Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Homicides, Old West Cow Towns, And Today

By Terry McGahey
Associate Writer/ Old West Historian

I get a kick out of how the far left enjoys comparing the murder rates in this modern age to the lawlessness of the "Wild West".

I can't tell you how many times I have heard the term "cowboy" used for someone who may go beyond the normal, or go on his own, in a manner which may be considered out of the box or too straight forward.

We can thank Hollywood for the Western movies which overestimated the killings from that time period and over zealous leftist politicians who love to use the term "having the wild west mentality" to do their best to scare folks into allowing them to pass more gun control laws because they fear the armed public.

Reality is much different than the myths which we have been led to believe about the "Wild West".

A study done by Robert Dykstra, called "The Legends of the Wild, Wild West", proved that the Wild West era was more civilized, more peaceful and a safer place and time period to live in than what it is now in our civilized modern society.

Over a fifteen year period, from 1870 to 1885, there were only forty five homicides reported which averaged only one and a half murders per cattle season in all five Kansas cow towns combined. Again, that's a fifteen year period!

These towns were Abilene, Ellsworth, Wichita, Dodge City and Caldwell. One of the most interesting statistics is that the largest number of murder rates took place with the advent of the officers of the law in those towns who were supposedly hired to prevent killings. So why did the numbers increase after that?
Only Ellsworth and Dodge City ever reached a peak of five killings in one year.

In reality, the cowboys who hit these towns after maybe three months on the trail were mostly looking for a bath, new clothes, boots, a new hat and maybe a "soiled dove" to spend some time with.

Sure, many of them got rowdy but for the most part they were the one's who did turn in their weapons to the designated depositories. They didn't go around shooting each other up as the movies and such would have us believe.

Remember, the term "cowboy" came from the reality that many of these cowhands were in their early to mid twenties or even teenagers for heaven's sake. Yes, they grew up faster than our teenagers today because they had to. But many were still teens with teenage mind sets, and had playful tendencies no different than the teens today. Many of these kids only carried guns to look more as adults.

Also, I would like you to think about this. There was no federal government intrusion out West during that time period and even though some of the towns initiated a non-carrying of weapons ordinance many towns folks carried concealed weapons anyway. That's no different than many people still do today, even in places like the gun hating area of Southern California where it is illegal to do so for any reason -- unless of course you are wealthy or well connected enough to receive a concealed weapons permit.

People are people, no different today than back in the 1800s. The major difference between then and now is the time itself and the brainwashing against firearms, which has been promoted by our own government officials as well as our school systems and colleges in these -- our supposed civilized times.

If you truly believe that man is civilized, take most people, stick them up in the Rocky Mountains for four weeks. If they survive, you will not see a civilized being at that point. We are only so called civilized because of society.

The next time you hear some news correspondent or progressive politician mention how we live with an "Old West mentality" because of a shooting, think about this: If we really did have the "Old West mentality", we would actually be living in a more polite, kinder and safer environment over all than we do now.

The numbers don't lie.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Let's Talk About Calaveras County

Many of my regular readers know that I live in Glencoe, California. It's been a great place to live. It's a place that I have bragged about on various posts. And while I'm always making note of the fact that this is truly rural America, I've also made folks aware that we only have a population of 189 folks here and that we have to drive 17 miles to get our groceries.

Calaveras County is cattle grazing land, farm land, vast forests, pristine lakes, and of course mountains like no other. It's small communities that started out as mining camps, roads that wind seemingly endlessly pass ranches, wineries, dairies, and logging, and more.

This county was part of the birth of the American West. Our roots are ruins found in flatlands, the foothills, the Sierra Nevada Mountains, all in the heart of the California Gold Country.

Calaveras County encompasses 1,020 square miles of land and 17 square miles of water. Our population, as of April 1st, 2010, is 45,578. In 2015, our population was estimated at 44,828. Yes, our density is measured at 44 residents per square mile.

Imagine that for a moment. Compare that to where I'm from, the island of Oahu, Hawaii, which has 597 square miles of land. The island of Oahu, Hawaii, has a population of 953,207 as of the 2010 census. That means the density of just the island of Oahu is measured at 1,636 residents per square mile. Yes, though part of my heart will always be in Hawaii, I don't miss the congestion.

And for you folks who are wondering, the word "Calaveras" is the Spanish word for "skulls." The name came about after the remains of warring Native American tribes were discovered by the Spanish explorer Captain Gabriel Moraga in the 1830s.

It's said that in 1836, a party of men, which included early Californians John Marsh and Jose Noriega, went exploring in Northern California. They made camp along a river bed in the evening of a moonless night. When they awoke the next morning, they discovered that they had camped in the midst of a great quantity of skulls and bones. It was there and then that they gave the river the appropriate name of Calaveras.

Gold prospecting in Calaveras County began in late 1848 with a camp founded by Henry and George Angel. The brothers first arrived in California as soldiers, serving under Colonel Fremont during the Mexican War. After the war's end, the brothers found themselves in Monterey where they heard of the fabulous finds in the gold fields. 

They joined the Carson-Robinson party of prospectors and set out for the gold fields. The company parted ways upon reaching the area which later would became known as Angels Creek.

The Angels brothers tried placer mining, but it's said that they soon opened a trading post and really struck paydirt. By the end of the year, over one hundred tents were scattered about the creek and the settlement was referred to as Angels Trading Post, later shortened to Angels Camp. Toady the town of Angels Camp is our county's only incorporated city.

If Angels Camp rings a bell, Mark Twain set his story The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County in Angels Camp. The story goes that a young Samuel Clemens, a young man who would write under the pen-name Mark Twain, overheard a story in a hotel bar he frequented in Angels Camp. 

It's said that he lived in a small cabin up on Jackass Hill. And it was there during the fall of 1865, that Mark Twain penned the now famous The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County. It was the literary work that made Mark Twain a household name. 

Of course today our county hosts an annual fair and Jumping Frog Jubilee, featuring a frog-jumping contest, to celebrate the association with Twain's story.

Besides gold, Mark Twain, and the jumping frogs, Calaveras County is famous for its lode and placer mines. But also, for many years it was the principal copper producing county in California. And yes, for years now, cement production from its vast limestone deposits has become one of the county's major industries in recent years.

As for placer mining, a lot of folks don't realize that the gold above ground played out pretty quickly. It's true, since at one point in Angels Camp's early history there were as many as 4,000 miners working the claims. The Surface gold however, quickly diminished, leaving only the hardrock mining industry which flourished until recently.

Because the surface gold was disappearing, there was an extensive gold-bearing quartz vein of the area's Mother Lode located by the Winter brothers during the mid-1850s, and this brought in the foundations of a permanent town. Believe it or not, the Winter's vein followed Angel Camp's Main Street from Angels Creek up to the southern edge of Altaville. Five major mines worked the rich vein: the Stickle, the Utica, the Lightner, the Angels, and the Sultana.

Of course there are other stories similar to the Winter's vein. Such is the story of the vein of gold bearing quartz which was discovered accidentally by a man with the unique name of Bennager Raspberry. 

The story goes that while out hunting one afternoon near Angels Camp, pioneer Bennager Raspberry took some time out to clean his rifle. Soon after starting the process, his ramrod became lodged in the barrel.

So now, Bennager Raspberry thought that the best way to free the stuck ramrod was to simply shoot the gun. So, it's said that he aimed his rifle at a nearby squirrel and fired. He missed the squirrel and sent his ramrod into some bushes. 

After going into the bushes to get his ramrod, he noticed on the tip a small piece of quartz rich with gold. It is said that that afternoon, he dug up $700 worth of gold using only his ramrod as a shovel. The following day, better prepared, he pulled out $2,000 worth of gold and $7,000 on the third day. 

Such was the way of life before the Angels Camp area mines reached their peaks during the 1880s and 1890s when over 200 stamp mills crushed quartz ore brought in by hand cars on track from the mines. By the time hard rock mining was done in that area, five mines there had producing a total of over $20 million in gold.

But besides Angels Camp, the following places were early day mining communities in Calaveras County: Mokelumne Hill, Glencoe, Calaveritas, Old Gulch, Douglas Flat, Vallecito, Murphys, Sheep Ranch, San Antone, Rich Gulch, Campo Seco, Copperopolis, West Point, Middle Bar, Carson Hill, Robinson's Ferry, Jesus Maria, Mountain Ranch, El Dorado, North Branch, Camanche, Railroad Flat, Blue Mountain City, Telegraph City, Petersburg, Gwin Mine, Fourth Crossing, and Jenny Lind.

The largest gold nugget found in the United States was taken from the Morgan Mine at Carson Hill in November of 1854. When weighed on Adams Express Company's gold scales in Stockton, it balanced the scales at 214 pounds and eight ounces Troy.

Another interesting fact about gold and Calaveras County is that the gold "telluride" mineral "calaverite" was first recognized and obtained in 1861 from the Stanislaus Mine, Carson Hill, Angels Camp, in Calaveras County. Yes, it was named for the County of origin by chemist and mineralogist Frederick Augustus Genth who differentiated it from the known gold telluride mineral "sylvanite", and formally reported it as a new gold mineral in 1868.

The first grove of Big Trees, "Sequoia Gigantea," discovered in California was the Calaveras Grove of Big Trees. Credit for the discovery of giant sequoias here is given to Augustus T. Dowd, a trapper who made the discovery in 1852 while tracking a bear. Dowd was a hunter for the Union Water Company which was at that time building an aqueduct from the Stanislaus River to the town of Murphys.

Calaveras County is home to Calaveras Big Trees State Park, a preserve of Giant Sequoia trees, which is located in the county a few miles east of the town of Arnold just off of Highway 4. And in case you were wondering, when the bark from the "Discovery Tree" was removed and taken on a tour around the world, the trees soon became a worldwide sensation and one of the county's first tourist attractions. 

Besides big trees, Calaveras County has a number of deep caverns. And also, a California Department of Forestry report lists the county's area in acres as 663,000, although the exact figure would be 663,477.949 acres of forest.

Court was first held in our county in a large tent in Double Springs. Later a small court house was built with camphor wood imported from China. The old building is still standing at Double Springs today. 

Calaveras County was one of the original counties of the state of California, created in 1850 at the time of admission to the Union. It  incorporated on February 18th, 1850. Parts of the county's territory were reassigned to Amador County in 1854 and to Alpine County in 1864. 

The county seat was moved to Jackson in 1850 where it remained until 1852 when Jackson was about to become part of Amador County. Yes, the town of Jackson was actually in Calaveras County first. 

In 1852, the county seat of Calaveras County was moved to Mokelumne Hill where it remained until 1863. After an election in 1863, San Andreas was declared to be the county seat. Legal action followed this election, and it was not until 1866 that the county seat was actually moved to San Andreas where it has stayed to today.

The Calaveras Chronicle, the first weekly newspaper published in California, was first published on October 28th, 1851, in Mokelumne Hill. And besides the first weekly newspaper in California, the first three story building erected in the interior of California was in Mokelumne Hill.

And if you want to know how truly tough the town of Mokelumne Hill really was back in 1851, imagine a town so tough that there was a killing every week for 17 straight weeks. Yes, it was a lot rougher than most towns in the Old West.

Don't think so? Then tell me what other town in the Old West had merchants actually dig underground tunnels for their customers to use just so they would be able to get from one side of the street to the other. All so that they wouldn't be shot crossing the street in broad daylight. None to my knowledge. No other town went through that. But then again, I covered that in Mokelumne Hill was bloodier than Tombstone

While many of my regular readers have seen me mention where I live, and can surely tell just how much I love this place, you probably don't know that I'm not very fond of the quality of some of the new people moving here. And no, it's not just Glencoe. I'm not real keen on some of the people moving into this county.

Frankly, you may be surprised at what you find out about what's taking place today in Calaveras County. I will have that information for you in upcoming articles. To give you a hint of where I'm coming from, I wouldn't recommend anyone moving to this county right now -- and certainly not in the near future.

In the near future, I will be writing more about Calaveras County. I will explain why things are getting bad around here. I'll explain who is coming in and why they have to be stopped. I promise you, you will be surprised.

Tom Correa

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Frank Stilwell -- How Newspapers Reported His Murder 1882

Frank Stilwell was in Tucson because he was subpoenaed to appear in front of the Grand Jury on March 21st, 1882. That is a matter of record.That is indisputable.

Whether Stilwell saw the Earps upon arrival there and then wanted to do them harm in some way, frankly no one will ever know that real answer to that. We do know that his presence at the train station was enough to make the Earps believe that he was there to kill one of them.

These things are for certain, just as there is also no doubt that Wyatt Earp and his men murdered Frank Stilwell on March 20th. Wyatt bragged about doing so on a number of occasions.

While he always said that he was the only one who killed Stilwell, we know from the Coroner's report that his men also shot Stilwell. Remember, the Coroner's examination found evidence of Stilwell being shot with 5 different caliber weapons. If one were investigating this, it's a safe bet to say that that's proof positive that he had accomplices.

If one studies the actions of Wyatt Earp, it's now wonder folks back then saw what he was doing as no different than what other outlaws were doing. After all, outlaws murdered at will in the same way as Earp and his men had.

Of course today there are people who somehow make the excuse that Wyatt Earp and his men needed to take the law into his own hands. They somehow believe that Wyatt and Warren Earp, Doc Holliday, Sherman McMasters and John Johnson, were in the right for taking law into their own hands.

A number of Earp fans have written me to say that "Wyatt was fed up with the Court system, and he felt that he couldn't get justice in the courts." One of my readers wrote me an angry letter demanding that I prove that the courts were fair at the time. And yes, he too wanted to remind me that "Wyatt did what he did because he couldn't get satisfaction in the courts. And don't forget that he was avenging his brother's death."

While I've always understand the urge to take the law into your own hands when the courts fail us, should we all just throw the rule of law out the window when it doesn't go our way? Yet at the same time celebrate and say that the system works when it does? Isn't that being a little hypocritical.

Can you imagine what sort of society we would have if we all decided that we should be judge and jury, and executioner? Can you imagine if we all decided that the law simply didn't do what we needed, so we should take the law into our own hands?

I've studied vigilance committees a great deal, and I truly understand why people took it upon themselves to tell the law to step aside. And frankly, in more cases than not, I understand and agree with what they did. I know for fact that lean sentences and a corrupt justice system made people take the law into their own hands and do what they believed was right. And though I understand and agree with many of the cases where vigilantes did what needed to be done, that's still doesn't mean they were right in doing it.

As for those saying, ""Wyatt did what he did because he couldn't get satisfaction in the courts," I think the idea that the court system didn't work for the Earps is a pretty bogus claim. Remember that Wyatt and his brother all though the court system in Tombstone worked perfectly fine when it worked in their favor.

Please remember that the Earps and Holliday were charged with murder after the shootout at the lot near the OK Corral. Remember, they were charged with murder and found not guilty by Judge Spicer. It's also said that while Judge Spicer was even handed throughout most of those proceedings, that he made at least two decisions specially to specifically benefit the Earps' and Holliday defense.

Earps getting preferential treatment in Spicer's court didn't go un-noticed. Remember that Spicer's decision stopped the Earp's and Holliday from going on to a full trial. Ike Clanton and William McLaury said that they "couldn't get satisfaction in the courts" and actually attempted to get a change of venue and have the Earps tried in nearby Contention City.  But as we know, that didn't happen because the Grand Jury accepted Judge Spicer’s ruling and refused on more than one occasion to indict Holliday and the Earps.

So the question becomes, knowing that the Earps had preferential treatment in Spicer's court, does the claim that they couldn't get justice really hold water? I don't think it does.

Why should people, either back then or in today's world, allow some to flaunt the law while the rest of us restrain our urges and act civilized and adhere to the law?  Why should anyone applaud someone who does as he or she wants to do, just because they can get away with it?

And no, I'm not talking about some politician breaking the law and getting away with it, I'm talking about people today seeing what the Earps and his men did as being somehow OK when in fact they were breaking all sorts of laws doing it.

Shouldn't facts matter? The fact is that Frank Stilwell was in Tucson to testify in front of the Grand Jury and not there "specifically to assassinate" the Earps, as the Earps claimed. Shouldn't the fact that Wyatt Earp and his supposed lawfully deputized posse fled the scene after killing Stilwell matter? When do law enforcement officers act like that? Shouldn't that matter?

Shouldn't actions matter? Shouldn't we all judge the actions of others on what they do and not the excuses they use for doing it?  In Earps' case, Wyatt never justified taking the law into his own hands yet people gave him a pass.

If you wonder if there are double standards in history, look at how the story of Wyatt Earp's actions are portrayed. Since the term "lawless" means "not restrained by or under the control of legal authority," Wyatt Earp and his men were as lawless as any other group of outlaws of the time.

Wyatt Earp got away with it because he had friends in the right places. They protected him from extradition and prosecution. They helped him and his men get away with multiple murders. 

Below you'll find a number of articles that were in various papers about the Stilwell murder. You may find a big difference between how the pro-Earp Tombstone Epitaph reported the killing versus other papers.

The Arizona Star, March 21st, 1882:

"Without any provocation a band of four or five slayers pursued a lonely man in the dark and without a word of warning murdered him in cold blood and then hied to their stamping grounds as unconcerned as though they had when out on a hunting expedition, or like so many blood-thirsty Apaches rejoice over their crime."

The Tombstone Epitaph, March 22nd, 1882:

"The people of Tombstone were startled this morning with a report from Tucson that Frank Stilwell, a well know personage in this county as late deputy sheriff at Bisbee, and as one of the alleged Bisbee stage robbers, as also suspected of having killed an old man at the Brunckow mine some two or three years ago, had been found dead from the effects of a charge of buckshot, near the Porter House, at the depot in Tucson.

As the dispatch says, there are two theories of the killing here as at Tucson. One is that the comrades of Stilwell, fearing that he might turn states evidence, have silenced him and the other, that it is the work of the incensed Earp brothers for the assassination of Morgan, it being stated that there is positive evidence that Stilwell was in Tombstone Saturday night at the time Morgan Earp was murdered; and that he rode into Tucson on horseback Sunday. In either case his taking off verifies the saying that “the way of the transgressor is hard."

The Tombstone Daily Nugget, March 22nd, 1882:

"Tucson, March 21- This morning at daylight, the track man at the Southern Pacific Railroad depot found the body of Frank Stilwell about one hundred yards north of Porter’s Hotel at the side of the track, riddled with bullets.”
When George Parsons heard about the demise of Frank Stilwell in the Tucson rail yard, he wrote in his journal, “a quick chief attraction until a few more accompany him.”

The Arizona Daily Star, March 22nd, 1882:

"Sheriff Behan yesterday received a telegram from the authorities at Tucson, requesting him to arrest Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Sherman McMasters and one Johnson and hold them until further advice. Shortly after the receipt of the telegram, Sheriff Behan went to the Cosmopolitan Hotel, where he found the two Earp brothers, Wyatt and Warren, Holliday, Texas Jack, Johnson and McMasters. The sheriff informed the party of mission, when, in an instant each one leveled a six shooter at the officer, and peremptorily refused to submit to arrest. The sheriff retired, and immediately took measures to raise a posse to enable him to accomplish his duty. 

Scores of volunteers proffered their services to aid in enforcement of the law, and arms for a sufficient number were quickly obtained from the store of P. W. Smith & Co. Immediately upon the enforced retirement of the sheriff from the hotel, the Earp party, six in number, also left the premises, all heavily armed, and betook themselves to the corner of Allen and Third streets, where their horses were, ready saddled, and quickly mounting, they rode rapidly out of town, in the direction of Contention. 

The sheriff, finding that the time consumed in arming and equipping his posse had enabled the other party to secure at least a half an hour’s start, concluded not to commence the pursuit until this morning at 5 o’clock. Sheriff Behan was extremely careful never to catch up to the Earps and Holliday where he would be forced into a confrontation with an angry Wyatt Earp and a revenge-minded Doc Holliday. When he did blunder into their vicinity he quickly found his duties required his presence far away."

The Tombstone Dally Nugget, March 22nd, 1882:

"The assassination of Frank Stilwell in Tucson Monday night was, there is little doubt but another act in the bitter faction feud which has worked untold harm to the interests of Tombstone and Cochise County during the past six months. As all well informed persons were satisfied that the killing of Morgan Earp in this city Saturday night was the natural and legitimate sequence of preceding acts of violence, so, in regard to this latter assassination everybody conversant with the facts is equally well satisfied that it was but the natural outgrowth of the same causes. And as all right thinking and order-loving citizens denounced and deprecated the unlawful killing of Earp, so will the murder of Stilwell, which is surrounded by all the cowardly fiendishness of the former, create a feeling of loathing for the perpetrators and horror at the deed in the breasts of every man possessed of the common instincts of humanity or any regard for the preservation of organized society. 

The Nugget condemned in words of no uncertain meaning the dastardly act of Saturday night, and it now denounces the red-handed assassins of Stilwell and places them in the same category as the skulking murderers of Earp. It is to be earnestly hoped the cowardly perpetrators of two of the foulest, ghoul-like assassinations that ever disgraced any community, may be speedily identified, that justice, stern and unrelenting may be swiftly meted out to them."

The Arizona Daily Star, March 22nd, 1882:

"It is openly boasted by some that they will not deny the crime, and that their mission to our city was for no other purpose than to kill Ike Clanton, brother to William, who was recently assassinated in Tombstone by quasi-federal officials, and failing in their purpose, sought his next best friend and reeked the disappointed vengeance on him.

The boldness of the act, right at the depot in a peaceable city, around and amid the bustle of visitors at the train only adds to the offense, and effrontery of these desperadoes in transferring their enmity to those who were in our city under orders from the court, or had come here as a place of safety from these thirsty bloodhounds, is as provoking and outrageous to our citizens as it is damned in the sight of heaven.

It has been stated that Stillwell (sic), the unfortunate man, who fell victim, was a bad dangerous man. This may all be true. He has been twice or thrice arrested, once charged with murder, and once on suspicion of stage robbery, but in both cases the court, or examining magistrate pronounced him innocent. Let us give the man who is silenced in death by the assassin’s bullet the benefit of the courts’ judgment. He cannot answer his accusers now. Let his faults, no matter how grievous they were, be interred with his body, for it must be remembered that those that slew him were his accusers in these crimes. They failed to lock him in dungeon, but they did not fail in his taking off.

But admitting that he was all that even his sworn enemies alleged, that was no excuse for the crime. He was not an outlaw. He was within the jurisdiction of the courts and the officers of the law, and could have been taken at anytime without the slightest resistance. The presumption seems to be all in his favor.

In regard to the Earp party, no doubt but what they have some warm friends who are good citizens. And undoubtedly it is this fact which has given them so long suffrage in Tombstone. If one-twentieth part of what is said of their record is true they are certainly no desirable acquisition to any community They are a roving band; their path is strewn with blood.

Strange as it may seem, wherever they halt in a settlement stage robberies follow and human life ceases to he sacred. Their late escapades at Tombstone are only their records repeated in other frontier towns, and if we judge the honest sense of justice and peace abiding disposition of our citizens, they will never dare another such foul murder as was committed last Monday night.”

-- end of newspaper articles.

Now, to answer my reader who said, "And don't forget that he was avenging his brother's death."

First, here's something that I've wondered about.  It was only speculated that Frank Stilwell was part of the men who shot Virgil and killed Morgan, but we know that Ike Clanton's hat was found in the area after the ambush of Virgil. Some say that was proof enough that Ike was actually in on it. If that was the case and there was proof, why is it that Wyatt never went after Ike who was actually connected to the crime scene? Why didn't he?

And what if the tables were turned and someone went hunting for Wyatt Earp for killing Frank Stilwell, and in fact killed him because he killed his brother Frank Stilwell? Would that have been OK?

What if that person felt that the law was "too friendly to the Earps", as demonstrated in what has become known as "the Spicer hearing," and decided to take the law into their own hands? Would that be OK?

Remember that the whole thing, the whole drama of the Earps versus the Clantons reads a lot like the Hatfields and McCoys, revenge and revenge and revenge. From the political double cross over political appointments that started the whole thing, to revenge for killing killing cowboys to revenge for killing Morgan, it didn't stop. And to make one side or the other sound like angels is bullshit. They were both at fault.

Remember when Frank Stilwell's older brother arrived later looking for the Earps because he felt that he couldn't "get satisfaction" from a rigged court made up of friends of the Earps? Would it have been OK for him to kill Wyatt and Warren Earp, and the others who were in on executing Frank? Was it OK for him to hunt them down and want to kill them in the same way that the Earps killed Frank, execution style?

That situation actually took place when Frank Stilwell's brother Deputy U.S. Marshal Comanche Jack Stilwell arrived in Tombstone to find and kill Wyatt and Warren Earp for murdering his brother Frank. Sadly by the time Camanche Jack got there, Wyatt was long gone and in the safety of Colorado where he was fighting extradition back to Arizona.

I can't help but wonder if people today would have made the same excuses for Comanche Jack killing Wyatt Earp as they do for the Earp today? Would they have called Comanche Jack killing Wyatt a "vendetta" like they do today in regards to Wyatt killing Frank and the others?

Would they claim that his actions were justified because of some bogus claim that he couldn't get justice in the courts and that's why he acted the way he wanted to? There are others in history not as lucky as Wyatt Earp. Unlike Earp, they've been held accountable for their crimes.

I think it is ironic that it was all about revenge, revenge, revenge, and so on.

Virgil was shot and Morgan Earp was murdered because the "cow-boy" faction wanted revenge because they did not get justice in the court system after the Spicer hearing set the Earps and Doc Holliday free after what took place at the lot near the OK Corral. Wyatt and Warren Earp and their men, went on their killing spree because they wanted revenge because they did not get justice in the court system after after Virgil was ambushed and Morgan was murdered. Comanche Jack Stilwell showed up looking for the Earps and the others who killed his brother Frank. His intention was to kill them because he wanted revenge because they did not get justice in the court system. He felt that he wouldn't get justice in a court system to friendly to the Earps.

As for the murder of Frank Stilwell, as I stated before, I believe that Wyatt Earp and his men wanted to kill Stilwell and the others. To get away with it, I believe they used their badges at first. Then when they became wanted men, they used the excuse that they couldn't get justice in the courts even though the courts previously had been shown to be friendly to them.

And like I said previously, Wyatt Earp got away with avoiding prosecution because he had friends in the right places. They protected him from extradition and prosecution. They helped him and his men get away with multiple murders.

And yes, that's just the way I see it.

Tom Correa

Monday, September 19, 2016

Frank Stilwell -- Was He Murdered Or Executed 1882

The Denver Republican, May 14th, 1893, Wyatt Earp stated, "I went straight for Stilwell. He killed my brother. What a coward he was! He couldn’t shoot when I came up to him, but just stood there, helpless and trembling. As I rushed to him he put out his hands and clutched at my shotgun. I let go both barrels, and he fell dead and mangled at my feet. I started for Ike Clanton then, but he disappeared behind a moving train of cars."

If, as he said, Stilwell "couldn’t shoot when I came up to him, but just stood there, helpless and trembling," then why not arrest him for "lying in wait"?

Since he found Stilwell supposedly "lying in wait," which is evidence of deliberation and intention to commit a crime, why not arrest him and turn him over to the local law? And if you were the law, why leave his bullet riddled body there until it was found the next morning?

Frank Stilwell was known to have killed at least two men in Cochise County between 1877 and 1882. Both killings were ruled self-defense. And yes, he was once a deputy sheriff in Cochise County under Sheriff Johnny Behan.

And while he and the Clantons were indeed cattle rustlers, folks should be a little surprised to learn that he and the "cow-boy" faction only stole Mexican cattle from across the border. They were not known to steal cattle from other American ranchers.

Of course, the irony behind that is that those cows were probably rustled from this side of the border first. Some even say that the cattle along the border were stolen so many times from both sides that they would actually walk themselves in the right direction simply because they knew the route.

Besides possibly taking part in a Bisbee stage hold-up, Frank Stilwell owned interests in several mines, a saloon, a wholesale liquor business, a stage line, livery stables in Charleston and Bisbee, as well as other businesses. It's said that he was a partner in a Bisbee area saloon with ex-Texas Ranger Pete Spence.

Morgan Earp was murdered on March 18th, 1882. When Morgan Earp was killed, both Spence and Stilwell were named as suspects in the murder.

The problem with naming Spence and Stilwell wasn't that it could have been true. The problem came from who was making the accusations. The two were implicated by Spence's wife, Marietta Duarte, at the coroner's inquest. She testified to the two were doing "suspicious activities" on the night of Morgan's murder. Her accusations and the attempted indictment of her husband Pete Spence and Frank Stilwell were dropped.

Some say her testimony was dropped on the basis of the fact that spouses cannot testify against each other, but she could have testified against Stilwell yet she didn't. Also, some say it was because her testimony was found to be completely unreliable and without merit.

The reason that her testimony was thought discredited was because it was shown that she was such an unhappy wife that she wanted Spence put away. Yes, and her implicating her husband's friend Stilwell was found to be just part of her story to make it sound credible.

But even though that was the case, with the testimonies of others, the coroner's jury concluded that Spence, Stilwell, along with Frederick Bode, and Florentino Cruz were the prime suspects in Morgan Earp's death.

Unreliable and without merit didn't stop Wyatt Earp from using his new badge to steer his gang to hunt down Spence, Stilwell, and others. As for Spence, he turned himself in to the law for protection. Stilwell wasn't as lucky. Of course, there is the fact that Earp didn't find out about Marietta Duarte until after he killed Stilwell, so what was his justification for killing him?

Common lure says that on Monday, March 20th, some unknown source informed Wyatt Earp that Ike Clanton, Frank Stilwell, Hank Swilling, and another Cowboy were watching the passenger trains in Tucson.

Now that would make sense since Ike Clanton, Frank Stilwell, Hank Swilling, were at the train station to meet another man there for the same reason. The reason was that Ike Clanton, Frank Stilwell, Hank Swilling, and another individual were subpoenaed to testify in front of the Grand Jury.

While a couple of my readers have written to say that they are leary of what I've written pertaining to Frank Stillwell really being ordered to Tucson to appear in front of the Grand Jury there, that's the truth. He was not there to simply assassinate the Earps as shown in the movies.

But Wyatt Earp believed that they were there for the sole purpose of killing Virgil Earp. According to Wyatt Earp, supposedly Frank Stilwell and the other two specially went to Tucson to specifically kill Virgil Earp who was being escorted out of town. But that's not true. They were in fact in Tucson to testify in front of the Grand Jury the next day.

From what was reported, the Earps arrived in Tucson and were greeted at the train station by Deputy U.S. Marshal J. W. Evans. Later Virgil Earp and other witnesses reported that they saw Stilwell, Clanton, and another cow-boy at the train station.

Again, that's no surprise since Stilwell and others were there meeting someone. Besides, like it or not, even in the 1800s, mere presence does not mean a threat. If that were the case, Ike Clanton, Frank Stilwell, and others would have been killed in Tombstone long before the OK Corral.

A witness, J. W. Evans, reported that he saw Holliday deposit two shotguns at the railroad station office. The entire group then proceeded to have dinner at Porter's Hotel near the station and returned to the train. After dinner, Holliday asked someone to get his shotguns. And since the shotgun used by Doc Holliday at the OK Corral shootout was actually borrowed from the Wells Fargo stage office, I have no idea where these shotguns came from.

Supposedly Wyatt escorted Virgil and company back aboard the train, and that was when a passenger told them that he saw a few men lying on a flatcar near the engine. At this time Wyatt said that he saw them too and supposedly slipped between the tracks to look for the men. 

According to witnesses, as the train pulled away from the Tucson station at about 7:15 pm, a number of people reported that they could hear six or seven shots in the distance. Witnesses gave differing accounts, but Frank Stilwell's body was found the next morning about 100 yards from the Porter Hotel alongside the tracks riddled with two buckshot and three gunshot wounds.

The coroner, Dr. Dexter Lyford, reported that he found a single bullet wound that passed through his body under the his armpits, a wound from a rifle through the upper left arm, a buckshot wound that passed through the liver, abdomen, and stomach, and another buckshot wound that fractured his left leg. There was also a rifle wound through the right leg.

The Tombstone Epitaph reported the next day that Stilwell had been shot six times which included a round of buckshot in his chest that struck him at such close range that six buckshot left powder burns on his coat and holes were measured to be within a 3 inch radius of each other. 

While the Tombstone Epitaph reported that Stilwell had been shot six times, the official Coroner report stated Wyatt Earp and his men killed Stilwell with five different caliber weapons. Sounds like more than one bad actor decided to take their turn killing someone already dead.

Frank Stilwell was already dead but Earp and his men, all supposed lawmen, kept shooting him even after he was dead? They sound more like executioners than lawmen, doesn't it?

Later, Ike Clanton correctly stated in a newspaper interview that he and Stilwell had been in Tucson to respond to a federal subpoena from the Grand Jury. It was over interfering with a U.S. mail carrier when they "allegedly" robbed the Sandy Bob line of the Bisbee stage on September 8th, 1881.

In fact, the federal charges that took them in front of the Grand Jury had been filed by then Deputy U.S. Marshal Virgil Earp after Frank Stilwell was acquitted for lack of evidence on the state charges of robbery.  

Clanton said he had heard that the Earps were coming in on a train to kill Stilwell after hearing the testimony from Pete Spence wife. According to Clanton, Stilwell left the hotel and was last seen walking down the railroad tracks away from the Porter Hotel. It is believed that Stilwell was on his way to meet another "cow boy" also subpoenaed testify but was possibly coming in on a later train since he hadn't arrived earlier when they checked the station. Stilwell's body was later found on the tracks.  

For me, there are so many questions as to why would he have wanted to kill Virgil unless of course it was still just a matter of revenge over the shootout at the lot near the OK Corral? Other than an eye for an eye, what reason would he and others have had for trying to ambush Virgil and his wife and Morgan's wife at the Tucson train station? Remember, Virgil had lost his job as the law in Tombstone and Arizona in general and was headed to California? I have found that no one can answer those questions.

Yes, common lure says Frank Stilwell was at the Tucson train station to ambush and assassinate the Earps, but in reality that's not true. I believe that two days after Morgan was murdered, Wyatt and Warren Earp, along with Doc Holliday, Sherman McMasters and John Johnson, saw Stilwell at the train station and ambushed Stilwell.

I believe they all took turns shooting him. And further more, I believe Stilwell was a target of opportunity and was murdered at the Tucson train station simply because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time and Wyatt Earp and his men wanted to kill him.

For those who say that Wyatt Earp and his men were lawmen. Lawmen, even back in those days, didn't kill someone and flee the scene of a shooting. Which they did.

A reader recently wrote to ask why a Deputy U.S. Marshal and his posse simply fled the scene after shooting Stillwell in self-defense, especially since they had a warrant in their pocket? But fact is, that's what they did. They killed Stilwell and actually left as fast as possible to flee the scene. Is that the action of lawmen? No, it's not. No, not even in the 1800s. Unless of course, you crossed the line from lawman to outlaw.

After killing Stilwell in Tucson and verifying that the train was on its way to California, Wyatt Earp and his men were afoot and fled the area. In fact, they actually walked 9 miles along the Southern Pacific tracks out of Tucson to the Papago freight stop.

At the Papago stop, they flagged down the night-freight train back to the terminal in Benson. Once in Benson they hired a wagon back to Contention where they picked up their stabled horses. According to witnesses, they all rode into Tombstone around 11:00 a.m. on that Tuesday, March 21st. 

By the way, it was then while there in Tombstone on March 21st that Wyatt found out about Marietta Duarte's testimony during the coroner's inquest into Morgan's death and the names of the accused Cowboys. For those who say he was going by what she said, they are wrong. He and the others executed Stilwell before ever finding out what witnesses had to say.

Once in Tombstone, they returned to the Cosmopolitan Hotel where they had lived since the first attack on Virgil in December. They were now wanted men because the Coroner's Jury in Tucson reported that Stilwell had been killed by Wyatt and Warren Earp, J.H. Holliday, Texas Jack, "Turkey Creek" Johnson, and Sherman McMasters. Tucson Justice of the Peace Charles Meyer issued arrest warrants for all five of them -- badges or no badges. 

Since Stilwell was killed in Tucson in Pima County, friends of the Earps, Sheriff Bob Paul Earps and District Attorney Alex Campbell sent a telegram to Behan in Tombstone asking him to arrest the Earps. The telegraph office manager was also a friend of the Earps and showed the message to Wyatt instead of delivering it to Sheriff Behan. The operator delayed delivering the message to Behan long enough to allow the Earps and their associates to escape. 

Does Earp's behavior sound like the actions of a law enforcement officer with nothing to hide? His fleeing the scene after killing Stilwell, then escaping Tombstone before being arrested sounds like criminal behavior and not the way innocent men act, nevertheless men with badges and a pocket full of warrants sworn to uphold the law.

He would kill three more men that he thought were associated with Morgan's death. Of course before he killed those three, arrest warrants were issued for Earp and four others in his gang suspected of murdering Stilwell. Murder indictments were issued at Pima County for Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Warren Earp, Sherman McMaster and John Johnson. 

Wyatt Earp being the man of his word that we are lead to believe, agreed to turn himself in to the law but instead fled Arizona Territory for Colorado. Once in Colorado he looked up his friend Bat Masterson who was a lawman in Colorado by then. Masterson was friends with the Colorado Governor.

Earp fought extradition by asking Masterson to get his friend the Governor to stop his being forced to return to Arizona. Yes, there is a reason that the infamous Wyatt Earp never ever returned to Arizona. It was to keep his neck out of a hangman's noose.

The following is a transcript of the Murder Indictment for the arrest of Wyatt and Warren Earp, and the others in his so-called "vendetta" posse. It was returned as a True Bill by the foreman of the Grand Jury John S. Carr on March 25th, 1882:

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


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

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

    Second Count

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

    Third Count

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

    Fourth Count

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

    Fifth Count

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

Hugh Farley District Attorney

of Pima County Arizona Territory

-- end of court document.

There are many who defend what Earp's federal posse did by saying that they needed to take the law into it's own hands to get justice. Their argument is that the Earp posse had no other choice if they wanted some sort of justice because they felt that the legal system in Tombstone was corrupt and not working. Those people say that is the reason that Wyatt and Warren Earp, Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp, Sherman McMasters and John Johnson simply killed those suspected of killing Morgan instead of bring them in. 

But the legal system in Tombstone was not against the Earps. In fact if any of us takes a look at the Spicer Hearing, it's very easy to conclude that the justice system worked very well for the Earps. If in fact there were bias against the Earps, why didn't the courts convict them of murder by way of what took place at the shootout near the OK Corral? 

Keep in mind that the Cow-boy faction thoroughly believed that the legal system worked for the Earps and was against them. And frankly, Ike Clanton believed that he couldn't get a justice in the courts after Judge Spicer's Hearing exonerated the Earps and Holliday in the shooting deaths of Billy Clanton, and Frank and tom McLaury. Ike Clanto went before Justice of the Peace J.B. Smith in Contention City to again filed murder charges against the Earps and Holliday. But, the fact is, he was turned down and Judge Spicer's Ruling was upheld. 

It was after being turned down that Ike Clanton is said to have believed that the justice system as not working and was biased in the favor of the Earps.  Since he saw Virgil and Morgan, who were the actual law in Tombstone, he saw as ultimately being responsible for the killing of his brother Billy Clanton and friends. His response, right or wrong, while believing that he couldn't find justice in the courts was to ambush of Virgil and Morgan. 

Was Ike Clanton correct in his assertion that the legal system was not working for him? I don't believe it was. Did his believed that he couldn't get justice in the courts somehow justified his organizing the ambush of Virgil and Morgan, ultimately killing Morgan? Of course not. 

But I've had readers write to tell me that Ike Clanton's organizing the ambushes of Virgil and Morgan was just an "eye for an eye" and nothing different than what Wyatt and his posse did after the killing of Morgan. 

Did Wyatt Earp act the same way as Ike Clanton? Did Earp believe that since he couldn't get justice in the courts, that that somehow justified what his posse did to Frank Stilwell at the train station? 

I agree with my readers who say both sides claimed that the legal system was against them. I also agree that both sides used that as an excuse to carry out their own idea of revenge. It was not about justice, it was an eye for an eye. 

As for any lawmen acting like the very criminals that they are supposedly tasked with bringing to justice? While there were definitely Old West lawmen who did cross the line and acted as vicious as the outlaws who they were after, they were the very few and not the great lawmen in the Old West who didn't need to take the law into their own hands to bring outlaws to justice. 

In the Earps case, they did their killing from behind a badge until their badges couldn't protect them anymore. At what point did they lose their protection? It was that point when a Grand Jury issued indictments for them in connection with the wanton murder of Frank Stilwell. Yes, that's when Deputy U.S. Marshal Wyatt Earp, and the other members of his deputized federal posse stopped being lawmen and became a gang of killers on the run evading the law, 

To me, both factions used the excuse that the legal system was against them in an effort to justify committing murder and mayhem. It wasn't about justice. Both sides were killing each other out of revenge. 

A reader has written to ask why didn't Wyatt and Warren Earp, and the rest of the so-called "vendetta" posse, that deputized federal posse, ever stand trial for murdering Stillwell? They got away with evaded extradition because they had friends who had political friends. Yes, friends in the form of Bat Masterson who was willing to create diversions and fabricate lies to keep them from being returned to Arizona and a trial.

Today there are life-sized statues of both Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday standing at the approximate site of where they murdered Frank Stilwell. The statues are located at the former Tucson Southern Pacific Depot.

A reader who lives in Tucson wants to know if I think those statues are a tribute to lawmen or murderers? I believe murderers. The reason that I think they're murderers, among other things:
  • Remember, contrary to the story that says that the Earps and the others were going to turn themselves in, they didn't. Instead, we know they never did and actually used friends and political connections to evade extradition. 
  • Contrary to the story that says Stillwell was killed by Wyatt Earp with a single shotgun blast, we know he wasn't. The Coroner's examination revealed that Frank Stillwell was shot to death with multiple caliber weapons in addition to the shotgun and pistol that Wyatt Earp was using. 
  • Contrary to the story that says Stillwell was there solely to ambush and kill an Earp with a rifle or a shotgun, we know that he was subpoenaed to testify in front of the Grand Jury in Tucson. We also know that no rifle or shotgun was found with Stillwell's body when discovered the next day. 
  • Contrary to the Earps saying that they were told that he was there to kill an Earp, the Earps never produced anyone to verify that as being true. 
  • Lastly, after a shooting of an assailant, especially in self-defense, law enforcement officers do not flee the scene like criminals unless they cross the line and became criminals. No, not unless those lawmen had committed a crime.  
That's just the way I see it.

Tom Correa 

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Grave Robbers In Golden Gate Cemetery 1908

Since I've written about how the city of San Francisco had banned cemeteries and essentially evicted all buried there. Those interred were supposedly dug up and moved to the city of Colma just south of San Francisco.

But have you ever wondered about what was going on when San Francisco was actually in the process of removing all of those buried there? Well, this will give you some insight into what was taking place.
The San Francisco Morning Call, December 16th, 1908:


Vandals Wreck Tombs and Expose Bodies in Old Burial Ground 

Supervisor Payot and Coroner Leland visited the site of the old Golden Gate cemetery yesterday to investigate the acts of vandalism committed about the exposed graves. 

Mrs. E. H. D'Donnell and Mrs. C. H. Rockwell, officers of the Richmond women's improvment club, had called Payot's attention to the desecration of many of the graves, particularly that of the tomb of Russian woman, Mary Gribbich, whose body, brought from Sacramento, had been interred in a handsome marble lined vault in 1892. 

The massive slab covering the tomb had been broken and pried away, revealing the costly garments and the rings worn by the dead woman in her last resting place.

Mrs. O'Donnell reported that curious crowds had been visiting the spot and unknown persons had cast rubbish upon the remains until the body was almost covered from view by the stuff.

Other exposed remains, she said had been similarly treated. Payot notified the police to use more vigilance in guarding the plot, and the coroner ordered the tomb of Mrs. Gribbich restored and resealed."

-- end article.

Editor's Note: 

I posted the above article unedited just as it appeared when first published just two years after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake took place. It was a small article in the San Francisco Call that probably didn't get very much attention.

The reason that it probably didn't get very much attention is that theft and vandalism was going on while the graves were being dug up to be removed to Colma and this sort of behavior was fairly common place. It was not out of the ordinary for grave robbers to loot the open graves of those being moved.

The grave robbers, the vandals, the ghouls, who saw nothing wrong with rifling through the remains of some long dead pioneer and steal the buttons off their clothing, a broach, a ring, their clothing, and what have you. It was a constant and didn't only take place on a few occasions.

Isn't it amazing that this sort of thing went on 1908? After all, from everything we are told, it was supposedly a time when people had more reverence for the dead. Of course if they did have reverence, one can't tell that by what was taking place in San Francisco at the time. 

Tom Correa

Friday, September 16, 2016

Bat Masterson's Sister Murdered -- Or Was She?

On September 10th, 1893, the Kansas City Times called the crime a "Murder Most Cruel" while The Daily Journal newspaper headline simply used the word "Strangled."

While both papers were talking about the gruesome murder of a woman who was strangled to death, it was the Kansas City Times that stated she was "a sister of Bat Masterson."

As for Mrs. Jane Wright, her son's account of her life was one that the public found interesting only that it lent insight into the Masterson family. And of course, Bat. 

In brief, the article read:

Mrs. Wright was born Jane Masterson in Toronto in about 1837, the eldest of five children, one of whom was Bat, who was said to be "an unruly boy" who ran away from home and got a severe whipping from his aunt.

Jane was married at 17 to a wealthy slave-owning planter from Louisiana and sent money to bring Bat and his siblings to Buffalo: "He drifted out west," said the son, "and we often heard of him since as an officer of the law and a referee at prize fights. We have written to him several times, but he never answered our letters."

Jane’s husband died of yellow fever in 1853 and, illiterate, she was cheated out of her inheritance. She migrated to Cincinnati, where she married again. After her second husband deserted her, she came with her son to Kansas City and opened an employment bureau. Business was apparently good – her office was said to always be crowded with job seekers – but it was a dodgy and even dangerous sort of business. Wright kept a revolver in her office, another at home, and kept her money on her person.

She didn’t trust banks, and for good reason: bank runs were occurring across the country in the depression of 1893. The Kansas City Safe Deposit Bank failed in March, ruining many of its depositors. In July, the National Bank of Kansas City suspended operations.

Speculation about the motive for her murder included not only robbery, since her habit of carrying her money with her was known, but revenge: “Many Italians have recently been deceived and defrauded by employment agents in Kansas City.” -- The Kansas City Times.

Some believed it was a crime of revenge, while others thought robbery, and some even thought that she "may have deceived some woman, whose brother or relative sought revenge." Both Kansas City newspapers reported all of the speculations, including the that the robbers accused each other of being the one who actually strangled Mrs. Wright.

Bat Masterson was not the subject of the news article about a woman who was murdered, but her being his sister was an opportunity that newspapers at the time wouldn't pass up the chance to mention. Papers mentioning Bat Masterson, or any known gunman, was known to be great for business and was always used as an attempt to increase circulation. Because she was his sister, the Kansas City Times publicized the association between Bat Masterson and the murdered woman without shame.

As for Masterson being mentioned, the article was said to have focused more on him. For example, the paper stated, that "Masterson is one of the most noted men in the West, known as a desperate fighter and said to have a record of more men killed than any man on the frontier."

And yes, that same reporter noted that "Masterson is known throughout the country as one of the land-marks of Dodge City in its most palmy days." 

In a separate piece, that same reporter profiled Bat Masterson by writing:

"A man probably 38 years of age, although looking two or three years younger; about five feet, nine inches tall. He wore a black derby hat and a spring suit of clothes, light in color and beautifully made. He was not flashy in any respect and yet he looked like a gambler or sporting man. He is extremely polite in manner, talks well and easily and uses very good English. This is a man who is said to have killed as many men as any other of the noted border characters, and yet never a one by unfair advantage, and who now has a reputation on pugilism and a man who is willing to back his judgment as long as his money lasts."

The Twist In The Story -- The Murdered Woman Was Not Bat's Sister.

Weather or not Jane Wright was from Canada and a "Masterson" of some sort other than related to Bat Masterson's family is anyone's guess. We know from her son that she told him and friends that she was Bat Masterson’s sister. But, once Bat and his siblings were informed that there was a pretender out there, her claims were immediately disputed by Bat Masterson's family.

The Daily Journal was quick to take a jab at its rival, the Kansas City Times' report, by running an article stating that the Journal had received a telegram from Masterson's brother in Wichita denying that the murdered woman was their sister. His family consisted of 5 brothers and 2 sisters

The Kansas City Times also reported on the denial by the Masterson family in Wichita. They stated that they received a telegram from Bat Masterson disclaiming any knowledge of Mrs. Wright. The telegram also stated that the testimony of Charles Bassett is that he had never heard Masterson speak of having a sister in Kansas City. 

And while one would think that a simple newspaper correction would have taken cared of the matter, it's said that the Kansas City Times was absolutely unwilling to concede its error -- especially to its arch-rival in the Kansas City newspaper wars.

The Kansas City Times instead ran an article that stated that "perhaps Jane Wright of Toronto, child bride, widow, abandoned wife, and hard-scrabble businesswoman in a society hostile to independent women, had a more practical reason for claiming an association with the famous gunslinger -- the same reason she kept a revolver in her office and another at her home." 

And that, that was under the Times' story with the subtitle "Everything lends to show Bat Masterson and Mme. Wright related," where it promptly repeated the claim by Mrs. Wright's son that his mother was the sister of Bat Masterson because she was from Canada. Imagine that.

Tom Correa

Thursday, September 15, 2016

We can stop the BLM execution of 45,000 Wild Horses

BLM execution of 45,000 Wild Horses is hitting the Mainstream Media

The New York Post headline reads:
Uncle Sam may kill 45,000 wild horses

People Magazine headline reads:
Government Plans to Kill 45,000 Wild Horses

The New York Daily News headline reads:
Federal government may kill 45,000 wild horses

The Telegraph (UK) headline reads:
US Government could kill 45,000 wild horses

The headline reads:
Wild horses should be killed or sold, government board decides

September 14, 2016

The U.S. government is coming under fire from animal rights activists amid concerns that almost 45,000 wild horses could be euthanized in an attempt to control their numbers.

Last week the Bureau of Land Management’s National Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board recommended that the Bureau euthanize or sell “without limitation” excess “unadoptable” horses and burros in the BLM’s off-range corrals and pastures.

An “unadoptable” horse or burro is typically at least 5 years old, making them less attractive for purchase or adoption. The bureau has more than 44,000 horses and more than 1,000 burros in off-range pastures and corrals.

The recommendation prompted an angry response from The Humane Society of the United States. “The decision of the BLM advisory board to recommend the destruction of the 45,000 wild horses currently in holding facilities is a complete abdication of responsibility for their care,” said Humane Society Senior Vice President of Programs & Innovations Holly Hazard, in a statement.

Under the terms of the 1971 Wild Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act, the BLM manages, protects and controls wild horses and burros. The law authorizes the agency to move wild horses and burros off ranges to sustain the health of public lands. In addition to the off-range animals, the bureau estimates that more than 67,000 wild horses and burros are roaming on BLM-managed rangelands in 10 Western states.

With virtually no natural predators, wild horse and burro herd sizes can double about every four years, which means that thousands of the animals are removed from the range each year to control herd sizes and protect the land. The BLM has its own off-range holding corrals in states such as Nevada and California, as well as contracts with private ranches in locations such as Kansas and Oklahoma.

The Bureau has not yet made a formal response to the board’s recommendation, although, in a statement, it said that it will continue to care and seek good homes for animals that have been removed from the range. “What this means is that we will continue with our current policy, which is not to sell or send wild horses or burros to slaughter,” it said.

A BLM spokesman told that the animals are protected. “These are public lands and the horses are a symbol of the history of the Old West,” he said. Since 1971, the BLM has adopted out more than 235,000 wild horses and burros, according to the spokesman. “We screen buyers and we screen adopters,” he added.

The agency also noted that the Wild Horse and Burro Advisory Board is an independent panel comprised of members of the public.

The bureau spent $49 million caring for off-range animals during its fiscal year 2015, which accounted for two-thirds of its wild horse and burro budget.

However, the Humane Society has slammed the agency’s efforts. “Over the past 20 years, the BLM has maintained round-up and removal as a primary management strategy for wild horse and burro populations on America’s western rangelands – an effort which has led to a financially unsustainable Wild Horse and Burro Program,” it said, in its statement. “By focusing massive efforts on removing horses and burros from the range, without treating those horses remaining on the range with any form of fertility control to limit population growth, holding facilities throughout the United States have become overburdened.”

-- end article on

While I don't trust the Federal Government at all these days, and frankly think the BLM would say anything to pacify the general public, we need to take action and stop this from taking place.

Friends, this getting out on the Mainstream Media is good for us because it helps us stop it. This means the word is getting out and the public is not happy at all about the way the BLM is "taking care" of America's Wild Horses.

It means that while our petitions go unnoticed and thrown in the trash at the White House, our voices are still being heard. This all means we may be able to stop this injustice and get those animals freed one way or another. 

President Obama is looking at the money spent on America's Wild Horses versus how much money he wants to give to Muslim "refugees" to resettle her. Friends, if left to Obama the Wild Horses will be killed. 

Yes, besides pressure from Environmentalist to keep horses and cattle off public lands, Obama sees the money spent on the BLM budget for Wild Horses and Burros as better spent on his pet project of bringing in Muslims from Syria and resettling them in the American heartland.

Ever wonder why all of the Muslim refugee settlements are in rural America in Red States and not in Blue States in the Liberal cities? Liberals have the clout to keep the refugees out and the Democrats want more Muslims in what has been traditionally "Christian America". And while I feel that there's a tie between what Obama wants to spent on Muslim refugee and what's spent on our Wild Horses, I'm sorry to say that that's a subject for another day! 

Right now, we can feel good that the word is getting out and that there may be outside pressures put on the Obama administration to give these horses and burros a reprieve, but let's not get our hopes up too far and stop getting this word out to as many people as we know. 

We need to call our television and radio stations, and our newspapers, and hit them with questions. We need to generate interest to save these horses. We need to ask them why this is being done to save money -- yet the money to care for the horses and burros has already been allocated? 

If they are slaughtered, than the law will have again been broken and nothing will be done about it. So ask them why aren't people in the Obama administration following the law and truly protecting those horses? Ask how is it that the law protecting the Wild Horses is not being adhered to, and instead is being manipulated behind the scenes to create this genocide?

Ask why this is considered the BLM's "final solution" when they created this problem in the first place when they round them up for adoption? Ask about other alternatives, including taking the 45,000 horses and turning them loose all over the 22 contiguous Western states?

Friends, turning 45,000 horses loose throughout the 22 states West of the Mississippi river means putting 2,045 horses in each state to fend for themselves. Now, no one can tell us that 2,045 horses and burros running free spread out over hundred's of thousands of miles in each Western state would be an environmental impact to anything, or a budget problem. If someone tries to tell you that -- you know they're lying!  

And as for where do we get the money to transport these 2,045 horses to each state? Well how about we use the $49 Million that are already allocated and will be used to house and feed them in the holding pens that they're in right now. Besides, once they are gone -- the problem is solves and no horses die needlessly.

If the BLM says it can't be done, than ask if that BLM political appointees, or any other BLM officials, have any connection to those slaughter contractors wanting to buy the horses for slaughter? Is there corruption here? I believe there is! 

This has happened on a much smaller scale, but it has happened where BLM officials were getting kick-backs from horse slaughter contractors. Yes, bribes and payoffs have taken place in the past? 

If we find connections to slaughter contractors or any other conflict of interest, that find out why they aren't being investigated and in prison? Friends, this has happened before and nothing was done about it because of political cover. But this time, this is huge! Yes, killing 45,000 horses is a very big deal.

So what else can we do? Well, most of all, we need to contact our Congressmen and women -- and ask why isn't Congress investigating this before it takes place? Their investigation can save the lives of those 45,000 horses. 

Let's get after this and not let the Obama administration kill 45,000 of America's Wild Horses! 

Tom Correa