Tom Boyle's
Lucky
Shot


Lincoln Republican, Nov. 21, 1895

The luckiest shot I ever made in my life, perhaps," said Uncle Tom Boyle one evening recently, while in reminiscent mood, "was when I shot at a buffalo and missed it." It was in í64, when this part of Kansas was filled with hostile Indians, that a party of hunters, whch included himself, P.D. Reed and five others, one of whom was a lad of 16, were encamped on the banks of the small stream which flows into the Saline just south of J.E. Whiteís residence near Vesper. It was evening, and they had just gone into camp, and as they were out of meat Uncle Tom concluded to walk up the stream under cover of the bank and try and get a shot at some buffalo which were feeding close by. The herd was just about where George Elrodís house now stands, and he succeeded in getting to within about 30 feet of one, and taking aim fired at it. He didnít hit it, however, at least if he did it was not much hurt, and taking fright at the report of the gun the animal galloped away. Uncle Tom turned to retrace his steps in the direction of camp when he became aware that a band of Indians had come in upon them from the west, and were about to surround the little party of hunters. This was not one of the pleasantest episodes in a hutnerís life, but it was one which frequently occurred in those days, and it had been only a few days before that a hunter in another part of the county had been cornered up by the redskins and killed, and it didnít take Uncle Tom long to make up his mind that he ought to get back to camp as soon as possible, which he immediately did, reaching there just about the time the Indians had completed their circle around the camp. Then the Indians commenced to close in on them, slowly but surely. The sight of seven guns, however, backed up by seven determined men convinced the redskins that they hadnít lost any hunters, and they backed gracefully out, without a fight. The band was not large enough to overpower the hunters except at probably a great loss to their own party, and poor Lo doesnít fight that way unless under compulsion. Had they been able to take the hunters by surprise matters might have been different, but they knew that at the first show of fight seven Indians would have been in that condition designated by Sherman as "good." Now how the lucky shot comes in, Uncle Tom figures, is in this way: Had he killed the buffalo, the minute he left his cover to take possession of his prize, an arrow would without dobut have brought him down, and he would not have been here today, to occupy the responsible position of deputy sheriff of Lincoln county and constable of Elkhorn township. The party stayed there a couple of days afterwards, hunting and taking care of the meat, but as P.D. Reed, who had a field glass with him, discovered that the buffaloes a few miles west of them were in a violent commotion, they were convinced that there was a large band of Indians there Ė larger than they had any use for Ė and being men of sense and good judgment they concluded that discretion was the better part of valor and made tracks for the nearest point of safety, which was Fort Zara, Ellsworth County.


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