Monday, October 16, 2017

The Halderman Brothers -- Killers Or Not?

William Halderman was 21 years of age, and his brother Thomas was 18, when they were legally hanged on November 16th, 1900. Both brothers were working day wage cowboys just trying to get established on their own in Cochise County, Arizona. Yes, just two honest cowboys trying to start their own ranch by working for it.

Their parents were Jesse and Augusta Halderman. Their family, the Kokernot-Halderman family, were considered influential pioneers in Texas at the time. 

In 1898, the Halderman brothers began feuding with 18 year-old Teddy Moore over a pair of young women named Rena and Mary Wilson. According to later court findings, in November of 1898, Moore threatened to kill William. It was something he did a few times over the following months.

On April 6th, 1899, Justice William Monmonier received a report from Buck Smith who was the owner of the Smith Ranch, accusing the Haldermans of rustling and killing his cattle. A warrant was issued and the job of arresting the Haldermans fell to Constable Chester Ainsworth who was the brother of Arizona Attorney General Charles F. Ainsworth.

Constable Ainsworth went from his office in Pearce to the Smith Ranch to ask the ranchers for assistance in apprehending the Haldermans. According to the later testimony of R. Michael Wilson, Buck Smith refused to help and told the constable to continue on to the Moore Ranch house less than a mile away to enlist the help of Teddy Moore. Constable Ainsworth did just that. Then after deputizing Moore, the two-men headed to the Halderman Ranch which was located a short distance away along Turkey Creek Canyon.

After finding the house empty, Ainsworth decided to check the Wilson Ranch, which was owned by John W. Wilson who lived there with his sons Johnny and Tol and his two daughters Rena and Mary.

So accused of shooting Buck Smith's cattle and selling the meat, Constable Chester Ainsworth and 18 year-old Teddy Moore tracked the Halderman brothers to the Southeast Arizona ranch of J. N. Wilson. The Constable and Moore arrived at the Wilson Ranch house on the morning of April 7th, 1899, sometime just after dawn.

The Halderman brothers were eating breakfast with J.W. Wilson their neighbor at his ranch when Ainsworth and Moore found them. The two "lawmen" were side-by-side and approximately forty feet from the front porch of the house when Ainsworth read the arrest warrant aloud. He demanded that the Halderman brothers come out peaceably.

When it seemed as though the two young men were going to surrender without resisting, Constable Ainsworth suggested that they finish eating breakfast before leaving, He advised them to pack some of their belongings for staying a few days in Pearce.

Some say that while inside the house, it became very evident to the Haldermans that Moore intended to do them harm instead of taking them to jail. So with that, the brothers armed themselves. And instead of going along peaceably, they reappeared at the two front doors of the house which were located at each end of the porch.

The Haldermans had only one rifle of their own and William armed himself with it. His brother Thomas took Mr. Wilson's rifle to use against the lawman and Moore. According to the Haldermans, as soon as they were seen with weapons in hand, both Ainsworth and Moore drew their side arms and began shooting into the house.

William responded by firing back. After emptying his weapon, he ran across the porch to his shocked brother to take up his rifle and continue shooting at Moore. Unfortunately, it was during this time that Ainsworth was shot off his horse and killed. Some say that he was struck in the heart and died almost instantly.

William later claimed that the death of Ainsworth was an accident and even said that he might have been killed by Moore. After Constable Chester Ainsworth fell dead off his horse, Teddy Moore turned his horse attempted to ride away as fast as he could. But it's said that he only went less than 100 yards when William Halderman fired again. That bullet struck young Moore in the bowels, but not off his horse.

Teddy Moore was mortally wounded when the Halderman brothers decided to flee to New Mexico. And believe it or not, though shot and dying, young 18 year old Teddy Moore was able to return home to the Moore Ranch. It's said that it was there where he actually bled to death in his mother's arms.

And even though that was the case, before he died, Teddy Moore was able to tell his family what had happened. Death-bed statements being what they are, and since he said that it was the Haldermans who fired on them first, everyone took his last words as truthful eyewitness testimony.

The following appeared in the newspaper the Pacific Reporter, Volume 60:

"It appears from the record that on April 6, 1899, a complaint was lodged before W. [William] M. Monmonier, a justice of the peace for the precinct of Pearce, Cochise county, charging the Haldermans with having unlawfully killed cattle. A warrant was issued by the justice upon this complaint, and placed in the hands of one C. [Chester] L. Ainsworth, constable of the precinct, and a deputy sheriff [Teddy Moore] of the county....

They then went to the house of a neighbor by the name of [John W.] Wilson, where they found the defendants. Ainsworth and Moore rode to the front of the Wilson house, dismounted from their horses, and called the Haldermans out, where upon Ainsworth read his warrant of arrest to them. Both Haldermans expressed a willingness to go with the officer, but before starting, upon suggestion of the latter [Ainsworth], went into the house to get their breakfast.

While they were inside, Ainsworth called to them, and told them, as they might be detained at Pierce [Pearce] for two or three days, to take with them such articles of wearing apparel [clothing] as they might need. Soon after, the Haldermans appeared, one at each of the two front doors of the house, armed with rifles, and at once opened fire, instantly killing Ainsworth, and mortally wounding Moore. As to the facts above stated, there is no substantial conflict in the evidence.

The testimony of the witness for the prosecution, supported by the dying declaration of Moore, as to the circumstances of the shooting, is to the effect that at the time the Haldermans appeared at the doors, Ainsworth and Moore were both mounted, and a short distance from the house; that the Haldermans, as soon as they appeared, called to Ainsworth and Moore to hold up their hands, but without waiting, at once fired; that Ainsworth immediately fell from his horse, shot through the heart; that Moore turned his horse, and started off, but was shot through the bowels as he rode away; that after the shooting the Haldermans immediately fled.

The story, as told by the defendants, was that between themselves and Moore had existed a deadly enmity; that, after the warrant had been read, they asked the constable how they were to be taken to Pierce; that they were then told that they would have to walk down to a neighboring ranch, where there was a conveyance of some sort; that; fearing that Moore might on some pretext seek occasion on the way down to the ranch to do them [the Halderman brothers] harm, they concluded while in the house to take their rifles with them; that, as soon as they appeared at the front of the house, Moore pulled his gun and fired; that William Halderman at once returned the fire, and continued shooting until he had emptied his gun, and, as Moore continued to shoot, he then ran to the other door, where his brother Thomas Halderman stood, and, seizing the latter's gun, fired again at Moore, but by accident killed Ainsworth; that, fearing [lynch] mob violence at the hands of the friends of Ainsworth, the two then left the country”.

-- end of article.

Cochise County Sheriff Scott White offered a $50 reward for the arrest and conviction of the Halderman brothers on the day after the shooting. Soon reward posters began circulating to lawmen throughout Arizona. Of course, in 1899, $50 was more than a cowboy made in a month. So no, it's not hard to understand how fast information started coming in.

The Haldermans were captured by Deputy Sid Mullen on April 12th while they were camped just across the border of New Mexico just East of the town of Duncan. They were first held in the jail at Pearce, and then were later transferred to Tombstone for their trial. 

All in all, it didn't take a jury long to decide on their fate. In fact a jury found the Haldermans guilty, and convicted them of first-degree murder on June 11th. They were sentenced to hang on August 10th, 1900.

Because Constable Chester Ainsworth was so liked by the folks there, there was a great deal of anger directed at the Halderman brothers even though a witness had testified that Teddy Moore had threatened both of the Haldermans before agreeing to help Constable Ainsworth.

The Halderman family was trying its best to influence the court's decision while awaiting the execution date. During that time, the Halderman family attempted to gather evidence to support their claim that the allegations of cattle rustling were fake and that the shootout was because of a feud between Teddy Moore. They asserted that it had nothing to do with cattle stealing since no stolen cattle were ever produced. And while all of their efforts were well intentioned, all in all, all they were able to achieve was a delay of the eventual execution.

The Haldermans claimed that Moore was responsible for the stealing and killing the cattle. They also claimed that Moore was trying to frame them so he could then be free to court Rena Wilson.

The Halderman family sent in an appeal in the Governor, but the application was sent directly to President McKinley because Governor Nathan O. Murphy was out of state at the time. President McKinley granted them a stay of execution until October 5th, 1900, so that they could gather more evidence for their defense.

When Governor Murphy returned from out of state, he extended their stay. But then when the Haldermans' could not produce any further evidence, the date of execution was set for November 16th, 1900.

It should be noted that initially, right after the shooting, the Wilson sisters substantiated Terry Moore deathbed claims. Supposedly they did so because their father, in fear of what his neighbors would do if the brothers were released, threatened to punish them if they did otherwise.

It's true, Wilson's daughters had sworn an affidavit that one of the arresting party had fired the first shot but their father had ordered the girls to testify to the contrary. Johnny Wilson, a son, witnessed the whole affair according to William but was not allowed to appear in court.

All in all, no evidence was introduced to convict Thomas Halderman. There was no testimony heard to convict Thomas. Fact is that the jury simply included him in the verdict, even though one juror admitted the jury did not fully understand the court's instructions.

Buck Smith later came into evidence that Teddy Moore was the one who had killed his cattle and that Moore wanted the brothers to take the blame. None of any of that mattered, There was simply no avoiding the hangman.

It was only after the Haldermans were sentenced to death that the Wilson sisters finally came forward and told the truth about what they had witnessed. It made no difference though. The Halderman family claimed that the trial was rigged and unfair. Especially since the prosecutor was none other than Arizona Attorney General Charles L. Ainsworth, who was Chester Ainsworth's brother. And also, the defense plea for a change of venue was denied. Some say that was because the jury wanted t hang the brothers before the trail started.

And yes, make no mistake about it, justice was swift. Back then there was none of the modern non-sense that takes place today where a convicted murderer can sit on Death Row until he dies of old age and natural causes. The shootout took place on April 7th, 1899, and they were captured shortly afterwards on April 12th. Within two months, by June 11th, they were convicted and ordered to hang on August 10th, 1899. Because of delays, the order to execute them was moved to November 16th, 1900, And yes, the execution was carried out on November 16th as ordered.

Although only 100 invitations were sent out, it's said that a large crowd gathered to witness the hanging. It's also said that those who couldn't be near the gallows actually watched from the windows of the Cochise County Courthouse.

Unlike many hangings where the person being hanged cries and squirms or faints, it's said that both of the brothers met their end as brave as could ever be expected. In fact, it's said that when the younger brother Thomas Halderman walked out of the jail, he said, "Hello Hombres! The sun's hot, ain't it?"

After climbing up the scaffold, older brother William is supposed to have said: "Nice looking crowd. Some of you fellers are shaking already." Then, as he turned to his brother, William was reported as to have said, "Those people look alright." And believe it or not, right after that Thomas actually placed his noose around his own neck. If you think that sounds strange, while Sheriff White read the execution order to the public in attendance, William Halderman talked with a deputy by the name of Bravin.

So imagine the scene, the Sheriff is reading the death warrant, William is chatting with a deputy while his younger brother Thomas puts his own hangman's noose around his own neck. Sounds almost insane!

When Sheriff White was finished, he finally got around to asking the Halderman brothers if they wanted to say any last words. With that William responded, "I have nothing to say and guess it would not do any good anyway. I forgive you all and hope you will forgive me."

Then after saying what he needed to say, William asked for a prayer to be read. With that Reverend Alexander Elliott stepped forward to help William with a prayer. After that black hoods were placed over their heads. And yes, it was reported that in unison the brother's called out, "Good-bye boys! Pray for us."

The trap door under their feet opened at 12:40 p.m.. It was reported that a full thirteen minutes passed when Thomas was pronounced dead. His older bother William died two minutes later. The doctor at the execution reported that Thomas had died of a broken neck. He reported that William's death was caused by "the violent shock, compression of a vital nerve, and by strangulation."

The Halderman brothers were buried together in Tombstone's Boothill Graveyard. And as for some of the witnesses, Rena Wilson later committed suicide because of her involvement in the case. Then in 1913, her sister Mary was placed in an insane asylum by her brother Tol.

As for Tol Wilson, he was killed shortly after that in what became known as the Cottonwood Canyon Murder. That was when on June 16th, 1913, Luther Price murdered his best friend Tol Wilson while they were camping in Cottonwood Canyon.

The story on that says that Price struck Wilson over the head with a pistol. After that Price threw Wilson down a 150 foot deep well. Price was arrested and sent to the state prison but he and two other prisoners escaped from a work-crew on May 23rd, 1917.

Price and the other two fled to Mexico, but Price contracted smallpox there. He then returned to his family's ranch in the Chiricahuas. Because he needed a doctor pretty badly, Luther Price turned himself in and was returned to prison where he died.

As for the gallows in Tombstone where the Halderman brothers were hanged? Well, on January 25th, 1912, The Tucson Citizen published the following article:

TOMBSTONE - The historic scaffold which has been stored in the county courtyard adjoining the courthouse is no more. The last of it was cut up to furnish kindling for the fire of the county jail. The scaffold was built in the early part of the year 1884 by C.J. Ulmer, who at present is a resident of Yuma. It was ordered built by the board of supervisors for the purpose of the hanging of the five Bisbee murderers and was built so as to accomodate them all at once.

It was used on the 27th of March, 1884, at which time Dan Dowd, James Delaney, Tex Howard, Red Sample and J. Kely were hung, the trap being sprung by Sheriff Ward.

It was then stored away and kept until Nov. 16, 1900, when it was erected under the direction of Sheriff Scott White and was used for the execution of William and Thomas Halderman, who were convicted of the murder of Constable Ainsworth in the Swisshelm mountains the month of June 1899.

The scaffold was erected twice for service since that time but was never used.

-- end article.

Today, a replica of the gallows that were used for the hanging of the Halderman brothers is on display at the Tombstone Courthouse State Historic Park. The Old Cochise County Courthouse has also been restored so that it appears as it did in 1900 during the Haldermans' trial.

What became known as the "Shootout at Wilson Ranch" or "The Wilson Ranch Shootout", resulted in the final and most famous hanging in the history of Tombstone, Arizona.

Tom Correa



Monday, October 9, 2017

The Mountain Meadows Massacre 1857


For folks who like exploring America, the site of the Mountain Meadows Massacre sits just off of Highway 18 about 32 miles North of St. George, Utah. It is about 150 miles from Las Vegas, Nevada. To get there simply follow Interstate 15 North for about 120 miles to St. George. Exit at Bluff Street. Turn left to reach Highway 18 which parallels a part of the historic Old Spanish Trail. Head North through Veyo and go on past the Pine Valley turnoff. The turnoff to the massacre site is well-marked and sits on the left side of the highway. 

Since it's always great to know what took place in the areas we decide to explore, let's talk about what happened at Mountain Meadows.

From September 7th to the 11th of 1857, members of the Utah Territorial Militia from Iron County, along with a few Paiute Indians, attacked the Baker-Fancher wagon train at Mountain Meadows in southern Utah. Some refer to the group as the Fancher-Baker wagon train. It was a slaughter of what most agree was 140 emigrants from Arkansas who were on their way to California. That senseless slaughter of innocents became known as "The Mountain Meadows Massacre."

The Utah Territorial Militia, which was officially known as the "Nauvoo Legion," was made up of Southern Utah Mormon settlers. And since they knew perfectly well that their crime of mass murder was one so horrid in nature that they would certainly be hanged for their horrible deeds, they decided to leave no witnesses. So in an effort to prevent anyone from identifying those responsible and to stop the possibility of any sort of reprisals against them, they killed men, women, and children.

Yes, they killers mercilessly killed every adult man and woman, as well as the older children. Out of those attacked, only 17 very young children, all said to be under the age of 6 were spared. And to confuse and deceive their victims, the Utah Militia dressed as Indians and used some Native American weapons to give the impression that the massacre was done by Indians. The militia's plan also included arming a few Paiute, then get them join the militiamen who were dressed as Indians. 

The Baker-Fancher wagon train was no different than other wagon trains heading West. Their wagon train was primarily made up of families from Arkansas, all bound for California. The pioneers were folks from Marion, Crawford, Carroll, and Johnson counties in Arkansas. They were headed to Southern California. Aboard the wagons was their lives, family treasures, memories of where they came from, and of course whatever money they had.

The party was made up of a dozen large and prosperous families and their hired hands. No slaves were in the party to anyone's knowledge. The wagon train is believed to have had up to 30 wagons all pulled by ox and mule teams. They also brought several hundred head of cattle and a number of blooded horses with them. Some reports say they were headed to California’s Central Valley while others say they were headed to Southern California. Either way, the group consisted of about 140 men, women and children. The women and children are said to have outnumbered the adult men by 3 to 1.

The wagons made their way through a route that crossed the Utah Territory. And soon, the Baker-Fancher group made their way to Salt Lake City. There they were confronted with Mormons who were not very happy to see them. Basically because of their hostility and distrust for anyone from the outside, Mormons refused to sell the Baker-Fancher group stock when they tried to buy fresh oxen and mules. Because of that taking place, the folks in that wagon train knew full well that their journey was made harder. So they left Salt Lake City as soon as they could and made their way South through the Old Spanish Trail.

While they traveled slower than they normally would have with fresh oxen and mules, they decided to rest and allow their cattle to graze at Mountain Meadows. It was an area that had good pasture and water. Mountain Meadows is considered an alpine oasis on the Old Spanish Trail between Salt Lake City and Southern California. It was there that the Mormon Militia attacked them for no apparent reason. 

On Monday, September 7th, at dawn, the Utah Territorial Militia, also known as the "Nauvoo Legion," with it's 70 Mormons and handful of Paiute Indians, attacked the wagon train with a barrage of gunfire and arrows. The Utah militiamen were firing their arrows from a nearby ravine. They used gunfire to rain down on the wagons from hilltops overlooking the 30 wagons. The first volley alone is said to have killed or wounded a quarter of the men.

And though that was the case, the men in the wagon train are said to have leveled their long rifles and fired at the smoke of their attackers. This stopped the Utah Militia from making a full on frontal assault.

With the first attack, the Arkansans pulled their wagons into a circle and quickly built an improvised wagon fort including digging a pit to get their women and children out of the line of fire. Of course besides being under assault from what they assumed were hostile Indians, they were cut off from water.

Rationing water and saving as much ammunition as possible while under continuous gunfire and an assault from arrows, the Arkansas emigrants did in fact stave off their attackers for five days. And yes, it's said that they the Utah Militia attacked the wagon train time and time again but were repealed by the emigrants after each assault.

While a desire to live and persevere motivated those in the wagon train, frustration was being felt by the Utah Militia who soon realized that they were simply not able to wipe out the wagon train as they planned. For the Mormon Militia, their five-day siege of the pioneers from Arkansas was seen as fruitless since those in the wagon train fought back so valiantly. 

It is said that it was on the second day of their siege that Mormon Militia's leadership realized that some of the Arkansas emigrants saw that they were Whites and not Indians. Some speculate that it was their knowledge of being discovered for who they really were, and the possibility that some of their militia may be identified at a later date, that made the militia's commander to order the killing of every emigrant in that wagon train. Yes, every men, women, and child.

Because the wagon train was running low on food and water, and since no one thought they would need enough provisions to last out a siege, the folks in the wagon train met with the Utah Militia under a white flag of truce. The Utah Militia gave assurance to the travelers that were there to protect them. That they were there to escort them to safety. But, there was one stipulation. The folks from Arkansas had to lay down their arms.

As crazy as it sounds, knowing that they would be unarmed against hostiles, those in the wagon train accepted the help. They were split into groups and walked a distance from the camp before they were all summarily slaughtered. All who were thought old enough to be potential witnesses to what really took place were killed.

It's true, on Friday, September 11th, 1857, two Mormon militiamen walked up to the wagon train holding a white flag of truce. They assured the folks from Arkansas that they were there to help. The two were soon accompanied by a local Indian Agent and militia officer who told the Arkansas travelers that he had personally negotiated some sort of truce with the Paiutes. He told the Arkansans that he and his men had come to rescue them from the Indians. If the emigrants would lay down their arms, then he assured them that they would be escorted to safety under Mormon protection. But only if they laid down their arms and turned over all of their livestock and supplies to the Indians.

Because the folks from Arkansas were out of options, they did as instructed. Right after that the Mormons separated the survivors into three groups. The wounded and youngest children were the first to be loaded onto two wagons to lead the way to safety. The second were the women and older children who walked behind the wagons. The third group were the men. Each of them were escorted by an armed guard from the militia. They brought up the rear.

The Indian Agent led the groups away from their wagons for what some say was more than a mile to the California Trail and right there at the rim of the Great Basin. It was there that a senior Mormon militia officer escorting the men gave the order to halt.

With that, a single shot rang out. Then each escort turned and shot the man he was escorting. Other militia members are said to have jumped out of the brush lining the trail and cut down the women and children. The Indian Agent himself is said to have personally directed the murder of the wounded.

Within a mere five minutes, the horrible atrocity was over. Everyone from the wagon train lay dead. That is except for what some believe were 17 children all under the age of 7.

Surprisingly, killers saw those children as being too young to be credible witnesses. They were also said to have "qualified" as "innocent blood" under Mormon doctrine. Those children were actually taken in by local Mormon families. Reports say that in an effort to conceal the massacre, the Utah Militia ordered local families to take in one or more of the 17 children that were spared.

After the massacre, believe it or not, the Utah Militia actually buried the victims in shallow graves. If you're thinking that this would not look like an Indian massacre, you're right. And since they did bury them in a hurry, the bodies of their victims were left vulnerable to critters searching for food. That means that they were probably unearthed enough for investigators to examine. The bodies were found and the evidence overwhelmingly pointed to murder. And since Indians did not bury their victims, people there knew it was not them.

The goods and family treasures that survived the trip from Arkansas to that deadly spot in Utah was said to have been auctioned off by the militia itself. In reality, after the massacre, some of the property was said to have been taken by the Paiute. But since the wagon train carried all of the worldly goods of those murdered, and was considered the wealthiest wagon train to make that trek, their valuables and of course their cattle were taken by the Mormon Militia and split up among them. Some of the cash and property is said to have ended up in the pockets of Mormon leader Brigham Young. To me, that sounds a lot like a murder robbery than simple vengeance for some reason.

As for the cattle, it's believed that some of the cattle were driven to Salt Lake City and sold there. Much of what was left was personal property, those things are believed to have ended up in the "tithing house" in Cedar City. It is believed that those things were also auctioned off to Mormons there. Imagine that.

The officers in charge made the Utah Militia swear an oath of secrecy. Then a plan was put into play that would blame the entire massacre on the Paiute Indians. And though that was the official line about what took place there, as the evidence inevitably came out, those guilty tried to explain it away with lies and even denying that it ever took place. And yes, it's also said that some of the killers actually went insane and tried killing themselves. Other Utah Militia members are said to have fled to Mexico one step ahead of the hangman. Or more aptly for Utah, one step ahead of a firing squad.

In 1874, investigations led to nine Utah Militia officers and the Indian Agent John D. Lee being indicted. Of the men indicted, only Lee was tried in court. After two trials in the Utah Territory, Lee was finally convicted by a jury and sentenced to death by firing squad. It should be noted that he made a full confession without implicating others before being executed.

On March 23rd, 1877, Indian Agent John D. Lee was executed by firing squad for what took place at Mountain Meadows. He is regarded today as a scapegoat.

Later the U.S. Army reclaimed 17 of the children and returned to relatives in Arkansas. Those children never received a penny in compensation. was ever offered to the survivors. For many living descendants and relatives of the victims, it's said that the massacre remains a bitter reminder of the injustice that was experienced by some in the Old West.

And there is something else, sadly those who were killed have been slandered over the years in one way or another. Some have actually said that the Mountain Meadows Massacre was a reprisal for the killing of some Mormon in Arkansas about the same time. Others say those folks in the wagon train were criminal types who left Arkansas on the run. Many fabricate such stories in an effort to make excuses for such a crime against humanity. We should be aware of that when researching history.

As for the motive? Some say it was because of the Utah War against Federal troops entering Utah from 1857 to 1858. The Utah Militia reportedly used tactics such as destroying supplies while avoided direct fighting. It's also reported that commanders and members of the Iron County Utah Territorial Militia, were overcome with suspicion and war hysteria when they massacred the Baker-Fancher wagon train.

While Mormons were the majority in the Great Salt Lake basin, the Western part of the Utah Territory was populated by non-Mormon settlers. This led to a great deal of hate and discontent for those not of their faith because the Mormons saw their arrival as an encroachment on Mormon territory. And while that may have been the motive for the massacre, it's also possible that the Utah Militia used their sanctioned authority to simply murder and rob those traveling through their territory.

This tragedy is a great example of the plight of pioneers headed West. It points to the challenges and dangers that they had to endure at the time.

Best Regards,
Tom Correa


Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Mass Shootings Have Long History


As we all know, on Sunday, October 1st, concert-goers in Las Vegas, Nevada, came under attack by a ruthless killer intent on slaughtering as many innocent people as possible.  The killer opened fire from a 32nd floor hotel room at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Casino. His target was a crowd of 22,000 concert-goers 400 yards below attending the Route 91 Harvest festival, a country music festival. 

His rampage lasted a little over 15 minutes. Sunday's mass shooting left 59 people dead and 527 injured or wounded. It panicked concert-goers who tried to take cover while being completely unaware at first of where the gunfire was coming from. No one suspected a room on the 32nd floor of a nearby hotel where the killer could just rain down fire.

The Las Vegas Police SWAT broke into the killer's room and found Stephen Paddock dead by suicide. This horrific tragedy is now considered the deadliest mass shootings in modern American history. 

As for motive, the big question as to why Paddock did it? No one knows. And frankly, I don't think anyone ever will. No, it's not like the Orlando, Florida, mass shooting where we know that it was a Muslim terrorist attack targeting gays. 

In Orlando, Florida, on June 12th, 2016, 49 people were killed and 58 were wounded. Muslim terrorist Omar Mateen walked into the Pulse nightclub as the club was hosting a "Latin Night." before he was killed by Orlando police.  The Pulse is a gay nightclub in Orlando, and many of the victims were Latino.

During the shooting, Omar Mateen called the Orlando Police to swear allegiance to the ISIS. It is the  deadliest act of Muslim terror in the United States since September 11th, 2001.

On April 16th, 2007, Virginia Tech University, South Korean-born Seung-Hui Cho, a senior at the school, killed more than 30 students and 2 instructors. In two separate attacks about two hours apart, he killed 32 people, and wounded 17 more before committing suicide.

The 2007 mass shooting on Virginia Tech University's campus remains the deadliest school shooting in United States history. Yes, considered worse because of the numbers of innocent people killed than what took on December 14th, 2012, at Sandy Hook Elementary School where 26 people were killed and 2 were wounded.

Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, saw killer Adam Lanza enter the secured school and killed 26 people inside the school. Twenty students between the ages of 6 and 7, and six teachers were killed in a shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Minutes before he went to the school, the 20-year-old Adam Lanza murdered his mother at their home using her rifle. Adam Lanza committed suicide when the police arrived at the school.

In Killeen, Texas, on October 16th, 1991, George Hennard drove his pickup truck through the glass front window of a Luby's restaurant. He then began shooting patrons and staff inside.  All toll, 23 people were killed and 27 people were wounded before he finally shot himself dead. 

On July 18th, 1984, James Huberty shot 40 people at a McDonald's restaurant in the San Ysidro district of San Diego, California. Among those that the 41 year old Huberty murdered was an 8 month old little boy and a 9 year old girl. Among those he wounded was a 4 month old baby girl.

Before he went out to commit mass murder, according to the New York Daily News, he told his wife, "I'm going hunting. Hunting for humans." His shooting spree was ended when Huberty was shot and killed by a San Diego SWAT Team sniper positioned on a nearby roof. He killed 21 adults and children while wounding 19 others. 

Back on August 1st, 1966, the University of Texas-Austin, saw a sniper on the observation deck of the University of Texas's main building, known as the Tower, shot dozens of people. 

In that mass shooting, local police actually got assistance from Texas students who used their own hunting rifles to try to pick off the shooter. All toll 15 died and 31 others were wounded. But what many do not realize is this, those students who used their rifles to put pressure on that sniper in the Tower actually minimized the number of people killed that day. 

The shooting lasted a little more than 90 minutes. It ended when police officers were finally able to storm the Tower and shoot the killer dead.

On December 2nd, 2015, another mass shooting that was a Muslim terrorist attack took place when married couple Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik opened fire on unsuspecting folks inside the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California. 

Besides shooting everyone they could inside the building, the couple also planted three homemade pipe bombs in the building. Happily, they failed to detonate. All toll, they killed 14 innocent people while wounding another 22 wounded before the couple fled the scene and were killed by police. 

On August 20th, 1986, a part-time mail carrier by the name of Patrick Sherrill shot 20 fellow postal workers at the US Post Office in Edmond, Oklahoma. The attack ended when Sherrill fatally shot himself in the head. This was the first of a number of shooting involving postal workers between 1986 and 1999. This killing of 14 people and wounding 6 others, inspired the expression "going postal."

Another mass shooting that was a Muslim terrorist attack took place at Ford Hood, an U.S. Army base near Killeen, Texas. That Muslim terrorist attack on November 5th, 2009, left 13 people dead and 30 wounded.

It all took place with Nidal Hasan, a U.S. Army major and psychiatrist became a Muslim terrorist, and decided to wage "jihad" on his fellow American soldiers. It is the deadliest mass shooting to take place on a U.S. military base. As for Nidal Hasan, he was sentenced to death in 2013 and remains in prison to this day.

Five years later, in 2014, Fort Hood was the site of another shooting spree which left three people dead and 14 wounded.

Below is an article that you may find interesting. I did. 

Mass Shootings Have Long History

By Rossella Lorenzi 

Senior Correspondent — Discovery News
December 20th, 2012

He came along with a shotgun on his shoulder while a group of children were playing in front of the school. Without warning or provocation, he raised the gun to his shoulder, took deliberate aim, and fired into the crowd of boys.

Although it sounds sadly modern, the account was published in the New York Times more than a century ago.

Dated April 10, 1891, the article described an elderly man firing a shotgun at children playing in front of St. Mary's Parochial School in Newburgh, NY.

"None of the children were killed, but several were well filled with lead," the report said.

More than a century earlier, on July 26, 1764, a teacher and 10 students were shot dead by four Lenape American Indians in Greencastle, Pennsylvania, in what is considered the earliest known U.S. mass school shooting.

Indeed, killing or trying to kill a mass of people is not a modern phenomenon. For as long as there has been history, there have been gruesome mass murders.

"The terms amok, a Malayan word, and berserk, a Norse word, have been used to describe individuals going on killing sprees. Both terms have been around for centuries, which reflects the fact that mass murder is neither a modern nor a uniquely American phenomenon," Grant Duwe, director of research at the Minnesota Department of Corrections, told Discovery News.

Defined as bloody events that occur within a 24-hour period and that involve a minimum of four victims, mass murders have occurred all over the world, in different times, societies and cultures.

Some of the earliest recorded cases include the 1893 killing with guns and swords of 11 people (including an infant) in Osaka, Japan, the 1914 shooting of 7 people in the Italian village of Camerata Cornello, not to mention the case of German spree killer Ernst August Wagner.

In 1913, he stabbed to death his wife and four children in Degerloch, near Stuttgart, then drove to Mühlhausen an der Enz where he opened fire on 20 people, killing at least nine, leaving two animals dead and several buildings burned to the ground.

In 1927, South African farmer Stephanus Swart shot dead at least 8 people and injured 3 others in Charlestown, South Africa, before committing suicide.

In 1938 almost half of the population of the rural village of Kaio, near Tsuyama city in Japan, was murdered as 21-year-old Mutsuo Toi killed 30 people with a shotgun, sword and axe, injured three others and then shot himself to death.

Between 1954 and 1957, William Unek murdered a total of 57 people in two separate spree killings in the Belgian Congo.

He first killed 21 people with an axe, then shot dead ten men, eight women and eight children, slaughtered six more men with the axe, burned two women and a child, and strangled a 15-year-old girl.

More recently in the bloody timeline of shooting sprees, some of the most dramatic incidents include the 1987 Hungerford massacre in England, where gun enthusiast Michael Ryan shot 16 people dead and wounded another 15 before committing suicide, the 1996 Port Arthur massacre in Australia, where 28 year old Martin Bryant killed 35 people and wounded 21 before being caught by police, and the 1996 school shooting in the Scottish town of Dunblane.

There, failed shopkeeper Thomas Hamilton opened fire at a primary school, killing 16 children and a teacher before turning his gun on his mouth.

"I could have been one of those children," tennis player Andy Murray wrote in his autobiography, "Hitting Back."

Britain's highest ranked player, Murray was eight when Hamilton burst into the school and began shooting. He and his 10-year-old brother Jamie escaped the fire by hiding under a desk.

In the United States, two mass murder waves characterized the 20th century. One appeared in the 1920s and 30s and another in the mid-1960s, following a tranquil period in the 1940s and 50s.

The two waves, however, were qualitatively different, according to Duwe.

The author of "Mass Murder in the United States: A History," Duwe researched 909 cases of mass killing that occurred in the United States between 1900 and 1999.

"The first mass murder wave in the 1920s and 30s was comprised mainly of familicides and felony-related massacres, which, then as now, are less likely to garner extensive media coverage," Duwe said.

On the contrary, the second mass murder wave from the mid-1960s through the mid-1990s consisted of a greater number of mass public shootings, similar to the recent Aurora movie theater shooting and Newtown school shooting.

These incidents "have always captured a great deal of interest and concern," Duwe said.

Marked by the 1966 Texas Tower shootings where student Charles Whitman climbed a 27-story tower on the University of Texas campus shooting dead 14 people and wounding 31 others, the mid-1960s do not actually represent the beginning of an unprecedented mass murder wave in the United States.

"Since 1900, the highest mass murder rate was in 1929. Mass public shootings are one of several types of mass murder and generally account for roughly 10-15 percent of all mass killings in the U.S.," Duwe said.

According to the criminologists, the 1990s had the highest number of mass public shootings with a little more than 40 -- an average of a little more than 4 each year. The number of mass public shootings dropped below 30 in the years between 2000 and 2009.

"This year, however, the U.S. has had at least seven mass public shootings, which is the highest number since 1999," Duwe said.

-- end of article.

Rossella Lorenzi is the archaeology correspondent for Discovery News. She lives in Florence, Italy, and she says she divides her time among an 18th-century Florentine house, virtual archaeological digs, and travels to report on new historical discoveries. She writes for Discovery News, Fox News, CBS News, Yahoo, Scientific American, HuffPost, Mashable, LiveScience, and Archaeology Magazine.

Her article points to the fact that mass shootings happen all over the world. The perpetrators are of every race and color. Contrary to what some on the Left are now saying after the Las Vegas Massacre, these acts are not committed only by White men. Mass shootings are not just an American problem, contrary to what some in the Media are now saying.

As for what made Paddock do it? This tragedy has no rhyme or reason to it. And frankly, people can guess and wonder and speculate until the cows come home, but I don't think we'll ever really understand what drove him to do it. We will never really understand the premeditation, the deliberate act of planning such an attack, and the big question as to why people like Paddock do what they do when it's pure evil. 

Just as no one knows why some folks are so consumed with hate for President Trump, Republicans, and Conservatives, that such a person will shoot up a baseball game between Congressmen, I believe that no one will ever truly understand how someone is so consumed with evil that they would want to rain gunfire on innocent country music concert-goers. And while some in the mainstream media are trying to say that mass shootings only take place in the United States, please don't believe that. That's just a lie.

Tom Correa

Monday, October 2, 2017

The NFL Is A Disgrace


As we all have found out last year, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick hates America. He proved that to everyone when he refused to stand and give proper respect to our flag and our nation during the playing of "The Star-Spangled Banner"when he was being paid millions of dollars to play football. 

He said his kneeling during our National Anthem was his way bringing attention to what he called social injustice toward Black Americans. Specifically, his protest was in line with the Black Lives Matter propaganda that says America's law enforcement purposely mistreats Blacks because of their race. 

Of course he never mentioned weather those trying to kill a police officer were shot and killed BECAUSE they were trying to kill a police officer. Then again maybe he was too stupid or simply too ignorant to understand the reality of the world we live in. Maybe he is either too dumb or too naive to understand the basics of our civilization. Maybe he it to out of touch with reality because of his being pampered in life. Maybe he is to out of touch because he made millions of dollars while playing a game. Maybe he is incapable of understanding that when one breaks the law, there are consequences no matter what height, weight, sex, color, or race you are. 

This year, a great number of NFL players have picked up where Kaepernick left off. This year, it is believed that 1 in 8 NFL players disrespectfully kneels instead of stands respectfully when America's National Anthem has been played in stadiums across our country.

And yes, as I see it, those who are kneeling are proving to the world that they are truly classless ingrates, nothing but a bunch of spoiled millionaires who would probably have nothing if it weren't for the opportunities that our great nation as afforded them.

They are probably too dumb to understand that they have reached the pinnacle of their sport here in America and would never been able to do such a thing in any other nation but America. Yes, if for any other reason the simple fact that we are the only nation that plays football. They were given the opportunity to strive to be the best and become professionals at what they do. They were given that chance here, yet they don't have the smallest bit of class to stand during our National Anthem as say "Thanks." Yes, ingrates. Nothing but ingrates.

During a speech at a rally in Alabama on September 22nd, President Trump called for NFL owners to fire their players if they engaged in such disrespectful conduct. Challenging the NFL owners, he told the crowd at the rally, "Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!'"

Frankly, when I heard President Trump say that, I felt he was talking to me. I would love to see one of the NFL owners say, "Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. He's fired" when they see a player disrespecting our flag,

Yes, a large number of polls show that the vast majority of Americans believe the NFL player protest as being done by a bunch of ingrates, believe that the players as nothing but a bunch of pampered millionaires, beleive that they are only doing this because they are a bunch of no class wealthy ungrateful jocks who are catered to by the NFL. And yes, a vast majority of Americans believe like I do in that President Trump was speaking for all of us when he said "Get that son of a bitch off the field right now" if an owner sees one of his players disrespecting our flag. 

Predictably, in the days that followed that rally, President Trump was hammered by the Liberal Media for using such language even thought they themselves have used worse language to describe how they view President Trump on any given day. And yes, this is the same Liberal Media who raved about how wonderful it was when Barack Obama invited the hate group Black Lives Matter to the White House even after knowing that they had committed racist hate crimes by beating and killing White and Hispanic Americans.

There is no difference between the NFL and ANTIFA because they both HATE America.  

I believe that those NFL players who are kneeling are no different than ANTIFA, and other hate groups such as Occupy Wall Street and Black Lives Matter which are sponsored by the Democrat Party. And yes, the Liberal Media is really no different than those ingrates that are kneeling during our National Anthem. Their common denominator is their hate for America. 

What amazes me is how the NFL thinks that they are representing America and that OK with Americans? They don't represent America in the exact same way that ANTIFA, Black Lives Matter, and the Democrat Party doesn't represent America today. And no, it's not OK with Americans. Liberals sure, but not real Americans.

If the NFL players want to do something constructive, then maybe, just maybe, they'd have the cojones to take on the real issues plaguing Black Americans? Yes, not take a knee during our National Anthem to protest cops, but show that they have what it takes to speak to the real issues such as Black on Black crime which is an epidemic today. 

Talk about how more Black Americans are slaughtered by other Blacks than the cops, Whites, Hispanics, Asians, anyone else that one can name. Talk about how 16% of the American population which is made of Blacks is responsible for 54% of all homicides in America. Talk about how Blacks murder Blacks to such an extent that Blacks are responsible for 97% of all Black homicides. 


If anything, why don't these self-righteous NFL players use their wealth to speak to the Black Community as a whole about the problems that plague them?

Why no talk to their fellow Blacks about the soaring abortion rate of Black Americans, the out of this world incarceration rate of Blacks, the out of sight crime rate among Black teens, the increasing number of Black dead-beat dads? Why not talk about Blacks who use race as a way to benefit their bank accounts while stirring divisiveness and contempt? 

Why aren't these disgraceful NFL players addressing the need for the police, or how to better cooperate with the police? Why not figure out ways of working with the police instead of protesting the police? Why not take a hard look at what fighting the police has gotten them?

As a result of 8 years of Barack Obama trying to divide America by race, Americans are more divided by race than we have been in the last 40 years. As for what effect the Black Community's open hatred of the police has had on their lives, the police are patrolling Black neighborhoods less than ever. Subsequently, crime in the Black Community is higher today than it's been in 10 years.

Why are the police patrolling Black neighborhoods less? For one thing, police have very little support in the Black Community. The Black Community has demonized the police to such an extent that the police rightfully fear lawsuits, ruined careers, terminations, being placed in no win situations, and even facing the possibility of being arrested for not conforming to political correctness which rules most big American cities because of Democrat mayors. 

Of course many departments face the problem of having their enforcement methods questioned by Liberal city administrators and the Black Community in general. And the irony of all of this is that the police are in a no win situation as never before. City administrations and the Black Community screams when the police are doing their jobs and when the police withdraw and play it safe. 

Yes, I know a few police officers who have written saying that using deadly force to safe their own lives can be the end of their career and their families financial security. One officer wrote to say, he now carries insurances to protect himself from his own department, his city administrators, the Black Community's legion of lawyers, the Federal and State governments. He said that most officers are feeling hampered and can't do their job to such an extent that they have decided patrol other sections of their cities and let the Black Community police themselves. Yes, that sounds like a no win situation. 

So are ingrate NFL players trying to help out and maybe make a bad situation better? No. Instead the NFL is now inspiring Black teens and small children to do the same as they do. Around the country there are a number of school football programs that have been cancelled simply because there are coaches who approve of children want to emulate the disgraceful actions of their NFL heroes. 

While the NFL is teaching a whole new generation to disrespect American traditions, our National Anthem, and our flag, the NFL and its disrespectful players are not completely getting away with this scott free. They are now realizing that actions have consequences. 

For example, DirectTV announced that it would break its own rules and allow outraged fans to cancel their sports package, and get a full refund. Along with this, sponsors are withdrawing their ads, viewer ship is down, and ticket sales are down drastically. Because fans see the NFL as condoning disrespect for our flag, fans are declaring war on the NFL by hitting them right in the wallet.

The Washington Examiner has just reported that NFL ticket sales have plummeted nearly 20 percent since the start of this season. And it's not only game day ticket sales that are down as some teams are reporting that season ticket holders are not renewing. The low ticket sales combined with the fact that NFL merchandise sales are at an all time low, this proves that the American people are angry that multimillionaires are nothing but spoiled classless ingrates.

Yes, most Americans agree with President Trump that their actions should not be tolerated and they should be fired. But since it appears NFL owners support what their players are doing, fans realize that their only action is to boycott the NFL.

If the NFL thinks that we the American people will just sit by and do nothing while a bunch of spoiled rotten millionaire players through a tantrum and spit on our flag, they have another thing coming. While they think we need them, and that we everyday Americans are the all racist because we refuse to support their disrespectful conduct, they and the Left-leaning groups who are supporting them are drastically under-estimating the effect that a boycott will have.

Somehow or another, maybe it's simply because of their huge egos, the NFL believed that they can insult America, our flag, our Anthem, our Troops who are fighting right now overseas, our Veterans, our citizens as a whole. Well, we're now proving them wrong.

Tom Correa

Friday, September 29, 2017

Henry Reed Farley - Death Of A Lawman 1899


Here's a story about the needless killing of a County Sheriff in 1899. His murder sent local vigilantes on a frantic search to lynch his killer. 

According to the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office, Henry Reed Farley was born in Salinas, California, in March of 1870. He was Michael and Rodalee Farley’s fourth of six children.

Henry's father was a lawyer originally from Massachusetts. His mother was originally from Alabama. Henry grew up and lived in Salinas. He attended school there, and while not yet 24 years of age, Henry was appointed Postmaster of the small town of Gonzales, California. That was on January 11th, 1894.
Gonzales is a town in Monterey County about 17 miles Southeast of Salinas. At the age of 26, Henry was said to be a journalist for a local newspaper in Gonzales.

On January 1st, 1899, at age 29, he became the Sheriff of Monterey County. He may have been the youngest man to ever be elected County Sheriff in the State of California up to that time.

He had only been with the Sheriff’s Department for 9 months when he was shot and killed while attempting to arrest a suspect. He was 29 years old when he was killed. Newspapers stated "never before has this county seen such a large funeral." All stores, saloons, and schools were shut down from 9 am to 12 pm, and all flags were flown at half-staff. At the time of his death, Sheriff Farley was survived by his mother Mrs. Rodalee Farley.

Among other newspapers such as the San Francisco Call, Monterey County Sheriff Farley's death was in the Sacramento Daily Union, Volume 98, Number 29, September 19th, 1899. It ran the following story.

TRAGEDY AT SALINAS.

H. R. FARLEY, SHERIFF OF MONTEREY COUNTY
,

Shot and Killed by a Man Whom He Attempted to Arrest — Talk of Lynching the Murderer.

SALINAS, Sept. 18. H. R. Farley, Sheriff of Monterey County, was shot and killed at 11 o'clock to-night by George Ceasar, whom he was trying to arrest for arson.

Ceasar, who is a German, aged 22 years, had been drinking heavily, and threatened to shoot four officers and burn up the town. About 10 o'clock an alarm was turned in, and it was found that a barn was on fire. Soon afterward fire was discovered in an adjoining cottage, and it was at once suspected that Ceasar was carrying out his threat.

Sheriff Farley, accompanied by former District Attorney Zabal, went in search of Ceasar, who had run home and armed himself with a double-barreled gun. As Farley entered the house Ceasar advanced a few feet, fired, and shot the officer through the head. Farley died in a few minutes.

While Zabal was administering to his dying comrade the murderer escaped. The entire country was soon aroused, however, and posses went out from near and far to search for the assassin. An hour after the shooting he was discovered hiding in a cellar.

The mob frantically proclaimed its intention to lynch him, and a posse of Deputy Sheriffs and Constables had a most difficult time in protecting the prisoner. While argument ran high one of the Constables, unobserved, managed to smuggle Ceasar into a buggy and drove off at a gallop to the County Jail before the mob realized the ruse. 

Sheriff Farley was perhaps the most popular man in Monterey County. He was 29 years of age, and last November was elected Sheriff by a large majority over John Matthews, who had filled the Sheriff's office for twelve years. 

Prior to his election Farley had been a newspaper man, his last journalistic venture having been the editorship of the Gonzales "Tribune." 

His murderer was as much despised in Salinas as the Sheriff was beloved. He has been considered a worthless character. He has no occupation. 

TALK OF LYNCHING THE MURDERER. SALINAS 

Sept. 19—1 a. m. — The revengeful men of Salinas declare that they will hang Ceasar to-night, provided he does not die from the loss of blood. He was shot in the stomach by Constable Allen, and when captured in the cellar was weak from loss of blood. It is also believed he shot himself, but inflicted only a flesh wound. 

No one in Salinas now knows whether Ceasar is dead or alive, because he was driven off by a Deputy Sheriff to protect him from the certain vengeance of the mob.

It now transpires that Ceasar was never in the jail, although many for a time believed him to be there. The officers, knowing that they could not protect their prisoner, drove him toward the hills, and it is generally believed the murderer was taken to Hollister, as it is said he would have been safe nowhere in Monterey County.

Meanwhile the crowd has never left the jail. They are all armed with ropes as well as pistols and shotguns, and they say the murderer of the youngest Sheriff in the State will be summarily punished.

The town, and in fact the entire county, is aroused as it never was before. The men who are trying to lynch Ceasar are not the disorderly element, but comprise some of the most important citizens of the county. They are firm in their resolve to promptly avenge the death of Sheriff Farley, and say they will remain at the jail all night. 

Detachments of citizens mounted and in buggies are scouring; the foothills, and they say if they find the murderer in charge of his guardians the latter will be forced to give up j their prisoner to swift punishment. At 2 a. m. excitement in Salinas has in no wise abated, and many still hope to avenge Farley by lynching his murderer.

Frederick Ceasar, a brother of George, came into town about 1:30 a. m., proclaiming that he was the "brother of the man who killed Farley." Had he not been hustled away he would certainly have suffered violence at the hands of the infuriated citizens.

-- end of Sacramento Daily Union, Volume 98, Number 29, September 19th, 1899 article. 

Besides a few different newspapers of the times to compare stories of his death, and since the standard line of "he was shot and killed while attempting to arrest a suspect" really doesn't sit well with me, I dug deeper to find out how Sheriff Farley died.

On the night of September 18th, 1899, George Ceasar tried to ditch the pursuing officers and eventually made it to his father's house on Pajaro Street. Sheriff Farley and Deputy Keef arrived on the scene close behind him.

As soon as they arrived, the Sheriff came face to face with Ceasar in an alley behind his father's house. George Ceasar was indeed armed with a shotgun. And yes, reports state that Sheriff Farley made a number of attempts to defuse the situation and talk Ceasar into surrendering.

Sheriff Farley was heard to have said, "George, George, be quiet, keep cool."

To which Ceasar reportedly replied, "Stand back or I'll shoot you."

Sheriff Farley's last words were "No you won't George, you know me."

Ceasar fired both barrels and killed the young Sheriff.

A newspaper stated, "The Spirit of Henry Reed Farley winged it's flight to the Great Beyond".


Monterey County Sheriff Henry Reed Farley's life was cut short on September 18th, 1899. He had only been County Sheriff for 9 months when he was senselessly murdered by George Ceasar.

Newspapers like the Sacramento Daily Union and the San Francisco Call reported that the Sheriff had been murdered. Citizens in the town of Gonzales were angry and wanted to lynch Ceasar. A few newspapers reported how, among other things taking place, gun shop owners opened their doors and  passed out rifles and pistols and shotguns to local vigilantes that were out beating the bushes looking for Ceasar. Hardware store owners are said to have passed out lanterns and ropes so that he could be lynched.

George Ceasar was arrested by Salinas City Marshal William Nesbitt and Deputy Keef. Nesbit himself later became County Sheriff. Deputy Keef was the officer who took Ceasar to the jail in San Jose to avoid the vigilantes that had surrounded the county jail in Monterey.

Ceasar was hanged at San Quentin Prison on July 15th, 1904. It's said that the people of Monterey County celebrated when they got the word that George Ceasar had finally been hanged. Yes, they loved Sheriff Farley that much.

Tom Correa

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Life In Late 1800's America Was Tough

Buffalo Bill & Sitting Bull, c.1885
A reader has written to tell me that my article Life In 1881 Tombstone Was Very Civilized cannot be true. From his language, I'd say he was pretty upset at how I described life in a big city like Tombstone, Arizona, in 1881 with a population of over 10,000 people living there.

Friends, I get all sorts of hate mail from people. Many seem to be under the impression that I'm writing for the Library of Congress or some prestigious historical society. Folks need to understand that this is just my blog. What I mean by that is this, while I don't list sources for my research, I've written about things that I've learned during my travels, information that I've picked up here and there, or among other things history and information that I've researched after being requested to do so.

Some angry individuals write to tell me that I'm full of beans when it comes to a number of subjects. And while that's a little discouraging, I know that they're wrong.

To answer some of the dumber accusations: No, I do not have some sort of personal vendetta against Wyatt Earp. No, I do not have some personal problem with Wild Bill. No, I'm am not related to Ike Clanton or Frank Stilwell. No, my family did not own black slaves in the South before or during the Civil War. And no, I would never ever belong to a Left wing group like PETA!

The reader that took the time to write me was pretty angry. He used a number of short four letter words to tell me that I have no idea how tough life was in the late 1800's. He even asked me "what right" do I have writing at all since I'm not an "accredited University professor"? Imagine that.

He is one of the few people who I felt like writing back just to tell him to shove it, but I didn't. Instead, I re-read the article that pissed him off so bad. After re-reading my post, I realized what his problems with the article are all about.

Just as with those who write me to tell me how Wyatt Earp could never have been arrested as a pimp, or that he was never involved with fixing a Heavyweight Championship Boxing Match, or that he couldn't have been wanted in Arizona on murder charges stemming from the murder of Frank Stilwell, my post Life In 1881 Tombstone Was Very Civilized simply didn't fit his notion of the way life was in Tombstone before the silver boom there went bust.

I realized that his notion of life in 1881 Tombstone is most likely based on what Hollywood has depicted in films. I realized that what I've found after a lifetime of learning about history in one way or another, and my now trying to put what I've found in writing in my blog, doesn't match his idea of what Hollywood has told him.

I also realized that he doesn't understand that one doesn't have to teach some University class to put out factually accurate information. In fact, I'd say it's a safe bet that he has never sat in on one of those classes and listened to some "accredited University professor" who doesn't know his or her ass from a hole in the ground. Too bad he'll never understand that many of the people teaching classes in our Universities need to get out and research history for themselves instead of simply regurgitating what others say happened.

I find it interesting that the folks who lived through the Great Depression knew times were tough because they were able to compare their plight to earlier times just prior to the economy crashing. For us, we can compare life today to the hard times during the late 1800's because we have things a lot easier today. But since the people living during the late 1800's and early 1900's didn't have anything else to compare to, it makes me wonder if the people living at the time actually saw life as being tough? I can't help but wonder if they thought so since they had nothing to compare it to? I'm thinking, probably not.
As for my knowing how tough life really was in the late 1800's, I know very well how tough it was. For example, by 1900 the average life expectancy in the United States was 47 years of age. Today, Americans have an average life expectancy of 74 years for men and 79 years for women.

As for births, more than 95 percent of all births in America took place at home at that time. As for infant mortality, the rate of child deaths during the late 1800's and into the early 1900's was extremely high. Yes, out of every 1000 babies born, 180 would die in their very first year of life. Compare that to these days when fewer than 10 in 1000 die in their first year.

As for making it to the ripe old age of 5? It is said that a mother with 4 children had a 50 percent chance that one of her children would die before the age of 5 years old. At the same time, 50 percent of all children lost a parent before they themselves reached the age of 21.

Knowing this, it is no wonder that by 1900, the total United States population was only 76 million people. Alabama, Iowa, Mississippi, and Tennessee were a lot more heavily populated than California at the time. Fact is California ranked 21st among the most populated states in 1900 with only 1.4 million residents in the whole state. And yes, there were only 45 states at the time as Arizona, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Alaska, and Hawaii had not become states until after 1900.

St. Louis, Missouri ranked as the fourth largest city in the nation with a population of 575,238. The population of Las Vegas, Nevada was 30 at the same time, and they were ranchers and their families.

In the United States as a whole, only 14 percent of the homes at the time had a bathtub. Indoor plumbing was seen in most big cities, but was rare in small towns. All in all, only a third of American homes had running water. Only 15 percent had flush toilets. And believe it or not, half of the farms in America at the time didn't even have an outhouse. Instead, families used ditches and trenches.

Most men took baths only 6 to 8 times a year. Women only washed their hair once a month. They were known to used borax soap or egg yolks for shampoo.

As for electricity and the telephone? Only 3 percent of American homes were lit by electricity, and only 8 percent of American homes had a telephone by the late 1800's. And yes, a short three minute call from New York City to New Orleans reportedly cost about $12. 

Since there were only 144 miles of paved roads in our entire nation, it didn't matter that there were only 8,000 cars in the entire United States. It probably also didn't matter that the maximum speed limit in most cities was 10 mph. Since a horse can travel at about 40 miles at a gallop, imagine that cars were slower than horses. As for their basic travel needs, since most Americans lived within a mile of where they worked, that meant that they walked to get around. And yes, statistics show that only 1 urban household in 5 actually owned a horse. Believe it or not, more people own horses today than they ever did in the Old West or the beginning of the 20th century.

As for living situations, it's said that half of all people lived in homes where they had more than one person per room. In fact Americans taking in lodgers was extremely common.

How tough was it on working folks at the end of the 1800's? Well, for example, a Veterinarian could make from $1,500 to $4,000 a year if he was good and in demand. Dentists at the time were known to make $2,500 a year. Mechanical Engineers were pulling in about $5000 a year.

Men had 60 hour work weeks spread over six days. Worker pensions were extremely rare. The fact is that most Americans at the time generally worked until they were too feeble to go on. The average American worker made between $200 and $400 per year. Yes, that's right. And frankly, it makes sense since the average wage at the time for laborers was 22 cents an hour. This at a time when stables such as sugar cost 4 cents a pound, eggs cost 14 cents a dozen, and coffee cost 15 cents a pound.

Were Americans paid less than the average? Yes, for example, a Black male laborer was known to make about $150 a year while a Black female laundress was making $180 a year. Women in general suffered more than anyone as it's a fact that an unskilled female, white or black, would only make $120 a year.

Women were 18 percent of work force. And yes, they were mainly used to work in the manufacturing of textiles, clothing, shoes, and canned foods where you were paid according to how much you produced. At home, women worked more than 40 hours a week on meal preparation, cleaning, doing laundry by hand, and other chores that needed her attention. The average American housewife baked a half a ton of bread a year. Yes, that's around 1400 loaves a year.

As for child labor, it was rampant at the time. Most of the children used in factories and the mines were treated as property. In manufacturing they were known to have been shackled to machines, beaten and starved. In the mines, they were used for some of the worse and most dangerous jobs. All while being paid, if they were, a tenth of what an adult made an hour. About half of all American children lived in poverty at the time.

As for who was being educated in America at the time? Most children did not attend school but instead worked in factories, mines, or in the fields. In reality, by 1900, only 50 percent of all children between the ages of 5 and 18 year old were enrolled in school. Only 1 in 10 American adults could read or write. And yes, only 6 percent of all Americans are said to have graduated from High School.

What you may find interesting is that only 10 percent of all American doctors had any sort of College education. Yes, that means 90 percent of all of the American doctors in the United States at the time did not have College education.

Of the five leading causes of death in the United States, Pneumonia and Influenza was number one. They were followed by Tuberculosis at number two, Diarrhea was number three, Heart Disease was four, and death by Stroke was number five. Of course, neither insulin and antibiotics had been discovered yet.

As for booze? It is said that half of the American population drank alcohol at the time. They actually averaged two hard drinks and two beers a day. As for wine, I was surprised to find out that wine consumption was minimal in the United States until later when it gained popularity with the arrival of new immigrants from Europe who averaged more than four glasses of wine a day.

As for over the counter wonder drugs? Marijuana, heroin, and morphine were all very available without restrictions right over the counter at almost all corner drugstores. Those thing were seen as cure-alls. Yes, sort of like what we hear today about the supposed wonders of medical marijuana.

So now, let's talk about gun violence in the late 1800's and 1900 specifically.

I read where the New York City did not require their police officers to carry guns on duty until 1887. Prior to that, the officers carried nightsticks. Just belly clubs.

In 1900, 14 percent of all Americans were foreign-born. Twice as it is today. As we talked about before, children didn't finish school. There was overcrowding in the cities, and poverty was widespread. There was the rich and there was the poor. The advent of the "middle class" had not come along yet. With this, there was racial problems as well as resentment for Irish Catholics who were arriving from Europe.

At the dawn of the 20th century, guns of all types could were readily accessible to anyone who had the money to buy one. Guns could be bought the same day at gun stores, or they could be ordered from a catalog by mail, or they could be bought from a private person. All without paperwork of any sort. Americans throughout our nation had easy access to guns.

Yet despite all of the problems that I've listed, along with the fact that there were no welfare programs, and the ease of accessibility to guns of all types, the homicide rate in 1900 was less than one-eight of what we have today. One statistic states that there were less than 230 reported murders in the United States for the entire year in 1900. Imagine that?

So now, maybe this will help my angry reader understand that Hollywood is a poor source for history? Maybe he will be able to see that with all of their problems and hardships of the times, they were indeed more civilized than we can understand? Or what Hollywood depicts?

Tom Correa



Friday, September 22, 2017

Judge Roy Bean -- Law West of the Pecos


There has been a lot written about Judge Roy Bean. In fact, I'd say that besides all of the books written about him, almost every Old West website on the Internet has something written about him. I promised my friend that I would finish this, and I have. It may be a side of Judge Roy Bean that you might not have known.

Some time ago, actually a few years ago, my friend Les Kinsey asked me to look into Judge Roy Bean. My friend Les Kinsey is from Texas. If anyone knows anything about folks from Texas, then they know real well about their Texas pride. And yes, no matter where they roam, they'll always be from Texas. Of course reading about the history of Texas, I understand how that's the case. It's very justified.

My friend's family goes back to the start of Texas. I found out through Les that his great-grandfather knew Judge Roy Bean pretty well. I'm sure his family has a few great stories about their dealings with the old judge. For me, I would've loved to have had the chance to chew the fat for a while with Les' relations in Texas who knew the Judge. I would have loved to hear some of their tales. But since that's not the case, as with others who I've written about on here, I have to go with what I've read and learned about the man.

He was born sometime in 1825 in Mason County, Kentucky. His birth name was Phantly Roy Bean, Jr., so it's not a surprise that he went by "Roy." He was the youngest of five children. He had three brothers and a sister. It's said that the Bean family was very poor. So poor in fact that at a fairly young age, around 16, Roy ventured out for himself on a flatboat headed to New Orleans looking for work.

A flatboat is a lot like a barge. It was used to haul freight and passengers. The interesting thing about a flatboat back in the day is that they were pretty much a use one and tear apart vessel. It's true, flatboats on the rivers were usually torn apart for their lumber once they'd reach where they were going.

As for Roy in New Orleans, I haven't been able to find out what sort of trouble he got into there. But we do know that what ever it was, it was enough to make him flee Louisiana and head for Texas. In fact, after leaving New Orleans, Roy went to San Antonio where his older brother Sam was working as a teamster and bullwhacker.

His brother Sam hauled freight to Santa Fe and on to Chihuahua, Mexico. In 1848, Sam and Roy decided try their hand at going into business for themselves by opening up a trading post in Chihuahua. Most agree that that wasn't a real smart move as the area was considered pretty rough. In fact, it was so rough that Roy is said to have actually shot and killed a Mexican bandit there.

The story goes that the bandit was a local outlaw who wanted to "kill a gringo." Roy felt threatened and killed the desperado before the bandit killed him. While that sounds like a clear cut case of self-defense, they were in Mexico. And since he and Sam were on the Mexican side of the river, they fled to Sonora one step ahead of the Mexican authorities who wanted to charge Roy charge with murder.

About a year later, in 1849, Roy moved to San Diego, California. It's true, he moved to San Diego to live with his older Joshua. Believe it or not, Joshua Bean was elected the first American mayor of the city of San Diego in 1850.

I find it interesting that Joshua Bean served with future president Zachary Taylor during the Mexican-American War. When Joshua left the Army, his unit was in California. That's how Joshua arrived in California in 1849, and then San Diego in 1850. After Joshua left the Army, he opened up a trading post and saloon. After San Diego became a town, he was elected the first American mayor of San Diego. And yes, I find that incredible.

As for Joshua, after giving up the post of Mayor, he left San Diego and moved to San Gabriel, which is near Los Angeles, where he opens up "The Headquarters Saloon".

In November of 1852, Joshua was killed in an ambush just outside of the town of San Gabriel. According to some sources, he was killed over a woman. Of course, there are other sources that say he may have been killed over a shady land deal while he was mayor of San Diego.

As for his younger brother Roy, while in California with his brother, at one point during his stay he found himself in a dual with a Scot by the name of Collins. Yes, it was over a woman. As crazy as it sounds, Roy was challenged to a pistol-shooting match while on horseback. And no, I've never heard of such a dual.

When Roy was offered his choice of targets, he decided that the two men should shoot at each other. The duel is said to have taken place on February 24th, 1852. After the smoke cleared, Collins was wounded in his right arm and Roy Bean was said to be unscathed. But though that was the case, immediately both men were arrested. And again, as crazy as it sounds, both Collins and Roy were charged with assault with the intent to commit murder.

If this all sounds like a comedy of sorts, well it gets better. It is said that Roy was young and supposedly a real lady's man. While I couldn't find one picture that proved that out, I'll just take the word of the sources that I've looked at. As for the pictures of the old man that we know as Judge Roy Bean, I'm sure they're not representative of a younger Roy Bean. I mean really, who among us looks like we did when we were in our early 20's before years of living an interesting live took it's toll. No one I know.

As for Roy Bean being a lady's man? Well, it's said that while he was in jail for the two months that he was there, he supposedly received all sorts of gifts including flowers, wine, cigars, and even food from admiring women in San Diego. One of his gifts were a dish of tamales. In the tamales were a couple of small knives.

Yes, I know that you can see where this is going. Roy used the small knives to dig his way out through the adobe walls of his cell. He escapes on April 17th, and flees to San Gabriel to be with his older brother Joshua. He actually goes to work for his brother as a bartender in The Headquarters Saloon. Later, after Joshua was ambushed and killed, Roy inherited his brother's saloon.

As for his stiff neck? No, he didn't get it in Texas after being hanged there. Fact is, it's actually the result of being left to hang in California.

The story goes that in 1854, Roy was courting a young Mexican woman who is said to have been kidnapped and forced into a marriage. Her kidnapping husband was a Mexican Army officer. Roy immediately challenged the man to a dual, and subsequently shoots the Mexican officer dead.

As luck would have it, the Mexican Army officer had friends who wanted to take revenge on Roy Bean. The story is that six of the dead officer's friends find Roy, ties his hands, and take him to a tree to be hanged. They put a noose around his neck while Roy is atop a horse. They then left him to hang.

The rest of the story is that the six men fired shots in the air and yell before they left, but the horse didn't stir. Hiding nearby and watching all of this is the bride of the Mexican officer. She watches the six men leave, then comes out from behind a tree and cuts Roy's ropes. From this, Roy Bean was left with a permanent scar from the rope burn around his neck. That's also how he obtained a permanent stiff neck.

Shortly after that, Roy left California and headed to New Mexico to live with his brother Sam again. Sam had actually been elected the first sheriff of Doña Ana County by then. Then in 1861, Sam and Roy opened up a store and saloon on Main Street in Pinos Altos in what is today Grant County, New Mexico.

At the outbreak of the Civil War, it's said that Roy joined the Confederate Army. In March of 1862, he was supposedly a part of the Confederate Army that was retreating to San Antonio, Texas, after the Battle of Glorieta Pass in New Mexico. He stayed in San Antonio after the war.

On October 28th, 1866, Roy Bean married 15 year-old Virginia Chavez. During their marriage, they had four children together. His family is said to have lived in "a poverty-stricken Mexican slum area called Beanville". He worked as a teamster, sold firewood, worked as a butcher, and even delivered milk. His milk delivery business suffered when it was found that he was putting creek water in the milk to stretch it and increase his profits. He might never had been found out if he had only strained the water first. What gave him away was when his customers started noticing minnows in the milk.

Bean was said to have acted very surprised when his customers brought that fact to his attention. In fact, so much so that he's known to have said, "By God, I'll have to stop them cows from drinking out of the creek."

As for those who say that he supposedly rustled cattle at that time, I haven't been able to find proof of that. But we do know that by the late 1870s, Roy was running a saloon right there in "Beanville". His saloon was doing OK, but not everything was above board. Because of that, there was trouble when someone didn't take to the watered down booze or the sketchy card games. In fact, there was so much trouble coming from his place that a neighboring store owner wanted him out of there so bad that she actually bought him out for $900 with the agreement that he leaves San Antonio.

Sometime during this time period, Roy and his wife adopted a son. But even the addition of another child wasn't enough to save their volatile marriage, so they divorced around 1880. Right after that, Roy left her and his children. Yes, without support, he left them and put San Antonio behind him. It's said to be Roy Bean's only marriage.

With the money from his Beanville saloon, Roy bought a tent, supplies, and anywhere from ten to fifteen barrels of whiskey. By early 1882, he used his tent, supplies, and barrels of whiskey to create a small saloon near the Pecos River. The tent city where this was taking place was called Vinegarroon.

It's said that the key to success for a business is location. Well because the railroad was push further West, the tent city of Vinegarroon is said to have had anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 railroad works, some sources say there were bout 8,000 railroad workers there. All just within 20 miles of his saloon's location.

Back in 1881, the Southern Pacific Railroad decided to build the second transcontinental railroad and America's first year-round all-weather line. The route ran through Pecos County, which is today Val Verde County. The construction started in 1881 and was open by 1883. During the construction, Southern Pacific required a number of "work camps," many which later became towns all across that county.

While over a dozen of those camps were built, most simply disappeared when the route was completed. Vinegarroon is said to have been the largest camp. It was also the longest lasting camp. This is because those rail workers were working on the largest portion of the project which was the 1,425 foot Tunnel Number Two on the West side of the Pecos.

Vinegarroon was said to be "one of the wickedest tent villages the West had ever known." And if you want to know what Vinegarroon means, well I have no idea what language that comes from, but I do know that a Vinegarroon is a whip-tailed scorpion that's found in West Texas. The little stinkers are out at night and are said to give off a strong vinegar-like odor when they're messed with. Yes, they named the camp "Vinegarroon" after a scorpion that has a reputation of being disliked but mostly harmless. Imagine that.

So yes, at the time of the construction, Roy Bean was in Vinegarroon. He had opened a tent saloon which was one of at least twenty or more saloons in and around that area. Of course Bean opening a saloon was like attracting bees to honey. Problem of course is that some of those in Vinegarroon were not exactly upstanding citizens.

So now, if you're asking when do we get to the whole "Law West of the Pecos"? Well, we're coming to that. Because the nearest established law was the county seat about 300 miles away at Fort Stockton, there was little to no law in that part of the country. One source states that the distance between Vinegarron and Fort Stockton was "more than three-hundred miles away by horseback, six-hundred for a round trip, and twelve days on foot to convey prisoners."

The story goes that a group of Texas Rangers asked that a local jurisdiction be set up in Vinegaroon. One Texas Rangers supposedly described those West of the Pecos as being "the worst lot of roughs, gamblers, robbers and pickpockets I ever saw."

On August 2nd, 1882, the Pecos County commissioners gathered at Fort Stockton to appoint a Justice of the Peace to help establish law and order in the Pecos River area of Southwest Texas. The request by the Texas Rangers was answered when Roy Been was appointed "Justice of the Peace" for what became Precinct 6 of Pecos County.

Now you're probably wondering, why choose Roy Bean? Well, though Bean was a heavy drinker and known to be a somewhat shady character, he came highly recommended by Texas Rangers who felt that he "had what it would take" to bring the law and order "West of the Pecos."

About two months later, Texas Rangers brought in Joe Bell to be tried on July 25th, 1882. That was the first time someone in violation of the law was brought in front of Judge Roy Bean. Joe Bell was tried for stealing. Judge Bean fined and released him.

It didn't take too long for Bean to turn his tent saloon into a "part time courtroom." After that he began calling himself, "Judge Roy Bean, the Law West of the Pecos." He did use state statues to make his rulings. In fact, he was known to rely on "The 1879 Edition of the Revised Statutes of Texas." And believe it or not, he only used "The 1879 Edition of the Revised Statutes of Texas." It's actually said that when he'd get new or revised law books in, he used them for "kindling."

As for the perks of his being the only "Law West of the Pecos"? Well, having the law not apply to him was a perk. For example, it's said one of his first "acts as a justice of the peace" was to shoot up the tent saloon of a "Jewish" competitor.

Also, another perk was to make up the rules as he went along. For example, it's said that he did not allow for hung juries to take place or for appeals to be made. Jurors were his bar cronies and they were expected to buy drinks during a court recess.

Then there's the perk of being able to make rulings as you please, and he was definitely known for his strange rulings. For example, after an Irish railroad worker by the name of Paddy O'Rourke was arrested for shooting a Chinese laborer, about 200 very angry rail workers showed up. The 200 very angry and most likely drunk men threatened to lynch Judge Roy Bean if he did not set Paddy O'Rourke free.

One story on this incident says that he poured through his law book before rendering a decision. Another story is that he looked outside and saw over 200 very angry rail workers and had a drink. Either way, the Judge ruled that, "homicide was the killing of a human being; however, he could find no law against killing a Chinaman". With that, Judge Bean then simply dismissed the case.

Now, let me just say this on that. I read an article write in 1986 calling Judge Roy Bean a "bigot" because of that "ruling." I have to say that I always laugh at Monday Morning Quarterbacks who think they know what they would have done in a similar situation. Some make me wonder if they would have rather he be hanged?

As for Vinegarroon, it folded by December of 1882 when railroad construction had moved further West. When that happened Bean moved his courtroom and saloon to either Strawbridge or Sanderson, and then to Eagle's Nest about 20 miles West of the Pecos River. Eagle's Nest will later become the town of Langtry. And to his credit, about that time was when he wired his children to live with him. I don't know how many joined him, but it's said that his son Sam joined him in Langtry.

Now, here's something to think about. By moving away from Vinegarron, Judge Roy Bean effectively left Precinct 6 which was the area of his jurisdiction as "Justice of the Peace." But despite his move, he continued to represent himself as a Judge and "Law West of the Pecos". In fact, the sign over the entrance of his saloon in Eagle's Nest plainly stated that he was the "Law West of the Pecos."

Southern Pacific railroad completed that line on January 12th, 1883. The completion of the route was celebrated by driving a special solid silver spike into the last tie. It's said that Judge Roy Bean told a story about how he tried stealing that silver spike as soon as everyone was gone, but someone else got there first. His yarn was just that, a yarn. Fact is, a railroad official had actually taken the spike as a souvenir for Southern Pacific railroad. Also, the last tie was said to have been cut up into small pieces after the spike was driven. The pieces were handed out as souvenir gifts to the official guests there.

As for the Eagle's Nest, that site was soon renamed Langtry. And no, it was not named after the well-known British stage actress Lillie Langtry as many believe it was. It was actually named after George Langtry who was a Southern Pacific railroad engineer and foreman. He was known to have supervised the Chinese rail workers in that area.

Bean actually arrived in Langtry right after completion of the route, but when it was still Eagle's Nest. He went about setting up a tent saloon there on Southern Pacific land. There is a story that tells about how the original owner of the land ran a saloon there as well. He sold that land which was 640 acres to Southern Pacific railroad. He supposedly sold it to the railroad on the condition that no part of the land could ever be sold or leased to Roy Bean.

The rest of that story says that Paddy O'Rourke, the Irish rail worker who went in front of Bean over shooting that Chinese laborer, had told the Judge to use the railroad right-of-way because it was not supposedly covered by the contract between the old owner and the railroad. With that, Judge Roy Bean built his famous saloon right there at that spot.

As most of us know, it is a wooden structure, which Bean called "The Jersey Lilly" named after Lillie Langtry. So why "The Jersey Lilly" you ask since she was British? Well, she was a native of Jersey which is officially known as the "Bailiwick of Jersey" which sits off of France but belongs to Great Britain. As for her being related to Southern Pacific's George Langtry, no she wasn't.

As for Judge Bean holding court there, he did use the saloon as his courthouse as both a Justice of the Peace and as a Notary Public. As for his strange way of doing things, since Langtry did not have a jail, people awaiting trial or serving time were chained to the only tree in Langtry at the time. Another quirk is that all cases were settled by fines. And by the way, his court did not give change. So if he fined someone $18 and the person handed over a $20 gold piece expecting change back, Bean was know to immediately amend his decision "Make that $20, by God, that's my ruling!"

As for minor offenses, the "fine" was usually reduced to the defendant buying a round of drinks for the judge, jury, and others there. And yes, that may run $2 dollars. If a person could not pay a fine, Bean was known to have them serve their time by being staked out in the sun for a day or two. The other option to that was to use a prisoner to do public works in Langtry. This worked well for people who needed to work off their fines.

As for fines collected, Bean refused to send the State of Texas any part of the fines. Instead, he kept all of the money. Though he is said to have enjoyed his tough reputation, he actually sounds like a very kind man in many respects. For example, it's said that he took most of the fines and much of the property that he collected and simply gave it to the poor in the area. He did that without it being known that it came from him. And yes, it's said that he even took funds that were collected at "The Jersey Lilly" and used those funds to buy needed medicine for the sick and the poor in and around Langtry. Friends, that's not what a badman does.

And while many folks know about his famously fining a dead man $40 which was the exact amount that in the dead man's pockets, I can't help but wonder how many people know that he spent that $40 on the man' casket, headstone, and to pay the gravediggers for their labor. In that incident, the only thing Judge Bean did keep was the man's gun. The Judge is said to have used it as a gavel.

As for the fines that were never turned into the State of Texas, it's said that the Governor of Texas received a number of complaints about how no funds ever came from Bean's court. The Governor is said to have written the Judge about it. The reply from Judge Bean is as follows: "Governor, you run things there in Austin and I'll run things here. My court never cost the State any money." Supposedly the Governor of Texas never bothered him again about the matter.

As for his leniency, while horse thieves who were often sentenced to hang in other jurisdictions, in his court they were always let go with the provision that they return the stolen horse to its rightful owner. And as for sentencing an offender to State Prison, he never did that.


As for being a "Hanging Judge"? From what I can tell, he has been confused with Judge Parker of Fort Smith who was certainly known as the "Hanging Judge" in his day. As for Judge Roy Bean having hanged offenders? One source says that Judge Roy Bean sentenced two men to hang but one of them escaped. Other sources say he never hanged anyone.

Now that's not to say that he didn't "stage" hangings. Yes, he "staged" hangings. From what I've read, Judge Bean would actually have his cronies literally recite a prepared script when they'd stage a hanging. With the hopes that all there were still sober enough to remember what their lines were, they would usually go about the whole thing as a sort of drama and get into an argument about something or other. All while turning their backs to the prisoner being "hanged". With their backs turned, and time ticking away, a prisoner would take their supposed distraction as a chance to escape the hangman's noose. It was all designed to scare criminals. And yes, it's said that when given that "second-chance" to live a clean life, a young wannabe outlaw would change his ways.

As for Mondays, yes Judge Roy Bean did in fact do a "wholesale" clearing of his docket. A sample case is said to be: "It is the judgment of this court that you are hereby tried and convicted of illegally and unlawfully committing certain grave offenses against the peace and dignity of the State of Texas, particularly in my bailiwick, to-wit: drunk and disorderly, and being the Law West of the Pecos, I fine you $2.00 - now get the hell out of here and never show yourself in this court again. Next case!..."

Although only district courts were legally allowed to grant divorces, Bean did so anyway, and he pocketed the $10 for each divorce. He charged $5 for weddings. He'd end all wedding ceremonies with "and may God have mercy on your souls" as if they were the condemned.

There is a story of how a district attorney from Del Rio went to Langtry to inform Judge Bean that it was not legal for him to grant divorces. Bean is said to have replied that if he could marry them, then he could "fix his mistakes." The rest of that story talks about how that district attorney wouldn't let the matter lay and pushed it. Judge Bean is said to have gotten the district attorney in a poker game where he lost $230 to the Judge. Judge Bean told the district attorney that he'd forgive the debt on the condition that the subject of granting divorces never came up again. Supposedly, it never did.

Even though he was defeated for re-election in 1886, he was appointed again to be the Justice of the Peace of a new precinct that was newly created in the county in 1887. He served as a Judge for another ten years, until 1896. After that, it's said that he kept on dispensing justice. In fact, after that defeat in 1896, it's said that "he refused to surrender his seal and law book and continued to try all cases north of the tracks".

That same year, on February 21st, 1896, Bean was responsible for organizing a World Championship Boxing match between Bob Fitzsimmons and Peter Maher. Held near Langtry, Texas, in Coahuila, Mexico, Judge Roy Bean was responsible for making that fight happen. Because boxing matches were illegal in both Texas and Mexico, the Judge held the event on an island in the Rio Grande.

The fight was billed as a World Heavyweight title bout for the National Police Gazette Championship belt. Spectators were actually brought in by a special train. Once there, they crossed a footbridge that was specially constructed to allow access to the sandbar. It's said that alcohol flowed and wagers were made. The fight itself lasted only 1 minute and 35 seconds, and was won by Fitzsimmons. The sport reporters hailed the Judge for thumbing his nose at the Texas Rangers and Mexican authorities by holding the fight on a sandbar in the Rio Grande river. His fame was spread nationwide.

Judge Roy Bean died after a night of heavy drinking on March 16th, 1903. He returned from San Antonio at 10 a.m., and he died at 10:03 that night. He and a son Sam are interred at the Whitehead Memorial Museum in Del Rio. Some sources say the Judge was 77, while others say he was already 78 years old when he died.

As for Lillie Langtry, she visited "The Jersey Lilly". She stated so in her autobiography. She said she did in fact visit there shortly after Judge Bean's death. She did so because of the admiration that she found in the letters that he wrote to her. I believe she also visited Langtry because she wanted to meet one of the best that the American West had to offer.

All in all, he was tough and resilient. He lived by a code and expected others to do the same. He was as just and practical as any human could have been expected to be for the times he lived in.

He was in many ways, the perfect example of the rugged individualist that the American West needed. He took the worse that nature and the criminal world had to offer in the Old West, and stood tall against both.

After reading about him, I found him not just a saloon-keeper and Justice of the Peace. He really was "The Law West of the Pecos". He came highly recommended by Texas Rangers for a reason. He really did have what it would take to bring law and order West of the Pecos. They felt that way for a reason, and I understand why they felt that way. Roy Bean had what it took to do the job.

Because my friend Les Kinsey asked me to look into the Judge, I've actually been working on this for a couple of years now. I'd like to say that I'm sorry for this piece being so long, but I'm not because there was just so much to the man. And yes, there is a lot of stories about him that I left out.

And there's something else about this piece that you my readers need to know, though I work real hard to stay impartial and unbiased when reporting on a historical figure, there were aspects of Judge Roy Bean that I just admire. I found a side of him that goes against the myth and lends more to why he is an American legend, nevertheless a Texas legend.

In the Marine Corps, I was taught a fundamental rule of life, "Adapt, Improvise, Overcome." I see the Judge as doing just that in a West that was rapidly changing. I see that in a brave man who did not back down from a duel, a man who dispatched a Mexican bandit to where he needed to go, a good man who stood for the law in a place that was lawless before he came along.

And yes, I'm still laughing at minnows in the milk.

Tom Correa