How Jack Elam Earned His Rifle

Written by Liz Elrod

Many years ago people were the same as they are today. Kids were kids and wanted things just like kids do today. Maybe the things that they wanted were a little different that the wants of kids today. Jack Elam was about 11 or 12 years old and just like any another boy he wanted a rifle so bad that he could almost taste it. In those days it was very important for a boy to own a gun. He had asked his dad Bill many times, and he always was told no.

It was within the year of 1934-35 and these folks lived near the Cantrell cemetery, and folks did not go near a cemetery without having seconds thoughts, especially at night.

Once when Jack asked his dad that same old question, "When can I have a rifle?" Bill told his son "Ok, but...only if you go up to the cemetery." There was a grave there that belonged to a civil war soldier. Whoever that buried him piled rocks up very high and they had created a hole inside of the grave that looked like someone was going to leave him mail.

Bill told his son to take a piece of paper that he was given and place it inside that hole. It was the blackest night in the world, no moon light was shinning, it was just pitch black. Jack took the piece of paper that his father had given him and headed towards the cemetery. It was a scary thing for a young boy to do, but he wanted that gun. After he placed that piece of paper in the grave he headed home, and boy did he travel. He ran almost all the way and in his imagination he was sure that someone was following him.

A relative by the name of Melvin Glover was visiting, them and Bill sent him to the cemetery to make sure that Jack really was there, and he brought the piece of paper back with him.

You can be sure that Jack got his rifle and very sure that he felt that he had earned it.