Samuel James Adkins and his pet squirrel
The picture above shows my Grandad Adkins and his pet squirrel. It was probably taken when he was in his late 80’s or early 90’s.
An interesting fact, at least to me, was that Grandad’s biological father was killed while taking a team of horses across a flooded stream. This was around Chariton Iowa. His Mother then married her husband’s brother. Both brothers had served with the Union Army during the Civil War. Thus he is the only person I know who had two fathers who both served during the Civil War.
Granddad Adkins lost his right hand in a hunting accident when he was a young man. He was quite adept using only his left hand. He could harness horses and drive a four horse team using what was always termed his "stub arm." In addition to farming he was a County Commissioner-Hitchcock Co. My dad told me about watching "Sam", as he was known by most adults, play pool with a special sleeve made to fit over the stub. It had a ring mounted in the sleeve to hold the pool cue. He was a good pool player. I remember watching Granddad wrestle with brother Jim, he would use that stub quite effectively for a choke hold and he could punch with it as well. He was a proud man and carried himself with dignity. He was five feet ten or eleven inches tall, had grayish eyes and always had white hair and a mustache to match. His wedding pictures do show him as having dark hair. It was from his teaching that my brothers and I learned to use fire arms. He taught us gun safety, proper use of weapons, and the principles of hunting. We learned to use a rifle, shot gun and hand guns. I remember that Granddad almost always carried a loaded hand gun with him and I asked him about this once. He said, "during my lifetime I have known many men who I would not like to meet unarmed." He would tell many stories that I still do not know if they were true or not since he was an interesting "story teller." Such as the one he told about helping his half-brother "Doc" vaccinate hogs for farmers around the countryside where they were not well known. Doc, a name he apparently assigned himself, would manufacture his own vaccine to treat hogs for erysipelas. Granddad said, "many times he was glad that his horse was faster than those of the farmers when they discovered they 'had been had'."
Obituary--S.J. Adkins (Trenton Register)
Samuel James Adkins was born Oct 18, 1866 at Newbern, IA. He came by covered wagon to Nebraska where they settled on a homestead 10 miles north and east of Alma, NE., on the day he was 12 years old, Oct 18, 1878. He lived his early life around Alma and Oxford, NE. He was married to Lucy B. Weekly, April 29, 1903. He passed away at his home in Trenton on May 9, 1959 at 3:30 AM at the age of 92 years, 6 months and 19 days. He leaves to mourn his passing, his wife, Lucy and three daughters, Mrs. Doris Ellis, Mrs. Beulah Seybold and Mrs. Mildred Frick, all of Trenton. A son Charles, preceded him in death in Feb 1924. He leaves 11 grandchildren and 13 great grandchildren; one brother, Ora B. Adkins of Holdredge, NE.; several nephews and nieces and a host of friends. The family spent the first years of married life in Oxford, NE. where he served 8 years as City Marshall. He resigned from this work and bought a farm 4 miles south of Edison, NE. where they lived four years. They wanted to go further west and moved to Trenton in March 1919 and bought the Owen Murphy farm 5 miles east of Trenton. During this time he served as County Commissioner 12 years. He retired from farming in 1947 and moved to Trenton. He gave his life to God and was baptized in Feb 1955 and continued in his faith until the last.