Richard Gatling

Richard Jordon Gatling (1818 - 1903)

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Richard Jordon Gatling
Born in Hertford County, North Carolina, United Statesmap
Ancestors ancestors
[sibling(s) unknown]
[spouse(s) unknown]
[children unknown]
Died in New York, New York, United Statesmap
Profile last modified 9 May 2019 | Created 23 Mar 2018
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Richard Gatling is notable.
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Gatling was born in Hertford County, North Carolina, in 1818.

Parents: Jordan Gatling (1783–1848) and Mary Barnes Gatling (1795–1868)


  1. Jemima Taylor Sanders Gatling (1837–1908), married in 1854
  2. Mary Hannah Sorrell Greene (1894–1942)


  1. Mary S Gatling (1855–1860)
  2. Ida Gatling Pentecost (1858–1911)
  3. Willie S. Gatling (1861–1863)
  4. Richard Henry Gatling (1870–1941)
  5. Robert B Gatling (1872–1903)

At the age of 21, Gatling created a screw propeller for steamboats, without realizing that one had been patented just months prior by John Ericsson. While living in North Carolina, he worked in the county clerk’s office, taught school briefly, and became a merchant.

At the age of 36, Gatling moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where he worked in a dry goods store and invented a rice-sowing machine and a wheat drill (a machine to aid planting wheat). The introduction of these machines did much to revolutionize the agricultural system in the country.

After an attack of smallpox, Gatling became interested in medicine. He graduated from the Ohio Medical College in 1850 with an MD. Although he had his MD, he never practiced; he was more interested in a career as an inventor.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, Gatling was living in Indianapolis, Indiana. There he devoted himself to the perfection of firearms. In 1861, the same year the war started, he invented the Gatling gun. A year later, he founded the Gatling Gun Company.


  • "Dr. Richard Jordan Gatling, inventor of the death dealing machine known as the Gatling gun, died suddenly in New York, at the home of his daughter, Mrs. Hugh Pentacost, on Friday of last week, Feb. 27, 1903, at the age of 84 years."
  • "The older residents of White Cloud, Kan., of Forest City and Oregon, will doubtless remember the Doctor, for in 1856, he in company with John Utt, James Foster and Dr. H.W. Peter, of this city, organized a company and laid out the town of White Cloud. The land at that time belonged to the Indians, whose Chief was White Cloud, and they used the name for the town. The land was put upon the market in 1837(?), and the company organized and enlarged, and at this time the Doctor became a member of the company."
  • "After he had completed the Gatling gun, a fire destroyed all his works and his patterns. When a year or two later, he had duplicated his patterns and placed the instrument before the public, a ____ agent ran off with every cent."

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