From ERIC SHACKLE, in Sydney, Australia. <ericshackleATbigpond.com>
Back in the early 1970s there were two young lawyers named John Dean. One of them, John Wesley Dean III, became deeply involved in events leading up to the Watergate burglaries and the subsequent Watergate scandal cover up. The FBI called him "master manipulator of the cover up"
So when the second John Dean was setting up shop as an attorney in Brownsville, Kentucky. he decided to adopt a new name, to avoid being mistaken for the Watergate criminal. He chose the memorable and resounding name Nathaniel John Balthazar Bumppo, and has revelled in that name ever since.
The original Natty Bumppo, aka Hawkeye, was a character in James Fenimore Cooper's Leatherstocking Tales. A child of white parents, he grew up with Native Americans, becoming a fearless warrior who hunted only what he needed to survive, living by the rule, "One shot, one kill."
The second Natty Bumppo was born in 1940. As a young man, he was a reporter on (in turn) the Terre Haute Star; Associated Press, Indianapolis Star, Detroit News, Indianapolis Star, Chicago Sun-Times, San Francisco Examiner and Detroit Free Press,
He worked as a bartender at the Golden Horse Shoe saloon in Oakland, California, in 1968, as a Candygram delivery man for Western Union, San Francisco, on Valentine's Day, 1969.
He became a mail order minister of the Universal Life Church (bonded to perform marriages) in 1974.
Natty says he's been married five times but divorced only four. He wrote a hilarious article 'Why I'd Rather Be Natty Bumppo than John Dean (Wouldn't Everybody?),' published by Esquire magazine in June 1975.
In his spare time, Natty is an avid euchre player, and has written a book about that once-popular card game. "Euchre is a poor man's bridge," Natty declares. "Bridge is for discerners. Chess is for discerners. Euchre is for drunken slobs who think they know what they are doing."
He also edits an amusing and informative weekly newsletter, Tabloid Headlines.
POSTSCRIPT. Today's email from Natty:
In the early 1950s I was not yet even a teen-ager (until June 16, 1953, my 13th birthday); and neither was John W. Dean III until October 14, 1951, his 13th birthday. He did not become a lawyer until 1965, and I did not become a lawyer until 1973.
I met him, by the way; and that's a rather interesting story in itself. In June of 2004 (I think it was), the year his book Worse Than Watergate was published, he was a guest lecturer at the Kentucky Bar Association convention in Covington, Kentucky.
After his lecture, he autographed copies of his new book. I got in line. When I got to the front of the line, I shook his hand and said, "Mr. Dean, I did not buy a copy of your book; I just wanted to meet you. My name is Natty Bumppo."
"Oh," he said. "That's a very interesting name."
Friends behind me in the line egged me on. "Ask him what his name used to be," they urged him.
When I told him, he said, "Oh! Didn't I read about you in the newspapers?"
Ha, ha. Didn't he read about me in the papers?
Here's a link to the Esquire article, and here's one to Tabloid Headlines.
Natty Bumppo - YouTube