Launching GoFundme Campaign

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I have launched a Gofundme Campaign to raise funds needed to publish my Laramie Taylor Saga, beginning with Laramie’s Thunder. while I am well under way at finishing the rough draft. I am in need of funding to travel to conferences, and author events to find the right publishers to take on my project. I am asking you to my readers, supporters, fellow Western authors, and western enthusiasts abroad to Fund Laramie’s Thunder. visit http://www.gofundme.com/FundLaramiesThunder to give for this wonderful trilogy that I have pioneered from the beginning, and help me in my journey to becoming a successful author.

Thank you to all of my readers, and PALS.

Categories: Cowboy Code, Current Events, Laramie Taylor Series, Western, Western Authors, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Remember Purgatory?

written by Shotgun Bo Rivers @shotgunborivers

Remember Purgatory the 1999 western fantasy film? Looking through my western collection the other day I stumbled upon my DVD copy of Purgatory. one of my personal favorites. Th e fantasy that maybe the old west outlaws were held up in some in between to live and prosper and seek remorse from heaven. Sure it certainly is not your every day western film, but if you as a writer could go and visit the town of Refugee, and get the stories from the outlaws themselves.

In the film Purgatory; The Old West meets the Twilight Zone as a band of desperadoes led by Blackjack Britton, are on the run after a failed robbery. and ride into the town of Refuge. It is immediately noticeable that something is different as the town marshal doesn’t carry a gun and the gang is offered free room, food, and drink but are cautioned not to swear. Slowly, the youngest member of the gang realizes that all the townspeople are Wild Bill Hickok, Doc Holiday, Billy the Kid and other dead gun-fighters that he has read about in his dime novels.  When a stagecoach arrives with the woman,  killed during their bank robbery, Sonny realizes the truth about Refuge. Sonny also meets a young woman, whom he learns was hung, that he falls in love with. This pits him and the now non-violent gun-fighters against the gang who decide that they can destroy the town. However they learn that there may be greater powers involved than their own.

Is there a possibility of a place between Heaven and Hell? and if there is would it be like Refuge? what are you thoughts of the TV Film Purgatory?

 

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The Legend of Black Bart

Born Charles Boles, Black Bart was known for being a skinny, short and bald, man. To enhance his qualities he took on a supernatural look. He wore a long white linen duster over his clothes, and a flour sack with cutout eye holes over his derby-topped head. Never owning a horse, he walked to his crimes, carrying a shotgun so old and rusty that it wouldn’t shoot. In fact, the weapon was never loaded. Black Bart always worked alone, although he would frequently create decoy gunmen for back-up, placing wooden sticks on boulders to stimulate their rifles. Bart’s strategy was deceptively simple psychology. He would wait at a dangerous bend in the road where the stage was forced to creep along slowly. At just the right moment, he emerged as an apparition in the deepening twilight.  As a gentleman bandit he plagued the stage lines of Wells Fargo and Company for over eight years during the 1870s and 80s. He relied on his quick feet for getaways, melting ghost-like into the brush. His deep, and hollow voice and polite confident manner added to this ghostly effect. Demonstrating a squeamish sense of humor, he frequently left a poem handwritten on foolscap paper in the emptied strongbox, which infuriated Wells Fargo officials. The two most often quoted of these Poems were;

First at the scene of the August 3, 1877, holdup on a stage traveling from Point Arena to Duncan’s Mills it Read:

I’ve labored long and heard for bread
For honor and for riches
But on my corns too long you’ve tread
You fine-haired sons of bitches.
—Black Bart, 1877  The  P O 8

The second verse was left at the site of his July 25, 1878, holdup of a stage traveling from Quincy to Oroville. It read:

Here I lay me down to sleep
To await the coming morrow
Perhaps success, perhaps defeat
And everlasting sorrow

Let come what will, I’ll try it on
My condition can’t be worse
And if there’s money in that box
‘Tis money in my purse.
—Black Bart The  P O 8

The Legend begins in late 1849, when Boles and two of his brothers, David and James, took part in the California Gold Rush. They began mining in the North Fork of the American River in California. Boles mined for only a year before returning home in 1852. He soon made a second trip to the California goldfields, accompanied by his brother David and another brother, Robert. Soon after their arrival tragedy struck and both David and Robert became ill and died in California. After mining for two more years Boles then moved to Illinois, changing the spelling of his surname to Bowles and marrying Mary Elizabeth Johnson. They had four children. By 1860, the couple had made their home in Decatur, Illinois.

The American Civil War began in April 1861. Bowles enlisted in Decatur as a private in Company B, 116th Illinois Regiment, on August 13, 1862. He proved to be a good soldier, rising to the rank of first sergeant within a year. He took part in numerous battles and campaigns, including the Battle of Vicksburg, where he was seriously wounded, and Sherman’s March to the Sea. On June 7, 1865, he was discharged in Washington, D.C., and returned home to Illinois. He had received brevet commissions as both second lieutenant and first lieutenant. After the long years of war, a quiet life of farming held little appeal to Bowles, and he yearned for adventure.
By 1867, he was prospecting again in Idaho and Montana. Little is known of him during this time, but in a letter to his wife in August 1871 he mentioned an unpleasant incident involving some Wells, Fargo & Company employees and vowed to extract revenge. He then stopped writing, and after a time his wife assumed he was dead, which is thought to have been the beginning of his criminal career. Over the next eight years Bowles was known for nearly 30 robberies in Oregon and Northern California, taking the names Black Bart, Charles Bolton, C.E. Bolton and Charley to his friends.

Bart was a Gentleman robber, on his first robbery in Calaveras County one of the passengers was so frightened she tossed out her purse. Bart returned the purse to the Woman and saying “Madam, I do not wish your money, in respect I honor only the good office of Wells Fargo.”

Bart’s list of crimes date from 1875 to 1883 to his capture:

1. July 26, 1875, Calaveras County: Robs stage en route to Milton, four miles from Copperopolis. Taken: $160 in gold notes and contents of a U.S. Mail pouch.

2. Dec. 28, 1875, Yuba County: North San Juan to Marysville stage. Taken: Unknown.

3. June 2, 1876, Siskiyou County: Nighttime robbery on the Roseburg, Oregon, to Yreka, California, route. Taken: $80 plus mail sack contents.

4. Aug. 3, 1877, Sonoma County: Between Fort Ross and Duncan Mills, on Russian River. Taken: $300 in gold coins and a $305 check. Poem: First poem.

5. July 25, 1878, Butte County: Quincy to Oroville stage. Taken: $379 in coins, $200 diamond ring, $25 watch and mail sack cash. Poem: Second poem.

6. July 30, 1878, Plumas County: LaPorte to Oroville stage. Taken: $50 in gold, a silver watch and mail sack cash.

7. Oct. 2, 1878, Mendocino County: Cahto to Ukiah stage. Taken: $40, a watch and money from mail sacks.

8. Oct. 3, 1878, Mendocino County: Covelo to Ukiah stage. Taken: Unknown.

9. June 21, 1879, Butte County: Stage from Forbestown to Oroville. Taken: Unknown.

10. Oct. 25, 1879, Shasta County: Nighttime robbery on the Roseburg, Oregon, to Yreka-Redding, California, stage. Taken: Undisclosed sum from Wells Fargo and $1,400 from mail pouches.

11. Oct. 27, 1879, Shasta County: Alturas to Redding stage. Taken: Unknown.

12. July 22, 1880, Sonoma County: Point Arena to Duncan Mills stage. Taken: Undisclosed sum. Whether robber was Black Bart remains a point of contention.

13. Sept. 1, 1880, Shasta County: Weaverville to Redding stage. Taken: A little more than $100.

14. Sept. 16, 1880, Jackson Cty. OR: Second nighttime robbery of Roseburg, Oregon, to Yreka, California, stage, occurring one mile north of state line. Taken: Approximately $1,000.

15. Sept. 23, 1880, Jackson Cty. OR: Roseburg, Oregon, to Yreka, California, stage, robbed three miles north of border. Taken: Nearly $1,000 and mail sack.

16. Nov. 20, 1880, Siskiyou County: Roseburg, Oregon, to Redding, California, stage, south of state line. Taken: Unknown.

17. Aug. 31, 1881, Siskiyou County: Final robbery of Roseburg, Oregon, to Yreka, California, stage. Taken: Unknown.

18. Oct. 8, 1881, Shasta County: Midnight robbery of Yreka to Redding stage, near Bass Hill. Taken: $60.

19. Oct. 11, 1881, Shasta County: Alturas to Redding stage stops at Montgomery Creek for harness repair and is robbed again. Taken: Unknown.

20. Dec. 15, 1881, Yuba Count: Downieville to Marysville stage. Taken: Wells Fargo reports “small loss.”

21. Dec. 27, 1881, Nevada County: North San Juan to Smartsville stage. Taken: Wells Fargo reports “small loss.”

22. Jan. 26, 1882, Mendocino Cty.: Ukiah to Cloverdale stage. Taken: Unknown.

23. June 14, 1882, Mendocino Cty: Willits to Ukiah stage. Taken: Estimated $300 and mail sack contents.

24. July 13, 1882, Plumas County: Shotgun blasts foil Black Bart at LaPorte to Oroville stage. (A buckshot pellet creases the robber’s forehead, leaving a deep scar.)

25. Sept. 17, 1882, Shasta County: Second robbery of Yreka to Redding stage at Bass Hill. Taken: Thirty-five cents.

26. Nov. 23, 1882, Sonoma County: Lakeport to Cloverdale stage. Taken: $475 and several mail sacks.

27. April 12, 1883, Sonoma County: Lakeport to Cloverdale stage robbed again. Taken: $32.50 and mail sack contents.

28. June 23, 1883, Amador County: Stage from Jackson to Ione. Taken: $750 and mail sack contents.

29. Nov. 3, 1883, Calaveras County: Sonora to Milton stage is stopped at site of first Black Bart holdup in 1875. Taken: Possibly $4,764.

The last holdup took place on November 3rd, 1883, at the site, fittingly enough, of his first holdup, on Funk Hill, just southeast of the present town of Copperopolis.  Black Bart, who had only a few run-ins with armed messengers, was ill prepared for his chance encounter with a hunter, 19-year-old Jimmy Rolleri. Armed with a Henry rifle for his deer hunt, Rolleri had been dropped off on the way up Funk Hill by Sonora-Milton stage driver Reason McConnell, who continued up the incline. Near the top, Black Bart, lying in wait, made his move. At gunpoint, he ordered McConnell to unhitch the horses and continue up the hill while Black Bart went to work on the Wells Fargo box bolted to the floor of the coach. While proceeding with the horses, McConnell spotted Rolleri and signaled to him. Once McConnell informed Rolleri of the situation, the hunter handed over his rifle. McConnell fired twice at Black Bart, missing him both times. Rolleri took the rifle and fired, winging Black Bart in the hand. The gentleman bandit fled, he left behind several personal items, including a pair of eyeglasses, food, and a handkerchief with a laundry mark F.X.O.7. Wells Fargo Detective James B. Hume trailed Black Bart since his stage coach robberies began (who allegedly looked enough like Bart to be a twin brother, mustache included)  found these several personal items at the scene. Using all the evidence, statements, and eyewitness accounts on Black Bart he and Wells Fargo detective Henry Nicholson Morse contacted every laundry in San Francisco, seeking the one that used the mark. After visiting nearly 90 laundry operators, they finally traced the mark to Ferguson & Bigg’s California Laundry on Bush Street. They were able to identify the handkerchief as belonging to none other than Black Bart, who lived in a modest boarding house.

It should be noted that there is a manuscript written some 20 years after the robbery by stage driver Reason McConnell in which McConnell says that he fired all four shots at Bowles. The first was a misfire, he thought the second or third shot hit Bowles, and he knew that the fourth one hit him. Bowles only had the wound to his hand, and if the other shots hit his clothing, Bart was unaware of it.

Bart described himself as a “mining engineer” and made frequent “business trips” that happened to coincide with the Wells Fargo robberies. After initially denying he was Black Bart, Bowles eventually admitted that he had robbed several Wells Fargo stages but confessed only to the crimes committed before 1879. It is widely believed that Bowles mistakenly believed that the statute of limitations had expired on these robberies. When booked, he gave his name as T.Z. Spalding. When the police examined his possessions they found a Bible, a gift from his wife, inscribed with his real name.

The police report following his arrest stated that Black Bart was “a person of great endurance. Exhibited genuine wit under most trying circumstances, and was extremely proper and polite in behavior. Eschews profanity.”

Wells Fargo pressed charges only on the final robbery. Under the name T.Z. Spalding, Black Bart was convicted and sentenced to six years in San Quentin Prison, but his stay was shortened to four years for good behavior. When he was released in January 1888, his health had clearly deteriorated owing to his time in prison. He had visibly aged, his eyesight was failing, and he had gone deaf in one ear. Reporters swarmed around him when he was released and asked if he was going to rob any more stagecoaches. “No, gentlemen,” he replied, smiling, “I’m through with crime.” Another reporter asked if he would write more poetry. Bowles laughed and said, “Now, didn’t you hear me say that I am through with crime?”

Black Bart’s end is in keeping with the way the romantics of his day would have wanted it. Charles Bowles never returned to his wife, Mary, in Hannibal, Missouri, after his release from prison. However, he did write to her after his release. In one of the letters he said he was tired of being shadowed by Wells Fargo, felt demoralized, and wanted to get away from everybody. In February 1888 Black Bart left the Nevada House and vanished. Hume said Wells Fargo tracked him to the Palace Hotel in Visalia. The hotel owner said a man answering the description of Bart checked in and then disappeared. The last time the outlaw was seen was February 28, 1888.

On November 14, 1888, another Wells Fargo stage was robbed by a masked highwayman. The lone bandit left a verse that read:

So here I’ve stood while wind and rain
Have set the trees a-sobbin,
And risked my life for that d***ed box,

That wasn’t worth the robbin.

Detective Hume was called to examine the note. After comparing it with the handwriting of genuine Black Bart poetry from the past, he declared the new holdup was the work of a copycat criminal. There were rumors that Wells Fargo had paid off the aging bandit and sent him away to keep him from robbing their stages. However, Wells Fargo denied this. Some believe that Bowles moved to New York City and lived quietly for the rest of his life, dying there in 1917, though this was never confirmed. Others believe the unlikely tale that the former poet bandit with failing eyesight had gone to the wilds of Montana or perhaps Nevada for another try at making a fortune.

Nevertheless, the vanishing of Black Bart is a mystery, a legend that looms over the west, like a gentle mist across the sky. Undoubtedly the way Black Bart would have wanted it.

Categories: Civil War, History, Legend Series, Western, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

2013 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,400 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 57 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Will Rogers Born 134 years ago

On this day, the cowboy philosopher and humorist Will Rogers, one of the most beloved entertainers of the early 20th century, is born on a ranch in Cherokee Indian territory.

The son of a respected mixed-blood Cherokee couple, William Penn Adair Rogers grew up riding and roping on the plains of Oklahoma. An indifferent student, he earned only average grades in school, but he was by no means the ill-educated common man that he later liked to pretend. He was, in fact, highly literate and well read. In 1898, he left his family ranch to work as a Texas cowboy, and then traveled to Argentina where he spent a few months as a gaucho. But Rogers discovered his real talent when he joined Texas Jack’s Wild West show in 1902 as a trick roper and rider under the stage name “The Cherokee Kid.” For all his skill with ropes and horses, Rogers soon realized that audiences most enjoyed his impromptu jokes and witty remarks. Eventually, Rogers began to focus on making humorous comments on world events and created a popular vaudeville act with which he traveled the country.

In 1919, Rogers’ first book, The Peace Conference, was published. In the 1920s, he achieved national fame with a series of movie appearances, radio shows, lecture tours, magazine articles, and regular newspapers columns. Amazingly prolific, Rogers eventually wrote seven books, an autobiography, almost 3,000 short commentaries called “daily telegrams,” more than 1,000 newspaper articles, and 58 magazine articles. Rogers’ warm, folksy manner and penetrating wit were hugely popular during the Depression, and his concern for the welfare of average folks was genuine. He contributed frequent charitable performances in support of the victims of floods, hurricanes, and earthquakes worldwide.

File:WillRogers.jpeg

Will Rogers, photograph taken before 1900

 

Hollywood discovered Rogers in 1918, as Samuel Goldwyn gave him the title role in Laughing Bill Hyde. A three-year contract with Goldwyn, at triple the Broadway salary, moved Rogers west. He bought a ranch in Santa Monica and set up his own production company. While Rogers enjoyed film acting, his appearances in silent movies suffered from the obvious restrictions of silence—not the strongest medium for him, having gained his fame as a commentator on stage. It helped somewhat that he wrote a good many of the title cards appearing in his films. In 1923, he began a one-year stint for Hal Roach and made 12 pictures. Among the films he made for Roach in 1924 were three directed by Rob Wagner: Two Wagons Both Covered, Going to Congress and Our Congressman. He made two other feature silents and a travelogue series in 1927, and did not return to the screen until his time in the ‘talkies‘ began in 1929.

He made 48 silent movies, but with the arrival of sound in 1929 he became a top star in that medium. His first sound film, They Had to See Paris (1929), finally gave him the chance to exercise his verbal magic. He played a homespun farmer (State Fair) in 1933, an old-fashioned doctor (Dr. Bull) in 1933, a small town banker (David Harum ) in 1934, and a rustic politician (Judge Priest) in 1934. He was also in County Chairman (1935), Steamboat ‘Round the Bend (1935), and In Old Kentucky (1935). His favorite director was John Ford.

Rogers appeared in 21 feature films alongside such noted performers as Lew Ayres, Billie Burke, Richard Cromwell, Jane Darwell, Andy Devine, Janet Gaynor, Rochelle Hudson, Boris Karloff, Myrna Loy, Joel McCrea, Hattie McDaniel, Ray Milland, Maureen O’Sullivan, ZaSu Pitts, Dick Powell, Bill “Bojangles” Robinson, Mickey Rooney, and Peggy Wood. He was directed three times by John Ford. He appeared in three films with his friend Stepin Fetchit (aka Lincoln T. Perry): David Harum (1934), Judge Priest (1934) and The County Chairman (1935).[15]

With his voice becoming increasingly familiar to audiences, he was able to basically play himself, without normal makeup, in each film, managing to ad-lib and even work in his familiar commentaries on politics at times. The clean moral tone of his films led to various public schools taking their classes, during the school day, to attend special showings of some of them. His most unusual role may have been in the first talking version of Mark Twain‘s novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. His popularity soared to new heights with films including Young As You Feel, Judge Priest, and Life Begins at 40 with Richard Cromwell and Rochelle Hudson.

On August 15, 1935, Rogers was on a flight to Asia with the famous pilot Wiley Post when the craft developed engine troubles and crashed near Point Barrow, Alaska. The crash killed both men. Rogers was only 55.

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Curly Bill Kills Marshal Fred White 133 years ago.

A drunken William Brocius Graham, known better as “Curly Bill” Brocius, killed Tombstone, Arizona Territory Marshal Fred White on this date October 28th 1880, when White tried to arrest him. Marshal Fred White encountered Brocius at the East end of town, on a dark street in a vacant lot where the Birdcage Theater now stands. Brocius was intoxicated and he and his companions were firing pistols into the air. It is speculated that the pistol’s hammer was “half-cocked” over a live round (it was later found to have contained six live rounds,) and when White grabbed the barrel and pulled, the weapon, it discharged, shooting White in the groin area. Wyatt Earp, who saw the shooting and flash but could not clearly see the action in the dark. However Wyatt pistol-whipped Brocius, knocking him unconscious, and arrested him.  When the new day dawned, the rowdy makers went before the judge, were fined for violating city ordinances, and released. Brocius; however, asked for a postponement until he could get a lawyer. Later he appeared with Judge Haynes of Tucson, as his counsel, and as a lynch mob was forming in the camp to hang Brocius for the shooting of the popular marshal, whose condition had worsened and looked as if he might die, Brocius was ordered to be taken to Tucson to be held in protective custody. As Wyatt Earp and George Collins headed to Tucson with Brocius in a buggy, they were escorted out of town by Virgil and Morgan Earp.Brocius was said to have terribly regretted the shooting of White, whom he apparently liked. White lingered for two days, dying on October 30th. However, prior to his death, he gave testimony that ultimately led to Brocius being cleared of any wrongdoing. White stated that the pistol fired accidentally, and that Brocius, intoxicated, evidently did not realize his pistol was cocked. Despite his regret, Brocius did not accept being pistol-whipped by Wyatt Earp during his arrest. This was a factor that led to increasing tensions between the Earps and the Cow-boy element. Unlike recent Hollywood portrayals of White as an older man, the first Marshal of Tombstone, was only 31 or 32 when he died.

Brocius was eventually acquitted of any any wrong-doing, with Judge Nuegass commenting that the shooting was “Homocide by Misadventure” or, in other words, an accident. Brocius was released from custody and despite Wyatt’s statement that helped him to be freed, Brocius could not forgive Wyatt for the pistol whipping. This was just one more of the many incidents that increased the ever mounting tension between the Earps and the Cowboy faction.

Some claim that the Ghost of Fred White still haunts the street where he was shot. https://borivers.files.wordpress.com/2013/10/99feb-tombstoneallenstreet1882-500.jpg

The next day the Tombstone Epitaph read “About 12:30 last night a series of pistol shots startled the late goers on the streets, and visions of funerals, etc., flitted through the brain of the Epitaph local, and the result proved that his surmises were correct.  The result in a few words is as follows: A lot of Texas cow boys, as they are called, began firing at the moon and stars on Allen street near Sixth, City Marshal White, who happened to be in the neighborhood, interfered to prevent violation of the city ordinance, and was ruthlessly shot by one of the number.  Deputy Sheriff Earp, who is ever to the front when duty calls, arrived just in the nick of time.  Seeing the Marshal fall, he promptly knocked his assailant down with a six shooter and as promptly locked him up; and with the assistance of his brothers Virgil and Morgan went in pursuit of the others.  That he found them, an inventory of the City Prison this mourning will testify.  Marshal White was shot in the left groin, the ball passing nearly through, and being cut from the buttock by Dr. Matthews.  The wound is a serious though not fatal one.  Too much praise cannot be given to the Marshal for his gallant attempt to arrest the violators of the ordinance, nor to Deputy Sheriff Earp and his brothers for the energy displayed in bringing in the malefactors to arrest.  At last accounts, 3 p.m., Marshal White was sleeping, and strong hopes of his ultimate recovery were expected.”
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Medicine Lodge Treaty in Kansas Signed 146 years ago Today

On this day in 1867, more than 7,000 Southern Plains Indians gather near Medicine Lodge Creek, Kansas, as their leaders sign one of the most important treaties in the history of U.S.-Indian relations.

Image located at Kansapedia kshs.org

For decades, Americans had viewed the arid Great Plains country west of the 100th meridian as unsuitable for white settlement; many maps even labeled the area as the Great American Desert. Because of this, policy makers since the days of the Jefferson administration had largely agreed that the territory should be used as one big reservation on which all American Indians could be relocated and left alone to continue their traditional ways of life. This plan was followed for decades. Unfortunately, by 1865, the Indians, roaming freely over the Great Plains, had become a threat to the increasingly important communication and transportation lines connecting the east and west coasts of the nation. At the same time, new dry land farming techniques had led a growing number of white Americans to settle in Kansas and Nebraska, and many others were now eager to move even farther west.

Departing from a half-century of precedent, a federal peace commission began negotiating with the Plains Indians in 1867 with the goal of removing them from the path of white settlement and establishing a new “system for civilizing the tribes.” In the fall, the commission met with representatives from Comanche, Kiowa, Cheyenne, Arapahoe, and other tribes, most of which proved willing to accept the American proposal, although many may not have fully comprehended the implications.

With the treaties signed on October 21 and 28, the old idea of a giant continuous Great Plains reservation was abandoned forever and replaced with a new system in which the Plains Tribes were required to relocate to a clearly bounded reservation in Western Oklahoma. Any tribal member living outside of the reservation would thereafter be in violation of the treaty, and the U.S. would be justified in using whatever means necessary to force them onto the reservation. Likewise, the new policy of “civilizing the tribes” meant that the U.S. would no longer allow the Indians to preserve their traditional ways, but would instead use schools and agricultural education programs to try and eradicate the old customs and assimilate Indians into white culture.

Although most of the major Plains Indian chiefs agreed to the treaty provisions, they did not necessarily speak for all of their people. The authority of chiefs was always highly provisional, and many bands of Plains Indians considered themselves free to accept or reject such treaties regardless of the wishes of their chiefs. When the full import of the Medicine Lodge Treaty became clear to them, some of these bands refused to abandon their hunting grounds and traditional ways, causing decades of violent conflict all across the West.

 

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Four Dead in Five Seconds(Story of Dallas Stoudenmire)

Researched By Shotgun Bo Rivers @shotgunborivers

El Paso was in the grip of change from a frontier border town to a major stopping point for the railroads. The town fathers recognized a need to realign their town’s image from that of a lusty, violent, and crime ridden backwater to a modern thriving city. After much in the way of trouble hiring and keeping a town marshal, they went national in their search for someone up to the task of taming the miscreants and insuring the money kept flowing into both the hands of local merchants and the out of town investors bringing yet more wealth into the area. Globe Restaurant owner Stanley “Doc” Cummings, who lived in El Paso, Texas convinced his Brother-in-law Dallas Stoudenmire that he should come to El Paso and take up the marshal’s position.   Stoudenmire fit the bill to tame the tough town of El Paso. In early April, 1881, Stoudenmire traveled to El Paso and was hired almost immediately, starting his new position on April 11th. He was the sixth town marshal in just eight months.

It was only three days later that the “Four Dead in Five Seconds” gunfight happened. Sometimes referred to as the “Battle of Keating’s Saloon,” the “Four Dead in Five Seconds Gunfight” occurred on April 14, 1881. The events that led up to the gunfight began when the Manning Brothers had stolen a herd of of about 30 head of cattle in Mexico and drove them into Texas to sell. When Texas Ranger Ed Fitch and two Mexican farmhands by the names of Sanchez and Juarique investigated, the two Mexican men where killed in an ambush, said to be Johnnie Hale’s men that killed them. This led to a Mexican posse of more than 75 men to cross into Texas seeking an investigation.

At the request of the Mexican posse, Gus Krempkau, an El Paso constable, accompanied the posse to the ranch of Johnny Hale, a local ranch owner and known cattle rustler. There, they found the bodies of the two Mexican farmhands. The El Paso Court soon held an inquest into the deaths of the two men, with Krempkau acting as an interpreter.

Afterwards, Constable Krempkau went next door to Keating’s Saloon to retrieve his rifle and pistol, where he’d left it while appearing in court. It is speculated that Krempkau exited the saloon and placed his rifle in a saddle holster. A confrontation erupted between Krempkau and ex-City Marshal, George Campbell, who was a friend of John Hale’s. Also in the saloon was Hale himself, who was unarmed, heavily intoxicated, and also upset with Krempkau, because of his involvement in the investigation, and poor interpretation. Suddenly, the drunken Hale, pulled one of Campbell’s two pistols, shouting, “George, I’ve got you covered!” Hale then shot Krempkau, who fell wounded against the saloon door, or in the street, the story becomes contradictory at this point, because It was also said that this portion of the event may have happened outside, where hale jammed a six-gun into Krempkau’s chest and shot the lawmen in the lungs.

Bringing himself to a sobering reality, Hale had realized what he did, and ran behind a post in front of the saloon just as Marshal Dallas Stoudenmire appeared with his pistols raised. Stoudenmire then shot once but the bullet went wild, hitting an innocent Mexican bystander. in my research I also discovered that the Mexican bystander, may have also been a fruit peddler. When Hale peeked out from behind the post, Stoudenmire fired again, hitting Hale between his eyes killing him instantly. In the meantime, Campbell saw Hale go down, and exited the saloon, waving his gun yelling, “Gentlemen, this is not my fight!” However, the wounded Krempkau disagreed, even though mortally wounded and down, Krempkau managed a shot at Campbell, striking him in the wrist and in the toe. At the same time, Stoudenmire whirled and also fired on Campbell, pumping three bullets into his guts.  Campbell crashed to the dusty street, shouting at Stoudenmire, “You big Son of a Bitch, you have murdered me!” When the dust cleared, both George Campbell and Constable Krempkau lay dead.https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSydf6ddwbfHJI0UqGkN9tiRBjoQ4c-LBfBY5Kei2jHrEVAKLC4

In less than five seconds in a near comic opera gun battle, four men lay dead, and Dallas Stoudenmire the only living man left in the gunfight. In other contradictory research I also learned that Gus Krempkau may not have been the first shot. However, the majority can agree that the event was very quick; Stoudenmire was the only survivor, Hale was drunk, and Campbell indeed proclaimed the before stated words.

At the time, the gunfight received a lot of national publicity, reaching newspapers as far east as New York city, and as far west as San Fransisco. It is also rumored that years later, an author in search of a story contacted one of the living participants of the incident. The ailing gentleman refused to speak, and the author elected as a second choice to interview Wyatt Earp, and went on to write a best-selling book. Thus, the Gunfight at the OK Corral became a well recognized event, whereas the Four Dead in Five Seconds Gunfight has been on a back shelf awaiting our Hollywood enthusiast’s portrayal.

Readers Interaction::

What do you think, would the story of this famous, and contradictory gunfight be a good film? and how would you capture just five seconds in an epic film? The only way I see it happening would be starting the film with a build up story before the gunfight, and the aftermath which ultimately ended former Texas Ranger Dallas Stoudenmire’s life. What are your thoughts? feel free to comment and thank you for stopping by the Old West in the 21st Century’s blog.

Categories: History, Legend Series, Western, Western Authors | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Dear William Pinkerton, It’s Me Butch Cassidy (Letter from the grave)

The facts surrounding Butch Cassidy’s death are uncertain. On November 3, 1908, near San Vicente in southern Bolivia, a courier for the Aramayo Franke and Cia Silver Mine was conveying his company’s payroll, worth about 15,000 Bolivian pesos, by mule when he was attacked and robbed by two masked American bandits who were believed to be Cassidy and Longabaugh. The bandits then proceeded to the small mining town of San Vicente where they lodged in a small boarding house owned by a local resident miner named Bonifacio Casasola. When Casasola became suspicious of his two foreign lodgers, as well as a mule they had in their possession which was from the Aramayo Mine, identifiable from the mine company logo on the mule’s left flank, Casasola left his house and notified a nearby telegraph officer who notified a small Bolivian Army cavalry unit stationed nearby, which was the Abaroa Regiment. The unit dispatched three soldiers, under the command of Captain Justa Concha, to San Vicente where they notified the local authorities. On the evening of November 6, the lodging house was surrounded by three soldiers, the police chief, the local mayor and some of his officials, who intended to arrest the Aramayo robbers.

When the three soldiers approached the house the bandits opened fire, killing one of the soldiers and wounding another. A gunfight then ensued. At around 2 a.m., during a lull in the firing, the police and soldiers heard a man screaming from inside the house. Soon, a single shot was heard from inside the house, whereupon the screaming stopped. Minutes later, another shot was heard.

The standoff continued as locals kept the place surrounded until the next morning when, cautiously entering, they found two dead bodies, both with numerous bullet wounds to the arms and legs. One of the men had a bullet wound in the forehead and the other had a bullet hole in the temple. The local police report speculated that, judging from the positions of the bodies; one bandit had probably shot his fatally wounded partner-in-crime to put him out of his misery, just before killing himself with his final bullet. Or did they?

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Dear William A. Pinkerton

Hi William Pinkerton, It’s me Robert Leroy Parker, thought I’d drop a letter to you to see how you might be. First I want to say that, I do regret robbing all them trains, but not for your sake, but for my mommas. I know, and I always knew I broke her heart becoming an outlaw, and in some ways know it’s what made her perish as well. I wanted and tried so many times to go straight and seek amnesty, yet I never found it, nor was my pardon granted that I asked for, so many times. I heard tell, that Wyoming spoke of it, however never said anything about it. Well that’s OK, in my book. Wish I had the chance to tell you that I left my boot tracks in a little side canyon along my travels back from Bolivia, near the Hole-in-the-wall. I assume by now that you know I never did succumb to a bullet in San Vicente in 1908, neither did ole Sundance. Percy Seibert, played it good for us didn’t he, telling them Bolivians that was us, just so we could live on without someone chasing us anymore. Truth is them boys laid cold from crossfire; they were just some random boys in the wrong place at the right time. We fled later that night before they came in to verify us dead, little to their knowledge we were on a pair of fresh horses, running for Mexico. I spent some time back home with my family before I traveled to the Northwest, Oregon, and Washington mostly. Heard tell you never stopped looking for us, and was convinced me and Sundance were still in South America, guess our story will live on forever, truth is I never passed till 1938, where my family buried me in an unmarked grave where my father said I could finally Rest in Peace, I wonder would you have dug me up if you knew where I was, would anybody? No matter William. Butch Cassidy, The Sundance Kid, Elzy Lay, Tall Texan, News Carver, Camila Hanks, Laura Bullion, Flat-Nose Curry, Kid Curry, Bob Meeks and the rest of The Wild Bunch will forever remain the last outlaws of the Old West. You remember that William, and tell your Pinkerton’s too for me.

Sincerely Robert Leroy Parker, “Butch Cassidy”.

Regardless of whether Butch and Sundance lived or died, their legacy will forever live on in the old west.

Readers Interaction::

Do you think that Butch Cassidy Lived as his sister revealed in her biography Butch Cassidy, My Brother? Or did he die in San Vicente, Bolivia, alongside his best friend The Sundance Kid?

I think the Outlaw lived on to see his family, and live out his days as he wanted to all along. What are your thoughts as readers?

Categories: History, Letters from the grave, Western, Western Authors, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Dear Jesse James, it’s Me Bob Ford (A letter from the grave)

“With only a generalized wish for revenge on Bob Ford, Edward O’Kelly, walked into the tent saloon and blasted Bob Ford with a shotgun. There would be no eulogies for Bob, no photographs of his body would be sold in sundries stores, no people would crowd the streets in the rain to see his funeral cortege, no biographies would be written about him, no children named after him, no one would ever pay twenty-five cents to stand in the rooms he grew up in. The shotgun would ignite, and Ella Mae would scream, but Robert Ford would only lay on the floor and look at the ceiling, the light going out of his eyes before he could find the right words.” ~The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

Robert Newton Ford Said to be holding the gun that killed Jesse James

Here are the right words from beyond the grave of Robert Newton Ford, a distant relative on my Mother’s side. I have written the letter Bob Ford always wanted to write.

Dear Jesse,

Looking back at killing you, I now know of how cowardice it truly was. Only in my own murder will I truly know how cowardice I was. While I lie here taking my last dying breath, and the cold running through my body and the light disappearing from my eyes, I want you to know, that I was always ashamed, and regretted killing you. Even when at times I felt proud, truthfully, I was as ruthless as I could be. Thinking back on it, I always knew you saw my reflection in the glass of that picture frame, when I raised my pistol, and I have always known you saw the fear in my eyes. I fear that no one will ever know of my reflection that of which you could see. I have always wondered why you did not move, or dive off the chair as you heard the clicking from the pistol chamber, and afraid, you may have killed me if you had. I have found that life has been nothing more than distasteful, and unbearable, and at times wish that I had the courage my brother Charles did and kill myself. I cannot help but wonder how Ed will feel years from now, if he will regret shooting me with that sawed-off-shotgun, or if he will be able to hold his composer as I did for murdering you. If I could only explain to you why I had to kill you, I would find no answer, nor offer an explanation either, what I did was more than betrayal, and will always be a cold-blooded coward’s unpleasant act of murder and nothing else.

I guess I am that dirty little coward that shot Mr. Howard, and lay Jesse in his grave.  I thought at the age of 20, that I was brave, but now at the age of 30 what I had done was no more than dirty.

These being my final thoughts, while lying in  my own blood, if it offers anything more to what I have done, I would like to apologize for killing you Jesse, and hope that you will forgive me.

Yours Truly
Robert Newton Ford

Readers Interaction::
Do you think that if Robert Ford had a few moments left of his life that, he may have said these words? Or would he have been too proud of his accomplishment to utter anything at all?

Categories: History, Letters from the grave, Western | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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