Great-Uncle Louie Shot Member of Jesse James Gang

Even though no one believed him at first, one Lawrence, Kansas homestead proves a crack shot as he hit a Jesse James gang member at a great distance.

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Great-uncle Louie always took his rifle with him when he rode out on horseback. One day when he was riding along the Kansas River west of Lawrence, Kansas, a short distance from his home, a shot was fired at him. He raised his rifle and returned fire. He suspected he had hit someone, but he did not wait to see. Instead he headed for town to notify the sheriff.

On the road he met a posse and the sheriff riding in search of members of the Jesse James gang who had broken out of jail.

Uncle told the sheriff his story and led him to a little peninsula made by the curve of the river where the exchange of shots had taken place.

The sheriff was unbelieving when Louie told him he had wounded a man.

"Louie," he said, "you could never hit a man at that distance. I could go over there and stand by that log and let you shoot at me all day, and you'd never hit me."

The sheriff's posse rode to the peninsula and there they found the cornered fugitives. One of them had been shot.

"When you decide to take a shot at me, Louie," the sheriff remarked when the outlaws had been captured, "let me know ahead of time so I can leave the country."

People in the community laughed about this incident for a long time.

E. F. Stepanek
Cuba, Kansas


Back in 1955 a call went out from the editors of the then Capper’s Weekly asking for readers to send in articles on true pioneers. Hundreds of letters came pouring in from early settlers and their children, many now in their 80s and 90s, and from grandchildren of settlers, all with tales to tell. So many articles were received that a decision was made to create a book, and in 1956, the first My Folks title – My Folks Came in a Covered Wagon – hit the shelves. Nine other books have since been published in the My Folks series, all filled to the brim with true tales from Capper’s readers, and we are proud to make those stories available to our growing online community.