On August 4, 1911, Reuben Samuel Collins and his 13-year-old son Orea Collins (also known as “E” Collins) were constructing a fence on the elder Collins’ property. He had been having a problem with the cattle from a neighboring farm coming onto his property and eating his crops so in an attempt to encourage the neighbor to confine his cattle, Reuben Samuel gave his neighbor a milk cow.
Some say August 1911 was particularly hot and of course farmers in those days had little or no means of escaping the cruel temperatures—often causing people’s tempers to flare. The Old Farmers Almanac lists the traditional period called the “Dog Days of Summer” as 40 days beginning on July 3rd and ending on August 11th and some believe this period to be an evil time.
On this August day, while Reuben Samuel and his son “E” worked on his fence, the neighbor and his son came into the field and shot at Reuben Samuel with his rifle. He missed, and when his next shot jammed the neighbor yelled for his son to shoot, which the young man did. Reuben Samuel was shot in the neck and as he lay bleeding on the ground, his son held his father in his arms until he passed. Both of the neighbors were sentenced to prison, which was of little consolation to E, the son of Reuben Samuel.
E Collins became an orphan on that hot summer day. Two August’s prior he had watched his mother, Annie Collins, burn to death. She was washing clothes in a kettle over a fire that had nearly gone out when she took a container that she believed to contain kerosene and poured it onto the coals. The can exploded and set her on fire. She was running around the yard screaming and E, her son, told her to run to the creek. At 11 years old, E didn’t know he should direct his mother to “stop, drop and roll”. He ran to the creek with his mother and saw her flesh floating to the surface of the water. The pain was so great and her screams were so loud and horrifying that 11-year-old E left the house that night; he held his hands over his ears trying to block out her painful screams. She lived just 12 hours.
E grew up and married and got a farm of his own. He had livestock, horses, an old mule, and various other animals. He grew vegetables, tobacco, soybeans and other crops. His farmhouse didn’t have hot water or a bathroom until he was nearly 70 and, by that time, both he and the house were too “old and broken down” to care. But one thing that E always kept stocked in that old house—and in his truck–were guns. Plenty of them. There was always a shotgun sitting in the corner of the living room and others in his bedroom. His wife, Hazie, knew how to shoot and did so on a number of occasions, usually to kill a snake. But don’t think for a minute Hazie would have feared using a gun to protect herself or her family against any predator. There were children in the house always–their children, neighborhood children, and later grandchildren. Every one of those children knew not to ever touch a gun without permission from an adult family member, and none of the children ever did. Did E live with fear? No, he was determined to be able to defend himself and his family. Perhaps he always wondered had he or his father had a gun on August 4, 1911, if the outcome may have been very different and perhaps he could have saved his father’s life.
E fathered two sons and one daughter but yet another August—this time in 1955–once again brought tragedy to his life. His eldest son Delbert was killed in a single vehicle accident in rural Kentucky. Fortunately E’s other son and daughter are still alive today and they still reside Kentucky, not too far from the old farm. They, too, always had a few guns around and seldom left home without one.
I’ve heard the story of Reuben Samuel, Annie, and E Collins many times over the years. You see, Reuben Samuel and Annie were my great -grandparents, and E was my grandfather who lived until I was 19. I remember squirrel hunting with him and helping him hoe the fields with his old mule. I remember bathing in galvanized tubs at the farm because there was no running hot water and the trips to the outhouse. I also remember the shotgun in the corner, the one I was taught to respect as well as the pistol he kept in his truck. When I was told the story of how my grandfather Reuben Samuels was murdered it was never about a gun–it was always about the evil men who used guns to kill him. It would have been the same had they used a knife, machete, a hammer or some other instrument often found on a farm. The truth, as all Conservatives know, is that guns don’t kill people–people kill people.
We can’t allow this President or this government to take away our right to own a gun. It is first and foremost our greatest defense against a tyrannical government and evil men who seek to do us harm.
Statistics prove that where the strictest gun regulations and laws exist, there is the most crime. As the saying goes, “When you outlaw guns, only outlaws will have guns.” Let’s stop this gun control nonsense and instead get to the root of the real problem. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” Let’s start putting the blame where it belongs: on people. Let’s start making people accountable for their evil actions. Let’s start teaching our children to respect life and God’s Guidebook for how to live our lives. Only then will evil men’s hearts be changed to think twice about taking a human life.
Collins, Reuben Samuel
Male, White, Widowed
Born: December 9, 1854, Kentucky
Died: August 4, 1911, Grant County, Kentucky
Age at Death: 56 years, 7 months, 26 days
Cause of Death: Bullet Wound in Neck – Murdered
Attending Physician: J. L. Vallandingham, Mt. Zion, Kentucky
Father: F. R. Collins, born Kentucky
Mother: Sarah Webster, born Kentucky
Informant: W. S. Collins, Elliston, Kentucky
Buried: Vine Run Cemetery, Grant County, Kentucky, August 6, 1911
Undertaker: J. B. Sanders, Dry Ridge, Kentucky.
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