, N. Y. ,the son of Pliny Hepburn (1797-March 1, 1866) and Mary Lyman (1799-1867). Lewis was the grandson of Joseph Hepburn (July 28, 1752-Aug. 1, 1836) and Hannah Lobdell (June 4, 1755- ). Both Joseph and Hannah were born in Fairfield Co., Ct. and moved to and settled in Colton, N.Y.

Lewis' first job was as an apprentice Blacksmith. In 1850 the census recorded him in Potsdam, St. Lawrence Co., N.Y. working as a Blacksmith. In 1855 he was working as a Gunsmith from his home in upstate N.Y. On Aug. 16, 1859 Lewis married Lavina Fisk (1837-July 13, 1913) in Colton. By 1870 the family in Colton included Lewis, Lavina, Carrie-aged 12, Lewis-aged 8, Verna-aged 5 and Malvern-aged 2. He had a personal estate of $2,000. and owned $3,000. in Real Estate.

Lewis was an active Rifle shooter, taking part in the 1874 Creedmoor matches and helped development of the Remington Rifles used in that competition. Shortly after that he went to work for Remington Arms Co. in Ilion, N.Y. where he worked as Superintendent of the Mechanical Department where he worked with Mr. L. N. Walker in the development of model guns. In 1886 Hepburn went to work for the Marlin Firearms Co. in New Haven, Ct. where he designed many lever actions for them.

On Jan. 6, 1910 he was crippled with a hip injury while on his way to work for Marlin and was thereafter bedridden until his death on Aug. 31, 1914.

The above is a 4 barrel, swivel breech rifle by L. L. Hepburn photographed by J. Malloy in Aug. 1970 and sent to Jerry Swinney for his archives. Below are four images of another Hepburn 4 barrel, swivel breech rifle.

The following black and white images were taken or collected by Jerry Swinney while he was Curator of the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake, N.Y.

The above two images are of a Over/Under Combination Hepburn from the Adirondack Museum.

The above is a Over/Under double barrel rifle from the Adirondack Museum.

Below are two images of a Hepburn double rifle sent to Jerry Swinney for his archives in may of 1967 by John Ricolton of Canton, N.Y.

Below are three views of a three barrel Hepburn gun from the Adirondack Museum