Oliver Winchester: The Forgotten History of Winchester Repeating Arms’ Iconic Founder

Read more on this subject: American History
Feature Article by Sam Jacobs
Winchester Repeating Arms founder Oliver Winchester was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on November 30, 1810. While his life is largely indistinguishable from his career as a gun manufacturer, it's worth noting that, in addition to revolutionizing the American firearms market, he also served as the 32nd Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut as a Republican from May 1866 to May 1867, underneath Joseph Roswell Hawley. He was also one of the great philanthropists of his time, giving a lot of money in particular to Yale University, which is in New Haven.

Winchester was born on the outskirts of Boston, at a time when there was still farming going on in those parts. His family were penniless farmers in a hardscrabble world. He had almost nothing in the way of formal education. What he did have, however, was a solid amount of business sense and no shortage of gumption. He was apprenticed as a church builder, but quickly began earning a tidy sum as the inventor of a new style of shirt colla
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