CHAPTER I: FROM WHENCE
CAME A TARZAN?
Gather around all Tarzan fans
and acquaintances, and you shall learn how it came about. Herein lies a
true life story.
Most Americans believe they were born in freedom, yet few can claim
they were born in Freedom, Indiana. But let us not pretend, as autobiographers
sometimes do, that the world began with my arrival. Millions of people
were already here, and some of them, especially a fellow named Edgar Rice
Burroughs, were to shape the life of a child of the new twentieth century,
namely, James H. Pierce.
The first James Pierce in my family was born in 1846 of English heritage.
His son, my father, James Martin Pierce, was born in 1880 in a log cabin
near Quaker City, Ohio. This cabin, 176 years later, still stands. James
Martin Pierce's mother, Priscilla, was born Priscilla Courim in Ireland
Since the original James Pierce, there have been four more: James Martin,
James Hubert (we shall keep that Hubert as quiet as possible as he became
a Tarzan in 1926), James Michael (my son) and James Christian (my grandson),
now 15 years of age.
In 1899 my father came to Freedom, Indiana, to live with his uncle's
family, James Courim. He had an argument with his new step father and his
favorite uncle invited him to come live with his family.
He was nineteen years of age, six feet tall, and weighed 190 pounds.
HIs uncle arranged a job for him with the township road building department.
His job was a wagon driver, hauling crushed rock from a stone quarry, and
gravel from t eh White River sand bar near the town. It was a small winding
river, perhaps a quarter of a mile wide and deep in the middle; a place
where all the kids learned to swim and fish. My swimming ability came in
handy many times in Hollywood.
One day as he was working where the road ran past the home of Perry
Commodore McIntosh, a beautiful girl appeared on the veranda. After a double
take by each other, they smiled. This Scots lass, Jenny McIntosh decided
to learn his identity. She offered the driver of the next wagon a peach
if he would give her the name of the new fellow in town. Soon Jenny made
it a point to see that he was invited to the next church social. (As in
many small towns then, social life revolved around the church.) Jenny was
the leader of the Baptist Young People's Union. Commonly known as the B.Y.P.U.
He soon became active in the group and started "sparking" Jenny. Today
it would be called dating. They quickly fell in love and became engaged,
and soon were married.
Jenny had three brothers and two sisters. Her oldest brother was named
Rosencrans McIntosh. Her father had fought in the Civil War under General
William Rosencrans. This brother shortened the name to Rose which understandably
didn't help him too much. He developed into a good fighter because of this
name. He was, at this time, agent for the Pennsylvania Railroad Company
in Freedom. He also had a farm on a high hill overlooking the village and
the wooded country surrounding it. Rose gave his new brother-in-law the
job of operating the farm. It was a profit sharing arrangement.