Another prominent personality that graced Elkhart is the great Captain Adam H. Bogardus. He was born in 1833. He was known as the legendary "Champion Wing-shot of America" from Buffalo Bill's Wild West shows. He moved to Illinois in 1856 and settled near Petersburg, where game was plentiful. Later he moved to Elkhart as a professional hunter. As passenger pigeons became depleted, Captain Bogardus invented a device which shot glass balls into the air, leading to the development of modern-day trap shooting. While traveling with Buffalo Bill's show, the Captain and his wife's costumes were made by a Lincoln seamstress. He also operated a shooting gallery in Lincoln. He had written several books, one on his shooting accomplishments titled "Field Cover and Trap Shooting". He died in 1913 and was buried in the Elkhart Cemetery near Governor Oglesby's tomb. He is a member of the American Trapshooting Association Hall of Fame.
Capt. Adam Bogardus (

Civil War U.S. Army Captain Adam H. Bogardus--Star Sharpshooter of Buffalo Bill Cody's Wild West Show--Fired Away Inside His Home at Lincoln, Illinois, Yard, and Shooting Gallery in the Lincoln House Hotel

     Adam H. Bogardus (1833--1913) was a native of New York, where in 1854 he married Cordelia Dearstyne. A.H. Bogardus became a professional hunter, inventor, and legendary sharpshooting performer. According to the website of the Trapshooting Hall of Fame, A.H. Bogardus "began shooting a 'Brown Bess' type musket at age 15. Before he was 20, he had the reputation for being the best shot and hunter in his area."

     In the mid-1850s his wife and he moved to Chicago. There, Bogardus hunted to sell game to restaurants. In 1856 they moved to Petersburg in central Illinois and then soon to nearby Elkhart, where game was plentiful. In 1861 A.H. Bogardus was Elkhart's first street commissioner. During the Civil War, Bogardus recruited a regiment from the Elkhart area for the Union Army and served as its captain. In 1874, while living at Elkhart, Captain Bogardus published a book titled Field, Cover, and Trap Shooting, and it includes autobiographical segments (full text available via Google books). <-- click here for article in Dr. Leigh Henson, author of Mr. Lincoln, Route 66, and, Other Highlights of Lincoln, Illinois (


 "He became World Champion Wing Shot in London, England [1878]. Captain Bogardus came back to the U.S. and joined the Buffalo Bill Cody Wild West Show, traveling far and wide giving shooting demonstrations using his patented trap throwing device and glass target ball. Thus he is credited with having romanticized trap shooting, as we know it, throughout the world. On one occasion with a $5,000 side bet Captain Bogardus broke 5,000 glass target balls in 500 minutes. He operated a shooting gallery in the Lincoln House Hotel in Lincoln, Illinois, for many years in the building now occupied by Alvey's Drug Store and several other businesses [emphasis mine]. Mr. Shockey is a descendant of Captain Adam H. Bogardus." According to the website of the Trapshooting Hall of Fame, "the shooting gallery in Lincoln, Ill., did so well, he started a second at Hot Springs Park, Ark. When things got slow, he gave wing shooting lessons and was probably the country’s first paid shooting instructor."