Wednesday, February 10, 2021

C.C. Gwinn, a fox & who outfoxed whom?

The initial story in this odd little exchange was published as follows on the front page of The Chariton Herald-Patriot of Jan. 15, 1931, under the headline, "Farmer Near Lucas Caught Fox Tuesday Then a Gang Stole It" ---

"C.C. Gwinn, farmer living southwest of Lucas, had an experience Tuesday that he will not soon forget, he says.

"Staring with his dog and his gun early Tuesday morning, Mr. Gwinn set out upon a hunting trip. He had not been out long when the dog uncovered the trail of a fox and started the chase which led the animal past Mr. Gwinn who laid it low with a couple of well-aimed shots.

"Mt. Gwinn took the fox to his home and had just finished preparing the pelt for market, when four men appeared upon the scene, with guns, informing him that they wanted Mr. Fox. Gwinn argued the case, but finally was forced to turn the pelt over to the men.

"According to a description of the men, the leader was a 'rusty looking individual with long hair. One of the men was tall with red whiskers, while the other two were rather dark and would be hard to describe.'

"As soon as they got the fox pelt, the quartet disappeared."


The follow-up was published in The Herald-Patriot two weeks later, on Jan. 29, as a letter to the editor under a "Public Forum" header:

"Wishing to correct the report in the Chariton Herald of January 15 of the farmer living southwest of Lucas having a gang to take the fox pelt he got Tuesday, January 12. Wishing to state that we, the rusty looking individual with long hair, the tall slim fellow with red whiskers and the two that were rather dark and hard to describe have had almost a lifetime acquaintance with Mr. C.C. Gwinn. That we went out early in the morning of January 12 with five dogs, started the fox and ran it to the place that Mr. Gwinn placed the two well aimed shots at Mr. Fox that ended the chase, and Mr. Gwinn took Mr. Fox home and prepared the fox pelt for market.

"But the snow lying on the ground gave Mr. Gwinn away and as soon as we asked Mr. Gwinn for the pelt of Mr. Fox, he gave it to us and we were soon on another hunt. Signed, H.E. Becker, Walter Goben, Ray Sinclair, John Benge."


It's not clear from this little exchange who outfoxed whom --- and a gullible newspaper editor may have been the principal victim. But it's a darned good story. Photo by Joanne Redwood (public domain)

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