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John Martin Mountain Man Extraordinaire

John Martin Mountain Man Extraordinaire

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John Martin Mountain Man Extraordinaire

193 Seiten
3 Stunden
Feb 20, 2017


Bright star was inside the tee pee when she heard a ruckus outside, mules and horses were braying and whinnying and dog was enraged, barking furiously. She heard a loud growl.. She ran out and saw a 7 foot male bear standing on his hind legs. The bear had been after the mules and horses, but now turned its attention towards her.... She knew she was in trouble and in grave danger

Feb 20, 2017

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John Martin Mountain Man Extraordinaire - Jack Overbey

John Martin

Mountain Man


Jack Overbey

Copyright © 2017 Jack Overbey

All rights reserved

First Edition


New York, NY

First originally published by Page Publishing, Inc. 2017

All the characters in my book are fictitious and any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is purely coincidental. This is a work of fiction, names and characters and places and incidents are a product of the author’s imagination and are not to be thought

of as real.

ISBN 978-1-63568-280-9 (Paperback)

ISBN 978-1-63568-282-3 (Hard Cover)

ISBN 978-1-63568-281-6 (Digital)

Printed in the United States of America

I dedicate this book to my wife, Maggalee Buttree Overbey, my best friend and helpmate. Honorable mention to my children, Tina Mae Overbey Karegeannes and Bartley J. Overbey. They helped me relentlessly.

When I was growing up, my parents and three siblings lived in Appalachia on a sixty-acre farm where we raised corn and tobacco as cash crops. Once a year, we sold our produce and bought what we would need for the coming year. My dad had moonshine still under the kitchen floor where he made and sold some spirits. The fumes from the sour mash in the making of the alcohol would go up the kitchen fireplace stone chimney, which dad built himself. He also built the two-room log cabin where we all lived. It really wasn’t large enough to support a quality of life for the family. We were as poor as church mice. One evening after supper, we were sitting around the table, and I told my mother and father that I wanted to go west to the Shining Mountains to hunt and trap and live the free life. I had hunted quite a bit around the farm. We had a lot of small game deer, a few elk, rabbits, and occasional buffalo, and of course I did some trapping, tanned and sold the hides for extra money, which I turned over to my father to help run the family.

I had to make my own life. There just wasn’t enough there for everyone to make a living. My mother was crying and wiping her eyes with the tail of her apron. She said, I’m never going to see you again.

Dad understood that I had to go. He said, Son, I’ll help you if I can.

I said, Okay, Dad. How about helping me make a hunting and combat knife? The knife that I wanted was to be made out of the corn knife. I wanted it like Jim Bowie’s knife, hero of the Alamo, with two cutting sides including a clip. Jim Bowie’s knife was made out of a meteorite that Jim saw falling from the sky. He picked the meteorite up after it cooled and took it to the local blacksmith, James Black. The blacksmith could tell immediately that it was superior metal, and Mr. Bowie drew a sketch of the knife that he wanted, and the blacksmith made it. Later, Jim Bowie said of the knife, It came from heaven, but it will cut like the fiery gates of hell. He named his knife the Iron Mistress. Jim Bowie was born in Logan, Kentucky.

So my dad and I took the corn knife and put it in the forage on our farm, got it white-hot, and we hammered it into shape like Jim Bowie’s. It wasn’t a professional job, but it worked okay for me, and I will cherish it always. Dad and I fashioned a sheath for it out of one of the animal hides that I caught and tanned. We also made an S-shaped hand guard or bar for the knife to keep from getting cut during hand-to-hand combat.

I packed up my few clothes and wore my only pair of shoes and prepared to leave the day after we had made the knife. No point drawing it out and causing my mother, whom I love, any more pain and agony than possible. I told my mom not to break my plate or saw off the end of my bench; a bad penny always returns. Next morning, I took my squirrel gun and walked west toward the Shining Mountains, what I thought and believed was the promised land. I would get started at St. Louis, Missouri, which is a jump-off for the West; it was approximately 356 miles from my father’s farm.

As I walked, I kept looking and asking for jobs that I could do to earn my food and keep, a little cash. I mucked out stalls, swept out grocery stores, cut wood, anything that I could do to make a dollar. What I was shooting for was enough money to trade my squirrel gun for a Henry .357 caliber fifteen-shot rifle and make enough money to pay the boot, or the difference, between the value of my squirrel gun and the value of a new 1866 Henry. That would be my first piece of gear that I would take west—of course, including my knife. I walked through four states, parts of Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri, working and trying to save some money. Sometimes I slept in barns, but most of the time, I slept outside under the stars when it wasn’t raining.

One day about noon, I was walking along enjoying the countryside when I heard some wild ducks making their music as they were flying toward water and landing. I knew I must be close to the Mississippi River. A little farther along, I saw the river; and to me, it looked a mile wide, the widest river I had ever seen. There was an old-timer there running a ferryboat across the river for travelers, and of course he charged a fee for that service. I went up to his shack and asked him what was the fee to cross the river. It was just me; no horse—nothing—just me and my meager gear. He told me fifty cents. I asked him if I could work for him for a day doing menial chores, then could I get across for free. He said, Son, I’m not in the business to give people free rides across the Mississippi. This is the way I make my living.

I said, Yes, sir, I know that, but let me tell you my circumstances. I have walked all the way here from Appalachia to get to the Shining Mountains. I want to be a mountain man and live my life freely. I have no gear except my knife, and I must buy everything that I need for the trip, so even fifty cents would deplete my source of funds, and I would be very appreciative if I could work the passage out.

He said, Kid, when you put it that way, I understand your predicament. Okay, you can work a day for me. Throw your gear over in the barn and do your chores that I tell you. You can ride the ferry free the next day.

Great, I said. What do you want me to do?

Cut me a cord of wood for my fireplace.

A cord is four feet by four feet and eight feet long. I did my chores, and early the next day, I was down at the dock waiting for the other passengers to come aboard. A man and his wife, well-dressed, came aboard with their horses. A man came aboard dressed in buckskins, whom I assumed to be a wagon train guide or a mountain man. We were about to shove off when two crude-looking cowboys stepped on board the ferry with their two horses. If you bring your horses aboard, the fee is more than fifty cents, an additional charge of fifty cents for each of the horses. They were talking vulgar, which no one appreciated, and the guide told them to shut up that kind of talk, that there was a lady on board. We were about halfway across the river when they pulled their guns and said, This is a holdup. Give us your money and your goods, and no one will get hurt.

If I gave them my money, I couldn’t go west for a long time. So having my squirrel rifle in my hand, and when they were discussing and disarming the guide, their attention wasn’t on me, so I swung my rifle and knocked one bandit over the head, and he fell off the ferry into the river. At that time, the guide hit the other bandit, knocking him off the ferry, but he grabbed my shirt and pulled me into the river with him. I lost my squirrel rifle in the river. The bandit was pulling me and trying to hold my head underwater, but he didn’t know that I went swimming almost every day down at the creek swimming hole, and I was a very good swimmer. We were drifting downriver, so I caught the bandit around his neck in a choke hold with his neck in the crook of my arm. He was having trouble getting his breath and getting weaker and weaker. I pulled him over to the opposite shore. The ferry landed, and the two men left on board came running over and tied them up. The other bandit had drifted over to the shore, and we were going to turn them over to the sheriff.

The ferryboat owner said, Kid, you sure saved the day and earned your free passage across the Mississippi. This could have gotten very nasty quickly. I’m going to tell the sheriff your part in this capture. When the ferry landed, the owner sent a bystander for the sheriff. He wanted to turn over the two bandits and get rid of them as soon as possible. The sheriff came and handcuffed the two men and began asking all the questions you could think of. I told him I lost my rifle in the fight, that it fell into the water.

He said, Okay, kid. I’ll give you your pick and choice of the bandits’ rifles to replace yours.

I was wet and cold and needed to find some dry clothes, so I picked up my knapsack off the ferry deck and started walking toward the livery stable. The guide rode up to me and said, Climb aboard, kid. I’ll take you to the livery. He emptied his strip, and I stepped up behind him. My name is Joe Buttery, he said, part French, I think, although I don’t speak any French at all. What’s your name?"

Mine is John Martin from Appalachia.

What are you doing here? asked Joe.

I said, I’m going to the mountains to be free, to trap, and be my own man.

Kid, I was about your age when I came west and got so I love it. Kid, I like the way you handled yourself. I’m thinking of taking on a partner for this next trip.

What’s that? I asked.

My trip is guiding a twenty-five-wagon train from Indepen-dence, Missouri, to Oregon. We will have some Murphy wagons, Studebaker wagons, prairie schooners, some kind of store wagons among others. It will take about 120 to l50 days depending on what we run into along the way. It’s rough country, as well as Indians are in the territory. The pay to me is five dollars a day and found, I’ll give you two dollars a day and board. After the trip, I’ll think about going back to the mountains. If we work good together, maybe we’ll work out a trapping agreement and will split what we trap.

I said, Joe, that sounds good to me, but I would like to think on it a while. How soon does the wagon train leave here?

Joe said, One week.

The sheriff came to see me two days later and said, There’s a bounty on the bandits in the amount of five hundred dollars. I think it’s yours to do as you see fit.

No, I said, give me three hundred and Joe Buttery two hundred. He did a lot to capture the bandits.

The sheriff said, Okay, kid, if that’s the way you want it. I’ll look up Joe Buttery and tell him he now has two hundred additional dollars in his pocket.

I told the sheriff that I would try to buy a horse to go on this trip to Oregon with Joe. The sheriff said, John, those horses that the holdup men had are for sale. All the money goes to the school fund as well as paying my salary.

I asked the livery owner if I could stay the night. I found a pitchfork and threw some fresh hay in the stall toward the rear of the barn, stowed my gear, and went looking around the town. First, I located the gun shop. The old-timer in the gun shop had heard about the holdup on the ferry.

I said, I’m here to trade this Winchester 73 for a Henry 1866 .357 fifteen-shot rifle. Matter of fact, I want two of those. I also want two hundred rounds of .357 ammunition, a handgun .45 cal., gun belt, and holster. I’d like to know how much difference it would be between this Winchester 73 and the Henrys and the pistol?

He thought for five minutes then took out a stubby yellow pencil, wet it with his tongue, and wrote down some numbers on a piece of paper. I couldn’t see his figures. He finally said the difference would be forty-five dollars. I said, Throw in a cartridge belt for .357 Magnum shells, and we have a deal.

The old-timer looked at me and said, Done. I went over to the general store and asked about supplies I would need for the wagon trip to Oregon. He suggested a bedroll, slicker, blanket, two tin coffee cups, a coffeepot, plate, spoon, fork, and other accessories, and a sharping stone to sharpen our knives, I asked Joe what he thought I needed also. I asked Joe what I should do about the horse and saddle. Joe said, Let’s go to the livery and see what’s available. If we don’t get what we want there, we’ll try something else. I wouldn’t have any horse that I saw at the livery. We went over to the saloon and ordered a beer. I never drank a hard drink except for white lightning or moonshine my dad had made in his still. The moonshine coming out of the copper tubing is 190 proof, and it has to be cut with branch water to make it palatable, down to eighty or ninety proof.

We were sitting there enjoying the beer, discussing how to find a horse, and a cowboy overheard our conversation and walked over and asked to sit down at our table. We said, Of course, sit down.

My name is Ben, he said. I work for the Rafter T ranch. My boss, Mr. Baylor, has some horses for sale. He has one stallion for sale that’s an exceptional horse. He’s part Appaloosa and part thoroughbred, great conformation. Only trouble is, he’s not broke. The boss would probably sell him fairly cheap, but you have to break the horse yourself.

I would like to take a look at that horse if possible, Ben, I said.

We will ride out tomorrow if you want.

Next morning sleeping in the stable, I woke from a dream that a beautiful dark-haired young girl was kissing me rather rakishly on the face and mouth, and I was getting warm all over, if you know what I mean. With a startled effort, I grabbed at my face and wrapped my arms around what I thought was a beautiful, lovely lonely girl when I woke, and to my disappointment, my eyes saw a three-month old pup licking me all over my face and neck. He was a beautiful pup; half gray wolf and half water spaniel. He was very playful, and I immediately fell in love with him, and he with me, I believe. I asked the livery owner who the pup belonged to. He said, No one. He’s a stray.

I said, Not anymore and patted his head, and he licked my hand. I gave him a piece of jerky, and he was mine, and I accepted him also. From that moment on, we were inseparable friends. I told him, Dog, your training starts now.

That morning, Joe, I, and of course the dog, went with Ben to the Rafter T. We met the owner, Mr. Baylor, who greeted us warmly. He took us to the corral and showed us a magnificent-looking stallion—long legs, long neck, medium coupled back, great hindquarters, and as far as conformation was concerned, he was almost perfect. The question was, could he be broken? Mr. Baylor, how much are you asking for the horse?

The rancher said, One hundred dollars.

I said, I’ll give you seventy-five dollars the way he is and break him myself.

Done, said the rancher.

Dog went out in the corral to get acquainted, sniffing around and smelling the horse; he went up to him, and the stallion tried to paw him, but Dog dodged and wasn’t hurt. Dog went up to the horse’s nose and licked him. The horse stood there and looked at Dog. I asked Mr. Baylor if he had an old saddle that I could use temporarily. Sure, said the rancher. I’ll go get it. I roped the horse out of the corral and took it over to the snubbing post and tied the stallion close to the post with a nonslip knot; I didn’t want the stallion to choke himself pulling back on the halter rope. I put the saddle on him and started to cinch it down. The stallion had a trick up his sleeve like sucking in air and blowing his stomach much bigger than normal so when I tightened the cinch and he let the air out, the saddle would be loose, and the rider would fall off. But I was wise to him, and I waited until he had to breathe

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