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When my grandfather, Reverend Henry Ingraham, (H. I) Cook was away on a preaching engagement, my grandmother, Amanda Jane Meadows Cook was often left alone with the small children at their farm on Barker's Ridge. The area was thinly populated and she experienced some scary times, as a woman alone would, either real or imagined. There were wild animals in the region and of course, there could be a human predator.

For a varment gun, my grandfather had purchased a single barrel, .44XL shotgun. This is a shotgun that is far smaller than one of .410 gauge. The ammunition for this shotgun consisted of a brass shell, .44 caliber about an inch and a quarter long, with a paper cylinder, crimped to a dome at the top about three quarters of an inch long which was where the shot was. (I know this to be true because I have one round that I am measuring as I write this little story.)

One night, she heard a disturbance out back of the house and fearing all kinds of things, was it a prowler? Was it a fox or wolf or bear after the livestock? What kind of calamity is about to befall us?

Being of sturdy stock, having been born in a log cabin, she was ready to defend her home against whatever. She grabbed her trusty .44XL shot gun, stepped out the door and fired it in the direction of the noise. That woman had guts.

There was only one problem, when she fired, the butt of the shotgun was resting under her nose and on her lips. Now this shotgun may have been small, but the recoil left her with bruised lips and a sore mouth for some time to come.

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In later years, when I was six or seven years old, my father took me hunting with him and we came upon the log cabin where she was born and spent the earlier years of her life. It was empty but still had it's glass windows intact but there weren't many of them. Today, not a one would have survived vandals.


Musings of her loving grandson Henry T. Cook, Lt. Col., USMC (Ret.)