“Old Jack” Hinson: Civil War Sniper Back When Sniping Wasn’t Cool

We admittedly do a lot of pondering and send the occasional robot to Mars, but human beings aren’t really so far removed from your typical baboon.

It is a lamentable aspect of the human condition that we seem inexorably driven to destroy ourselves. We drape our culture and our society in the mantle of civilization, but we are not really all that different from baboons or jackals. Ours is a tribal species, and our response to affront or perceived injustice is typically violence, even this deep in the Information Age.

Humans expend truly extraordinary quantities of sweat and treasure trying desperately to kill each other.

The numbers are frankly breathtaking. The warring powers during the Second World War produced enough bullets to shoot every human being on the planet forty times. If you took every penny spent by the US on defense from the end of WW2 to the end of the Cold War you could raze and rebuild every man-made structure in the United States. Despite our extraordinary capacity to reason and solve problems, we homo sapiens have become quite adroit at offing one another.

As a veteran myself, I love drones. Being able to smite one’s enemies without putting soft friendly flesh in harm’s way makes the armed drone the coolest invention since the flush toilet.

Modern combat is at its base simply infuriating. In the age of drone warfare, the enemies of our Great Republic are faced with quite the maddening lot. Day or night, fair weather or foul, it really doesn’t matter. Death comes for you out of the ether in the form of a Hellfire missile launched by an armed UAV piloted by some former cheerleader-turned-Air Force pilot operating out of an air-conditioned building in Nevada. That has got to drive those dudes crazy.

Sniping on the Information Age battlefield is a high-tech art. Back during the American Civil War it took every bit as much skill and was comparably terrifying.

The traditional faceless killer on the battlefield is the sniper. Artillery always racks up the biggest numbers, but there is something viscerally horrifying about catching a sniper’s bullet from an unexpected quarter. For as long as there have been accurate rifles, there have been soldiers behind them sowing havoc. This was certainly true during the American Civil War.

The Making of a Killer

Jack Hinson was one hardcore old dude.

John W. “Jack” Hinson was born in 1807. A wealthy Scots-Irish farmer in Stewart County, Tennessee, Hinson was known as “Old Jack” to his friends. He was a prosperous slave owner who attempted to remain neutral in the face of the brewing Civil War. He lived on his tobacco farm with his wife and ten children and was known for his temper.

US Grant broke bread with Jack Hinson before Hinson turned into a full-bore psycho Yankee-killing death machine.

When the Federal General U.S. Grant rolled through the area with his army, Jack welcomed him into his home. In February of 1862 Grant moved on to attack Fort Donelson and Fort Henry. As he departed, however, Grant left a Federal garrison behind.

The Patriot was a superb action movie wherein an Australian actor played an American Revolutionary War hero. It was, however, a fake made-up Hollywood story. By contrast, “Old Jack” Hinson was the real freaking deal.

“Bushwhackers” was the term applied to unconventional guerilla fighters who attacked Union forces from positions of concealment. In the fall of 1862, Hinson’s sons 17-year-old Jack and 22-year-old George were out deer hunting near their homestead. They came across a Union detachment that mistakenly took the two boys for bushwhackers. The Federal soldiers tied the two young men to trees, shot them to death, paraded their bodies around town as a message to others, and then stuck their heads on the gateposts back at the Hinson homestead. This turned out to be a really bad idea. You’ll note a similar plot arc drives the Mel Gibson Revolutionary War epic The Patriot. However, unlike The Patriot, this really happened.

The Crusade

This is the actual rifle “Old Jack” Hinson used to spread terror and chaos through the Federal ranks.

At age 55 Jack Hinson sent his family away to safety and contracted with a local gunsmith to build him a very special .50-caliber Kentucky Long Rifle. This custom-built weapon sported a 41-inch barrel as well as set triggers and weighed a whopping 18 pounds. Hinson used this weapon to engage in a one-man sniper war against the occupying Federal troops. He sniped Union soldiers both in garrison as well as in military columns and transports. He also engaged Union gunboats while they were slowly plying the waters of the Cumberland and Tennessee Rivers. His first two victims were the Lieutenant and Sergeant responsible for murdering his two sons, both shot cleanly from ambush.

The rapscallion Nathan Bedford Forrest was arguably the most cunning Cavalry General of the American Civil War.

Hinson eventually fell in with Nathan Bedford Forrest’s Confederate cavalry mob and served as a local guide during their attack on the Union supply base at Johnsonville. Jack’s son Robert was of age and led a band of unconventional guerillas in the area of Tennessee they called home. However, this young man was killed by Union forces on September 18, 1863.

Jack Hinson would pick off Union sailors manning Federal riverboats like this one from positions of concealment.

Using that obsolete muzzleloading long rifle “Old Jack” Hinson accumulated more than 100 kills. He sniped Union naval personnel off the decks of their warships and shot men out of the saddle as they passed by in supply convoys. His longest confirmed kill was nearly half a mile. Ultimately units from four different Federal regiments tracked him unsuccessfully.

The Rifle

The Kentucky Long Rifle represented a quantum advance in accuracy and downrange precision over the smoothbore muskets of the day.

The Kentucky Long Rifle was also known as the Pennsylvania Rifle or the American Long Rifle. At a time when men lived or died based upon their facility with a gun, the accuracy and firepower afforded by the Long Rifle was coveted indeed.

Gun-making in Jack Hinson’s day was all handwork and art.
Rifle locks back in the day were handcrafted and unique. There were very few interchangeable parts used in guns before the Civil War.

“From a flat bar of soft iron, hand forged into a gun barrel; laboriously bored and rifled with crude tools; fitted with a stock hewn from a maple tree in the neighboring forest; and supplied with a lock hammered to shape on the anvil; an unknown smith, in a shop long since silent, fashioned a rifle which changed the whole course of world history; made possible the settlement of a continent; and ultimately freed our country of foreign domination. Light in weight; graceful in line; economical in consumption of powder and lead; fatally precise; distinctly American; it sprang into immediate popularity; and for a hundred years was a model often slightly varied but never radically changed.”

— Captain John G. W. Dillin, The Kentucky Rifle

The unprecedented accuracy potential of the rifled musket gave rise to the modern concept of the battlefield sniper.

The Long Rifle was first developed in Southeastern Pennsylvania in the early 1700s. These early guns were crafted entirely by hand with little thought to interchangeable parts or mass production. When compared to the smoothbore muskets of the day these rifles were markedly more accurate. It was actually the advent of the rifled musket that facilitated the rise of the sniper on the modern battlefield.

The smoothbore Brown Bess musket helped establish and maintain the expansive British Empire.

The British Brown Bess musket that carried the Redcoats through the American Revolution was a smoothbore design with a 0.75-inch bore. The gun fired 0.69-inch balls. These intentionally undersized projectiles made the weapon notoriously inaccurate. However, given the profound amount of fouling that resulted from the crude black powder of the day, these dimensions ensured that the gun could remain in action through protracted firings without cleaning.

Patched balls offer high velocities and precision, but they are both slow to load and messy.

Rifled muskets like the Long Rifle offered much greater accuracy and velocities. These early rifles typically fired patched balls that were gripped tightly by the weapon’s rifling. However, the tight interface between ball and bore resulted in rapid fouling in action and demanded laborious reloading. The development of the Minie Ball helped alleviate this vice.

Minie balls incorporate a soft lead skirt that swells to engage a weapon’s rifling upon firing.
This is a human femur struck by a Minie ball during the American Civil War. Wow, that would really suck.

The Minie Ball was a cast lead hollow-based bullet designed by Claude-Etienne Minie. Minie Balls first saw widespread use during the Crimean War in the 1850s. The Minie Ball sported three grease-filled cannelures on the outside and a malleable skirt on the bottom. Upon firing powder gases tended to expand the skirt such that the bullet engaged the rifling without being unduly snug during loading. When carried in paper cartridges and fired through relatively precise weapons, like Jack Hinson’s Long Rifle, the Minie Ball afforded a decent rate of accurate fire as well.

The Rest of the Story

After the war “Old Jack” Hinson returned to his farm and what remained of his family.

After the war “Old Jack” laid down his arms and returned home to Stewart County, Tennessee. He settled the estate of his son George, one of seven Hinson children who had succumbed to combat, occupying Union forces, or disease during the course of the war. While he bumped up against the law from time to time, for the most part, Hinson didn’t bother anybody and few people bothered him.

19th-century medicine was fairly primitive. In response to serious medical challenges most folks simply died.

On April 28, 1874, Jack Hinson was at his new residence in Houston County, Tennessee, and complained of severe upper back pain. The local medical practitioner was summoned, and the usual treatments undertaken. Six hours later Hinson died. His presumptive diagnosis was meningitis. I obviously wasn’t there but given the rapidity of onset and tearing sensation between his shoulder blades I’d put my money on a dissecting aortic aneurysm myself. Old Jack was 67 at the time.

This is the handmade lock and set trigger on Jack Hinson’s custom-crafted Kentucky long rifle.
Jack Hinson peened these little circles into the barrel of his Kentucky rifle to signify Union officers he killed in combat. That’s a lot of circles.

Jack Hinson’s shopworn .50-caliber Kentucky Long Rifle survives to this day. The gun bears the marks of 36 kills. However, the number of 100 or more seems more historically reliable based upon period sources. It has been suggested that Old Jack only documented the officers he shot on his deadly implement of violence.

The Finnish soldier Simo Hayha was likely the most successful sniper in military history. Hayha killed 505 enemy troops in 100 days, typically at short to medium ranges using either a Mosin-Nagant rifle over iron sights or a Suomi submachine gun.
Chris Kyle epitomized the modern special operations sniper.

The Finnish sniper Simo Hayha was likely history’s most successful sniper with more than 500 verified kills, all taken at fairly close range over the span of 100 days. Numerous Soviet snipers racked up counts in the hundreds during World War 2. The American Navy SEAL sniper Chris Kyle had 160 confirmed. However, each of these warriors used fairly modern equipment. Back in the 1860s, a Tennessee farmer with a grudge used a muzzleloading single-shot Kentucky Long Rifle to terrorize thousands of Federal troops. His exploits stand in bitter testament to the chaos that can be wrought by a single determined rifleman with a gun. 

“Old Jack” Hinson’s story was one of betrayal, loss, heartbreak, and revenge. His tale was larger than life.

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  • Don October 17, 2021, 4:27 pm

    Here we had a great article and GOB and Frank go on a spree of complaining. Just sit back and enjoy. Dabbs’ article was damn good.

  • phil meyers October 8, 2021, 10:20 pm

    I liked the story and as a viet nam era marine who shot a 248 out of 250 in boot camp I like sniper stories . Nathan Bedford Forest Was the best General in the civil war ,Lincoln said so himself.

  • Jack Harson October 8, 2021, 8:58 am

    All of you commenters as well as the author should read Jack Hinson’s One Man War, A Civil War Sniper by Tom McKenney.

  • Jimbo, ecv October 7, 2021, 9:47 pm

    You know who I’m talking to.

  • Jimbo, ecv October 7, 2021, 9:37 pm

    Nice one, Doc. Keep it up.

  • Mikial October 5, 2021, 8:57 pm

    Excellent story. I really enjoy reading about the tough men of our past and the way they rose to the occasion under adverse conditions we can only imagine. It’s a shame that the actual history of the Civil War has been twisted and warped by the Left to the point of pure revisionism. All one has to do is read the book Killer Angels or watch the film Gettysburg that was based on it to see that it was a tragic war where friend fought against friend. In my opinion there were no good or bad guys, just dedicated men with two very different perspectives on the role of the Federal government and state’s rights.

  • Frank October 5, 2021, 5:49 pm

    Dear “GOB” (really amazing how appropriate some acronyms are), this will be my last communication with, in response to, or otherwise “affecting” you, as it obviously causes you quite a lot of anxiety. Feel free to rant from now until hell freezes over! You’ve already more than demonstrated that you are a self-important, hyper-critical, washed-up, grumpy old b@stard with nothing more important to do than criticize others. You’ve repeatedly embarrassed yourself in this forum as evidenced by twice having to offer apologies.

    I don’t really give a **** as to whether you accept my credentials or not. I have them. You should read your own posts however, as the Latin phrase is “summa cum laude”, NOT “Summary Cum Laude” as you penned. When you’re a self-appointed editor, don’t forget to check your own work! Beyond my academic performance, I graduated FLETC at the top of my class, and served as a Federal officer for many years. I also hold an ATP and flew commercially for years. I’ve driven commercially with loads topping 100k lbs. I’m an automotive and heavy equipment mechanic, plus a heavy equipment operator. I could go on and on, but suffice it to say, that I have no trouble “putting-up”. Just as importantly, I know when “shutting-up” is preferable… as when dealing with a mental midget. So go ahead… burn up your keyboard! Pound your chest while everyone else here is either laughing at you, or perhaps feeling sorry for your obvious mental issues. Perhaps you’ll eventually tire of hearing yourself talk, and you can crawl back up on your trike and pedal away. At least you didn’t post your real name. Ya’ gotta be thankful for that! Good day!

  • Clint W. October 5, 2021, 11:53 am

    Good story with a lot of comments that have nothing to do with the story. Best to copy and save this one as it will be thrown on the trash heap of Southern History at some point. There are a lot of fact based books out there about the South before, during and after the War of Northern Aggression, and it is glaringly obvious that just about everybody in media who comments about our history has never read one. The modern opinion of what the South was like in that era is so off the mark, it is laughable, and very sad. I don’t need to repeat what Orwell said about what is going on in this country, but history dictates, or should I say the lack of the knowledge of history, means we will do it all over again.

  • KOldman October 4, 2021, 11:34 pm

    A simple perspective change for those (like Biker) who criticize publicly and condescendingly:

    What is your point? If you claim that you wish to correct honest mistakes and help the recipient improve, public, ego-driven insults, sarcasm, and dismissal make your claim false.

    If you want to display your superior knowledge and receive fawning validation by other peanut gallery critics, THEN the above techniques might fit. As noted by others below, something IS missing in your life if that is what you want.

    I would suggest that you publish compelling, humorous, insightful, historically flawless stories of your own on some modern platform and thereby put the proof in the pudding…once you have established yourself as a credible and in-demand author, you can then sic your peanut gallery on those whose writings don’t meet your standard.

    In the mean time, rather than projecting your self-loathing over failing to produce in a place where your target has succeded, perhaps consider appreciating what you like about their work and shrug off the imperfections.

    • Frank October 5, 2021, 9:37 am

      Well said.

      • Grumpy Old Biker October 5, 2021, 11:19 am

        Poor Frank,

        So confused you don’t even realize you have just joined a peanut gallery exactly like the one your new hero tried so ineptly to ridicule. Which way is up, Brain Bank Frank? Confusion reigns!

        • Frank October 5, 2021, 8:19 pm

          (Posted twice intentionally)

          Dear “GOB” (really amazing how appropriate some acronyms are), this will be my last communication with, in response to, or otherwise “affecting” you, as it obviously causes you quite a lot of anxiety. Feel free to rant from now until **** freezes over!
          You’ve already more than demonstrated that you are a self-important, hyper-critical, washed-up, grumpy old ******* with nothing more important to do than criticize others. You’ve repeatedly embarrassed yourself in this forum as evidenced by twice having to offer apologies.

          I don’t really give a **** as to whether you accept my credentials or not. I have them. You should read your own posts however, as the Latin phrase is “summa cum laude”, NOT “Summary Cum Laude” as you penned. When you’re a self-appointed editor, don’t forget to check your own work!

          Beyond my academic performance, I graduated FLETC at the top of my class, and served as a Federal officer for many years. I also hold an ATP and flew commercially for years. I’ve driven commercially with loads topping 100k lbs. I’m an automotive and heavy equipment mechanic, plus a heavy equipment operator. I could go on and on, but suffice it to say, that I have no trouble “putting-up”.

          Just as importantly, I know when “shutting-up” is preferable… such as when dealing with a mental midget. So go ahead… burn up your keyboard! Pound your chest while everyone else here is either laughing at you, or perhaps feeling sorry for your obvious mental issues. Perhaps you’ll eventually tire of hearing yourself talk, crawl back up on your trike, and pedal away. At least you didn’t post your real name. Ya’ gotta be thankful for that! Good day!

    • Grumpy Old Biker October 5, 2021, 11:17 am

      Explain to us all in your condescending and superior manner exactly how your tidy little rant differs from the way you describe my brief and honest critique? And as you revel in the eager validation of your own fawning little peanut gallery — limited thus far to the formidable, yet hopelessly confused Brain Bank Frank — tell us how your intentions are strictly selfless and well-meaning, and that you are not projecting your own self-loathing in exactly the same manner as you have accused me in your bloated tirade.

      It’s obvious that you like to fancy yourself to be some kind of vigilante, intellectual pitbull, which is a silly delusion, but at least you got Frank on board. I’d like to party with you clowns.

    • Grumpy Old Biker October 5, 2021, 9:54 pm

      KOldman –

      What’s the matter? Did you lose the ability to type when you were finally made to realize that your own hypocrisy made you look ridiculous? Glad I could help you with that. Because it certainly did.

  • Capt. Doug Garwood October 4, 2021, 2:15 pm

    Why in the hell are you nitpicking a good story of early sniper history. If you don’t have anything better to do than bash a good story with a couple of mistakes then you need to go pound sand.
    Being a Civil War buff and relic hunter I found this to be an interesting read and a great story. He wrote a good story with a couple of errors. All of you who have a problem please raise your hand if you have never ever made a damn mistake !!!
    OH Yea if I spelled something wrong or made a grammatical error I am a human being and not a human doing !!!
    By the way it was within the states rights to secede from the Union at that time. Slavery was legal but that had nothing to do with the reason for the War. If the cotton producing states seceded then the Union Government would have lost their tariff revenues on cotton shipped to Europe. That would have emptied the Government pocket book and Lincoln couldn’t afford for that to happen So if you want to know the real truth it was not the Civil War it was the war of Northern Aggression. Lincoln started this War by sending 75,000 troops south to start the most horrific lost of American life.
    He had s plan to ship all people of African decent to Liberia !!!
    Look it up !

    Capt. Doug

    • Grumpy Old Biker October 5, 2021, 11:24 am

      Crapt. Doug –

      Do you have nothing better to do but complain about a simple critique of an otherwise enjoyable article? And this is hardly the place for all the rest of that gaseous blather. Next time you should just enjoy your article and ignore the comments you don’t like instead of posting g a longwinded, whiny rant.

  • archie brown October 4, 2021, 12:44 pm

    It was still a damned good read. Think of those primitive iron sights, kills at hundreds of yards, and how much a 50 cal. lead ball drops at that distance. Old Jack Hinson was a hell of a shot. Another good one, thank you, Will.

  • Mike in a Truck October 4, 2021, 12:32 pm

    Another great read by Dr. Dabbs. One tuff old bird that Jack Hinson. I wonder if he ever put his story to pen before he passed? His tactics would be interesting to say the least.It seems with so many pissed off Yankees looking for him he would have shoot and move if his rifle smoked like my T.C. Hawken!

  • James Morrison October 4, 2021, 11:41 am

    Though a Yankee myself I would have done and applaud the justice wrought by Mr. Hinson. At least I hope I would have done the same.

    BTW, I’m pretty sure that “The Patriot” was loosely based on “The Last of the Mohicans”.

    • Jake October 5, 2021, 10:31 am

      I was under the impression The Patriot was based on Daniel Morgan.
      One of the most historically accurate Revolutionary era films is “Drums Along the Mohawk.”

  • Texas Twostep October 4, 2021, 11:35 am

    Thanks for a great article Will. In a world full of tactical black ops scope reviews and in-depth analysis of high-speed charging handles, I truly appreciate the historical perspective you bring to writing. Keep these great articles coming!

  • edwin h October 4, 2021, 11:13 am

    what a great read.. thank you for keeping history like this alive and moving…

    • Jrp October 4, 2021, 5:38 pm

      Well said. Great read. Thanks

  • Stephen Binning October 4, 2021, 11:03 am


    I enjoy reading your articles. I can see you enjoy writing them too. Some may criticize what you do, but they keep reading……

    Thank you for what you do, and I look forward to reading your next article.

  • Charles Curtin October 4, 2021, 11:03 am

    I for I enjoyed the article. Looking forward for more.

  • Will Dabbs October 4, 2021, 10:23 am

    Wow. Tough audience this week. Thanks for pointing out the errors. I have duly rectified them.

    I pull one of these projects together each week. I rather suspect I enjoy putting them together more than you enjoy reading them. However, despite my best efforts there will be inevitable typos and historical inaccuracies from time to time. I own that willingly and, as always, appreciate your patience.

    As re: Grumpy Old Biker, I am truly sorry you find my presentation onerous. The Internet is awash to its gunwales with tedious uninspired prose. If you’re seeking something a bit more desiccated then there’s always wikipedia. What you describe is simply my effort to add a spot of flavor to these stories.

    My sincere thanks to you all. Were it not for engaged folks like you I wouldn’t get to do this. It really is a privilege.

    Will Dabbs MD

    The Word Monkey

    • Frank October 4, 2021, 10:42 am

      Not everyone is offended by the occasional typo, or other honest mistake. I always ran out of eraser long before lead in my pencils! Thanks for your service and your stories… I enjoy them!

      • Steve October 4, 2021, 11:53 am

        I, too, enjoy your articles and look forward to them. Please continue.

    • Grumpy Old Biker October 4, 2021, 11:47 am

      Doc Dabbs:
      I hope I didn’t leave you with the impression that I disliked your story, because I did enjoy it. I also greatly appreciate the effort it takes to create something and how easy it is to criticize. But with the affliction of social media (it is truly an affliction), it becomes so tiresome in general (not referring to your stuff here) to read so much poorly written and unedited junk that’s out there trying to pass as journalism and/or professional writing. In the future, I will gladly read more of your articles, and I will refrain from posting reviews in the future. When reading about history I actually prefer first-person, contemporary accounts, which are truly fascinating if sometimes a bit self-serving. But not everybody has written about their experiences.

      Please forgive my honest critique and keep on writing.

    • El Zorro October 5, 2021, 12:54 pm

      I love your columns! More please…

    • Jimbo, ecv October 7, 2021, 9:41 pm

      Witty retort, Doc.

  • Gonefishin October 4, 2021, 9:39 am

    There were many good men on both sides of the war. Most of both armies fought with bravery and honor. And there were war criminals on both sides to be sure. I am slow to vilify generals or call for statues to be taken down, it IS our history. But… Nathan Bedford Forrest was a rapscallion? The grand wizard of the ku klutx klan? And old Joe Stalin was misunderstood!

    • Grumpy Old Biker October 4, 2021, 11:27 am

      As for Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest. There are two different aspects to consider about this man (and all others): his personal life and his professional life. As for the latter, with no previous military training he was inarguably an amazing cavalry commander, possibly the best there was, if it’s possible to make that determination. Whatever he did beyond that is not my concern, though I certainly am not defending whatever he is alleged to have done or become.

  • GaDawg October 4, 2021, 9:03 am

    General Grant did not lead Union troops in 1962 having died many years before. You mentioned that Jack Hinson was from Stewart County but then returned home to Steward County. I enjoy your articles but please proof them beforehand.

    The movie, The Patriot, was not a work of fiction but was taken and likely embellished by Hollywood on the life of US General Francis Marion who fought in the French and Indian Wars and was known as the Swamp Fox during the American Revolution in the Low Country areas of South Carolina. He is credited in the lineage of the US Army Rangers for his unconventional guerrilla warfare tactics to fight the enemy. Quit reading modern history books which rewrite history. If you want a study of the Civil War, read the series of books written by Douglas Southall Freeman.

    • Zupglick October 4, 2021, 11:21 am

      Beg to differ. Ulysses S. Grant lived to be President of the United States after the War. I have a land grant with his signature.

      • Grumpy Old Biker October 4, 2021, 12:20 pm


        Gadawg was referring to the date 1962, not 1862, which was apparently a typo in the article that has since been corrected. I do believe everyone is already fully aware that U.S. Grant became president after the Civil War, but thanks for reminding us. And goodie for you for owning a document.

    • AK October 4, 2021, 2:50 pm

      “After only a year as Grand Wizard, in January 1869, faced with an ungovernable membership employing methods that seemed increasingly counterproductive, Forrest issued KKK General Order Number One: “It is therefore ordered and decreed, that the masks and costumes of this Order be entirely abolished and destroyed.” By the end of his life, Forrest’s racial attitudes would evolve — in 1875, he advocated for the admission of blacks into law school — and he lived to fully renounce his involvement with the all-but-vanished Klan.” – Ben Phelan, PBS

  • Chief October 4, 2021, 9:00 am

    Grumpy Old Biker: You aren’t only your biggest fan; you are your only fan. How miserable it must be to be you.

    • Grumpy Old Biker October 4, 2021, 11:20 am

      Dear Queef,
      In fact, it’s quite wonderful being me. I’m happy and healthy and doing just fine. What is it about your life that causes you to get in a hissy about a stranger’s harmless comment on the internet? Does posting unoriginal, snarky comments make you feel better?

    • Grumpy Old Biker October 4, 2021, 12:06 pm

      I’m happy and feeling great, thankyouverymuch. So what is it about your life that makes you feel better when you post unoriginal and snarky comments? So sad.

      • Grumpy Old Biker October 4, 2021, 12:22 pm

        Sorry for the double comment. I assumed the first had been rejected and so tried to submit an edited version.

  • R.R. October 4, 2021, 8:49 am

    Similar ages, siblings and children, are not that odd. Simon Bolivar Buckner, both a well-known acquaintance–even sometime friend–to Ulysses Grant surrendered Fort Donelson to Grant early in 1862. His son, SBB, Jr., born 1886, was the highest ranking US general officer killed in combat action in WW2, on Okinawa 83 years later. That’s quite a disparity in ages. My own family includes uncles younger than their nephews. Verile men have kids even in middle age.

  • Grumpy Old Biker October 4, 2021, 6:08 am

    Nice story. Except for the ponderously flowery writing and the overlong, philosophical lead-in. The author shows a tiresome fondness for his thesaurus and engages in some very clumsy sentence structures. How can 55-year-old (not 57 as stated) Jack Hinson have both “a 17-year-old son Jack and 22-year-old older brother George” in 1862? Wouldn’t it be more clear to say they were both Jack’s sons? Yes, it would. And Jack Hinson was Scots-Irish, not “Scotch-Irish”. Other than that, thanks for bringing up the story of a long forgotten American.

    • Todd October 4, 2021, 10:11 am

      I find these ridiculously longwinded and often not directly relevant preambles used in internet writing to be hugely bothersome as well.

      It seems that internet written presentation is killing standard-form writing.

      I note that often times it seems to be presented more as an excuse for posting – tangental at best – photographs.

      I wish that more internet writers would read what they have typed, out loud, prior to posting.


      • Frank October 4, 2021, 12:33 pm

        Careful there, Todd. The keyboard critics might point out that you misspelled “tangential”.

        • Grumpy Old Biker October 4, 2021, 10:09 pm

          Poor guy doesn’t know the difference between a simple typo, in this case one missed letter, and a sentence structure that confuses the meaning of the sentence. Don’t take things so literally, Frank, your simpleness is showing.

          • Frank October 5, 2021, 9:32 am

            If I’m “simple” as you claim, what do you call your inability to comprehend written English? There are adult literacy courses that might help you.

          • Frank October 5, 2021, 9:44 am

            BTW, my Bachelor of Science diploma has the words “summa cum laude” inscribed thereon. Just how well did you do?

          • Grumpy Old Biker October 5, 2021, 11:06 am

            Brain Bank Frank,
            This is the internet! Why did you stop with a mere BS (and that is truly BS) when you could have claimed to have a PhD in whining? It certainly couldn’t have been in English because you’re still struggling with the difference between a confusing sentence structure and someone being confused. In this case that is definitely you. Summary Cum Laude, RIGHT!

    • Frank October 4, 2021, 10:37 am

      Most folks recognize that the editor missed one, single word. I submit that the sentence should have read…

      “In the fall of 1862, Hinson’s 17-year-old son Jack and HIS 22-year-old older brother George were out deer hunting near their homestead.” (capitalization signifies the missing word)

      The sentence is easily understood, even with the missing word, by applying a little common sense. Take heart, though… at least you gave yourself an appropriate title!

      • Grumpy Old Biker October 4, 2021, 11:16 am

        Wrong again, Two Dogs. The addition of the “one, single” word “HIS” does not clear it up at all. Are we talking about Old Jack’s two sons or are we talking about the younger son and then switching over to his older brother? Thought so.

        • Frank October 4, 2021, 12:25 pm

          “His first two victims were the Lieutenant and Sergeant responsible for murdering his two sons,…”

          Well, if the excerpt above didn’t clear it up for you, I don’t suppose anything will. Sometimes you have to read the whole story to “get” the whole story.

          • Grumpy Old Biker October 4, 2021, 3:09 pm

            Boy, you are severely confused. The issue wasn’t that the author was referring to Hinson’s two sons, it was the wording of that one particular poorly constructed sentence that could have caused some initial confusion. Try to keep up. Or at least try to deploy some of that “common sense” you have heard so much about.

          • Grumpy Old Biker October 4, 2021, 3:12 pm

            Frank, I’m still wondering what possesses some folks to rant about simple things they don’t understand. Are you unclear that talking about Hinson’s younger son and his (meaning the younger son’s, not Hinson’s) older brother is the same as referring to Hinson’s two sons? Sheesh. How much schooling did you receive?

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