PROMOTED TO THE GAME CHICKEN OF THE WALK
By S. C. Turnbo
Most all the old timers of Taney County, Mo. and Carroll County, Ark. were personly acquainted with Bob Rains. He was such a noted character that his fame as a fighter spread over a large extent of country along White River. He would visit Forsythe and Carrollton frequently and get to drinking and become boisterous and raise a fuss with some man by threatening him to run a bluff on him. If that was not satisfactory he would jump on the man and whip him. Many men were afraid of him and taken a great deal of his abuse rather than to get Into trouble with him. In raising a quarrel he would claim that some man present that he desired trouble with had insulted him. Usually the accusation was charged against the party merely to have some excuse to get into a fight with the man in order to get to whip him then boast of it afterward. Though Bob Rains was very rough at times especially if drinking rotten whiskey but when he was sober he was a kind hearted fellow and in spite of his terrible manner of dealing with his supposed enemies he commanded the respect of a goodly number of the citizens. In fact he did not fuss with every man he met because he knew that only a certain class of his fellow man would take his abuse. He would usually pick on those men that he supposed was timid and dreaded him. Knew all those fellows that would bear so much of his abuse and no more and these he kept on friendly terms with but he made two mistakes during his life by picking men that he thought he could bull doze. The last man he met that he was mistaken in was John Jackson in front of John P. Vances Store at Forsythe. Jackson who was a large robust man drew his sharp pointed knife when the row commenced between him and Rains and stabbed the latter in the head with it. Jackson struck several blows with the knife and the point of the knife entered the skull bone at each stroke and Jackson would have to pull hard to draw the knife from the skull to repeat the stroke. He struck only a few licks when Rains sank at the feet of Jackson and died instantly which put an end to his career as a bully and fighter. Rains was abusive and of an over bearing disposition yet the most of people regretted to learn of his death. A number of years before he met death in Forsythe he attacked a man one day in Carrollton that lowered his notches in Carroll County.
The account of which was written to me by Col. Sam Peel of Bentonville Arkansas and the noted congressman of Northwest Arkansas. Col. Peel wrote that it was customary of Saturday evenings for the big fighters of the surrounding country to visit Carrollton and drink cheap whiskey at John Potts Grocery Store until their fighting spirits would crop out and a big row would soon be on hand. For a long time the king of the neighborhood was the boss fighter Bob Rains who had worn the champion belt for several years. He had whipped all the biggest fighters in the country. Finally on one Saturday evening when Potts had dealt out plenty of his stuff called cheap whiskey and Rains who was present as usual wanted to fight and he soon got what he needed. There was a black smith who had recently moved into town of the name of Jack Cox and Bob Rains pretended to take umbrage at a remark that Smith had made in Rains hearing and Rains made at him for a fight. The black smith was game and they clinched at once. Neither one was armed and it was a real old tim combat. They both struggled hard for the mastery. Some of the bystanders wanter to hurrah for the blacksmith but they were afraid that he would get threshed and Rains would whip them when he turned the black smith loose. A few of the men cheered Rains to keep on the friendly side of him. The battle went on each antagonist doing his utmost to overcome his enemy and after several minutes of desperate fighting with their clenched hands the crowd of men were astonished at seeing the black smith gain a complete victory over Bob Rains and he left town a vanquished man. So Jack Cox was the game rooster of the walk and was called Bully Jack to the day of his death.
Springfield-Greene County Library