Fremont County, Iowa

Conversation with Dick Bobbitt

by Jerry Birkby

View from the Attic ~ A Weekly Series
Fremont County Historical Society
Week of May 11, 2009

A CONVERSATION WITH RICH “DICK” BOBBITT

The Knox Community in Fremont County is now a distant memory. Today, it is the Knox Corner with the old church still standing. Knox only had one street, which was the road that ran through it as it now does. It did have a post office, a creamery, an egg buying station, a blacksmith shop and a couple of gas stations at differing times. The store reference in this article was across the street from the church.

During the years I was growing up, the old man of the neighborhood was “Dick” Bobbitt (born April 24, 1869, died Oct. 16, 1966.) He lived on the Bluff Road where Bob and Ila Golden now live, and was, in fact, Bob’s grandfather. Following is a conversation I chanced to have with him on Friday, March 4, 1960 and it appears as I recorded it in a diary I was keeping at the time.

BIRKBY: I suppose you remember quite a bit about Knox. Can you tell me a little about what you remember?

BOBBITT: Well, I remember when the old club-footed fellow, Bill Leffler, came to the neighborhood and everybody met at the schoolhouse to take up a collection for him. They raised $16 for him and he took that and maybe some other money he might have had and bought out a small store near where the Knox store now is.

BIRKBY: Was that “Lickskillet”?

BOBBITT: (Laughing) Well, yes, but Knox actually had several different names. I remember they used to call it “Tattletown” because everybody was always tattling on their neighbors.

Anyway this Bill Leffler was a pretty good storekeeper and he soon had a thriving business going. I think they said at one time he had an $1800 inventory built up.

Now he slept on a cot behind the counter and one night he heard someone at the window trying to break in. So he took his old “Navy” cap and ball revolver and laid the barrel across the edge of the counter. The moon was shining bright as day outside and he could recognize the feller jest as easy, and he had no trouble a’tall drawing a careful bead on the space between the feller’s eyes. So he drew back the hammer and squeezed the trigger, but when the hammer fell it lit on a defective cap--the cap went off with a snap but the powder in the chamber didn’t ignite. ‘Course the feller in the window, he heard the cap go off and knew what it was so he took off at a dead run.

BIRKBY: Man, I guess I can understand him taking off all right, but doesn’t that seem a bit harsh to shoot a feller between the eyes for trying to break in?

BOBBITT: Well, maybe, but that was the way things was done in those days. Anyway, the feller left the country and was gone for quite some time, but according to Leffler one day he came back and hung around outside for quite a little while and finally came inside. Leffler said he looked at him and said, “Yes, I see you, you S. O. B.” and then the feller turned around and went out and left the country entirely.


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Page updated on May 10, 2017 by Karyn Techau