Earl Lanning of Waynesville, North Carolina is a master gunsmith who has contributed enormously to the revival of American flintlock rifle building. Earl, a descendant of a member of the Rutherford Expedition that fought the Cherokee in 1776, built his first flintlock rifle in 1955. During his 13 year career as a community college teacher, he taught over 200 students how to build their own. Many of Earl’s students have gone on to make important contributions to the art of making flintlocks themselves. Earl is also an expert in the history and material culture of western North Carolina. The contemporary Long Rifle Association honored him with its first Pioneer Award. He is widely sought out as a demonstrator, storyteller, and consultant on the region’s rich pioneer history.
Below is the Digital Heritage Moment as broadcast on the radio: