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The Myth

I have parents back in Missouri who are getting old and I have not been a good son to them, yet I love them better than anything in this life. It does not matter what they say about me, but I am not a cut-throat and vagabond, and I want them to know what’ll make them proud. So this is the long and short of it.

I always shot well, but came to be near perfect by shooting the contests held up at Fort Leavenworth during border troubles. I won a pistol shooting match held at Gum Springs and General Lane; well he kind of conscripted me into Free State Army as his bodyguard. I did get a good horse, saddle and rifle for my trouble. I must admit it was pretty exciting and later that year I was elected Constable of Monticello Township. My girl Mary Jane sure was proud. I filed on 160 acres of good bottom land over by Mill Creek, but those damnable Border Ruffians collapsed my dugout every time I away for more than a day. It was not meant to be, I realize now. A Wyandot Indian filed preemption on my land and got it plus four other parcels close by. While was I freighting for Owens and Cartright, Mary Jane married that tenderfoot doctor from back east and two years she later died of the cholera. I did not much care about life anymore after that and the war had a way of getting a man’s mind off the past. You know I never drank liquor nor smoked until the war. Those were dark days and quite demoralizing.

I freighted, scouted, and spied a good bit and an occasional got out my rifle for a bit of sniping at Johnny Reb. I had more than a few close calls, but so did a lot of us boys. While I was awaiting orders in Independence, MO a drunken mob chased a fellow Kansan into a house just off the square. They were talking ugly and threatening to stretch my fellow Free Stater’s neck. I could not let that happen, so I took a couple of quick steps up on to the porch and pulled my Navies and dared the bravest of them to join me in Hell. None of them brave men stepped up! The local folk thought I was pretty wild and said so. I said, “No, I am pretty tame compared to rest of then boys fighting to preserve the Union”! Well, everybody started calling me Tame Bill.

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