Saturday, June 27, 2009

Bullet Stopped by Bible

Gerald C. Milnes, Signs, Cures, and Witchery: German Appalachian Folklore (Knoxville: The University of Tennessee Press, 2007), p. 27.

Robert Simmons [of Pendleton County, West Virginia], born in 1908, related a story to me about his grandfather, Martin Simmons. He said that during the Civil War, Martin was a conscientious objector, being of the old Brethren pacifist persuasion. When authorities came to force him into conscription, he hid under the house. Someone gave away his hiding place and he was discovered, but he attempted an escape by running across a field. He was shot in the chest as he ran by Armand Hiner, of Franklin, who, I presume, was there in an official capacity. Robert ends this story by saying that the shot never seriously hurt him, as the impact was almost totally absorbed by a small New Testament he had in his shirt pocket. Robert thinks a distant cousin still has the Testament, which "has some bloodstains on it."