Friday, July 20, 2018

Black Vigilantes in the Old West

The Tuskegee Institute studied the number of lynchings between 1882 and 1968, and found that 4,743 people were lynched. Of that number, they say 3,446 were Black-Americans. While I don't know how accurate their data is, at first I wonder why they started their research data from 1882 and not sooner.
For example, say instead of starting their data in 1850 when California was admitted to the Union as a state?

Why do I say start the data in 1850 with the admission of California? Well, that's because there were a large number of lynchings as a result of the California Gold Rush of 1849. In fact, per capita, no other state, including all of those which comprise the South, had more lynchings than California. 

Of course if we combine all of the lynchings in all of the states in the South, then certainly the majority of lynchings occurred in the South. But let's keep in mind, lynchings were not restricted to the South or California as they also took place in the Mid-West, the Northwest, and in the Northern and the border states. 

And while there are people today who want to make lynchings a racial issue exclusively regarding Black-Americans, it's not. Fact is, the Tuskegee Institute itself reported that 1,297 White-Americans were lynched in the period between 1882 and 1968. We also know that Hispanics, Californios, Native Americans, Chinese, Jewish, Irish, and Italian-Americans were also lynched.

As for Whites being targeted, the term "Lynch's Law" is said to come from the American Revolution. Virginia justice of the peace Charles Lynch is said to have ordered "Loyalists" hanged without trial. And in the South, Whites were targeted and lynched long before the Civil War if they were suspected of being members of the abolitionist movement.

And by the way, not all lynch mobs were White.

For example, there's the case of a White prison guard who was lynched by a Black mob of angry citizens in April of 1884. The guard's name was Samuel T. Wilson. In Issaquena County, Mississippi, he is said to have ordered others to beat and murder a Black fisherman by the name of Negia McDaniel. 

According to the newspaper account, Wilson was supervising a crew of Black convicts who were hauling lumber aboard a river flatboat. They landed their flatboat near McDaniel who was bank fishing. Wilson and McDaniel started arguing, some say about Wilson disturbing the fish. A very angry Wilson is said to have ordered two convicts to beat McDaniel. When McDaniel died from the beating, Wilson ordered that he be thrown in the river. 

Wilson was arrested for murder. He went before Adam Jenkins, who was a Black-American Justice of the Peace. Testimony was heard from the convicts who beat McDaniel to death. As strange as that sounds, the Judge is said to have refused testimony which may have benefited Wilson. Based of testimony of the the two convicts, Judge Jenkins then ruled that a Grand Jury should be convened.

It's said that there were up to 300 Black citizens in attendance at the hearing of Wilson. Soon after hearing the Judge recommend referral to the Grand Jury, they began shouting their intent to lynch Wilson on the spot. Judge Jenkins saw what was going on and immediately told Issaquena County Deputy Sheriff Lawson, who was a White officer, to get Wilson out of town for his own safety. 

Deputy Sheriff Lawson, and three armed guards, two of which were Black officers, escorted Wilson about a half mile from the court when a huge mob of angry Black citizens surrounded Lawson, the guards, and Wilson. Soon, the citizens forced the Sheriff to turn Wilson over to them. The Black lynch mob immediately took Samuel T. Wilson to a nearby tree and strung him up. 

Of course, after Wilson's lynching, local newspaper supposedly reported how Whites there were not happy with Judge Jenkins taking the word of two Black convicts, especially the very men who were trying to save themselves since they actually killed McDaniel. From what I've read, there were no reports of White citizens taking action against the Black vigilantes.

To answer the question, why did the Tuskegee Institute studied the number of lynchings between 1882 and not sooner? I found that while Black-Americans had been lynched right after the Civil War, it wasn't until the early 1880s that Blacks became targets of lynch mob violence.

For example, according to one report, in 1884, 160 Whites were lynched compared to 51 Blacks. Also, there is something else, some Black victims were lynched by Black mobs. Yes, Blacks lynched other Blacks. Yes, just the same as Whiles lynched other Whites. 

According to a report, in 1886, 74 Black-Americans were lynched. That was the first year to exceed the number of Whites lynched, which was 64. By 1892, 160 Black-Americans were lynched compared to 69 White-Americans. 

In 1997, E. M. Beck and Stewart Tolnay published an essay entitled “When Race Didn't Matter: Black and White Mob Violence Against Their Own Color."

In that, that authors state how Black lynch mobs were a factor in lynch mob activity between the years 1882 and 1930. Black lynch mobs gathered in rural areas and their victims were said to have been accused of much more serious crimes. The authors reported that over a third of the lynchings of Black lynch mobs had to do with taking Black suspects from police custody for them to deal out justice. The other two thirds of the lynching were Whites, Native Americans, and others who Black citizens felt would not be punished properly. 

They are said to have felt that the criminal justice system would not act correctly when it came to punishing those who committed crimes against Black-Americans. And frankly, there is no better example of this concern on the part of the Black community in the 19th Century than what took place in 1887 in Pickens County, South Carolina.

Manse Waldrop was a White man who was found guilty of the rape and murder of a young Black girl. The child's name was Lula Sherman. Fearing that the Justice System would not work as it should, on December 30, 1887, a group of Black citizens did exactly what White citizens did in the Old West.

Around midnight, Constable David E. Garvin was driving a buggy over some railroad tracks in Central, South Carolina, heading north to Pickens. In the seat next to him was his prisoner Manse Waldrop. At a Coroner's Inquest that afternoon, he was determined to be the man who raped and killed 14-year-old Lula Sherman. 

She was the daughter of a sharecropper. And while this story is focusing on her being Black, and her killer being White, and how Black citizens felt they needed to take the law into their own hands, this is more about a killer of a young girl getting what was coming to him. 

It's said that "before the buggy made it a mile down the road," armed men appeared out of the darkness. Garvin saw what was taking place and instantly tried to turn his buggy around. Two of the men restrained Garvin's buggy while the others in their citizens' group, vigilantes, grabbed Waldrop. 

In that cold night, citizens stepped forward to do what they feared the Justice System would not. They pulled Waldrop out of the buggy and off into the woods. Garvin soon heard a shot coming from the dark woods. The next day, Waldrop was found hanging from a tree. He was lynched after being shot in the head.

Lula's father was Cato Sherman. Because Cato Sherman made no secret of his taking revenge on Waldrop, he and four others were later arrested. They were charged with Waldrop's murder. In the trial that followed, Cato Sherman was found not guilty. But two of Sherman's accomplices were sentenced to death.

In the following days, it's said that both Black and White citizens of the area  petitioned South Carolina Governor John P. Richardson to pardon the two.
The good news is that the governor did in fact issue pardons for the two Black men who were convicted of lynching of Manse Waldrop. 

I read where the lynching of that child rapist and killer started a lot of folks into taking a look at what exactly justifies a lynching? And while Black citizens as vigilantes is not what people think of taking place in the Old West, it did take place for all the same reasons that White citizens did it. 

Just as White vigilance groups did, Black vigilantes didn't hide behind a badge or ambush their victims later. They seized the day and dealt out justice swiftly.  

Tom Correa

Friday, July 13, 2018

The Murder Indictment of Wyatt Earp & His Vendetta Posse

I've heard from a number of readers telling me that Wyatt Earp and his posse, to include his brother Warren Earp, John "Doc" Holliday, Sherman McMasters and John Johnson, were never charged for the wanton murder of Frank Stillwell at the train station in Tucson. No matter if they were all wearing badges or not, the homicide they committed was unlawful and they did in fact evade justice.

As I have stated in another article on this, on the morning of March 21th, 1882, Frank Stilwell's body was found about 100 yards from the Porter Hotel alongside the tracks riddled with two buckshot and three bullet wounds.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The following is a transcript of the Murder Indictment for the arrest of Wyatt Earp and those who were in on the murder of Frank Stillwell. It was issued on March 25th, 1882.
Territory of Arizona

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

Grand Jury Indictment for the Killing of Frank Stilwell

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

Territory of Arizona

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

Doc Holliday, Wyatt Earp, Warren Earp, Sherman McMasters and John Johnson are accused by the Grand Jury of the County of Pima and Territory of Arizona on their oath by this indictment of the crime of murder committed as follows: 

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

Contrary to the form of Statute in such case made and provided and against the peace and dignity of the Territory of Arizona

Second Count

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

Contrary to the form of the Statute in such case made and provided and against the peace and dignity of the Territory of Arizona

Third Count

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

Contrary to the form of Statute in such case made as provided and against the peace and dignity of the Territory of Arizona.

Fourth Count

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

Fifth Count

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

Hugh Farley District Attorney
of Pima County Arizona Territory
-- end of murder indictment of Wyatt Earp and his "vendetta" posse.

I did not correct the spelling and/or any other errors in the indictment papers. It is presented here as it was written and produced in 1882.

Please keep in mind, Stilwell's body was found on the tracks the following morning after he had been killed and shot by each member of Earp's deputized federal posse. But by that time, Wyatt Earp and his "posse" had fled the scene.

Earp and the others did not report what took place to the local law in that jurisdiction or make any sort of report of what took place as would normally be done by a Deputy U.S. Marshal and his posse. Instead, no differently than the killers that they were supposedly hunting down with warrants in their hands to bring to justice, Earp and the others acted like a gang of killers and murdered Stillwell then fled the scene.

That's just the way I see it.

Tom Correa

Monday, July 9, 2018

Let's Not Forget O.M. Aldrich

Beware of the Merry-Go-Round Operator

In my article The Hanging of Tom Horn, 1903, part of the story is about the quick action of O.M. Aldrich who recaptured Horn on the day that the killer escaped from jail. A few of you have written to ask if I could put it in a stand alone post. Well, here it is. I hope you enjoy the irony as much as I do.

On Sunday, August 9th, 1903, at 8:00 am, Tom Horn and the prisoner in the next cell, a man by the name of McCloud, decided to make their break. During their escape Deputy Sheriff/Jailer R.A. Proctor was beaten and tied up with a window cord. The escapees then went into the Sheriff’s office in search of weapons. As fate would have it, it's said they overlooked a cabinet containing five lever action .30-30 Winchesters rifles.

McCloud ran out a side door leaving Horn to go back to Proctor. Horn snatched a pistol from Proctor, then beat the Deputy in the head and face before running out the side door as well.

According to historian Lee A. Silva, the handgun Tom Horn tried to use during his escape attempt was a John Browning designed, Fabrique Nationale (FN) manufactured, semi-automatic pistol. Tom had never used a semi-auto pistol before and luckily for Deputy Proctor that Horn didn't know how to use it since he would have most likely killed Proctor during his escape.

Horn ran out the same door used by McCloud, but when hearing the Cheyenne Police shoot at McCloud and him surrender, Horn decided to run South and then East toward Capitol Avenue. That's where he ran into big problems with the Merry-Go-Round operator.

Believe it or not, a Merry-Go-Round Operator, actually a Mechanical Engineer,  by the name of O.M. Aldrich spotted Tom Horn running from the jail. Aldrich quickly responded by grabbing his .38 caliber Iver Johnson pocket pistol and lighting out after Horn.

While chasing Horn, Aldrich took a shot at him but sadly missed its mark. The shot is said to have made Horn turn and attempt to return fire. But since Horn didn't know how to operate the semi-automatic pistol, he wasn't able to shoot and kill Aldrich. It's believed it he had known how to operate that semi-auto pistol that Aldrich would have been dead.

Merry-Go-Round Operator Aldrich caught up with Horn and pulled off a round  again. This time his shot is said to have actually creased the top of Horn's head. And as strange as it sounds, this stunned the killer. Believe it or not, it's said that Horn actually became wobbly when shot at. He is said to have actually fainted face first down into the ground.

It's said that Horn tried to regain his feet and get back up. When he did, he again tried to shoot Aldrich who was now almost on him. Again, Horn didn't know how to fire the FN semi-automatic pistol. So no, Tom Horn was not a "weapons expert" by any stretch of the imagination. 

When O.M Aldrich caught up with Tom Horn, he commenced to beat the tar out of the child-killer. In fact, when a mail clerk by the name of Robert LaFontaine showed up to help Aldrich who had tackled Horn, LaFontaine said Aldrich was beating the crap out of the famous killer -- actually clubbing Horn in the back of the head with his little Iver Johnson .38 caliber pocket pistol.

Worn out and beaten, the famous assassin Tom Horn stopped resisting and surrendered to Aldrich and LaFontaine. Horn was lead back to jail by a very large, and very angry, group of townsfolk. The group was soon joined by Cheyenne City Police Officer Otto Aherns, a second officer named Stone and Deputy Leslie Snow.

Many in the group started taunting Horn to make another run for it. Some in the group spit at Horn. A few threw rocks. It's said when Deputy Snow showed up to help escort Horn, he actually tried to bash Horn with his rifle but was stopped by Deputy Proctor.

Some called for a rope. Some were calling for the child-killer to be taken to a nearby tree and lynched. I find it interesting that Deputy Proctor put down any talk of lynching Horn when the crowd outside the jail didn't want to disperse. I also find it interesting that Kels Nickell, the father of the 14-year-old boy who Horn shot twice and killed, was there that day. He's said to have actually tried to  agitate the crowd into lynching Horn. Deputy Proctor is said to have quieted him down as well.

Robert LaFontaine said later that he spent most of his time pulling Aldrich off of Horn for fear the Merry-Go-Round operator was going to kill the assassin. Yes, the Merry-Go-Round Operator whopped the Hell out of the famous bushwhacker Tom Horn!

And as for the man who chased down Tom Horn and beat the tar out of him, Mr. Aldrich was treated as a hero by the folks in that city for many years after that.

As for Horn, for the last few days before his execution armed troops surrounded the block where the jail and courthouse were located and supposedly a Gatling gun was placed on the roof.

Tom Correa

Friday, July 6, 2018

He Brought Law & Order To Leadville

Mart Duggan made news in September of 2005 when Denver historians discovered Duggan’s unmarked grave. Money was raised and a proper tombstone was erected for him in 2010.

Martin J. "Mart" Duggan was born on November 10, 1847, in County Limerick, Ireland. While some say he was born in 1848, I'm going with what's on his headstone.

Immigration to the United States is said to have come to a virtual halt at the outbreak of the American Revolution. It didn't began again until the so-called "Era of Good Feelings." The "Era of Good Feelings" was a period in America which reflected a sense of "National Purpose" and a desire for unity among Americans between 1817 and 1825.

The "Era of Good Feelings" saw the end of the Federalist Party as well as the end to the bitter partisan disputes between it and the Democratic-Republican Party. During those few years, a goal for all was to put politics aside and let what was good for the American people be the priority.

Many of the first arrivals from Ireland came to work on the Erie Canal. But that was the only canal project they worked on. And of course, many went to work for the railroads. Unlike the myth that they were just unskilled laborers, in reality most were skilled tradesmen.

A decade or so later by the mid 1840s, it's said the nature of Irish immigration to America changed because the potato blight destroyed the staple of the Irish diet. The blight in turn produced a famine, and hundreds of thousands of Irish peasants were driven from their homeland and forced to migrate to America.

Unlike the earlier Irish arrivals, most of the folks who arrived later had little to no skills or experience. Worst of all, they arrived with little to no education, very little money if any, just the clothes on their backs, and very little hope. Fact is, they came to America with very few resources of any kind to help them make it.

What they did have going for themselves was vital to their survival. First, they came with good intentions to make better lives for themselves. The vast majority of newcomers were God fearing, honest, hard working, and family oriented. Second, while they might not have known what the word "assimilate" meant, on the overall they did just that over the long haul.

According to records, the population of Irish arriving here between 1840 and 1851 was recorded as 6,552,385. And while they did assimilate over the long haul, being low on the pecking order meant that conditions for many Irish arrivals to American cities at the time was not much better than the conditions that they fled from in the old country. Sadly, the conditions they found themselves in were often crowded shanty towns, living in shacks, where sanitation was barely existent.

Jobs were hard to come by and employers made no bones about their unwillingness to take on the Irish newcomers. In many instances signs saying "No Irish Need Apply" were very clearly hanged out for all to see. And of those who did find work, Irish immigrant women found work as domestics while the men worked as servants and took whatever laborer jobs that could be found in construction.

The Irish newcomers felt the open hostility of those who arrived before them, and the slums took its toll on those there. The workhouses got many, but many also landed in the jails. Thankfully some made their way out of the cities of the East and headed West.

Mart Duggan was like thousands of other Irish children raised in America to immigrant parents. His family came to America and settled in the slums of New York City. He grew up among the bars and the drunks, the brothels, the poor, and the filth of the city.

By 1859 when young Mart was about 11 years old, the Duggan family had enough of New York and moved to Nebraska to take up farming there. After a few years in Nebraska, they moved to the Colorado Territory right after the Homestead Act of 1862 was passed.

Settlements were going up all over the West because of the Homestead Act of 1862. The Homestead Act was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on May 20, 1862. It was meant to encourage Americans to migrate West. The enticement was 160 acres of free land. Those who took the challenge were called "homesteaders."

In exchange for that free land, a "homesteader" paid a small filing fee and they had to complete five years of continuous residence there. That might sound like a bargain before receiving ownership of the land, but only 1 in 3 actually made it through the 5 required years. It was tough hard work and many simply returned East.

Mart Duggan was in his mid 20s when he left the family farm to seek his fortune in the rich mining camps of Colorado. He drifted from one mining camp to the next. Along the way, as with everyone, needing to eat prompts people to take all sorts of jobs they might not necessarily take.

In Duggan's case, he found work as a laborer in the mines, a teamster, mule skinner, and even as a stock tender. And according to legend, he had almost a dozen notches on his pistol when he became a cowboy and Indian fighter. Of coarse, I wouldn't put any money on the later being true.

Georgetown was established in Colorado's Clear Creek Canyon in 1859 during Pike's Peak Gold Rush. She is known as the "Silver Queen of the Rockies." And contrary to what some say, that town of Georgetown was not named after George Washington. In reality, it was founded by two brothers who were prospectors. Their names were George and David Griffith. Georgetown was actually named in honor of the older of the two brothers. 

Coming twenty years later, the Colorado Silver Boom started in 1879 with the discovery of silver at Leadville. A friend of mine from that area once told me that Colorado means "colored red," and with the over 82 Million dollars worth of silver that was mined during the period is said to have kept Colorado out of the red and in the black for years.

By the time Mart Duggan was 29, in 1876, he found himself a Jack of many trades but master of none. Needing work, the stocky 5 foot 5 inch tall Irish-American started working as a bouncer in the Occidental Dance Hall & Saloon in Georgetown.

Not long after he started working as a bouncer there, he had to disarm a loud mouth drunk. It actually happened pretty quickly. At one moment the drunk was waving his pistol, the next moment the drunk was laid out. The drunk found himself on the floor looking up at Duggan who had taken the drunk's own pistol and used it to buffalo him over the head. The drunk became so angry that he actually challenged Duggan to go out into the street and shoot it out.

Duggan had never been in a gunfight up to this point in his life. The story goes that Duggan didn't hesitate a second and threw the drunk’s pistol across the room. The scrappy Irishman then told the drunk to pick it up, and that he'd be waiting for him outside. And with that, Duggan walked into the street and waited.

When the drunk came out for their gunfight, it's said patrons from the saloon went outside with him. They lined the sides of the street to watch what would happen next. The drunk is said to have seemed a lot more sober than he lead on to be when he walked outside. Soon people there were whispering that Duggan had bit off more than he could chew.

The two faced one another about 30 feet apart. It's said that the man went for his gun, and so did Duggan. Witnesses said that the first shots were close, but the drunk fired first.

Duggan followed his first shot with two more. The drunk was said to have been maybe a half a second faster than Duggan, but he missed. Duggan was not as fast, but he was accurate. He didn't miss. His three shots slammed into the man's chest, killing him instantly. Who was the drunk, no one knows. Fact is, he was unknown to everyone there because he hadn’t been in town long enough for anyone there to find out his name. Right after the shooting a Miners Court convened and acquitted Duggan when the shooting was ruled self defense.

About two years later, Duggan left Georgetown and headed for Leadville during the silver boom there. By then, Leadville, Colorado, was a booming mining town. It was a raucous, no holds barred town of gamblers, pimps, prostitutes, con men, and other seedy types all wanting to take as much gold from miners as they possibly could. 

It's said that when Mart Duggan arrived in Leadville, he was immediately mistaken for a thug by the name of Sanford "Sam" Duggan, Sam was known for attempting to extort money from miners in different mining camps. Sam's method was simple. He threatened miners with physical violence unless they paid him not to beat them up or kill them. While it was an easy mix up because of Mart Duggan's last name, the mistake was resolved with someone came forward to report that Sanford Duggan was lynched in Denver years earlier.

Leadville had a population of around 15,000 when Duggan arrived. The town appointed T. H. Harrison as its first City Marshal. While Harrison was appointed because of a great reputation as a no non-sense lawman, he was actually beaten up by local hooligans and ran out of town just two days after being appointment.

Horace Austin Warner Tabor, who would later become one of America's wealthiest men, was the Mayor of Leadville. When Harrison was ran out of town on a rail, Tabor appointed George O'Connor as City Marshal.

City Marshal George O'Connor is said to have had grit and was starting to bring about some semblance of peace in Leadville when he was shot and killed by one of his own deputies. That took place on April 25th, 1878, after Marshal O'Connor reprimanded Deputy Marshall James M. "Tex" Bloodsworth for spending too much time in saloons, gambling and frequenting dance houses.

After Marshal O'Connor informed Bloodworth that he would request that the City Council to fire him, the Deputy immediately planned the murder of Marshal O'Connor. The evening of April 25th, Bloodworth met Marshal O'Connor at Bill Nye's Saloon and soon exchanged words. Bloodworth then shot the Marshal several times and left him to die as he ran out of the saloon. Bloodworth then stole a horse and was never seen again after fleeing Leadville. 

Marshal O'Connor did not die quickly but instead lingered for several hours. He had only been City Marshal for 3 weeks before being killed. When he died, he was survived by his wife and son.

While Marshal O'Connor was still dying, Mayor Tabor called an emergency session of the city council. A few people who knew Duggan's work as a bouncer in Georgetown, and of course the shootout that he was in there, steered the Mayor toward Mart Duggan to replace Marshal O'Connor. It's said that Duggan hesitated at first, but then accepted the appointment as City Marshal on the grounds that he could maintain the peace anyway he saw fit.

The same hooligans who ran off Harrison and gave O'Connor a hard time for the short time that he was on the job quickly started threatening Duggan. The threats were not subtle, he was told to either leave town or be buried in Leadville.

On the same day of his appointment and swearing in, Duggan was summoned to the Tontine Restaurant over a disturbance by some rowdy miners. Once there, he stood down the leader of the rowdies by telling him to get out of the restaurant. When the leader balked and asked what if he didn't, Duggan told him that he'd kill him where he stood. The leader of the miners saw that the new City Marshal wasn't bluffing and left.

Soon a reputation of his being a no nonsense lawman was being talked about in town. It was right after his first encounter with the rowdies at the Tontine Restaurant that he started firing the deputies who were left over from the previous Marshal's office. If he thought one was crooked or not capable of doing their job, or if he thought a deputy was too friendly with the criminal element of the town, he would fire them on the spot.

After taking on his own department, Duggan is said to have actually walked right into the office of a local judge and ran him out of town at gunpoint. The judge was said to be too lenient when it came to handing out sentences, and may have been in cohorts with the criminal element there. So Duggan showed up at his office and fired him. The judge didn't take being fired lightly and told Duggan that he didn't have the authority to fire him.

Legend says Duggan pulled his Smith&Wesson .44 Double Action Frontier Revolver and stuck its barrel under the judge's nose. Then it's said he held it there as he walked the judge out of his office and into the street. He supposedly pointed the judge toward the end of town and told him to get out.

Marshal Duggan's Smith & Wesson .44 Double Action Frontier
As a piece of trivia, the Smith & Wesson .44 Double Action Frontier was not one of their best sellers. That's not to say it didn't have a following from some bad hombres. For example, killer John Wesley Hardin was carrying a Smith & Wesson .44 Frontier when he shot in the head in El Paso's Acme Saloon by John Selman in 1895. It's said that George Scarborough shot and killed Selman a year later with a Smith & Wesson .44 New Model.

To clean up Leadville, Duggan fired what he thought were crooked deputies and replaced them with his hand picked men. He also replaced that sympathetic judge with a man of his own choosing. Once his judge was in place, he supervised court sessions for a week while making sure strict sentences were passed down. It is interesting to note that there are sources which say the judge who was walked out of town actually returned later only to apologize to Duggan. He was placed back on the bench by Duggan after promising to lay down harsher sentences.

A few years later, Duggan told a reporter in a newspaper interviewer, "Immediately after I was appointed, I received a written notice from the roughs to leave town, and if I stayed 24 hours, I would follow George O’Connor. Paid no attention to notice but took every precaution to always be on guard. The town was not only full of thieves, thugs and desperate characters, but there was some quarrelsome, shooting miners -- determined that no newcomer should have authority over them.”

Duggan's heavy handed tactics were effective. While not liked by all, they were tolerated because he produced results. And while some may think his heavy handed approach didn't apply to everyone, it did. In fact there is a story of him arresting one of the wealthiest mine owners in Colorado for being drunk and disorderly. The story goes that when the mine owner resisted arrest, Duggan used his pistol to beat the mine owner over the head before carting him off to jail.

There was an incident that was almost made for Hollywood. That was when he responded to the Pioneer Saloon during a disturbance. Two miners were arguing over the pot in their poker game. One miner was a Black man by the name of John Elkins. The other was a White man named Charlie Hines.

When the argument escalated from words to fists, Elkins pulled a knife and stabbed Hines. Knowing that a Black man stabbing a White man would probably get him lynched before he finished telling folks what happened, Elkins fled. Two deputies soon found Elkins and immediately arrested him without incident. But when the word got around that Hines was close to dying, a mob quickly formed to string up Elkins from any tree that could be found.

Elkins being Black and Hines being White didn't help matters as the lynch mob wanted to do what they saw was there duty. But then again, with Elkins being Black, their duty may have just been an excuse to hang a Black man.

So now, here comes the scene almost made for Hollywood. Marshal Duggan received the word that his two Deputies had found Elkins and they had him locked up in jail. Duggan saw the mob and decided to head them off before they could get into the jail. So City Marshal Mart Duggan found a second pistol and stood in front of the jail with a pistol in each hand. Yes, two pistols.

He cocked both revolvers and told the mob that he would kill the first man who takes another step forward. As angry as the mob were at that moment, no one wanted to test him. No one wanted to find out if Duggan would keep shooting until he was empty and go out blazing away trying to keep a prisoner. So the mob which was supposedly about 100 men, in fact dissolved on the spot.

Luckily for Elkins, Hines made a recovery and the scene didn't have to be acted out again later. When he went to court, a jury of White men found that Elkins did in fact act in self-defense. But wisely, Elkins is said to have left town as soon as he was released from custody.

Duggan was fired by Mayor Tabor after a February of 1879 incident where the Marshal was drunk. According to some, Duggan was normally well mannered and soft-spoken. But supposedly when he was in a bottle, he became mean and as deadly as a rattler. And if pushed, he became even meaner.

A Leadville newspaper once wrote, "Sober, there was no more courteous, obliging person. But under the influence of liquor, he was the incarnation of deviltry and had as little regard for human life as a wild beast."

In that incident in February of 1879, Duggan assaulted a Tontine Restaurant bartender who told him that he was "violent and abusive." In fact, Marshal Duggan actually threatened the bartender's life after pulling his revolver and knocking the bartender to the floor.

Duggan was suspended. But he was then reinstated when the bartender, who didn't want to have Duggan as an enemy, withdrew his charges. For the few days that he was suspended, his deputies threatened to quit and the town went wild. With no law and order in sight, Mayor Tabor quickly reinstated Duggan and order was restored. 

In March of 1879, Bill and Jim Bush got into an argument with Mortimer Arbuckle. On a lot that belonged to the Bush brothers, Arbuckle built a shack. It was a shack that Arbuckle was using to conduct business out of.

Their argument went from shouting to pushing, and then Jim Bush pulled a pocket pistol and shot Arbuckle dead. Arbuckle was not armed, and he was very well liked there. So now, a lynch mob quickly formed. They wanted to lynch Jim Bush, but also burn down the hotel owned by Bill Bush. Duggan arrested Jim Bush and put him in his jail. And again, Duggan backed down a lynch mob.

But that time, Duggan knew that his backing down that mob was only temporary -- and that it was only a matter of time before the vigilantes acted. As soon as he started hearing talk that vigilantes were going to assault the jail going around, he knew he had to do something. Duggan took Jim Bush to Denver for safe keeping until his trial.

A month later, it was a year since taking the job. Believe it or not, since he was married by then, he stated that he wanted to move his family to Flint, Michigan, where his wife had relations. So in order to make the trip East, Mart Duggan quit when his term expired. He was replaced by Pat Kelly who did not have the same attitude of Marshal Duggan.

Within months Leadville reverted back to the way it was before Mart Duggan pinned on a star. Hooligans started running protection rackets openly and soon took over businesses at gun point.

Gangs of hooligans were led by a killer known as Edward Frodsham who was from Brigham, Utah. Frodsham had been sentenced to ten years in prison for killing John Peasley in Wyoming. Peasley made the mistake of having an affair with Frodsham's wife. Frodsham was released after only two years behind bars. Yes, that sort of thing where a killer gets out early happened even back then.

In August of 1879, Frodsham who was supposedly good with a gun, and a friend by the name of Lee Landers who was an escaped convict, were in a gunfight in Laramie, Wyoming.  The shootout which took place in Susie Parker's brothel resulted in the killing a cattle dealer named Jack Taylor.

Though Frodsham was wounded in the gunfight, he was arrested. He posted bail but then moved to Leadville. Almost immediately after arriving there in December of 1879, he shot and killed Peter Thams. Marshal Kelly didn't arrest Frodsham for the murder. Some say Kelly was scared of getting killed.

Lake County Deputy Sheriff Edmund H. Watson wasn't scared of Frodsham and did in fact arrest the killer. This time, with Kelly and not Duggan in charge, vigilantes stormed the jail and took both Frodsham and outlaw Patrick Stewart out of the jail. The vigilantes lynched them both.

Leadville was out of control, so the City Council didn't wait and simply fired City Marshal Pat Kelly. They also sent for Mart Duggan to return at once.

When Mart Duggan returned to take the position of Leadville City Marshal over again in late December of 1879, he immediately fired all of Kelly's deputies and replaced them with men of his own. Whether there was a law on the books or not, it's said that with a pistol in both hands -- Duggan arrested anyone who he believed was causing problems for the town. 

It took months, but soon enough Leadville was peaceful as could be expected. So in April of 1880, with Leadville again under control, Mart Duggan decided to leave. This time, his replacement was Lake County Deputy Sheriff Edmund H. Watson who was coaxed into the City Marshal's position by Duggan himself. Watson's arrest of Frodsham garnered him a great deal of respect in and around the town, and that was half the battle of keeping the peace back in the day.

A month later, Duggan was employed by former Mayor Tabor. He was hired to help end a miners' strike over wages. Some say it was his hiring that ended the strike, that his reputation did it. Either way, within a month of being hired, the miners' strike ended.

Later that year, in November, Duggan's personal reputation took a hit when he  got into an argument with a miner by the name of Louis Lamb. He and Lamb had argued before. This time when Lamb walked away, Duggan kept yelling at Lamb.

It's said that Lamb walked away but at some point turned and pulled a pistol. Duggan drew his and shot Lamb dead. Duggan turned himself in and was later cleared on grounds of self-defense. That shooting tarnished his reputation. He lost a great deal of prestige over the shooting of Lamb.

It's said that Duggan went into the Livery business and owned a livery stable in Leadville at the time of the Lamb shooting. After the shooting of Lamb, his business went under altogether by 1882.

Duggan moved to Douglass City, Colorado, where he became a City Deputy while also tending bar. There is a story about him tracking down con-artists in 1887. Supposedly a con-artist arrived there and fleeced a few dance hall girls.

The crook sold them fake jewelry. The girls talked to Duggan about it. Duggan hunted the man down. It's said that he beat the man pretty badly, then made him return the money that he had taken from the girls.

Believe it or not, it's said that the con-artist went to Leadville and filed charges of robbery and assault and battery against Duggan. Mart Duggan was summoned and appeared in court to face the charges. He brought along with him the dance hall girls who were cheated.

While the judge acquitted Duggan on the charge of robbery, he fined the former City Marshal $10 for assault and battery. When Duggan heard the fine, he became so angry that the con-artist decided that it would be a wise move to drop the charges and leave town. That con-artist was never seen in those parts again.

Later in 1887, former City Marshal Mart Duggan accepted a position as a Deputy in Leadville. Some say he was out of step with the times since many in Leadville saw themselves as no longer a mining camp and more a civilized city. Knowing that, one has to be sort of surprised that they asked for Duggan to return in any sort of capacity as the law there. They must have known that his techniques were the same as they were ten years earlier when he brought law and order to that town.

It didn't take long for his old ways to clash with what some saw as the modern and more civilized way of doing things. That happened in March of 1888 when  Duggan arrested a jewelry peddler who was cheating people in town. Because he roughed up the peddler when the no good cheat tried to resist arrest, the judge threw the charges out of court and Duggan was fined $25 for an unlawful arrest. With that, Mart Duggan had enough and resigned. He would never put on a badge again.

For one reason or another, Duggan started drinking heavily about that time. As I said earlier, he was known as a mean drunk. During that time, he was involved in a number of arguments. While he wasn't against using his fists if things escalated, he was also known to have little to no patience when challenged by bullies. And no, being outnumbered didn't seem to matter to him. As far as he was concerned, his enemies had the choice of guns or knifes if that suit them.

On April 9th, 1888, he had been in the Texas House Saloon most of the night. He didn't like people being picked on and soon had a run in with two gamblers by the names of William Gordon and Bailey Youngston over their treatment of someone else there. The story goes that it was in the very early morning hours that he took up for someone. That's what started the argument between he and the two gamblers.

After being threatened by the two who were said both bigger men, Duggan asked both to step outside and finish it in the street. Both of the gamblers knew of his reputation with a gun, so both decided against it and backed down.

It was about 4:00 am when Duggan finally calmed down and decided to head home. It's said that he only walked a few steps out the door of the Texas House when someone came up from behind and shot him in the back of the head.

His killer is said to have fled after seeing that Duggan didn't go down. Instead of immediately falling, he instead staggered next door to the Bradford Drug Store where he finally went down. Bystanders carried Duggan into the drugstore. His wife was called and she was told what had taken place, and that he wasn't dead.

When she arrived, she was met by many of his friends. Her husband was indeed not dead, so she sat with him well into the morning.

Legend says at one point he opened his eyes and asked for a drink of water. At that point, someone asked him if Bailey Youngston had shot him? He replied, "No. And I'll die before I tell you".

Mart Duggan died at 11:00 am on April 9th, 1888. He died almost 10 years to the day after taking office as City Marshal there. And yes, the mystery surrounding why he withheld the name of his killer has never been solved. Some say he may simply not have known who it was. But if so, why say "I'll die before I tell you"?

He was highly respected and Leadville certainly mourned his death. He was buried in Denver and many say his funeral was one of the largest ever attended.

Bailey Youngson, Jim Harrington, and George Evans, were arrested as murder suspects. Only Bailey Youngson went to trial. But because of lack of eye witnesses, he was acquitted.

No one was ever convicted for his murder. But that didn't stop the town of Leadville from confronting those who they suspected, and running them out of town. Of course, by now whoever did bushwhack him has long since met his maker and has had to answer for his heinous act. So hopefully, that cowardice individual is sitting in Hell.

As for Mart Duggan, born in Ireland, he was raised in the tough slums of New York City and then the Nebraska farmland. He worked at many jobs and became one of the Old West's great lawman. He was a true town tamer in every sense.

Sadly, he is mostly forgotten today. But there was a time not all that long ago in the Old West, when Mart Duggan made outlaws change their ways and think twice before breaking the law. He was the man who brought law and order to Leadville. He was truly one of the most feared lawmen in the West. That's just a fact.

Tom Correa

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Dalton Gang Meets Their Waterloo in Coffeyville, Kansas

On Friday, October 7, 1892, the Coffeyville Journal published the below detailed account of the Dalton Gang's last battle that had taken place two days before:


The Robber Gang Meet Their Waterloo in Coffeyville. The Outlaws Beaten at Their Own Game.

The fifth of October, 1892, will be marked in the history of the city of Coffeyville, in fact in the current history of the country, as the date on which one of the most remarkable occurrences of the age took place. Between 9:30 and 10:00 on Wednesday morning, [five men], armed to the teeth and apparently disguised, rode boldly [into town]. They entered an alley and hitched their horses to the fence. They quickly formed into a sort of military line, three in front and two in the rear. 

Aleck McKenna was in front of his place of business when the men came out of the alley, and they passed within five feet of where he was standing. He recognized one of them as a member of the Dalton family. The men quickened their pace and three of them went into C. M. Condon & Co.'s bank while two ran directly across the street to the First National bank. The next thing that greeted Mr. McKenna's eyes was a Winchester pointed toward the cashier's counter in the [Condon] bank. 

He called out that "the bank was being robbed." The cry was taken up and quickly passed from lip to lip all around the square. The unwelcome visitors in this bank were in plain view of a score or more people on the plaza.

Grat Dalton, disguised by a black moustache and side whiskers, led the raid on Condon and Co.'s bank. He sternly commanded the clerk to hand over the cash on hand, and urged him to be quick about it. The robber gathered up the funds and carelessly stuffed them in the inside of his vest. One of the other men passed into the office. 

He ordered Mr. C. M. Ball, the cashier, to bring the money out of the safe. Mr. Ball told him that the time lock was on and that he could not get into the money chest. The fellow told him that he would have to get into it, or he would be compelled to kill him. [The robber] inquired how soon the time lock would open. 

Mr. Ball told him that it was set for 9:45. "That is only three minutes yet, and I will wait," replied the intruder. Before the three minutes had expired, firing began on the outside of the bank, and the bullets began to come through the plate glass windows. All three men rushed out in the direction of the alley where their horses were hitched.

It may be stated in this connection, that Mr. Ball's story about the time lock was purely fictitious. It was set for eight o'clock and had opened at that hour. The fact that there was over forty thousand dollars in the chest influenced the cool headed cashier to lie to the burglar.

Bob Dalton, the acknowledged leader of the outfit, disguised by false moustache and goatee, accompanied by his youngest brother, Emmett, entered the First National bank. They covered the teller and the cashier with their Winchesters and, addressing the cashier by name, directed him to hand over all the money in the bank. 

The cashier very deliberately handed over the currency and gold on the counter, making as many deliveries as possible, in order to secure delay in hope of help arriving. The money [was] stuffed into a common grain sack and carefully tied up. [At the sound of] a shot from outside, [the bandits went] out through the back door of the bank. 

Just at this juncture, Lucius M. Baldwin came out of Isham's hardware story. Bob Dalton drew up his Winchester, fired, and Baldwin fell dying in the alley. Bob Dalton raised his gun and fired in the direction of the bank, and George Cubine, a man who had been his acquaintance and friend in former years, fell dead. 

Reaching the middle of the street, he fired another shot, and Charles Brown fell. Bob Dalton raised his gun and fired the fourth shot. His victim this time was Thomas Ayers, cashier of the First National bank. Emmett Dalton had run ahead of Bob with the grain sack containing over $21,000 over his shoulder. Bob and Emmett joined Grat Dalton and his party in the alley. It was at this point, in this now historic alley, that the daring highwaymen met their doom.

In the meantime, as many citizens as could so do, had procured arms and secured positions where they could command the point of retreat of the highwaymen. H. H. Isham and L. A. Deitz had stationed themselves behind two cook stoves near the door of the hardware store. 

A dozen men with Winchesters and shot guns made a barricade of some wagons. The robbers had to run the gauntlet of three hundred feet with their backs to a dozen Winchesters in the hands of men who knew how to use them. The firing was rapid and incessant for about three minutes, when the cry went up; "They are all down." 

Several men who had been pressing close after the robbers sprang into the alley and covering them with their guns ordered them to hold up their hands. One hand went up in a feeble manner. Three of the robbers were dead and the fourth helpless. 

Between the bodies of two of the dead highwaymen, lying upon his face, was Marshal T. Connelly, the bravest of all the brave men who had joined in resisting the terrible raiders in their attempt to rob the banks. Dead and dying horses and smoking Winchesters on the ground added to the horrors of the scene. Tearing the disguises from the faces, the ghastly features of Gratton and Bob Dalton, former residents of Coffeyville and well know to many of our citizens, were revealed. The other dead body proved to be that of Tom Evans, whilst the wounded man was Emmett Dalton, the youngest brother of the two principals of the notorious gang.

It was well known that one of the party had escaped, and a posse was hastily organized and started in pursuit. [In] a half mile, they came upon the bandit lying [dead] beside the road. He proved to be John Moore, the "Texas Jack" of the gang. His proper name was Richard Broadwell, and he was one of the most experienced and coolest of the gang. The dead raiders were put in the city jail.

Not over fifteen guns were actively engaged in the fight of Wednesday on both sides and the engagement lasted about ten minutes. Eight persons were killed and three wounded.

The unfounded reports that have been sent out by excited newspaper correspondents to the effect that the citizens were anticipating a visit from the Dalton gang is a canard of the worst kind, and is a reflection upon the courage and promptness to act on the part of our people. 

When the robbers were discovered, there was not a single, solitary armed man anywhere upon the square or in the neighborhood. Even Marshal Connelly had lain his pistol aside. Every gun that was used, with the exception of that brought into action by George Cubine, was procured in the hardware store and loaded and brought into play under the pressure of the great exigency that was upon the people. 

The citizens of Coffeyville who were killed in the terrible engagement with the Daltons were each one engaged in the fight, and were not innocent bystanders. Our people are adept in the business of resisting law-breakers, and they will do their duty, though it costs blood.

The smoke of Wednesday's terrific battle with the bandits has blown aside, but the excitement occasioned by the wonderful event has increased until it has gained a fever heat. The trains have brought hundreds of visitors to the scene of the bloody conflict between a desperate and notorious gang of experienced highwaymen and a brave and determined lot of citizens who had the nerve to preserve their rights and protect their property under the most trying circumstances.

The Dalton gang is no more, and travelers through the Indian Territory can go right along without fear now. The country, and the railroads and express companies especially, can breathe easier now that the Daltons are wiped out. The country is rid of the desperate gang, but the riddance cost Coffeyville some of its best blood.

-- end of the October 7, 1892, the Coffeyville Journal report.

I find it interesting that a number of Coffeyville citizens immediately began grabbing up souvenirs off the dead bodies of the gang. I also read where the gang members who owned new Colts did not fire them. They instead only used their Winchester rifles while trying to escape the onslaught from the towns folk.

Tom Correa

Sunday, June 24, 2018

They Kept Great Notes In The Old West

I've had a number of people take me to task over my searching old newspapers and court and county records for information when writing my articles. Some tell me that newspapers can't be trusted. And frankly, when it comes to the reporting of things such as the Cowboy faction versus the Earp faction by the Tombstone Epitaph, I agree 100%. Some newspapers were as biased back then as they are today.

But aside from that aspect of what was reported, some folks simply don't want to acknowledge that folks in the Old West kept great notes on most everything from who was visiting who, to who bought who's prize winning bull, to Aunt so and so is visiting so and so, was actually written about. And make no mistake about it, if something happened, especially such as a shooting or a brawl or a robbery, and especially if it involved some noted gunman, it's just about a sure bet that you can find it in an old newspaper somewhere. If its not, than the odds are against it ever happening.

Below is a sample of some of the things carried in a newspaper. I found it interesting that this was what they considered newsworthy at the time.


Daring Attempt at Robbery Early Last Evening ON WALNUT STREET BRIDGE

The Footpads Escape, But Are Pursued With Bloodhounds One Man Brought to Bay Under the Buena Vista Street Bridge -- A Nervy Real Estate Agent. 

A bold attempt at highway robbery was made last evening at the Walnut Street bridge, East Los Angeles, a buggy containing two women being held up by a couple of young toughs. Before securing any plunder, however, the footpads were frightened away by the screams of the terror-stricken women, and made good their escape. [Footpad is defined as "a highwayman operating on foot rather than riding a horse."]

Later on a fellow was captured hiding under the Buena Vista Street bridge, and is now locked up in the city Jail on suspicion. 

Shortly before 7 o'clock, Mrs. Fraley and daughter were on their way toward the city, intending to pay a visit to some friend's. Just as they drove onto the bridge over the river at Walnut Street, two young men, roughly dressed and with the dirty, unkempt appearance of tramps, jumped toward the carriage, threatening the occupants with death if they made any outcry. 

Instead of keeping silence, Mrs. Fraley screamed at the top of her voice, and was rewarded by hearing the footsteps of someone hurrying to the rescue. The highwaymen heard them too and hastily dodged back into the shadow, jumped down into the river bed and disappeared. 

The person who appealed upon the scene at such an opportune time was R. Doyle, a real estate agent whose office is on South Broadway and who resides in Glendale. He was on his way home and had just reached the eastern end of the bridge when he heard the shrieks of the frightened women. 

On coining up he was told of what had occurred, and at once acted. Mrs. Fraley was told to drive to the East Side Station and notify the police officers, while Doyle went to the residence of John Belt near by. 

Belt keeps a pack of hounds, which have more than once been used for trailing fugitives, and the dogs were at once taken out and placed on the scent. They picked up the trail immediately and started off straight down to the river bed. The tracks ran for some distance and then separated. 

One of the men had evidently crossed through the water, wading so as to throw the hounds off the scent. The dogs were baffled for a time, but were taken over, and after casting about above and below where the trail had been lost, two of them found it and were off again. Soon their excited braying told that the game had been run down was in eight. When the pursuers came up the dogs were found to have a young hobo about 19 years old cornered under the Buena Vista street bridge. 

Doyle placed the fellow under arrest and closely questioned him. His name was given as Mike Veite and he positively denied having been engaged in any hold-up, or that he had been near the Walnut Street bridge. 

His shoes and trousers were wet and muddy, however, showing that he had been wading In the river, and in general description he tallied with the would-be robbers. Veite attempted to explain his wet and muddy feet by saying that he was washing himself in the river, although he failed to say why he should keep his shoes on while bathing his feet. 

The prisoner was brought to the police station at 9 oclock by Mr. Doyle searched and booked. Detectives were sent to the scene and made a thorough search for the other man, but within a late hour no trace of him had been discovered. The bold attempt of the robbers if the more, audacious when the hour of the hold-up is considered, and the fact that it occurred on the Pan Fernando Road which is one of the most frequently traveled highways leading into the city. 


Petty Offenders Have Their Cases Quickly Disposed Of. 

On a charge of forgery L. J. Laird, who was a couple of days ago brought back to this city from San Francisco, was yesterday arraigned in the police court. 

Examination was set for today and bonds were fixed in the sum of $1,500. Mary Connolly was tried before Justice Rossiter on a petty larceny charge of having stolen a calico wrapper from a line where it was drying in the yard of Lew Sing's wash house on Los Angeles Street. 

The Chinamen did some tall swearing, notwithstanding which Mrs. Connolly was found not guilty and discharged. Once again the old offender, Nellie I Martinez, showed up in court, this time on a charge of disturbing the peace of a woman in the Buena Vista house by fighting and quarreling. Nellie was arrested on a warrant, pleaded not guilty, and trial was set for this afternoon at 4 o'clock. 

The concluding arguments in the misdemeanor case against F. D. Black, accused of selling pools on horse races arid book-making. In violation of law, were to have been heard, but on motion it was ordered that the matter be submitted on briefs, which will be filed within a few days. 

Justice Owens rendered his decision in the old disturbance of the peace charge against L. D. Ham, finding the defendant guilty and ordering his appearance on Friday to receive sentence. 

Conclusion of the hearing of Eugene Gamier on a similar complaint went over until Saturday afternoon at 2:30. Frank Burk arrested several nights ago for drunkenness and carrying a concealed weapon, appeared in court and entered a plea of not guilty to the charge. Today at 1:30 the case will be placed on the calendar for trial. 

John Bryan, now doing fifty days on the chain gang for drunkenness, was arraigned for disturbance of the peace. Admitted at the time he was possessed of his jug. A plea of not guilty was entered and Saturday was set for trial. 

Floaters of thirty days each were given to Frank Libbey and J. H. Fitzgerald, vagrants arrested for sleeping in boxcars. With the disposal of a lot of drunks, the dockets were cleared for the day. 


Lively row on First Street ended in court. Charge of battery preferred by one E. B. Stork. Lyman H. Washburn, manager of the Washburn Land Company, with offices at 115 West First Street, was arrested yesterday afternoon by Officer Sparks and escorted to the police court. 

The trouble between Stork and Washburn grew out of business difficulties. Stork has been employed by the man, he had arrested and has been sleeping in the office. Yesterday morning he started to move out, bag and baggage and had a portion of the furniture on the sidewalk when Washburn came upon the scene. 

Hot words ensued, finally ending in blows. Stork claims that Washburn, who is a cripple, struck him over the head — with his wooden arm, while on the other hand Mr. Washburn denies that he hit Stork at all, but says his son stepped in and did it for him. 

At any rate Stork came to the police headquarters in a bruised condition and, seeking out Deputy District Attorney James, secured a complaint, swore to it in the police court and caused the arrest. 

Washburn was arraigned before Justice Rossiter, pleaded not guilty, had trial set for this afternoon and was released on his own recognizance. 


Mrs. Madigan of Burbank, an elderly woman Inclined to embonpoint, drove into the city yesterday to do some shopping, accompanied by her son by a former husband, Frank White. While driving along Broadway near the corner of First Street at 2:15 in the afternoon, their rig was smashed into by a runaway horse attached to a plumber's wagon. 

Mrs. Madigan and her boy were sent flying alighting on the paved street with more force than dignity. The youth was unhurt, but Mrs. Madigan was taken to the receiving hospital, where it was found that she was only bruised. After an hour's rest, she was able to leave. The runaway horse was captured before further damage had been done. 


Ever since the police inaugurated their crusade upon property owners who rented buildings to Chinese to be used as lottery dens, and thus drove the Celestials out, few arrests have been made of lottery ticket sellers, for the very good reason that few joints were running. 

A few of the heathen are plucking up courage, however, and starting in again on the sly. Yesterday two of them, Ah Sing and Ah Bow, were surprised in the act of selling tickets, were arrested and sent to Jail. Ball of $25 each was soon put up by their friends and they were released, to appear in court today for arraignment." 

-- the above sample was from a Los Angeles Newspaper, December 3rd 1896.

As we can see from the last article, con artists were a problem which the city had set aside a great deal of resources to address. Among those con artists were some very dangerous men.

As for some of the things that I find very interesting in the old newspapers, I like the way they reported things back in the day. For example, in this last article, they say, "A few of the heathen ..." Can you imagine a newspaper calling anyone a "heathen" today? It just wouldn't happen!

Besides such reports as the police and court reports, their local papers were full of what we today call "Social Media". I've included some below so can see it for yourself.

 Fact is, people back in the day wrote about everything. One of my great go to sources for information about the California Gold Rush in the area that I live in is a local man who charted his family's history here.

He copied a great number of the newspaper articles in the Calaveras County archives, and pasted them in book form in chronological order. Initially it was simply an effort to chronicle his family life in these parts. But in effect, he listed down just about everything that was reported in local newspapers here from 1860 and into the 20th century.

His books are copied news clippings of shooting, visitors, wagon wrecks, mining accidents, horrible accidents, great funny stories, and much more. From who was in the camp visiting who to who was hanged. His work proves that they kept great notes back in the Old West, no matter how many people want to deny it. 

That's just the way I see it.

Tom Correa

Saturday, June 16, 2018

How Can The FBI Be Trusted?

Dear Friends, 

In a conversation with a friend lately, we talked about the June 2018 Inspector General's Report which condemned the corruption, the bias, the criminal actions, and the political motivated conspiratorial acts of the FBI. 

In our conversation, we wondered why no one in the FBI has yet to be arrested or at the least fired? We came to the conclusion there will be no arrests because of the political connections and protections from those in charge at the FBI. Most Americans are today learning that those in charge of the FBI don't want to do their job and clean house like they should. 

Since the FBI, and the Department of Justice, and members of Congress, are protecting the actions of the crooked in that federal agency, my friend and I were curious as to just how corrupt could they really be? 

How much bias and looking the other way takes place there simply because members hate President Donald Trump and have openly worked for the Democratic Party today and in 2016 while wanted to see Hillary Clinton become president? 

Of course, the big question is just how corrupt is the FBI since they do so many things pertaining to the lives of everyday Americans? Yes, us "middle class, uneducated, lazy pieces of shit" Americans as people in the FBI have called us. Yes, Hillary's "Deplorables" which the FBI seems to loathe as well.  

According to the FBI, "In 1908, Attorney General Charles Joseph Bonaparte issued an Order creating an investigative agency within the Department of Justice. The Order was confirmed in 1909 by Attorney General George W. Wickersham, who ordered the establishment of the Bureau of Investigation. The present name, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), was designated by Congress in 1935."

According to the FBI's Mission Statement on its website, they state:

"The mission of the FBI is to protect and defend the United States against terrorist and foreign intelligence threats, to uphold and enforce the criminal laws of the United States, and to provide leadership and criminal justice services to federal, state, municipal, and international agencies and partners; and to perform these responsibilities in a manner that is responsive to the needs of the public and is faithful to the Constitution of the United States."

According to the FBI, their priorities are to:
  1. Protect the United States from terrorist attack;
  2. Protect the United States against foreign intelligence operations and espionage;
  3. Protect the United States against cyber-based attacks and high-technology crimes;
  4. Combat public corruption at all levels;
  5. Protect civil rights;
  6. Combat transnational and national criminal organizations and enterprises;
  7. Combat major white-collar crime;
  8. Combat significant violent crime;
  9. Support federal, state, county, municipal, and international partners; and to
  10. Upgrade technology to successfully perform the FBI's mission.
According to them, the functions of the FBI are to:
  1. Conduct professional investigations and authorized intelligence collection to identify and counter the threat posed by domestic and international terrorists and their supporters within the United States, and to pursue extraterritorial criminal investigations to bring the perpetrators of terrorist acts to justice. In furtherance of this function, the FBI designs, develops, and implements counter-terrorism initiatives which enhance the FBI’s ability to minimize the terrorist threat.
  2. Conduct counterintelligence activities and coordinate counterintelligence activities of other agencies in the intelligence community within the United States. (Executive Order 12333 includes international terrorist activities in its definition of counterintelligence.)
  3. Coordinate the efforts of U.S. Government agencies and departments in protecting the nation’s critical infrastructure by identifying and investigating criminal and terrorist group intrusions through physical and cyber attacks.
  4. Investigate violations of the laws of the United States and collect evidence in cases in which the United States is or may be a party in interest, except in cases in which such responsibility is by statute or otherwise specifically assigned to another investigative agency.
  5. Locate and apprehend fugitives for violations of specified federal laws and, when so requested, state and local fugitives pursuant to federal statutory authority.
  6. Conduct professional investigations to identify, disrupt, and dismantle existing and emerging criminal enterprises whose activities affect the United States. 
  7. Address international criminal organizations and terrorist groups, which threaten the American people and their property, through expanded international liaison and through the conduct of extraterritorial investigations as mandated by laws and Executive Orders.
  8. Gather, analyze and assess information and intelligence of planned or committed criminal acts.
  9. Establish and implement quality outreach programs that will ensure FBI and community partnerships and sharing.
  10. Conduct personnel investigations requisite to the work of the Department of Justice and whenever requiredd by statute or otherwise.
  11. Establish and conduct law enforcement training programs and conduct research to provide assistance to state and local law enforcement personnel.
  12. Participate in interagency law enforcement initiatives which address crime problems common to federal/state/local agencies.
  13. Develop new approaches, techniques, systems, equipment and devices to improve and strengthen law enforcement and assist in conducting state, local and international law enforcement training programs.
  14. Provide timely and relevant criminal justice information and identification services concerning individuals, stolen property, criminal organizations and activities, crime statistics, and other law enforcement related data, not only to the FBI, but to qualified law enforcement, criminal justice, civilian, academic, employment, licensing, and firearms sales organizations.
  15. Operate the Federal Bureau of Investigation Laboratory not only to serve the FBI, but also to provide, without cost, technical and scientific assistance, including expert testimony in federal or local courts, for all duly constituted law enforcement agencies, other organizational units of the Department of Justice, and other federal agencies; and to provide identification assistance in mass disasters and for other humanitarian purposes.
  16. Review and assess operations and work performance to ensure compliance with laws, rules, and regulations and to ensure efficiency, effectiveness, and economy of operations.
  17. Effectively and appropriately communicate and disclose information on the FBI mission, accomplishments, operations, and values to Congress, the media, and the public."
After reading all of this, and knowing that the Inspector General's report has stated that the FBI is crooked, and biased in support of the Democratic Party, how are Americans supposed to trust this law enforcement organization to do any of it's functions in a non-partisan unbiased fashion?

Who knows how many times the FBI has looked the other way and not gone after criminals simply because of their political position or connections? 

How can an utterly corrupt law enforcement agency remain in a postion of authority when it has been proven to conducting itself no differently than the criminals it's supposed to be pursuing? How can American trust a federal agency that acts more like an arm of one single political party, in this case the Democratic Party? 

It's obvious Americans can't trust the FBI at all. That's the way I see it. 

Tom Correa