The case of the unbelieving landlord

I guess we all know someone like Fred. They always think they are being cheated by someone; if it's not the government, it's the car repair place. They count the number of pills in the prescription bottle, they count the number of worms in the bait container; they go out to the electric meter to see if it's been read properly. Well, that was Fred all over.
Let's look at where this counting business led Fred Smith, owner of a boarding house in Braidwood in 1873. This story also reminds us to look before you shoot.
From the August 9, 1873 Wilmington Advocate:
“Fred Smith, of Braidwood, would not believe that there were ten thousand shingles put on the roof of his house, although the carpenter that laid them said such was the fact. He determined to test the matter by actual count; so he squeezed through the scuttle - Fred weighs 218 - and worked his way carefully toward the gutter.”
“When he has got part way down he heard a slight sound between himself and the shingles, and when he tried to slip further, he found he could not. There was in impediment of some sort, though he was not then in a situation to make any ocular investigation of it and both hands were employed in clinching hold of the shingles.”
“He slipped up a little, then down; then he moved from side to side, with quick jerks, hoping by this means to extricate himself. It was all to no purpose, however; he was held.”
“This situation now seemed to him quite desperate, and he resolved to turn over and crawl back to the scuttle, if he had to leave behind every rag of clothes he had on. He made an effort. A sound similar to the first, though louder and more prolonged, convinced him that a nail or a sliver had hold of the seat of his pantaloons. He did not turn over.”
“His folks were in the house, but he could not make them hear, and besides he did not want to attract the attention of the neighbors. He sat there for some time thinking what he had better do. He might have used the time in counting the shingles, but he didn't. His mind was not on that subject. It was getting dark.”
“An hour after dark he had not improved his situation. At length he was discovered by one of the boarders, who, taking him to be a thief; dashed into the house for his shot gun. At this point Fred says he began to realize the necessity of cutting off debate and substituting lightning movements. He made a spring! Things gave way, and he went sailing down over the shingles with awful velocity; his legs spread out like pair of compasses and his hair standing this way and that in flying confusion.”
“When he went over the edge of the roof, he uttered a howl and took along fifteen or twenty feet of the tin gutter. In his descent the boarder brought his shot gun to bear upon him and fired.”
“This brought out the whole household - Mrs. Smith, nine children, and thirteen boarders. Smith struck in the top of a cherry tree, and then bounded to the ground.”
“ In a moment he was recognized and carried into the house. Mrs. Smith fainted. Dr. Campbell is making very good wages in picking the shot out of his legs, and says that he will probably recover.”