The Outdoor Journal by Kyle Carroll
The Outdoor Journal
Be Sure of Your Target and what’s Beyond
It was a fine September morning in the year 1793. Absalom Stonecipher was 25 years old on this fateful day. He had put on a warm red shirt and headed for the timber to pick grapes from vines in a thicket that were “as thick as a man’s arms”. Absalom’s pioneer family planned to make wine and grape jelly from the grapes that would last them through the winter. Stonecipher was already in the heavy brush, picking low hanging fruit when Joseph Hawkins, (Davy Crocket’s uncle) saw something flicker amongst thick foliage. The two woodsmen were completely unaware of each other’s presence.
Davy tells what happens next in his biography. “It was a likely place for deer; and my uncle, having no suspicion that it was any human being, but supposed the raising of the hand to be the occasional twitch of a deer’s ear, fired at the lump, and as the devil wood have it, unfortunately shot the man through the body.”
Mistaken for game, is the category that this hunting accident would fall into today. The odds of these two being in the same grape thicket at the same time had to be really slim, but it happened. Sometimes concentrating on finding one thing for a long time can cause you to come to the wrong conclusion if you don’t take a second look.
Michael Wallis finishes the story of what happened to Stonecipher after he was shot in his book, Davy Crockett, Lion of the west.
Stonecipher yells when he’s hit and crashes to the ground, Hawkins realizes his mistake and rushes in to help. He finds Stonecipher with a round ball wound that entered his body just above his belt. He manages to load Stonecipher on a horse and get him to the nearest cabin on Horse Camp Creek. John Crockett, (Davy’s father) was sent for. John tells Davy to help saddle the horses and come with him. When they got to the cabin where the wounded man was, Crockett’s father, “determined the ball had passed through Stonecipher and apparently not damaged any organs.” After wrapping a silk handkerchief around the ramrod from his rifle, “John inserted the ramrod into the gunshot wound and pushed it through and out the exit hole on the other side. Then he took both ends of the silk handkerchief that remained in the wound and pulled it back and forth through the opening.”
Stonecipher survived the ordeal.
Being sure of your target is one of the main rules of firearms safety. It’s been that way for a long time. Be double sure what you are aiming at this fall. Davy would tell you the same thing.