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John Newton Rule, called ‘Newt’ by all, was a lucky man. He earned a good living doing what he enjoyed most, hunting and fishing. He was born in Petersburg, Illinois on April 29, 1870, and as a young man, operate a livery stable in town with his brother, Dick until 1904. After that, drawn by the excellent hunting and fishing along the Illinois River, he moved to Beardstown with his wife, Mary Elizabeth (nee Kern), who he married on a trip to Chicago in 1895 and their daughter, Auverne.


Not one to let an opportune season pass, Rule kept busy running a shooting gallery during the summer months. He surrounded his hand painted target boards with various advertising posters and felts from popular ammunition companies of the day. Although photos of Rule standing in this gallery looking quite impressive with his Winchester rifle and cowboy hat, no one remembers what happened to the gallery, including the decorations and scenic target boards. Rule was a true carnival man. His granddaughter remembers him relating how he shaved some of the bullets for his ‘sure shot’ customers. With this bit of trickery, even the best shots would be hard pressed to hit the targets, guaranteeing that few would win his better prizes. Maybe his shooting gallery was one of his best decoys. Even so, Newt Rule was a well-like man. He was respected by both locals and visiting hunters, and was considered to be one of the better hunters and fishermen in the state.



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