The Writer's Corner
Lucas McCain 1847
Before The Rifleman
Here is a really great story about Lucas McCain..... before the rifle..... before Margaret..... before Mark....
before North Fork!
Lucas McCain was born in
1847 in Evansville, Indiana. His parents were hard working
Irish immigrants who had come to this country during the
great hunger, the Irish potato famine during the years of
1845 - 1848. During this famine, the absentee land lordship
foreclosed on the Irish farms rendering whole families
shelter less with no source of income. Millions of peasants
died of disease, or starved to death, while another million
emigrated, many dying aboard the "coffin ships" provided by
the English to deport them to the United States and Canada.
These people had little skills to offer their new country
other than farming, and most stayed in the larger cities in
the east to try different occupations. Angus McCain had
different ideas. He had decided to take his new bride to the
farm country of Indiana and do what he did best. He knew it
would be a long time before he could buy a farm of his own
but he was young and strong and could work as a farm hand
until that day arrived. Times were hard but work was good
thanks to the generous nature of the Indiana farmers.
Angus's wife, Kathleen , would then be with child in the
summer of 1846. On April 10, 1847, Lucas was born.
He was a fine looking lad and very large at birth. His
childhood years were much the same as any other his age
although he did stand out among his friends. He was 6'0 tall
at 14 and still growing. By age 16 in 1863, he shot up to
6'5". This was the same year he finished his schooling and
enlisted in the
Originally he was issued a Sharps rifle, later replaced by
an 1863 Henry. During an engagement with a charging enemy
while dismounted (as was the rule), he accidentally fired
his Henry rapidly at oncoming soldiers. This occurred
because of two reasons; His unfamiliarity with his new issue
Henry, and the size of his hands caused only three fingers
to enter the lever mechanism while the index finger entered
the area of the trigger guard causing his finger to trip the
trigger upon return of the lever. In the heat of battle he
did not realize what was happening, only that he was firing
his Henry at a rapid rate. It was only after the battle when
he realized he had a bruised and cut index finger. Later he
modified his Henry with a ring lever to accommodate his
large hands and later yet he adds the trip mechanism screw
remembering how his finger activated the trigger.
After the war he used the Henry for a while and learned that
the company had been bought by the Winchester Arms Co. in
1866 and introduced the Winchester Yellow Boy. In 1873 he
purchased a Winchester of that model year and modifies it to
the same configuration as his old Henry.
This is the rifle he uses throughout his life.
*Evansville....."this ones for you Jeff!"
In November, 1962, Chuck Connors was the featured guest star
as The Rifleman at the Hadi Shrine Circus in
Evansville which ran 4 days with 8 shows. I had just turned
6 years old but I remember it like it was yesterday.
Also, Joe Higgins who played Nils, lived in Evansville in
1955-56 and was the Assistant Manager at the Hotel McCurdy
in downtown Evansville.
Dr. Jerry P. Galloway was originally from Evansville and he also remembers when.....
I read your site about Chuck Connors and the Shrine Circus in Evansville in 1962. I WAS THERE. I still lived in my birth city at that time and my grandfather was a high ranking official with the Shrine's Circus in Evansville at that time. So, I got to go down to the "temple" and MEET MR. CONNORS PERSONALLY before or after the show. And, I of course attended the circus at Roberts Stadium and sat with my family next to where he appeared. I was eight years old but can remember shaking his hand and looking up at him as we exchanged hello's and a comment or two.
Aside from being impressed by all that... I was always a big fan of the show. A serious and sophisticated western for the period.
This is a story based on the TV
series The Rifleman
Here are some other great stories. Enjoy!
around The McCain Ranch