Why Cap'n Nance Killed Bud Knolles
Bill Brett wrote:
"I did know one feller that had killed three men. Bud Knolles, it was. He killed his first one up at Batson during the oil boom, but there was so many killed up there that if it wasn't a plain case of murder, the authorities didn't even arrest them for it. That's what happened to Bud.
The next one he killed was when they was building the Missouri Pacific railroad from Beaumont to Houston. Him and another mule-skinner got in an argument, and that evening after they come in and tended to their teams, they each got a singletree and got after each other. Bud got beat up some but finally split the feller's head open and then finished him off on the ground. They took that one to the grand jury, but they no-billed him on self-defense.
The third was at Liberty. Him and somebodyI can't remember his name right offhad a falling out at the saloon and just fell out in the street with their pocket knives and cut each other down and then laid side by side and kept cutting til they was drug apart. Bud finally got over it, but the other feller died. They no-billed him on that'un, too.
Well, after that lots of folks was skeered of Bud, and he knowed it and got pretty overbearing, 'specially when he'd had a few drinks. People would get out of his way and leave him alone all they could and try to get along any way they could, and he just got worse and worse.
Well, he come to town one day and hit several saloons and was coming out of one just as old Cap'n Nance was going in, and Bud just pushed the old man down on the porch and told him to get the hell out of the way and went on.
Now, if there ever was a mild man, it was the old captain. He'd fought from start to finish in the Civil War, and when he came back, he bought a place a mile or two out of town and settled down to minding his own business and leaving other folks alone, unless he was needed. He'd got too old to farm he was ever' bit of eightybut he'd walk into town every day, get the mail and one drink, and go back home. That's what he done after Bud pushed him down. Got his drink and went home.
Well, sir, I heard he got some water and cooled awhile and then took a bucket and some other things and went out next to the road and set down on the bucket in a little patch of brush under a big tree. Directly he got up and cut a sprout and set back down and whittled on it while he was waiting. Just before sundown he heard a horse coming and leaned forward and jabbed the stick in the ground. It was forked, and he laid his old double-barrel on it, and when Bud Knolles got close on the road as he was coming, the captain cut him half in two with one barrel, and when Bud's horse run off and the dust settled, he took his time and walked over and give him the other barrel. I learnt two things out of that. One is that when they said Colonel Colt made all men equal, they didn't give near enough credit to Mr. Remington's ole double-barrels, and the other'n was that old folks don't like to be pushed around any more than young ones do."
----- Bill Brett, "This Here's a Good'un," 1983
Beauty is only skin deep but Texas is to the bone.