Gunsmith Albright House

On a lot now occupied by the post office was the brick home of the community gunsmith Andrew Albright (1718-1802). Before coming to America he served in the German army under Frederick the Great. He came first to Nazareth in 1750 where he taught music for twenty-one years. Then he came to Lititz to resume his trade as gunsmith. It is believed he was the only maker of the famous Pennsylvania rifle in northern Lancaster County at this time and he was recognized as an expert in his field.

Henry Albright, son of Andrew, was born in 1772 and also became a famous gunsmith. In 1813 he built the present house of Dr. Elizabeth Bricker (1966) at 314 N. Broad Street, and it is her belief that the large fireplace in her basement was used by him to forge gun barrels. On the attic wall of her home, two of Albright’s daughters, Susan and Mary, inscribed their names in the wet plaster.

Henry Albright made guns for General Edward Hand and is mentioned in the latter’s papers in 1795. He was married twice and the father of fourteen children. As the gun industry moved westward, he followed and moved often, but accumulated little wealth. Robert Frey claims the design on the rifle he loaned to the Lititz Historical Foundation is the same as used by Albright. This is on the brass patchbox and would indicate that this same gun was made here in Lititz.

In 1775 all gunsmiths in Lancaster County were notified that if they did not make their proportionate share of guns requested they would be arrested as enemies of the country. The Moravians and other noncombatant sects in the County were opposed to warfare and just how they reacted to this order is not known. Prior to this these so called “Kentucky” rifles were used successfully in driving Indians westward. They could outshoot the guns used by the Indians and were largely responsible for the victory of the Americans in the Revolution. Probably the pacifist gunsmiths of this pre-war era hoped their rifles would be used for shooting game and not Indians.

An entry of the Church diary in 1771 states: “Young William Henry from Lancaster came here to take lessons on the piano. *** After this he remained to learn the trade of gunsmith with Brother Andrew Albright.” This was the son of another famous gunsmith.

The next occupant of this house was John Philip Bachman who was the son-in-law and partner of David Tannenberg, organ and piano builders. He married Andrew Albright’s daughter Susanna Elizabeth in 1800. She lived to see 26 grandchildren and eleven great grandchildren.


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