Dec 20 2007
08:38 am
By: WhitesCreek

We have a wealth of history in East Tennessee that should be savored.

The conversation turned to Sgt. Alvin York, from just up the road at Pall Mall, which is pronounced "pell mell" as you already know unless you'uns ain't from around here.

Here's an excerpt from his diary. Now I know where the term "turkey shoot" came from.

In our shooting matches at home we shot at a turkey's head. We tied the turkey behind a log, and every time it bobbed up its head we let fly with those old muzzle loaders of ours. We paid ten cents a shot and if we hit the turkey's head we got to keep the whole turkey. This way we learn to shoot from about sixty yards. Or we would tie the turkey out in the open at 150 yards, and if you hit it above the knee or below the gills you got it. I think we had just about the best shots that ever squinted down a barrel. Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett used to shoot at these matches long ago. And Andrew Jackson used to recruit his Tennessee sharpshooters from among our mountain shooters. We used to call our most famous matches "beeves." We would make up a beef, that is, we would drive up a beef and then each pay, say a dollar until we had made up the value of the beast. The owner got this money. And we were each allowed so many shots. The best shot got the choice of the hind quarters, the second best the other hind quarter, the third the choice of the fore quarters, the fourth the other fore quarters, and the fifth the hide and tallow. Our matches were held in an opening in the forest, and the shooters would come in from all over the mountains, and there would be a great time. We would shoot at a mark crisscrossed on a tree. The distance was twenty-six yards off hand or forty yards prone with a rest. You had to hit that cross if you ever hoped to get all of that meat. Some of our mountaineers were such wonderful shots that they would win all five prizes and drive the beef home alive on the hoof. Shooting at squirrels is good, but busting a turkey at 150 yards--ho ho. So the army shooting was tolerably easy for me.

From the Diary of Alvin York

Fascinating read, but draws you in and keeps you there.

This is flat neat.

Explains a lot. Thanks for posting this.

Tennessee's history is EXTREMELY interesting!


Not a bad idea, Beef.

My kids were asked to build websites several times during their Roane County School careers. My youngest is home from college and out turkey hunting this very minute.

There are several historical lines of thought that they would be interested in, I'm sure.

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