Sunday, May 28, 2017

Observing Memorial Day Is Right And Good

I've written most of this before. I've talked for years about how Memorial Day is often confused with Veterans Day.

If you haven't read it on here before, I've certainly written how Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who were killed n action, those who died while serving our nation. How in contrast Veterans Day acknowledges and celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans.

Formerly known as Decoration Day, I'm mentioned how it originated after the American Civil War to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War. It was established specifically to honor those who have paid the ultimate price for us.

I've talked about how when people say "Freedom Is Not Free," they are talking about the price paid to preserve our freedom and our liberty. It is the blood of the free who fought for it. That is the price of freedom.

I've tried to impress upon people how Memorial Day is that one day a year set aside to remember and give our grateful thanks to those who made the supreme sacrifice and were killed in the defense of our nation, all for us. How Americans use Memorial Day to acknowledge, to say "thanks," to the One Million Three Hundred Twenty One Thousand Six Hundred plus men and of our military who have been killed while serving our nation.

You've heard me say how those men and women died serving in the performance of protecting and preserving our freedoms, our liberties, our abilities to live the way we do. Yes, I've talked before about how they died for us. And I've talked about how observing their sacrifice on Memorial Day goes to the heart of our responsibilities as United States citizens.

Granted there are a few "officially" recognized responsibilities of U.S. citizenship. Such as:

• Support and defend the Constitution.
• Stay informed of the issues.
• Participate in the democratic process and vote.
• Respect and obey the law.
• Respect the rights, beliefs, and opinions of others.
• Participate in your local community.
• Pay taxes.
• Serve on a jury when called upon.
• Defend the country if the need should arise.

But really, there are other responsibilities as well. Such as:

•  Supporting those who are presently serving in our military
• Thanking those who have served with honor.
• Providing care for our wounded.
• Remembering those who have died for us.

So yes, I've written about how we as a people must never forget those who have died for our nation. How it's another responsibility of ours as citizens, and how it goes to the heart of who we are as a people and our individual sense of self-respect.

I've talked about every American taking a moment to say a prayer, raise a glass, salute, or just close our eyes and whisper "Thank you!" And yes, I've done this because observing Memorial Day is doing that which is right and good.

So yes, let's all remember to wish God's blessings on those who have died in uniform. Yes, those who have paid the highest price for freedom.

And from me to you, I hope and pray God blesses you for remembering them.

Tom Correa

Friday, May 26, 2017

Bill Longley -- Gunfighter Or Cold-Blooded Murderer

Dear Friends,

A reader wrote to ask about this killer. He wanted to know if he was really the stone cold racist murderer that legend says he was?

I know he killed freed black slaves. But he also killed whites and maybe a Mexican of two. So I don't know about him be a racist, but he was surely a killer. From what I know about the man, he seem to hate everyone.

The killer that I'm talking about is William Preston Longley who was born on October 6th, 1851, in Mill Creek in Austin County, Texas. Since most people back then had large families for a number of reasons including the fact that childhood mortality was high and the other fact being that people wanted a ready made work force to keep the homestead going. Bill was the sixth of ten children of Campbell and Sarah Longley.

That's right, ten children. Of course women had to be tougher than boot leather back then simply to stop from going crazy with all of those kids. Of course, parents were a lot stricter back then. So maybe, just maybe, that was why kids stayed in line on the overall back in the day.

In 1853, when he was two years old, his family moved and he was raised on a farm near Old Evergreen in what is present-day Lincoln, Lee County, Texas. It was there that he spent the largest part of his childhood.

It's said his upbringing wasn't any different than most at the time. He received an average education. He did chores. He looked after those younger than him just as his older siblings looked after him. And yes, like many others back in the day, he learned to how shoot as a kid. No, nothing would make one think that he would one day be known as a killer. He was just an average child.

As for looks, I read where he was considered a good looking young man with a thin build and black hair. And yes, since it's said that folks were all shorter back in the day, he was considered tall when he was actually only six feet tall as a adult.

Texas is said to have descended into anarchy for a while after the Civil War. Union General Gordon Granger assumed authority there, and violence is said to have plagued the state during the Reconstruction Era. And while that is what is said, from what I can tell Texas was in turmoil for quite a few years after the Civil War.

For example, because of unrest and lawlessness, Texas was still completely under the control of the Union Army into the early 1870s. Fact is, due to the Reconstruction Act, the Union Army was in charge and acted in all capacities, including as judges and law enforcement. It wasn't until 1876 that the period of Reconstruction officially ended in Texas.

Since no one likes being in a position of being subservient to those they see as invaders and oppressors, this caused considerable resentment throughout the state of Texas and the South in general. Yankees were Republicans and animosity toward the Republican Party and Reconstruction Era policies actually lead to the election of a Democrat politician as governor in 1872. And to the surprise of no one, he was former Confederate officer, . 

Today with all of the effort to cleans America of reminders of the Civil War, we forget that Texas and the the states in the South seceded from the Union were no different than Great Britain which recently exited the European Union. The states that made up the United States at the time did not see themselves as provinces of one nation, but instead as nations bound together as an alliance out of economic and military necessity.

We forget that each of the colonies that united against Great Britain had their own laws and even their own currencies before forming an alliance to take on Great Britain. We forget that it was an alliance, a union, that they felt they were in their right to leave if the central government, in our case the Federal government, made too many demands that went against what their people wanted.

Yes, really no different than why Great Britain recently withdrew from the European Union who tried to rule the British from Brussels, Belgium. The people in Brussels tried to supersede British laws and policies. The British people rightfully felt oppressed by a foreign government. That's the South in 1860 in a nutshell. Southern felt oppressed by Northerners running the Federal government.

Remember that it was up to the Federal government to decide exactly how the defeated Confederate states were to be treated. Conditions were less than beneficial to Southerns considering the animus of  Northerners after the way, including that from President Andrew Johnson himself.

It was a period of increased tensions in the South. So much so that after the Civil War, many thought a second Civil War was on the horizon. This was due to the policies of the Federal government during Reconstruction. In many ways, those who resided in the South didn't like how they were treated. Many felt like second-class citizens since the Federal government stripped them of many of rights. Rights it seem to them reserved for opportunists carpetbaggers arriving in the South after the war.

Imagine this, President Johnson declared the civilian government restored in Texas in 1866. But even though that was the case, it wasn't until 1870 that the United States Congress actually allowed duly elected Texas representatives into the federal government. So all in all, to say that Texas was a volatile place as the state struggled with an economic depression, labor issues, lawlessness, and the demands of the Federal government is probably an understatement. 

In reality, the Reconstruction Era spawned a number of outlaws. It was around 1867 that Bill Longley began showing signs of having crossed the line over to the outlaw side. It's said he was only in his teens when he started living wild, drinking, and running with a bad bunch of no-goods. At that time, it's said the Longley family farm was about a mile from the Camino Real that joined San Antonio and Nacogdoches, Texas.

In mid-December of 1868, three former slaves, brothers Green and Pryer Evans, and a third man known only as Ned, rode through Old Evergreen as they left Bell County on horseback to travel south to visit friends and family in Austin County for Christmas. Longley and his cohorts spotted the men and supposedly decided to take the horse ridden by Green Evans. Longley, along with the bad company that he was running with, forced the three men at gunpoint into a dry creek bed. 

One of the freed men, Green Evans, believing that he was going to be killed panicked and tried to escape. As Evans spurred his horse to escape, Bill Longley shot and killed him. He actually shot Evans several times as if to make sure he killed him. But frankly, he didn't kill Evans like a man wanting to rob and kill. Instead, he killed Evans like a man filled with hate. Some say that was because Bill Longley hate blacks, especially freed slaves. Later, he would prove that he hated former slaves, lawmen, and anyone who he saw as easy prey. To him, they were all alike.

Some folks have tried to say that Green Evans was a member of the Texas State Police. But frankly, that can't be since the Texas State Police was not created in 1868 and only existed from 1870 to 1873.

As for Longley and his cohorts like vultures going after a carcass went through Evans pockets as he lay dead, the other two, Pryer Evans and Ned rode off as fast as their horse could carry them. They reported what happened. 

Longley's account of that murder was one of shared responsibility in that he said he wasn't the only one who shot Evans. This is surprising because Longley was well known to brag about who he shot and how he did it. He was also know to tell tall tales the defy logic. But then really, what do we expect from a man killer without a conscience. 

In all of my research, I've found that one of the things that people like Bill Longley, John Wesley Hardin, Killer Jim Miller, and other murderers have in common is the complete lack of conscience. They refuse to adhere to an inner sense of right and wrong. They do not let right and wrong control their actions as we all do. They know the difference, but they refuse to do the right thing. Their actions are not a matter of survival, one that is dictated by conscience. They lack the ethical and moral principles that controls us all in ways that makes us all live civilized lives as individuals.

As I said, their lack of a conscience shows because their guide to the rightness or wrongness of one's behavior is not present. And frankly, that sort of lack of conscience can apply to an entire community. For example, the story goes that when the former slave owner, Alfred Evans of Salado in Bell County, rode to Evergreen to investigate, that he ran into silence from the townsfolk there. As horrible as it is to think, no formal charges were ever brought against Longley or the others because such lawlessness was seen as fine as long as the victims were ex-slaves. Imagine that.

And while that was the case, that he and the others may have been safe there, the idea of being arrested by the military authority who did not see things the same was was enough for the 17-year-old Longley to see that he should leave the area.

OK, so now we get into part of the myth regarding Bill Longley. Though there are no witnesses or credible sources, according to Longley, he said that he left by the spring of 1869 and found himself near Texarkana in northeastern Texas. He claimed that he was grabbed by a lynch mob that believed he was part of the gang of the outlaw Cullen Montgomery Baker.

Longley said that the mob hanged him on the spot, along with a man named Johnson. According to Longley, the vigilantes left right away, and Johnson’s brother shot the rope holding him and he dropped to the ground, barely alive. He then supposedly became one of Baker’s chief lieutenants. Of course, there are problems with his story since Cullen Baker was killed in January of 1869. And no, there are no records of Longley ever being part of that gang. But even though that's the case, that's one of the lasting legends about Bill Longley.

In reality, in 1869, Longley and his brother-in-law, John Wilson, went on what was considered a crime spree through southern Texas even back then. Together, he and Wilson robbed settlers coming into Texas and murdered at least two freed slaves. One was a man named Paul Brice in Bastrop County, Texas, after which the two are said to have stole his string of horses. And yes, the other is said to have been a woman in Old Evergreen.

Living the outlaw life does come with it's shortcomings, and one of those is having a bounty placed on your head. In March of 1870, the Union military authority in Texas offered a $1,000 reward for their capture. Some say it was "Dead or Alive."

With the law bearing down on him, Bill Longley left Texas and fled north to avoid authorities. Then in May of 1870, he joined a group of miners seeking gold in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

It is the stuff of legend, that gold miners traveled into the Black Hills of South Dakota even though a treaty with the Sioux prohibited mining, and would surely kill you in all sorts of ways if they caught you. In the case of Longley and his party going into the Black Hills, they were intercepted by a U.S. Cavalry unit and turned back. 

Then, believe it or not, on June 22nd, 1870, even though he is still technically on the run, Bill Longley enlisted for a five-year hitch in the U.S. Army. He actually joined Company B of the 2nd Cavalry stationed at Camp Stambaugh. Camp Stambaugh was an outpost in the Wyoming Territory located in the mining district near South Pass City and Atlantic City in the Wind River Mountains. It was established in early June of 1870 to help stop hostilities between Indians and miners sneaking into the Black Hills. 

The outpost was named for First Lieutenant Charles B. Stambaugh who was killed while protecting settlers from a raid in May of that year. The camp was established and manned by Company B of the 2nd Cavalry which were originally from Fort Bridger. Camp Stambaugh was a short lived outpost in that it was abandoned in 1878 because the mining town populations dead off.

As for Bill Longley, his Army career was short lived as well since he deserted two weeks after enlisting. Some say he wasn't able to adapt to the strict military lifestyle. Imagine that from a psychopathic killer. 

He was captured and given a Court Martial. He was actually sentenced to two years hard labor. And yes, it's said that he was actually shackled to a 24 pound ball and chain while imprisoned at Camp Stambaugh. Then because of an extremely harsh winter, his commander commuted his sentence to the four months he'd already served. He was then released to return to his unit. 

Now, given that logic completely evades some folks even back then, what happens to Army Private William Longley is not surprising when it comes to the Army making mistakes. You see, it's said that Longley's marksmanship skills impressed someone to the point of his being assigned to the regular hunting party that left the post each day. So really, did it surprise anyone that the once deserter decided to desert again in May of 1872? I hope not.

About now, someone reading this wants to know about Bill Longley's brother-in-law John Wilson. Well, Wilson was supposedly shot by Longley during a disagreement back in 1870 before Longley fled Texas. Then again, Longley once claimed that Wilson was killed by outlaws in early 1870 in Brazos County. Again, before he fled Texas. But, some say that Wilson was killed in 1874 in Falls County, Texas, long after Longley deserted from the Army and returned to Texas. 

It is interesting to note that Longley later denied that he was ever in the Army. He also lied about being a teamster during that period and having killed an officer who was in on a criminal kickback scheme with him. No, it's no wonder that one of his Sergeants reportedly recalled that Longley as "an idle boaster, a notorious liar and a man of low instinct and habits." 

What he did after deserting in May of 1872 is really unknown. We do know that by February of 1873 that he returned to Texas. We know that because he was accused of murdering another freed slave by the name of Price in Bastrop County.

Then in July of that year, Longley was in Bell County, where his parents had moved to and were now farming along the Lampasas River. It's said someone spotted him carrying a pistol, which believe it or not was illegal, and he was supposedly later indicted for that -- though never arrested. A few weeks later though, he was arrested in Kerr County when he was found associating with the last of Frank Eastwood’s gang of horse thieves. Local vigilantes had enough of the Eastwood men and about decimated the entire gang.

It's said that Bill Longley had the bad luck of being seen with some of the gang's leftovers. Because of that, he was identified as being wanted for murder. That's when Mason County Sheriff, J. J. Finney arrested Longley for murder and took him to Austin to collect a reward for his capture. But there was a problem. 

When the federal military reward was not paid from Texas state officials, Mason County Sheriff, J. J. Finney simply released Longley. Some say that it was in exchange for a bribe from a relative. Some say it was because Finney felt betrayed by the "Yankee authorities" and "carpetbaggers".

Then a few years later, Bill Longley shot Wilson Anderson dead. Supposedly that murder was instigated by Longley's uncle, Caleb B. Longley, who had blamed Anderson for the death of his son, "Little Cale". Although some said that Little Cale had actually gotten drunk with Anderson, and killed himself when he rode his horse into a tree, revenge is said to have blinded the boy’s father. And with that, Bill's Uncle Caleb urged Bill to take revenge.

Wilson Anderson was said to be Bill Longley's childhood friend, yet Longley shot him dead with a shotgun. It's true, on the afternoon of March 31st, 1875, Bill Longley in the company of his 15 year old brother James rode over to the Anderson’s farm where they found Wilson out plowing a field. Though James is said to have tried to stop him by telling him to leave any killing to Uncle Caleb if he wants to kill someone, Bill Longley rode up to Anderson and told him that he was going to kill him. He then shot Anderson twice with a shotgun. Wilson Anderson died instantly.

After that cold-blooded murder of Anderson, Bill Longley fled the scene with his brother. James was later tried and acquitted of Wilson Anderson's murder. But by then, a new reward was posted for Longley's capture.

Wild Bill Longley was seen as nothing less than a rabid animal, and he was now hunted like one. So with increasing pressure from law enforcement bearing down on him, Longley is said to have fled from place to place and used several aliases to avoid arrest. At one point he briefly found work picking cotton, but he was forced to run again in November 1875. That was after murdering George Thomas after they had had a fistfight. Thomas was said to be Longley's friend.

In Uvalde County, Texas, in January of 1876, Longley's attempted ambush fellow outlaw Lou Shroyer turned into a real gun battle with someone shooting back for a change. In the exchange, Shroyer shot Longley's horse from under him. But Longley ended up shooting Shroyer dead. And as I eluded to before, this is the only known case in Bill Longley's life where one of his victims actually had the opportunity to shoot back. Like many others, including Tom Horn and Killer Jim Miller, Longley was known to kill by ambush.

From Uvalde County, Bill Longley fled to east Texas where it's said he actually became a sharecropper for a preacher by the name of William R. Lay. Longley's temper got the best of him when he became rivals with Lay's nephew for the affections of a young woman. Fact is Longley beat up his rival and was jailed. 

But sadly for the preacher, he escaped. You see, Longley blamed Preacher Lay for his being in jail. And because of that, on June 13th, 1876, Bill Longley went to Lay's farm where he found him milking a cow. Longley then murdered Lay by unloading both barrels of a shotgun on the preacher. Preacher William Lay would be the last man known to be killed by Bill Longley.

For some unknown reason, Longley went to Grayson County, Texas, where two cohorts Jim and Dick Sanders were in jail. Longley broke them out, and the trio escaped, disarming deputy Matt Shelton when he tried to arrest them. From there, Longley then fled to Louisiana.

Then on June 6th, 1877, while living in De Soto Parish, Louisiana under the alias "Bill Jackson," Longley was surrounded and arrested by Nacogdoches County Sheriff Milt Mast and two deputies. They returned him to Texas where he was tried in the Lee County Court. There he was sentenced to hang for the murder of Wilson Anderson.

His appeal was denied in early March on 1878. And on October 11th, 1878, Wild Bill Longley was hanged in Giddings, Texas. He was executed only a few miles from his birthplace of Old Evergreen just a few days after his 27th birthday. 

Known as "Wild Bill" Longley, he was an outlaw and cold-blooded killer. And while some call him a gunfighter, he was in only one gunfight where his opponent was able to shoot back. He was actually a ruthless murderer who is said to have had a quick temper and unpredictable demeanor.

Though this man is considered one of the deadliest gunfighters in the Old West, I believe he was just another young man filled with hate. He was a man who killed with no compunction, a man who killed without a feeling of guilt, a man without moral scruple, a man who was known to brag and appear ti take pride in his evil deeds.
Knowing this, I'd say it's a safe bet to say that his hanging made a great number of folks very happy.

Tom Correa

Thursday, May 18, 2017

My VA Doctor Is Leaving And I Will Miss Her

Doctors come and doctors go in the world of the Veterans Administration. But frankly, I'm sad to see my recent doctor go. And since I told her that I was going to write a post to thank her for all that she has done for me, and she only asked that I withhold her name, I'm not going to mention her name in this article. At least not now while she is still at the VA.

But frankly, while I've written other articles about nurses who have preformed their jobs above and beyond the norm of what's out there, I think the VA should know who their better doctors are. Yes, in the same way that they should know who their worse doctors are.

Since starting my healthcare at the VA back in 1995, I have had at least a dozen doctors as my primary physicians. As for my urologists and other specialized medicine doctors, I lost count years ago.

Yes, I've been seen by a lot of doctors at the VA. I've seen a lot come and go. And while there have been way too many for me to remember them all, sadly the bad one's are the doctors that I've found myself and others talking about. Yes, at least talked about more than the good ones. Yes, sadly that's the case.
I've only asked to replace one doctor in the last 20 plus years. I remember how he walked into the examining room that I sat in and never looked at me. He went right to his computer and worked there for almost 15 minutes before telling me that he reordered my medication and would see me in 6 months. Never looking at me, even after he stood up and said, "Thank you," as he walked out.

While he was an extreme, a number of the doctors at the VA have behaved in similar ways. Maybe that's why a lot of Vets feel the VA is just a sort of production line? Production line medicine where you're just a number in their computer system.

That's probably the reason that I was sorry to hear that my doctor at the VA Clinic in Modesto California, had retired. He was the doctor that I'd seen the longest of everyone. He was as professional as can be expected, but he was also friendly and personable. And to me, that made him a great doctor.

Someone reading this is going to write to say that he or she knows a grouchy curmudgeon who is a wonderful doctor. And really, that's fine. I'm not saying that grouchy doctors, doctors who are very friendly, aren't good doctors. But for me, for what I like, for my taste, I see don't like going to see a doctor or going to a hospital, so when I get there I like courteous neighborly receptionists, a friendly staff, and a doctor that is interested in what ails me.

I've had the "all business, take a number, sit down, go here, you're time is up, see you in six months" type of doctor's visit. And friends, I don't like it. No, like most of us, I really don't like it. Call me old fashion, but I like the doctor who at least can give the appearance of caring.

After I blew my back out and went to vocational rehabilitation, I returned to college to obtain a degree in inspection technology. While training to be a welding inspector, during a practical examine, my instructor failed me even after I breezed through the process that I needed to preform for my certifications. When I asked my instructor why I failed? He responded that I would be a better inspector if I included "the magic." And yes, I learned a great lesson that day.

Yes, it was about "the magic". In other words, the process, the show, the ability to demonstrate why I have the credentials that I do, the reason that someone has hired me, the ability to show a client that I give a shit about what I'm inspecting, the thing that people want to see no matter whether it's calling in an inspector, going to a barber, or going to a doctor. People want the magic.

My old doctor who retired from the VA in Modesto understood giving a patient the magic. And yes, my doctor who is now leaving understands the same. And yes, like the doctor who retired, my doctor who I will certainly miss gives the one the magic. It comes naturally with her caring personality.

Within this last year, this doctor has taken a hard look at the medications that I take. And for her, the status quo was not good enough and she changed my medications and adjusted my routine on taking certain meds. And in doing so, my treatment plan has been changed for the better. Yes, because of her, I feel better.

She had me make a followup appointment to go over the changes, looking for any adverse reactions, weighing the benefits of the changes, and taking a look if any other changes were needed. All with feedback from me.

After our last followup, I told my wife how impressed I was with her care and concern. Her dedication and extra effort. I also told my wife about how she was leaving the VA.

Even though I know the odds are against her being my doctor again, I hope she returns to the VA one day. I know real well that the VA and other Veterans will benefit greatly from her being a part of the VA healthcare system. We have too many doctors who appear cold and uncaring, or tell Vets how limited they are. We need doctors that take the extra time. We need doctor's who understand that a great bedside manner combined with a positive attitude inspires patients to have more confidence in them and the VA in general.

Advice, reassurance, a positive attitude, and real support from a doctor goes a long way when it comes with dealing with patients. Especially with a patient who is reciprocal by being honest and forthright. A patient with a positive attitude who is willing to trust their doctor. Yes, a patient that actually wants to follow his or her treatment plan. A patient who doesn't walk out saying, "I don't care what the Doc wants me to do."

And sadly, I've known a few who were that way. They didn't like their doctor, or they felt their doctor didn't understand what they were going through, so they opt to being their own doctors. In almost every situation, a patient does more harm than good acting in that way. And the truly sad part about that is, it could probably avoided with a little communication.

To me, as in marriage, communication with one's doctor is vital to making life better. In a doctor–patient relationship it's great to know that your doctor cares. The relationship between a doctor and a patient in central to the practice of healthcare. In fact, it is said to be essential for the delivery of high-quality health care. And yes, even more than that, the doctor–patient relationship forms one of the foundations of contemporary medical ethics.

For a patient, at least for me, finding a doctor who is empathetic, sincere, open to options, someone who listens and is engaged, is a big deal. This doctor has been the first in a great number of years who had actually asked me probing questions to help adjust my medications so that I can get the highest benefit from what I'm taking. Not just there to issue refills and send me on my way, but really help me. Imagine that.

People have called me all sorts of things. And yes, I can assure you that some of those things have never passed for blessings. But if there is one thing that no one will ever be able to call me, well that's "ungrateful."

And this post, well this is post is me saying, "Thank you, Doc!" 

It's my way of saying that I can't thank you enough. And yes, that I will surely miss you. Yes, you've been that great a doctor. You are that caring. You are not what we have many of at the VA. And yes, because of who you are, you will be missed.

As for those in her future who will be blessed enough to have her as their doctor, I remind you to be grateful. She is not someone who will shove you out the door when your time is up, or say things just to pacify you. She will be who she is. She is kind yet no non-sense. She is an old fashion caring physician who will talk to you straight, and not beat about the bush. She will certainly find out if you're sincere about you working your wellness program. And yes, she will help you fight what's ailing you because she has the ability to understand what you are going through.

The fact is, in your efforts to get well, she will give you the advice and knowledge you need. All as professional as the day is long. All while caring about your medical needs.

Yes, you need to be honest with her and she in return gives you what you need to get well. No, not as some paternal figure. But instead, as an ally in your fight to achieve what you need to be healthier than before you walked into her office. Some call this collaboration by this name or that, but I like to think of it as an alliance that benefits both you the patient and her the doctor.

You benefit from her wisdom, experience, education, and interest in seeing you well. She benefits because you didn't withhold any information, and that makes her job easier. For me. my not withholding what she needed to know gave her all of the variables she needed to find the right medication and create the right treatment plan for me. Yes, communication and information benefits both you and her.

So be grateful that she's your doctor. Be grateful that you have found a doctor that cares. Because frankly, you will gain immensely from her being your treating physician. She is definitely someone with the knowledge and expertise a patient needs. With a willingness to be honest with her, having her as your doctor is having a great ally indeed.

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

Tom Correa  

Monday, May 15, 2017

Wyatt Earp’s 1911 Faro Con Game -- The New York Times

Wyatt Earp
Dear Friends,

I keep getting email from people saying that he was a famous gunfighter before his involvement in the fixing of the 1896 Fitzsimmons vs Sharkey Heavyweight Championship Boxing Scandal. But frankly, from what I can see, that's not true. And while some Old West historians, those who are obviously fans of Wyatt Earp, say he was widely known as a gunman as a result of what took place near the OK Corral, that's really wishful thinking on their part.

Like it or not, Wyatt Earp was never famous for being a lawman while he was alive. Fact is, while there were many who wanted to achieve the status of say Wild Bill Hickok while they were alive, to be legends in their own time, very few made it. Wyatt Earp was not one of them.

Wyatt Earp became widely known on a national scale, infamous, when he was the referee who carried out the fixed Heavyweight Champion Fight in San Francisco in 1896. 

With his connection to that fixed fight, his participation in other criminal enterprises such as his gold brink scam and his claim jumping in Idaho, as well as his associations with well-known criminals were uncovered. With these revelations, he became very well known as being part of the criminal types who were only allowed to walk the streets because they hadn't done enough to get sent to prison and be kept there.

After posting facts about Wyatt Earp's nefarious past, readers have written to ask where I get some of this information from? Well, below is a copy of an article from The New York Times pertaining to his arrest as part of a con game to bilk some sucker out of a great deal of money, especially for the times.

On July 22nd, 1911, The New York Times wrote:

Earp’s Faro Plan Fails

Marshal who disqualified Fitzsimmons arrested in raid.

Los Angeles, California, July 22nd, 1911 -- Wyatt Earp, Arizona Marshal of early days, who in 1896, as a prize fight referee disqualified Bob Fitzsimmons for a doubtful foul and awarded a decision to Tom Sharkey, was remanded to prison to-day for failure to produce $500 bond for his arraignment on a ‘get-rich-quick’ charge.

Earp and his two companions, Walter Scott and E. Dunne, who are also in jail, will plead next Tuesday. J.Y. Peterson, a realty broker, told detectives that Earp had unfolded to him a scheme to break a faro bank which Earp was operating as an employee.

According to Peterson, he was to appear in the gambling room with $2,500, and by means of marked cards was to be permitted to win $4,000, to be shared with Earp, Scott and Dunne. Peterson pretended to acquiesce in the arrangement, but when the big winning was to have taken place detectives whom he had previously informed raided the place. The faro outfit was confiscated.”

-- end of The New York Times article.

This took place after Wyatt Earp returned from Alaska. Because of his being exposed in the Fitzsimmons fight in 1896, Earp's reputation was one as someone notorious. Because he was caught refereeing a fixed heavyweight boxing championship fight, which ended up with Earp in court at the center of the 19th century's biggest controversy in sports gambling, he was considered someone to be watched, someone who needed to be put him on the radar of local law enforcement agencies up and down the West Coast.  

While there are "Wyatt Earp fans" who try to play down his shady reputation among law enforcement, even to the point of making up stories of his being an undercover officer for departments in Southern California. The hard truth is that he was on police "Watch Lists," no different than other criminal types in the day. 

We can see first hand what The New York Times wrote about his arrest in 1911. The Los Angeles Police Department Bunco Squad spoke to The Los Angeles Times concerning Earp's complicity in an attempt to cheat a man out of a quarter of a million dollars. You can read their statement below.

So really, if you don't believe The New York Times, here's a report on the same crime from July 25th, 1911, when The Los Angeles Times wrote:

"The charge of vagrancy against Wyatt Earp, Walter Scott, and Harry Dean whom J. Y. Peterson, a real estate man, complained had attempted to fleece him out of a large amount of money in a game of Faro Friday night, will be charged in Police court today to one of having conspired to conduct a gambling game.

The fact that detectives broke into the Auditorium Hotel, 507 West 5th. where the game had been set up, and arrested the trio before operations had begun, prevents the placing of the more serious charge, conspiracy to defraud, against them. The charge of conspiracy as applied in the case against the three men is a misdemeanor and is to be disposed of in Police court.

All the paraphernalia which was found in the room when the police broke in is in the hands of the police. It consists of a Faro layout, dealing box, a deck of cards which has in the center of each a small hole so the dealer can see at a glance if the second card down is odd or even, one hundred chips such as are used in the regulation faro game."

-- end of The Los Angeles Times article.

So why wasn't he tried? From everything that I've read on this, the only reason that he wasn't charged with a felony it the case of the Faro Con Game was because of poor evidence handling on the part of the police at the time. If that hadn't been the case, Wyatt Earp would have been taken to trial instead of having the charges dropped.

As for those who say this was just one arrest, fact is Wyatt Earp was arrested a total of 11 times in his life. And yes, I agree with those who say that that fact in itself qualifies him to be considered a life-long habitual criminal. It certainly would classify him as such in today's world.

All of this supports the reasons why law enforcement during the time saw Wyatt Earp for what he was, just a con-artist and criminal who was fortunate to evade the law most of his life.

Tom Correa

Friday, May 12, 2017

Wyatt Earp -- In The News 1870 to 1880

Wyatt Earp

In a recent post, I talked about how Wyatt Earp really became know on a national level as a result of him becoming the center of controversy in the fixed Fitzsimmons vs Sharkey Heavyweight Championship Boxing Match in 1896.

As I stated in my other article, Wyatt Earp -- Not Mentioned OK Corral Gunfight Reports, "he wasn't very well known until he took part in the fixing of the Fitzsimmons vs Sharkey Heavyweight Championship Fight in 1896. Fact is, during the post-fight investigation, Earp's wrongdoing as an accomplice in fixing that fight made him famous -- if not infamous."

Now that's not to say that he wasn't mentioned in a newspaper here and there before that, he was just not the center of attention. On a national level, in nationally syndicated stories, the Fitzsimmons vs Sharkey Heavyweight Championship Fight made him the center of attention from coast to coast. Not as a lawman, but as a desperadoes, a con artist, and crook.

After that prizefight, Wyatt Earp was in all sorts of articles connected to that prizefight. There were articles about his shady past, his arrests as a horse thieve and a pimp, his arrest for carrying a concealed weapon without a permit in San Francisco, and even articles about how he was picked to referee the fight, as well as an article talking about his having to appear in a San Francisco court which ultimately declared him a penniless vagrant incapable of paying any imposed fines.

In the article Wyatt Earp -- Not Mentioned OK Corral Gunfight Reports, I looked at how Wyatt Earp was hardly even mentioned in accounts of what took place at that lot near the OK Corral. Below are a few examples of Wyatt Earp appearing in newspaper articles before the OK Corral:

South-West Missourian, June 16, 1870 -- "One of our citizens had a brother from a distance call to see him on Monday last . . . they started . . . to have a good time . . . . Taking aboard a good supply of 'forty rod,' . . . Constable Earp found one of them . . . incapable of taking care of himself and took him down to the stone house . . . . As Mr. Earp was turning the key . . . the other came staggering up enquiring for his brother. Mr. Earp opened the door and slid hm in. . . . Mr. Earp met another hard case . . . a tramping butcher, who asked Mr. Earp to purchase him a pencil in place of one he alleged Mr. Earp had borrowed . . . he shared the same fate of the other two." 

Wichita Beacon, December 15, 1876 -- "On last Wednesday Policeman Erp found a stranger lyning near the bridge in a drunken stupor. He took him to the 'cooler' and on searching him found in the neighborhood of $500 on his person. He was taken next morning before his honor, the police judge, paid his fine for his fun like a little man and went on his way rejoicing. He may congratulate himself that his lines, while he was drunk. were cast in such a pleasant place as Wichita as there are but a few other places where that $500 roll would ever had been heard from. The integrity of our police force has never been seriously questioned." 

Wichita Beacon, Janaury 12, 1876 -- "Last Sunday night, while policeman Erp was sitting with two or three others in the back room of the Custom House saloon, his revolver slipped from his holster and in falling to the floor the hammer which rested on the cap, is supposed to have struck the chair, causing a discharge of one of the barrels. The ball passed through his coat, struck the north wall then glanced off and passed out through the ceiling. It was a narrow escape and the occurence got up a lively stampede from the room. One of the demoralized was under the impression that some one had fired through the window from the outside."

A June 8th, 1878 article in the Dodge City Times mentions the salary of that city's police department. Along with others on the department, Earp is mentioned as being paid $75 a month as Assistant City Marshal to Charlie Bassett who was the City Marshal. Bassett is listed as making $100 a month.

From that article, the things that I found interesting is that it was only a four man police department. The two others listed as policemen on the force were John Brown and Charles Trask. Surprisingly John Brown made the same salary as Earp did even though Earp was listed as the Assistant City Marshal. Charles Trask is listed as making $52.50. And no, I don't know why such an odd amount.

Tombstone Daily Epitaph, July 29, 1880 -- "The appointment of Wyatt Earp as Deputy Sheriff, by Sheriff Shibell, is an eminently proper one, and we, in common with the citizens generally, congratulate the latter on his election. Wyatt has filled various positions in which bravery and determination were requisites, and in every instance proved himself the right man in the right place. He is a present filling the position of shotgun messenger for Wells, Fargo & Co., which he will resign to accept the later appointment."

Tombstone Daily Epitaph, October 31, 1880 -- "From Deputy Sheriff Earp we learn that the man who killed Marshal White is an old offender against the law. Within the past few years he stopped a stage in El Paso County, Texas, killing one man and dangerously wounding another. He was tried and sentenced to ten years in the penitentiary, but managed to make his escape shortly after being incarcerated. The facts leaked out in this way: On the road to Tucson, Byoscins (sic) asked Earp where he could get a good lawyer. Earp suggested that Hereford & Zabriske were considered a good firm. Broscins (sic) said that he didn't want Zabriskie, as he had prosecuted him once in Texas. Inquiry on the part of Earp developed the above state of facts." 

As for those newspaper articles regarding the shootout at the OK Corral where Wyatt Earp was mentioned in The Salt Lake Herald, October 28th, 1881, in a small article entitled Battle with Cowboys on page 2 near the bottom stated "Wyatt Earp was wounded slightly" -- which of course we know he wasn't.
All misspellings and errors were not corrected for these articles.

Tom Correa

Thursday, May 11, 2017

I'm Suspended From Facebook For 30 Days

Dear Facebook Friends,

Because of a comment that I made on a political meme that I shared, I have been suspended from posting on Facebook for 30 days. While I'm fine with Facebook's decision on my personal  timeline, I don't agree with Facebook suspending me from posting history and other educational material on my American Cowboy Chronicles' wall.

But since now I have 30 days off from Facebook, I'm planning a number of things to take up my time. For example, I'm thinking of training for a shot at Mount Everest, maybe going on a cruise to the Panama Canal, or maybe go up to Wyoming and visit with friends and take in a rodeo or two.

Maybe I'll go out to Arizona and visit my brother, or take a trip back home to Hawaii and visit my Uncle Herbert. Maybe get more work in on my BLM Mustang, and get her to the point of being handled easier. Maybe get in more Cowboy Action shooting.

Then again, I could go up to Twin Falls, Idaho, and visit my nephew. From there I could go up to Yellowstone. I've always loved Yellowstone. Of course, from there I could go visit a friend or two in Texas. You know them, they're your friends who always say to drop in when I'm "in the neighborhood" while knowing full well you live in another state.

Yes, being suspended from Facebook for 30 days actually gives me a number of options. I can get away from this damn computer more. I can actually go and talk with friend face to face, hear every inflection in their voices and take note of every expression on their faces. Yes, the inflections and expressions are what speaks volumes that one can't get when talking over the phone or when "chatting" on Facebook.

My confession is that I've used Facebook to fight the Fake News, the horrible slander from the Left, the hate for America by those ungrateful Liberals out there who have had everything handed to them. Like many others, I've voiced my anger at the refugee, economic, and social problems created by the Obama administration during the last eight years. I voiced my disdain at Democrats who put the concerns for their party ahead of the concerns and needs of our nation. And yes, as for my blog, I've used Facebook to distribute my articles in an effort to get real factually correct information out to people. Yes. all while loosing a lot of sleep in the process.

So there you have it. Here you go! During the next 30 days of being suspended from Facebook, I'm going to get more sleep for a while. I'm leaving the good fight up to those who I know are also voicing their anger at the problems created by the Obama administration. Who are also voicing their disdain at Democrats who demonstrate no love for America.

Realistically, I know that I was just one little voice among the many out there who are raising up. And though I'm suspended right now, I know I will be back. And with that, I want to say good night to my Facebook friends. See you in 30 days.

And until we meet again, stay vigilant.

Tom Correa

Monday, May 1, 2017

Red Beard vs Rowdy Joe Lowe -- The Gunfight

On Thrusday, October 30th, 1873, The Wichita Eagle reported that "a melee Monday night between the proprietors of the two dance houses in West Wichita resulted in Rowdy Joe being shot in the back of the neck and Red Beard being wounded in the arm and hip."

Now before we get into this tale of the Old West, let me just say that there are many accounts of this gunfight. No kidding, this is one gunfight that you can pick and pull which story you like the best and just go with it. With saying that, let's get into this story about two saloon owners who went at it.

Edward T. "Red" Beard, who was said to be born sometime in 1828 was a gambler and saloon keeper. And yes, as stated in the Wichita Eagle, he was the son of the man who first settled Beardstown, Illinois. Being originally from Illinois, Red struck out on his own and soon settled in Virginia. It's believed that he was considered "a man of wealth" while there, that's because he's also said to have married well.

Then in 1861 at the outbreak of the Civil War, Red Beard left his life behind and moved west. Some say he was run out of Virginia one step ahead of a rope, but then who knows since that's only speculation since he left so swiftly.

After Virginia, he travel to California, and then onto Oregon and into Colorado where he is said to have developed a reputation as being a man with a bad temper who was supposedly good with a gun. That mix made him a nasty individual. And no different than today, knowing that meant that men facing him didn't take any chances. Folks knew it was a kill or be killed fight if faced against him.

By 1873, Red Beard settled in a boom town across the Arkansas River from Wichita, Kansas. It was there in Delano that he opened a saloon which is said to have been pretty successful for a time.

Of course that all came to a stop on October 27th, 1873, when he became angry with a saloon girl who worked next door at the saloon owned by "Rowdy Joe" Lowe. She was in his place and he wanted her to get out and go back to Rowdy Joe's.

Joseph Lowe was born in 1845, so Joe  was 17 years younger than Red. While he was also known as "Rowdy Joe" Lowe, because some say he was a gunfighter, most agree that he was just a gambler and saloon owner who had a reputation with his fists. Yes, Rowdy Joe was said to be a brawler.

Just like Wild Bill Hickok and the Earps, and like Red Beard, Rowdy Joe Lowe was originally from Illinois as well. Lowe and his wife Katherine, who believe it or not was known as "Rowdy Kate," moved to Kansas a few years after the end of the Civil War.

In 1871, the couple moved to Newton, Kansas, where they set up a saloon and brothel. Then in 1872, Rowdy Kate is said to have left with a pimp who was starting up a competing brothel. Rowdy Joe found her and the pimp, and just shot him.

The folks in Newton didn't like that much, so the citizens committee there forced both Rowdy Lowes to get out of town and take their attitudes with them to the Wichita area. That's how they came about buying their saloon in Delano, Kansas.

Supposedly the Lowes made good money with their saloon. That is until Red arrived in town and built a saloon 50 feet from the Lowes' saloon. While competition was said to be friendly at first, tempers flared when a few soldiers destroyed Red’s saloon.

That incident took place one evening when a young soldier had shot a woman from Beard’s saloon. In response, Beard opened fire on all of the soldiers. The soldiers supposedly retaliated that night by burning his saloon down.

Red Beard rebuilt his saloon, but he had animosity toward the Lowes because they profited from his place being burned to the ground. Things went from bad to worse when after a day of heavy drinking, Red decided to shoot Rowdy Joe right through the window of his saloon. Rowdy Joe returned fire and that gunfight ended with both surviving to tell the tale. The same outcome didn't happen on after their encounter later. 

On Monday, October 27th, Red Beard was again drinking heavily and getting angrier by the moment. At one point, he accused one of his prostitutes, a saloon girl by the name of Jo DeMerritt, of stealing from him. In response, DeMerritt threw a bottle at Red and immediately fled next door to Lowe’s saloon. 

So now, you're saying, but you said that the saloon girl worked for Lowe? And I did, but this is how such stories work out. Some sources say she worked for Red and fled to Rowdy Joe's, while others say that DeMerritt worked for Lowe.

Either way, Red Beard storms into Lowe's saloon and starts shooting at Jo DeMerritt who is also said to be one of Lowe's "girls". Point is that Beard shoot another of Lowe's girls by mistake.

Yes, the drunken Red Beard followed DeMerritt. He then barges into Lowe’s saloon. And in the smoke-filled saloon, Red mistook another prostitute, Annie Franklin, for DeMerritt. So Red fired a shot which struck Annie in the stomach.

When he saw this, Rowdy Joe immediately goes behind the bar and grabs a shotgun. He then exchanges shots with Red. It's said that one of Red Beard’s bullets grazed Rowdy Joe's neck. After that, a stray bullet from Red Beard hits one of Lowe's customers Bill Anderson in the head. Anderson was standing at the bar, and his said to be blinded for life.

After hitting Anderson, Red Beard runs with Rowdy Joe right after him. Now this is where it gets even more interesting, there is on story that says both men grab horses and race out of town in what then becomes a running gun battle.

Yes, both men are mounted and shooting at each other. And yes, in case you're wondering, I'm as surprised as you are that neither man shoots the other's horse.
Soon enough Rowdy Joe catches up with Red Beard. And then near the river bridge, when he comes into range, Rowdy Joe Lowe opens up and unloads both barrels of his shotgun into Red Beard. 

Red Beard was found critically wounded bleeding like a stuck pig from his arm and thigh. He was filled with buckshot. And even though that was the case, Red is said to have clung on to life for the next two weeks. But then finally, because of a loss of blood, he died on November 11th, 1873.

On Thrusday, November 13th, 1873, The Wichita Eagle reported that "E. T. Beard, better known as 'Red,' the proprietor of one of the dance houses across the river, paid the penalty of his misdeeds with his life on Tuesday  morning [November 11th]. It will be remembered that he was shot in a row at his dance house some two weeks since."

The article describes the post-mortem, which was attended by Rowdy Joe, who was charged with shooting Red. The articles stated, "He was formerly from Beardstown, Illinois, which was laid out and named after his father, who was wealthy. He was well educated, had Christian training, and has three children, two daughters and a son, nearly grown, who are now attending school in the east and know nothing of their father’s wild life in the west. Age about 45."

OK, so there is another story to this that says after chasing DeMerritt across the street, Red entered the Lowe Saloon where he accidentally shot and wounded a patron and another girl. That story says that Rowdy Joe grabbed his shotgun from behind the bar, went around to get behind Red Beard and opened up with both barrels. For me, I like the horse chase!

So now, according to one source, after the shooting near the river bridge, Rowdy Joe Lowe rode back to town, remember he's atop a horse, where he turned himself in to the local law. But did he turn himself in?

The reason that I ask is that a few weeks later on Thrusday, December 18th, 1873, The Wichita Eagle reported, "Notice offering $100 reward for the apprehension of one Joseph Lowe, alias 'Rowdy Joe,' a fugitive from justice from Sedgwick County, Kansas. He is about 28 years old, 5'9", heavy set, dark complexion, black hair and heavy black mustache, gruff manners, formerly proprietor of a dance house. Had a scar on right side of neck from a pistol ball."

Now while I have a hard time believing that a newspaper with print a notice of a bounty on someone if that person has already turned himself in, another source says that Rowdy Joe Lowe stood trial a few months later and he was found not guilty. In fact, some reports say that most in Delano, Kansas, considered what Lowe did as having done the town a favor. Yes, really more good than harm. From what I gather, getting rid of Red Beard was seen that way even though the newspaper didn't think so.

And as for Rowdy Joe Lowe and wife, well their saloon is said to have been extremely profitable at first. But things changed after the gunfight with Red Beard.

Of course that's the problem with shooting someone in places like a saloon. Some customers say it doesn't bother them as long as the booze isn't watered down too much, while others say the Hell with that place and go find another more quiet watering hole amongst the many that were available. And friends, unlike the movies where an Old West town only has one saloon, that is not the way it was. Usually boomtowns had a number of them. For example, Tombstone was home to more than 100 saloons within two year of their boom in 1879.

But, because of a number of complaints about cheating and under-handed card deals, word started to go around that the place was only shaking down people. Soon Lowe's saloon began to go down hill quick. The couple decided to cut their loses and moved to Texas.

Some say they rode with the Sam Bass gang. Others say they spent some time is Dodge City, but were eventually told to get out of town. They then supposedly travel to Tombstone, Arizona, where they may have set up a bar and brothel with Big Nose Kate.

That place is said to have had a reputation for ruthlessness. The no rules places had but one rule and that was that "no man should leave with money in his pockets." Some said the price of their drinks varied with how drunk you were, and it's also said that big time gamblers, the high rollers, might be drugged, robbed, and tossed in a gully out back. Because of this, the couple began drifting, gambling and occasionally working in saloons in various towns.

Then on February 11th, 1899, Rowdy Joe Lowe was drunk in the Walrus Saloon in Denver, Colorado. He began insulting police officer E.A. Kimmel. It was very apparent that Lowe was trying to goat Officer Kimmel into a fight.

Because Officer Kimmel had already heard about Lowe's reputation as a killer, even if it was of just one man, he knew better than to take chance when up against a known killer. So without hesitation, Kimmel drew his pistol and shot and killed Rowdy Joe Lowe.

Some say Lowe was unarmed, it's believed that he had a derringer on him. And as for Rowdy Kate? After Joe Lowe was shot dead, she disappeared and was never seen again.

You might find it fascinating that another Wichita newspaper, the short-lived The Wichita City Eagle, ran a story about how Rowdy Joe Lowe was killed in October of 1874. Yes, 25 years earlier than when he really was shot dead. That newspaper reported that Rowdy Joe was attacked by Indians en route to the Black Hills. They said that he was hit by three bullets and died instantly. Imagine that.

Tom Correa