Saturday, February 7, 2015

SLAUGHTERED, The Tombstone Epitaph, January 17th, 1881

Brutal Murder of an Upright Citizen at Charleston By a Desperado

Again, the bloody hand of a murderer has been raised against a peaceable citizen; again the law is scoffed at and Justice derided. Yesterday's sun rose bright and cheerful over our neighboring village of Charleston, mellowing the crisp night air with its rays.

Once more her toilers began their daily avocations with renewed energy, little dreaming of the damnable deed that, in the glowing light of noonday, was to await one of their number.

Sometime since the cabin of Mr. W.P. Schneider, chief engineer of the Corbin Mill, was entered and robbed of several articles including some clothing.

Circumstances pointed very strongly to two parties, one of whom is so well known by the cognomen of "Johnny-Behind-the-Deuce" that we were unable last night to obtain his real name, but direct proof not being sufficient, no arrest was made.

Yesterday at noon Mr. Schneider left his duties and went to a restaurant where he was accustomed to taking his meals, and on entering approached the stove and, noticing a friend standing by, entered into conversation.

Having just left the heated engine room the air without felt cool which brought from Mr. S. a remark to that effect. "Johnny-Behind-the-Deuce" who was also in the room,. Then said, "I thought you never got cold." Not desiring to have anything to do with one of his character, Mr. Schneider turned and said, "I was not talking to you, sir."

This raised the lurking devil in the diminutive heart of "J-B-the-D," who blurted out, "G-d d-n you I'll shoot you when you come out," and left the room. After eating his dinner Mr. Schneider passed out the door, and was proceeding to the mill, when, true to his promise, the lurking fiend, who had secreted himself with hell in his heart and death in his mind, drew deadly aim and dropped his victim dead in his tracks.

Immediately after the shooting the following telegrams were sent to Mr. Richard Gird, the superintendent, who was in the mine here at the time:

Charleston, Jan. 14, 1:30 p.m.

To Richard Gird: Schneider has just been killed by a gambler; no provocation. Cowboys are preparing to take him out of custody. We need fifty well armed men.

Charleston, Jan. 14, 1:35 p.m.

To Richard Gird: Prisoner has just gone to Tombstone. Try and head him off and bring him back.

Charleston, Jan. 14, 1:50 p.m.

To Richard Gird: Burnett has telegraphed to the officers who have the murderer in charge to bring him back to appear at inquest. See that he is brought back.

Considerable delay occurred in getting these dispatches to Mr. Gird, who at the time was in the mine, and just where was not known; but as soon as he received it, prompt action was taken, and a number of the miners were ordered to report to the officers, to resist any attempted rescue of the prisoner.

Owing to some delay in delivery at the office of the company, and during this time the murderer was flying over the road toward the city, reaching the corner of Fifth and Allen a few minutes after the dispatches had beer read.

It is asserted that the officers, fearing pursuit, sent the murderer, who was on horseback, on ahead. However, this may be, it is certain that he came in ahead, his horse reeking with sweat, and, dismounting in front of Vogan's saloon asked for protection, acknowledging that he had killed his man.

In a few minutes Allen street was jammed with an excited crowd, rapidly augmented by scores from all directions.

By this time Marshal Sippy, realizing the situation at once, in the light of the repeated murders that have been committed and the ultimate liberty of the offenders, had attempt on the part of the crowd to lynch the prisoner; but feeling that no guard would be strong enough to resist a justly enraged public long, procured a light wagon in which the prisoner was placed, guarded by himself, Virgil Earp and Deputy Sheriff Behan, assisted by a strong posse will armed.

Moved down the street, closely followed by the throng, a halt was made and rifles leveled on the advancing citizens, several of whom were armed with rifles and shotguns.

At this juncture, a well know individual with more averdupois than brains, called to the officers to turn loose and fire in the crowd. But Marshal Sippy's sound judgment prevented any such outbreak as would have been the certain result, and cool as an iceberg he held the crowd in check.

No one who was a witness of yesterday's proceedings can doubt that but for his presence, blood would have flown freely. The posse following would not have been considered; but, bowing to the majesty of the law, the crowd subsided and the wagon proceeded on its way to Benson with the prisoner, who by daylight this morning was lodged in the Tucson jail.

-- end of article.

Editor's Note:

As most of my regular readers know, I love old newspapers, diaries, journals, courthouse records, and the like. I admire that folks back then wrote down everything, and I do mean everything.

From small newspapers like the ones up here in my area of the California Gold Country which listed the comings and goings of everyone, yes sort of like gossip, to the big city newspapers which reported on the same while also covering more of the national news, folks back in the day wrote about a great more than most think they did.

I am amazed at out of control wagons, women visiting the wives of other miners, the accidental deaths, the bodies found along side a road, the notations of who visited who for just a few days.

Newspapers, diaries, journals, and courthouse records clear up who was and wasn't somewhere, who really did things that others got credit for, and verifies stories and tall tales.

From the truth about where Wyatt Earp really was when he said he was buffalo hunting -- yes he was arrested as a pimp 2,000 miles from where he said he was -- to finding out that some of the legends had a lot more reputation than they deserved as in the case of Doc Holliday, records work against their brag and boast and show folks to be who they really were.

The above was in The Tombstone Epitaph on January 17th, 1881.

Wyatt Earp wasn't even mentioned. It's true. I can't find any record of Wyatt Earp's claim that he pulled out a shotgun on a lynch mob and held them off.

Michael "Mike" O'Rourke (1862–1882), aka "Johnny O'Rourke" or "Johnny-Behind-the-Deuce", was a professional gambler. On that day, "Johnny-Behind-the-Deuce" escaped from the Tucson jail and was never recaptured.

Tom Correa

1 comment:

  1. Is it just me or does Johnny-Behind-The-Deuce look like John Dutton from "Yellowstone" but with a mustache?


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