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. . .
[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.
The straw that forever broke the camel's back, we'll start here:
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 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.
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. . .
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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):
"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.
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.
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.
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).
John M. Lee
Chas. B. Noe
"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.
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."
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. . .
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.
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.
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:
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 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."
April 3, 2013, 03:36 PM
San Augustine Ranch NM Territory 1890, Jesse Evans Gang associated. . .
and was not shot in attempting to resist an officer of the law.
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.
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".
"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
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.
"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 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. . .
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. . .
"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
New York, USA
Death: Jan. 10, 1923
"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."
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."
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.
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: