Cowboys and Indians

Jadon Gibson

I grew up playing “Cowboys and Indians.” It was natural I guess because there were so many western movies for youngsters to see, heroes like Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Hopalong Cassidy, the Durango Kid and others. The admission price was low and for a nickel we could get a candy treat.

The cowboys were always portrayed as the good guys while the Indians seemingly had little redeeming value except for the occasional sidekick such as Tonto.

My studies have since showed that our perceptions of the Indians were incorrect. The issue really cannot be painted black and white or red and white. In reality it would have to be painted using all the colors of the beautiful land in which we all live.

Black Hoof was the chief of the Shawnee during much of the period when settlers forged through Cumberland Gap and into Kentucky. His experiences with the British and the Americans later, led him to become their bitter enemy.

He led his braves in the defeat of Braddock in the French and Indian War and fired several shots at George Washington who would later become our first president.

Black Hoof

“Black Hoof met great white leader Washington on the battlefield,” the Shawnee chief said of himself. “Washington had the spirits with him in battle. Had the pale-face leader’s life not been so charmed, Black Hoof would have sent him to happy hunting ground.”

Black Hoof spoke to his people illustrating their plight.

Following a meal of perhaps turkey, parched corn and other game Black Hoof signed for his warriors to be silent. A wolf skin hung from his shoulders and turkey feathers adorned his black hair.

“Here as a boy I first saw the sun and the moon and played with other warriors to be,” he began. “We shot our arrows at birds, rabbits and squirrels… pretending they were bear, elk, and buffalo. We were happy.

“While I was still a boy our hunters returned from across the mountains and told of seeing strange pale-faced men who rode big, strange animals. They carried sticks that made noise like the thunder and long shiny knives and used them to kill their enemies.

Black Hoof continued with a growing anger. “There have been many snows since then and I have seen these people. I have fought with them beyond the mountains. They are powerful and cruel.

“They hunt our deer, buffalo and other game and build their dwellings on this, the land of our fathers,” he said with his head bobbing from side to side. “We have smoked the pipe of peace but the paleface still hunt our game, kill our people and take our land.

“They have killed and driven away our brothers from the land of the rising sun. Now they are pushing us beyond the mountains of our fathers. We must rise up against them. The spirits of our fathers will rise up and help us drive the paleface from the gates of the mountains.

With a wild war cry that pierced the blackness of the night and reverberated through the mountains and valleys, Black Hoof lunged forward, driving his tomahawk deep into a nearby tree. Each of the warriors echoed his war cry and one by one, sunk their tomahawks into the tree.

The Indian’s losses in battle lessened their numbers whereas their victories simply led to more battles. There was an increasing flow of white men. Each burned cabin and dead white man was replaced by another.

The spirits would not ease Black Hoof’s pain of seeing the land of his forefathers taken.

Not until 1831 did he go to that happy hunting ground –a hunting ground that he would not have to defend. Copyright 2018 Jadon Gibson

Editor’s note: Jadon Gibson, a graduate of Caney Junior College and UK is a freelance writer from Harrogate, TN. His writings are both historical and nostalgic in nature and can be read periodically at Don’t miss a single posting!

A Voice for God – A Voice for Good

My good Lord in Heaven has been so good to me. Our law enforcement officers have a difficult job, more so now than ever before. Their job often puts them in a position of danger. The growing use of illicit drugs is a major contributing factor. One of my sister’s sons is a drug enforcement officer in a high-crime larger city. He’s very blessed in that he has been shot at five times and all have missed their mark.

I worked in Missouri 24 years after finishing college. One of the service clubs In Rolla had a program whereby they saluted an outstanding lawman each year. When we moved back to the tri-state area of Kentucky, Tennessee and Virginia, I became a member of the Wilderness Road Kiwanis Club.

A Lee County, Virginia deputy answered a call on November 4, 1988 of a suspicious vehicle at a medical facility in nearby Ewing, Virginia. Officer John L. Martin was shot three times and killed leaving a wife and four children. I suggested that we begin the John L. Martin Award in which we honor a lawman periodically for outstanding service.

I want to touch on some of the recipients. The first, Effingham, Illinois, Sheriff Art Kinkeler was responsible for apprehending the individual who shot John L. Martin. The perpetrator is serving a life sentence. Claiborne County, Tennessee, deputy Steve Bryant received the award for his valor in arresting a man in a dark, remote area, who had robbed the Get-it-and- Go Market. Fellow Claiborne officer DeWayne Fischer was patrolling on a night shift when he noticed a residence burning. He heard the the lady in distress and entered the burning building and rescued her.

Tennessee Highway patrolman Doug Tripp was monitoring traffic when a young man with a grudge snuck through the brush from behind and shot Tripp, killing him. Pennington Gap, Virginia, police chief Curtis Minton received the award while bedridden from injuries he received in a collision with a Harlan County felon who was bent on escaping.

In addition to THP Tripp, John L. Martin Awards were presented posthumously to family members in behalf of New Tazewell officer George Brooks who was struck and killed while working an accident scene and Bell County Canine officer Tim Pursiful his canine dog, both killed while working a roadblock when two wanted youngsters plowed into them. Other posthumous awards were presented to family members of THP Josh Mabe and Claiborne deputy Davidson.

Recipients include Lee County sheriffs R.V. Chadwell and Gary Parsons; Claiborne County sheriffs Bruce Seal, Harry Schultz and David Ray; Kentucky District Attorney Karen Greene Blondell; and other outstanding officers, making 23 altogether.

This is a good time to recognize and honor our law enforcement officers. My wife and I often pay for an officer’s meal and offer a “Thanks for your service!’ Likewise we appreciate and commend our military for their service.

My good Lord in Heaven has been so good to me. Thank you Lord for all you do for me. Please dear Lord, watch over our protectors here in America and abroad.

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