Old West Guns and Their Employers


January 23, 2013, 07:18 PM
I post sketches on various gun forums dealing with guns and guns users during the period of roughly 1800-1940 in the U.S.

I threw together a page and forum.

If there is any interest:


click "Forum"

If you enjoyed reading about "Old West Guns and Their Employers" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
January 23, 2013, 07:39 PM
I should point out that it is just getting started.

However I will try and get up 10 or more past sketches tonight. As well as starting on Dillinger and Little Bohemia.

I'll post the Newton General Massacre in 10 minutes. . .

Thanks, Gary for moving this here.

January 23, 2013, 07:43 PM
I like it!

January 23, 2013, 07:57 PM
Thank you very much.

Just pasting my older sketches in. . . The Newton General Massacre is now up.


January 23, 2013, 08:21 PM
Duly bookmarked

January 23, 2013, 08:48 PM
Definite interest.

January 23, 2013, 09:09 PM
Thanks guys!

I am obliged to you.

January 23, 2013, 09:11 PM
..as we are, to you. neat stuff, in my ''favorites'', now.

January 23, 2013, 09:12 PM
Bravo! Will definitely register!

January 23, 2013, 09:18 PM
Okay guys, you have made me feel proud. I will continue to get up all my sketches since last May.

Thanks. I mean that. Wednesday nights are always tough because my son Andy goes to St. Jude's in the early am (~3:00). But tonight I can smile a bit, PLUS he only has 13 more trips!

messerist: Thanks!

January 24, 2013, 01:48 AM
Thank you guys for the visits. I hope some you guys sign up.

God bless and take care!

Old Dragoon
January 24, 2013, 12:52 PM
Great site, plan to go back today and read some since it's raining here in the High Mojave Desert this morning.

January 24, 2013, 01:47 PM
Thank you!

I sent you a pm expressing gratitude.

January 27, 2013, 04:38 PM
Again, I appreciate all who had a look.

It was worth it to post a link here.

God bless you guys and have a good Sunday afternoon.

It's back to work on the Deacon Jim/Bud Frazer Death Feud. Won't bother y'all with any more "promos"/bumps.

Thanks again, TheHighRoad readers.

January 30, 2013, 12:20 AM
Don't think you are bothering anyone here. I checked it out and read a couple of the sketches...will be back for more. Highly interesting stuff...thanks for taking the time.

February 3, 2013, 08:31 PM
Pietta Model 1851 .36 Navy:


February 3, 2013, 11:52 PM
joined and bookmarked. Cool

February 6, 2013, 08:45 AM
Bookmarked. GOOD STUFF.

February 7, 2013, 12:26 AM
Too all of you guys:

Today, I tried to update to a "final version" of the "Wild West" Style. I spent nine hours on email with the guy- in France- who wrote that phpbb style. To make an agonizing and long story short, I lost all my work but got the new final version installed. It is 11:22 pm as I type and I began this adventure around noon. I am a pathetic idiot.

It's is there all new. Even a new set of forums. God help me, I'm tired.

I'm sure a person skilled with computers would have had a much easier time uploading everything I lost but man I put a ton of time into. Now it's in the ether. . .

If you want to re-join, I'd be obliged, if not, so be it. Jay Gibson is REALLY tired :)


February 9, 2013, 02:24 PM

I have the entirety of my sketches now posted, excepting the three I lost forever. :)

I only had a portion of them up before I had the problem. There is now the equivalent of 55 forum pages of sketches.

Thanks for reading.

February 9, 2013, 04:10 PM
I didn't see where to ''sign up'' but I sure enjoyed reading some of that stuff. got me through a night with no book.

March 14, 2013, 09:26 PM
I have improved the site some as to volume of content and background In the last 5 weeks we have cobbled together a lot of data, after an inital hiccup on February 6th. . .

Still the same raison d'etre. Give it a look.

Obliged for any interest.



March 23, 2013, 08:23 PM
[Typos abound. Coarse language is present. These tales abound with debatable issues. I post this for what it is worth. You guys have indulged me insomuch as letting me promote my website on your forum. I post this as a payment of debt, figuring might enjoy the read and be spurred to further study. It is not epoch making nor is it new. Mostly just a rehash for fellow travelers down old, well worn trails. I posted this on one other sight as a thanks, as well.b Enjoy. And God bless. Adios.]

March 20/21, 1882-April 15, 1882.

Stay tuned.

The straw that forever broke the camel's back, we'll start here:

Morgan Earp:


The Tombstone Epitaph [pro-Earp newspaper], THE DEADLY BULLET, March 20, 1882 The Assassin at Last Successful in His Devilish Mission

"Morgan Earp Shot Down and Killed While Playing Billiards At 10:00 Saturday night while engaged in playing a game of billiards in Campbell & Hatch's Billiard parlor, on Allen between Fourth and Fifth, Morgan Earp was shot through the body by an unknown assassin. At the time the shot was fired he was playing a game with Bob Hatch, one of the proprietors of the house and was standing with his back to the glass door in the rear of the room that opens out upon the alley that leads straight through the block along the west side of A.D. Otis & Co.'s store to Fremont Street. This door is the ordinary glass door with four panes in the top in place of panels. The two lower panes are painted, the upper ones being clear. Anyone standing outside can look over the painted glass and see anything going on in the room just as well as though standing in the open door. At the time the shot was fired the deceased must have been standing within ten feet of the door, and the assassin standing near enough to see his position, took aim for about the middle of his person, shooting through the upper portion of the whitened glass. The bullet entered the right side of the abdomen, passing through the spinal column, completely shattering it, emerging on the left side, passing the length of the room and lodging in the thigh of Geo. A.B. Berry, who was standing by the stove, inflicting a painful flesh wound. Instantly after the first shot a second was fired through the top of the upper glass which passed across the room and lodged in the wall near the ceiling over the head of Wyatt Earp, who was sitting as a spectator of the game. Morgan fell instantly upon the first fire and lived only about one hour. His brother Wyatt, Tipton, and McMasters rushed to the side of the wounded man and tenderly picked him up and moved him some ten feet away near the door of the card room, where Drs. Matthews, Goodfellow and Millar, who were called, examined him and, after a brief consultation, pronounced the wound mortal. He was then moved into the card room and placed on the lounge where in a few brief moments he breathed his last, surrounded by his brothers, Wyatt, Virgil, James and Warren with the wives of Virgil and James and a few of his most intimate friends. Notwithstanding the intensity of his mortal agony, not a word of complaint escaped his lips, and all that were heard, except those whispered into the ear of his brother and known only to him were, "Don't, I can't stand it. This is the last game of pool I'll ever play." The first part of the sentence being wrung from him by an attempt to place him upon his feet.

The funeral cortege started away from the Cosmopolitan hotel about 12:30 yesterday with the fire bell tolling its solemn peals of "Earth to earth, dust to dust."

Wyatt Earp:


Warren Earp:


Wyatt and Warren Earp, along with Doc Holliday, "Turkey Creek" Jack Johnson and Sherman McMasters escorted the Earp family out of Tombstone and to Tucson, Arizona on March 20th.

Wyatt had managed to get himself granted authority some months earlier following an attempt to kill his brother Virgil. He had very carefully assembled a posse.

"To Crawley P. Dake, the U.S. marshal for Arizona Territory:

Tombstone, Arizona Territory, December 29, 1881
Virgil Earp was shot by concealed assassins last night. His wounds are fatal. Telegraph me appointment with power to appoint deputies. Local authorities are doing nothing. The lives of other citizens are threatened.
-Wyatt Earp

Marshal Dake readily agreed, and Wyatt Earp, now with federal authority, assembled a posse of gunmen to protect his family and to hunt for the men who had shot his brother. One of the prime suspects was Ike Clanton, who wanted revenge after an inquest had cleared the Earp brothers of any wrongdoing in the O.K. Corral fight. "

Now Morgan was dead. Wyatt had his own death list of men he blamed for Morgan's death both directly and indirectly.

It was time for blood. Frank Stilwell is first. Massacred! "one observer describing Stilwell as having been "the worst shot-up man that I ever saw...Stilwell shot Morg Earp and they were bound to get him..."'

The newly turned 34 year old Wyatt Earp, along with Doc Holliday, Turkey Creek Johnson, Warren Earp, and McMasters escort a still weak and injured Virgil Earp and his Allie Allie the hell out of Tombstone, Arizona. [virgil having just barely survived an attempt on his life back in December.]

It was a just turning evening as the passenger liner stoked into the newly revamped modern city city of Tucson, Arizona. The city's newfangled gas lighting lighting system has just cranked up for the evening shedding light on beautiful Tucson dusk. Wyatt and the boys swing down from the train ahead of the two they are escorting. Holliday is holding TWO SCATTERGUNS as he disembarks. These were grim men who were ready to fight and die at the drop of a hat.

Across the way in front of the "Porter Hotel" stand Frank Stilwell and Ike Clanton, watching.

Doc deposits his two shotguns at the depot and the party meanders across the street to the Porter Hotel to dine. Stilwell and Clanton duck away. . .

Earp and Holliday in Tucson:


The Earp party eases back across to the train depot to grab the scatterguns and bid their two companions adieu, as they have purchased a ticket to Colton, California, home of the Earp parents. They do both. However, an event stops them. two scenarios present themselves here. One, Wyatt is told by a passenger that Stilwell is about and was seen across the street at the "Porter", and that rumors were about that he intended to finish the job started in December on Virgil, by shooting him through the train window. Or, two, that Wyatt and Doc, with instincts borne of such men smelled trouble. Whatever. . .

This we know, those rough men were armed to the teeth and were last seen sprinting down the tracks toward Stilwell who saw them coming from his perch at the southeast corner of the "Porter Hotel" and ran for his life. Wyatt was in the lead and he claimed to have gone at least a hundred yards but saloonkeeper George Hand, a witness, claimed it was "a few hundred yards".



So, Wyatt Earp shotgunned Frank Stilwell stone dead in Tucson that evening. Evidently both barrels did some real damage! my theory is Holliday cruised up and dropped a couple of barrels into a corpse, and apparently the one or all of the other members of Wyatt's group/posse also shot Stilwell, as the coroner's report stated, at least five separate gunshots. One down. the Earp Vendetta Ride has begun.


March 23, 2013, 08:24 PM
Grand Jury Indictment for the Killing of Frank Stilwell

(The following is a transcript of the Murder Indictment that was returned as a True Bill by the foreman of the Grand Jury John S. Carr on March 25, 1882. )
Territory of Arizona


Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp, Warren Earp, Sherman McMasters and John Johnson

In the District Court of the First Judicial District of the Territory of Arizona in and for the County of Pima

Territory of Arizona


Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp, Warren Earp, Sherman McMasters and John Johnson.

Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp, Warren Earp, Sherman McMasters and John Johnson are accused by the Grand Jury of the County of Pima and Territory of Arizona on their oath by this indictment of the crime of murder committed as follows: That the said Doc Holliday at the City of Tucson in the said County of Pima on or about the 20th day of March, A.D. 1882 with force and arms in and upon the body of one Frank Stillwell then and there being, then and there feloniously, wilfully, and of his malice aforethought did make an assault and the said Doc Holliday a certain gun charged with gunpowder and leaden bullets which he the said Doc Holliday in his hands then and there feloneously, wilfully, and of his malice aforethought in and upon the body of him the said Frank Stilwell did discharge and shoot off giving to him the said Frank Stilwell then and there with the said gun so discharged and shot off as aforesaid in and upon the body of him the said Frank Stilwell a mortal wound of which said mortal wound he the said Frank Stilwell instantly died. And the said Wyatt Earp, Warren Earp, sherman McMasters and John Johnson then and there feloneously, wilfully and of their malice aforethought were present standing by, aiding, abetting assisting and maintaining the said Doc Holliday the felony and murder as aforesaid set forth, in manner and form aforesaid to do and committ, and so the Jurors aforesaid upon their oath aforesaid do say that the said Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp, Warrren Earp, Sherman McMasters and John Johnson, the said frank Stilwell then and there in manner and form aforesaid felonously, wilfully and of their mailice aforethought did Kill and Murder: Contrary to the form of Statute in such case made and provided and against the peace and dignity of the Territory of Arizona

Second Count

and the said Grand Jurors do further present that the said Wyatt Earp on or about the said 20th day of March A.D. 1882 at said City of Tucson in said County of Pima with force and arms in and upon the body of the said Frank Stilwell then and there being, then and there feloneously wilfully and of his malice aforethought did make an assault and the said Wyatt Earp a certain gun charged with gunpowder and leaden bullets which he the said Wyatt Earp in his hands then and there had and held, then and there feloneously, wilfully, and of malice aforethought in and upon the body of him the said Frank Stilwell did discharge and shoot off, giving to him the said Frank Stilwell then and there with the said gun so discharged and shot off as aforesaid in and upon the body of him the said Frank Stilwell a mortal wound of which said mortal wound he the said Frank Stilwell instantly died. And said Doc Holliday, Warren Earp, sherman McMasters and John Johnson then and there feloneously, wilfully and of their malice aforethought were present standing by, aiding abetting assisting and maintaining the said Wyatt Earp the felony and Murder as aforesaid set forth in manner and form aforesaid to do and committ. and so the Jurors aforesaid upon their oaths aforesaid do say that the said Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Warren Earp, Sherman McMasters and John Johnson the said Frank Stilwell then and there in manner and form aforesaid feloneously, wilfully and of their mailice aforethought did Kill and Murder: Contrary to the form of the Statute in such case made and provided and against the peace and dignity of the Territory of Arizona.

Third Count

and the said Grand Jurors do further present that the said Warren Earp on or about the said 20th day of March A.D. 1882 at said City of Tucson in said County of Pima with force and arms in and upon the body of the said Frank Stilwell then and there being, then and there feloneously, wilfully and of his malice aforethought did make an assault and the said Warren Earp a certain gun charged with gunpowder and leaden bullets which he the said Warren Earp in his hands, then and there had and held, then and there feloneously, wilfully and of his malice aforethought in and upon the body of him the said Frank Stilwell did discharge and shoot off giving to him the said Frank Stilwell then and there with the said gun so discharged and shot off as aforesaid in and upon the body of him the said Frank Stilwell a mortal wound of which said mortal wound he the said Frank Stilwell instantly died. And the said Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp, Sherman McMasters and John Johnson then and there feloneously, wilfully and of their malice aforethought were present, standing by, aiding, abetting assiting and maintaining the said Warren Earp the felony and murder as aforesaid set forth in manner and form aforesaid to do and committ. and so the Jurors aforesaid upon the oaths aforesaid do say that the said Warren Earp, Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp, Sherman McMasters and John Johnson the said Frank Stilwell then and there in manner and form aforesaid feloneously, wilfully and of their malice aforethought did Kill and Murder: Contrary to the form of Statute in such case made as provided and against the peace and dignity of the Territory of Arizona.

Fourth Count

and the said Grand Jurors do further present that the said Sherman McMasters on or about the said 20th day of March A.D. 1882, at said City of Tucson in said County of Pima with force and arms in and upon the body of the said Frank Stilwell then and there being, then and there feloneously, wilfully and of his malice aforethought did make an assault and the said Sherman McMasters a certain gun charges with gun powder and leaden bullets which he the said Sherman McMasters in his hands then and there had held, then and there feloneously wilfully and of his malice aforethought in and upon the body of there the said Frank Stilwell did discharge and shoot off, giving to him the said Frank Stilwell then and there with said gun so discharged and shot off as aforesaid in and upon the body of him the said Frank Stilwell a mortal wound of which said mortal wound he the said Frank Stilwell instantly died. and the said Doc Holliday, Warren Earp, Wyatt Earp and John Johnson then and there feloneously, wilfully and of their mailice aforethought were present standing by, aiding, abetting, assisting and maintaining the said Sherman McMasters the Felony and Murder as aforesaid set forth, in manner and form aforesaid, to do and committ. And so the Jurors aforesaid do say that the said Sherman McMasters, Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp, Warren Earp and John Johnson the said Frank Stilwell then and there in manner and form aforesaid feloneously wilfully and of their malice aforethought did Kill and Murder: Contrary to the form of the Statute in such case made and provided and against the peace and dignity of the Territory of Arizona.

Fifth Count

and the said Grand Jurors do further present that the said John Johnson on or about the said 20th day of march A. D. 1882 at said City of Tucson in said county of Pima with force and arms in and upon the body of said Frank Stilwell then and there being, then and there feloneously, wilfully and of his malice aforethought did make an assault, and the said John Johnson a certain gun charged with gun powder and leaden bullets which he the said John Johnson in his hands then and there had and held, then and there feloneously, wilfully, and of his malice aforethought in and upon the body of him the said Frank Stilwell did discharge and shoot off, giving to him the said Frank Stilwell then and there with the said gun so discharged and shot off as aforesaid in and upon the body of him the said Frank Stilwell a mortal wound he the said Frank Stilwell instantly died, and the said Doc Holliday, Warran Earp, Wyatt Earp and Sherman McMasters then and there feloneously, wilfully and of their malice aforethought were present standing by, aiding, abetting, assisting, and maintaining the said John Johnson the Felony and Murder as aforesaid set forth, in manner and form aforesaid to do and committ and so the Jurors aforesaid upon their oaths aforesaid do say that said John Johnson Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp, Warren Earp and Sherman McMasters the said Frank Stilwell then and there in manner and form aforsaid feloneously, wilfully and of their malice aforethought di Kill and Murder: Contrary to the form of the Statute in such case made and provided and against the dignity and peace of the Territory of Arizona

Hugh Farley District Attorney

of Pima County Arizona Territory

Tombstone Epitaph March 27.1882 (Always remember, Tombstone Epitaph = PRO Earp, Tombstone Nugget being pro-Behan):


March 23, 2013, 08:25 PM
"After the killing, Wyatt and his possemen had watched Virgil's train depart and then had searched the rail yard for Clanton and his men. Having no luck, they then walked in the darkness to the Papago station, where they hopped a freight train and rode back to Benson. Next, the group rented a wagon and drove to Con*tention, probably joining "Texas Jack" Vermillion, who had not traveled to Tucson but had stayed behind in Contention with their horses. The posse then rode back to Tombstone and immediately went to the Cosmopolitan Hotel. Later that day, Charlie Smith and Dan Tipton joined them, and plans were made to again leave town.

The coroner's jury in Tucson duly found that five members of Earp's posse were responsible for the death of Stilwell, and warrants were issued for their arrest. A telegram sent to Sheriff John Behan in Tombstone advised him that his deputy had been murdered and asked him to detain the men responsible. When Behan arrived at the Cosmopolitan Hotel, he found Earp and his posse walking through the lobby to the street, armed to the teeth and in no mood to chat. Behan approached the group and said he wanted to see Wyatt, but all the men brushed past him. As Wyatt passed the ineffectual sheriff, he remarked, "You may see me once too often," or something similar. He and his men strode on to a nearby corral, where they mounted their horses and rode defiantly out of Tombstone."

Quoted from, "Wyatt Earp's Vendetta Posse", an article from Wild West magazine by Peter Brand, hereinafter, "Brand"

The posse had now grown to eight (maybe more) men: Texas Jack Vermillion has been added along with two other men, or possibly all of the following, Dan Tipton, Charlie Smith, Fred Dodge, Johnny Green, and Lou Cooley.

New Posse Member Texas Jack Vermillion:


Stay tuned. . .

March 23, 2013, 08:26 PM

The hard put and angry band head into the Dragoon mountain of Arizona in search of another on their death list, Pete Spence. However, Spence saw the handwriting on the wall after the death of Morgan Earp and hauled his ass to johnny Behan's jail in Tombstone. Smart move.

On the morning of March 22, the grim riders rode up to the South Pass home of Pete Spence. Evidently there was a brief conversation with a man in Spanish who was present but then the riders spotted Florentino Cruz, "Indian Charlie". They went straight for him. Anti-Earp writers tell the story that he was spotted sleeping and the men crept up to him and pumped him full of lead. I doubt it. I suspect that the accepted version is true. That being that Cruz spotted them riding toward him and ran. The men rode him down and shot him in a hail of bullets. Then Wyatt slid from his saddle walked over and put one in his brain pan. The end.

Here is included the Coroner's report on Florentino Cruz, among some other tidbits from "The Tombstone News" article by Ben T. Traywick:

"I know whose the body is which is now at the undertaking rooms of Ritter, the undertaker, and that was as I understand inspected by the Coroner’s jury now present -I know him only as Florentine - ##M(READMORE)##last Wednesday we were all camped together, this Florentine, Sam Williams, and Ramon Acosta - two other Mexicans were camped in the Immediate neighborhood. Do not know their names about 11 or 12 o’clock Williams set out on horseback to hunt some animals that we had lost, and inside of an hour Florentine set out for the same purpose. He had not been gone more than half an hour - I was lying in the shade when I happened to look up, when I saw Wyatt Earp coming over the hill on horseback, and right behind him were several others riding in couples - six all together. Their names were Wyatt and Warren Earp, McMasters, Doc Holliday, Texas Jack, another party I do not know - I heard his name was Johnson - a large heavy set man -they came down to the camp of the two Mexican’s fire - I heard them ask where does this road go to - heard no answer to this question - they stood talking among themselves - they had not seen me until I called to them, and asked them if they had seen any mules this morning, and was answered by McMasters - He said he had seen some nearby and riding up to Wyatt Earp and spoke, the whole party immediately wheeled around and came in where I was - Wyatt Earp saw me, and asked me where Peter Spencer was - I told him I had left Spencer in town. He then asked me when I had left town - I said yesterday about 9 o’clock A.M. • As to the subsequent conversation I cannot recall it. He also I recollect asked after Hank, a half breed - I told him he was not there - he then asked me how many men we had out there. I told him exactly how many there were and what they were doing, and mentioned that there were two out in the hills hunting animals - He asked me what my name was, and a few more questions. One was when Spencer would be out to the camp again - He also made the remark, you are a friend of Pete Spence I believe, and Frank Stilwells too. I answered yes. He then turned and spoke to someone in his crowd, and asked them if they had seen any horses down there with saddles on - nothing more was said to me, and they went off passed out of my sight towards the main road leading towards Tombstone -1 got up and went to the fire and was there but a few seconds - I spoke to Ramon Acosta and told him to come with me, and started up the hill to see if I could get sight of the Earps - Had not gone 20 feet before I heard shooting -1 turned to look to see if I could see where it came from, but could not see - I worked up the hill farther and saw the Earp party on top of a hill the other side of the road and I stood there watching them. They got off their horses on the hill and were there two or three minutes, they came down the hill again very leisurely onto the road and turned back towards my camp. They came a little ways and turned around again and went along the road until it makes a sharp turn, kept right on in the same direction easterly and disappeared in the hills. I and the Mexican then went back to the camp and worked there until evening taking one wagon up on top of the hill we left it there and went to where I thought the shooting had occurred. Ramon the Mexican maintained that Florentine had been killed.
We hunted around in the gulches and among the hills quite a while found nothing but the tracks of one horse and a man leading it. The tracks lead us to the road on the hill that goes up to the summit of the hill on which / had seen the Earp party. There we lost track of it amongst all the other trails. We then both went back to camp and stayed there all night.
Next morning I got my own team up to the top of the hill and decided to go and hunt that man again. I this time went clear up on the top of the hill to the spot where I saw the Earp party and looking around I discovered the body of Florentine. I stood there looking at him awhile and picked up his hat and went off. I went and unhitched my mules leaving the hat there at the wagon took one of the mules down to camp to get a saddle. On my way down I told Ramon of finding the body. I then proceeded into town here, for getting the hat. The body was lying at the same place where I saw the Earp party first after hearing the shooting. I had seen no other party or parties in the neighborhood during the day of the shooting. My camp is in the South Pass of the Dragoon Mountains. I accompanied that man who went out for the body under directions of the coroner. I did not see Williams again after he went out to the horses until I saw him again in town. He always went armed. I knew of no difficulty between Williams and Florentine. It was about 150 yards from the body of Florentine where I first struck the trail of the horse. I heard 10 or 12 shots. I worked about 3 hours and a half after the shooting before I began to search for the body. Mexican camp was about 50 yards from mine. Williams was armed and mounted when he left the camp and was armed with a 45 caliber pistol. The Mexicans went in the same direction that Williams went to look for the horses and I did not see Williams again. I think the Mexican (Florentine) was in town last Saturday night, and that Williams was not. Myself and two Mexicans were in camp when this party came there. Florentine and Williams were not. I am a very particular friend of Pete Spencers. Williams told me after I saw him in town that the reason he did not return to our camp was that he had heard the shooting and thinking it was done by Indians did not consider it safe to return and came in town. I know Ike, Phin Clanton and John Ringo saw neither of them out there that day. Ramon Acosta and myself were together all the time after this Earp party were in our camp - neither of us were in a position to see the shooting. The shots were one after the other in rapid succession - except the last which seemed to be held for 8, 9, or 10 seconds. Williams had been in our camp 3 weeks. Know that he was afraid of Indians - Know him as friend of Pete Spence and have heard that he was his brother. Heard no other shots that day than those I have referred to.
(Signed) T. D. Judah.
___?___ (Ramon) Acosta sworn says that he lives in Tombstone A. T. by occupation a laborer - on Wednesday last was out in the mountains in Pete Spence’s camp - the man that was killed was in the same camp working with us - at about 12 o’clock he went out to hunt some mules that were lost - Just after he left 8 men arrived on horseback - out of the 8 men he knew two of them but not by name. Could recognize them if he saw them, one had a red mustache, the other a black, had seen them in town. When they arrived they asked me whose camp this was, they asked in Spanish. He said it was Peter Spence’s camp. They talked among themselves, but as it was in English I could not understand except that I heard the name of Spence. They then left camp - Florentine was about 200 or 300 yards from where he was when he saw this party commence firing. When he immediately ran up the hill they were firing at Florentine. Did not see Florentine fall - but saw him going up the hill while they were firing and were following after. They stayed on top of the hill a little’ while got down off their horses, walked around a little while then mounted and rode off. I know nothing farther - I started to hunt for Florentine, but did not go far as I was afraid and returned to camp - am certain there were 8 men in the party - was not with Judah when he found the body - Judah was with me when I started out to hunt for Florentine the day of the shooting, but soon turned back. I was together with Judah when the shooting took place. I know where they first found Florentine’s body. I was down in the canyon and the other parties were up on the side of the hill when the shooting took place. Judah was with me at the time of the shooting. The party who did the firing were on horseback in pursuit of the man Florentine. The firing could be seen from our camp. The party who did the shooting were out of my sight one time until I ascended the hill. When I saw Florentine he was immediately in front of the parties who shot him.
(his mark)
__?__(Ramon) X
Epiniania Vegas, sworn, says he resides in Tombstone A. T.
Last Wednesday was out in the (A) Pass of the mountains - Don’t know the name of the pass in the Dragoons. I was on top of a little hill cutting wood -I heard a shot looked around and saw some men firing. There were 8 men doing the firing. I saw this man that was shot running and jumping from side to side. I saw him fall. They were about from 1000 to 2000 yards from me. After finishing the shooting they passed close to me on the main road -They saw me did not speak to me -I know the man that was shot. His name was Florentine. I do not know any of the party that did the shooting. I know Mr. Judah, at the time of the shooting Mr. Judah was in the canyon while 1 was on the hill. The party were Americans that did the firing - I heard 10 shots.
(his mark)
Epiniania X Vegas
Dr. Goodfellow, who examined the body of Florentine, the Mexican killed near Spence’s (sic) camp last Wednesday, testified as follows:
“I am a resident of Tombstone; am a practicing physician and surgeon. 1 examined the body of the Mexican named Florentine at the undertaking rooms of A. J. Hitter and found four wounds on the body. I commenced the examination at his head and followed down. The first shot entered at the right temple, penetrating the brain; the second produced a slight flesh wound in the right shoulder; the third in the right shoulder, the third entered on the right side of the body near the liver and made its exit to the right of the spine, about five or six inches to the right. The fourth struck in the left thigh and made it’s exit about seven or eight inches above the point of entry. In my opinion two of the wounds, those in the head and right side, were sufficient to cause death. The wound in the thigh was probably produced when he was lying on the ground after the wounds in the upper part of the body had been received. In my opinion the wound in the thigh was received after he was dead. 1 formed that opinion from the absence of blood around the wound "The Daily Nugget, March 25, 1882.
The report in the newspaper is more detailed than the jury’s report. However, where the paper says the third wound was near the liver, the handwritten on-the-scene coroner’s jury report says “region of the loin.”
The half-breed Hank that Wyatt asked about was Hank Swilling.
Judah identified the six men who rode up to question him. Two other witnesses swear that there were eight men in the posse. There is no reason to suspect that they lied. The extra two were the ones who had been sent ahead to set up camp and then rejoined the posse between the time they talked to Judah and Florentino was shot.
The verdict of the coroner’s jury was:
“We, the undersigned, a jury impaneled by the Coroner of Cochise County, Territory of Arizona to inquire whose body is that submitted to our inspection, when, whom, and by what means he came to his death, after viewing the body and hearing such testimony as has been brought before us, know that his name was Florentine Cruz, and that he came to his death from the effects of gunshot wounds inflicted by Wyatt Earp, Warren Earp, J. H. Holliday, Sherman McMasters, Texas Jack (Vermillion), (Turkey Creek Jack) Johnson, and two men whose names are unknown to the jury. (The latter two were Charlie Smith and Dan Tipton).
M. Gray
S.M. Barrow
John Kingsman
John M. Lee
A.C. Billicke
Webster Colby
C.H. Brickwedel
Chas. B. Noe
T.J. Blackwood
M.H. Smith
J.R. Adams

Final Repose:



Two down. . .

From Brady:

"After the killing, the posse rode out of the area, and on March 23, [posse members] Smith and Tipton separated from the others to obtain information in Tombstone. The two men immediately ran into trouble. Sheriff Behan liked the odds this time and arrested both of them for "resisting arrest and conspiracy." The men were immediately bailed, and Smith left town to rendezvous with the posse while Tipton remained in Tombstone. Smith met with Earp and then was sent back to town to obtain $1,000 in expense money for the posse. Wyatt and his men were to meet Smith later in the Whetstone Mountains, at a watering hole known as Iron Springs."

Stay tuned. . .

The gun battle at Iron Springs is next.

March 23, 2013, 08:28 PM
It was hot on the afternoon of March 24, 1882 and Wyatt Earp and his posse ambled toward a meeting place set up in advance by one Charlie Smith. The place was a rendezvous with posse member Smith who had gone to pick up funds for the posse to replenish supplies, horses, etc. Earp relaxed a bit in the heat and according to his later stories had loosened his cartridge belt and sat back. BUT! as things usually go, it was not a time for relaxation. Because, while the posse did not find Charles Smith, it did find an ambush. Yes, indeed, a LARGE group cowboys cut down on them with a fusillade of gunfire.

Texas Jack Vermilllion's horse collapsed and temporarily pinned Jack underneath. Wyatt 'leapt' from his horse with a double barrel in his grasp. The others reined in their horses and rode toward cover. Earp ducked then raised up catching the famous "cowboy" known as "Curly Bill" Brocius in the open Wyatt pulled both barrels on him, accounts say he damn near cut him in two. (Accounts from the posse!) With that Earp regained his horse after first taking rounds through his hat, boot, and coat, not to mention a round that splintered his saddle pommel! Earp later was convinced he'd been hit in the leg but it was the heel of his boot. He semi-mounted and snagged Vermillion, then headed for the others. They managed to eventually escape the ambush but it was by ALL accounts a pitched battle with many rounds expended.

Bob Boze Bell Sketch:


^^Posts on my forum, if interested just copy and paste link into browser.

Tombstone Epitaph March 27, 1882


March 23, 2013, 08:29 PM
From the correspondence of Fred Dodge pioneer detective and a man in the know. To me, this is the final word on the fate of "Curly Bill". Because as you will notice above, I parenthetically inserted that the account of Bill's death was from the posse men. The "cowboys" vehemently denies his death, claiming many thing but most claimed he had simply relocated to Mexico.

“You will recollect that J.B. Ayers kept the saloon in Charleston that was headquarters for all the outlaw and rustler element. This man, Ayers, for personal reasons that would take too long to tell, supplied me with reliable information. through him I got in touch with several others. Johnny Barnes, who you will recollect was in the fight at Iron Springs, gave me much information, not only of that, but of many other things before he was killed. Afterwards, all that they said with reference to Curly Bill was corroborated by Ike Clanton himself. It was my report to Mr. Valentine with reference to Curley (sic) Bill that brought John Thacker out there.”

“Referring to your letter of Sept. 14 you ask for information about the death of Curley Bill. By reason of my connection with Wells Fargo and Co. and also because of my association with Wyatt Earp and others of his party, I had full information concerning the fight at Iron Springs in which Wyatt Earp and party were ambushed by Curley Bill and party.

“Immediately after this fight I interested myself in ascertaining the true facts about the death of Curley Bill. J.B. Ayers, a saloonkeeper of Charleston where the outlaws and rustlers headquartered, told me that the men who were in the fight told him that Wyatt Earp killed Curley Bill and that they took the body away that night and that they buried him on Patterson’s ranch on the Babocomari. Johnny Barnes, who was in the fight and was badly wounded, and was one of the Curley Bill party, told me that they opened up on the Earp party just as Wyatt Earp swung off his horse to the ground and they thought they had hit Wyatt, but it was the horn of his saddle that was struck. That Wyatt Earp throwed down on Curley Bill right across his horse and killed him. That the Earp party made it so fast and hot that all of the Curley Bill party that could, got away. I made this report direct to John J. Valentine, President of Wells Fargo and Co. and in substance it was the same as above. Mr. Valentine sent Thacker out there, and he, as you know, made a full investigation. Some time after this Ike Clanton himself told me that Wyatt Earp killed Curley Bill.”

“When John Thacker got to Tombstone, I got in his way so that he would come to me, and I personally gave him the names of the men to go to. They all talked to him, but Ike Clanton would have nothing to do with him, but he got all the information that he required and was thougherly (sic) and completely satisfyed (sic) beyond a doubt that Wyatt had killed Curley Bill and that Bill was buried on the Patterson ranch.”

“The night that Virgil was shot in Tombstone, Johnny Barnes and Pony Deal were there; and Johnny Barnes was the man who fired the shot that tore up Virg’s arm. I don’t know who Wyatt attributed that shot to, but Johnny Barnes was the man. As I said, Johnny never recovered from his wounds, and finally died from them in Charleston where he was being cared for by Ayers."

Regardless of any such information, facts or otherwise, after the gun battle at Iron Springs, Curly Bill went on no more cattle raids, hijacked no more smugglers, and, was seen in his favorite hangouts no more. He vanished completely and was never seen again!

Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp told it: Wyatt snuffed out Curly Bill’s life with a twin blast from a double barrel shotgun. And he threw in Johnny Barnes for good measure."


March 23, 2013, 08:33 PM
In rather short order the posse broke apart and by mid April it was over. But Wyatt Earp had plowed a bloody trail of vengeance. . .

Brand in his article, finishes it up:

"Charlie Smith's exact movements are hard to trace at this stage. Apparently he rejoined Earp's posse just after the Iron Springs shootout, but he did not supply the much-needed funds. That task would eventually fall to Dan Tipton. In any case, on March 26 Earp and his men rode out to Dragoon Summit Station, where they stopped an eastbound train at 1 p.m. and hunted unsuccessfully through the carriages. Whether they expected to find a messenger with additional funds, or Ike Clanton himself, is not exactly clear. They needed money and a place to rest before deciding their next move, so they rode north to Henry Clay Hooker's Sierra Bonita Ranch. Hooker was an influential cattle rancher in nearby Graham County and a supporter of Earp's actions.

The Earp posse arrived at Sierra Bonita on March 27. There, they fed their worn-out horses and took advantage of Hooker's hospitality. Early that same morning, Dan Tipton left Tombstone on the first stage heading for Benson, carrying $1,000 from mining man E.B. Gage for the posse. At Benson, Tipton boarded a train to Willcox, where he rented a horse and rode to Hooker's ranch. Lou Cooley, a stage driver and likely Wells Fargo operative, also provided the Earp posse with additional funds, from the express company. Wyatt and his seven men now had traveling money and fresh horses. They left Hooker's ranch the next morning and set up a camp on a nearby butte. From their vantage point, they could see the approach of any riders from rival posses, and they waited for a possible confrontation. It never came. Sheriff Behan and his men eventually arrived at Sierra Bonita, but they were refused assistance. According to one report, Hooker mockingly told Behan where to find the Earps, but the sheriff rode off in the opposite direction.

The eight-man Earp posse remained in the area for a few more days, but the so-called Vendetta had run its course. With two hostile posses on their trail, Wyatt and his men were outnumbered and knew it would be extremely dangerous to stay in Arizona any longer. Early in April 1882, Wyatt and his posse rode to Silver City, New Mexico Territory. They spent one night in the home of a friend, and the next day sold their horses and saddles, before taking a stage to Deming. From there they traveled by train to Albuquerque and made plans to move to the relative safety of Colorado. Charlie Smith parted company with the group in Silver City and headed back to make Tombstone his home. He was the only member of the Earp posse to do so.

Once in Colorado, the posse fragmented. Wyatt and Warren Earp, Dan Tipton and Texas Jack Vermillion headquartered at Gunnison. Doc Holliday went to Denver, while Johnson and McMaster probably reunited with their respective brothers in Leadville. The men had found their sanctuary, as Colorado Governor Frederick Pitkin refused extradition requests from the Arizona territorial authorities.

In time, the law did catch up with some of the surviving Cowboys. Johnny Ringo was shot dead — some say by his own hand — in July 1882, while Ike Clanton was gunned down in 1887 resisting arrest. Johnny Barnes was said to have died of wounds sustained at the Iron Springs shootout, while Pete Spence, Fin Clanton and Pony Diehl were eventually convicted of various crimes and all did time in state penitentiaries."


. . . Doc Holliday was, in my estimation, a stone cold killer. Earp told a few "stories" but the Vendetta Ride was not BS. It was the real deal.

The rumors about Doc and Wyatt killing Johnny Ringo are bogus. I think Ringo shot himself. A suicide. A guy I used to know has Ringo's .45.

April 3, 2013, 03:23 PM
Jesse (Jessie) Evans: Gunman

Jesse Evans is not so well known but the man was a real badass, with an enigmatic ending. . .

Stay tuned.

Here is our subject posing with his woman, if this image is legitimate, note his female companion with the hog's leg six-shooter :) :


We'll try and run over a few of the main events in this guys career. There is debate as to whether there was more than one guy going by the name "Jessie" (or Jesse) Evans. We will stick with orthodoxy and go with the fellow imprisoned at Huntsville, Texas as our guy.

April 3, 2013, 03:24 PM
A modern overview for backgrounds. . .


Be aware that the second image is NOT Evans. For goodness sake, IT'S JOHN CHISUM!

April 3, 2013, 03:26 PM
Lots of mystery with this fellow!

We will take the consensus notion that he was born somewhere in Missouri in 1853. I also lean toward the belief that he is the same Jessie Evan who eventually landed in Huntsville prison and escaped and was never seen again, as I typed above.

It appears from what can be pieced together that he was born bad. He was a graduate of Washington and Lee College, Virginia before turning to outlawry. On June 26, 1871, Jessie was arrested with both his mother and father in Elk City, Kansas for passing counterfeit money. . . Maybe, on the "college" and definitely on the arrest.

In mid 1872 he wound his way into Silver Springs, NMT, allegedly. It is known for certain that he later headed east to the southeast part of the state here he began cowboying. Soon enough he caught on with the legendary John Chisum. Evans would later claim that part of his work for Chisum was rustling cattle. He actually testified that he was "employed by Chisum to steal horses from the Mescaleros". Stealing horses from Apaches. . .

By 1875, it appears that Evans a few of his co-workers had moved on down the road a bit. He next turns up in and around the Las Cruces and La Messila area. During this period there was a local gang of rustlers and thieves, not to mention, murders led by John Kinney. They were indeed, hard cases. Evans soon met up with the Kinney and the two joined forces. Jesse brought his guys in, as well: Jim McDaniels, and others. . . Kinney and Jesse became very close friends.

We have now come to our first major event. The Las Cruces Saloon fight.

1882 Las Cruces:


Late on January 1, 1876, gang members, Evans, Kinney, Pony Diehl, and Jim McDaniels rode into Las Cruces, New Mexico Territory to party. [Multiple sources have the date as New Years Eve, 1875.] In the town there a detachment of soldier from from the 8th Cavalry that was encamped about a mile from town. These men had gone into the small town to a dance that was being held at a local home/bar. The group of cowboys were also in attendance and were said to be rowdy. All accounts that I can find state that a disturbance broke out among the two groups. It seems to have been instigated by both parties. Mutual combat ensued. Evidently it started out rather evenly and the cowboys literally beat one soldier to death but they were only four men, without doubt the larger group of soldiers got the advantage and the four outlaws were forced out of the "bar". Kinney had been gravely beaten as well. It must have been one helluva row. But the green soldiers had no idea what kind of men they had tangled with. Superior numbers had only won the battle. Hell was next. Kinney would recover, shortly, two more men would never recover.

The rough men carried Kinney to safety. They then hauled out their six-shooters and walked back to the bar. The stood in the doorway and opened up. They killed one soldier outright and a Mexican at the bar as well, likely he had helped the soldiers in the fisticuffs, error in judgement. They emptied their guns and seeing no return of fire walked away, slowly. Their enemies were seemingly dead or dying. They killed the two and gravely injured three others in a hail of lead and powder smoke. Later it was rumored that Evans shot the soldier the soldier through the forehead, dead, first, then opened up on the others with help from his two cohorts. In a matter of minutes the outlaws had effectively killed three men and gravely wounded three others. They had one man that took a beating but recovered. No charged were ever brought against the outlaws.

Here are two others accounts of the battle:

From an internet article:

"On New Year's Eve of 1875, Jessie, Kinney, and two other gang members, Jim McDaniels and Pony Diehl, went to the town of Las Cruces. While there, they got into a bar-room brawl in a saloon with several soldiers from Fort Seldon. By the end of the brawl, Kinney was severely wounded. The four outlaws left the saloon, badly beaten. Later that same night, the four outlaws shot the saloon full of holes from the street. When the smoke cleared, two soldiers and a civilian lay dead, and two other soldiers and another civilian lay wounded. A short time later, on January 19, 1876, Jessie and two gang members, Samuel Blanton and a man known only as Morris shot and killed a man named Quirino Fletcher in the street in Las Cruces. Jessie went to trial for the murder, but was somehow acquitted. Around this time, Jessie felt he could break away from the John Kinney Gang and control his own gang. He left the John Kinney Gang and brought with him several other members. With these men, and several new recruits, the Jessie Evans Gang, also known as the Boys, was formed. Other core members of the Jessie Evans Gang included Billy Morton, Frank Baker, Jim McDaniels, Buffalo Bill Spawn, Dolly Graham, Tom Hill, Bob Martin, Nicholas Provencio, and Manuel Segovia. Jessie, Baker, and Provencio were arrested in Mexico shortly thereafter on charges of rustling."

The second account, from "West of Billy the Kid", by Frederick Nolan:


April 3, 2013, 03:28 PM
Before we leave this Lac Cruces Saloon Fight, here is one other account, it is from "Badasses of the Old West: True Stories of Outlaws on the Edge", by Erin Turner:


So, it appears that after the killings at Las Cruces, Jesse Evans killed his next man, Quirino Fletcher, in the street in Las Cruces. . .

Next event from Evans' blood spattered career will be his murder of John Tunstall, you know of "Lincoln Country War" fame.

April 3, 2013, 03:35 PM
The Death of John Tunstall:

The Lincoln County War has been discussed by many historians. It is endlessly fascinating. But we want to look at but a single, albeit supremely important even in that conflict or depending on how you view it, in the lead up to that conflict.

Sides had already been chosen and Evans rode for the "Murphy-Dolan" side, Lawrence Murphy and James Dolan. Their antagonists were Englishmen John Tunstall and Alexander McSween, the Kid, among other rode for Tunstall and MsSween. John Chisum also had a hand in this conflict, he sided with Tunstall.


"The conflict arose between two factions over the control of dry goods trade in the county. The older, established faction was led by Murphy and his business partner, James Dolan, who operared a dry goods monopoly through Murphy's general store. Young newcomers to the county, English-born John Tunstall and his business partner Alexander McSween, with backing from established cattleman John Chisum, opened a competing store in 1876. The two sides gathered lawmen, businessmen, Tunstall's ranch hands[1] and criminal gangs to their support. The Murphy-Dolan faction were allied with Lincoln County Sheriff Brady, and supported by the Jesse Evans Gang. The Tunstall-McSween faction organized their own posse of armed men, known as the Regulators, to defend their position, and had their own lawman, town constable Richard M. Brewer.[2]"

April 3, 2013, 03:36 PM
San Augustine Ranch NM Territory 1890, Jesse Evans Gang associated. . .



Jinglebob Cowboys:


April 3, 2013, 03:37 PM
John Henry Tunstall:


Frank Warner Angel's Report:

and was not shot in attempting to resist an officer of the law.

Tunstall's final Repose:


Much, much more but that sort of puts an end to the Tunstall murder. EXCEPT! It has to be kept in mind that "Evans Gang stole horses belonging to John Tunstall, Dick Brewer, and Alex McSween in Sept. 1877. Jessie and gang members Frank Baker, Dolly Graham/George Davis, and Tom Hill were shortly after arrested and put in Lincoln's jail, but in less than a month they escaped with the aid of the rest of the gang." That arrest light a fire in Jesse Evans to kill Tunstall as he blamed Tunstall for his arrest. He had sworn to get him and most accounts credit him with the actual murder of Tunstall.

Internet article gives an afterrmath:

"A short time later, he and gang member Tom Hill were shot at while raiding a sheep camp. Hill was killed and Jessie was wounded in the elbow, forever crippling him. He was shortly thereafter arrested and taken to Fort Stanton for medical attention. For the majority of the war, he remained at Stanton, and was indicted for the murder of John Tunstall on April 18. In mid-June, by military escourt, Jessie was taken to La Mesilla to stand trial for stealing government mules from the Mescalero-Apache Reservation Agency (a federal crime) and for the murder of John Tunstall (a territorial crime). By the first week of July, Jessie was acquitted of the mule stealing charge, and the Tunstall murder charge was carried over to the next term of court. After posting $5,000 bond, Jessie returned to Lincoln County to get in on some of the final fighting of the war. He fought in the Five-Day Battle at Lincoln and participated in the looting of the Tunstall store the day after the battle ended. . . After the war, Jessie was with Dolan, Billy Mathews, and new gang member Billy Campbell as they killed Huston Chapman on the night they were supposed to make peace with Billy the Kid and other ex-Regulators. Jessie and Campbell were arrested and held at Fort Stanton, but managed to escape with the help of a soldier. Jessie and his gang turned up robbing stores in Texas and he was eventually captured again after killing a Texas Ranger."

Bad man. . .

April 3, 2013, 03:38 PM
Later tonight, it's the death of a Texas Ranger, the beloved George "Red" Bingham, at the hands of Jesse Evans in a pitched gun battle.

Evans Bio:


Texas Rangers who fought with Evans' Gang:


Members of the Texas Ranger Frontier Battalion from 1885:


April 3, 2013, 03:39 PM
Jesse Evans and his guys had for whatever reason drifted into Texas and thereby became the problem of the Texas Rangers, in short order.

The gang headed for south Texas and set up business as usual, hitting stage coaches, small town stores and engaging in their most lucrative practice, hide-burning, AKA rustling. These guys had rustling down to art! Eventually the pursuit of the gang by Ranger forces lead to a "dying off" of various members, due to lead poisoning. . .

"Outlaw Jesse Evans and three of his gang saddle up and head for the Mexican border. In Fort Davis, Texas, they have been tipped off to the arrest of their compadre, Capt. John Tyson (real name John Selman).

Stopping in Presidio, Texas, just shy of the Mexican border (see map on opposite page), Evans openly buys a new pair of boots in an apparent attempt to convince authorities that he is on the way out of the country. Instead, Evans and crew make a feint towards Old Mexico, then head northwest towards a hideout in the Chinati Mountains.

Riding all night and covering some 70 miles, a Texas Ranger patrol led by Sgt. Ed Sieker stops to water its horses on Cibola Creek, 18 miles north of Presidio. One of the Rangers notices a group of riders up on a distant ridge watching them. Using field glasses, the Rangers take a closer look, and as they do, the men on the mountainside move away." According to Bob Boze Bell in his article, "I should Have killed Them All"

Chinati Mountain Range where the Rangers chased Evan and company:


A party of four Rangers headed toward the four men. They fled into the mountainous terrain but the Rangers gave dogged pursuit and caught up to them. A bitter and violent running gunfight ensued. It lasted for roughly a 1 1/2 miles when the outlaws crested a mountain. At the point when the Rangers also reached the top the outlaws cut drive on them with volley after volley, killing one of the horses and wounding another before shooting Ranger George "Red" Bingham directly through the heart. After this the outlaws took a casualty, George Graham. He was first shot through the side but was as game as a bantam rooster! He kept pouring lead at the Rangers until eventually shot directly between the eyes. The bullet escapes his brain pan via the back of his head.

The Rangers steadily moved forward and the outlaws realized that they were more or less trapped by the terrain. They were located on a ridge line and really had no line of retreat. They surrendered.

The Rangers only now discovered that Bingham had been killed. He lay clutching his Winchester, appearing to have been in the middle of working the lever when hit.

Evans was taken back to Fort Davis and lodged in "the bat cave".

Bat Cave Jail (where Evans was lodged):


April 3, 2013, 03:40 PM
Fort Davis:


From The Texas Ranger Dispatch, Issue 29, Summer 2009:

"The Jesse Evans Gang and the Death of Texas Ranger George Bingham" by Chuck Parsons

remains buried here.

George "Red" Bingham, Texas Ranger:


Get this from the Bob Boze Bell article:

"So it’s more than a little ironic that when Jesse Evans landed in the pit jail in Fort Davis, Texas, he wrote a letter to the Kid (of all people), asking him to come save him. The letter suggests a stronger bond than most would have expected.

So why didn’t the Kid help out Jesse? The answer is found in Ranger C.L. Nevill’s report of August 26, 1880:

The prisoners are getting restless. I have a letter they wrote to a friend of Evans in New Mexico calling himself Billy Antrum to cause their rescue, and to use the words he was “in a damned tight place only 14 Rangers here any time, ten on scout and only four in camp now,” and that Antrum and a few men could take them out very easy and if he could not do it now to meet him [Evans] on the road to Huntsville [prison] as he was certain to go. I understand this man Antrum is a fugitive from somewhere and a noted desperado. If he comes down and I expect he will, I will enlist him for a while and put him in the same mess with Evans & Co."

Evans eventually was tried and convicted of the murder of Ranger Bingham. He drew a ten year stretch at Huntsville Prison. Two years later he broke out and was never reliably seen or heard from again. . .


April 3, 2013, 03:41 PM
Hope you enjoyed the sketch. It makes no pretense toward total accuracy as so much is not known and sources tend in ALL directions. Cases can be made for a multitude of things, inclusing Evans' death at a much earlier date. Whatever. The following is not in question: Evans was a real bada**.

Give my site a look: wedealinlead.net • Index page

Screen capture:


April 11, 2013, 09:20 PM
*REMEMBER, this is just a cobbled together SKETCH for general readers. No attempt has been made to correct my typos.*

********************* For much more: http://www.wedealinlead.net/forum/viewforum.php?f=4 *************



This small skirmish should be viewed in the larger terms of Red Cloud's War. The war began in late 1866 and persisted through 1868. It grew out of Indian frustration with whites moving ever more through their territory. The Powder River Country was then dominated by the Crow, Lakota Sioux, Northern Arapahoe, and the Northern Cheyenne. The Rubicon had been crossed as far as Red Cloud was concerned and in December of 1866 he showed Captain Fetterman that he meant business. But the Army was not deterred and moved forward with their fort building through the Powder River Country and followed somewhat along the Bozeman trail which was used by emigrants. So, Fort C.F. Smith was founded in 1866 as one of three forts established by the United States to protect emigrants on the Bozeman Trail which led from Fort Laramie in Wyoming to the gold fields of Montana.


Now for a bit of background on our titled weapon:

"Model 1866 rifles ("Second Allin") were produced at Springfield Armory starting in the first quarter of 1867. A total of about 52,000 rifles were made between 1867 and 1869. Half of these rifles were sent to Europe for the Franco-Prussian War and later destroyed. Only about 26,000 remained in the US.

The rifles were made by sleeving CW musket barrels to .50 caliber and cutting open the top of the breech for the hinged breech block. The barrel is finished in the bright, and the blackened breech block is dated "1866." The arm is equipped with a musket rear sight and a CW stock which was internally altered to accept the extractor and ejector mechanisms. The arm had a weak extractor mechanism and was not popular with troops. However, it is best known for its performance in the Hay Field and Wagon Box fights that occurred with Sioux and Cheyenne Indians in 1867. "


The men at this northern most of the three forts, knew that they were in a bit deep. There were constant skirmishes and sporadic semi-attacks on the fort.

Grab a cup this evening, fire up a fine cigar and get ready for another hell for leather adventure!

April 11, 2013, 09:21 PM
These posts were remote in a way that is somewhat lost to us in modern thought. The men at Fort C.F. Smith were, in a true figurative sense, on an island. In 1867 Red Cloud and his warriors, not long off of their defeat of Captain Fetterman, decidfed on a two fold attack in mid 1867. Red Cloud would lead a band of Sioux and attack Fort Phil Kearny, while a second faction of Cheyenne, along with Minneconjous and Oglala Sioux would attack Fort Smith. (Some sources say it was Cheyenne, Arapahoe, and Lakota). . . Whatever.

Red Cloud's Injuns got sidetracked by a little event that grew to be known as "The Wagonbox Fight". In a strange way it paralleled what happened very shortly before in that desolate and remote hayfield and the bravery and courage of the civilian/soldier contingent.



The above Indian Chiefs at Ft. Laramie, 1867. . . Left to Right: Spotted Tail, Roman Nose, Old-Man-Afraid-of-his Horses, Lone Hand, Whistling Elk, Pipe, Unidentified. Spotted Tail was murdered in 1881 by Crow Dog. Crow Dog suspected that Spotted Tail was stealing grazing fees and moneys paid by the railroad which rightfully belonged to the tribe. In accordance with tribal custom, Crow Dog made appropriate restitution. Nevertheless, Federal authorities caused Crow Dog to be arrested and tried in federal court where he was convicted and sentenced to hang. The case went to the United States Supreme Court which held in ex parte Kan-Gi-Shun-Ca, 3 S. Ct. 396 (1883) that federal courts had no jurisdiction. The law as to major crimes was subsequently changed by Congress. Crow Dog allegedly received his name as a result of being wounded in a battle and being left for dead. The Great Spirit sent two coyotes to nurse and care for Crow Dog. Upon his recovery the Great Spirit sent a crow to guide him home. Thus, he earned his name.


So let us set up our engagement, from, Indian Fights: New Facts on Seven Encounters" by John Vaughn:


Fort C.F. Smith Ruins:

April 11, 2013, 09:22 PM

More background from John Vaghn's "Indian Fights: . . ."



April 11, 2013, 09:24 PM
So now we are ready for the morning hay run to the fort on August 1, 1866. Minus the contingent and its escort, we are left with, Lt. Sigismund Sternberg of the U.S. Army's 27th Infantry his 20 soldiers and the 9 civilians. Hell will descend on them shortly. . .

The Springfield Model 1866: The second iteration of the Allin-designed trapdoor breech-loading mechanism. . .


The 16 shot 1860 Henry Rifle used with DEVASTATING effect on the Redmen by Al Colvin:


For the story of the fight, stay tuned. . .

April 11, 2013, 09:25 PM
So what exactly occurred? Let me me give a short retelling in my own country ass prose and then follow it with some Military and civilian accounts. Fair enough?

There number of folks present on both sides is disputed. Civilians who were there have lower estimates of their own numbers. My take is something on the order of 30 folks in total, possibly a half dozen less. . . My best guess is 25 men defended themselves against a red hell. The Indians as almost always claim their numbers were MUCH lower than the figures handed out for them by whites. My guess? Something on the order of 650 Indians were there in the area.

Whatever it was, it was a resounding triumph for the soldiers and their 1866 Springfields; the civilians with their Henry rifles, Winchester 1866 carbines, and Spencers. Many of the men also had sidearms. They were well stocked with ammunition, as well. One old time Civil War veteran was deadly with his Enfield muzzle-loading musket and another man had a shogun. They were in a fight or die situation and they fought like junkyard dogs.

The sentry posted above the camp alerted the hay cutters that a swarm of Red Indians were descending upon them. The hay mowers were quickly swamped and fled toward the "corral" with Indians chasing and soldiers shooting. The hay mowers dove into the corral and it was on.

"The corral measured 100 feet by 60 feet. Upright post were placed in pairs at six foot intervals and along the logs, heavy pole stringers were secured to the posts halfway up and at the top. Green willow branches, with their leaves left on, were laced in between the stringers. As the branches dried, they shrunk, forming a very dense barrier between the stringers."

The mostly Sioux warriors began with their usual feints trying to draw out the soldiers in pursuit and then ambush as they had done with Captain Fetterman and his party the year before. The soldiers did not go for it, not surprisingly. They would have had to be true imbeciles to run headlong into what they knew was a large force with roughly 20 men.

So both sides set up for a siege. Lt. Sigismund Sternberg got his troops in order and arranged wagon boxes and such in defensive positions. The civilians pitched in moving the boxes and stilled themselves for what was coming. The Indians were regrouping and soon began a cautious approach from the northeast area of the corral. Inexplicably, Sternberg, upon seeing the impending attack ordered the men out of the corral. They followed to man but when he followed by ordering them into the rifle pits outside the corral perimeter, the civilians rightly judged it to be suicidal and after a short debate fled back into the confines of the corral. Soldiers followed. The Indians galloped forward and began raining arrows on the men. The civilians and soldiers alike dove behind the wagon boxes. Sternberg judged fighting from the prone position as the actions of a coward. He drew his sidearm and commenced firing. Shortly thereafter he got a bullet through his brain pan for his efforts.

Layout of the VERY similar fight the following day, known as "The Wagon Box Fight. Same Springfields:


April 11, 2013, 09:26 PM
The men unleashed some devastating volleys of fire cutting down numerous Indians. The next casualty was Sergeant James Norton severely wounded and Private Thomas Navin was shot dead as well. A civilian, Don Colvin, would then take over command and was credited for his rapid and accurate gunfire against the enemy. Colvin was a Civil War veteran who had acheived the rank of Captain in that war. [Interestingly, he is the same fellow who countermanded Sternberg's order to man the rifle pits.] The Indians has split after the first volley and gone to the east and west of the corral. They past and poured fire into the little band but with Colvin in the lead those tough sonsabitches held firm and blasted those red Americans to hell. Colvin ordered his men to stay low and shoot from cover as they had been. "He called for everyone to stay on the ground and fight from behind the lower log. Their initial attack repulsed the Indians as they took up sniping positions of the bluffs to the southeast, and in the willows that lined War Man Creek." They decided to discuss the situation. . .

Next the Indians settled on burning them out by setting the hay ablaze that surrounded the corral. "The Indians now set fire to the dried hay around the corral. Private Lockhart recalled that this tactic almost succeeded. “[The] fire came in rolling billows, like the waves of the ocean, the Indians whooping behind. When it arrived within twenty feet of the barricade, it stopped, as though arrested by supernatural power. The flames arose to a perpendicular height of at least forty feet, made one or two undulating movements, and were extinguished with a spanking slap… the wind, the succeeding instant, carried the smoke of the smoldering grass from the providentially saved encampment.”

The Indians used this cover to retrieve their dead and wounded. Then they made their second attack. Two defenders were wounded during this assault; J.G. Hollister was severely wounded in the chest and died the next day, and Sergeant Norton was again wounded in the shoulder."

The men now cut drive for all they were worth. The volleys they unleashed were devastating, God knows how many Indians were killed. They were again repulsed. They again took up their "sniping" positions. The men, seeing a mysterious lapse in fighting by the warriors- even the snipers, stopped- took the opportunity to hydrate. They hit "War Man Creek. Sniping resumed and an Indian, perhaps a chief, rode up the east side of the steam and was killed."

During the middle of the afternoon sporadic charges were engaged in by the Indians and the white men made them pay dearly for each. Civilian George Duncan, ended things by shooting down what is now thought to have been a medicine man. Bad juju for our red brethren. Multiple warriors finally managed to succeed in rescuing the body.

April 11, 2013, 09:27 PM
The third and final all out assault:

The Indians decided to attack from the south facing side of the corral. Somehow Colvin divined their intentions and worked feverishly to reinforce the south wall. thev warriors came on foot and from dense undergrowth. They crept forward from the brush and Colvin had his men to hold their fire until the entire group was clear of the dense growth. When they were, his men unleashed hell from their rifle barrels! Indians fells like rain. The Leader of this Indian group fell stone dead, very possibly from the first rifle ball fired, and that one was from Colvin's rifle.

"Private Bradley now volunteered to ride to the fort for help. Although chased by several hostiles, he made it to the fort just after Captain Burrowes had moved out with Company G. Colonel Bradley now ordered Lieutenant Fenton to reinforce Burrowes with a detachment of Company H, and a Mountain Howitzer. They reached the corral at sundown.

Relief and the Return
It was discovered that 19 of the 22 mules had been killed or wounded. Therefore only two wagons could be used and all the mowing machines had to be abandoned. The two wagons were loaded with the wounded and the quartermaster’s stores. While the wagons were being loaded , Fenton’s soldier skirmished with the Indian and as soon as they were ready to roll, Burrowes scattered them with the howitzer. Only one halt was made on the return march, and that occurred when the mountain howitzer had to be unlimbered to shell the Indians who were on the bluff above the wagon train. The column finally returned to the fort at about 8:30 p.m."

The quotations here are from the nps. gov site article on this battle, as well as an article by Joel R. Hyer in "The Annals of Wyoming", Summer-Autumn, 2007.

The ending is not quite so clear cut. Read this:

"The battle would rage on until four in the afternoon before three companies commanded by Major Thomas Burroughs were sent out to help. Much controversy is around the decision Lt. Col. Bradley had made to delay sending reinforcements to the hayfield. Eyewitnesses to the battle chastised him as being a coward and unfit for command. According to F. G. Burnett, a civilian worker fighting in the hayfield, “the commander of Fort C. F. Smith disgraced himself that day, and that is the reason there never has been any official report made by the military authorities of the battle near the fort."

And this from wiki, clearly gleaned from, Jerome A. Greene, in his article, "The Hayfield Fight: A Reappraisal of a Neglected Action" :

"About one p.m., a Lt. Palmer guarding a train of wagons loaded with wood witnessed the fight from a hilltop and brought back the news to Colonel Murray inside Fort Smith that the corral in the hayfield was under attack by 500 to 800 Indians. Later, Private Charles Bradley escaped from the corral and galloped to the fort to inform Murray of the attack. However, it was not until 4 p.m. that Murray sent out a small force of 20 mounted soldiers to investigate. They quickly came under attack. Murray then sent out a full company of soldiers with a howitzer. The soldiers made their way to the corral about sundown. Most of the Indians had already given up the attack and departed. At 8:30 p.m. all the soldiers were back in Fort Smith."

Stay tuned tomorrow for detailed accounts. . .

April 11, 2013, 09:29 PM
The accounts of soldiers differ highly from the accounts of civilians. I give the few civilian accounts more weight. Colvin was the real hero, but. . .

A private tells the story:


April 11, 2013, 09:30 PM
The man who saved the day, from rootsweb:

"Selleck W. "Zeke" Colvin and Don Alphonso "Al" Colvin, were both sons of
Welcome Colvin of VT/NY/WI. Zeke was a son by Welcome's first wife [name
unknown] and Al was a son by Welcome's second wife, Almira Munn. After the
Civil War, both Al and Zeke found their way west and in 1867, they were
hired by the army to cut hay at Fort C. F. Smith in Montana. On Aug. 1,
1867, while in the hayfield which was 2-1/2 miles from the fort, with other
workers and a handful of soldiers from the fort - about 2 dozen in all -
they were attacked by a band of nearly 1,000 [other say 500 to 800] Indians.
Al Colvin especially figured prominently in this fight - quite the sharp
shooter he was with his Henry rifle. Eventually the hayfield workers
prevailed, losing only 3 of their own men as opposed to many losses by the

"Al" Colvin was much of a man. Cool headed yet recklessly brave, in one of the major accounts lefts to us civilian Finn Burnett swore that Colvin killed and wounded at least 150 Indians by himself! Even factoring in some hyperbole, the man was brave and a helluva marksman.

Here is his obituary from:

Rock Port Atchison County Journal. 18 Jan 1923. p.1. col. 6

Birth: Feb. 24, 1840
Chautauqua County
New York, USA
Death: Jan. 10, 1923
Atchison County
Missouri, USA

"Probably the largest crowd attending a funeral here at any time recently was that which attended the funeral of Al Colvin at the Methodist Church last Friday afternoon. The church was packed with many outside. Bankers and business men from all over the county and from Hamburg and many other points were present. Mr. Colvin will be greatly missed by the many friends that he had and practically everyone that knew him was a friend. A large number of beautiful floral tributes occupied a space in the church. The services were conducted by Rev. J. T. McKitrick, assisted by C. F. Jenkins and the interment was made in Greenhill Cemetary.

His life on the plains, his experiences in the Civil War and in the pioneer history of our county and his wide travel and acquaintances with many prominent men of former days made him one of the most interesting conversationalists the county has ever known. In curing defects in titles, his acquaintance with practically every pioneer citizen in the county has been invaluble to abstractors and land owners. There is possibly no one left in the county taht could take his place in this respect. At one time, he owned large bodies of land in the county, the old Colvin farm near the Colvin bridge across the Nishas being now worth more than $200 per acre no doubt. Mr. Colvin could have amassed a fortune but he was generous and open handed and left a comparatively small estate.

He was always a friend to man, no matter when or where. He was ready to give a helping hand, and even more than his share. His life's work is ended. The name Al Colvin is written there in the memory of those he has befriended, who hope to meet him on the golden stair."

The cemetery in which our hero now lies:


April 11, 2013, 09:32 PM
Let's end this with weaponry. We shall say little to nothing of the accusations bandied back and fourth concerning Lt. Col. Luther P. Bradley's cowardice or lack thereof, as far as sending out help. . .

I found this post written by "rsngersmith1867" on an Indian Wars oriented site, sums up my own thoughts on the matter. Read it and then we'll be on to the closing with the weaponry:

"I know this is an old thread, but as stated in my introduction I am obsessed with the Hayfield fight.

To shed some light on research I have done about the fight, the issue of Bradley being a coward or not, is really something one cannot prove, but one can speculate. I will give you this much, the man knew about the fight as early as An hour after it started, and recalled all the units in the area back to Fort C.F. Smith.

Lt. George H. Palmer of the 27th Infantry (E Coy) recalled the event in his diary, and enclosed with it a message he received from Bradley.

"On the 1st of August, I was sent out with 40 men and a number of teams to the mountains south of post to bring in timbers. On reaching the mountains I discovered Indians riding around on the hulls and I sent men out to watch their movements. On going to the top of a hill I saw Lieut. Sterburg's camp which was on the north side of the post and under a bluff. His camp could not be seen from the post. I saw a large number of Indians, which I estimated at 800 surrounding Sternburg. This was at about 12M. At the same time quite a large number left the main body and came towards me,...I collected my men and made my way to the wagons where I met a courier from Col. Bradley telling me to hasten to the post."

'Mr. Palmer,
I do not think you have anything to apprehend from Indians but, keep your men well together and come in as soon as you can load up your teams. I did not intend to have any teams go out today, and I prefer to have them returned as soon as possible.
Respectfully yours,
LP Bradley
Lt. Col. Comdg.'

At around 1pm Lt. Palmer and his party returned to Fort C.F. Smith and he reported to Lt.Col. Bradley that Sterburg was engaged with over 800 hostiles...possibly 1,000. Bradley suggested that the number was not an accurate estimate, and that Lt. Sterburg could take care of them.

Bradley knew as early as 1pm that Sterburg was surrounded by close to 1,000 indians, and he did not act on that intelligence until around 3:30pm when he sent out 20 men commanded by 2nd. Lt. Edward Shurly, and about a mile after they left were surrounded by hostiles and forced to fall back to the Fort.

At the later stages in the fight, the men in the hayfield corral drew straws to see who would ride back, Pvt Brogen of G Coy drew the short straw but claimed to be to weak to make the trip and Pvt. Bradley of E Coy volunteered to go.

Bradley road like hell to Fort C.F. Smith and ran into a party of about 4 Sioux who were determined to ride him down to lay Coup blows on them, they knocked Pvt. Bradley from his horse, and just as he remounted, the 20 scouts lead by Shurly saw the Sioux, fired a volley and the Sioix bugged out. Bradley then made his way to the post and delivered his message about the attack on their posistion at the Hayfield corral.

Most of this comes from Lt.Col. LP Bradley's Diary and letters, and Lt. Palmers Diary. Which I tracked down with the help of the book by Barry J. Hagan, "Exactly in the Right Place" : A history of Fort C.F. Smith, Montana Territory, 1866-1868.

I have drawn my own conclusions having read the journal entries from LP Bradley that he may not have been a coward, but he was not the greatest leader, in his entire time at Fort C.F. Smith, he left the fortification maybe 3 times. So draw your own conclusions...he was a fine officer in the Civil war and that is why you do not hear much about the Hayfield Fight, in fact the Army sat on it for years because the serving line officers at the time did not want to tarnish the Service record of Bradley, and it is noted by many journalists of the time that when they spoke of the Hayfield fight, the officers simply did not want to speak of it. The reason cited...they did not want to have their fellow officer branded a coward."

April 11, 2013, 09:33 PM
So here we go with the weaponry. . .

Despite weak extreactors and whatever else, these bad boys were golden on that hot August day:


1860 Henry, used with deadly effectiveness by Colvin:


And the Winchester Model 1866 Carbine:


And let's not forget Zeke Colvin's1853 Enfield Pattern (Al's brother):


From "Great Western Indian Fights" chapter by Appleman (merely for firearms data):


April 11, 2013, 09:34 PM
Finally from the esteemed but slightly controversial article by Hyer in the "Annals Of Wyoming", Summer-Autumn, 2007:


**************For much more: http://www.wedealinlead.net/forum/viewforum.php?f=4 *****************


July 4, 2013, 01:21 PM
[Just an update. . . this forum is one of the few others I read. We have been slowly building, absolutely nothing like THR, more focused on the old west, bullet alloys, experimenters and meticulous craftsman.]


July 15, 1878 -July 19, 1878.

A couple of images that are exceedingly important:



Some bare bones backdrop. . . I am assuming most readers know something of thje Lincoln County War, from Mike Towers' Magazine article, Wild West, December 2004:

" The Lincoln County War was a lawless episode in New Mexico history that is best remembered today for having triggered the legend of Billy the Kid. On April 1, 1878, during that bitter business feud, the Kid and other so-called Regulators killed Lincoln County Sheriff William Brady. New Mexico Territory Governor Lew Wallace never got around to giving Billy a pardon for killing Brady or for his other Lincoln County War escapades. After more than 120 years of media attention, interest in the Kid remains so high that the current governor of New Mexico has been considering giving Billy a posthumous pardon. But the Kid's story has been so romanticized that it has obscured the truth about the Lincoln County War."

"An uncomplicated explanation of the Lincoln County War is that it was a feud involving two competing groups, termed "rings," intent on monopolizing trade, politics and vast stretches of land in New Mexico Territory. One ring, known as "the House," was a firmly entrenched local commercial empire, so named because most of its business dealings were conducted out of a store that resembled a house, and because the name appealed to the men operating its various nefarious enterprises. The House, besides holding a monopoly on domestic trade, often fulfilled beef contracts for the military through purchasing beef stolen by a band of outlaws known as "the boys," and used this gang as enforcers when necessary. By all accounts, the passel of Irishmen associated with the House--originally led by Lawrence G. Murphy--was as ruthless a band of brigands as ever existed in American commerce, as ready to terminate their detractors and competitors as they were to fleece customers."

New Mexico Territorial Governor Axtell, soon after the siege was replaced by Lew "Ben Hur" Wallace:


Enter Mr. John Tunstall as well as Alexander McSween. . . legendsofamerica. com:

"In 1877 Alexander McSween, a lawyer, and John Tunstall, a wealthy 24-year old English cattleman and banker, set up a rival business called H.H. Tunstall & Company near the one owned by Dolan, Murphy and Riley.

Supporting them was a large ranch owner named John Chisum, who owned more than 100,000 head of cattle.

Furious at this development, Dolan attempted to goad Tunstall into a gunfight. However, Tunstall refused to use violence himself but soon recruited Billy the Kid, officially, as a "cattle guard.”

In February, 1878, "The House” proprietors obtained a court order to seize some of Tunstall's horses as payment for an outstanding debt. When Tunstall refused to surrender the horses, Lincoln County Sheriff, William Brady, formed a posse led by deputy William Morton to seize them. After protesting the presence of the posse on his land, Tunstall was shot in the head on February 18, 1878. This incident started what became known as the Lincoln County War.

Billy the Kid was deeply affected by the murder, claiming that Tunstall was one of the only men that treated him like he was "free-born and white." After Tunstall's funeral Billy swore: "I'll get every son-of-a-bitch who helped kill John if it's the last thing I do."



Adding fuel to the fire, it was rumored that Tunstall had been murdered on the orders of James Dolan and Lawrence Murphy.

However, Billy would not be able to immediately exact his revenge as he, along with Fred Waite, were briefly jailed by Sheriff William Brady. After he was released, Billy soon joined a posse led by Dick Brewer, Tunstall's Ranch Foreman, called the Regulators. The group's primary aim was to hunt for Tunstall's killer, William Morton.

On March 6, 1878, the Regulators tracked Morton in the countryside near the Rio Peñasco. After a five mile running gunfight, Morton surrendered on the condition that his fellow deputy sheriff, Frank Baker, would be returned alive to Lincoln. However, on the third day of the journey back to Lincoln, on March 9th, Billy and another Regulator killed the prisoners, along with one of their fellow Regulators that had tried to stop them.

Three weeks later Billy and several other Regulators holed up in Tunstall's store while Sheriff William Brady was searching for the killers of his deputies. They ambushed the sheriff and his men on April 1, 1878, killing Sheriff Brady and mortally wounding one of his deputies."

There you have a quick and rough background for our 5 days of hell. . .

Lincoln Counmty Courthouse 1930:


We will refer to the two sides as Regulators (the Tunstall-McSween faction), and the other as Murphy-Dolan faction (the Murphy-Dolan-Riley faction).

July 4, 2013, 01:22 PM
Late in the early Summer evening of Sunday April 14, 1878 McSween and the Regulators descend from their perch in the hills around Lincoln. They ride into the town and simply take over. They number upwards of 60 mean and they positions themselves strategically around the town.

From an internet article, entitled "The Five-Day Battle":

"The stage is set for the climatic battle of the Lincoln County War. Alex McSween has decided that the time has come for there to be one final showdown between his forces and Jimmy Dolan’s. One last test of strength and it will be determined which side will win Lincoln County. Shortly after nightfall on July 14, Alex McSween, tired of living in the hills and wanting to return to his home, and the Regulators rode into Lincoln and took over the town. McSween has no real battle plan, but he figures if he strikes first against the Dolan crowd and leaves it up to them to answer his challenge, his side will win. McSween and the Regulators do have several advantages over the Dolan men. First of all, after recently recruiting farmer Martin Chaves from Picacho and twenty-five or so Hispanics under his command, the Regulators now number about sixty, more than Dolan and Sheriff Peppin will be able to muster together. Secondly, the Regulators made it into Lincoln undetected and placed themselves in strategic locations throughout town. In the big, U-shaped McSween house are McSween himself, his wife Susan, Elizabeth Shield and her five children, Harvey Morris (a non-combatant tubercular law student who just happens to be in the McSween house studying law), and about six Regulators. To the immediate east, in the Tunstall store, are George Coe, Henry Brown, and “Tiger Sam” Smith, along with Dr. Taylor Ealy and his family and schoolteacher Susan Gates. Across the street in the Montano store are Martin Chaves, Fernando Herrera, Constable Atanacio Martinez, twenty to twenty-five more Hispanics, and Billy “the Kid“ Bonney. Next door in the Patron house are about four or five more Hispanic Regulators. In the Ellis house/store at the east end of town, are Josiah “Doc” Scurlock, John Middleton, Charlie Bowdre, Fred Waite, Frank Coe, John Scroggins, “Dirty Steve” Stephens, Dan Dedrick, and maybe eight more men. Although the Regulators took these locations without firing a single shot, they did manage to trap Dolan men (called “Murphs” by the Regulators) Deputy Jack Long, Jim McDaniels, Jim Reese, George “Roxy” Rose, Billy Mathews, Sam Perry, and a newcomer to the area known only as “the Dummy” in the torreon, located next-door to the Baca house and across the street from the Montano store. "

The so-called "Dummy" is an odd bird. The man was labeled dummy because no one thought he could speak. However when lead began to fly he spoke aplenty. Strange but true.

Tunstall-McSween Store:


Montano Store:


July 4, 2013, 01:23 PM
"The above photo was taken sometime around 1890, but shows Lincoln much as it would have looked during the war. Looking east, the House is the large building in the foreground. The Tunstall store is approximately in the middle of the photo, on the opposite side of the street as the House. The McSween house would have been located in the vacant lot neighboring the Tunstall store."


At first light Sheriff 'Dad' Peppin discovers what the regulators have done and sends out a rider for the posses of Murphy-Dolan men scouring the hills for the Regulators. Dad has a handful of men in town, six of which are trapped in the torrean he decides to wait for his posses of men under Buck Powell, John Kinney, and Marion Turner. It is dusk when these hell for leather, hard men amble toward the Wortley hotel. Appropriately a sever dust storm accompanies them. . . About half ornery and fully pissed off, they rein up at the hitching post just in front of the hotel and immediately pour a barrage of hot lead into the McSween house. Splintering window shutters and causing everyone to know hell had rolled in. (It was a volley of around 15 rounds, bluster, really.) These men were mostly sonsabitches and mercenaries. Don't have a lot of use for this rag tag bunch but they were without any doubt, killers.

Stay tuned.

July 4, 2013, 01:25 PM
Coarse language but. . .

Thanks for indulging me.

That is the lead in, the sketch itself is here:


Steel Horse Rider
July 4, 2013, 02:15 PM
I have a book about the Lincoln County War that was published by the University of Arizona Press that details the real story as accurately as possible given the passage of time, but as I recall the story closely parallels what you have posted. It is an interesting read if anyone cares to follow up. I can't recall the name right now but I will try to find the book and post the information later.

August 25, 2013, 01:39 PM
Thought you guys might be up for another tale from:


On Dec. 8, 1883, five heavily armed men rode into Bisbee, Arizona Territory, for the purpose of stealing the mine payroll from the Copper Queen Mine.

Nine kinds of hell broke loose. . . You guys interested?

Pretty brutal story, seriously, gruesome.


Bisbee 1909:


Alright fellas, I told you this was a bloody scene. I believe that there were four laying dead plus an unborn child and at least one other seriously wounded. So we have five dead in the "massacre" (if I understand the way the accounts read, properly). In the following days six more meet their end as well.


"Bisbee daily review. (Bisbee, Ariz.) 1901-1971, November 26, 1911, SECTION TWO, Image 9

This article was written ~27 years after the massacre.


August 25, 2013, 01:41 PM



August 25, 2013, 01:42 PM
December 8, 1883. It was evening when five Clifton cowboys rode stolidly into the town of Bisbee, Arizona, and, in this instance, hell did indeed follow with them.

It was a cold late Fall evening, just past 7 pm, and then men wore heavy coats and MASKS. They spoke not a word as they rode their, by most accounts, very fine mounts up the gulch, past the Copper Queen smelter, and to the east end of Preston’s Lumberyard in Bisbee, Arizona Territory. The men were armed to the teeth! Each man had a pair of Colt's and a Winchester (probably 1873's model). These men meant business. 'Hard put and desperate men' seems a reasonable assessment from the subsequent events. They estimated the mines payroll to run at $7,000, a tidy sum for the era.

Drawing by Bob Boze Bell editor of TrueWest Magazing:


NYC Newspaper blurb from that December week in 1883:


An article for the ruidosonews. com puts it much better than my above prose:

"Late on the afternoon of Dec. 8, five hard-looking men rode slowly into Bisbee, their shadows long in the late afternoon sun beaming into the narrow canyon that is Bisbee. All five were armed to the teeth, carrying two pistols and a rifle each.

Tethering their horses, the five grim-faced gunmen walked up the street to the Goldwater and Castaneda General Store. It was common knowledge that the payroll for the Copper Queen Mine was routinely brought to this store.

Normally, the payroll was in the neighborhood of $7,000 - a pretty luxurious neighborhood for 1883. As luck - bad luck - would have it, the payroll had not yet arrived when the five bandits stepped up to the front of the store. Three of the men, Bill Delaney, Tex Howard and Dan Kelly, stepped into the store and drew their guns, commanding the owners of the store, as well as seven or eight customers, to remain calm and very still."

Stay tuned, Pardners. . .

August 25, 2013, 01:43 PM
Bob Boze Bell truewestmagazine. com:


August 25, 2013, 01:44 PM
Bob Boze Bell:


The five grim faced men, "Big Dan" Dowd, Omer W. "Red" Sample, Daniel "Yorkie" Kelly, James "Tex" Howard, and William E. Delaney, dismounted and split up, three going into the Goldwater-Castañeda store and two remaining outside to pin down any possible trouble.

"Frontier Justice in the Wild West: Bungled, Bizarre and Fascinating Executions" By R. Michael Wilson


Note the subtle differences here in the truewestmagazine. com article "Bazing Bastards"

"A Bisbee resident, James Krigbaum, hears the shooting, buckles on his gunbelt and heads downtown. On the way, he hears reports that bandits are holding up the store and shooting at anything that moves. Krigbaum slips down an alley and takes up a vantage point behind a rock wall. As he peers over, he sees two men, armed with rifles, firing at unseen adversaries. Krigbaum takes aim at the tallest gunman and fires, but he misses. His second shot merely grazes the outlaw’s coat. The outlaws return fire at Krigbaum’s position, and he ducks for cover.

The doors of the Bon Ton Saloon swing open, and assayer John Tappiner and Joseph A. Bright, of Willcox, step out on the boardwalk. One outlaw barks at the two men, “You go back!”

Bright runs up the street, but Tappiner defiantly declares, “I won’t.”

A rifle slug rips into his forehead, and he drops in the street.

Next to the Goldwater-Castañeda store is Joe May’s Saloon. A man named Howard steps out from its doors, and the outlaws gun him down as soon as he appears.

D. Tom Smith, a deputy sheriff from the San Pedro River area, exits the Simas Restaurant and identifies himself as a lawman. “You’re the man we are lookin’ for,” one of the outlaws retorts. The gang’s rifle fire strikes the deputy twice; the second shot kills him.

With three dead men lying on the street, the locals amazingly remain uncowed and keep coming. Annie Roberts, an expectant mother, exits her restaurant and is cut down. J.A. “Tex” Nolly, a Bisbee lumber dealer, is shot as he runs out of a nearby saloon.

Inside the Goldwater-Castañeda store, the three robbers have lined up all the customers and employees and are ransacking counter drawers and shelves. In a bedroom at the rear of the store, Jose Castañeda is lying on the bed, feigning illness, in an attempt to protect the cash he has hidden beneath his pillow. His ploy fails. A robber bursts in, grabs Castañeda off the bed and takes the money.

The outlaws force Joe Goldwater to open the safe. Expecting a large amount of cash for the mining payroll, they are crushed when they find only $600 in cash, a watch and a couple pieces of jewelry.

The bandits take the loot and leave. As they mount their horses, several locals—including Krigbaum, two others and a deputy sheriff—fire down the gulch at the fleeing men. They escape, unscathed."

So we have three accounts, the newspaper, the book, and the article. . . My take, and the hunt and capture, tomorrow.


August 25, 2013, 01:45 PM
After the robbery and slaughter, a posse was quickly form and one John Heath (Heith) was chosen as a tracker. Not good for anyone involved, including Heath. Here is some information regarding the rewards offered. It is from truewest.ring. com, dig up by Doug Hocking:

"From the Minutes of the County Board and the Book of Warrants:
In December 1883, shortly after the Massacre the County Supervisors voted a reward of $2500 for arrest and conviction of the five to be issued at $500 for each of the five holdup men. (This argues strongly that there were only five robbers, not six).

On February 28, 1884, the board issued warrants (authorizing the treasurer to pay) the following:
JC. Ward, Sheriff, $500 for Kelly
JC. Ward, $500 for Wm. Delaney
AG. Hill, Deputy, $500 for Howard
AG. Hill, $500 for OW. Sample
WA. Daniels, Deputy, $500 for Dan Dowd

The warrants were redeemed almost a year later with $40 in interest by Wells Fargo and Ben Williams. It appears that they paid the sheriff and deputies and had to wait a year to get paid by the county.

Whether this was a separate and distinct reward from the $15,000 Parsons described, I don’t know. Subscription began at the same time the county voted on the reward in December. Parsons collected against subscription on behalf of the county treasurer five days before the payouts were made, that is, right after the trial. $500 per head seems a lot more reasonable than $3000. Perhaps Parsons memory in 1901 was faulty. If they took $7500 in subscriptions and were able to collect $3200, that sounds reasonable.

Anyway, it seems a barber in Deming, an ex-girlfriend in Clifton, and two Rurales in Sonora got stiffed."

So, back to Heath. . . he and another tracker are leading the posse BUT they constantly lead it in large circles. It does not take long for suspicion to grow around Heath. The lawmen soon catch on. Heath and his fellow tracker manage, eventually, to track the outlaws to Soldier's Hole, slightly north and east of Bisbee, but then lead the group back to Tombstone. Moments later six-shooters are yanked by the lawmen and Heath and his companion are arrested and charged with murder and robbery. The deputy clearly believed that they were involved and indeed it seems to be the case that John Heath was. His fellow tracker was exonerated.

Heath took all of no time to begin naming names/ratting out his fellow filth. He named names and gave descriptions of the five cowboys. Flyers were circulated in the area and even below the border.

August 25, 2013, 01:46 PM
Store proprietor, Joseph Goldwater:


"These two street views show the location of the Goldwater-Castañeda store (see the circles). Bisbee didn’t have a bank yet, so payroll money and valuables were often kept in the store’s safe. The outlaws were counting on a payroll of $7,000, but the Tombstone stage bringing the money was delayed. If the robbers had fled up the canyon, they would have run into the disabled stage and gotten the money!"


alamogordonews. com, 05/22/2008 04:37:32 PM MDT

"At first the posse that went in pursuit was unsuccessful, partially because of their "tracker" - a man named John Heath. When the frustrated posse returned to Bisbee, two local men - Billy Daniels and a man named Hatch - went out into the desert and found some evidence on their own.

A clue

When Daniels and Hatch arrived at the ranch of a man named Frank Buckle, the rancher had not yet heard of the tragedy. He did however, have an interesting tale to tell the two deputized citizens. He informed them that "five tough ones" had arrived at his ranch two or three days prior and bought some horses.

He recalled that he had seen the quintet once before - in the company of John Heath.

Of course, the deputies' ears pricked up at the mention of Heath's name, but before they could comment, the helpful Mr. Buckle continued, supplying them with the names of all the bandits: Dan Dowd, Omar "Red" Sample, Dan Kelly, Jack "Tex" Howard, and "a Delaney." Daniels and Hatch looked at each other. They had no earthly idea where to find the five desperadoes, but they knew exactly where they could lay their hands on John Heath.

Heath's capture

County Sheriff Bob Paul, along with Deputy Hatch, found Heath lounging in a saloon and closed in on him from two sides. Heath offered no resistance and was promptly dragged off to jail.

There, the officers told a fib and informed Heath that they had already captured Dowd and Sample and the pair had implicated him. Heath bought it hook, line and sinker and promptly snitched on the entire group.

Even with this confession, the lawmen knew that their job wasn't going to be easy. The moment the people of Bisbee discovered that one of the perpetrators - the mastermind, as it turned out - was in the calaboose they would instantly seize him and decorated the nearest tree - or any elevated position - with him.

With this in mind, they quietly moved Heath from the Bisbee jail and transferred him to the more substantial jail at the county seat: Tombstone. Rewards were posted everywhere for the five gunmen. Something had to give, and it wasn't long before something did.

Rewards of $1,500 per man were placed on the heads of the five men still at large. Sure enough, some of the stolen jewelry surfaced almost immediately at Clifton, Ariz., north of Bisbee. Two deputies, named Hovey and Hill, were informed of a man who had been spending money liberally at Clifton and when they approached him, it turned out to be Omar "Red" Sample, in the company of Jack Howard, another of the bandits.

When the desperadoes were confronted, they elected to shoot it out. In the ensuing gun battle, Sample was wounded. Seeing his partner go down, Howard dropped his weapon and raised his hands. In short order, the two killers joined their associate, John Heath, in the Tombstone jail.

After that, things got rather interesting, at least from a legal standpoint. Billy Daniels received word from Mexican friends south of the border that Dan Dowd was at Sabrinal, Mexico, where he had procured employment as a miner. Without the slightest legal authority, Daniels packed his gear and headed for the border. Billy Daniels was a saloon owner and now a deputy who had participated in the shootout in Bisbee and he felt a certain compulsion to see justice done, regardless of the legalities involved.

Not long after, Daniels confronted Dowd in a mine bunkhouse and Dowd wisely chose not to shoot it out, possibly already aware of what had happened to his two comrades at Clifton.

Daniels smuggled Dowd onto a freight train bound for El Paso. It was illegal, but it worked.

That left only Dan Kelly and Bill Delaney.

Dan Kelly and Bill Delaney

Kelly was taken rather easily when he was surprised by deputies as he sat in a barber's chair in Deming.

Delaney was a tad more difficult. Like Dowd, he had decided to take refuge in Old Mexico. Again, Billy Daniels was notified by his Mexican friends (apparently there were a lot of them) of Delaney's whereabouts, and once again he packed up and headed for the border.

This time, however, it was a little more complicated. Delaney was already in jail in Mexico. Nevertheless, when the Mexican authorities heard about Delaney's transgressions, they allowed Daniels to simply walk away with the prisoner. Once again, Daniels slipped his prisoner onto a northbound freight.

It took two months exactly, but on Feb. 8, 1884, all six perpetrators were securely - or so the lawmen thought - incarcerated in the Tombstone jail. The five gunmen all pled guilty, but Heath asked for, and received, a separate trial.

Kelly, Howard, Delaney, Sample and Dowd were all found to be incredibly guilty and on Feb. 11 they were sentenced to hang. Ten days later, on Feb. 21, Heath was also found guilty, but of second degree murder and was sentenced to life imprisonment."


August 25, 2013, 01:47 PM
From a Cochise County newspaper article, dated March 29, 1884.

"March 29, 1884
The Gallows Eight men legally put to death, Five Murderers Suspended from One Beam at Tombstone Arizona A Riot as a side show.
O.W. Sample, Dan Dowd, James Delany, James Howard and Dan Kelly were hanged here at quarter past one this afternoon, for the Bisbee Murders.
The five bandits marched up the steps of the scaffold without flinching, and all declared their innocence. Heith, who was lynched here on February 22, was, they stated also innocent. They bade their friends goodbye. They expressed faith in the Christian religion, and requested that their bodies be delivered to Father Gallagher. Nothing occurred to mar the sheriff's plans. The murderers were all dropped off together, and, with the exception of Dowd, died without a struggle.
Over one thousand persons witnessed the execution. A large balcony had been erected outside of and overlooking the jail yard, the builder intending to charge a dollar and a half admission. The mob became indignant and tore the balcony down. In the row which followed seven persons were injured. One man had his leg broken and another his arm. The balcony would have seated five hundred persons. With this exception, everything passed off quietly.
The residents of Tombstone were startled on the morning of the 9th of last December by the news that reached the city regarding the desperate work of a number of bandits, who had on the previous day entered Bisbee, a neighboring mining settlement, and robbed a number of citizens. The messengers who brought the news stated that on the afternoon of December 8 six men rode into the settlement. They dismounted in a quiet part of the place, and , leaving the horses in charge of one of their number, five visited the business portion of the settlement and commenced a series of robberies. Three of them entered the store of A.A, Castenado while two stood guard without. As they entered the door one of them immediately covered the book-keeper of the establishment with a revolver and commanded him to open the safe, which he did. They took from the safe about $800.00 and then robbed the attaches taking a gold watch and other valuables. Whole these scenes were being acted within, the watchmen on the outside when any one approached, cried out "Keep back, or we will kill you." and pointed a revolver at the head of the person so addressed. When they left the plundered store, they returned to their horses, stopping and robbing several citizens on the way.
A number of people were soon in pursuit of the desperadoes, who, as they rode from the place, fatally shot Mrs. Roberts, D.T. Smith, J.A. Tappenier, and John A. Nolly. The highwaymen made their escape, carrying with them about $1200.00. A reward of $2000.00 was offered for the arrest and conviction of the persons implicated in the crimes. As the desperadoes, with one exception, all wore masks, it was at first difficult to trace them. Clues soon developed that led to the arrest of six men. These were Daniel Dowd, James "alias "Tex" Delaney, Oscar W. Sample alias "Red" Daniel Kelly, James Howard and John Heith. The first five named men were tried at Tombstone and convicted of murder in the first degree. The trial of Heith was separate, and he was found guilty of murder in the second degree, and sentenced to life imprisonment.
As Heith was believed to be the instigator of the crime, this so enraged the citizens of Tombstone that they determined to lynch him. On the morning of Washington's birthday about one hundred men, mostly miners armed themselves and a committee of seven appointed to enter the jail and secure the murderer.
They knocked at the door, and as it was about the time that the Chinese servant brought in the breakfast for the prisoners, the jailer, thinking it was he, threw open the door, and the lynches marched in, and, under the muzzle of a revolver, they compelled the turnkey to open Heith's cell. This was done, and after putting the rope around Heith's neck, they started to leave jail with him. As they descended the stairs of the jail it was suggested that they hang him from the balustrade, but as Sheriff Ward and several others came on the scene, it was prevented. The sheriff was knocked down by some of the mob, who then dragged Heith through the streets for several blocks, until a telegraph pole was reached. He was then informed that his time had come. He made one request of the mob before he was lynched saying "Don't riddle my body with bullets, boys" A pocket handkerchief was put over his eyes and the rope thrown over one of the cross pieces of the telegraph pole. The mob, seizing the rope, drew him up, and he was left hanging for half an hour, when he was cut down."

John Heath:





August 25, 2013, 01:50 PM
Hope you enjoyed the cobbled together tale.

Sketches and discussion are here:


Main site:


Cheers and keep burning that GUNPOWDER!

August 26, 2013, 12:51 PM
I wish we had swift justice like that today. Good story, thanks.

August 26, 2013, 01:19 PM
Thank you, Bob!

August 28, 2013, 11:53 AM
Great info Gibs!!! I Love to read and reread your posts almost daily. They're packed with so much information that everytime you read them you find out even more.
Good stuff!!!

August 28, 2013, 05:44 PM

Very kind of you. I am obliged to you for the post.


August 30, 2013, 12:14 PM
Interesting web site but too dark to read properly on my computer.

August 31, 2013, 12:44 AM
That's why it has 3 different styles.

September 7, 2013, 01:56 PM
FROM MY SITE: http://www.wedealinlead.net/forum/index.php

John Bull the English born gunman who killed Langford "Farmer" Peel, in Helena M.T. in 1867, among other things, will be the subject of our next sketch.

This will be a bare bones account as there is not a lot of ready material on the internet.

Check back. . .

A facsimile of original head marker for Peel:


September 7, 2013, 01:58 PM
John Edwin Bull first saw light in the year of our Lord, 1836, in England. Whatever went with his first 24 years of his life is not known. The date he relocated to the American West in also a mystery. However, at the age of 25 years he was firmly planted here and had been for a long while. He was a boom camp veteran and when the rush for Elk Creek Basin broke, he was slap in the middle of it. Off he went hell-for-leather.

What kind of man was he? Well, this early story related in miner James Stuart's contemporary journal and backed by legendary pioneers Granville Stuart and N.P. Langford, gives some insight. . . HE WAS A GUNMAN. The event occurred on August 25, 1862, at the Gold Creek mining camp in Montana Territory.

On a warm late August evening a man with dark eyes and a coal black beard ambled into the camp. He dismounted carrying a double-barreled cannon, Colt's Navy six-shooter strapped on his side. All business, all day. He had with him a man named Fox; he immediately told the miners who that they were looking for. They wee on the trail of horse thieves. These were not ordinary horses but were extremely valuable animals and had been filched in Elk City, Idaho. The miners were given descriptions.

[Elk City, Idaho. . . "They found gold near the confluence of the American and Red rivers. Further prospecting discovered more and more “color.” By mid-June they had slapped together a log cabin to serve as a recorder's office, in which “Captain” L. B. Monson recorded the first claim on June 14, 1861.

Some men returned to Orofino for supplies and the new rush began, somewhat dampened by worries about the Indians. However, as more and more prospectors struck pay dirt, the rush swelled. That finally led to the founding of Elk City.

By the following summer, the town had four to six stores of various kinds, five saloons, and two decent hotels. Because of its location deep in the mountains, heavy winter snow shut down work on almost every claim. By the fall of 1862, a quickly-established Express company had shipped out over $900 thousand in gold dust (over $50 million at today’s prices).

Gold discoveries in easier country in Montana drew many prospectors away from Elk City the next year. However, in 1864 and 1865, determined gold-seekers built ditches and flumes to begin large-scale hydraulic mining. Thus, the value of metal extracted from the region actually increased. A sawmill built to supply lumber for these flumes did a booming business."] :


Elk City, Idaho:


Quickly they related that three men fitting the descriptions given had arrived in the camp some days earlier. They were running a Spanish monte game in a tent saloon.

September 7, 2013, 01:59 PM
The men showed up with in camp with six fine horses in tow and it was pretty clear to miners and manhunters alike that these were they guys. Their names were: C.W. Spillman, William Arnett, and B.D. Jermagin. Two of them would shortly see God.

John Bull obtained from the miners the location of the tent saloon occupied by the three and along with Fox and a few od the miners went to procure the men. Spillman was snatched up easily along the route to the saloon and gave no resistance, he was know around camp as a "rather quiet, reserved, pleasant young man", so says miner James Stuart in his contemporary diary. Bull, Fox Stuart and the small group of other miners made straight for the tent saloon with Bull leading the way, shotgun in his arm and Colt's on his ready, ready to roll.

They found Arnett and Jermagin working their monte fame, as expected. According to Stuart, "Arnett was dealing and Jermagin was 'lookout' for him". John Bull plowed right into the place, brought his scattergun into dealing position and ordered the men to "throw up their hands!". Arnett kept a loaded, cocked, and primed, Colt's Navy on his lap when dealing and thought to stop Bull before he got started. Error in judgement. He quickly snatched his Colt's into play but he was a day late and a dollar short, Bull threw down on him with his shotgun right through front chest. He hit the ground dead as a doornail. Third man was then looking down the other barrel of Bull's death machine. . . he declined to clear leather. He, immediately, surrendered. He was tied up with Spillman for the night and in the morning the miners buried Arnett, WITH HIS SIX-SHOTER IN ONE HAND AND CARDS IN THE OTHER AS THEY COULD NOT GET HIS GRIP UNCLENCHED ! Jermagin and Spillman went on trial immediately. In a matter of a couple of hours, Jermagin convinced the miners that he innocently threw in with the thieves on the trail, evidently a while after they had stolen the horses. He was let go and banished. Spillman was not so fortunate. He was convicted in a few minutes, sentenced to death, and hanged less than an hour later.

John Bull reloaded and left. . .

Gold Creek, M.T.:


Line Rd. Gold Creek, Montana:


Thus begins the story of a DEADLY gunman of the "American Old West", so far as we have record of. We will focus mostly on his gunfight with another LEGENDARY gunman of the old west known as Langford "Farmer" Peel". Interestingly enough, "Farmer" Peel was also an Englishman.

John Bull was never a miner but spent decades following the mining camps. He did so in furtherance of his true profession, that of professional gambler. One other incident concerning Bull in these early years is related now and then we will adjourn until tomorrow.

Fast forward to 1864. . .

"At this time mining camps in Nevada Territory were booming, most promionent Aurora, and then Austin. John Bull settled at the silver camp of Austin, in the center of the Territory. Early in 1864 there came about a nationalistic dispute over who was “chief” in Austin - Irish vs. English. In deference to the late editorial against dueling with pistols and knives, the use of those weapons was rejected by involved parties. It so happened another talent of Johnny Bull was fisticuffs. The issue was finally settled between Bull and a particular Irishman. They met up late at night on February 21, in a saloon at the corner of Main and Cedar Streets. Inside within the presence of an excited crowd, the two combatants (with their seconds) came to an agreement in regards the rules of pugilism to be allowed:

They thereupon adjourned to the street. Mac Waterhouse was selected by the Englishman as his second, and George Loney by the Irishman, and after these preliminaries had been gone through with, the mauling commenced about twelve o’clock. Twenty-one rounds were fought and for a time the battle was very hotly contested, both giving and receiving very hard knocks and showing no signs of yielding. But Johnny Bull’s endurance was too much for Irish grit, and the victory was decided in favor of the Englishman. It is claimed however, that the result was entirely owing to the instructions Mac gave his man during the twenty-first round; that is, to feint with his left, take one step back, and give an uppercut with his right. This direction was followed and gained the fight. Both men were severely punished. A large crowd witnessed the contest, many being present in dishabille [state of casual attire], not having time to dress themselves when they jumped out of bed to see what was going on. We are making fine progress in “muscular Christianity.” A prize fight in our public thoroughfare. Who can beat it?At this time mining camps in Nevada Territory were booming, most promionent Aurora, and then Austin. John Bull settled at the silver camp of Austin, in the center of the Territory. Early in 1864 there came about a nationalistic dispute over who was “chief” in Austin - Irish vs. English. In deference to the late editorial against dueling with pistols and knives, the use of those weapons was rejected by involved parties. It so happened another talent of Johnny Bull was fisticuffs. The issue was finally settled between Bull and a particular Irishman. They met up late at night on February 21, in a saloon at the corner of Main and Cedar Streets. Inside within the presence of an excited crowd, the two combatants (with their seconds) came to an agreement in regards the rules of pugilism to be allowed." That according to wikipedia.

The epic fight was detailed thoroughly by the Reese River Reveille, Feb. 23, 1864:

"They thereupon adjourned to the street. Mac Waterhouse was selected by the Englishman as his second, and George Loney by the Irishman, and after these preliminaries had been gone through with, the mauling commenced about twelve o’clock. Twenty-one rounds were fought and for a time the battle was very hotly contested, both giving and receiving very hard knocks and showing no signs of yielding. But Johnny Bull’s endurance was too much for Irish grit, and the victory was decided in favor of the Englishman. It is claimed however, that the result was entirely owing to the instructions Mac gave his man during the twenty-first round; that is, to feint with his left, take one step back, and give an uppercut with his right. This direction was followed and gained the fight. Both men were severely punished. A large crowd witnessed the contest, many being present in dishabille [state of casual attire], not having time to dress themselves when they jumped out of bed to see what was going on. We are making fine progress in “muscular Christianity.” A prize fight in our public thoroughfare. Who can beat it?"

September 7, 2013, 02:00 PM
We next hear of Bull in 1866 in Virginia City. He shows up here plying his usual trade, that of professional gambler. It seems that here he has teamed up with another true gunman, "Farmer" Peel. We have noted him earlier and how he was a fellow Englishman but we have not looked at him thoroughly. Here is a brief synopsis from a blog that specializes in the 1st US Dragoons 1833-1861, concerning Bugler Langdord "Farmer"Peel's earlier life. It is reasonably accurate. . . musketoon.blogspot. com:

"The year was 1883 and the editor of the Daily Helena Montana Independent was at his desk

preparing the next edition when a gentleman entered the small newspaper office and stood

silently before him. “Do you not know me?” the stranger finally said, pulling off his hat. The

harried newsman looked up, saw the weathered and worn face, the blue eyes and lingering half

smile, but couldn't place them.

“My name is Bull—John Bull, the man you successfully defended fifteen years ago for killing Langford Peel," said the man. Taking a longer look at the face, the editor discovered it belonged to his old client. (It didn't take much in those days to practice law.) This was the man known for having shot Farmer Peel, the outlaw once known as "the most notorious desperado of the mountains." No one could remember if he'd had been a farmer. But they remembered his murderous aim. Peel, one man wrote, “could fire at the drop of a hat and hit a dollar ten paces away every time." Behind that face "lurked the mind of a killer."

In the West, gunfighters often loomed larger than politicians, editors and captains of

industry. As a young journalist in the Nevada Territory, Mark Twain himself crossed paths

with Peel. He called Peel and his fellow gunmen "brave, reckless men [who] traveled with

their lives in their hands. To give them their due, they did their killing principally among

themselves, and seldom molested peaceable citizens, for they considered it small credit to

add to their trophies so cheap a bauble as the death of a man who was 'not on the shoot,' as

they phrased it. They killed each other on slight provocation,and hoped and expected to be

killed themselves--for they held it almost shame to die otherwise than 'with their boots on,' as

they expressed it."

Remarkably, this killer had begun his career as a respected Army soldier. Peel was born in

Dublin, Ireland, in 1829, and soon immigrated to America. He was practically raised in the

army; his step father served as a private in in the First U.S, Dragoons. At age 12, Peel enlisted

to learn music with the Dragoons at Carlisle Barracks. The year 1845 found him serving as a

bugler with his step father's company at Ft. Atkinson, Wisconsin. He stayed behind in Kansas

when his company marched to conquer Santa Fe in 1846 in the Mexican War. But then, when B

Company headed West on the Santa Fe trail in 1847, he joined with his trumpet. Lax in

following dress regulations the dragoons rode on big-boned sorrel horses towards a

confrontation with the Comanches at the Coon Creeks in what is today western Kansas. There

he claimed to have shot and killed two Comanche Indians. (See Wild West, June 2004:

Dragoons vs. Comanches.)

In January, 1848, Bugler Peel accompanied General Sterling Price's Army of the Weston its march into the Mexican State of Chihuahua. At the age of 19, he fought in Battle of Santa Cruz de Rosales on 16 March 1848—a major battle fought after a treaty was signed with Mexico. After the war he continued to soldier in B Company, re-enlisting in 1848 and rising to the rank of sergeant. In his autobiography Five Years a Dragoon, First Sergeant Percival Lowe, wrote of serving with Peel, describing him as being “the best specimen of 160 pounds, five feet, nine inches, naturally bright, clear headed and helpful always . . . a perfect horseman, possessing unlimited courage and endurance, he was a man to be relied on and trusted in every emergency.” Lowe noted several examples of Sergeant Peel’s intelligence and marksmanship.

In 1854, Lowe, while posted at Ft. Union in New Mexico Territory, took his discharged. He recommended that Peel be made the new 1st sergeant of B Company. The two men were close friends and Peel, having married a woman from a prominent family in St. Louis, had named his son Percival Lowe Peel. Sergeant Peel, however, got into trouble with the civilian authorities and, on 20 March 1855. he was discharged from the Army. At 24 years of age, he had already participated in a lifetime’s worth of adventure and his future seemed bright.

While serving with the Army on the frontier, Peel had killed at least three Indians. These killings only wetted his appetite for violence. Starting out as a gambler at Leavenworth City in 1856, Peel prospered. At this time he acquired the nickname of Farmer Peel along with a reputation for both his generosity for those who were down and out, as well as his “dexterity with a revolver.”

Peel drifted west and the year 1858 found him down on his luck and in Salt Lake City, Utah Territory. It was here on September 9th that he encountered a fellow gambler named Oliver Rucker, one of those people to whom he had lent financial support in Leavenworth City. When Rucker refused to loan Peel any money, the latter attempted to pulverize the former with a chair. Rucker fled the saloon only to later confront Peel. Both men drew their firearms and fired simultaneously. The ensuing gun fight left both men lying wounded on the ground, each with several wounds. Peel dragged his body close to the prone Rucker, stabbed him with his bowie knife and cried out. “I’ve got a wife in Leavenworth City, write and tell her I fit to the last minute.” The former Dragoon bugler had suffered three gunshot wounds, but would survive. Rucker was not so fortunate and soon died. The authorities wanted to arrest Peel for murder. Friends treated Peel’s wounds and whisked him out of town. When he fully recovered, Peel rode west to California and then drifted to Virginia City in Nevada Territory.

Farmer Peel’s legendary status as a notorious gunslinger proceeded his arrival in Virginia City—indeed, he had slain six men and when he left town, he would slay another six. Quickly recognized as “chief” of the town toughs, it became necessary for him to defend his reputation. El Dorado Johnny Dennis challenged Peel to a gunfight. El Dorado, wanting to look his best for what he believed was going to be Farmer Peel’s funeral, visited his barber to have his hair trimmed, shaved and shoes shinned. The natty Dennis encountered Peel dealing three card monte and called him out. In the tradition of the old West the two faced one another in the middle of the street and drew their pistols. When the white gun smoke cleared it was El Dorado Johnny who made for a fine looking corpse."

. . .

Bull's association with Peel and his profession seemed to have settles him on a fairly hung rung of Virginia City society in 1866. Mark Twain was even well acquainted with John Bull during his stay in the area. Bull actually staged a mock robbery of Twain and his companions only to shortly later repeat the holdup but in reverse. He presented Twain his property back and then he and his guys removed their masks and revealed the gag.

Bull's prank, illustrated, from Twain's "Rouging It":


September 7, 2013, 02:02 PM
Friendship goes awry

Here is the story of the gun play between John Bull and "Farmer" Peel as told by Robert K. DeArment in his "Deadly Dozen: Twelve Forgotten Gunfighters of the Old West, Volume 1", it begins with a bit of background:


So there it is. Not exactly a duel but when you slap a man like John Bull in the face being ready to fight would seem commonsensical to me. Bull went one with many other adventures. He lead an amazingly colorful life. He was ultimately a rare bird, dying at 93 years of age, boots off. . .

From "The Encyclopedia of Lawmen, Outlaws, and Gunfighters" by Leon Claire Metz:



Hope you enjoyed the read, cull what seems unreasonable, there is a quoted area that does not seem commensurate as a whole.


September 7, 2013, 02:11 PM
J.Gibson Mesa,az

September 7, 2013, 02:19 PM
You are quite welcome.

Jay Gibson Hardin,KY.

September 7, 2013, 03:27 PM
My Stepdad was from Manchester

September 7, 2013, 08:55 PM
One of the coolest things ever! the forum is full of interesting stories!

September 14, 2013, 12:08 PM
Taken from my website/forum:


Up next:

Dan Tucker. A bad ass. . .

"Recognized as one of the most dangerous and underestimated gunmen in the history of the Old West, Tucker was thought to have killed some 17 men during his lawman career. "

The ESTEEMED historian Leon C. Metz stated:

"Tucker was a better lawman, and more dangerous, than such redoubtable characters

as Wyatt Earp and Wild Bill Hickok”

September 14, 2013, 12:10 PM
Here's an image From DeArment's "Deadly Dozen"



"Deputy Sheriff, Town Marshall, Deputy U.S. Marshall, Train Agent, Livestock Inspector, Dan Tucker was the quintessential lawman during the violent frontier period of southwest New Mexico. By his own deadpan account, he was "obliged to kill eight men" in Grant County alone -- not counting four other outlaws he personally dropped from the scaffold. Disinclined by nature to not back down from anyone, Tucker was involved in some one dozen shooting scrapes, was shot four times, and he arrested Russian Bill and Sandy King.

Yet "Dangerous Dan Tucker" is more than a gunman's story. . . . Dan Tucker is no Hollywood hero, but he is extremely competent and supremely dangerous -- if you're an outlaw. "

There is a dearth of material available but I'll cobble together the high points of the is AMAZING character's life! Bear with me. . . too many irons in the fire.

So here we go with a cobbled together in quotes story. I believe to be basically right and another example of a no bull**** lawman. A man who took no **** from any man. It seems like hyperbole, I admit, but it goes back to what I've telling you these are stories of men with SAND, men with the bark still tight. I am going to simply quote from sights and books, I am not up to snuff today. Here goes. . .

This is from lengendsofamerica. com:

"Lawman and gunfighter, Dan Tucker, was born in Canada in 1849, but somewhere along the line, made his way to the American West, where he would eventually earn the nickname "Dangerous Dan,” for his deadly shooting skills. He first appeared in Grant County, New Mexico in the early 1870s. Though some were suspicious of the slight, soft spoken man, who was rumored to have killed a man in Colorado before appearing in New Mexico Sheriff Harvey Whitehill, took a liking to him and hired him on as a deputy sheriff in 1875.


"One of the first incidents of violence in which Tucker took part after accepting his new job, occurred in 1876, and was witnessed by Sheriff Whitehill's son, Wayne Whitehill, who was then but a child, but was able to give a full account of the incident during an interview in 1949. According to Wayne Whitehill, two Mexican men began fighting inside "Johnny Ward's Dance Hall", in Silver City. One of the men stabbed the other, wounding him, then ran out into the street to escape. Just as he rounded a corner on Broadway Street, Dan Tucker shot him in the neck, in full view of many citizens, the young Whitehill being one of them. An account of this shooting was also taken from Dan Rose, who was 12 years old at the time, but who also was on the street that night.

Another incident, occurring in 1877, and also witnessed by Wayne Whitehill, concerned a report that a Mexican man was intoxicated and throwing rocks at people as they passed by, on a side street in Silver City. Tucker responded, with several young boys running a short distance behind him, due to him being somewhat of an enigma to the locals after the first shooting. According to witnesses, Tucker merely located the intoxicated man, and shot him dead with one shot, without ever muttering even one word to the suspect. No charges were ever filed against Tucker for that shooting. In 1878, Tucker shot and killed a thief as he fled, as well as becoming engaged in a gunfight with three suspected horse thieves inside a Silver City saloon, killing two of the thieves, and wounding the third. By this time, Tucker was legendary in the area, and had acquired the nickname "Dangerous Dan" after the shooting of the rock throwing suspect."

[The victim/perpetrator:


Life was pretty cheap.]

Back to legendsofamerica. com:

"In 1878, Tucker was sent to El Paso to assist in the chaos of the Salt War and in April of that same year became the first town marshal of Silver City, as well as continuing to serve as a deputy sheriff. He soon put a stop to the discharging of firearms on the city streets. He also killed a thief as he was trying to escape and was engaged in a gunfight with three horse thieves inside a Silver City saloon, killing two of them and wounding the third. In November, 1878, he was shot and wounded during a shootout with a cowboy named Caprio Rodriguez when the man resisted arrest. However, in the end, Rodriguez lay dead. That same month, he resigned his position as City Marshal, but was reappointed the following year, on May 2, 1879.

[Aside on the El Paso Salt War, Tucker rode into it with a band of volunteers known as "The Silver City Volunteers". . . here is a bit on that group from, the book "Salt Warriors"


. . . . and a note on the "leader" of the "Volunteers"


Make of it what you you will.]

Having tamed much of Silver’s City’s lawlessness, in January, 1880, he was more needed in the mining boomtown of Shakespeare, New Mexico. In May, he was dispatched to track down two thieves who had broken into a prospector’s cabin. He returned two days later with all of the stolen property and reported that he had killed the two thieves.

The next year, Tucker became the City Marshal for Shakespeare, New Mexico, and in September, shot and killed cattle rustler Jake Bond. November was a busy month for the city marshal, as he killed a man who rode his horse into a local hotel dining room and arrested outlaws Sandy King and "Russian Bill" Tattenbaum, who were hanged by the town’s Vigilante Committee inside the Grant House. Later that month, Tucker was sent to Deming, New Mexico on November 27, 1881, to calm down several outlaws who had basically taken over the town. Upon his arrival, he began to patrol the streets with a double barrel shotgun, and within three days, had shot and killed three men and wounded two more.

All in all, Deputy Tucker was said to have arrested some 13 desperadoes of a cowboy gang in 1881, killed several more, and brought order to the wild town of Shakespeare.

By March, 1882, Tucker’s reputation had spread to such a degree, that when Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp made a hasty retreat from nearby Tombstone , Arizona, they avoided taking the train through Deming, choose to travel by horseback and avoiding Tucker’s territory."

Shakespeare, New Mexico:


MUCH MORE, later. But here we have an overview I found of Dan Tucker and his career. Read this and I'll post the rest of the story as related in Bob DeArment's "Deadly Dozen", later. The following is from "Cipriano Baca, Frontier Lawman of New Mexico" By Chuck Hornung:


September 14, 2013, 12:15 PM
Great stuff or what? Anyone smell powder smoke? Leather? I love reading about the old time cow punchers. I romanticize a bit what was a hard life BUT I also envy them their freedom.n Freedom that is long gone. It was a hard scrabble life but it was not without it's rewards. There is a helluva lot to be said for a Rocky Mountain sunset while sitting a horse. . . and that I have done and seen. The sound of a six-shooter, the whistling of a riata, the jingle of saucer sized Mexican Spurs, the hurricane deck of a Spanish Pony, a campfire and a cup of jaihouse coffee, the crack of a lever-action rifle, the roar of a "Big Fifty". . . these things are forever sacred in my world, in OUR world!



On with the story. . .

From web:

"During 1882, Tucker became involved in the most controversial shooting of his career. On August 24, James D. Burns, who worked as a deputy in the mining camp of Paschal, in Grant County, entered the "Walcott & Mills Saloon". Burns became intoxicated, and began twirling and flaunting his pistol. Deputy Cornelius A. Mahoney attempted to disarm Burns, but he refused, saying that as a law officer, he was entitled to retain his weapon. Town Marshal Glaudius W. Moore also threatened to arrest Burns, but he ignored him and continued on his drinking binge, going from saloon to saloon.

The following afternoon, Burns, whose binge had resulted in him staying up all night with no sleep, found himself in the "Sam Eckstein Saloon", where he goaded Bob Kerr into a fight, but when Burns produced his pistol, Kerr fled. Burns then left that saloon and walked down in front of the "Centennial Saloon", where he began firing his pistol in the air. He then entered the saloon and began gambling with Frank Thurmond, a professional gambler. Marshal Moore entered shortly thereafter due to several people complaining about Burns.

He approached Burns as he was seated at the table, and demanded he come outside to speak with him. Burns refused, stating he had done nothing and would not leave until the game was finished. Marshal Moore again ordered him up, and again Burns refused. At this point, Marshal Moore produced his pistol, and yet again ordered Burns outside. Also seated at the table were former deputy John W. Gilmo and Dan Tucker."

Stay tuned for the finish!

September 14, 2013, 12:16 PM
Remember the all time classic line from Coleman Younger?

"We tried a desperate game and lost. But we are rough men used to rough ways, and we will abide by the consequences."

". . . But we are rough men used to rough ways. . ." True words by a helluva man! ~13 bullet wounds when captured at Hanska Slough, Badass falls way short with Coleman Younger

These are the kind of men that strode the west, at least they are the ones I choose to recall. Men with chests.


Here we go, the conclusion is all the from Robert K. DeArment's wonderful work: "Deadly Dozen: Twelve Forgotten Gunfighters of the Old West, Volume 1":


Deming, New Mexico:


The rest of the story from DeArment, later.

September 14, 2013, 12:17 PM

And there it is, the remarkably bloody trail of Dan Tucker, New Mexico Lawman!


If you enjoy, give my site/forum a look.

September 14, 2013, 12:18 PM
Well? Worthwhile character to read about?


Cheers, guys!

September 14, 2013, 03:07 PM
Great stories!
And it shows that even in the old west, the idea of justifiable self defense or an officer involved shooting wasn't as clear-cut as you might think.

September 14, 2013, 05:16 PM
I would hate to have a deputy shoot me for throwing rocks!

September 14, 2013, 10:30 PM
Definitely Gibs, all your posts are great!!! On another note could you imagine what his Colt would be worth!

September 18, 2013, 01:06 PM
From WEDEALINLEAD: http://www.wedealinlead.net/forum/index.php

For tonight, it will be "Sandy" Forsyth at Beecher's Island.

Helluvan incident. INSPIRING!

1860 Colt's found at Beecher's Island:


As a way of prologue, we have this, from Brvt Maj. General Geo. A. Custer in his 1874 book, "My Life on the Plains"


After posting their pickets and partaking of the plainest of suppers, Forsyth's little party disposed of themselves on the ground to sleep, little dreaming who was to sound their reveille in so unceremonious a manner.
At dawn the following day, September 17, 1868, the guard gave the alarm "Indians." Instantly every man sprang to his feet and with the true instinct of the frontiersman, grasped his rifle with one hand while with the other he seized his lariat, that the Indians might not stampede the horses. Six Indians dashed up toward the party, rattling bells, shaking buffalo robes, and firing their guns. The four pack mules belonging to the party broke away and were last seen galloping over the hills. Three other animals made their escape, as they had only been hobbled, in direct violation of the orders, which directed that all the animals of the command should be regularly picketed to a stake or picket pin, firmly driven into the ground. A few shots caused the Indians to sheer off and disappear in a gallop over the hills. Several of the men started in pursuit, but were instantly ordered to rejoin the command, which was ordered to saddle up with all possible haste, Forsyth feeling satisfied that the attempt to stampede the stock was but the prelude to a general and more determined attack. Scarcely were the saddles thrown on the horses and the girths tightened, when Grover, the guide, placing his hand on Forsyth's shoulder, gave vent to his astonishment as follows; "O heavens, General, look at the Indians!" Well might he be excited. From every direction they dashed toward the band. Over the hills, from the west and north, along the river, on the opposite bank, everywhere and in every direction they made their appearance. Finely mounted, in full war paint, their long scalp locks braided with eagles feathers, and with all the paraphernalia of a barbarous war party - with wild whoops and exultant shouts, on they came."

September 18, 2013, 01:09 PM
George A. "Sandy" Forsyth was a helluva (pardon language) man. Double Tough.

He was born in the great state of Pennsylvania on November 7, 1837. He was VERY well educated, studied law at the Chicago Law Institute and apprenticed with a noted lawyer in Illinois. When the Civil War broke out he enlisted as a private and in short order secured the rank of 1st Lieutenant. He went on to fight in several important campaigns being seriously wounded as he fully distinguishing himself at "The Battle of Brandy Station" in 1863. Sandy became extremely close to General Phillip "Little Phil" Sheridan. He served on his staff until being mustered out in March 1865 as a full major of volunteers but because of his outstanding bravery and service he was commission brevet Brigadier General. After the War ended, Forsyth entered the regular army. In 1866 he was assigned to frontier duty and in 1868 was commissioned as a major in the 9th US Cavalry.

Our story concerns the battle which began on September 17, 1868. It was made up of acts which cause the hair to stand up on one's neck. Whew! "On the 17th of September, 1869 [should read 1869], was fought the hardest battle between the white men and the plains Indians in the annals of the West. It was fought on the Arickaree fork of the Republican River, a few miles from the southwest corner of Nebraska and not far from the present town of Wray, Colorado, on the Denver line of the Burlington road. Fifty-one [total was 57] scouts and frontiersmen under the command of Lieutenant George A. Forsyth stood off, on a little sandbar in the river, the combined forces of the Northern Cheyenne, Arapaho and Oglala Sioux for nine days. They lost more than one third their own number in killed and wounded, while the Indian loss was many times as great."



Pursuant to the following Sandy Forsyth began his ride to immortality. He raised his group of 57 "scouts" of full on men and went out in search of the Indians.

"Headquarters Department of the Missouri
Fort Harker (Kansas)
August 24, 1868

Brevet Colonel George A. Forsyth, A. A. Inspector-General
Department of the Missouri

Colonel -
The general commanding directs that you, without delay, employ fifty
(50) first class hardy frontiersmen, to be used as scouts against the
hostile Indians, to be commanded by yourself, with Lieutenant Beecher,
Third Infantry, your subordinate. You can enter into such articles of
agreement with these men as will compel obedience.

I am sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
J. Schuyler Crosby

So, there were 57 civilians employed as Forsyth Scouts as reported to the War Department by Major Henry Inman, Army Quartermaster, Fort Harker, Kansas, August 26, 1868. Reported wages were $50.00 per month with most of the scouts receiving an additional $25.00 per month for furnishing their own horse and saddle.


"Early in September this little command started from the place of the latest Indian murder near Fort Wallace, Kansas. They struck a trail leading to the Republican River. Following the trail up the Republican River in Nebraska it was joined by other trails and still others until the little party of fifty [seven] men was traveling a great beaten road, as wide as the Oregon Trail, made by thousands of Indians and ponies, and with hundreds of camp fires where they stopped at night. It seemed a crazy act to follow so great a trail with so small a party, but the little band had started out to find and fight Indians and kept on."

On September 16, 1868, after following the great trail, they made camp in the middle of a valley of the Arickaree. ". . . on the bank of the stream, opposite of the center of a small island, which had been formed in the sand in the middle of the bed of the stream . . . [the water in summer] dwindle to almost the merest thread of water . . ."

September 18, 2013, 01:12 PM
The men secured their animals, made camp, grabbed a bit of supper and lay down for the night. It was a stress filled sleep and mostly the men napped at best. At dawn Forsyth was up with a few of his scouts. He peered out onto the horizon and spotted some objects. He could see feathers bobbing and realized it was a contingent of braves coming toward them at a lope. "It was a small war party intent on running off the horses and pack mules." Rifle fire from the men met them and they decided to forgo running off the animals.. The alarm was sounded that they were under attack. Slowly Forsyth was able to discern that there before them was upward of 750 Indians, possibly ~1,000 (accounts vary).

Forsyth ordered his scouts to take positions on an island in the middle of the what he thought was Delaware Creek (Arikaree River). The scouts dug in! The sandbar (island) was small it was ~200 feet long by 40 feet wide. The horses were aligned "to form a circle facing outward." "Bullets and arrows rained on the men, horses, and mules. So desperate was their situation that they were forced with the horrible task of shooting the surviving mules and horses upon the sandy island within the river in hopes the animals' bodies would be part of their defense and not stolen to be used against them." The desperate struggle has now begun. . .

The hills surrounding the men are literally swarming with Indians, now. Their ranks continually growing. So, Forsyth's men who were at best minimally equipped dug foxholes, according to Forsyth here is what they had left with, ". . . a blanket a piece, saddle and bridle, a lariat and picket-pin, a canteen, haversack, butcher knife, tin place and tin cup in the barrel, a Colt's revolver, army size, and 140 rounds of rifle and 30 rounds of revolver ammunition per man . . ." "along with seven days of cooked rations for each man. The men were equipped with seven-shot Spencer repeating rifles".

Fosyth and his men had taken the Indians by surprise with this move. The Indians expected them to run and in that running the circle would close and death to all. Forsyth was a battle hardened Civil War veteran surrounded by men with bark. Frontiersmen almost all of which had lost family to Indian raids. These were men who had chests, who had grit. They dug in and fought like our boys fought in Belleau Wood ~50 years later or like the Aussies at Gallipoli: All business, all the time. Later it would be described by a rescuer, "We found the men living in sand holes, scooped deep enough to keep
each from hostile bullets, with 47 dead horses and mules laying around
them in a semi-circle. In a large square excavation, Col. Forsyth and
two badly wounded men had lain since the 17th, inhaling the foul stench,
arising from the carcasses around and being covered continually by the
loose sand. Lt. Beecher of the 3rd Infantry and A.A. Surgeon Moores
were both dead and buried with 2 others close by. 17 of the men were
wounded, some severely. I immediately selected a camp a few hundred
yards distant and moved the wounded to a more desirable locality and
placed them in tents. Dr. Fitzgerald exerted himself to the utmost in
his efforts to relieve the suffering of the wounded as did every
officer and soldier of the command."

These men fought like the devil was on them. Repulsing several waves of Indians attacks with their Spencer carbines. The Indian fire accurate and intense. Forsyth was hit in the thigh and head, he also broke his right leg. ". . . His second in command, Lieutenant Frederick H. Beecher, a nephew of Henry Ward Beecher, was killed. Forsyth cut the bullet from his leg, which he bandaged with his own hands, telling his men to be steady, to help each other and to make every shot count. In the course of an hour the men became calmer. They were getting a good cover with sand and dead horses. Every time an Indian showed himself within range a bullet went after him. This discouraged the Indians so much that they drew back, while the scouts took the time to care for the wounded and to throw up more sand."

Next followed what appeared to the soldiers to be a large gathering of Indians conferencing. It was indeed a conference led by the great Chief Roman Nose, leader of the Cheyennes. The plan they formulated came clear as upwards of 300 warriors amassed in a line to charge Forsyth's scouts, while backed up by a blithering rifle fire by the other Indians. This is where the seven shot Spencer carbine told the tale! Roman Nose himself led the charge, but the scouts/riflemen were up to the task. Wave after wave were mowed down. Roman Nose fell dead. As the Indian's attack broke, "Lieutenant Forsyth turned anxiously to his scout Grover. "Can they do any better than that?" he asked. "I have been on these plains, boy and man, for twenty years and I never saw anything like it," answered the scout. "Then we have got them," replied Forsyth." Finally the Indians decided to surround them and snipe. Their fire was accurate. By then of the first day 50% of Fosyth's men were dead or wounded. That night Forsyth dispatched two messengers to get his men relief. The next night he sent two more but they returned, being unable to get through the Indians lines. On the 19th Forsyth sent the following:

"On Delaware Creek, Republican River
September 19, 1868

To: Colonel Bankhead or Commanding Officer, Fort Wallace:

I sent you two messengers on the night of 17th instant, informing you
of my critical condition. I tried to send two more last night, but they
did not succeed in passing the Indian pickets, and returned. If the
others have not arrived, then hasten at once to my assistance. I have
eight badly wounded men to take in, and every animal I had was killed,
save seven, which the Indians stampeded. Lieutenant Beecher is dead,
Acting Surgeon Moores probably cannot live the night out. He was hit in
the head Thursday and has spoken but one rational word since. I am
wounded in two places-in the right thigh, and my left leg is broken below
the knee. The Cheyennes alone number 450, or more. Mr. Grover says they have never fought so before. They were splendidly armed with Spencer and Henry rifles. We have killed at least thirty-five of them, and wounded
many more, besides killing and wounding a quantity of their stock. They
carried off most of their killed and wounded during the night, but three
of their men fell into our hands. I am on a little island and still have
plenty of ammunition. We are living on mule and horse meat, and are
entirely out of rations. If it were not for so many wounded, I would
come in and take the chance of whipping them if attacked. They are
evidently sick of their bargain.
I had two members of my company killed on the 17th, namely, William
Wilson and George W. Chalmers (Culver). You had better start with not
less than seventy-five men, and bring all the wagons and ambulances you can spare. Bring a six-pound howitzer with you. I can hold out for six days longer if absolutely necessary, but please lose no time.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
US Army, Commanding Co. Scouts

P.S. - My surgeon having been mortally wounded, none of my wounded men have had their wounds dressed yet, so please bring a surgeon with you."

The first night, the Indiand losses must have been terrible as the scouts were reported that Indian women's moanful wail for the dead continued on for hours. The Indians now surrounded, sniped, and waited for starvation to get the men. These men lived in horrific conditions for eight more days. They endured the stench of rotting horses and mules, the sight of their desperately wounded comrades, a constant sniper fire from arrows and rifles. The men ate their animals and drank river water. Any question about what these men were made of? How about Forsyth? SHOT IN THE HEAD, SHOT IN THE LEFT THIGH, AND RIGHT LEG BROKEN, ALL ON THE FIRST DAY? (One account makes it a head wound and a leg wound with the leg wound being what broke his leg)

They survived until " the first elements of Lt. Col. Carpenter's 10th Cav. relief force arrived at the battlefield the morning of Sept. 25." Followed by "Col. Bankhead's relief force from Ft. Wallace arrival Sept. 26."

I'm going to end this here with a story set down by an old timer. This concerns the men sent with the message of the 19th you read above. This is once again used to illustrate courage and determination. It really gets me!

"On the third night, fearing Stillwell and Truedeau may not make it to Wallace [the first two messengers, sent on the night of the 17th], Forsyth sent two more men, Donovan and Pliley, with the same instructions. However, these men traveled almost due south approximately 60 miles to Cheyenne Wells in hopes of boarding the eastbound Smoky Hill Stage that traversed along the Federal Road from Denver, a staggering feat that was successfully endured. Suffering cactus needles that penetrated the moccasins they wore to disguise their trail, they laid a course, as Pliley would write, ". . . to hit the Smoky Hill Stage north of Cheyenne Wells and on the fourth night we struck the road at a ranch about three mile east of the Wells. Our feet were a sight, swollen to twice their normal size, festered with thorns . . ." Though both sets of scouts made it to Ft. Wallace, it was Donovan and Pliley, with the help of the Smoky Hill Stage, that made it there first, beating Truedeau and Stillwell by an hour. The Tenth Cavalry led by Col. Bankhead and Lt. Col. L.H. Carpenter were immediately dispatched to Forsyth's camp."





September 18, 2013, 01:14 PM
Addenda (really just an aside):

From SAJohn:

"Probably the toughest of them all was a small fellow, only 5 feet 5 inches tall and 140 pounds. Hollywood has never come close to doing justice to his life. Probably because it is so unbelievable. His name was Kit Carson.


What made me think about him was that he once slipped through enemy lines in the night, barefoot so as to make no sound."

My reply:

No doubt about it. Kit was a tough old bird. Kit Carson makes me reflect a little further back to Bridger and, of course the great one, Jed Smith. Man fought a grizzly and had has ear sewn back on with a leather thong not to mention, his scalp! Iron men!!



September 18, 2013, 02:49 PM
Excellent story as usual.

Did Forsyth survive his wounds for long?

PS: I have a relative who married into Kit Carson's family. They had a huge reunion every few years of all the descendants.

September 18, 2013, 06:29 PM
You are quite welcome.

Regarding Mr. Forsyth:

He went on to retire from the Army in 1890; survived until 1915.

He was buried in Arlington National Cemetery.


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