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Home North Carolina Moore County City of Robbins Historical Markers Mechanic's Hill

Mechanic's Hill

Robbins Road at Salisbury Street, Robbins, NC, USA
  North Carolina State Historical Marker
    North Carolina State
Historical Marker
    Marker Text:
"Site of extensive gunsmithing operations in 18th and 19th centuries. The Kennedy family led in producing long rifles."
     David Kennedy learned gunsmithing from his father, Alexander Kennedy, who hailed from Philadelphia. Legend has it that the Kennedy clan fled Pennsylvania in 1777, finally settling in Moore County near present-day Robbins. Hiram Kennedy Douglass places Alexander Kennedy in Orange County by 1768, the year David was born. David Kennedy opened a sawmill along Bear Creek about 1795 and before long he began making rifles with partner William Williamson. The partnership dissolved early on with Kennedy buying out Williamson’s interest in the company. At various times his brothers Alexander and John likely worked with him.

     Kennedy’s factory, which produced longrifles and pistols, became known as Mechanicsville and the community surrounding it, as Mechanic’s Hill. An unidentified writer in 1810 described the “Riffle Makers” as “Self taught and believed to excel as Gun Smiths in the State for Neteness and Elegance of Work.” In that year the factory produced 650 rifles. During the War of 1812, Kennedy produced “Yauger” (Jaeger) rifles, and it was during this period the factory was at its peak of operation, employing about 75 men. Sometime shortly before his death, David Kennedy was forced to liquidate his business to cover his brother Alexander’s debts. He sold his factory, home, and land and moved to Alabama where he died in 1837.

William S. Powell, ed., Dictionary of North Carolina Biography, III, 350—sketch by K. S. Melvin
John Bivins Jr., Longrifles of North Carolina (1988)
Hiram Kennedy Douglass, My Southern Families (1967)
Blackwell P. Robinson, A History of Moore County, North Carolina, 1747-1847 (1956)