Gábor Áron, a Hungarian Székely artillery officer (1814-1849)

Gábor Áron was a Hungarian Székely gunsmith from Transylvania who cast cannons during the Hungarian Revolution of 1848-49.
Gábor Áron
He came from a family of Székely border guards. His father was Gábor István, chief notary. (Please note that I am using the oriental order of names.) His mother was Hosszú Judit, who brought up five children.
Gábor Áron’s statue in Bereck
Gábor Áron finished public school in Bereck, then he went to the Franciscan grammar school in Csíksomlyó. Then he joined the army. He served in Kézdivásárhely in the Second Székely Border Guard Regiment. They sent him to Gyulafehérvár (Alba Iulia), where he was trained as an artilleryman and became a corporal.
Gyulafehérvár Photo: Andrei Kokelburg
He was in the Fifth Gunnery Regiment of Pest in 1840, he went to Vienna where he served in the cannon factory. He wanted to serve longer, but his request was rejected. He joined the army again in 1842, replacing his younger brother. However, he was unable to get any further training and left the army for good in 1846.
Pest and Buda in 1837
We know that his knowledge of artillery was acquired in Gyulafehérvár and that he attended military technical lectures in Buda and Vienna. In the meantime, he learned the craft of carpentry. He made furniture and even a dry mill.
On the 6th of October 1848, at the National Assembly of Székelys, he presented the idea of casting cannons, but it was rejected.
Sepsiszentgyörgy in the 19th century
Source: Benő Gyula
He came up with the idea again at Sepsiszentgyörgy when Imperial General Puchner threatened the town and demanded its unconditional surrender. They were on the verge of surrendering on 12 November because they had no proper weapons. Then Gábor Áron offered to cast cannons at the forge in Füle.
Gábor Áron’s cannon
On 16 November 1848, at the meeting of the Committee for the Defense of Háromszék in Sepsiszentgyörgy, Gábor Áron proclaimed his famous words: “Let there be cannons”.
“Gentlemen, I hear the officers saying that we have to bow to the enemy because there is no munition, no cannon. Gentlemen, if that is the only problem, I say that in two weeks there will be cannon, there will be munition, as much as we need”. He said that he would stand in front of his self-made cannons if he failed the first proofshot. The Székelys received his words with enthusiasm.
The flag of Sepsiszentgyörgy in 1848
Soon, he cast the cannons at Bodvaj, near Magyarhermány. The cannons were first used on 30 November, in the first battle at Hídvég on 30 November, and the Székelys won the battle, thanks in large part to Gábor Áron’s cannons. The first cannon was called Jancsi, according to Jókai Mór. The enemy’s commander Puchner thought that the Székelys had French artillery.
A Székely flag from Oklánd, 1848
Unfortunately, the Austrian army destroyed the forge at Bodvaj in the December of 1848 so Gábor Áron had to continue his work at Kézdivásárhely, in the workshop of Master Túróczi Mózes who was a brazier. As an active participant in the Transylvanian struggles of the Hungarian War of Independence, he turned his property into money to support the fight for freedom and to cast cannons for the Hungarian army.
A Hungarian banknote from 1849
Gábor also trained artillerymen, and many of the students of Kézdivásárhely joined him. General Joseph Bem appointed him an artillery major on 24 March 1849. He was sent to Debrecen in May, where the Hungarian government had moved from Buda.
There, Kossuth Lajos appointed him as the director of weapon factories of the Székely Land, and 60,000 Forint was issued to the factory at Kézdivásárhely. He was involved in the training of gunners and served as a major in the artillery until his death. He sacrificed everything for freedom.
Gábor Áron’s statue in Kézdivásárhely (Photo: Markó Laci)
Gábor Áron was a talented man with a wide range of knowledge, fluent in German and Romanian. Orbán Balázs described him as having a puritanical lifestyle and a temperance. He was polite and courteous to everyone, including his subordinates, except when he felt that someone was neglecting his duty to his country, in which case he was easily angered. He was particularly disapproving of those who were driven not by the ideals of the struggle for freedom, but by the desire to get rich. Although he had gained a high reputation during the War of Independence, he remained modest to the end and refused all honors.
Gábor Áron’s bust in Miskolc (Photo: Szalax)
Gábor cast altogether 93 cannons, but the numbers differ. Gábor Áron died in the Battle of Kökös when the forces of Háromszék and the Russian troops were exchanging artillery fire. His left chest was pierced by a 6-pound cannonball on 02 July 1849.
His body was temporarily buried in Uzon but after the fights, he was reburied in Eresztevény, in the garden of the Reformed church.
Gábor Áron’s resting place in Eresztevény (Photo: Markó Laci)

You can read more about the history of the Hungarian Székely people of Transylvania on my page:


Only one of its cannons has survived, found in 1906 during sewerage works in the yard of the Rudolf Hospital in Kézdivásárhely (Târgu Mureş). It was first exhibited in the Town Hall, then in 1923 it was transferred to the Székely National Museum in Sepsiszentgyörgy (Sfântu Gheorghe). In 1970 it was transferred to the then newly established National History Museum in Bucharest, but was soon put into storage. On 15 March 2011, the cannon was once again on display at the Székely National Museum.

Gábor Áron’s cannon

Source: Magyarforum, Ezerszínű Világ, and here is a great writing about Székely flags:


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