Wild West 2017-08 - PDF Free Download (2024)










38 TRUTHS ABOUT THE FRONTIER ARMY By Peter Cozzens The officers and men were ill-prepared for frontier service and often hated the conditions more than they did their American Indian foes



Arriving in the Salt Lake Valley of what would become Utah on July 24, 1847, Mormon leader Brigham Young proclaimed to his fellow emigrants, “This is the place”




By R. Michael Wilson The Silver State usually went easy on female convicts, but one bad woman had a noose waiting for her

By John Koster Celebrated American author Washington Irving went west in 1832 and published a sympathetic account of real Indians 2





By Candy Moulton David Grann has traced a string of Osage murders



“Pop” the peace officer posed for postcards in Hobbs, New Mexico


By Nicholas R. Cataldo Rancho Cucamonga owner John Rains’ murder wove a tale of greed, betrayal and mystery


By Neal Lewing Irish hero Thomas Meagher was Montana Territory’s acting governor when he vanished


By John Koster Bad roads and badmen made stagecoach driving a perilous occupation


OF THE PLAINS By Ron Soodalter With the coming of the Union Pacific, Nebraska’s “Cowboy Capital” of Ogallala became a raucous cow town


By Johnny D. Boggs Dan Namingha puts a contemporary spin on traditional Hopi symbolism


By John Koster Skidi Pawnee Chief Petalesharo hated his band’s ritual of human sacrifice


Showcasing the West in art, film, fashion and more


By Linda Wommack This Wyoming museum celebrates the city Casper and a fort named Caspar


By Jim Winnerman Storied Texas Ranger Lee Queen owned this historic collection


By Jay L. Warner The life of Riley, New Mexico, blew away during the Dust Bowl



By Ron J. Jackson Jr. The list of suspects is long, but freighter Pat Hennessey’s 1874 murder on the Chisholm Trail remains unsolved

Peter Cozzens suggests five worthwhile books and five interesting films about the frontier Army. Plus reviews of recently published books


Horsepower is alive and kicking in Deadwood, S.D. ON THE COVER William Tec*mseh Sherman, who served as a lieutenant general and the nation’s commanding general in the post–Civil War West, voiced extreme proposals regarding American Indians but did not seek their actual extermination. (National Archives; colorization by Brian Walker)





WOUNDED & WEEPING When Dee Brown’s Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee hit bookstores in 1970, I had just ventured from northeastern Ohio to Albuquerque, New Mexico, a young man almost ready to start college. Part of the reason I went that direction was my love for Western lore, having grown up with TV Westerns, Hollywood oaters, Zane Grey novels and at least one unforgettable Custer’s Last Stand painting. By the early 1970s antiestablishment views were running rampant on college campuses, and a full-fledged cultural rebellion was under way. Barely on the fringe of the “movement,” I did question traditional beliefs, but mostly to myself. I undoubtedly was more history-minded than most, and doubts about Manifest Destiny and the way the 19th-century “establishment” had treated Indians (thank you, Broken Arrow and a few Gunsmoke episodes) had begun to rise if not surface in my overloaded head. Regardless, I was more focused on my own destiny in the modern West and how to sneak photos of Taos Pueblo without paying residents for the privilege. Then I stumbled across Brown’s book—an eye-opener for me and, as I would later learn, thousands of other readers. We had never seen anything like it—a historical account of U.S. expansionism told from the Indian perspective by a white man whose great-grandfather reportedly had rubbed elbows with David Crockett. For 47 years Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee has greatly influenced readers’ perceptions of the Indian wars and the “conquest” of the West. In our June 2017 Interview, author Peter Cozzens recalled reading and enjoying the book while in high school. He came to respect Brown (who died in 2002 at age 94) for having presented a narrative “that ran counter to the tide of many decades of academic and popular work.” But, Cozzens adds, “In trying to correct the vast record of injustice done the American Indians, [Brown] went too far in the other direction…[and] made no attempt at historical balance.” Cozzens’ desire to restore such balance was his motivation for writing the 2016 book The Earth Is Weeping: The Epic Story of the Indian Wars for the American West (reviewed in our April 2017 issue). Drawing on a wealth of Indian primary sources and the recollections of white participants, he addresses many of the misconceptions and myths surrounding the Indian wars. In this issue’s cover article, “Truths About the Frontier Army,” Cozzens zeroes in on one of those myths— that generals and other officers who served out West were inherently antagonistic toward Indians. The frontier officer corps, he contends, earned a reputation as “unfeeling exterminationists” due to isolated comments made by the likes of Lt. Gen. William Tec*mseh Sherman (“We must act with vindictive earnestness against the Sioux, even to their extermination, men, women and children”) and Maj. Gen. Phil Sheridan (particularly a disputed comment remembered today as “the only good Indian is a dead Indian”). But Cozzens makes a strong case that the Army was not hell-bent on killing Indians, and that neither Sherman nor Sheridan sought the literal extermination of Indians. Generals such as John Pope and Alfred Terry, Cozzens writes, expressed concern over the plight of the Indians, harboring views “more enlightened and nearly always more pragmatic than those of Indian-rights advocates.” He also stresses that aside from how the officers or their men felt about Indians, the Regular Army was ill-prepared for frontier service. Now that I think about it, many of the old small- and big-screen Westerns depicted despicable Army officers who were practically psychopathic in their wish to wage total war and exterminate savages. Such bluecoat stereotypes often appeared on-screen right alongside the requisite whooping, bloodthirsty warriors circling wagon trains and small Army detachments. Striving for balance in history or most anything else seems a noble undertaking. Wounded and weeping are both effective words to describe the real-life tragedies of the Indian wars.

Dee Brown’s 1970 book caught the attention of many who questioned traditional beliefs about the American West.






Wild West editor Gregory Lalire wrote the 2014 historical novel Captured: From the Frontier Diary of Infant Danny Duly. His article about baseball in the frontier West won a 2015 Stirrup Award for best article in Roundup, the membership magazine of Western Writers of America.

B B u ig tt ge on r s

s o N act r nt Co

“My friends all hate their cell phones… I love mine!” FR EE Car Charg er Here’s why.

Say good-bye to everything you hate about cell phones. Say hello to the Jitterbug Flip. “Cell phones have gotten so small, I can barely dial mine.” Not the Jitterbug ® Flip. It features a large keypad for easier dialing. It even has a larger display and a powerful, hearing aid-compatible speaker, so it’s easy to see and conversations are clear. “I had to get my son to program it.” Your Jitterbug Flip set-up process is simple. We’ll even program it with your favorite numbers. “What if I don’t remember a number?” Friendly, helpful Personal Operators are available 24 hours a day and will even greet you by name when you call. “I’d like a cell phone to use in an emergency.” Now you can turn your phone into a personal safety device when you select a Health & Safety Package. With 5Star ® Service, in any uncertain or unsafe situation, simply press the 5Star button to speak immediately with a highly-trained Urgent Response Agent who will confirm your location, evaluate your situation and get you the help you need, 24/7.

Monthly Plan



Monthly Minutes



Operator Assistance



Long Distance Calls

No add’l charge

No add’l charge



Voice Dial Nationwide Coverage Friendly Return Policy1



30 days

30 days

Health & Safety Packages available as low as $19.99/month*. More minute plans available. Ask your Jitterbug expert for details.

“My cell phone company wants to lock me in a two-year contract!” Not with the Jitterbug Flip. There are no contracts to sign and no cancellation fees. “Many phones have features that are rarely needed and hard to use!” The Jitterbug Flip contains easy-to-use features that are meaningful to you. A built-in camera makes it easy and fun for you to capture and share your favorite memories. And a flashlight with a built-in magnifier helps you see in dimly lit areas, the Jitterbug Flip has all the features you need. Enough talk. Isn’t it time you found out more about the cell phone that’s changing all the rules? Call now, Jitterbug product experts are standing by. Available in Red and Graphite.

Order now and receive a FREE Car Charger – a $25 value for your Jitterbug Flip. Call now!

Call toll-free to get your

Jitterbug Flip Cell Phone Please mention promotional code 106207.


www.JitterbugDirect.com 47666

We proudly accept the following credit cards:

IMPORTANT CONSUMER INFORMATION: Jitterbug is owned by GreatCall, Inc. Your invoices will come from GreatCall. Plans and Services require purchase of a Jitterbug phone and a one-time setup fee of $35. *Monthly fees do not include government taxes or assessment surcharges and are subject to change. Coverage is not available everywhere. 5Star or 9-1-1 calls can only be made when cellular service is available. 5Star Service will be able to track an approximate location when your device is turned on, but we cannot guarantee an exact location. 1We will refund the full price of the Jitterbug phone and the activation fee (or setup fee) if it is returned within 30 days of purchase in like-new condition. We will also refund your first monthly service charge if you have less than 30 minutes of usage. If you have more than 30 minutes of usage, a per minute charge of 35 cents will be deducted from your refund for each minute over 30 minutes. You will be charged a $10 restocking fee. The shipping charges are not refundable. There are no additional fees to call GreatCall’s U.S.-based customer service. However, for calls to a GreatCall Operator in which a service is completed, you will be charged 99 cents per call, and minutes will be deducted from your monthly rate plan balance equal to the length of the call and any call connected by the Operator. Jitterbug, GreatCall, and 5Star are registered trademarks of GreatCall, Inc. ©2017 GreatCall, Inc. ©2017 firstSTREET for Boomers and Beyond, Inc.


AUGUST 2017 / VOL. 30, NO. 2

Visit our WEBSITE FOR ONLINE EXTRAS WildWestMag.com Henri Chatillon’s Heart of Lightness When Francis Parkman Jr. went west in 1845, writes John Koster, he learned much from Missouri-born Chatillon, then serving as a hunter for the American Fur Co. One thing the future author of The Oregon Trail learned was to both accept and appreciate the Lakota Indians.

Extended Interview With David Grann “So many Osages shared with me accounts of other murder victims whose cases had never been closed,” writes the author of Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI.

More About Dan Namingha “The landscapes are very impressionistic and semiabstract, and some go into pure abstraction,” says the world-renowned New Mexico artist, who never strays far from his Hopi-Tewa heritage. 6







SUBSCRIPTION INFORMATION: 800-435-0715 OR SHOP.HISTORYNET.COM YEARLY SUBSCRIPTIONS IN U.S.: $39.95 WILD WEST (ISSN 1046-4638) is published by HistoryNet, LLC 1919 Gallows Road, Suite 400, Vienna, VA 22182-4038, 703-771-9400 Periodical Postage paid at Vienna, Va., and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER, send address changes to: WILD WEST, P.O. Box 422224, Palm Coast, FL 32142-2224 List Rental Inquiries: Belkys Reyes, Lake Group Media, Inc. 914-925-2406; [emailprotected] Canada Publications Mail Agreement No. 41342519 Canadian GST No. 821371408RT0001 The contents of this magazine may not be reproduced in whole or part without the written consent of HistoryNet, LLC. PROUDLY MADE IN THE USA


Vertical Forms is a bronze by Hopi-Tewa artist Dan Namingha.


A museum now occupies the commissary at Fort Belknap.


If Sherry Robinson, the writer of “Horsehead Crossing on the Pecos” [February 2017], can say Oliver Loving and Charles Goodnight drove a herd of 2,000 Longhorns bound for Fort Sumner in New Mexico Territory, why say they came from “north-central Texas” and not Fort Belknap, the true starting point, which is in north-central Texas? Fort Belknap is as important in Western history as Fort Sumner. Belknap the town, next to Fort Belknap the military post, was the first seat of Young County, Texas. Graham has been the county seat since the 1870s. Robert C. Youngblood Graham, Texas Editor responds: No disrespect meant to Fort Belknap. To be specific, however, Goodnight and Loving mingled their herds some dozen miles south of Fort Belknap and set out from rural Young County, Texas. They sold their beef to the Army at Fort Sumner.

RIP AND RAIN I thoroughly enjoyed the April 2017 issue. The article by Mike Coppock on Rip Ford [“Rip Ford’s Risky Ranger Raid”] was one of the best I have read, and the artwork by Frederic Remington (the best Western artist, in my opinion) HARD made it something special. One question for Mike: What type of pistols did the Texas Rangers use on this raid, since DOUBLE MURDER ON A GIRL’S DARE they didn’t get the 1851 Navy? Was it the Colt Paterson? The one thing I didn’t like was that the cover featured the cowardly murderer Rain-in-the-Face, who was openly proud over his murder of unarmed noncombatants, a sutler and veterinarian. A great warrior, indeed. [Re. “Rain of Death,” by John Koster:] The author’s last line, “They [Lakotas] were never known to be cannibals,” is simply incorrect. There are a number of documented cases of Lakota human flesh consumption. Famed mountain man James Clyman described how a Sioux medicine man bit off chunks of a dead Arikara’s/Ree’s flesh during the June 1823 O’Fallon/Leavenworth expedition against the Arikara villages (see James Clyman’s Journal of Mountain Men, Mountain Press Publishing, Missoula, Mont., 1984, pp. 16–17). Father Pierre-Jean De Smet also noted in his eyewitness accounts of Sioux/Lakota Indian behavior, “They insult and trample underfoot the mutilated corpses; they tear off the scalps, roll in the blood like ferocious animals and often devour the quivering members of those who still breathe” (see Hiram Chittenden and Alfred Richardson’s Life, Letters and Travels of Father Pierre-Jean De Smet 1801–1873, Francis P. Harper, New York, 1905, pp. 248–49). Check the sources, available at any well-stocked college library. It was unfortunate THE AMERICAN FRONTIER Lakota warrior Rain-in-the-Face



APRIL 2017





for all concerned, especially the troopers of the doomed 7th U.S. Cavalry, that Rain was not executed on the spot at Fort Lincoln. That was a case of “no good deed goes unpunished.” Aaron Robert Woodard Hartford, S.D. Mike Coppock responds: In the 1850s the Texas Rangers’ revolver of choice was the Colt .44 Dragoon, according to Charles Robinson’s The Men Who Wore the Star. The state did not provide firearms to the Rangers; they were expected to furnish their own weapons. John Koster responds: According to Wikipedia, the one instance in which the Sioux reportedly practiced cannibalism was probably fictitious, a story fabricated to justify taking away their land and culture. However, cannibalism among the Aztecs, Iroquois and Tonkawas (the latter described in Mike Coppock’s profile of Rip Ford) was an observed fact.

LOW DOG The photo on P. 56 in the June 2017 Wild West [see above] is incorrectly captioned. The Lakota warrior in the middle of the photo is Low Dog, not Crow King. Love your magazine! Mike Pitt Evansville, Ind. Editor responds: Good eye, Mike. Our source had it wrong, and you’re right to crow.

WASHINGTON TERRITORY I enjoyed the Gunfighters and Lawmen article “Death and Prophesy in Goldendale, Washington” [by Rita Ackerman, February 2017]. Growing up, my grandfather told us often of the experience of his father, who arrived in Washington Territory in 1888 to meet cousins and set up a dry goods store. The train stopped in Klickitat, where my great-grandfather was to meet his family and make his way with them to Ellensburg and then Roslyn. Ac-

LETTERS cording to great-grandpa, there was a scaffold just outside the train depot. As he approached a crowd surrounding a condemned man, a lawman allegedly asked my great-grandpa, “Sir, is this man guilty?” To which my great-grandfather replied, “I presume so, if you’re hanging him.” I am certain there are many combinations of this story, but regardless, it’s nice to see Washington Territory get its due in Wild West research. Julia Bricklin Studio City, Calif.

COOLIDGE MAN Thank you for the Ghost Towns article [by Gregory Lalire, April 2017] about my father, William R. Allen [at left], and the town of Coolidge, Mont. I spent much of my childhood years roaming the area around the Elkhorn Mine, and the article brought back many memories. My father had great faith in the possibilities of this mine and never wavered in them. William R. “Bill” Allen Jr. Kimberly, Idaho

other HistoryNet titles have written on the topic. Our December 2017 issue will also feature an article about Wounded Knee.

DINNER GUESTS I am Zacharias Bones, modern-day mountain man, trapper, trader, frontiersman and wayward traveler. I’d like to tell you about a brief happening in Great Bend, Kan., in 1981. I belonged to an organization called Gunfighters of the Great Plains [see photo], and one day we did 10 gunfights on the courthouse square and raised $1,100 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Afterward, we went to the nearest bar and had a drink. We still had on our guns, loaded up with black powder, and someone said, “If you will turn around and shoot your guns off, I will take your picture.” And so we did. The place became real smoky. We did not realize it, but the paper wadding that came out of the guns drifted slowly down on the dinner of a man who just happened to be sitting there. We offered to buy his dinner, but the man, who was from New York, refused. He asked if we usually shot up an establishment after entering it. We looked at each other and said, “Hell, yes, we do it almost every day, especially after we have robbed a bank.” He just said, “Oh,” and walked away. Imagine the stories he told when he got back to New York. Zacharias Bones Wichita, Kan. Send letters to Wild West, 1919 Gallows Road, Suite 400, Vienna, VA 22182-4038 or by email to [emailprotected]. Please include your name and hometown.

AMERICAN INDIANS Three cheers to Wild West for choosing the term American Indian over the phony, politically correct expression Native American. Just following common sense and applying basic semantics, a native American is an American citizen born in the United States. Jiri Cernik Needmore, Pa.

WOUNDED KNEE The Wounded Knee battle/massacre was one of the most horrific events ever in the West. Stories about how the whole thing got started and then ended will always be the most remembered and also most talked about Western history. American Indians cannot forget the number slaughtered. I will never forget, either. Keep all those stories about Wounded Knee alive. Daniel Duane Couchman North Las Vegas, Nev. Editor responds: Visit HistoryNet.com/topics/ wounded-knee to read what Wild West and

a Brian Patrick Film

DVD & VHS are available at amazon.com and www.buryingthepast.com ( 1-801-554-8640

ROUNDUP An 1899 print depicts an oversized General Nelson Miles, who had presidential ambitions.







Nelson A. Miles: His vaulting ambition and ruthless quest for advancement made him unpopular with fellow officers, but he was a superb field officer who also treated defeated Indians with justice and humanity.

Ranald S. Mackenzie: Not one to repeat a tactical mistake, he was the Army’s premier cavalry commander on the frontier until creeping insanity overtook him. William Tec*mseh Sherman: A genius for brutal overstatement, he nevertheless exercised restraint in the prosecution of Indian campaigns and displayed sound judgment in allocating scarce military resources on the frontier.

Nelson A. Miles


Philip Sheridan: Mercurial and easily offended, shortcomings that at times hindered his effectiveness, he was a competent commander of the key military division on the frontier.


Oliver Otis Howard: After negotiating peace with Apache leader Cochise, the one-armed general went on to see more hard service than any other senior officer save Crook.



George Crook: The best unconventional warrior the frontier Army possessed, he excelled against the Apaches but stumbled badly against the northern Plains tribes.

John Pope: Although bombastic and opinionated, he was a highly capable department and division commander, as well as a strong advocate for Indian rights. Christopher Columbus Augur: A first-rate department commander, he planned well and allowed such talented subordinates as Ranald Mackenzie to exercise their talents.


Benjamin Grierson: As commander of the 10th U.S. Cavalry buffalo soldiers, he put the interests of his regiment ahead of his career, and the unit did well against the Apaches.


Edward Canby: An honorable and able department commander whose limited ambition made him the sole general officer in the Regular Army with no known enemies, he was also the only general killed in the Indian wars. —Peter Cozzens



Earning Their Spurs

Ladd, Wayne Inducted At its recent annual Western Heritage Awards ceremony Oklahoma City’s National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum added actors Alan Ladd (1913–64, above right) and Patrick Wayne (above) to its Hall of Great Western Performers. Ladd is probably best known for starring in the 1953 Western Shane, while Western film buffs know Patrick Wayne best from his roles in

father John’s films, such as The Searchers (1956) and Big Jake (1971). The museum also presented its Wrangler Awards. Wild West contributor Dan Flores received the nonfiction book Wrangler for American Serengeti, and Hell or High Water (see P. 12) took the theatrical motion picture Wrangler. For the full list of winners, visit national cowboymuseum.org.

Wild West contributor Paul Andrew Hutton (below) has won the 2017 Spur Award for best historical nonfiction book from Western Writers of America for his acclaimed epic The Apache Wars. It marks Hutton’s sixth Spur. Peter Cozzens, who was interviewed in the June issue of Wild West and has the cover article in the August issue, is a finalist in the same category for his Indian wars history The Earth Is Weeping: The Epic Story of the Indian Wars for the

WEST WORDS American West. Wild West special contributor Johnny D. Boggs (above) has earned a record-tying seventh Spur for his popular paperback novel Return to Red River. And Louise Erdrich, a Pulitzer Prize finalist for her 2009 novel The Plague of Doves, has won the prestigious Owen Wister Award for lifetime contributions to the field of Western literature. The WWA [western writers.org] will honor Hutton, Cozzens, Boggs, Erdrich and the other winners and finalists at its annual convention, June 21–24 in Kansas City.

Big Medicine Does “Medicine Bill” ring a bell? Like the far more famous “Buffalo Bill” Cody and “Wild Bill” Hickok, William A. “Medicine Bill” Comstock was a larger-thanlife frontier scout with the U.S. Army. Contemporaries often mistook the buckskinand moccasin-clad frontiersman for being part Indian. He wasn’t, but he likely earned his moniker while dispensing “medicine” in his early days as an Indian trader. Cody claimed to have won his own celebrated moniker in a buffaloshooting contest with his fellow scout. Killed by Arapahos in 1868, Comstock may or may not have been buried in the post cemetery at Fort Wallace, Kan. Regardless, this summer the Fort Wallace Museum [ftwallace.com] will unveil a life-size bronze of him as part of its Great Fort Wallace and Western Kansas 1867 Exposition, July 6–9. Kansas was a busy place in 1867, year of the Hanco*ck Expedition, the Kidder Massacre, the Medicine Lodge Treaty and an Indian attack on the post. The exposition includes a symposium, a living-history encampment, tours and a memorial at the cemetery’s cenotaph, built to honor soldiers of the 3rd Infantry and 7th Cavalry killed by Indians back in the day.

BaZm^mh [nlmZ\Zi hgZphfZg% ^li^\bZeer pa^gla^pZl lbmmbg`]hpg' Ahp^o^k%b_ bmphne]gm aZo^[^^g a^k%bmphne] aZo^[^^gnl —So veteran Texas lawman Frank Hamer told a reporter after he and fellow officers shot outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow to death in a wellplanned ambush on a country road near Sailes, La., on May 23, 1934.




SEE YOU LATER... Bill Paxton

Billy’s Banknote? V A 10-cent banknote reportedly recovered in July 1881 from the body of Billy the Kid by friend Yginio Salazar fetched 1,500 pounds (nearly $1,900) at a recent British auction. Dating from the mid-1870s, the bill came with an explanatory note reportedly written around the time of the Kid’s death (see images). The provenance of the items remains in question, hence the relatively

low selling price at East Bristol Auctions [eastbristol.co.uk]. British collector Lee Bradley, the winning bidder, would like to hear from anyone with information about the banknote or anything related to it. Send comments to wildwest @historynet.com.

NYPD’s finest for hours before they gunned down the frenzied fugitive with tranquilizer darts. “Is there a cowboy in the house?” the Associated Press quipped. “They could use one in New York City, where cattle have escaped from urban slaughterhouses three times in the past 13 months on wild runs through the streets.” Several experts suggest the premature slaughter could have been avoided had the officers used lariats instead of tranquilizers. One

veterinarian suggested, “You need someone who’s really equipped to handle an animal this size, someone who can rope a cow and tie it up—like a cowboy on a horse.” Nice idea, but it is unlikely the NYPD will start offering Lassoing 101 to academy trainees.

Calling All Urban Cowboys

Hell or High Water V

A black bull that escaped from a Queens slaughterhouse last February eluded

The 2016 neo-Western Hell or High Water, directed by David Mackenzie and

featuring Jeff Bridges as a contemporary Texas Ranger, received four Oscar nominations but came up empty at the 89th Academy Awards in February. It lost best picture to Moonlight, Bridges best supporting actor to Mahershala Ali (Moonlight), Taylor Sheridan best original screenplay to Kenneth Lonergan (Manchester by the Sea) and Jake Roberts best film editing to John Gilbert (Hacksaw Ridge). Still, Hell or High Water, set in west Texas but filmed in eastern New Mexico, won acclaim. The critics’ consensus on Rotten Tomatoes [rottentomatoes.com] describes the film as “a solidly crafted, wellacted Western heist thriller that eschews mindless gunplay.”


‘I WILL JUMP OFF, BOYS, AND BREAK MY NECK’ —Outlaw “Big Nose George” Parrott, sentenced to death for murdering two lawmen, said these words to an impatient lynch mob in Rawlins, Wyoming Territory, on March 22, 1881, while standing atop a ladder with a noose around his neck. Instead, the vigilantes slowly let down the ladder, leaving the hated Parrot to strangle to death.




Actor-director Bill Paxton, 61, died on Feb. 25, 2017, from a stroke following heart surgery. A native of Fort Worth, Texas, he played Morgan Earp in the 1993 Western Tombstone, Frank James in the 1994 biopic Frank and Jesse, Randolph McCoy in the 2012 TV miniseries Hatfields & McCoys and Sam Houston in the 2015 TV miniseries Texas Rising.

Government Melts Over 270 Million Silver Dollars But collectors get an unexpected second chance



It’s a crime. Most Americans living today have never held a hefty, gleaming U.S. silver dollar in their hands. Where did they go? Well, in 1918, to provide aid to the British during WWI, the U.S. government melted down nearly half of the entire mintage—over 270 million silver dollars. If all those missing silver dollars could be stacked, they would tower over 400 miles into the sky! If laid in a chain, they would span 6,400 miles— enough to stretch from New York to Los Angeles more than 2½ times! These vanished coins were not just any silver dollar–they were America’s largest circulated coin, the beloved Morgan Silver Dollar. Each Morgan Dollar is struck from nearly an ounce of 90% fine silver and measures a massive 38.1mm in diameter. Morgan Silver Dollars were the engine of the American dream for decades. Created by famed American coin designer, George T. Morgan, they feature Lady Liberty’s radiant profile and a majestic eagle, symbols of American strength and prosperity. Since their inception in 1878, they jingled in the pockets of famous and infamous Americans like John D. Rockefeller and Teddy Roosevelt, and desperados Jesse James and Al Capone. Today, Morgan Silver Dollars are the most collected coin in America.

Lady Liberty takes a Final Bow Just three years after the massive meltdown, the government gave the Morgan Silver Dollar a final chance to shine. In 1921, facing a serious shortage, the mint struck Morgan Silver Dollars for one more brief, historic year. Today, the last-ever 1921 Morgan Silver Dollar belongs in the hands of collectors, history buffs, or anyone who values the artistry and legacy of this American classic.

A Private Vault Gives Up its Secrets Millions more silver dollars were melted over the past ninety years and today, private hoards account for virtually all the surviving Morgan Silver Dollars. We should know—we hunt for them every week. In fact, on one buying trip into America’s heartland, as we were guided into a wealthy owner’s massive private vault, we were thrilled to discover a hoard of nearly two thousand 1921 Morgan Silver Dollars, all having actually circulated in American commerce nearly 100 years ago! We wasted no time in securing the entire treasure trove of silver dollars into our own vault.

Actual size is 38.1 mm

Saved from Destruction, but Bound for Extinction It’s been estimated that only 15% of all the Morgan Dollars ever minted have survived to the present day. And the number grows smaller with each passing year. The 1921 Morgan Silver Dollar is the last of its kind. But you can get one now before they’re only a memory. Your chance to own this legend won’t last long, so get yours today—and at a fantastic value!

Don’t Miss Out on this Incredible Low Price Offer Today, you can secure your very own 1921 Morgan Silver Dollar— the last Morgan Silver Dollar ever struck—for the incredibly low price of just $29.95 each! Plus, you can buy with complete confidence. If you aren’t completely satisfied with your Morgan Silver Dollars, you can return your coins within 30-days for a full refund (less s/h). So don’t wait—order your 1921 Morgan Silver Dollars today! 1921 Last Morgan Silver Dollar 1-4 $29.95 ea. + s/h 5-9 $28.95 ea. + s/h 10+ $27.95 ea. Free Shipping

FREE SHIPPING on 6 or More!

Limited time only. Product total over $149 before taxes (if any). Standard domestic shipping only. Not valid on previous purchases.

Call today toll-free for fastest service

1-800-973-9208 Offer Code MDS119-10

Please mention this code when you call GovMint.com

Prices and availability subject to change without notice. Facts and figures deemed accurate as of April 2017. NOTE: GovMint.com® is a private distributor of worldwide government coin and currency issues and privately issued and licensed collectibles, and is not affiliated with the United States government. GovMint.com is not an investment company and does not offer financial advice or sell items as an investment. The collectible coin market is speculative, and coin values may rise or fall over time. All rights reserved. © 2017 GovMint.com.



Events of the west Chisholm Trail The yearlong celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Chisholm Trail, which ran from Texas to the Kansas railheads, continues. For a listing of upcoming events, see chisholmtrail150.org. For more information call 785-263-2681 in Kansas, 589-252-6692 in Oklahoma or 817573-1114 in Texas.

Cody Centennial Symposium V Scholars are preparing papers for the Buffalo Bill Centennial Symposium, coming Aug. 2–5 to the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyo., 100 years after the death of the great showman. The papers will reexamine his legacy and consider new directions in scholarship. Visit codystudies.org/ centennial. The Buffalo Bill Center of the West is also celebrating its centennial throughout 2017. The center’s Cody Firearms Museum hosts the symposium “Arsenals of History: Firearms and Museums in the 21st Century” July 17 and 18. Call 307-587-4771 or visit centerofthewest.org. 1 4 WILD WEST

descendant of war participants and lecturer on Wyoming history. Visit taranch.com or contact ranch owner Earl Madsen at 307217-0386 or earl [emailprotected].

Hollywood Southwest Homer and Remington V Western artist Frederic Remington (1861–1909) shares billing with Eastern artist Winslow Homer (1836– 1910) in “Homer and Remington in Black and White” through July 2 at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art in Fort Worth. Both artists became well known as illustrators for various periodicals. Among the Remington works on display is the circa 1892 ink and opaque watercolor on paper Types of Saddle Horses. Call 817-738-1933 or visit cartermuseum.org.

MeagherFest 2017 Part II of MeagherFest, which commemorates the life of Thomas Francis Meagher (see related story, P. 22), the Irish nationalist who served as acting governor of Montana Territory in 1865–66, takes place in and around Helena, Mont., June 29–July 2. Part I


was held earlier this year in Waterford, Ireland (Meagher’s birthplace). The festival will include historical presentations, panel discussions and guided tours of historic sites. Visit meagherfest.org.

“Hollywood Southwest: New Mexico in Film and Television” runs through Aug. 27 at the Albuquerque Museum in Old Town Albuquerque. The exhibit features an array of posters, costumes and artifacts from a century of films made both in and about New Mexico. Call 505-2437255 or visit albuquerquemuseum.org.

Shootout Reenactment

WWA in Kansas City

The TA Ranch, south of Buffalo, Wyo., site of the final three-day standoff of the 1892 Johnson County War, will host 125th anniversary panel discussions (Sept. 15) and a reenactment (Sept. 16). Panel members will include authors Bill O’Neal, John Davis and Bill Markley and former U.S. Senator Alan Simpson, a

Western Writers of America holds its 64th annual convention in Kansas City, Mo., June 21–24, Visit westernwriters.org.

WWHA in Fort Worth The Wild West History Association holds its 10th annual Roundup in Fort Worth, Texas, July 15–17. Events will center in part on

historic cattle trails out of Texas, including the sesquicentennial of the Chisholm Trail. Visit wildwesthistory.org.

Curtis Images Michigan’s Muskegon Museum of Art presents “Edward S. Curtis: The North American Indian” through Sept. 10. On display are 723 photogravures (fine art intaglio-printed photographs) from his 20-volume masterpiece. Beginning in 1900, Curtis spent three decades documenting Indian lives. Call 231-720-2570 or visit muskeoartmuseum.org.

Prix de West V The National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City hosts the 45th annual Prix de West Invitational Art Exhibition & Sale June 9– Aug. 6. More than 300 works by Western artists are featured. Pictured above is Tim Solliday’s oil-on-canvas Frontier Commerce. Call 405-478-2250 or visit nationalcowboy museum.org.

Send upcoming event notices to Wild West, 1919 Gallows Road, Suite 400, Vienna, VA 22182-4038. Submit at least four months in advance.

Only $79! when you use your Offer Code

Plus FREE Stauer Flyboy Optics® Sunglasses!

“I just got the new Excursion Dive Watch... I love it. I have several Stauer watches and once again you don't disappoint.” — F. from Jersey City, NJ

Dive in Without Taking a Plunge Own one of the best dive watches out there at a refreshingly-affordable price.


he market’s swimming with overpriced dive watches. We’re here to tell you those guys are all wet. At Stauer our philosophy is everyone deserves the best without having to dig deep into their pockets. We’ve been in the watch industry for decades and know more than a thing or two about getting the ultimate bang for our buck— which means we can pass the fruits of our know-how onto our clients. Case in point: The Excursion Dive Watch. This tough-as-nails sophisticate would cost you in the thousands if you got it from a high-end retailer that’s really in the business of selling a big name more than a quality watch. We keep the big names out of the equation so we can price this top-notch timepiece for just $79 –– a price that let’s you dive in and have enough left over for an excursion or two...or three. EXCLUSIVE You’re getting a lot for your money with this watch. The Excursion is the Stauer Flyboy perfect companion in any locale–– Optics® Sunglasses whether you’re exploring coral reefs or investigating the rum options at a beach-a $99 valuewith purchase of side bar. With a case, band and crown of Excursion Watch stainless steel, this watch is built to last, and its water resistance rating of 20 ATM means it can handle most of your aquatic adventures to a depth of 678 feet. The striking metallic blue face reflects the


“Today dive watches are the most popular type of sport watch...because of their style, promise of durability, and utilitarian value.” —A BLOG TO WATCH

deep waters it was designed to explore and it’s sporty screw-down crown can take the pressure in stride. Equipped with precision crystal movement you can count on impeccable performance even when you’re 20 atmospheres below the surface. Limited Edition. Sure you could give your hard-earned money to those other guys, but why would you? We’ve got the thinking man’s timepiece right here. This watch takes six months to engineer and it’s already making waves, so we can’t guarantee it will be around for long. Call today, and experience how good it feels to get true luxury for less. Your satisfaction is 100% guaranteed. If you are not completely convinced you got excellence for less, simply return the Excursion Dive Watch within 60 days for a refund of the item price. At Stauer, we never leave our customers high and dry.

Limited to the First 1500 Respondents to This Ad Only Stauer Excursion Dive Watch $399† Your Cost With Offer Code

$79 + S&P Save $320

1­800­333­2045 Offer Code: EDW231­02 You must use this offer code to get our special price. † Special price only for customers using the offer code versus the price on Stauer.com without your offer code. 14101 Southcross Drive W., ® Dept. EDW231­02 Burnsville, Minnesota 55337 Rating of A+



Precision movement • 316L stainless steel case and bracelet • Rotating bezel • Water resistant to 20 ATM • Screw­down crown design • Bracelet fits wrist up to 8 ½"

Stauer…Afford the Extraordinary.™


OSAGE OIL STRIKES LED TO MURDER AND DREW THE FBI DAVID GRANN’S KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON TRACES A STRING OF OSAGE KILLINGS IN OKLAHOMA BY CANDY MOULTON In the wake of the Civil War the U.S. government relocated the Osage Indians from Kansas to Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma), where they bought little-valued reservation land once occupied by the Cherokees. By the turn of the 20th century, however, Osage tribal leaders had learned of the existence of lucrative natural resources beneath their lands, and in 1906 they negotiated a federal mining statute that included this key provision: “That the oil, gas, coal or other minerals covered by the lands…are hereby reserved to the Osage tribe.” When production of the oil reserves on reservation lands exploded, the headright owners became very wealthy. Among the fortunate Osages were Mollie Burkhart, her mother and sisters. But their good fortune took a dark turn when family members began to die—either violently murdered or under suspicious circ*mstances. The Osage Tribal Council sought help from J. Edgar Hoover, who was then developing the Bureau of Investigation (renamed the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1935). Hoover in turn assigned former Texas Ranger Tom White, special agent in charge of the bureau’s Houston field office, to go to Oklahoma to investigate. David Grann, a staff writer at The New Yorker, spent years researching the story and wrote Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI (2017), a suspenseful tale of money, murder and intrigue with surprising twists and turns. What led you to the story of the Osage murders? I had first heard about the killings from a historian and then went to visit the Osage Nation Museum [osagenation-nsn.gov/ museum] in Oklahoma. When I was there, I saw on the wall a panoramic photograph, taken in 1924, which showed a seemingly innocent pageant of members of the tribe and white settlers. I noticed a section had been cut out. When I asked the museum director why, she told me it showed a figure so frightening she’d decided to remove it. She pointed to the missing panel and said, “The devil was standing right there.” She then went down into the basem*nt and brought up an image of the missing panel, which showed one of ringleaders behind the conspiracy to murder the Osage for their oil money. The book grew out of trying to understand who that figure was, and the search led me to one of the most mysterious and sinister crime stories in American history. How long did it take to complete the book? The research took many years, to find archival material as well as descendants of both the murderers and the victims. Altogether, 1 6 WILD WEST


from beginning to end, the process took nearly half a decade. Where did you begin? At the outset I wanted to know if there was enough underlying source material to tell the story. And so I obtained FBI records and filed document requests with government agencies through the Freedom of Information Act. Gradually, envelopes and boxes of materials began to arrive. They provided only a fraction of the materials I would need for the book, but they gave me the confidence to commit to the project. Did Ernest Burkhart marry Mollie to gain control of her headright? Or did he plot the family murders after their wedding? From the available records we don’t know for sure. But Mollie Burkhart’s descendants believe the marriage had been conceived as part of the scheme. How did the murderers poison, shoot and otherwise kill dozens of victims without getting caught? Several forces were at work. One was racism. Because the victims were Native Americans, white authorities often neglected to investigate these crimes. Modern policing techniques were also still just emerging and corruption was widespread. The killers could buy off the authorities, and in many instances the authorities themselves were complicit in the murders. What was the biggest break for Tom White? It’s a modern cliché, but following the money. What clues or leads did the investigators miss? They tried to connect the killing to one evil figure and in so doing ignored clues that pointed to other killers. The “Reign of Terror” lasted how long? According to the FBI, the Reign of Terror went from 1921 to the end of 1925. But records show that, in fact, murders occurred well before that period and well after it. I researched one case of an Osage woman who was abducted and murdered in 1918 and another case of an Osage man suspected of being poisoned in 1931. Read the full interview online at WildWestMag.com.

Field Dress For Success The hunt for the perfect outdoorsman knife is over. There’s only one tool you need: the Whitetail™ Hunting Knife—now ONLY $49!


he consummate outdoorsman never goes on deep woods hunting trips without the essentials. Not just the basics for every hunting trip, but the items he’s come to depend on over the years. Our new Whitetail™ Hunting Knife will quickly become your go-to blade for every expedition. The Whitetail™ is a premium fixed-blade hunting knife that’s perfect for skinning. With the Whitetail at hand, you’ll be ready for field dressing in only seconds, and you’ll never need a separate gut hook tool ever again. The Whitetail™ boasts a mighty 420 high carbon, full tang stainless steel blade, meaning the blade doesn’t stop at the handle, it runs the full length of the knife. According to Gear Patrol, a full tang blade is key, saying “A full tang lends structural strength to the knife, allowing for better leverage ...think one long steel beam versus two.” The comfortable handle is made from pakkawood—moisture-resistant and more durable than hardwood. If hunting is your life, then the Whitetail™ Knife was designed to make your life easier. With our limited edition Whitetail™ Hunting Knife you’re getting the best in 21st-century construction with a classic look inspired by legendary American pioneers. What you won’t get is the trumped up price tag. We know a thing or two about the hunt–– like how to seek BONUS! Call today and out and capture an outstanding, collector’s-quality knife that won’t cut you’ll also receive this heavy duty sheath! into your bank account. This knife can be yours to use out in the field or to display as the art EXCLUSIVE piece it truly is. But don’t wait. A knife of this caliber typically cost hundreds. Priced at an amazing $49, we can’t guarantee this knife will stick around for long. So call today! Stauer® 8x21 Your satisfaction is 100% guaranteed. Feel the knife in your Compact hands, wear it on your hip, inspect the craftsmanship. If you don’t Binoculars feel like we cut you a fair deal, send it back within 60 days for a -a $99 valuecomplete refund of the What customers are saying with purchase of Whitetail™ Hunting item sale price. But we about Stauer knives... Knife believe that once you wrap your fingers around the Whitetail’s handle, you’ll “Good value. Great looking. be ready to carve your own Sufficiently sharp. Overall niche into the wild frontier. an "A" purchase and I ordered three.” — B. of Maryland Whitetail™ Hunting Knife $79*


Offer Code Price Only $49 + S&P Save $30 PLUS Free Stauer Compact Binoculars


TAKE 38 % OFF INST ANTLY! When you use

Your Insider Offer Code: WHK1͘͝­01 You must use the insider offer code to get our special price.




WHK1-01 ® 14101 Southcross Drive W., Dept. Burnsville, Minnesota 55337


*Discount is only for customers who use the offer code versus the listed original Stauer.com price.

Not shown actual size. Rating of A+

• 5 ¼" 420HC stainless steel blade • Full­tang design with gut hook • Pakkawood handle with brass pins • Bonus heavy duty nylon sheath

Stauer…Afford the Extraordinary.™


WITH HANDLEBARS, FROM HOBBS This real photo postcard

(an image developed and not printed on cardstock) is one of three collected by Tony Sapienza of Constable J.D. “Pop” Gray of Hobbs, N.M., who had also served in west Texas. Postmarked Dec. 30, 1936, the card was sent from Hobbs to Houston Abell in Rosenberg, Texas. Written on the back:

In 1907 James Isaac Hobbs established a homestead in southeastern New Mexico Territory and bestowed his surname on the settlement. Wildcatters struck oil nearby in 1927, and two years later officials incorporated the town of 12,000. Amid falling oil prices during the Great Depression the population dipped to 3,000, but the industry and Hobbs soon recovered. In the late 1970s Wild West editor Gregory Lalire was a sportswriter for the Hobbs Daily NewsSun. By then Pop was long gone, having died in 1944, reportedly after a fall from a windmill tower.




Do you know this man? He used to live at Vernon [Texas]. Is night police here. Is quite a character and dresses just like the picture all of the time. Are you OK? I am getting along OK I guess. Is sure cold here. Write me a letter. Doyle




anchos, or land-grant titles, played a big role in the history of California. Spain issued more than two dozen large grants, mostly to the Franciscan missions, between 1784 and 1821, while Mexico granted some 270 more between 1833 and 1846, after its confiscation of the mission lands. When the United States took over in 1848, it initially agreed to honor existing land claims. But Mexico had handed out a slew of grants in the lead-up to war, so landowners had to defend their titles in court—a lengthy, expensive process that sometimes forced them to sell. Rancho life has often been romanticized as a time of fiestas, laughter and leisure, but in the early 1860s southern California’s Rancho Cucamonga was the scene of a string of sensational murders tied to rancho owner John Rains—a saga steeped in greed, betrayal and lingering mystery. When Alabama-born Rains came to California in 1849 he was a 20-something shepherd of modest means. When he married 2 0 WILD WEST


17-year-old Maria Merced Williams on Sept. 16, 1856, he became one of the wealthiest men in southern California. Doña Merced’s father was Isaac “Don Julian” Williams, owner of Rancho Santa Ana del Chino, her mother, Maria, the daughter of prominent Californio Don Antonio Maria Lugo. When Don Julian died in 1856, he left the Chino rancho to daughters Maria Merced and Maria Francisca. Rains married Doña Merced three days later and soon sold his wife’s interest in the ranch to Doña Francisca’s husband, Robert Carlisle, for $25,000. With the proceeds Rains bought 13,000-acre Rancho Cucamonga, recording the deed in his name only. His social and economic status now elevated, he purchased more land, delved into politics and became part owner of the Bella Union Hotel in Los Angeles, while also planting vineyards, starting a winery and in 1860 financing construction of a beautiful fired-brick home (now a museum at 8810 Hemlock St. in Rancho Cucamonga).

GUNFIGHTERS & LAWMEN Rains, though, was soon in over his head financially, and on Nov. 12, 1862, he mortgaged the rancho and the hotel for $16,000, at 2 percent per month interest, from Los Angeles merchants. His wife co-signed the mortgage. On the 17th John hitched up two horses to a wagon and started for the city to complete the transaction. He never made it. On November 19 the horses returned to the rancho without wagon or driver. Two days later brotherin-law Robert Carlisle started up a search party, which turned up evidence of foul play on the stage road near Mud Springs station (present-day San Dimas). On November 29 the Los Angeles Star reported:


On Monday the 17th inst. John Rains Esq. of the Cocomongo [sic] Rancho left home for the purpose of coming to this city to transact important business but has not since been heard of. On Monday or Tuesday of this week the wagon was discovered in a deep ravine a short distance from where it is supposed it was driven off the road.

Searchers soon found Rains’ body in a cactus patch some 400 yards from the road. His attackers had apparently lassoed and pulled him from the wagon by his right arm, which had been yanked from its socket. He’d been dragged, and his lower arm was mangled. He’d also been shot four times. Doña Merced was left a widow, in the early stages of pregnancy and with four small children already on her hands. She spent the next several years in and out of court trying to hold on to the rancho in the face of creditors. Who killed John Rains remains a mystery. The evidence suggested a coordinated ambush, and newspapers hinted at a conspiracy. Carlisle spearheaded the effort to find Rains’ killer. He accused several people, including neighboring ranchero Ramón Carrillo, who had been in Los Angeles at the time of the murder and had an alibi. Twice brought before a court, he was twice exonerated. In 1863 Los Angeles authorities arrested Carrillo associate Manuel Cerradel on suspicion of murdering Rains. Though not charged with the killing, Cerradel had violently resisted arrest and was convicted of attempted murder. Put aboard a boat bound for San Quentin, Cerradel never made it. Vigilantes among the passengers seized the prisoner and hanged him from the yardarm before tying stones to his feet and throwing the body overboard. In June 1864 someone ambushed Carrillo, who in the interim had become Doña Merced’s trusted adviser and rumored lover. He had been escorting her carriage when shot out of the saddle. He was staggering down the road toward “Uncle Billy” Rubottom’s tavern when he bled to death.

Despite his ostensible efforts to find his brother-inlaw’s killer, Carlisle himself remained a prime suspect. For one, during the weeklong search for Rains he had hosted a large party at his home. Even more curious, on the day Rains was killed, Carlisle was due to be sworn in as one of San Bernardino County’s newly elected supervisors, but he hadn’t shown, and no one seemed to know his whereabouts. Finally, within months of the murder he bullied Rains’ apparently naive widow into giving him power of attorney over the Rancho Cucamonga estate. Meanwhile, Doña Merced, within days of Ramón Carrillo’s ambush, married the victim’s bastard half-brother, José Carrillo, which certainly didn’t help squelch rumors she may have been complicit in Rains’ murder. The violence surrounding Rancho Cucamonga continued. On July 5, 1865, Robert Carlisle and wife Francisca attended a wedding reception in the Bella Union’s ballroom. A drunken Carlisle got into a heated argument with Andrew J. King, the court-appointed receiver of the Rains estate, which included the hotel. In the ensuing scuffle Carlisle slashed King across the hand with a knife, while King fired a hasty shot at Carlisle but missed. King departed, but the next day, his vengeful brothers, Frank and Houston, engaged Carlisle in a ragged gunfight in the hotel lobby, during which bullets struck a bystander and killed a horse standing outside the hotel. Frank King was killed outright, while Houston was severely wounded. Carlisle collapsed with four slugs in his body and died within hours. In May 1867, nearly two years after Carlisle’s death and with Rancho Cucamonga nearing bankruptcy, a judge decided in favor of Doña Merced in the suit she had brought to annul transactions her brother-in-law had conducted while acting as her agent. Regardless, in 1870 San Bernardino authorities foreclosed on the coveted rancho, later selling it to Rains’ creditors. Doña Merced moved to Los Angeles, where she died in 1907 at age 68.

Opposite left: John Rains was killed on Nov. 17, 1862, but just who did it remains a mystery. Opposite top right: Rains’ wife, Merced, was rumored to have been complicit in his murder. Opposite bottom right: Brother-in-law Robert Carlisle was also a prime suspect. Below: The beautiful, fired-brick Rains ranch house is a museum in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.



PIONEERS & SETTLERS Thomas Francis Meagher, posing at left in a Mathew Brady portrait, is perhaps best known for commanding the hard-fighting but hard-luck Irish Brigade during the American Civil War. Below: Meagher later served as acting governor of Montana Territory, and this statue of the mounted brigadier brandishing a saber has stood on the lawn of the state Capitol in Helena since 1905.



heroic statue outside the Montana state Capitol in Helena memorializes the Irishman who set a raw postwar frontier territory on the path to statehood. Thomas Francis Meagher (pronounced MAH-her) was born into a merchant-class family on Aug. 3, 1823, in Waterford, Ireland. A Jesuit education in England set him on a path to become one of the most celebrated orators of his day. In 1843 he returned to an Ireland that had been under British rule nearly 700 years, its subjects soon suffering under a severe famine. Meagher joined an ongoing effort to repeal the 1800 Acts of Union with Britain and secure national independence. Meagher was not averse to using force, and at a July 28, 1846, meeting to discuss peace resolutions he delivered his celebrated “Sword Speech,” with the refrain, “Abhor the sword? Stigmatize the



sword? No, my lord.” Instead, he countered, “I look upon the sword as a sacred weapon.” It earned him the moniker “Meagher of the Sword.” After studying revolutionary concepts in France, he returned home in 1848 carrying a version of the present-day Irish tricolor—its white center panel signifying hoped-for peace between Catholics (green) and Protestants (orange). Arrested that year after leading an abortive revolt, Meagher and co-conspirators were sentenced to death, later commuted to banishment for life to the penal colony of Van Diemen’s Land (present-day Tasmania, Australia). On Feb. 22, 1851, on the Tasmanian frontier Meagher married young governess Catherine Bennett, a free citizen. Thomas bolted in 1852, but Catherine was pregnant, so he arranged to rendezvous with her in the United States. While he was at sea, she delivered son Henry, who died soon after Meagher arrived in New York.


PIONEERS & SETTLERS Irish expats gave Meagher of the Sword a hero’s welcome, and he parlayed his oratorical skills into a stint as a traveling lecturer. Catherine joined him in New York in 1853, but she felt out of place and neglected. After four quarrelsome months she returned to Ireland, where she died in 1854 soon after giving birth to the couple’s second son, Thomas Francis II. (Father and son would never meet.) When his popularity on the lecture circuit waned, the entrepreneurial Meagher formed a law partnership and founded a newspaper. He also found a new love, New York socialite Elizabeth Townsend, whom he married on Nov. 14, 1855. With the onset of the Civil War in 1861, Meagher and other Irish nationalists saw an opportunity to train fellow countrymen under fire and perhaps later rally them to eject the British from Ireland. He joined the Irishmen of the 69th New York Militia, which under his later command became the Irish Brigade. Dubbed the “Fighting 69th,” reportedly by Confederate General Robert E. Lee, the brigade incurred fearsome casualties. By year’s end 1862 fewer than 300 of the original 3,000 members survived. Meagher petitioned everyone from his superiors to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton to President Abraham Lincoln for permission to temporarily withdraw his brigade and replenish it with new recruits. Largely ignored, the brigadier general resigned his command in 1863. He was reinstated the following year and served out the war. After the war, President Andrew Johnson appointed Meagher secretary of newly formed Montana Territory, a wild and lawless place, its non-Indian population of 30,000 comprising mostly miners, mountain men and gold-hungry deserters. Yet the ever ambitious Meagher saw it as a place to build a strong Irish colony and thus propel himself into higher office, perhaps as a U.S. senator. On arrival in the booming capital of Virginia City in September 1865, he received an unexpected boost, as Governor Sidney Edgerton headed east to secure territorial funding, leaving Meagher as acting governor. Meagher, a pro-Union Democrat, was frustrated in his initial legislative efforts, as the territorial government was split between a Republican executive/ judiciary and a legislature dominated by Southern Democrats. Seeking to straddle the fence between each camp, he wound up making enemies in both. Ugly rumors soon circulated, mostly about Meagher’s penchant for alcohol. In late 1865 the governor fell afoul of the courts when he pardoned an Irishman convicted of second-degree murder. Vigilantes hanged the man anyway and pinned a note to his body, threatening Meagher with the same fate. As acting governor, Meagher was also superintendent of Indian Affairs. Though he remained hawkish

with regard to warring tribes, he believed the federal government had acted unfairly toward peaceful Indians. Cultural repression, imposed religion and starvation resonated deeply with Meagher, and he equated their plight to that of Irish famine victims. Meagher oversaw an ill-fated treaty with the Blackfeet and visited the missions at Stevensville and St. Ignatius in hopes of attracting Jesuit priests to minister to the Indians. Though he disciplined two agents for stealing government supplies, his overall effort did little to alter federal Indian policy. As tensions between the Indians and settlers heated up in the spring of 1867, Meagher called for the raising and arming of a territorial militia. Detractors accused him of grandstanding, but Lt. Gen. William Tec*mseh Sherman, commander of the Military Division of the Missouri, ordered 2,500 rifles sent to Fort Benton. En route to pick up the shipment that July, Meagher and his party drank tainted water and contracted summer sickness (diarrhea). Concerned for his health and safety, friends had the governor spend the night aboard a riverboat. That night, July 1, 1867, Meagher tumbled into the Missouri River and vanished. The circ*mstances surrounding Meagher’s disappearance remain a matter of debate. The story at the time had the ailing, drunken governor falling overboard and drowning in a river high and fast with runoff. Those who knew Meagher best doubted the account, as he was reportedly a strong swimmer. Other theories involved British agents, suicide, faked death, revenge, even a government conspiracy. Supporters discounted all but one— murder by vengeful vigilantes. His beloved Elizabeth searched the riverbanks for two months but never found his body, nor did anyone else. The grief-stricken widow returned to New York, where she died in 1906. In 1896 the Ancient Order of Hibernians, an Irish Catholic fraternal organization, began raising private funds to erect a monument to Meagher at the state capital, which had moved to Helena in 1875. The statue of the mounted Irish brigadier, of course brandishing a sword, has graced the Capitol lawn since 1905. What to make of Meagher at the sesquicentennial of his death? His Montana detractors circulated negative stories about him, and he had flaws. But he also laid the groundwork for the establishment of Yellowstone National Park and the Montana National Guard, religious and education reform, Indian relations and, ultimately, statehood. His legacy should rest on his dedication to Irish independence, American justice and Montana’s future, not on his susceptibility to “brown bottle flu” or his controversial disappearance from a Missouri riverboat.

Meagher saw Montana territory as a place to build a strong irish colony and thus propel hiMself into higher office, perhaps as a U.S. senator






tagecoach drivers were royalty on the frontier and claimed a title to prove it—“Jehu.” In Chapter 9 of the Old Testament book of 2 Kings, Jehu, newly anointed king of Israel, whips up his horses and rides off in his chariot to a showdown with Joram, son of King Ahab and wicked Queen Jezebel. En route two of Joram’s cavalrymen—sent out to determine who was approaching—switched sides and joined forces with Jehu. Joram’s lookout noted their treachery and warned his commander. “And the driving,” the lookout said of the oncoming charioteer, “is like the driving of Jehu, son of Nimshi—he drives like a madman.” Stagecoach drivers in the 19th-century West were also noted for driving at breakneck speed. On one legendary trip emblematic



stage driver Hank Monk was said to have covered the 109-mile route between Carson City, Nev., and Placerville, Calif.—much of it uphill or steeply downhill, where good brakes were mandatory—in just 10 hours. Born along the Canadian border in New York in 1826, Monk reportedly started driving stagecoaches at the tender age of 12. In 1852 he ventured to California, where he first drove the route between Sacramento and Auburn for James Birch’s California Stage Co. He then drove between Placerville and Genoa, Nev., hiring on with Jared B. Crandall and continuing the run after the line was sold, first to Lewis, Brady & Co. and then Wells, Fargo & Co. “Hank Monk, the incomparable!” Idah Meacham Strobridge wrote in The Land of the Purple Shadows, her 1909 memoir of


WESTERN ENTERPRISE the Old West. “In my mind’s eye I see him now— his clumsy, awkward movements, his slow and bungling way of gathering up the reins or reaching for the long-lashed whip. But, oh! the magic of his touch, as the horses answered the drawling ‘Gid-dap!’ of the man whose master hand they instinctively gave their allegiance to.…Had anyone asked me which of the two I would rather see— hear—speak to, Hank Monk or the president (and that meant Abraham Lincoln), it would have been the former I unhesitatingly would have chosen.” Monk never had Lincoln for a passenger, but in 1859 he made record time carrying New-York Daily Tribune editor Horace “Go West, young man” Greeley, who was touring the West that summer and in need of a ride from Carson City to make a speech in Placerville. He expressed doubts Monk could get him there in time. During the uphill grind Greeley repeatedly leaned out of the stage window, pressing Monk to drive the six-horse team faster. “Keep your seat, Horace,” the latter replied laconically. “I’ll get you there on time.” On the downhill California stretch, Monk slackened the reins and let the horses set their own whirlwind pace. “I looked into the coach,” the gleeful driver later told a reporter for another paper, “and there was Greeley, his bare head bobbing…holding on to whatever he could grab.” Greeley got to Placerville ahead of schedule, but widely disseminated tales of the wild ride made him an object of ridicule and may have factored into his 1872 presidential electoral defeat. In 1879 when former President Grant toured the Yosemite Valley, he chose to ride with George Monroe, a 35-year-old driver for Henry Washburn’s Yosemite Stage & Turnpike Co. Known for his elegant dress and driving expertise, Monroe let Grant—who boasted his own reputation for good horsemanship—ride up beside him in the box and at points allowed the general to take the reins. “I have never known another such an all-around reinsman as George Monroe,” Washburn later re-

called. “I always put him on the box when there was a distinguished party to be driven, and fast and showy driving was expected or necessary, and he never disappointed me nor exceeded the limit scheduled nor fell behind.” Among Monroe’s other celebrated passengers were President Rutherford B. Hayes, General of the Army William Tec*mseh Sherman and actress Lillie Langtry. Born of mixed African descent in Georgia in 1844, Monroe had come to California at age 11 and started working as a Yosemite tourist guide in 1866. When stagecoach service reached the valley in 1872, he signed on as a driver. Acclaimed “Knight of the Sierras” to Monk’s king, Monroe reportedly never injured a passenger or a horse. The paramount requirement for stagecoach work was skill in handling a six-horse team. A high degree of courage and the ability at least to look younger than 40 were the only other requirements. Pay was negotiable, based on merit and experience. Bad roads and badmen, sometimes in conjunction, made backcountry routes perilous. There were no company physicals—a fact underscored by the career of “One-eyed Charley” Parkhurst. Born in New Hampshire in 1812, Parkhurst arrived in California at the height of the Gold Rush and, despite having lost an eye to a shoeing accident, drove the San Jose to Oakland and San Juan to Santa Cruz routes into the 1860s. When Charley died at age 67 in 1879, the undertaker was shocked to discover he was actually a she and had delivered at least one child. In 1881 the incomparable Hank Monk had his one and only accident, tipping over a stage near Lake Tahoe. He retired soon afterward. The next year he declined an offer of $250 a month to tour with a Wild West show as its celebrity driver. He died of pneumonia in Carson City in 1883. George Monroe died three years later of injuries sustained in a stagecoach accident, but his record remained unblemished—someone else had been driving.

Opposite: Hank Monk, who made headlines in 1859 after transporting a nervous New-York Daily Tribune editor Horace Greeley, was perhaps the most daring and bold of the “Jehus.” Below left: George “Knight of the Sierras” Monroe reportedly never injured a horse or a passenger. Below: “One-eyed Charley” Parkhurst warranted a second look, as he was actually a she (Charlotte), who dressed and worked like a man.






n his abstract work Harvest Tihu Dan Namingha depicts a traditional Hopi kachina doll, its carved wooden surface weathered with age, the tribal symbols reduced to a scattering of paint flakes. Yet like much of Namingha’s work, the 28-by-30-inch acrylic on canvas is contemporary, powerful and definitely personal. “As a young person I used to carve those for ceremonies,” Namingha recalls during a recent interview at Niman Fine Art [namingha.com], his family gallery just off New Mexico’s historic Santa Fe Plaza. “Or sometimes my uncle would carve one, and he’d ask me to paint it. I’ve been working on this series since the early ’70s, and I still do it.” Fact is, Namingha, 67, still does a lot of work—landscapes, mixed media, montages, collages, watercolors, oils, acrylics,



even bronze and steel sculpture. “I jump around,” he admits. Yet he never jumps far from his Hopi-Tewa heritage. “The landscape itself is sacred to the culture,” he says. “We are tapped into that. Whether I’m sculpting rock formations, and that becomes an abstract piece, it’s still a part of our existence.” It’s all in the family at Niman Fine Art. Namingha’s wife, Frances, and daughter-in-law Nicole manage the gallery, which shows works by Dan and sons Arlo, a contemporary sculptor, and Michael, a mixedmedia photographer. But the Naminghas’ artistic lineage stretches back even further. Dan’s great-great-grandmother Nampeyo (1856–1942) was among the finest Hopi-Tewa potters, and other family members followed in her footsteps.


Visit WildWestMag.com for more about the artist.

Top left: Dan Namingha calls this bold landscape Early Dawn. Above: Harvest Tihu depicts a traditional Hopi kachina doll in abstract. Bottom: Pictograph is the title of this modern work with traditional symbolism.


It was Namingha’s second-grade teacher who introduced Dan and his classmates to painting. A weekend painter herself, Lillian Russell saw something special in her students. “I think she noticed that a lot of the young native kids had this natural ability to draw and depict daily life and what interested them on the reservation,” Namingha says. So Russell turned a vacant sandstone building into a studio for the children. That led Namingha to a summer scholarship at the University of Kansas in Lawrence and then to the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe.

Impressed with his illustration skills, an instructor there recommended him to the American Academy of Art in Chicago, and Namingha spent more time developing his technique at the Art Institute of Chicago. “I started looking at other work that was very contemporary,” he says. “My view of realism started shifting.” Like his great-great-grandmother, Namingha has earned international renown. His works hang in museums and embassies worldwide, and he has participated in projects for such clients as Smithsonian and NASA. Last year he was named featured artist at the Museum of Indian Arts & Culture and living treasure of the Native Treasures Indian Arts Festival in Santa Fe. This year, on August 19 and 20, Niman Fine Art holds its annual exhibition in conjunction with the 96th Santa Fe Indian Market, the world’s largest juried American Indian art show. Namingha has no intention of slowing down. When asked what’s next for him, he happily answers, “Just work—a lot of work.”




Skidi Pawnee Chief Petalesharo, below in a portrait by Charles Bird King (1785–1862), found his band’s practice of human sacrifice repugnant. In a more recent painting at left Petalesharo rescues a Comanche girl from certain death in the Morning Star Ritual.



uring his 1832 tour of the prairie, American Romantic author Washington Irving (see related story, P. 64) kept looking over his shoulder for notoriously fearsome Pawnees. A decade earlier a Pawnee chief had gained national renown for opposing his band’s tradition of ritually sacrificing captive girls. Petalesharo was honored for his courage and compassion in 1821, a year after English Romantic author Sir Walter Scott introduced readers to Ivanhoe, the Saxon hero who fights in the lists to spare the Jewish healer Rebecca from a false charge of witchcraft. Petalesharo’s own noble exploit dated from 1817, and the similarities are uncanny.



The Pawnees were equally farmers and hunters. Somewhere along the way—perhaps having encountered a wandering Aztec— the Skidi band of Pawnees had acquired the terrifying cosmology of a dying universe that could only be renewed by effusions of virginal blood. While other Plains Indians honored warriors who threw away their lives in battle, the Skidi were the only known band to have sacrificed girls to keep the crops growing. The celestial ritual started with a vision of the morning star— in Skidi mythology Mars, not Venus. The warrior who received the vision was then required to capture a young girl from another tribe. The band would keep the girl in isolation and nurture her.


INDIAN LIFE The next spring, however, with the astrological rising of the morning star, Skidi priests would begin their dark ritual. Undressing the unwitting girl, they would paint half her body red, the other half black— representing opposing quadrants of the night sky— then redress her in ritual clothing. The males of the village would then escort the girl toward the sunrise, strip her naked and place her before a wooden scaffold. It was considered a good omen if she climbed up voluntarily. Regardless, she was tied in place. As the morning star rose, two priests would brush the girl’s body with torches as the man who captured her drove an arrow through her heart. The high priest would then open her chest with a knife and dribble her blood on the dried heart and tongue of a buffalo. Finally, the males of the band would riddle the corpse with arrows. The priests would then cut down the body and place it face down on the prairie so her blood could reinvigorate the soil. Though Petalesharo (Man Chief) grew up practicing the Morning Star Ritual, he found it repugnant, as did his father, Lachelasharo (Knife Chief). In the spring of 1817 as the Skidi priests prepared to sacrifice a captive Comanche girl, Petalesharo declared, “I do not like this, and my father does not like it either.” Striding forward, he cut the thongs that bound the girl to the scaffold and led her out the circle fatal to waiting horses. Once certain they hadn’t been followed, Petalesharo gave the Comanche girl provisions—and presumably clothing —and pointed her back toward her people, some 400 miles to the south. The next year Petalesharo spared a young Spanish boy a similar fate, offering the Skidis trade goods in exchange for his life. Missionaries eventually heard the story of Petalesharo’s rescue of the Comanche girl. The National Intelligencer first printed an account in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 22, 1821. Weeks later Petalesharo joined other chiefs on a visit to the capital organized by Upper Missouri Indian Agent Benjamin O’Fallon, a nephew of famed explorer William Clark. There the Skidi chief found himself the toast of the young nation under President James Monroe. That winter New York’s Commercial Advertiser published a florid poem entitled “The Pawnee Brave,” in which Petalesharo “sprang from his noble steed” to unbind the captive, then galloped off with her, returning the girl to her father “ere the evening dew on the meadow lay.” Poetic license, indeed. Regardless, the swooning girls at Miss White’s Select Female Seminary raised funds to have a silver medal cast in Petalesharo’s honor. He attended a reception at the home of Miss Mary Rapine, who slipped the medal over his head. “I did not know the act was so good,” Petalesharo said through an interpreter. “It came from my heart.

I was ignorant of its value. I now know how good it was. You make me know by giving me this medal.” Petalesharo also met James Fenimore Cooper and may have inspired the Pawnee hero of The Prairie, the last of Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales, in which the Pawnees are the good guys, the Sioux the bad guys. But Petalesharo had no intention of becoming a pet Indian. During his Washington visit he urged Monroe to let Indians be as long as the buffalo and beaver lasted. “Let me continue to live as I have done,” he told the president, “and after I have passed to the good or evil spirit from off the wilderness of my present life, the subsistence of my children may become so precarious as to need and embrace the assistance of those good people.” While the chief’s selfless rescues and resulting public scrutiny discredited human sacrifice among the Skidis, it didn’t entirely end the practice. A Missouri paper reported another such sacrifice in 1818. In 1827 Upper Missouri Indian Agent John Dougherty negotiated the release of a young Cheyenne girl. But as Dougherty and soldiers from Fort Atkinson escorted the girl from the Skidi camp, a superstitious warrior dishorsed her with an arrow, and others rushed in to dip their weapons in her blood. The last known sacrifice, a 14-year-old Oglala Lakota named Haxti, was reportedly killed on April 22, 1838. While the noble and eloquent Petalesharo was long remembered by whites, the Skidis’ sacrificial victims were long remembered by their respective tribes. When George Armstrong Custer headed west after the Civil War, the first Lakota war chief he fought was Pawnee Killer. The chief never lacked for recruits—his name said it all. Chief Petalesharo himself is thought to have contracted smallpox and died about 1832. The location of his grave remained a mystery until 1883 when a farm boy named Olando Thompson in rural Howard County, Nebraska, unearthed the chief’s silver rescue medal amid his earthly, if not celestial, remains.

This 1922 illustration, published by the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago, depicts the Morning Star Ritual, in which members of the Skidi Pawnee band sacrificed a captive young girl from another tribe.



Out of the Canyon, by Carl Rungius (1869–1959), 28- by 36-inch oil on canvas. Auction estimate: $300,000–500,000. 3 0 WILD WEST


STYLE In this issue we view Western fine art from the Coeur d’Alene Art Auction, a range of products produced since the 1800s and more


The Rio Virgin, Southern Utah (1917), by Thomas Moran (1837–1926), 20- by 16-inch oil on canvas. Auction estimate: $600,000–900,000.


Wild Horses (1900), by Charles M. Russell (1864–1926), 20- by 29-inch watercolor on paper. Auction estimate: $400,000–600,000.


Get in on the Auction

The Pipe Holder (1975), by Howard Terpning (1927–), 30- by 24-inch oil on board. Auction estimate: $150,000–250,000.

For more than 30 years the Coeur d’Alene Art Auction has specialized in exceptional Western and American art, representing past masters and distinguished contemporary artists. View and bid for the works shown and more at the 2017 Coeur d’Alene Art Auction on July 29, 2017, at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno, Nev. For more information visit cdaartauction.com








Craftsmen turn out guitars at the C.F. Martin factory circa 1910–12.




510 Sycamore St. Nazareth, Pa. martinguitar.com



Strumming Along For 184 years, C.F. Martin & Co. has handcrafted acoustic guitars considered among the finest in the world. Though Martin has evolved with the times by updating its design, distribution and manufacturing methods, the company has never veered from its commitment to quality craftsmanship. In 1833 German-born Christian Frederick Martin opened his first workshop in 3 4 WILD WEST

New York City, and in 1838 he moved the company to Nazareth, Pa., where the Martin family continues the musical tradition. Current CEO, C.F. “Chris” Martin IV, is the great-greatgreat grandson of the founder. Martin’s 00-42SC John Mayer Stagecoach Edition 12-fret acoustic guitar ($10,299) is the fourth model Martin has produced in collaboration with the singer-songwriter. For more info visit martinguitar.com.


John Mayer strums a limited-edition Martin 00-45SC.










526 Happy Hollow Road Clermont, Ky. jimbeam.com




Still Beaming



Seven generations and more than 220 years ago Jacob Beam, a German immigrant’s son in Kentucky, began making corn whiskey using his father’s recipe. Jacob sold his first barrel of Old Jake Beam sour mash in 1795. Today in Clermont, Ky., the Jim Beam American Stillhouse offers visitors a 90-minute tour that covers the entire whiskey-making process, starting with the natural limestone well that serves as Jim Beam’s water source and continuing through the steps of mashing, distilling, barreling, aging and bottling. For more info visit jimbeam.com.

The “Venn Diagram of Beer” Growler

Bullet Cap 12-Gauge Coasters

This 64-ounce growler for the craft brew lover is made of high-quality amber glass. Tall, wide and thirsty, it’s the holy grail of all beer vessels ($24.99, lillianvernon.com).

These 3.5-inch diameter polyresin coasters nest in a 4.5-inch diameter holder crimped in red like a shotgun shell ($19.99 for a set of four, lillianvernon.com).

An American institution since 1801, Crane & Co. [crane. com] is renowned for its fine paper and stationery. The expensive cotton fiber the company uses in its stationery delivers a refined tactile experience. Heads of state since Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt have penned letters on Crane stationery. Queen Mother Elizabeth I of England announced the celebration of her 100th birthday in 2000 using Crane paper. Crane also contributes quite literally to the economy. Since 1879 the U.S. Treasury has printed currency on Crane paper, a line of business that accounts for most of the company’s revenue. Crane products are available at finestationery.com.




To West, With Love






Off W. Housatonic St. Dalton, Mass. 413-684-6380 crane.com



On the Button America’s oldest men’s clothier, Brooks Brothers [brooksbrothers.com] opened its doors in 1818. In 1896 the family company was the first to introduce the buttondown shirt, after John E. Brooks, the grandson of Brooks Brothers founder Henry Sands Brooks, attended a polo match in England and noticed the players had pinned down their collars to keep them from flapping. John returned to company headquarters in Manhattan with his revelation, and voilà, the button-down shirt was born. Since then this Brooks classic has been referred to as “the most imitated item in fashion history.” 3 6 WILD WEST


Brooks Brothers Regent Fit Oxford button-down sport shirt ($92–140) is made from American-grown Supima cotton.

1741 1st Ave. S. Seattle, Wash. 206-622-3147 filson.com





Filson’s 18- by 11-inch Heritage Sportsman bag ($395) is made with industrial-strength fabric and tanned bridle leather.



In 1897 in Seattle, Wash., Clinton C. Filson opened his Pioneer Alaska Clothing and Blanket Manufacturers, specializing in goods to outfit prospectors heading to the Klondike gold rush. Still going strong, C.C. Filson now offers a wide variety of clothing, camping gear, sports equipment and travel goods. Visit filson.com.



Gone Fishing


Filson’s fly fishing guide vest ($300) is lightweight and water-repellent. Filson’s rod case ($450) is made to last.


Baume and Mercier’s 50 mm Clifton 1830 fiveminute repeater pocket watch is an 18K red gold, 17-jewel hand-wound timepiece with 46 hours of reserve power.

Timeless The emergence of railroads through the latter half of the 19th century led to the popular use of pocket

watches. On April 19, 1891, a horrific train wreck on the Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway ensued after one of the engineers’ watches stopped for four minutes. As a result, railroad officials commissioned Webb C. Ball as their chief time inspector, charged with creating precision standards and a reliable timepiece inspection protocol for railroad chronometers. In 1893 these stringent standards gave way to railroad-grade pocket watches—those that met the General Railroad Timepiece Standards. These read, in part: “Open

faced, size 16 or 18, have a minimum of 17 jewels, adjusted to at least five positions, keep time accurately to within 30 seconds a week, adjusted to temps of 34°F to 100°F, have a double roller, steel escape wheel, lever set, regulator, winding stem at 12 o’clock, and have bold black Arabic numerals on a white dial, with black hands.” Present-day pocket watches are far more accurate than their predecessors. A grand example is the limited-edition 50 mm Clifton 1830 fiveminute repeater pocket watch from Baume and Mercier [baumeet-mercier.com].




The officers usually didn’t hate the Indians, but the men often hated the conditions in which they worked and sometimes fought By Peter Cozzens 3 8 WILD WEST


Army in Action


U.S. cavalrymen battle Indians on the frontier in Charles Schreyvogel’s Surprise Attack (1905).



Despite Lt. Gen. William Tec*mseh Sherman’s tough talk, the Army was not bent on killing American Indians.

ieutenant General William Tec*mseh Sherman, postwar commander of the states and territories between the Mississippi River and Rocky Mountains, had a genius for brutal overstatement. In December 1866 a huge Lakota, Cheyenne and Arapaho war party annihilated Captain William J. Fetterman and his 80-man command in what would soon become Wyoming Territory. News of the Fetterman “massacre”—the worst defeat yet suffered by U.S. forces in the West—staggered the nation and humiliated the Army, prompting Sherman to fume, “We must act with vindictive earnestness against the Sioux, even to their extermination, men, women and children.” Sherman’s fury receded, and he never acted on his extreme proposal. In more reflective moments at the time he expressed pity for “the poor devil [who] naturally wriggles against his doom” and anger that “whites who are looking for gold kill Indians just as they would kill beasts, and they also pay no regard for treaties.” He later advised a class of graduating West Pointers to treat the Indians as humanely as possible. Yet it is his genocidal remark, uttered in vengeful anger, that historians largely recall. In 1869 Maj. Gen. Philip H. Sheridan, commander of the Military Department of the Missouri under Sherman, reportedly told a Comanche chief who claimed to be a “good Indian” that “the only good Indians I ever saw were dead.” Sheridan repeatedly denied having made such an infelicitous aside. Regardless, historians not only attributed it to him but also recast the remark as “the only good Indian is a dead Indian.” Such alleged sentiments earned the frontier officer corps a reputation as unfeeling exterminationists. The truth is far more flattering to the generals. Sherman and Sheridan did advocate total war as the only effective means of subduing Plains tribes and implementing the government policy of concentrating them on reservations for eventual “civilizing and Christianizing,” but neither general wanted to exterminate the Indians. Contrary to popular belief, the Army was not hell-bent on killing Indians. Senior officers generally sympathized with the Indians they were ordered to fight, and their views on the proper Indian policy frequently were more enlightened and nearly always more pragmatic than those of Indian-rights advocates. Brigadier General George Crook, one of the Army’s preeminent Indian fighters, succinctly expressed their sentiments. At the outbreak of the 1878 war against the Bannocks, who had been driven onto the warpath by broken promises and inadequate rations, a reporter suggested to Crook it must be hard to send men and officers to be killed under such circ*mstances. “A harder thing is to be forced to kill the Indians when they are clearly in the right,” the general replied. “I do not wonder, and you will not either, that when these Indians see their wives and children starving and their last source of supplies cut off, they go to war. And then we are sent out there to kill them. It is an outrage. All tribes tell the same story. They are surrounded on all sides, the game is destroyed or driven away, they are left to starve, and there remains but one thing for them to do—fight while they can.” In one notable instance Brig. Gen. John Pope matched words with action. White buffalo hunters had intruded on reservation land in present-day western Oklahoma and begun slaughtering the herd on which the southern Plains tribes depended. In early June 1874, after a winter of near starvation, the Indians rose up and besieged the hunters’ trading post at Adobe Walls in the Texas Panhandle.



Compassionate Pope

“Indians, like white men, are not reconciled to starve peacefully,” Brig. Gen. John Pope said.

Friendly Crook

Brig. Gen. George Crook fought his share of Indians but also befriended and sympathized with them.

When Governor Thomas A. Osborn of neighboring Kansas beseeched Pope to dispatch troops to quell the uprising, the general turned him down flat. “Indians, like white men, are not reconciled to starve peacefully,” Pope explained. “[The hunters] have justly earned all that may befall them, and if I were to send troops to the locality of these unlawful establishments, it would be to break them up and not to protect them.” When it came to Indian policy, Eastern reformers rejected any role for the military as a civilizing force. Their hostile rhetoric did the Army a great disservice. Like his fellow generals, Pope saw scant hope for the reformist agenda so long as the basic needs of reservation Indians went unmet. Speaking from hard experience, Pope reminded reformers that “none among the races of men are in a condition to profit much by lessons of kindness and charity taught by well-fed apostles while they themselves are suffering from want and hunger.” On what theory, Pope posited, was the Indian to be Christianized under such circ*mstances? The generals found proposals to instantly remake Indian warriors into farmers absurd. Brigadier General Alfred H. Terry speculated it would be equally futile to put a Plains Indian into a watch factory with no training and expect to make a craftsman of him. He and others suggested easing Indians into such a lifestyle. Terry proposed first to give them cattle “and let them lead a pastoral life…closely allied to their own natural life.” No one listened. While the remedy proved elusive, the Indians’ plight disturbed Army officers. Colonel Henry B. Carrington, relieved of command over the Fetterman disaster, found the suffering of peaceable bands particularly sickening. He recounted one particular experience in an address on the “Indian question”: 4 0 WILD WEST


I have seen all ages and both sexes, half naked and yet reckless of exposure, fording the Platte [River] while ice ran fast and mercury was below the zero mark, for the single purpose of gathering from a post slaughterhouse, to the last scrap, all offal, however nauseous, that they might use it in lieu of that precious game which our occupation was driving from its haunts.

Pope further decried the Indian wars for the anguish and opprobrium they cast on the Army: War with Indians means long and toilsome marches, with scanty supplies of food and clothing; it means exposure to the elements at all times and at all seasons; it means death, certain and cruel, if wounded or left; it means separation from wife and children and deprivation of everything that makes life desirable to civilized man. It means more than all this; it means harsh and unjust censure, whatever the result. If successful, it is a massacre of Indians; if unsuccessful, it is worthlessness or imbecility; and these judgments confront the Army in every newspaper and in public speeches in Congress and elsewhere—judgment passed by men who are absolutely ignorant of the subject at all, or by those who, knowing better, misrepresent for a purpose. To meet such a greeting after months of hardship and suffering in an Indian war brought on by conduct which he abhors, a war which he disapproved from the beginning and only entered into after a conflict between conscience and the sense of duty to his government, seems hard indeed.

General Pope might have added the painful truth that the Regular Army was ill-prepared for frontier service. Congress cut Army strength from 54,000 men in 1869 to just 25,000 in 1874,

Caring Carrington

Colonel Henry B. Carrington found the suffering of peaceable Indians insufferable.


Slurred Sheridan

Civil War. New recruits entered the Army at one of four recruiting depots, where they received poor food and scant training. Any relief a recruit might have felt on embarking for the West usually ended when he saw his duty station. Many frontier posts were isolated, barely habitable wrecks. In 1886 when the 8th Cavalry reoccupied long-abandoned Fort Duncan, on the Rio Grande River in south Texas, they found it overrun with bats, the barracks floor caked with guano. The troopers managed to smoke out the bats, but the nauseating odor lingered for months. General Sherman knew from his 1866 inspection tour that most of his soldiers lived in squalor. Of Fort Sedgwick, Colorado Territory, he wrote, “The post was first built of sods and now looks like hovels in which a Negro would hardly go. Surely, had the Southern planters put their Negros in such hovels, a sample would, ere this, have been carried to Boston and exhibited as illustrative of the cruelty and inhumanity of the man-masters.” Strapped by a small budget and an overabundance of posts, Sherman could do little to alleviate the meanness of the soldiers’ surroundings. Once settled into his quarters, a soldier assumed a numbing routine. Bugle calls at intervals of five to 60 minutes regulated the day’s activities.

Maj. Gen. Phil Sheridan denied having said, “The only good Indians I ever saw were dead.”

slashing numbers without eliminating units. Regiments had been the Army’s traditional building blocks, but now companies—many reduced to a fraction of their authorized strength by illness, detached duty and desertions—became the standard tactical unit. With Reconstruction duty siphoning off heavy numbers, only 430 understrength companies were available to garrison the roughly 200 frontier posts. Declining numbers was but one of many Army problems. The sober and purposeful volunteers of the Union Army were gone, replaced by a decidedly inferior brand of soldier. “Bummers” and “loafers” predominated. The urban poor, criminals, drunkards, perverts and unskilled laborers flocked to recruiting depots, the more ambitious among them deserting when better-paying work presented itself. One-third of the frontier Army comprised recent immigrants, some of whom had seen European service and proved an asset. Nevertheless, lamented Brig. Gen. Edward O.C. Ord in 1872, while the Army had an improved rifle, “I rather think we have a much less intelligent soldier to handle it.” There were few incentives to enlist. Base pay for privates was $13 a month, $3 less per month than volunteers had received at the close of the


In 1869 newly inaugurated President Ulysses S. Grant instituted a carrot-and-stick body of principles that came to be called his “Peace Policy.” He replaced corrupt Indian agents with religious men, notably Quakers, and Army officers; established independent oversight of the Indian Bureau; and appointed Colonel Ely S. Parker, a Seneca Indian who had served as Grant’s adjutant during the Civil War, as commissioner of Indian Affairs. Parker directed the bureau’s agents to assemble the Indians in their jurisdictions on permanent reservations well removed from the overland travel routes and white settlements, to start them on the path to civilization, and above all to treat them with kindness and patience. Indians who refused to settle on reservations, however, would be placed under military control and “treated as friendly or hostile as circ*mstances might justify.” Although kindness and patience—not to mention common decency— were often lacking in the implementation, the principles of the Peace Policy predominated during most of the Indian wars era. The frontier Army’s high command worked well with Grant, as it did with subsequent presidents. Congress, however, was its bête noire. —P.C.

Before the Peace Policy

General U.S. Grant (fourth from left) and Colonel Ely Parker (second from right) during the Civil War.



Buffalo Soldiers

Soldiers of the 25th Infantry (posing at Fort Keogh, Mont.) and other all-black regiments generally proved their mettle.

Few had much to do with soldiering. The men built telegraph lines and roads, erected and repaired structures on the post, cleared land, cut wood and burned brush—everything, grumbled one officer, “except attend to the duties they are supposed to have enlisted to perform.” With funding tight, only a fortunate few received more than a handful of rounds for target practice annually. Cavalry replacements routinely took the field having never fired a rifle or ridden a horse. Endless isolation and mind-numbing manual labor caused enlisted men to sink into what correspondent William H. Rideing termed “a plodding, sullen sort of existence.” All but the most righteous soldiers ultimately succumbed to one or more of the primary moral scourges of the frontier West—namely drinking, whoring and gambling. In 1877 President Rutherford B. Hayes yielded to temperance advocates and forbade the sale of alcohol on military establishments. Far from abstaining, soldiers instead patronized “hog ranches,” seedy hovels offering rotgut whiskey and cheap prostitutes. Venereal disease became so pervasive, soldiers joked, that post surgeons had nothing to do but treat the clap. Noncommissioned officers (NCOs), whose primary duty was to keep men in line, frequently facilitated vice. One 1st Cavalry sergeant permitted his troops to indulge in an orgy at a hog ranch, while at Arizona Territory’s Camp Grant the sergeants ran an illegal gambling racket, profiting handsomely as bankers at payday barracks poker games. For all their shortcomings, NCOs were the backbone of the frontier Army. More often than not company commanders gave their first sergeants a free hand. Good NCOs were a godsend, and the tough but paternalistic Irish or German first sergeant became a stereotype in his own time. Left unsupervised, a bad NCO could wreak havoc on a company through brutal punishments or neglect of duty, leading one department commander to admonish his officers to control tyrannical NCOs lest they “cause more discontent and trouble in a company than the best company commander can allay.” For a general to find it necessary to lecture lieutenants and captains on their basic duties would be unthinkable in today’s Army, or for that matter during most of the history of the service. 4 2 WILD WEST


But the frontier officer was unique. Talent there was, but even the most dedicated officer found it hard to keep motivated among the rogue’s gallery of bickering, backbiting mediocrities, drunks and martinets in epaulets that plagued the Army. The officer corps was a fractious lot. Generals and colonels harbored grudges against one another born of perceived or real slights during the Civil War. Lower-ranking officers split according to age and experience. For former Civil War officers of all ranks the transition to the downsized postwar Army was hard. Regular Army officers held commands during the war based on their volunteer ranks or higher brevets (honorary commissions nominally bestowed for exceptional service), rather than their substantially lower Regular Army grade. When the shooting stopped, they tumbled in rank and responsibility. Those reduced below the grade of lieutenant colonel at the close of the war stood little chance of attaining higher rank on the frontier. Promotions were excruciatingly slow, and an officer’s time in grade grew as the size of the Army shrank. A second lieutenant faced 25 years of service to make major and, if he lasted that long, 37 years to reach colonel. In 1877 the Army and Navy Journal predicted that within a decade “there will not be one-fourth part of the present field officers in the Army physically capable of supporting the hardships of an active campaign. They will be worn-out old men.” And often dissipated. “When not in the field [officers] had many hours of idleness,” a future general observed. “Naturally, cards, billiards and liquor attracted many…even more because of the intermittent hardships of campaigning.” Alcoholism was as prevalent among U.S. Army officers as it was among enlisted men. Few drunken officers, however, faced punishment for dereliction of duty or unbecoming conduct, and some were promoted in spite of their excessive drinking. Members of a Montana Territory prospecting party passing through Fort C.F. Smith in October 1866 were shocked to find the commanding officer “beastly drunk.” They had not caught him at a bad moment. “The citizens,” recalled one of the men, “told us that he had been in that condition for weeks.


what options remained for a soLdier condemned to squalor, boredom, low pay and brutality? He could desert

There is one thing certain, that he did not draw a sober breath during the few days that we remained there.” What options remained for a soldier condemned to squalor, boredom, low pay and brutality? He could desert, and thousands did just that. The 1st Cavalry was typical. Of the 1,288 recruits the regiment received during one three-year period, 928 deserted—some individually, others in groups. Deserters ran little risk of capture, and those caught faced comparatively light punishment, ranging from docked pay to imprisonment for the remaining term of service. Out West the Army was less concerned about losing men to desertion than in losing the weapons and equipment deserters usually took with them. There was one class of soldiers that seldom deserted, drank to excess or posed disciplinary problems—the men of the Regular Army’s four black regiments (the 9th and 10th Cavalry and the 24th and 25th Infantry), known to posterity as the buffalo soldiers. Generally speaking, black men enlisted for loftier purposes than whites. For most white recruits the Army was a temporary refuge until something better turned up. For black recruits, nearly all of whom were illiterate ex-slaves, the Army offered both a career and a chance to prove the mettle of their race. Officers in black regiments were white. Notwithstanding the racism of the era, they and their men commonly developed a deep mutual esteem. Officers whose white units fought alongside black troops could admire their fighting ability and esprit de corps without conceding racial equality. Black regiments, however, were far more often target of bigotry than of praise. White enlisted men resented taking orders from black sergeants, and senior officers sometimes set poor examples, as when the colonel of a white regiment refused to allow the “nigg*r troops” of the 10th Cavalry to form near his command on the parade ground. The entire system was rigged against black soldiers. The Quartermaster Corps shortchanged black regiments in both quality and quantity of supplies, equipment and horses. The War Department relegated black regiments to service in particularly disagreeable sectors of the frontier, especially Texas, where bigoted civilians harassed, insulted, menaced and occasionally murdered black soldiers. The killers invariably escaped punishment. A small and mediocre frontier Army was the primary, but by no means only, hindrance to General Sherman and his subordinates. Also hampering their efforts were an unwieldy command structure and their own failure to develop a doctrine for fighting an unconventional foe. In 1865 the War Department divided the West into two military divisions—the Missouri and the Pacific—roughly separated by the Continental Divide, in turn subdivided into departments comprising one or more states or territories. It was a tidy arrangement for administrative purposes. But the Indians made war where they pleased. Seldom was a conflict limited to a single de-

partment. Thus commanders found it difficult to coordinate their efforts against an elusive and constantly moving enemy, and events often overtook orders from division headquarters before department commanders could read them. The basic Army strategy, Indian commissioner Felix R. Brunot explained to Oglala Lakota Chief Red Cloud at an 1871 council, was for “the Great Father to put war-houses all through the Indian country.” The flaw in this approach was the small size of the Army. Few “war-house” commanders had enough men to garrison their posts, much less pursue hostile Indians. Sherman and Sheridan believed consolidation in a few strategically located frontier posts was sounder policy. Trouble was, settlers and local governments expected protection everywhere and wanted soldiers close at hand. Dispersal for defense and temporary concentration for offensive operations became Army policy from necessity. A lack of mobility seriously compromised Army movements. Indian ponies thrived on prairie grasses and could survive on cottonwood bark. Warriors were raised to endure deprivation; a bit of dried buffalo meat might last them several days. But Army horses needed grain, and soldiers needed regular rations. “In too many cases,” lamented one veteran frontier officer, “expeditions against Indians had been like dogs fastened by a chain: within the length of the chain irresistible, beyond it powerless. The chain was its wagon train and supplies.” Without Indian scouts the troops had little chance of finding an enemy to fight. In the wake of the Fetterman debacle the Army incorporated friendly Indians into field operations. Already a battalion of enlisted Pawnee Indians, uniformed and well-armed, had blunted Cheyenne and Lakota raids on the Union Pacific Railroad. A commissioner of Indian Affairs suggested the Army organize an auxiliary force of 3,000 young warriors from friendly tribes “to check the tendency to outbreaks” and “repress the natural disposition for indiscriminate war and bloodshed,” but the War Department never warmed to the idea. Instead, the frontier Army came to rely on Indian scouts to help soldiers find and fight an enemy raised in a culture of war-making. Competent frontier officers knew they stood no chance of winning without them. This may have been the most exasperating of the many hard truths for frontier officers to accept—that more often than not the Army needed the help of friendly Indians to emerge victorious against a tough and elusive enemy.

A retired foreign service officer with the U.S. State Department, Peter Cozzens [petercozzens.net] has written 17 books on the American Civil War and the American West. An interview with Cozzens appears in the June 2017 Wild West. His latest book, The Earth Is Weeping: The Epic Story of the Indian Wars for the American West, is recommended for further reading, along with five other books on the frontier Army (see Cozzens’ list on P. 82).



FELONIOUS FEMALE NEVADANS Though these wild women of the Silver State all spent time behind bars, only one wound up at the end of a rope By R. Michael Wilson




Two for the Life of One

On June 20, 1890, the gallows in Elko, Nev., stands ready for Elizabeth Potts and husband Josiah.



Fatal Attraction

On July 27, 1894, the San Francisco Chronicle ran these illustrations of unfaithful Senator Murray Foley and his pregnant spurned lover Miss Alice Hartley, who shot him.


octor, I am shot, and I am killed,” Bank of Nevada President Murray D. Foley cried out as he staggered into the Reno office of Doctors Percy T. and William A. Phillips, collapsed on a couch and lapsed into unconsciousness. Dr. Percy Phillips had been at work in the brothers’ second-floor office in the bank building, when two shots rang out. Rushing into the hallway, he had watched Foley make his way down the stairs from a thirdfloor studio apartment. With help from colleague Dr. Henry Bergstein the Phillips brothers turned their patient on his back, lifted his shirt and vest and found a bullet wound a half-inch below and to the left of his navel. The doctors immediately operated to stem the flow of blood. They determined Foley had been hit once, the bullet perforating his small intestines and severing his femoral artery before lodging in his right thigh. Within a half-hour of being shot, just as his wife arrived, Foley died. English artist Alice Hartley lived in the third-floor studio. Around 4 p.m. that July 26, 1894, she had building janitor G.O. Wright ask Foley, who was also a Nevada state senator, to come up to her studio. Foley, according to court testimony, had ascended the stairs just before 4:30, and the shots had followed almost immediately. On surrendering to authorities, Hartley stated, “I shot Senator Foley and fully intended to do so.” She then added, “I ought to have done this in public, as he deserved to be shot in the street.” On the advice of counsel she said no more. Only in court did Hartley reveal the reason she had shot the senator—he had reportedly forced himself on her, and she was carrying his child. Born in England in 1864, Alice Maud Hartley had immigrated to the United States in the mid-1880s and married a wealthy mine owner. But she soon left her husband and moved to Virginia City, Nev., where she made her living sketching, painting and giving art lessons to the ladies of that town. In October 1893 the recently widowed Hartley had moved to Reno, leased an apartment in the bank building and resumed her art career. She soon caught the eye of the married bank president and state senator. Indicted for first-degree murder, Hartley stood trial in District Judge Azro E. Cheney’s courtroom for six days before being convicted of second-degree murder. The judge delayed sentencing until she gave birth. Vernon Harrison Hartley was born on Nov. 15, 1894, and on January 12 Judge Cheney sentenced Alice 4 6 WILD WEST


to 11 years. After a monthslong appeal process, the mother, with baby boy in tow, reported to the state prison in Carson City on June 17, 1895. Alice and Vernon were behind bars for 18 months. Paroled in January 1897, Hartley returned to Reno with her 2-year-old toddler and took rooms on the third floor of Hotel Clarendon. Within weeks, however, Vernon contracted scarlet fever. He died on February 21. In 1899 Hartley married one of her attorneys, Judge William S. Bonnifield of Winnemucca, Nev., but they soon separated. Alice Bonnifield never remarried and died in Denver on Dec. 26, 1907. In the 19th-century West convicted criminals often faced harsh sentences, but most judges and juries found the idea of sentencing a woman to death repugnant. The Hartley case was typical of the leniency shown women who committed murder in early Nevada. There was one notable exception—murderess Elizabeth Potts, whom a Nevada judge sent to the gallows in 1890 (see sidebar, P. 49). In Nevada’s frontier period (between statehood on Oct. 31, 1864, and February 1912) 27 women served sentences at the state prison in Carson City—six for second-degree murder, two for manslaughter, two for assault to kill, three for arson, four for property crimes and 10 for selling liquor to Indians. During the same period the prison held more than 2,100 male convicts, and Nevada hanged 30 men and one woman (in public at county seats until Feb. 8, 1875, and then in private until Jan. 1, 1903, after which prison authorities hanged 11 men). In several of the cases in which women were convicted of second-degree murder, premeditation clearly existed, which should have justified a verdict of first-degree murder and either a sentence of death or life imprisonment. What’s more, authorities often commuted the sentences of female prisoners, as long incarceration presented unique difficulties, especially for women accompanied by an infant. What follows is a closer look at some of the Nevada women who, with or without the help of men, committed crimes and did time—though often less time than one might expect. In 1908 John W. and Carrie I. Scott managed the Dry Lake pumping station on the San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Railroad. John, a deputy sheriff, was in the habit of firing warning blasts from a shotgun to chase off tramps who had been put off trains. At 9 in the evening on a sweltering June 24 a conductor on the eastbound passenger express ejected Joseph Webb and two

Not off Scot-Free

Carrie Scott shot a tramp, and she and her husband left the wounded man to die.



Elizabeth Potts and her husband killed a man to avoid having to repay him a debt.

other tramps at Dry Lake. After the train pulled out, John ordered the three off the property and fired the usual warning blast from his shotgun. Two of the tramps took off at a run, but Webb, who was reportedly hard of hearing, walked toward John. Noting the man’s approach with alarm, Carrie emerged from the pump house with a .22-caliber rifle and shot him in the hip. Webb collapsed, and the Scotts carried him inside to examine his wound. Once the tramp had recovered from shock, however, the Scotts marched the wounded man down the tracks and left him. Webb lay there for six hours before bleeding to death. Tried and convicted of second-degree murder, the couple was sentenced on October 5 to each serve 20 years in prison. Had John been the one who fired the fatal shot, the sentence may have been more severe. The Scotts arrived at Carson City on Oct. 8, 1908, and served just 37 months before receiving a pardon in November 1911. On Dec. 2, 1883, Robert Pitcher screamed at partner Lizzie Lindsay, “You damned bitch, you have poisoned me, and it will go hard on you!” Although in a few instances Western men used poison to kill, poisoning was more often a woman’s crime. Lindsay made no reply to the accusation as Pitcher hurried off to the Carson City office of Dr. Simeon L. Lee. Pitcher told Lee he had been given poison in a glass of whiskey. The doctor tried pumping his patient’s stomach, but it was too late, and Pitcher died in excruciating pain. Examining the stomach contents, Lee discov-

ered more than enough strychnine to kill a man. At the inquest three days later a clerk at Thaxter’s Drug Store in Carson City testified Lindsay had purchased strychnine just 45 minutes before the time of the poisoning, saying she needed it “to kill rats.” Charged with first-degree murder, Lindsay stood trial in late January 1884. The defense argued the accused had prepared the poison to commit suicide— something Lindsay claimed to have attempted twice previously—and Pitcher had accidentally drunk the concoction. The jury convicted Lindsay, but of second-degree murder, the judge sentencing her to 25 years in prison. She arrived in Carson City on Feb. 12, 1884. Following the pattern, however, Lindsay received an early pardon. On Jan. 21, 1889, having served just shy of five years, she walked free. On Sept, 15, 1908, at a cabin in the “Negro quarter” of Winnemucca, Mollie Harrison began arguing with partner James Nichols. Present in the room were several men who had been drinking and playing cards with Nichols. None intervened. During the ensuing scuffle Harrison grabbed a pocket knife, opened the blade and plunged it into her partner’s chest. Nichols staggered out the door a few feet before dropping dead. Though Harrison was charged with first-degree murder, the jury convicted her of second-degree murder. She reported to prison on Dec. 21, 1908. Two years later the elephantiasis she had contracted six years earlier became acute and required surgery. Prison physician Dr. Donald McLean, assisted by three other doctors, removed 70 pounds of flesh from her body. Having become acquainted with Harrison’s case during her hospitalization, Dr. McLean then appeared before the pardons board and recommended her release, which came on July 13, 1911. Harrison had served just two and a half years. The circ*mstantial evidence against 35-year-old Shoshone medicine woman Winnescheika was overwhelming. She must be a witch. For one, she cheated at cards, and wherever she



Nevada State Prison

The Carson City prison opened in 1862, two years before statehood. Lizzie Cinnibar Winap was 12 when she saw her aunt killed.

Knife to the Heart Mollie Harrison did time for

lived, spring crops failed, hunters returned home empty-handed and strange lights, screams and laughter emanated from her dwellings. Worse yet, people she treated kept dying, including two prominent white citizens of Lovelock, five Paiute babies in Austin and eight adult Paiutes in Stillwater. Animals fared no better. Healthy cows she’d encountered were found the next morning drained of milk, while stablemates of horses she had treated either died of rattlesnake bites or stepped in gopher holes at full gallop, broke their legs and had to be shot. The Paiute tribal council in Nevada was fed up. Winnescheika must die. Councilmen assigned the execution to Bungy (or Bungie) Jim and wife Paiute Susie, disaffected former patients of the witch, and the couple in turn enlisted the help of Jennie Messa and others. On April 30, 1891, Paiute Susie feigned extreme distress, and someone summoned Winnescheika. Soon after the medicine woman arrived and started to examine the patient, Paiute Susie gave the signal. Jennie Messa rushed forward and split Winnescheika’s skull with an ax, and Bungy Jim finished her off by slitting the medicine woman’s throat. While he hitched up his wagon, the women dismembered Winnescheika’s body and stuffed the parts into barley sacks. The killers then took the remains to tribal grounds near Medicine Rock, 10 miles southeast of Lovelock, and buried them deep. Bungy Jim, Paiute Susie and cohorts might have gotten away with murder if not for Winnescheika’s 12-year-old niece, Lizzie. The curious girl had followed her aunt that day and had witnessed the murder through a window. After laying low all night, she reported the crime to Humboldt County Deputy Sheriff Frank Fellows, who arrested Bungy Jim, Paiute Susie, Jennie Messa and one other woman. He also recovered the body parts. Authorities released the unnamed woman, but on May 24 a grand jury indicted the other three for first-degree murder. At trial on June 17 the trio freely admitted having killed the witch, deeming it tribal custom and thus justifiable. Unmoved, a jury convicted them of second-degree murder, and the judge sentenced each to 10 years in prison. They arrived at Carson City on June 22, 1891. But on July 14, 1892, the board of pardons, finding no purpose in their continued imprisonment, had the trio released. On Sept. 24, 1907, Judge James P. O’Brien of Tonopah sentenced Jeanette “Ruth” Davis to a year in prison for the shooting death of her husband. For years Jeanette had endured abuse from George “Devil” Davis, described as a “bad and worthless man,” so early on the morning of June 19 she’d strolled into a local saloon and put four bullets in his back. A jury convicted her of manslaughter. But O’Brien was displeased when jurors petitioned the court to show extreme mercy and impose the minimum sentence.

The no-nonsense judge described Jeanette Davis as “a moral degenerate” who should have sought separation or divorce. In November 1907 Lizzie Astor killed fellow Paiute woman Jennie Davis during an argument beneath the Virginia & Truckee Railroad trestle outside Reno. At trial in March 1908 Astor pleaded guilty to manslaughter, and Judge Willard H.A. Pike sentenced her to life in prison. However, Astor’s two young children had appeared in court each day of the trial, and by the time Astor arrived at Carson City on March 30, a sympathetic Judge Pike had commuted her sentence to five years. He also ensured arrangements were made for her 2-year-old daughter to join her in prison until old enough “to step into the world alone.” Authorities placed her 5-year-old son in an Indian school in Carson City. Tragically, a year later in Reno a passersby found the decomposed body of Astor’s murdered mother, Topsy, who had gone missing for a month. There was no clue to her killer. Finally, in stark contrast, consider the case of Annie Peterson, convicted of arson in 1882 after burning down a Battle Mountain hotel. The judge slapped her with a 17-year sentence in the state prison. Austin’s Reese River Reveille reported the details:



plunging a pocket knife into her partner’s chest.

The colored woman now being sent there is a high-tempered, vindictive jade, not at all easy to manage, and she will be likely to make things lively if she does not like the place or people. The trouble is in having only one woman there. She has to be kept away from the rest of the prisoners and not allowed to eat or work with the rest. This colored wench, however, is a good cook and may perhaps be utilized in that way. Yet the Chinese prisoners confined there are easier utilized as cooks, and she could not be put to work with them. It is difficult to find a position for her there that a man is not better fitted for. All will be glad when she has served her time or is pardoned out and got well rid of.

They would have to wait a while. While Peterson arrived in Carson City on Dec. 11, 1882, she wasn’t pardoned until July 17, 1891, having served eight and a half years. Leniency toward female prisoners in Nevada might have been the norm, but not in her case. Prolific Nevada author R. Michael Wilson retired in 1992 after 24 years of service with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Recommended for further reading are his books Frontier Justice of the Wild West; Legal Executions After Statehood in Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Utah; Legal Executions in the Western Territories, 1847–1911; and Stagecoach Robbery in Arizona and Nevada.


Niece of Winnescheika


Senorita Paula Was No Angel

In the roughly seven-decade history of the Wild West authorities in the Western states and territories executed just two women. Of course, women committed far fewer crimes then men, but those crimes included premeditated or malicious killings. Regardless of the evidence presented, however, juries were loath to sentence a woman to die, though they might convict her of second-degree murder or manslaughter. Paula Angel was the first woman to hang in the West. Born Pablita Sandoval south of the border, she had moved to New Mexico Territory with her parents and settled near Loma Parda, north of Las Vegas, eventually Americanizing her name to Paula Angel. At age 26 she began an affair with Juan Miguel Martin, a married man with five children, and occasionally used his surname. When Martin announced he had no intention of leaving his family, Angel convinced him to see her one last time. The lovers met on March 23, 1861. Each had their say before Angel asked to hug Martin goodbye. As they embraced, she pulled a butcher knife from her shawl and stabbed him in the back. Martin died within minutes. Sheriff Antonio Herrera arrested Angel, charged her with murder and brought her to trial five days later. The jury was quick to find her guilty, perhaps because she had slain a father of five. Despite defense attorney Spruce M. Baird’s impassioned plea to “not be so cold in soul as to demand the death of this fair maiden who has been wronged by an uncaring adulterer,” Judge Kirby Benedict sentenced Angel to hang on April 26, 1861. No one bothered to build a gallows for the occasion. Instead, the hangman made use of a cottonwood tree with a stout limb a mile outside Las Vegas. At 10 o’clock that morning Angel climbed aboard a wagon and sat atop a coffin she was made to purchase herself. Sheriff Herrera drove to a spot directly beneath the noose and ordered the condemned woman to stand. After hurriedly adjusting the noose, he jumped onto the wagon seat and whipped the horses. Only as the wagon

Three decades after the hanging of Paula Angel a Western judge handed down the same sentence to another woman—Nevadan Elizabeth Potts. On New Year’s Day 1888 Elizabeth and husband Josiah Potts of Carlin murdered a man named Miles Faucett to avoid having to repay him a hefty debt. A week before the couple’s execution The Weekly Elko Independent reported, “We do not consider it a matter which will reflect any credit on Elko County,” adding, “Stay away from Elko on Friday, June 20, 1890.” The execution took place as scheduled (see the details in the August 2004 issue of Wild West). After the Wild West era had passed, authorities out West hanged a third woman. Dolores Moore may have escaped the noose in Arizona Territory in 1869, but not so Eva Dugan in the state of Arizona 61 years later. Convicted in 1928 of murdering Tucson chicken rancher Andrew Mathis with an ax, Dugan had a date with the hangman on Feb. 21, 1930, at the state prison in Florence. The execution went off as scheduled, but so did Dugan’s head—the snap of the rope decapitating her. Outrage led Arizona to adopt lethal gas as their sole means of exacting the death penalty, though authorities hanged two men before the law took effect in 1934. While Dugan was the only woman ever hanged in Arizona, authorities have since executed five women in the state’s gas chamber. —R.M.W.

She got the noose for backstabbing her man.

lurched away did the sheriff realize he had neglected to tie Angel’s arms and legs. As she struggled to pull herself up, Herrera ran back, grabbed her around the legs and yanked down on her with all his might. At that point several outraged spectators rushed in, shoved aside the sheriff and cut down Angel. Colonel J.D. Serna then read the death warrant, which required the condemned woman be “hanged until dead.” Angel’s would-be rescuers released her, as the sheriff fashioned a new noose. After backing the wagon beneath the limb, Herrera lifted Angel into its bed, stood her up—this time with her arms and legs bound—and cinched the noose around her neck. After taking a moment to examine his work, the sheriff drove the wagon out a second time, and the law was satisfied. Herrera had Angel’s body placed in her coffin, then drove to the church cemetery for a brief service and burial. Later that decade a senorita named Dolores Moore very nearly became the second woman to hang in the West. She had married wealthy Arizona Territory rancher Mahlon E. Moore, whom she killed in October 1868. Convicted of murder, Dolores was sentenced to hang on Feb. 29, 1869. The week before her scheduled execution, however, acting Governor James P.T. Carter commuted her sentence to life imprisonment. At the time Arizona Territory didn’t have a prison, and long-term incarceration in a jail cell was out of the question. With no other choice, Carter reportedly commuted the sentence to “banishment from the United States for life.” On her release Dolores fled south across the border with her mother, never to be heard from again.

Ax Murderer

Convicted of killing a Tucson chicken farmer with an ax, Eva Dugan was also legally hanged.



‘This Is the Place’

In a 1956 painting by W.K. Driggs, Mormon pioneers pass through Emigration Canyon in 1847, catching first sight of the Salt Lake Valley, which Latter-day Saint leader Brigham Young proclaimed “the place.”




On reaching the shores of Utah’s Great Salt Lake in 1847, Brigham Young became a kingdom builder extraordinaire



Brother Brigham

Latter-day Saint leader Young, depicted in an 1853 illustration by Frederick H. Piercy, had arrived in the Salt Lake Valley in 1847, soon followed by many other Mormon emigrants, such as those in the 1866 photograph opposite.




righam Young’s arrival in Utah’s Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847, was a big deal in Western history. After a monthslong exodus from Nauvoo, Ill., the ailing Mormon leader, suffering the ravages of Rocky Mountain spotted fever, sat up in his sick wagon and declared, “This is the place.” He and some 70,000 Latter-day Saints would carve out a lasting home in this remote land. Don’t look for a grand commemoration anytime soon, though. The governing First Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints issued the following notice early this year:


Dear Brothers and Sisters: During the next few years the Church will enter a period of significant anniversaries of major Church history events. The Church will not be commemorating these anniversaries at the general level. However, stake and ward leaders may choose to commemorate some of them at the local level.

“Church leaders decided the 170th was not a key anniversary,” explains Richard E. Turley Jr., assistant church historian and managing director of public affairs. After all, the sesquicentennial came and went 20 years ago, and the bicentennial remains 30 years off. “That said, July 24 is a public holiday [Pioneer Day] in Utah and is remembered in other areas of the United States and abroad where there is a dense Latter-day Saint population. In Utah the annual celebratory events [daysof47.com] include a large parade and major rodeo.” Wild West has chosen to mark the advent of Mormonism in the West with a portfolio of paintings and photographs, including

recent photos of Salt Lake City landmarks This Is the Place Heritage Park [thisistheplace. org; see the table of contents page], Temple Square [templesquare.com] and the Utah State Capitol [utah statecapitol.utah.gov], as well as southern Utah’s Cove Fort Historic Site [covefort.com], founded at Young’s request in 1867 as a way station between the pioneer settlements of Beaver and Fillmore (the capital of Utah Territory from 1851 to ’56). “The first party of 149 Latter-day Saints under Brigham Young is held today in great esteem,” historian Sherman Fleek wrote in the August 1997 issue of Wild West. “As president of the church and prophet of the people, Brigham Young was the driving force behind the waves of Mormons moving to a new wilderness.” Fleek noted that like most Westbound pioneers the Mormons were plain folk who simply sought a place of their own to make a living and raise their families. “Little did they know,” he said, “that future generations would raise monuments, inscribe plaques and write books to their greater glory.” As in all history, there are some darker moments in the Zion story. In September 1857 Utah Territorial militiamen slaughtered more than 100 members of a California-bound wagon train, and historians continue to debate the degree of Young’s involvement in the so-called Mountain Meadows Massacre. The tragedy came during the Utah War of 1857–58, in which then Governor Young instructed fellow Mormons to defend the territory against approaching U.S. troops. The Latter-day Saints’ practice of polygamy also put them at odds with many non-Mormons. Young, who alone had 55 wives, ultimately avoided bloodshed by stepping down as governor, though he would not disavow his belief that plural marriage was commanded by God. His legacy spread beyond the territory. By his death on Aug. 29, 1877, he had directed the establishment of more than 350 Mormon communities in Utah, Colorado, Wyoming, Idaho, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona and California.

Riding in Style

Pioneer Day

Travel by wagon train was rough, but once in the new land some emigrants rode fine buggies like this one.

The annual July 24 event (1897, here) commemorates Young’s arrival.



Sing for Statehood

On Jan. 4, 1896, Utah Territory became a state. The Mormon Tabernacle Choir celebrated the event.



Capitol Idea

Built between 1912 and 1916, the Utah State Capitol was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978.

Place of Mourning

Mormon militiamen carried out the 1857 Mountain Meadows Massacre at this southwest Utah site.

Hold Your Horses


This replica barn is a highlight of Cove Fort, which served as a way station in territorial days.



Salt Lake Temple

Young chose the site on July 28, 1847, just four days after arriving in the Salt Lake Valley. Dedicated on April 6, 1893, the temple is the centerpiece of the city’s 10-acre Temple Square.




Gun Smoke

There’s plenty in the air in Smoke of a .45, a 1908 Charles Russell painting. Ogallala, Neb., like the more famous cow towns, saw its share of gun smoke.


For a decade Ogallala, Nebraska’s ‘Cowboy Capital,’ was the raucous destination for northbound cattle drives from Texas By Ron Soodalter 5 8 WILD WEST




n July 9, 1879, Sheriff Joseph G. “Buffalo Joe” Hughes of Nebraska’s Keith County confronted five Texas cowhands bent on “hoorahing” the streets of Ogallala. When ordered to lay down their guns, however, the drunken drovers made the mistake of pointing them at the sheriff. Without hesitation Buffalo Joe mortally wounded two of the Texans. The others, seeing no future in further defiance of the law, beat a hasty retreat. “[Hughes] has a way of dealing with unruly cases,” reported the North Platte Republican, “which, considering it is sometimes the only way, is commendable and makes us think that he is the right man in the right place.” For tiny Ogallala it marked just another raucous night in its decade-long reign as Nebraska’s “Cowboy Capital.”

The one-street whistle-stop that also came to be known as the “Gomorrah of the Plains” had its humble beginnings as a tank town on the Union Pacific Railroad. “Town” was something of a misnomer; in 1867, shortly after the tracks were laid and a scant two years after the Civil War, it comprised only a section house and water tower. The next year brothers and former section hands Phil and Tom Lonergan and an enterprising merchant named Louis Aufdengarten saw room for profit in outfitting the region’s soldiers, buffalo hunters and trappers and soon established businesses on the site. But growth remained slow. Although a few more buildings went up, after five years the valley was home to scarcely two-dozen settlers. Salvation finally arrived, however, in the form of the bony, slab-sided Longhorn cattle of Texas. For years Texas cattlemen had been driving their stock to the Kansas railhads of Abilene, Ellsworth, Wichita, Hays City,



Newton and Dodge City. The Union Pacific took note. “Union Pacific executives,” chronicler Karyn Stansbery noted, “observing that shipping cattle to Eastern packers was profitable for Kansas railroads, believed they could undercut Kansas freight rates in Nebraska and still make money.” They proceeded to do just that. Nebraska historian Wayne C. Lee put it succinctly: “The call went south; the cattle came north.” Completed in 1869, the transcontinental railroad bisected Nebraska and provided new end-oftrail destinations for the Texas herds. Beginning in 1870 such newly minted towns as Schuyler and Kearney each became a railhead in its turn. However, in 1872 the state legislature passed a law mandating that herders keep their cattle off farmland. As more and more grazing land in eastern and cen-

Brisk Business tral Nebraska closed to the Texans, the railroad Ogallala became a cast about for a more suitable railhead. Ogallala— busy place once Texas drovers and on the banks of the South Platte River amid seemtheir northbound ingly endless acres of rich prairie grass and strateherds arrived on the gically sited far to the west of Nebraska’s earlier Great Western Trail. trail towns—was the perfect location. In 1874 the Union Pacific ensured Ogallala’s place in the burgeoning cattle industry by constructing a holding pen and loading chute along the tracks just west of town. Texas drovers on the Great Western Trail could drive their herds straight to Ogallala and fatten their cattle on the surrounding plains before herding them into railcars for shipment east. Anticipating a windfall, Aufdengarten advertised his trading post as the “Drover’s Store.” Ogallala’s rebirth was at hand.

By 1875 business was brisk. As successive herds plodded 10 to 12 miles a day up the Great Western Trail (aka the Dodge City Trail or Texas Trail), the Union Pacific added more holding pens, and Ogallala became a bona fide end-of-trail town, receiving some 75,000 cattle that year alone. The transformation of Ogallala from a water stop on the Union Pacific to the “Gateway to the Northern Plains” was completed in 1876, after encroaching whites struck rich gold veins in the Black Hills, drawing countless thousands of miners and prospectors to the region. By treaty the land belonged to the Lakota Sioux, but no one—including the federal government—was able, if even inclined, to inhibit the flow of progress by adhering to its terms. Instead, after a sharp, short war, the government relocated the Sioux to reservations, clearing a path to the goldfields. This development proved a huge boon to the cattle industry, removing the Indian threat from good grazing land and providing an immediate regional market for the beef. The Texans sold their scrawny Longhorns to local ranchers and buyers, who fattened them up on Nebraska’s bountiful grasses and in turn sold them to Indian agencies and local Army posts. Other cattlemen used Ogallala as an interim rest and supply depot before driving their cattle farther north up an extension of the Great Western Trail to the gold camps of Montana and Dakota territories. The number of cattle multiplied exponentially. As many as 20 herds, each comprising hundreds of head, plied the trail at a given time, their dust filling the air for miles. Legendary Texas cattleman and trail boss John Blocker estimated that in 1883–84 alone a half-million cattle passed through Ogallala. Not Kansas Anymore While Dodge City was the most famous of the cow towns, Texans drove many thousands of their steers farther up the trail.



Visually, the town was unimpressive. Texas trail hands who had previously ended their drives in such comparatively well-established towns as



In 1868 Louis Aufdengarten established this store to help outfit soliders,buffalo hunters and trappers.

Dodge City were initially disappointed when they first glimpsed Ogallala and its single unprepossessing thoroughfare—appropriately named Railroad Street—with its courthouse, two supply houses, shoe store, hotel, restaurant and two saloons. The town grew along with its fortunes, adding among other structures a jail and two brothels. But by 1875 it still presented a dismal aspect. In the cowhands’ eyes, however, the gamblers, bartenders and “soiled doves” of the Crystal Palace and Cowboys’ Rest more than made up for Ogallala’s architectural deficiencies, welcoming the trail-weary drovers and doing all within their not inconsiderable power to relieve them of their hard-earned wages. For their part the cowboys looked forward to a “bust-out” after months on the trail. Despite the romantic images put forth both at the time and in subsequent novels and films, the drive was a generally monotonous affair, the herders eating dust and staring at the backsides of wild and irascible Longhorns as they crept slowly northward. Breaking the monotony were such potentially lethal incidents as lightning storms, flash floods, stampedes and attacks by rustlers or Indians. Hollywood notwithstanding, however, far more cowboys died of illness, exposure or accidents than from gunfire. One persistent threat was the possibility of drowning or being swallowed up by quicksand in any one of the myriad rivers they had to cross. Drover Mark Withers was scouting a tributary of the Red River when he nearly perished in less than 6 inches of water. “As soon as I got in, the horse sunk,” he later recalled, “and every time he’d lunge, he’d go deeper.” Withers made the mistake of stepping from his horse, only to find himself in the same predicament. “Every time I stepped, I’d go down further.” Coming to Withers’ aid, a fellow drover threw him a rope, and the bemired cowboy pulled himself from the quicksand—minus his boots and spurs. No such savior was at hand to rescue drover Theodore Luce of Lockhart, Texas, who succumbed to quicksand and drowned in the North Platte River near Seven Crook Ranch, just above Ogallala. Coming off the Great Western Trail, drovers felt they amply deserved whatever comforts and excitement they could find— and Ogallala held plenty of both. The first stop for some was a visit to Aufdengarten’s emporium. But other restless young drovers were loath to waste time and money on clothes and supplies. Texas cowhand Andy Adams, who later wrote of his adventures, told of trailing a herd to “the land of the Blackfeet”

Toast of the Town

Onetime watering stop on the Union Pacific, Ogallala later served thirsty cowboys at several watering holes.

and stopping at Ogallala for supplies. He noted that only two of six fellow herders “had shed their rags and swaggered about in new cheap suits; the rest…simply had not had the time to buy clothes in a place with so many attractions.” By the time Andy Adams trailed his first herd into Nebraska in the early 1880s, Ogallala had grown into a considerably larger, rowdier town. “We finally scaled the last divide,” he recalled of his first glimpse, “and there below us in the valley of the South Platte nestled Ogallala, the Gomorrah of the cattle trail. From amongst its half-hundred buildings no church spire pointed upward, but instead three-fourths of its business houses were dance halls, gambling houses and saloons.” The drovers were not disappointed. “There was much to be seen,” Adams wrote, “for the ends of the earth’s iniquity had gathered in Ogallala.” Among their indulgences was a visit to the Dew-Drop-In dance hall, a brothel that proffered a variety of choices to the femaledeprived trail crew. “Here might be seen the frailty of women in every condition,” Adams noted. “From girls in their teens, launching out on a life of shame, to the adventuress who had once had youth and beauty in her favor but was now ready for the final dose of opium and the coroner’s verdict—all were there in tinsel and paint, practicing a careless exposure of their charms.” These were all no-nonsense working girls—“ceiling gazers,” in the parlance of the time and place; there were Union Pacific Time no “Miss Kitties” in Ogallala. Adams explained the attraction The railroad was 247 miles from Omaha, Neb., in almost religious terms: “Our long in 1866. On March 24, hours in the saddle, coupled with the 1867, it made Ogallala.



monotony of our work, made these supply points of such interest to us that they were like oases in desert lands to devotees on pilgrimage to some consecrated shrine. We could have spent a week in Ogallala and enjoyed every blessed moment of the time.” As he and the other Texans rode from town to return to the herd, one of his fellow cowboys mused, “Boys, I’ve traveled some in my life, but that little hole back there could give Natchez Underthe-Hill cards and spades and then outhold her as a tough town.” Actually, for the six months of the year when no trail herds were slated to arrive, Ogallala was a dull, singularly unattractive little town of weathered-board buildings and fairly empty streets. During such slack periods the gamblers and prostitutes would relocate to more promising year-round digs, such as Cheyenne. But as soon as the trail hands rode back into town, Railroad Street revived into a round-the-clock cacophony of exuberant chatter, music, horse races, buffalo rides and the ever-present crack of gunfire. For the most part celebrants fired their pistols into the air— but not always. Given the rough-and-tumble nature of their profession, most cowboys were young men, and they carried pistols as a matter of course. Inevitably, when combining whiskey and lead with easily bruised egos, otherwise harmless banter could get out of hand. The Civil War remained fresh in the minds of many, and sometimes trouble arose between ex-Rebel Texans and bluecoats from nearby Army posts. In at least one recorded instance a gambler shot and killed a fellow player. Generally, though, altercations broke out between the cowboys themselves. Nebraska historian Norbert R. Mahnken colorfully summed up the scene: “Gold flowed freely across the tables, liquor across the bar and occasionally blood across the floor as a smoking gun in the hands of a jealous rival or an angered gambler brought an end to the trail of some unfortunate cowhand.”

and lawman Ben Thompson—shot William “Tuck” Tucker, owner of the popular Cowboy’s Rest saloon, and was in turn shot by Tucker. After taking Billy to a doctor, authorities promptly put him under house arrest at a local hotel. As rumors of a lynching spread, Ben sent his friend William B. “Bat” Masterson, then sheriff of Ford County, Kan., to Ogallala to extricate Billy. Bat did just that by slipping a Mickey to a guard and then spiriting the younger Thompson from town to the North Platte ranch of a mutual friend. That friend, William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody, gave Masterson a carriage and a fast horse, and Bat returned to Dodge City with the wounded fugitive. Western chroniclers also point to Ogallala as the place where cowboy turned outlaw Sam Bass began his brief career. In 1876 he and a handful of companions drove a small herd of cattle under several owners north to Ogallala. There they sold the cattle but kept all the money, squandering it in drinking, carousing and a failed startup freighting operation. Having run out of money, they took to robbing stagecoaches, but the pickings were small. Bass and his five cohorts then hatched a plan to rob a Union Pacific train at nearby Big Springs on Sept. 18, 1877 (see “On the Outlaw Trail,” by John Flood, in the June 2017 Wild West). On the night of the robbery they reportedly threw back drinks at Tuck Tucker’s Cowboy’s Rest. The take from the robbery was a staggering $60,000 and change—a sum far exceeding the outlaws’ expectations. It also inspired the railroad to post a $10,000 reward on the bandits’ heads. Authorities soon cornered and killed three of the outlaws. A fourth disappeared, leaving Bass and the sixth man, Jack Davis, to make their way back to Texas. Davis soon moved on. After a string of robberies Bass fell afoul of Texas Rangers, who shot and wounded him on July 19, 1878. He died two days later on his 27th birthday.

Keith County recorded its first murder in 1875, after two Texas trail hands named Woolsey and Webster had an altercation, the nature of which has been lost to history. Seeking revenge, Woolsey—who had a reputation as a troublemaker—waited until Webster went to bathe in the South Platte and then pumped five bullets into him, killing him instantly. “It is said that both men were hard cases,” North Platte’s Western Nebraskian editorialized, “but no words are too strong with which to denounce the deep-seated cowardice of shooting a man under such circ*mstances.” Woolsey eluded authorities and is lost to history, while Webster became one of the first permanent residents of Ogallala’s Boot Hill. The gunplay occasionally involved some of the West’s more prominent characters. In 1880 a drunken Billy Thompson—younger brother of famed Texas gunhand

The number of killings in Ogallala—an estimated 17 over 10 years—called for at least some attempt at maintaining law and order. As it turned out, the law in Keith County was a mixed bag and featured a long line of sheriffs —six of varying ability and integrity in just the first five years. Among them was Sheriff Barney Gillan, who in 1879 found himself a prisoner in his own jail for having turned over two suspects to a posse led by prominent Texas cattleman Prentiss “Print” Olive. Olive had sought the pair for killing his brother. Gillan claimed the posse had seized his prisoners during transport, then summarily hanged them and burned their corpses. Keith County authorities had arrested and indicted Gillan, but the ex-sheriff managed to break jail and soon fled the state. Olive was convicted of second-degree manslaughter but released on appeal.

Short, Wiry and Leather-Tough

Martin DePriest came up the trail from Texas and became an Ogallala lawman.




For the most part celebrants fired their pistols into the air—but not always

At the other end of the spectrum was “Buffalo Joe” Hughes, whose bloody July 1879 confrontation with hoorahing Texas trail hands sent a clear signal to potential troublemakers. In the wake of that incident Hughes was instrumental in passing an ordinance mandating that all cowboys, on entering Ogallala, check their weapons with the sheriff. Although it further underscored the lawman’s intentions, the ordnance was only marginally successful. Hughes’ successor, Martin DePriest, pinned on the sheriff’s badge that November. Though rather short and wiry, he was leather-tough and bore a keen sense of justice. DePriest himself had come up the trail from Texas and was inclined to give drovers considerable leeway in their merrymaking. But if someone committed a shooting or robbery, he was indomitable in his pursuit and apprehension of the offender. He once singlehandedly chased down four horse thieves, shooting and killing two of them before dropping back wounded as the others fled. Of course, no amount of law enforcement would have mattered without a strong judge behind the bench. Ogallala had this in spades in the person of Judge William Gaslin, who took the helm of Nebraska’s Fifth District Court in 1876. A strict interpreter of the statutes, Gaslin hanged men for murder and meted out lengthy sentences for most other offenses. It was rumored he sometimes mounted the bench with a loaded Winchester, just in case. Ogallala’s cattle boom was ultimately short-lived. By the mid1880s a combination of factors stemmed the seemingly endless flow of Texas Longhorns and forever changed the industry itself. For one thing, the inexorable wave of settlers had continued to surge westward, permanently occupying the range cattlemen had always assumed would remain open. Since these settlers— farmers, businessmen, entrepreneurs—were in for the long haul and wielded the power of the vote, state and territorial legislatures passed laws in their favor, soon fencing out the cattlemen and their herds. Further exacerbating the situation was an epidemic of Texas fever, which in short order devastated local cattle populations


In the 1870s and ’80s there were certainly enough Texas cattle to go around. According to B. Byron Price, in his introduction to The Trail Drivers of Texas, “An estimated 20,000 to 25,000 men trailed 6 to 10 million head of cattle and a million horses north-

ward.” They were bound for any of literally dozens of “ends of trail” in states and territories as far ranging as Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma), New Mexico, Colorado, Missouri, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, the Dakotas

across the Midwest. After veterinarians traced the disease to the Longhorns, states along the Great Western and other trails passed quarantine laws, closing off essential sections with barbed wire and effectively ending the open range era. In 1884, the year Ogallala was incorporated, much of the town’s business district burned down. It arose from the ashes a different community altogether. With the end of the trail herds, Ogallala became a farming town, expanding from 100 to 500 permanent residents and adding six land offices, five general stores, three doctors’ offices, three drugstores, two newspapers, two butcher shops, a bank, a millinery shop and a roller-skating rink. Only three of the 10 or so saloons that had sprung up to entertain trail hands over the past decade remained, and their $800 licensing fee went to the local school board. Nature itself drove the final nail in the coffin of the traditional Western cattle industry. The winter of 1886–87 was the worst in memory. In what cattlemen dubbed the “Big Die-Up,” blizzards and subzero temperatures killed hundreds of thousands of head, wiping out small and large ranches alike. The beef business, in which so many fortunes had been made, virtually died overnight and would be reborn in a wholly different iteration. As for Ogallala, the onetime “Town too Tough for Texans,” its heyday as the cattle capital was over. Civilization had tamed the “Gomorrah of the Plains.” Ron Soodalter, who writes from upstate New York, is a frequent contributor to Wild West, American Cowboy, True West, Military History and MHQ and is a regular columnist for America’s Civil War. For further reading he suggests The Log of a Cowboy, by Andy Adams; We Pointed Them North, by E.C. “Teddy Blue” Abbott and Helena Huntington Smith; Saddling Up Anyway, by Patrick Dearen; The Trail Drivers of Texas, edited by J. Marvin Hunter; and Wild Towns of Nebraska, by Wayne C. Lee.

and Oregon. However, the two most famous railheads were in Kansas (Dodge City) and Nebraska (Ogallala), and certainly these two states boasted the most cattle towns. While some grew and prospered, others faded as the railroad steamed inexorably westward. Between the end of the Civil War and the 1880s a number of trails ribboned north to the various railheads. The Great

Western led to Dodge City and Ogallala, while the Chisholm ended in the Kansas cow towns of Abilene, Ellsworth, Newton, Wichita and Caldwell. Charles Goodnight and Oliver Loving blazed a trail from San Angelo to Cheyenne. And the Sedalia—as any fan of the TV Western Rawhide is aware—delivered beeves to the Missouri railheads of Kansas City and Sedalia. As far as the drovers were con-

cerned, a good time could be had in any of several termini, although the two that achieved legendary status among the excitement-starved trail hands were Dodge City and Ogallala. And while such towns as Schuyler, Neb., and Newton, Kan., quickly lost their place in the hierarchy of endof-trail destinations, Dodge and Ogallala kept their “snap” to the very end. —R.S.



A TOUR ON THE PRAIRIES Leaving ‘Sleepy Hollow’ for Indian country, Washington Irving met real Indians, roasted bread on a stick, hunted buffalo and wrote a frontier saga


ashington Irving was America’s first authorcelebrity—one moccasined step ahead of James Fenimore Cooper, who gained fame for his Leatherstocking Tales, featuring frontier rifleman Natty Bumppo, his Indian foster brother, Chingachgook, and foster nephew Uncas, the “last of the Mohicans.” By the time Cooper first forayed into the literary frontier in 1823, Irving had already introduced readers to the Hudson Valley Dutch in his short stories “Rip Van Winkle” (1819) and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” (1820). Those two comic ghost tales remain the most-read Irving works, as opposed, for example, to a five-volume biography of his namesake, George Washington, whom the author met when he was a child. But Irving, too, wrote about the frontier, based on firsthand observation. As in Cooper’s works, the Indians in Irving’s narrative were more noble than savage, and some of the frontier whites he described were very rough articles indeed. 6 4 WILD WEST


Irving’s introduction to the American frontier came in 1832 during a monthlong trek across what soon became Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma). His adventure began that spring on a ship headed back to the United States from Europe. During the crossing Irving—who had kept up his writing while touring the Continent and later served as secretary to the American legation in London—met Charles Joseph Latrobe, a 31-year-old Englishman of French ancestry with “all the buoyancy and accommodating spirit of a native of the Continent,” and traveling companion Albert Alexander de Pourtalès, a 19-year-old Franco-Swiss count “full of talent and spirit, but galliard in the extreme and prone to every sort of wild adventure.” That summer the trio met up for a ramble through the White Mountains of New Hampshire, then set out from Buffalo on Lake Erie aboard a Detroit-bound steamer. While aboard they had a chance encounter with Judge Henry Leavitt Ellsworth of Connecticut,


By John Koster


Osage Visitors

Washington Irving and traveling companions share their camp, in a chromolithograph from an 1843 edition of his Tour on the Prairies.

They Do Shoot Horses

whom President Andrew Jackson had recently appointed to a board of commissioners arranging for the removal of the Southern Indian tribes west of the Mississippi. Irving described the judge as “a man in whom a course of legal practice and political life had not been able to vitiate an innate simplicity and benevolence of heart.” Ellsworth explained that he was headed into largely unexplored Indian country and asked Irving, Latrobe and Count Albert if they wanted to join him. They jumped at the chance. Born into a merchant-class family in New York City, Irving spoke French and German and had spent two decades in the cultured cities of Europe. He was pushing 50 and more of a bon vivant than a frontiersman. But aside from some lumps and bumps he had the time of his life in Indian country. He kept a journal and ultimately wrote a book about the experience. First published in 1835, A Tour on the Prairies has never been out of print.

In an illustration from a French edition of Irving’s book, the party’s hunter, Pierre Beatte, fires a shot at a wild horse, hoping to stun and capture it.

Commissioner Ellsworth and party disembarked at Ashtabula, Ohio, traveled southwest to Louisville, steamed down the Ohio to the Mississippi, then made their way upriver to St. Louis, arriving on September 13. There they met Indian Affairs Superintendent William Clark, famed co-commander of the 1804–06 Lewis and Clark Expedition and former governor of Missouri 6 6 WILD WEST


Territory. After agreeing to rendezvous in Independence, Mo., Ellsworth boarded a steamer headed up the Missouri while Irving, Latrobe and Count Albert set off cross-country. To help them tote supplies and set up camp, the trio retained “a little, swarthy, meager French creole named Antoine but familiarly dubbed Tonish.” In his narrative Irving assigned Tonish the role of comic Frenchman, a familiar literary figure of the era. “If all this little vagabond said of himself were to be believed, he was without morals, without caste, without creed, without country and even without language, for he spoke a jargon of English, French, and Osage.” Tonish apparently had a nose for class, however, as he promptly volunteered to squire the young count, “to teach him how to catch the wild horse, bring down the buffalo and win the smiles of Indian princesses.” At month’s end Ellsworth rejoined them in Independence, and the men set out south. They arrived at Fort Gibson, at the junction of the Arkansas and Neosho rivers, on October 8. Ellsworth was as eager as his traveling companions to explore Indian country. He learned that three days earlier a party of 15 rangers had ridden out on a reconnaissance south to the Red River. Determined to join them, the commissioner arranged for a soldier escort and sent two Indian scouts to halt the rangers. Irving selected a “stout silver-gray” as a riding horse when the party set out from Fort Gibson on October 10. Packhorses toted their provisions—two weeks’ worth—and Tonish was assigned to


ellsworth boarded a steamer headed up the missouri while irving, latrobE and count albert set off cross-country


Count Me In

Fellow traveler Charles Joseph Latrobe was a spirited Englishman of French ancestry.

Young Count Albert, like Latrobe, jumped at the opportunity to tour Indian country.

drive the train. “He was in high glee, having experienced a kind of promotion,” Irving recalled. “Now he was master of the horse.” As they forded the Verdigris River, Irving spotted on the far bank a rifle-toting Creek Indian on horseback wearing a blue shirt trimmed in scarlet and a colorful, turbanlike head covering. “[He] looked like a wild Arab on the prowl,” Irving noted. “Our loquacious and ever-meddling little Frenchman called out to him in his Babylonish jargon, but the savage, having satisfied his curiosity, tossed his head in the air, turned the head of his steed and, galloping along the shore, soon disappeared among the trees.” At a trading post on the Verdigris the party caught up to the rangers. “They were a heterogeneous crew,” Irving wrote, “some in frock coats made of green blankets, others in leathern hunting shirts, but the most part in marvelously ill-cut garments, much the worse for wear and evidently out on for rugged service.” While there Irving met Sam Houston, future hero of Texas, then living with his Cherokee wife and family on the Neosho. The author also got his first close look at the Indians: [Near the rangers] was a group of Osages: stately fellows; stern and simple in garb and aspect. They wore no ornaments; their dress consisted merely of blankets, leggings and moccasins. Their heads were bare; their hair was cropped close, except a bristling ridge on the top, like the crest of a helmet, with a long scalp lock hanging

behind. They had fine Roman countenances and broad, deep chests; and, as they generally wore their blankets wrapped round their loins, so as to leave the bust and arms bare, they looked like so many noble bronze figures.… In contrast to these was a gaily dressed party of Creeks. There is something, at the first glance, quite oriental in the appearance of this tribe. They dress in calico hunting shirts of various brilliant colors, decorated with bright fringes and belted with broad girdles, embroidered with beads; they have leggings of dressed deerskins or of green or scarlet cloth, with embroidered knee-bands and tassels. Their moccasins are fancifully wrought and ornamented, and they wear gaudy handkerchiefs tastefully bound round their heads.

Seeking a dedicated hunter, Ellsworth and Irving hired Pierre Beatte, a muscular French-Osage half-blood in his mid-30s. “His features were not bad, being shaped not unlike those of Napoléon, but sharpened up with high Indian cheekbones,” Irving noted with romantic flair. “He had, however, a sullen, saturnine expression set off by a slouched woolen hat and elf locks that hung about his ears.” Beatte became the noble savage of the tale. Cooper had published The Last of the Mohicans six years earlier, and Irving, without fabrication, highlighted those aspects of the sturdy guide’s character in sincere emulation if not competition with Cooper. And so the party set out with the comic Frenchman who was part Indian and the noble savage who was part French. The pair soon proved their worth at a ford on the Arkansas. As the rangers felled trees to make rafts, Beatte and Tonish prepared another mode of transport. “They had procured a dried buffalo skin,” Irving recalled. “Cords were passed through a number of small eyelet holes with which it was bordered, and it was drawn up until it formed a kind of deep trough. Sticks were then placed athwart it on the inside to keep it in shape.” After loading the makeshift coracle with supplies, Beatte took the cord in his teeth and pulled while Tonish steadied the burden. Irving and Ellsworth were next to cross: It was with a sensation half serious, half comic that I found myself thus afloat on the skin of a buffalo in the midst of a wild river, surrounded by wilderness and towed along by a half savage, whooping and yelling like a devil incarnate. To please the vanity of little Tonish, I discharged the double-barreled gun, to the right and left, when in the center of the stream. The report echoed along the woody shores and was answered by shouts from some of the rangers, to the great exultation of the little Frenchman, who took to himself the whole glory of this Indian mode of navigation.

Completing Irving’s cast of characters was Old Ryan, an experienced frontiersman bearing a remarkable likeness to Cooper’s Natty Bumppo. “He is as much at home in the woods or on a prairie as he would be in his own farmyard,” the ranger captain told Irving. “He’s never lost, wherever he is.” Old Ryan’s marksmanship, like Bumppo’s, is renowned, and like Cooper’s aging hero in The Pioneers, he deplores the senseless killing of animals and especially hates the practice of “bleating” deer— imitating the distress cries of fawns with homemade calls to lure does into easy rifle range. “I’ve been with hunters who had



The Full Tour

bleats and have made them throw them away,” the otherwise hardened frontiersman tells Irving. “It is a rascally trick to take advantage of a mother’s love for her young.” That said, Old Ryan and the other hunters took a large number of deer and wild turkeys over the month the party spent in the wilds of Indian country. The outdoorsmen certainly didn’t stand on ceremony. “Bread” consisted of dough wrapped around a green stick and roasted over the campfire. While Irving despaired as their flour supply dwindled, Beatte merely grunted, “Bread is only fit for a child.” Wild honey was another matter. Finding a hollow tree packed with honeyfilled combs, bee hunters among the party dipped into them with “the holiday appetite of a schoolboy.” In a literary reverie Irving noted that the honeybee was the emblem of approaching white settlers, as much as the buffalo was of the receding Indian. Though Irving was admittedly “nothing of a sportsman,” he confessed a longstanding desire to hunt a buffalo on horseback. He ultimately got his wish, and a desperate hunt it turned out to be:

Clockwise from above: An Indian speaks to the resting travelers; Judge Henry Ellsworth of Connecticut invited the others to tour largely unexplored Indian country; Irving left the frontier in October 1832; in 1835 he bought the Tarrytown, N.Y., home he dubbed Sunnyside.

I singled out a buffalo and by a fortunate shot brought it down on the spot. The ball had struck a vital part; it could not move from the



place where it fell but lay there struggling in mortal agony.…Now that the excitement was over, I could not but look with commiseration upon the poor animal that lay struggling and bleeding at my feet.…It became now an act of mercy to give him his quietus and put him out of his misery. I primed one of the pistols, therefore, and advanced close up to the buffalo. To inflict a wound thus in cold blood I found a totally different thing from firing in the heat of the chase.…The ball must have passed through the heart, for the animal gave one convulsive throe and expired.…I stood meditating and moralizing over the wreck I had so wantonly produced.

Irving found aspects of wild horse wrangling equally disturbing. On the gallop, rangers would slip a noose over a wild horse’s neck with a forked stick, in the manner of the Mongols, rather than with a thrown lariat in the manner of the Mexicans. Another trick they employed was to “crease” a horse with a rifle shot to the nape of its neck. A well-aimed ball would stun the animal long enough to secure it, while a miss might maim it or kill it outright. Though he kept it to himself, Irving was glad whenever a horse escaped. Two weeks into their journey the party finally encountered Indians—seven Osage warriors, three armed with “indifferent fowling pieces,” the rest with bows and arrows. Recalling his duty, Commissioner Ellsworth “made a speech, exhorting them


to abstain from all offensive acts against the Pawnees…[and] informing them of the plan of their father at Washington to put an end to all war among his red children.” The warriors listened politely, spoke briefly among themselves and rode away. “Fancying I saw a lurking smile in the countenance of our interpreter, Beatte,” Irving recalled, “I privately inquired what the Indians had said to each other.…The leader, he said, had observed to his companions that, as their great father intended so soon to put an end to all warfare, it behooved them to make use of the little time that was left them. So they departed, with redoubled zeal, to pursue their project of horse stealing!” In his dual capacity as translator, Beatte also passed along to Irving an Indian romance of the type he so much admired. It centers on a young hunter, betrothed to an Osage maiden, who returns to camp after some weeks only to find it abandoned: At a distance he beheld a female seated, as if weeping, by the side of the stream. It was his affianced bride.… “What art thou doing here alone?” “Waiting for thee.” “Then let us hasten to join our people.…” He gave her his pack to carry and walked ahead, according to the Indian custom. They came to where the smoke of the distant camp was seen rising from the woody margin of the stream. The girl seated herself at the foot of a tree. “It is not proper for us to return together,” said she. “I will wait here.” The young hunter proceeded to the camp alone and was received by his relations with gloomy countenances. “What evil has happened,” said he, “that ye are all so sad?” No one replied. He turned to his favorite sister and bade her go forth, seek his bride and conduct her to the camp. “Alas!” cried she. “How shall I seek her? She died a few days since.” The relations of the young girl now surrounded him, weeping and wailing; but he refused to believe the dismal tidings. “But a few moments since,” cried he, “I left her alone and in health! Come with me, and I will conduct you to her.” He led the way to the tree where she had seated herself, but she was no longer there, and his pack lay on the ground. The fatal truth struck him to the heart; he fell to the ground dead.

The credulous Osages believed the story. Even Beatte—raised Catholic, a sometime worker in a Protestant mission and a hellion on the warpath against the Pawnees—retained some of his Indian superstitions. On hearing the rangers would pass the site of a Pawnee massacre, the surgeon of the troop offered Beatte money for a skull. The latter was appalled—even though he had been in the Osage war party and participated in the killing. “No!” Beatte barked. “Dat too bad! I have heart strong enough—I no care kill. But let the dead alone!” The expedition began thinking of home as the young rangers ran all the fat off their horses and exhausted their supplies, even the flour for dough on a stick. After a slog of a return

march, during which the men were forced to abandon some horses and reduced to eating soup made of boiled turkey bones, they arrived at a settler’s cabin on the Arkansas River. Their hostess was a hefty black woman named Madam Bradley. Her white husband was away, but she happily fixed a banquet for the famished travelers. Irving’s gratitude was in proportion to his hunger: I hailed her as some swart fairy of the wild that had suddenly conjured up a banquet in the desert.…Placing a brown earthen dish on the floor, she inclined the corpulent cauldron on one side, and out leaped sundry great morsels of beef, with a regiment of turnips tumbling after them and a rich cascade of broth overflowing the whole.…Head of Apicius, what a banquet!

Irving and companions arrived at Fort Gibson on November 9, and the author boarded a steamboat that evening, headed down the Arkansas and then the Mississippi to New Orleans. The book he distilled from his notes includes a sympathetic look at Osages and Creeks very much at variance with stereotypes expressed elsewhere—even in his own earlier writings or those of Cooper, in which Indians, heroic or savage, come off rather solemn. The Indians that I have had an opportunity of seeing in real life are quite different from those described in poetry. They are by no means the stoics that they are represented—taciturn, unbending, without a tear or a smile. Taciturn they are, it is true, when in company with white men whose goodwill they distrust, and whose language they do not understand; but the white man is equally taciturn under like circ*mstances. When the Indians are among themselves, however, there cannot be greater gossips. Half their time is taken up in talking over their adventures in war and hunting and in telling whimsical stories. They are great mimics and buffoons, also, and entertain themselves excessively at the expense of the whites with whom they have associated and who have supposed them impressed with profound respect for their grandeur and dignity. They are curious observers, noting everything in silence, but with a keen and watchful eye, occasionally exchanging a glance or a grunt with each other, when anything particularly strikes them, but reserving all comments until they are alone. Then it is that they give full scope to criticism, satire, mimicry and mirth.

In 1835 Irving purchased a neglected riverfront house in Tarrytown, N.Y. Dubbed Sunnyside, it remained the author’s home through his death in 1859. Among the personal secretaries who worked for Irving at Sunnyside was Henry Beebe Carrington, who later served in the Civil War and seven years after the author’s death was assigned command of the Army’s forts along the Bozeman Trail at the outset of Red Cloud’s War. One wonders if he ever read A Tour on the Prairies. John Koster wrote Custer Survivor (in its third edition) and Custer’s Lost Scout. For further reading he recommends A Tour on the Prairies, by Washington Irving; The Rambler in North America: 1832–1833, by Charles Joseph Latrobe; and Washington Irving on the Prairie, by Henry Leavitt Ellsworth.




The ghastly 1874 murder of freighter Pat Hennessey on the Chisholm Trail remains unsolved, the list of suspects only growing with time By Ron J. Jackson Jr.




CSI Indian Territory

Evidence from the scene of the murder indicated that after attackers bound freighter Pat Hennessey to his wagon, they piled grain sacks atop him and then set him afire. But who were the killers?



Remembering a Victim


annie Cleveland saw her first dead body at 8 years old. In an interview 63 years later she could still recall with great clarity that dreadful July 5, 1874, afternoon in Indian Territory (present-day Oklahoma), noting with a sense of wonderment, “I can see it now just as if it were yesterday.” Blotting the disturbing images from her memory seemed impossible for Cleveland, who was a passenger in a light spring wagon under escort on the Chisholm Trail when the party encountered three burning freight wagons. Shipping crates, barrels and sacks littered the red dirt of the prairie. As the party approached, all eyes fixed on one of the torched wagons to the east of the rutted trail. There beneath the wagon, bound with chain traces between the two rear wheels, was a smoldering corpse. John D. Miles, the Quaker Indian agent at nearby Darlington (and Nannie’s uncle), and agency clerk J. Amic Covington remained with the spring wagon, as U.S. Marshal William E. Malaley, a civilian named H.S. Brink and a lieutenant from Fort Sill dismounted from horseback, weapons at the ready, to inspect the gruesome scene. Looking on in shock from the spring wagon were Nannie and her mother, Martha Miles Hutchins, as well as Covington’s wife, Sarah (daughter of founding agent Brinton Darlington), who cradled their infant daughter, Katie. Spurred by reports of Indian depredations in the region, the men had been transporting the women and children to safety in Wichita, Kan., when they happened on the site of the attack. 7 2 WILD WEST


Smoke streamed skyward, as two of the three wagons were still burning. Strewn across the ground were partial sacks of coffee, sugar, oats and corn, all stamped J.M. HAWORTH U.S. INDIAN AGENT. Malaley instantly realized this had been a freight train bound for the Kiowa and Comanche agency at Fort Sill. Neither Malaley nor his companions saw anyone else, only the bound body of the man they would later identify as lead freighter Pat Hennessey. The marshal approached the body for a closer look. The killers had piled sacks of oats and corn atop the victim before setting him afire. Malaley soon arrived at another disturbing conclusion. Hennessey’s feet extended out beyond the fire, and the dirt was deeply gouged beneath them, suggesting “a death struggle.” The freighter had been burned alive. Malaley gently tugged the charred remains from the wreckage by the legs. The right arm had been burned off above the elbow, the left arm at the wrist. The face was unrecognizable. The marshal noted the deceased had not been scalped and that one of his legs appeared broken, most likely from a bullet. The torturous murder scene had its intended affect. Agent Miles and the others in his party were horrified and growing increasingly anxious about their own fate. Days earlier cooperative Cheyennes had warned the agent that at least five Cheyenne war parties had bolted from the Darlington Agency. Miles was already aware of the murder of William Watkins, a youngster whose scalped corpse was found a few days earlier on the Chisholm Trail between the stage station at Kingfisher ranch and the Cimarron River—just 14 miles south of the Hennessey attack site. Ominous signs were everywhere, raising the specter that whoever had attacked Hennessey’s wagons might still be in the vicinity.


In 1889 Oklahomans memorialized Hennessey (at left and here with an eight-mule team) with a namesake town laid out on the site of his murder.


A few moments passed without an utterance. Malaley suddenly broke the silence, firmly declaring, “Something must be done.” The 24-year-old marshal, who had willfully run away from his Alabama home at 14 to enlist in the Union Army, pointed westward to a bluff that commanded an expansive view of the countryside. He looked back at Brink and barked, “Stand upon that hill, and when you begin shooting, it will be time for this crowd to seek shelter.” Malaley then turned to the lieutenant. “Will you help me bury this man?” The marshal grabbed an ax from the wagon and broke up some ground just off the trail. Taking turns, he and the lieutenant then scooped out the dirt with their hands until they had hollowed out a cavity some 18 inches deep. After completing the grisly task of placing the charred remains in the crude grave, they hastily filled in the hole. Fearing an Indian attack, the men worked quickly. But the prairie remained eerily silent throughout the burial. The killers had vanished like ghosts. The Miles party and their escorts soon left the scene as well, pressing north another 8 miles to Buffalo Springs ranch before nightfall. Burr Mosier and son operated the ranch as a stage station and wayside inn. At Buffalo Springs Malaley would learn Hennessey’s identity, hear of his unfortunate companions and gather further details about the stalwart freighter’s final stand. Yet the more information he gathered, the more theories surfaced regarding the identity of the killers. By nightfall the mystery would only deepen.

Miles’ Message

A small but agitated crowd greeted Malaley, Miles and the others as they rode into Buffalo Springs. Much to their surprise, news of the attack on the freighters had preceded them.

John D. Miles, the Quaker Indian agent at Darlington, sent this telegram reporting the July 4, 1874, slayings of Hennessey and fellow freighters.



Blood on Their Hands

Cheyenne Chief Medicine Water and wife Mochi, posing with interpreter Rafael “Romeo” Romero, had killed others and may have slain the freighters.

A ranch guest named Billy Brooks soon solved the mystery about the one found burned alive. “Why, that man is Pat Hennessey, the freighter,” Brooks declared. “He and three other fellows stayed all night here on the night of the third and started on down the trail on the fourth. I had been down Turkey Creek, hunting, and on my way back I heard shooting in that direction, and running to a point where I could see, I saw the Indians and freighters in a fight.” Brooks claimed to have watched the entire fight, ridden back to Buffalo Springs and then returned to the scene of the attack in a wagon with Mosier. The pair had discovered four dead freighters—Thomas Callaway, George Fant, Ed Cook and Hennessey. Brooks and Mosier found the bodies of one of the teamsters to the southwest of Hennessey, the other two to the southeast, “a few rods apart.” The three apparently died while attempting to flee their attackers. Hennessey may have made a final stand at his wagon.

A 37-year-old veteran freighter out of Wichita, Hennessey was known as a hardened character. He had emigrated from his native Ireland to Canada as a teen and later moved to Illinois, where in 1862 he enlisted in the Union Army. After the Civil War he settled in Kansas, where he operated a successful freighting operation. He had a bad reputation among the Cheyennes, having reportedly killed a number of their tribesmen while hauling freight. Hennessey’s resistance is generally assumed, though secondhand stories that later circulated on the frontier jumbled the facts. For example, one fellow Kansas freighter and friend of Hennessey claimed the Irishman ferociously triggered rounds from his rifle until it jammed, at which point his assailants overpowered, tortured and finally killed the freighter. Another story suggested Hennessey shot and maimed at least one of his attackers—a Cheyenne warrior who claimed to have participated in the fight. Still another story circulating among Hennessey’s acquaintances supposedly originated with a government scout who encountered the freighter on the trail prior to his death. The scout told Hennessey he had spotted Indians near a trailside ravine. He warned the freighter to turn back. Hennessey asked how many warriors the scout had counted. “I saw the heads of five,” the scout answered. “Don’t know how many more there may have been over the ridge.” “I am good for five alone,” Hennessey replied matter-of-factly before continuing down the trail. As for Brooks, he didn’t specify how Hennessey had died. He only described how he and Mosier had buried Callaway, Fant and Cook “out there in the little graveyard.” “Why didn’t you bring Hennessey, also?” Marshal Malaley asked indignantly.

TOP SUSPECTS Medicine Water’s Band Long considered the prime suspects in the Hennessey ambush, Medicine Water, wife Mochi and 16 other Cheyennes were classified prisoners of war and held in Fort Marion, Fla., from 1875 to ’78. The late John L. Sipes Jr.—a Cheyenne chief, tribal historian and greatgreat-grandson of Medicine Water and Mochi—correctly noted that none of the Fort Marion prisoners received due process for the murders they were convicted of committing. That said, Sipes 7 4 WILD WEST


told this author in 1998 that according to family oral tradition Medicine Water’s band was responsible for the murder of Hennessey and his fellow freighters. Sipes said he did not know who actually tortured and killed Hennessey.

Arrow’s Elk Society Ledger The ledger art of a 19thcentury Cheyenne warriorartist named Arrow might offer another clue to the murders. A woman named Sallie C. Maffet collected Arrow’s ledger at the

Darlington Agency in 1882. Her descendants sold it at auction in 1997. Facing pages toward the front of the ledger depict a fight in which a mounted Cheyenne warrior cuts down four white men distinctively wearing corduroy. Three of the white men run from the

fight, while the other— thought by some experts to be Hennessey—faces his mounted adversary, none other than Arrow himself. The artwork (above) is autobiographical, and the time period of the ledger and scene depicted do correlate with the Hennessey attack.

Brooks paused briefly and replied, “Our wagon would not hold them all.” Malaley pressed the issue, tersely asking, “Why didn’t you go back after Hennessey?” “We hadn’t time,” Brooks answered. Again Malaley shot back, “Why didn’t you pull him out of the fire, not leave him there to burn up?” Brooks merely shrugged, his shifting glances and restlessness raising the marshal’s suspicions. Malaley later recalled finding dozens of pony tracks beside trees in a draw east of the attack, the ground well trampled as though the animals had stood there for some time. He suspected the ambushers had waited in the draw. Mingled among the hoofprints were the imprints of high-heeled boots—a shoe not worn by Indians on the plains. Malaley began to suspect white outlaws. Agent Miles had another theory. As Indian agent at Darlington, Miles possessed probably the best local intelligence. He had earned the confidence of such Cheyenne leaders as Whirlwind, Stone Calf and White Shield and was able to glean information about the suspected “leading raiders among [the] Cheyennes.” In a report to Edward Parmalee Smith, commissioner of Indian Affairs in Washington, D.C., Miles identified the prime suspect in the ambush of the freighters as a warrior he called “Young Medicine Man,” noting he “headed a party of 42, and I have reason to believe was the party who captured Hennessey’s train, as he was known to be in that immediate vicinity.” Miles was likely referring to Medicine Water, leader of the Cheyenne Bowstring Warrior society. Medicine Water and wife Mochi (Buffalo Calf)—both of whom lost relatives at the 1864 Sand Creek massacre and 1868 Battle of the Wash*ta—were later found responsible for the brutal Sept. 11, 1874, attack of the John


Little Hand In a 1969 interview Cheyenne Chief Ralph Goodman (1894–1970) related a version of the Hennessey ambush he’d heard decades earlier from tribal elders who claimed to have participated in the attack. According to Goodman’s account, a warrior named Little Hand had sought volunteers to go on the warpath and successfully recruited 18 Cheyenne warriors, including Manin-the-Crowd, Burnt-AllOver (or Shot-All-Over) and Tom Star. As the story goes, Little Hand clubbed Hennessey to death with “his gun.” Goodman said

Tom Star later argued with Little Hand at the ensuing victory dance, claiming he, not Little Hand, had killed Hennessey. However, Goodman denied the Cheyenne had tied Hennessey to the wagon and set him on fire. “Cheyenne don’t do that,” Goodman said. “No, they don’t do that.”

Billy Brooks U.S. Marshal William E. Malaley always suspected Brooks’ involvement in the murder of Hennessey and his companions, especially after his odd behavior at Buffalo Springs. “Right there I made up my mind that he was a party to the

and Liddia German family along the Smoky Hill River in western Kansas. The Germans had left Georgia that April with their seven children and were bound for Colorado Territory in a covered wagon when Medicine Water’s war party struck with a viciousness that sent shockwaves all the way to Washington, D.C. John German reportedly fell first, Mochi burying an ax in his skull for good measure. Son Stephen died next. The Cheyennes then murdered, scalped and mutilated Liddia and two of her daughters. Four daughters (Catherine, 17; Sophia, 13; Julia, 7; and Addie, 5) were captured alive but brutally mistreated, the eldest repeatedly gang-raped. Medicine Water later traded Julia and Addie to Gray Beard’s band, their older sisters Catherine and Sophia to members of Stone Calf’s peaceful band. Army scouts recovered the younger sisters in November. Stone Calf brought in Catherine and Sophia in March when he surrendered his band at the Darlington Agency. Before reuniting with their sisters, they identified Medicine Water, Mochi and “16 Indian bucks” as those responsible for murdering their family. The Army sent the guilty Cheyennes in chains to Fort Marion, Fla. The butchery of the German family and the high-profile manhunt that ensued made it easy to conclude the same band had killed Hennessey and his fellow freighters two months earlier. Yet neither Miles nor any other government official ever produced evidence to support the claim, leaving the Hennessey massacre a cold case to this day. Ron J. Jackson Jr. of Binger, Okla., co-wrote “The Legend of Alamo Joe,” with Lee Spencer White, in the February 2016 Wild West. For further reading see Echoes of the Chisholm Trail, by Annette Blackburn Ehler; The Chisholm Trail, by Sam P. Ridings; and The Cherokee Strip, by George Rainey.

attack,” the marshal recalled in a 1913 interview. “I don’t know to this day how and under what circ*mstances Hennessey met his death. I am mortally certain, however, that it was at the hands of outlaws.” Buffalo Springs ranch owner Burr Mosier added circ*mstantial evidence to Malaley’s assertion. During an Aug. 6, 1874, deposition with federal authorities Mosier testified to having firsthand knowledge Brooks and other outlaws had been hired by the South-Western Stage Co. to prevent “at all hazards” competing Vail & Co. from fulfilling its U.S. mail contract. Brooks and

companions were allegedly paid $600 to clear the road by stealing stock, etc., and were in the vicinity at the time of the Hennessey attack. On July 26, 1874, authorities in Caldwell, Kan., arrested Brooks and five other men on charges of stealing Vail & Co.’s mules. Four days later a vigilante mob overpowered the jail guard, seized Brooks and two other suspects (L.B. Hasbrouck and “Onearmed” Charley Smith) and hanged them. If Brooks was indeed a party to the murder of Hennessey and his companions, the truth died with him that night. —R.J.J. AUGUST 2017



The original Fort Caspar was open only a few years in the 1860s, but locals reconstructed the post in the 1930s using period sketches. Below: Many emigrant wagons rolled past Platte Bridge Station, which was renamed Fort Caspar in 1865.



he rich frontier history of the North Platte River crossing in central Wyoming is on full display at Fort Caspar Museum [fortcasparwyoming.com], owned and operated by the city of Casper. Yes, fort and city are spelled differently, despite sharing the same namesake—U.S. Army 2nd Lt. Caspar Collins. The oft-repeated misspelling carried over when city officials founded Casper in 1888. But when Casperites reconstructed the post in 1936, they were careful to revert to the correct spelling. By any name the museum is a treat. The Oregon, Mormon, California and Bozeman trails all passed through the North Platte River valley, as did the shortlived Pony Express route in 1860–61. In mid-June 1847, en route to establishing a new Mormon home in the Great Salt Lake valley, Brigham Young and fellow Latter-day Saints arrived at the site of future Fort Caspar. As the North Platte was flooding



its banks, Young had a ferry built—lashed-together dugout canoes with a planked deck—to ensure a safe crossing. Recognizing a good source of revenue, he left a party of men at the North Platte to ferry across follow-on emigrant parties for a fee. On display at the museum are replicas of the ferry and a Mormon wagon. In 1853 Louisiana-born frontiersman John Baptiste Richard (known as “Reshaw” by settlers unfamiliar with his French accent) opened a bridge and trading post downriver near present-day Evansville, all but ending ferry service. Seven years later former Reshaw associate Louis Guinard opened an even larger bridge and trading post on the south bank just upstream of the ferry crossing. For the next few years his post also served as an Overland Stage Co. stop and Pony Express relay station. In 1862 the U.S. Army sent Lt. Col. William O. Collins and three companies of soldiers to the crossing to establish the Platte Bridge Station outpost, using existing structures while building quarters and



COLLECTIONS stables, corrals and a parade ground. As tensions with Indians heated up, more troops arrived to expand the living quarters and add additional structures, including a blacksmith’s shop, laundry, kitchen and sutler’s store. On the morning of July 26, 1865, 2nd Lt. Caspar Collins (the colonel’s son) had just crossed the bridge at the head of a small escort detail when hundreds of Arapaho, Cheyenne and Lakota warriors attacked them about a mile from the outpost. Most of the soldiers fought their way back to the fort, but Lieutenant Collins and four of his men died in what became known as the Battle of Platte Bridge. Later that day 5 miles west of the fort the Indians attacked the supply wagons Collins had been sent to escort, killing nearly two-dozen men. In the wake of the attacks the Army sent still more soldiers, and on November 21 Maj. Gen. John Pope had the expanded post renamed Fort Caspar in honor of the fallen lieutenant. At its peak the outpost housed as many as 500 soldiers. It wasn’t open long. The coming of the Union Pacific Railroad reduced traffic on the various trails, and the Army abandoned the fort on Oct. 19, 1867, tearing down its structures and using the materials to construct Fort Fetterman, some 50 miles downriver. A decade later settlers put down roots at the crossing, and Casper was born. A half-century after that, with help from the Works Progress Administration, reflective citizens reconstructed Fort Caspar using period sketches. The city funded a full-time staff in 1967, and in 1982 it built a museum building to house exhibits and store artifacts it had acquired over the years. In 2007 the city doubled the size of the museum. Today Fort Caspar Museum houses some 6,000 artifacts, 7,000 photographs and 3,000 archival materials as it continues to fulfill its mission of “acquiring, preserving and exhibiting artifacts, interpreting

historic buildings, and offering school and public programming.” Interactive videos trace the full sweep of history in the region. Mammoth bones, prehistoric tools and dioramas represent the PaleoIndian era. Other exhibits cover the era of overland travel, including a range of wagons used on the trails west. The museum brings visitors up to the present with information on development of the oil and gas industry. Visitors can enter many of the 33 reconstructed fort buildings, which are furnished with 1860s clothing, equipment and personal items, the enlisted men’s barracks looking considerably more spartan than the officers’ quarters. In the mess hall several rows of tables are set for the next meal. The sutler’s store showcases the canned goods, tobacco and other extras soldiers could purchase, while another outbuilding appears well stocked with dynamite, bullets and kegs of gunpowder. Also gracing the grounds are various militaryrelated monuments and statues, as well as markers for fallen soldiers (either taken in combat or by natural causes) in the fort cemetery. Through June 11 the museum is hosting “Hell on Wheels: Union Pacific Railroad Towns in Wyoming,” a display of period photographs on loan from the American Heritage Center in Laramie. Another temporary exhibit, showing through November 3, showcases the uniforms, instruments, flags, posters and photos of the “Caspar Troopers,” a commemorative drum and bugle corps formed in 1957. The museum also offers a full calendar of workshops, lectures and even friendly “Caspar ghost” tours. Fort Caspar Museum, at 200 N. David St., is open year-round, though the museum staff closes up the reconstructed outpost buildings for the winter. For more information call 307-235-8462.

visitors can enter many of the 33 reconstructed fort buildings, which are furnished with 1860s clothing, equipment and personal items

Top: Postcards of Ray Blaha’s 1997 painting Mormon Ferry are available at the Fort Caspar Museum store. Left: The reconstructed enlisted men’s barracks at the Wyoming fort provide a good look at the arms, equipment and personal items with which soldiers busied themselves in the turbulent 1860s.




A carved eagle stares from the right grip of the Smith & Wesson .38-caliber double-action revolver Ranger Lee Queen once carried in this worn holster.



istening to Texan Charlie Parcus, manager of J.E. Cauthen & Sons, describe a collection the Fredericksburg fine firearms dealer recently handled, there is good reason for the noticeable excitement in his voice. Provenance is everything when it comes to antiques. For gun collectors in particular a firearm’s value is directly linked to its history. In this instance Parcus had clear provenance



to a rifle and two revolvers used by Texas Ranger Lee Queen during his quarter-century career as a lawman. “He was with Company B of the Texas Rangers and in charge of enforcing the law on the Texas frontier,” Parcus says of Robert Lee Queen, who was born Sept. 14, 1868. “He was on the scene at some historic events. The collection includes Queen’s countyissued Single Action Army .45-caliber Colt, his state-issued



Smith & Wesson .38-caliber double-action revolver and his Winchester Model 1894 .30-caliber saddle ring carbine.” Sold with the firearms were Queen’s gun belt and pocket watch, a badge worn by the son who succeeded his father as sheriff of Hartley County, Texas, photos and letters documenting the Ranger’s life and provenance of his weapons, and a bronze statuette of Queen donned in Ranger attire and reloading his Colt revolver. Such a complete group of historic memorabilia is rare, Parcus admits, but the collection had remained in the Queen family all these years. “This fellow was a lawman from the time a horse was his transportation to when he was driving a car,” Parcus says. Queen served as a Texas Ranger from 1893 until 1897, when he retired to take up ranching. In 1902 he was elected sheriff of Hartley County for the first of three consecutive terms. In 1908 Queen returned to ranching, sticking with it two decades before again pinning on the badge in 1927 and serving another three consecutive terms as sheriff. He died in Channing, Texas, on Aug. 13, 1933, “from, of all things,” Parcus adds, “the stinkin’ flu.” Son Ralph succeeded him in office. “Being elected to six terms as sheriff,” Parcus notes, “he must have been doing a good job enforcing the law.” A look at one episode from his Ranger days suggests the challenges he faced. On Feb. 25, 1896, Indian Territory outlaws Foster “Bill” Crawford and 19-year-old Elmer “Kid” Lewis strolled into the City National Bank of Wichita Falls, gunned down cashier Frank Dorsey, wounded bookkeeper Pierce P. Langford and rode off with $410. Alerted by telegraph about the robbery and killing, Captain Bill McDonald and his Texas Rangers, including Queen, soon arrived in town and headed out in pursuit, passing a luckless local posse en route. After a short gun battle, in which Crawford was wounded, the Rangers delivered the pair to the Wichita Falls jail. When a local mob threatened frontier justice, McDonald directed his Rangers to remain on guard overnight.

The next day, satisfied that local officers augmented by two-dozen deputized citizens could protect the prisoners from the would-be vigilantes, McDonald, Queen and the other Rangers departed. Unfortunately for the men behind bars, the Rangers had overestimated the mob’s restraint. In short order the vigilantes stormed the jail and dragged out Crawford and Lewis. Marching the condemned to a street corner opposite the bank, they threw ropes over the crossarm of a telegraph pole and fashioned nooses. “I am dead game and ready to go!” cried Lewis to the mob, as willing hands hauled him into eternity. Foster was less game, first blaming the Kid and then collapsing before the mob strung him up. Townspeople reportedly buried Lewis in a coffin, Crawford in the box in which it was shipped. Parcus recorded Queen’s history for J.E. Cauthen & Sons [jecauthen.com] before recently selling the Ranger’s firearms to private collector Mac Morris. “Charlie explained the significance of the items to me,” Morris says, “I feel privileged to own a part of the history of Texas.” “Ranger and later Sheriff Queen was one of the most feared and respected law enforcement officers in the Texas Panhandle,” Parcus affirms. “He lived and died a Texas legend.”

1894 Queen reportedly toted this Winchester carbine during his tenure as sheriff of Harley County, Texas.

1873 When serving with the Texas Rangers, Queen carried this Single Action Army .45-caliber Colt with a nickel finish and smooth pearl grips.



GHOST TOWNS In the 1880s craftsmen in the Mexican-American farming community built the Catholic church, which former residents still tend.



irst settled in 1882 by Pedro Aragon and family, Santa Rita, New Mexico Territory, grew into a Mexican-American farming community noted for its peaches, pears and pinto beans. On the banks of the Rio Salado just west of Ladron Peak in Socorro County, the town was also a welcome rest stop for people passing through from the Rio Grande to Arizona Territory. Within months more than a dozen families had settled in Santa Rita, and local craftsmen built a Catholic church and a small stone school. In time the residents applied for a post office, but there was an existing Santa Rita, a copper boomtown near Silver City.



Searching about for a new name, townspeople settled on Riley, after a local sheep rancher, and they opened their post office on Jan. 30, 1892. A few years later prospectors found coal and manganese deposits northwest of town, and by 1897 Riley had a couple of stores and a population of about 150. But the deposits soon played out, miners moved on to richer diggings, and the remaining residents continued to quietly farm and raise stock. Sleepy though it was, Riley has ties to one of New Mexico Territory’s deadliest outlaw-lawman gunfights, which took place at Alamosa Creek in southwest Socorro County two days after the May 23, 1898, robbery of an Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe


Clockwise from top left: The stone schoolhouse, a signpost in rural Socorro County, the ruins of a house and markers at the grave of Dan Bustamante, the posseman slain in an 1898 outlaw affray.


mail train at Belen. Valencia County Sheriff Jesús H. Sanchez sent his chief deputy, Francisco X. Vigil, and posseman Dan Bustamante in pursuit of the robbers. Vigil and Bustamente reached the Navajo community of Alamo on the morning of May 25 and soon set out with two Indian trackers to Alamosa Creek, where robbers William “Bronco Bill” Walters and William “Kid” Johnson were reportedly holed up. The four-man posse managed to surround the outlaws’ camp and drive off their horses. But when Vigil demanded Bronco Bill and the Kid surrender, the fugitives opened fire, killing Vigil, Bustamante and one of the trackers. The wounded outlaws managed to get away on foot, but Arizona Territory lawmen ran them down a few months later, shooting down the Kid and capturing Bronco Bill, who served time and later broke his neck in a fall from a windmill tower. Bustamante’s family lived in Riley, and he is buried in the Catholic church cemetery (the town also has a Protestant cemetery). Vigil, too, was initially buried in Riley,

though later reinterred in a cemetery just north of his hometown of Belen. Drought and a corresponding drop in the water table made farming difficult during the Dust Bowl years. When the post office closed in 1931, the remaining citizens reverted to calling the town Santa Rita. The local economy took a further hit when men left to serve their country in World War II. The town continued its decline in the postwar period, and the school closed in 1953, prompting families to resettle in nearby Magdalena and Belen. Present-day Santa Rita/Riley is a true ghost town, with scattered ruins. But former residents still tend the small Catholic church, which remains an active mission to the San Miguel parish in Socorro. And each Memorial Day weekend former residents and their descendants return for a fiesta/reunion and traditional Spanish Mass, and the town comes alive again—for just a little while. Santa Rita/Riley lies 21 miles north of Magdalena on gravel Forest Road 354. Allow 45 minutes to reach it.

new mexico

Santa Rita/ Riley

texas mexico






BOOKS Frontier Regulars: The United States Army and the Indian, 1866–1891 (1973, by Robert M. Utley): Written by the dean of Western historians, this is the essential work on all aspects of the post–Civil War frontier Army. Utley presents Indian wars campaigns from the Army perspective

Phil Sheridan and His Army (1985, by Paul Andrew Hutton): Hutton, professor of history at the University of New Mexico, here offers not only a penetrating study of Sheridan’s generalship in the West, but also a compelling examination of the challenges of frontier command.



On the Border With Crook (1891, by John G. Bourke): Written by Maj. Gen. George Crook’s brilliant aide-de-camp, this book is a distillation of Bourke’s monumental 124-volume diary, compiled over two decades of service. It provides an intimate, exceptionally well-written record of campaigning from Arizona Territory to the northern Plains. Forty Miles a Day on Beans and Hay: The Enlisted Soldier Fighting the Indian Wars (1963, by Don Rickey Jr.): A combat veteran of World War II and Korea,

Rickey (1925–2000) ended his government career as historian of the Bureau of Land Management. Arranged thematically, this book examines the frontier soldier’s life in a highly accessible style. Soldiers West: Biographies From the Military Frontier (1987, edited by Paul Andrew Hutton): A first-rate collection of essays by leading Western historians on the principal military figures of the American frontier.

VIDEOS Fort Apache (1948): The first of director John Ford’s “cavalry trilogy,” the film stars Henry Fonda as a delusional martinet of a colonel and John Wayne as a veteran captain unable to keep him in check. The Apaches are portrayed more as Plains Indians, but the action is engaging regardless. Sergeant Rutledge (1960): Ford directed this searing drama


about a veteran black NCO, portrayed by Woody Strode, who’s been wrongly accused of the rape and murder of a white woman. Jeffrey Hunter co-stars as a young white officer who comes to believe the tormented sergeant innocent. It was a film ahead of its time. Son of the Morning Star (1991): Based on Evan S. Connell’s best-selling book, this two-part TV miniseries, starring Gary Cole as George Custer and Rosanna Arquette as wife Elizabeth, takes liberties with history but regardless makes for compelling viewing. The character of a young Cheyenne woman presents the Indian perspective. Buffalo Soldiers (1997): This TNT television drama starring Danny Glover presents a gritty and broadly authentic look at the hardships faced by black cavalrymen during the campaign against Apache Chief Victorio.

She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949): The second of Ford’s trilogy (Rio Grande is the third), this one features Wayne as the aging commander of a one-company cavalry post in the midst of an Indian uprising. The film is particularly good, if sometimes overly sentimental, in its portrayal of the relationships among officers and enlisted men.

BOOK REVIEWS Kearny’s Dragoons Out West: The Birth of the U.S. Cavalry, by Will Gorenfeld and John Gorenfeld, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, 2016, $34.95 A qualifier is in order regarding the subtitle of this study of an overlooked transitional period in American history. Many date

the “birth of the U.S. Cavalry” to the American Revolution and the mounted units

organized by Polish General Casimir Pulaski and trained by Hungarian Colonel Michael Kovats. But as the father-son writing team of Will and John Gorenfeld note, through March 2, 1833, the Regular Army’s cavalry outfits were anything but regular, distrusted by Congress as elitist and expensive and repeatedly disbanded after short service. It took the 1830 Indian Removal Act and the subsequent need to police the frontier west of the Mississippi —a duty ill-suited to slow-moving infantry and militia units—to convince Congress to authorize the first permanent mounted force, in the form of the 2nd U.S. Dragoons. Drawing on an array of documentation and personal memoirs of both officers and enlisted men, Kearny’s Dragoons Out West examines a proto-cavalry regiment far removed from the post–Civil War troopers with which Western aficionados are more familiar. Thrust into the Arkansas wilderness with little or no preparation in December 1833, the dragoons found no available

accommodation at Fort Gibson, already garrisoned by the 7th U.S. Infantry, so they had to survive in tents while building their own nearby quarters at what they named Camp Jackson. The dragoons regarded it as something miraculous in 1834 when they received Hall .54-caliber breechloading, percussioncapped carbines, vastly more effective than their flintlock pistols or the Model 1833 saber one trooper described as “only good for cutting warm butter.” Still, they had to learn from scratch how to operate as a unit in spite of personal differences throughout the multicultural ranks, starting with their rough-hewn but worldly-wise commander, Colonel Henry Dodge, and his college-educated, punctilious but battleseasoned executive officer, Lt. Col. Stephen Watts Kearny. Overcoming these and numerous other problems, the dragoons performed disproportionately well at its part-military, part-constabulary task, contrasting with their cavalry descendants in protecting the Indians



REVIEWS from white depredations as often as the other way around. The Gorenfelds climax their study with Kearny’s epic march to California during the Mexican War and conclude with the 2nd Dragoons’ legacy, reflected not only in how the cavalry’s tactics and roles evolved, but also in the records of those officers who went on to greater things during and after the Civil War. With fascinating details, Kearny’s Dragoons fills a gaping gap in our knowledge of the taming of the West. —Jon Guttman Twenty-Five Years Among the Indians and Buffalo: A Frontier Memoir, by William D. Street (edited by Warren R. Street), University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, 2015, $29.95 In the early 20th century William D. Street (1851–1911) decided to write a memoir of his years as an early settler in northwestern Kansas. It took more than a century, and the efforts of a dedicated great-grandson,

to finally get his stories published. You might understand the reluctance of an early 20th-century publisher to accept such a manuscript. Even though Street had been a newspaper editor, his prose could wax a mite purple, he had a tendency to “overshare” and, well, he wasn’t exactly a household name. Thankfully, Warren Street, a professor emeritus at Central Washington University, and the University Press of Kansas have seen to it that Twenty-Five Years Among the Indians and Buffalo is available for anyone interested in frontier Kansas. While Street could have used a solid editor, his memoir is certainly worth reading for its vivid details about hunting buffalo, fighting lice, trapping beaver, killing rattlesnakes in the winter, poisoning wolves, herding cattle and removing a foreign substance from one’s eye with horsehair. And there’s a wild and woolly description of that “hilarious outpost of Western civilization,” Hays City. Street provides a lengthy but often fascinating account of 1861–78 western Kansas. —Johnny D. Boggs Custer’s Lost Scout, by John Koster, Idle Winter Press, Portland, Ore., 2017, $12.99 Sitting Bull, Crazy



Horse, Gall and Rain-in-the-Face are four of the big names among participants on the winning side at the Battle of the Little Bighorn. Their stories are all most interesting, but we have heard much about them through the years. It was high time an author highly knowledgeable about the most famous battle of the Indian wars wrote about a not-so-famous

Lakota participant, namely Left Hand. His story is naturally compelling in that he scouted for Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer and most likely switched sides and fought against Custer in the battle. But facts about his life are sketchy indeed, and that is no doubt why nobody has previously written a full-length book about the intriguing subject. So kudos to Koster, author of the controversial Custer Survivor, for daring to go where no Little Bighorn historian has gone before. That said, despite the author’s diligent research, many holes

remain in Left Hand’s sketchy story. Neither Koster nor any other living historian can satisfactorily address all the questions that arise when dealing with such a mysterious Lakota—one seemingly motivated to become an Army scout so he could feed his wife, but who then decided at some point during Custer’s march from Dakota Territory’s Fort Abraham Lincoln to Montana Territory he wanted to protect, not harm, his own people. Koster necessarily strays at times from his account of Left Hand’s tale to address other aspects of Custer’s struggles with the U.S. government and the Plains Indians, but he covers that more familiar ground with aplomb, as he continues to do with other subjects as a special contributor to Wild West. —Editor Colt Single-Action Revolvers, by Martin Pegler, Osprey Publishing, Oxford, U.K., 2017, $20 Samuel Colt did not invent the revolver, but after some 200 years of development his Paterson revolver of 1836 started a revolution in repeating firearms. It also sired a succession of famous weapons that made a profound impression from the Alamo to the Philippines. And amid that worldwide activity a series of iconic Colts,

ranging in caliber from .36 to .45, found their way into civilian hands on the American frontier to create a new protagonist—the pistoleer or gunfighter, working both sides of the law. Although he was senior curator of firearms at the Royal Armouries Museum in Leeds, England, Martin Pegler has fired his share of Colts and combines that with his historical background to cover their saga in Colt Single-Action Revolvers, No. 52 in Osprey’s Weapon series. From its ancestry the author delves into the gun’s anatomy, describes the innovations and limitations of loading and using a cap-andball revolver (convenient to fire, a chore to reload and clean) and presents contemporary recollections on their use. Illustrations by Mark Stacey and Alan Gilliland supplement a variety of photographs, identifying the type in the hands of such celebrities as James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok and Geronimo. Coexisting with these pistoleers (for whom

Now available from Jiri Cernik The Shots at Iron Mountain: A Story of Two Men - Tom Horn and Geronimo The murder of fourteen-year-old Willie Nickel caused an uproar in southern Wyoming and the public demanded finding the culprit and appropriate punishment. The Shots at Iron Mountain illustrates the conflict between an individual and rapid societal changes which he cannot or perhaps does not want to accept. The story also highlights politicization and abuses within the judicial system which favor certain special interest groups - a phenomenon too frequent in modern history.

The Trail of the Silver Horseshoes This collection of stories describes events or episodes in the life of a varied group of individuals during the most dramatic period of American history--the settlement of the American West. The reader will witness the hardship and suffering of the DonnerReed Party; the heroism of Portugee Phillips, the messenger bringing news of the Fetterman Massacre; the tragic events connected to Major John W. Powell’s exploration of the Grand Canyon; and the disastrous effort of the Minnesota Sioux to drive the white interlopers from their traditional hunting grounds.

Available on Amazon Author, Jiri Cernik, is a member of the Western Writers of America


Only $


+ Free shipping



800-494-9144 • PIPESANDCIGARS.COM/PCSA711 • Item# PC07-SP • CodE: PCSA711 • Expires 8-15-17

REVIEWS the author takes pains to separate reality from Ned Buntline exaggeration) are Colttoting film stars who have kept the revolver’s memory alive, such as Paul Newman and Robert Redford in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Clint Eastwood in The Outlaw Josey Wales. Arguably making the most effective impression on film, however, was Justus D. Barnes in the 1903 silent Western The Great Train Robbery, as he leveled his Colt .45 at the audience and fired, causing many theatergoers to dive for the floor in panic. In sum, Colt SingleAction Revolvers does ample justice to a historic firearm that still sees private use today. —Jon Guttman No Hope for Heaven, No Fear of Hell: The StaffordTownsend Feud of Colorado County, 1871–1911, by James C. Kearney, Bill Stein and James Smallwood, University of North Texas Press, Denton, 2016, $29.95 In No Hope for Heaven, No Fear of Hell (a title inspired by verses on the tombstone of Stafford and Reese family supporter Ike Towell), James C. Kearney seeks to chronicle one of the last of the great Texas feuds, which sputtered violently over a 30-year period in Colorado County. Howard 8 6 WILD WEST

William Townsend, a distant cousin of Sheriff Light Townsend, once proposed writing the history as a term paper, only to be advised against it by his father: “You be careful what you write and what you do with it after you write it. Remember, you are playing with dynamite!” Townsend’s mother agreed, and he dropped the project. That was in 1936—a quarter-century after the last killing. But as Townsend’s mother put it, “There is still too much hot blood on both sides.” Fortunately for posterity, Kearney found a willing ally in Bill Stein, a direct descendant of Ben Stafford on his mother’s side, who as director and archivist of the Nesbitt Memorial Library in Columbus, Texas, could approach the subject with scholarly detachment before his death in 2008. Adding context to the feud’s place amid the politics and racerelated violence of the times was James Smallwood, professor emeritus of Oklahoma State


University’s history department until his death in 2013. Kearney organized their combined efforts into the final manuscript. Names can be deceiving, and the Stafford-Townsend feud was a case in point. The rival cattle barons were directly involved in only two feud-related killings, but the extended families and allies—with names like Reese, Hope, Clements and Burford—kept the “hot blood” flowing with one shooting after another between 1871 and 1911. More often than not the killings were over not cattle or land as the sheriff’s office and the power that position carried. For those who have trouble keeping tally without a scorecard, the authors provide ample appendices, including biographies of all the dramatis personae and endnotes that contain plenty of drama of their own. For the Western buff looking for a new feud or wishing to know more about just what constituted one, No Hope for Heaven, No Fear of Hell delivers the goods. —Jon Guttman Black Cowboys in the American West: On the Range, on the Stage, Behind the Badge, edited by Bruce A. Glasrud and Michael N. Searles, University of Oklahoma Press,

Norman, 2016, $24.95 It may come as a surprise that anywhere from 5,000 to 12,000 cowboys in the frontier West were black (one in four by some accounts). Some grew up in slavery, others as freemen, and most (though not all) started riding, roping, wrangling, punching cows and all the rest in Texas. “Black cowboys settled in and enabled the development of communities throughout the American West,’ writes Bruce Glasrud in the introduction to this collection of both previously published and original essays. Back in 1965 Philip C. Durham and Everett L. Jones wrote the groundbreaking book The Negro Cowboys,

and since then many books and articles have touched on the significant roles of black cowboys on the 19th-century frontier. But this new three-part overview goes a step further, illustrating the diversity in the black cowboy experience and pointing out that not all black cowhands

were male (although there were no known black women on the long trail drives north from Texas). Part I profiles cowboys on the range, including the fascinating stories of pioneer Mathew “Bones” Hooks and cattleman Daniel Webster “80 John” Wallace. Also featured is the far better known Nat Love, who wrote a fanciful autobiography (choosing for himself the sobriquet “Deadwood Dick), and whom Michael Searles describes as “the iconic image of an Old West black cowboy.” Cecilia Gutierrez Venable writes about south Texas female cowhands Johana July and Henrietta “Aunt Rittie” Williams Foster. Part II focuses on performing cowboys, including black rodeo performers on the Texas Gulf Coast and in Oklahoma, as well as black Hollywood cowboy Herb Jeffries, known as the “Bronze Buckaroo.” Part III, titled “Outriders of the Black Cowboys,” highlights two historical figures previously profiled in Wild West—legendary Indian Territory lawman Bass Reeves and hard-riding Mary Fields, whom the U.S. Postal Service recognized in 2006 as “the first known African American woman star route mail carrier in the United States.” —Editor

“To you, it’s the perfect lift chair. To me, it’s the best sleep chair I’ve ever had.” — J. Fitzgerald, VA It’s a “Sleep Chair”– for a comfortable and relaxing night’s sleep

It’s a “Lift Chair”– that puts your feet safely on the floor – you’re ready to go! ®

It’s a “Chair”– for crafting, eating, visiting with friends and family

The Perfect Sleep Chair

It’s a “Sit Back Chair”– for reading, watching TV and resting


Call now toll free for our lowest price. 46426

Please mention code 106209.

Timeline of the Old West: a pictorial history of the Old West. Ponderosa Ranch Outfitters creates Western Artwork and Furnishings reflecting your adventurous spirit.


NOW AVAILABLE, the most famous depiction of the Battle of Little Bighorn The Anheuser Busch Company has granted permission for the Custer Battlefield Museum to issue a special high quality 36x27 limited edition print of the famous painting.




To order call (406) 638-1876. The print is available for $79.99 delivered. Partial proceeds from the sale of this print will go towards maintaining the Peace Memorial and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier on the battlefield.


BOB’S FILMS. 1930’s to 1970’s out of print and hard to find films. Free catalog. Bob’s Films, PO Box 291746, Port Orange, FL 32129. [emailprotected]


Contact us to put your advertisem*nt in front of thousands of history enthusiasts! 800.649.9800 [emailprotected]

PATRIOTIC PHILANTHROPY N A M I N G L E G A C Y OPPORTUNITY. Build A National Museum at Sitting Bull’s Camp Where the Battle of the Little Big Horn Began. TOWNFORSALE.NET

For information on placing a Direct Response or Marketplace ad in Print and Online contact us today: Wild West 800.649.9800 / Fax: 800.649.6712 / [emailprotected] / www.russelljohns.com



on’t let this peaceful scene on Lower Main Street fool you. Though the population of Deadwood (approximately 1,250) is less than half what it was in the decades after its 1876 founding (inset), traffic in this National Historic Landmark town [deadwood. com] is every bit as chaotic during the annual motorcyle rally in nearby Sturgis [sturgismotorcyclerally.com]. Horsepower has sure changed since gold rush days, and last call comes at 2 a.m. But Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane remain in residence, albeit in the Mount Moriah Cemetery high above town. Go visit them.






o ct N tra n o Fee N hly t


Breakthrough technology converts phone calls to captions.


New amplified phone lets you hear AND see the conversation. The Hamilton® CapTel® Captioned Telephone converts phone conversations to easy-to-read captions for individuals with hearing loss.

A simple idea… made possible with sophisticated technology. If you have trouble understanding a call, captioned telephone can change your life. During a phone call the words spoken to you appear on the phone’s screen – similar to closed captioning on TV. So when you make or receive a call, the words spoken to you are not only amplified by the phone, but scroll across the phone so you can listen while reading everything that’s said to you. Each call is routed through a call center, where computer technology – aided by a live representative – generates voice-to-text translations. The captioning is real-time, accurate and readable. Your conversation is private and the captioning service doesn’t cost you a penny. Internet Protocol Captioned Telephone Service (IP CTS) is regulated and funded by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and is designed exclusively for individuals with hearing loss. To learn more, visit www.fcc.gov. The Hamilton CapTel phone

requires telephone service and high-speed Internet access. WiFi Capable. Callers do not need special equipment or a captioned telephone in order to speak with you. Finally… a phone you can use again. The Hamilton CapTel phone is also packed with features to help make phone calls easier. The keypad has large, easy to use buttons. You get adjustable volume amplification along with the ability to save captions for review later. It even has an answering machine that provides you with the captions of each message.

SEE what you’ve been missing!

“For years I avoided phone calls because I couldn’t understand the caller… now I don’t miss a thing!” See for yourself with our exclusive home trial. Try a captioned telephone in your own home and if you are not completely amazed, simply return it within 60-days for a refund of the product purchase price. It even comes with a 5-year warranty.

Captioned Telephone Call now for our special introductory price! Call now Toll-Free

1-888-854-8459 Please mention promotion code 106208. The Captioning Telephone is intended for use by people with hearing loss. In purchasing a Captioning Telephone, you acknowledge that it will be used by someone who cannot hear well over a traditional phone. Hamilton is a registered trademark of Nedelco, Inc. d/b/a Hamilton Telecommunications. CapTel is a registered trademark of Ultratec, Inc.


Do you get discouraged when you hear your telephone ring? Do you avoid using your phone because hearing difficulties make it hard to understand the person on the other end of the line? For many Americans the telephone conversation – once an important part of everyday life – has become a thing of the past. Because they can’t understand what is said to them on the phone, they’re often cut off from friends, family, doctors and caregivers. Now, thanks to innovative technology there is finally a better way.

Wild West 2017-08 - PDF Free Download (2024)


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Golda Nolan II

Last Updated:

Views: 5825

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (58 voted)

Reviews: 89% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Golda Nolan II

Birthday: 1998-05-14

Address: Suite 369 9754 Roberts Pines, West Benitaburgh, NM 69180-7958

Phone: +522993866487

Job: Sales Executive

Hobby: Worldbuilding, Shopping, Quilting, Cooking, Homebrewing, Leather crafting, Pet

Introduction: My name is Golda Nolan II, I am a thoughtful, clever, cute, jolly, brave, powerful, splendid person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.