CORBIN—A Laurel County man is looking for information on a gun he recently purchased that has ties to Corbin.
Phillip Ellis, a US Navy veteran, has been around guns most of his life. While selling and trading guns, Ellis thought he had seen it all until he stumbled upon a gun that has left him speechless.
Ellis recently went to the local flea market with his wife, as he does most Saturdays, and came across a double barrel shotgun he had never seen before with an intricate design and unusual engravings. The dealer wasn’t able to tell him much about the gun, so Ellis went back home to do some research before making the gun dealer an offer.
“I stopped at this dealer’s table and he had this double barrel shotgun and I looked at it and I thought ‘now that’s unique,’” he said. “This particular gun, the more I learn about it, the less I know.”
Ellis, still baffled by the gun’s origins, went back to the flea market and purchased the gun. Although he knew it was a special find, he didn’t realize just how special until he took the gun home, took it apart and began cleaning it.
“When I took it apart and cleaned it, the first time I didn’t notice it and then I went back again and I wanted to look at some different numbers and stuff to see if I could pick up anything that I could recognize and that’s when I started really, really looking at it,” Ellis said. “I took my magnifying glass and when I turned it, I said ‘oh my goodness, there’s a name on there.’ It got me perked up.”
The gun had the name “U. Proffitt” etched near the firing pins and underneath it was another etching that said “Corbin, KY.”
“I thought, well I’m looking at somebody that’s probably an influential from Corbin because an average person would not have bought a custom-made gun with that type of stuff on it,” Ellis said.
He began asking around if anyone could give him any information on the name etched inside the gun but came up short. Ellis then went to several gun dealerships asking if they could tell him anything about the gun but still had little to no information on it except for that the gun was likely made in Belgium due to engraving on the outside of the gun and it was likely a soldier that had etched their name near the firing pins on the gun, possibly from WWI or WWII.
“It was customary during war for soldiers that brought civilian stuff back to etch your name in it so somebody else couldn’t take it or get lost,” Ellis said. “So, the consensus is that this gun was made for somebody in Belgium and somehow or other, a soldier got ahold of it.
“I thought a soldier’s gun—how long did he have it, how long did he get to enjoy? It would have been interesting to get to talk to the person.”
Ellis is hoping to find the person or the family of the person that the gun belonged to, as he wants to learn everything he can about this mysterious gun and its original owner.
Ellis is asking that anyone who may have any information on the gun or the person who owned it to contact him at 606-843-2877.