A Plug of Tobacco
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From The Colorado Magazine, "Captain Silas S. Soule, A Pioneer Martyr" by C.A. Prentice, November 1935, Vol. XII, No. 6, pp 224-228.
Charles Addison Prentice was Silas' nephew, the son of his sister, Anne Julia Soule Prentiss. He changed the spelling of his last name. In this article there are several errors of fact, which I attribute to faulty memory. For example he says Silas was in the "Dow band comprising 12 men" and claimed they were going to rescue John Brown, when in fact it was the Doy rescue party of ten men and had nothing to do with John Brown. He also claims that Silas knew Kit Carson. I don't yet have any evidence that is true. Amanda Ellis, in her book, Pioneers, uses this article and perpetuates Prentice's mistakes. These stories are attributed in the article to Sam Dorsey, a soldier who we are told knew Silas during the time he was in the army.
"Captain Soule was a great favorite with the men of his own company. He was at one time playing a game of cards in his quarters with his sergeant and some of the other men of his command when one of the players asked for a chew of tobacco. It seemed that no one present had any chewing tobacco, so Captain Soule offered a bet of a dollar that he would get a plug of tobacco off of the next man that passed by on the road. The next man that passed was evidently a prospector, a tall gangling man leading a pack animal. Soule, sauntering out on the road, accosted him and accompanied him a piece down the road. In about ten minutes Soule returned to the game, chewing tobacco. He resumed the game and in a moment or two he reached in his hip pocket, drew out a full plug of tobacco, and passed it around. He met the stranger, borrowed a chew of tobacco, told a total stranger a funny story and so completely entranced him that he forgot that he had loaned his tobacco and that Soule had pocketed the plug and returned to camp. The bet was promptly paid."
"On another occasion a member of his command, who was largely given to telling big tales of his prowess as a hunter and fisherman, told a story of shooting a porcupine. Soule joined the conversation and before the story was completed the teller had changed the game from a porcupine to first a wolf, then a mountain lion, then a bear and wound up with a tiger hunt in India. Then Soule made him admit, amid a roar of laughter, that the nearest the story teller had been to India was Indiana."
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