They actually originated in West Africa.
Shotgun houses exist in abundance throughout America, especially in the South.
The shotgun house originates in structure and name from West Africa. The Yoruba word "togun" means "house;" "shogun" means "God's house."
Folk etymology explains the word "shotgun" comes from the fact one can shoot a shotgun through the front door and out the back door without hitting a wall. The word shotgun is a creolization of these explanations.
Yoruba (West Africa)
The above floor plans detail the transition of the shotgun house from West Africa, to the Caribbean, and into New Orleans.
The Yoruba House had the shotgun structure without the porches.
During the slave trade, West Africans were brought to the Caribbean for sugar cane production in 1503. The Tainos, the original inhabitants of Haiti, lived in simple houses made of thatched walls and roofs. When the Africans arrived in Haiti they combined the house of the Tainos with their own. These houses, called cailles, were made of mud, straw, wood, and thatch.
The caille was usually a thin, narrow building with a gabled entrance, with plastered, stucco walls, a thatched roof, and shuttered windows. Houses such as these may still be found in rural Haiti, where villages without monetary resources are limited to using only natural materials. But more commonly one will find shotgun houses made of wood the next logical transformation.
In 1791 the slaves revolted sending plantation owners fleeing with their slaves to America arriving in New Orleans, with many moving north to the Mississippi Delta. At the same time African refugees from Haiti arrived in Charleston, South Carolina. In both South Carolina and Louisiana, the shotgun house soon appeared throughout the countryside.
Yoruban Hut (Nigeria)
Native American (Original Haitians) "Bohio Hut"
New Orleans (camelback)
These houses transformed as they moved from rural to urban. One thing that remained the same was the need to group the houses in rows. This grouping reflects a West African method of houses working together as groups. The "shotgun row" kept the houses cool in the summer time and warm in the winter. West Africans think communal before individual, and the architecture reflects this philosophy. While the construction of these houses deviate from the West Indies, their grouping comes from West Africa. Shotgun rows are used in both rural and urban.
In New Orleans, the shotgun house has been transformed into the "New Orleans style shotgun house."
In Charleston, the shotgun house has been transformed into the "Charleston single house."
One more interesting thing is that. There are 3 completely original African-American style houses in America.
1) Is the traditional shotgun house.
2) The praise house
3) The Charleston Freedmans Cottage.
Denmark Vesey, leader of one of the most famous slave rebellions in American history, who was one of the freed slaves relocated from Haiti, house is a shotgun house/freedmans cottage. And his house is still standing today. 200 years later.
You also have the Creole Cottage of New Orleans. Which is also said to have come by way of the Caribbean