Sunday, September 22, 2019

Henry J. Allen -- A Republican's Fight Against The KKK

Henry Justin Allen was born on September 11th, 1868, in Pittsfield, Pennsylvania. The Allen family left Pennsylvannia to settle in Clay County, Kansas, in the 1870s. He called Wichita, Kansas, his family home until he died on January 17th, 1950.

Allen attended Baker University where he became interested in journalism as a staff member of the Baker Orange. Allen left the university before graduating and in 1891 was hired to manage the Salina Republican. When the newspaper was sold three years later, Allen was able to buy the Manhattan Nationalist. Allen partnered with with Joseph L. Bristow to purchase the Ottawa Herald and the Salina Republican, which became the Salina Journal. Allen served as editor and manager of both newspapers until 1907. Bristow kept the Journal and Allen kept the Herald. Allen sold the Herald the following year to purchase the Wichita Beacon.

To do his part during World War I, he became the head of communications for the American Red Cross in France. While in France, the Republican Party in Kansas nominated Allen as their candidate for governor. So besides being the editor and publisher of the Wichita Beacon, and one of the leaders among Kansas newspapers during that time, he served two terms as Kansas as its 21st Governor from January 13th, 1919, to January 8, 1923. After that, he served Kansas in the U.S. Senate from April 1st, 1929, to November 30, 1930. Poor health forced him to leave the Senate and return to Kansas.

As governor, Henry Allen created the Kansas Court of Industrial Relations to push collective bargaining in an attempt to stop strikes from taking place. While some say that he did so because he was pro-business and pro-management, others agree that he saw business as the creator of jobs and jobs were how people were lifted out of poverty. He also say labor strikes as a way of hurting Americans and causing political division among working Americans of all standing.

We should keep in mind that while strikes have traditionally been used by labor as a weapon in their ongoing battle against management, strikes also have a negative impact on the communities in which they take place. One form of negative impact has to do with the  problem of strikes being violent and costly to the cities and state that they take place in. 

Yes, costly because the state and primarily the city government has to pay for the added security involved in violent strikes. I've always found it ironic that labor unions were supposedly striking to help "workers" -- yet they negatively impacted workers by taking funds away from city resources. Remember, city funds used for more police and fire and medical personnel during a violent strike are funds taken away from other essential services for a city. 

As for the economic impact of strikes, people may lose their jobs if strikes stop the flow of commerce. Also, strikes drive up costs and hurt the poorest among us first. In fact, while it's probably more true for back than then it is today, people went hungry if strikes stopped the flow of food and produce and drove up prices. In the case of a coal strike during that time period, a strike meant people may not have heat for their homes. No coal generating heat meant illness for those trying to fight a Kansas winter. 

Before World War I, the Democrat Party threw its support behind labor unions which openly embraced Communist through the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). The IWW members were called "Wobblies." The IWW labor union was founded in 1905 in Chicago. Make no mistake about it, they were Communists. 

As a side note, my grandfather knew a couple of IWW Wobblies who were "outside labor agitators" during the labor problems of the 1920s and 1930s. My grandfather referred to them as "Bomb Throwers." When I asked him about that, he said they were known as "Bomb Throwers" because they stirred up trouble. As "outside labor agitators," many were simply there to cause problems and didn't actually have legitimate grievances. They were there to simply agitate and wanted to stir things up. He said that that was common for Wobblies since they were known for using tactics akin to the Communist Revolution in Russia. Wobblies used tactics described as "revolutionary industrial unionism." That means they were both Socialists and Anarchists.

Governor Allen campaigned for governor on an anti-Klan platform and won. Besides being a staunch Republican who fought for women's rights and oversaw the passage of the Kansas woman's suffrage amendment which was ratified by the Kansas legislature, he called for the ouster of the Ku Klux Klan from Kansas after the KKK stated their plans to hold a parade in Wichita. 

Remember, the Democrat Party supported labor unions and the KKK had been the militant arm of the Democrat Party for more than 50 years by then. To assist the labor unions, the KKK was attempting to intimidate African American in Kansas. More specifically, since Kansas was in the midst of a coal strike which the Democrat Party supported, Allen wanted to stop the Democrat Party from using the KKK to publicly intimidating African American Kansans who were refusing to strike. 

In 1922, Governor Allen instituted action to oust the KKK, stating the KKK "introduced in Kansas the greatest curse that can come to any civilized people." He did so by pulling their charter to operate in Kansas. This set a legal battle into motion, the state of Kansas versus the KKK. And in this battle, Allen put his entire Republican administration in gear to defeat and out the KKK from Kansas by any means possible. Also aligned in that fight were prominent newspaper editors such as one who stated, "The Klan was directing terror at honest law-abiding citizens, Negroes, Jews, and Catholics."

In response to Allen's administration and the newspapers supporting what Governor Allen was doing, the KKK openly campaigned for Democrats seeking office in Kansas. Their Democrat candidates proved unwilling to defend the very people that the KKK was targeting, and the people saw this.

In the Kansas capital, pro-Klan legislators attempted to pass a bill compelling the charter board to grant the KKK a state charter. The bill, which would have taken away the board's powers of investigation and discretion in granting charters, was openly debated in the senate. Thankfully, the bill was defeated by a narrow margin.

Since the legislature was unable to assist the Klan, Democrats appealed by filing with the United States Supreme Court. Democrats knew that as long as the appeal was pending, that the Klan had the right to operate in Kansas. Then on May 25, 1925, the KKK, apparently believing that it had no other alternatives for the time being, made application for a charter to conduct business in Kansas. 

On June 3, the application was turned down because the Klan claimed to be "mystic". Since Kansas statutes made no provisions for "mystic" corporations, the Klan filed another application, this time applying as a "fraternal" organization. 

On July 1, the charter board members turned down the Klan's request. One charter board member stated, the scheme of the organization and its paramount purpose is to stir up religious hatred and racial prejudice, create dissension, discord, and ill feelings in every community of the state."

Then the KKK did the unthinkable. The Klan decided to run pro-Klan Republican candidates in the 1926 Republican primary for attorney general and secretary of state in an effort to legalize itself in Kansas and obtain a state charter. When the primary returns were in, it became instantly clear that the KKK was finished in Kansas. Their scheme didn't work and anti-Klan Republican Assistant Attorney General William A. Smith was nominated for Attorney General and anti-Klan Republicans Frank J. Ryan once again received the nomination for Secretary of State.

On February 28, 1927, the United States Supreme Court refused to hear the KKK's appeal on the grounds that a question of federal law was not involved in the ouster Suit. With all legal avenues were now exhausted, the KKK was legally ousted from Kansas.

The failure of the Klan to influence the primary election of 1926 was viewed by many as another indication of the KKK's waning strength. Governor Allen's Wichita Beacon wrote that "the outstanding feature of Tuesday's primary election was the final elimination of the Ku Klux Klan as a factor in Kansas politics. . . . The voters of Kansas were ever ready to take the anti-Klan side where ever the issue seemed to be acute." Allen viewed the election as closing a chapter in Kansas politics, stating the election gave notice "that hereafter there will be no religious or racial issue in Kansas politics."

Henry J. Allen was bothered by the Klan's intimidation of African Americans during that labor disputes. Just prior to the filing of their ouster,  it's said that he toured the state Kansas explaining why he was taking the actions that he was. In one particular speech that he gave on October 28, 1922, in Coffeyville, it is obvious that he clearly understood the nature of the KKK and how they are threat to American beliefs in freedom and equality.

He stated, "The KKK has introduced in Kansas the greatest curse that can come to any civilized people. The curse that arises out of the unrestrained passions of men governed by religious and racial hatred." Speaking of Klansmen, he also asked this, "if Klansmen stand for Christianity and the protection of womanhood, as they claim, then why do they have to be masked to stand for that?"

Governor Allen governor argued, "In a democracy, we must have a love of liberty, and this love must extend to the liberty of others." 

What became known as the Schierlman Atrocity convinced him that the KKK did not stand for liberty. That was when the governor became more determined to rid Kansas of the KKK. 

On October 3rd, 1922, Theodore Schierlman, the Catholic mayor of Liberty, Kansas, was kidnapped and flogged by 15 Klansmen because he had criticized the KKK. Mayor Schierlman also angered the KKK when he refused the KKK the use of a hall in Liberty. That same hall was used that summer by a Republican district judgeship candidate who made a speech denouncing the KKK. 

Upon hearing of the kidnapping and flogging of Mayor Schierlman, Governor Allen stated, "Kansas has never tolerated the idea that any group may take the law into its own hands and she is not going to tolerate it now." It was that incident which was the spark that led him to ordering the Kansas state Attorney General to investigate the flogging, and flatly stated that Klan activities such as that would not be permitted in Kansas. 

Allen believed that such acts of violence and intimidation would only undermine the authority of law, stating that if Kansas "allowed such to take place, then we allow the beginning of a feud that is racial and religious, we justify the establishment of a quarrel that leads to group formation, make civil war upon each other in the name of racial and religious bigotry. We teach to our young men and young women the dangerous doctrine that violence and hatred are justifiable, that mob law is consistent with freedom, that lawlessness is to be met by lawlessness, and that self appointed guardians of other people's rights may set themselves above the sacred duty of constitutional authority."

It is interesting to note that for all of his efforts to rid Kansas of such a menace, Republicans lost the governorship in 1922. And while it should be noted that Henry Allen did not seek a third term, people believe that the Democrat victory in Kansas in 1922 was the result of his stand against the Ku Klux Klan.

In 1929, former-Governor Henry Allen was appointed to fill a vacancy in the U.S. Senate which lasted a little over a year from April of 1929 to November of 1930. He was later defeated in his attempt to win the election for that seat. But that didn't stop him from working for Republican causes as he served from 1928 to 1932 as director of publicity for the Republican National Committee. 

His health started giving him problems in his 70s. Then at the age of 81, on January 17, 1950, in his beloved Wichita, Henry J. Allen died following a cerebral thrombosis. He is buried at the Maple Grove Cemetery in Wichita. For his efforts as a newspaperman, he was posthumously inducted into the Kansas Newspaper Hall of Fame two years after his death. His legacy is that of a Republican defeating the KKK in Kansas.

Post Script:

Since it didn't take long for some people to start calling me all sorts of names after I posted this, let's lay our cards on the table. This story should not surprise any student of history since it's well known that the Republican Party was formed as an anti-Slavery party in 1854.

Since then, Republicans have fought Democrats over their starting the Civil War in their effort to keep their beloved slavery alive and well. Using anti-Ku Klux Klan legislation in the 1870s, Republicans fought the Democrat Party's creation of the Ku Klux Klan and other militant groups designed to terrorize freed blacks and Republicans.

Over the years, Republicans have fought the Democrat's creation of Jim Crow laws and Segregation. Even in the 1960s, Republicans like Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. watched as Democrats used an 83 hour Senate Filibuster to try to stop the 1964 Civil Rights Act from passing. In the 1980s, it was Republicans who challenged Democrats to pass the Equal Right Amendment for women. But Democrats shot down the ERA when they had complete control of Congress.

I'm not making any of this up. This is just real history.

Tom Correa

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Calaveras County Seizes About 60 Horses, Donkeys & Mules

On September 9th, 2019, the Calaveras Enterprise reported that approximately 60 starving horses, mules and donkeys were seized from a 50-acre pasture in Valley Springs. The report stated that evacuation teams made up of "volunteers and Calaveras Consolidated Fire Protection District firefighters corralled the critters and put them into trailers to get them to some place where there would be food enough to get them back to health."

A number of different agencies were involved. The picture above is a mare who was so starved that she could not stand on her own. 

How did the county know about this,  on August 26th they received a complaint from a concerned citizen regarding "starving horses." Since Calaveras County takes such calls very seriously, they responded immediately and found the dying horses.

Two mares and two foals who were thought to be in the most critical condition and were seized right then and there. As for the others, because of the sheer numbers, plans had to be made to get them out of there. No, it's wasn't simply a matter of talking to the owner about a horse that looks underfed, these animals were all removed as soon as the county could get them out of there.

Because of something so appalling, a hearing had to take place to get authorization from an administrative judge to remove all of the animals. When it came time to remove them, as a report stated, "One of the emaciated mothers had to be raised onto her hooves using straps and a tractor, with the help of Calaveras Consolidated Fire Protection District (Cal-Co Fire)."

Efforts to transport the horses was hampered by the horses having very little contact with humans. In fact, one official said, "It has been very trying to say the least. The horses are not just under-socialized, they’re somewhat wild because they haven’t had a lot of human interaction."

The same official reported that one of the mares was later euthanized. A necropsy was performed on that mare in order to collect evidence as criminal charges with the Calaveras County District Attorney’s Office are being sought.  The surviving horses, which include stallions, nursing mothers and foals, are also being held as evidence and are being cared for at an undisclosed location.

Officials say it may take several months or more to determine the next steps for the horses.

I have absolutely no respect for some people, if you've read my blog long enough then you know that I have zero respect for child molesters, rapists, bigots, anti-Americans, and the leaches that prey on others. But along with them are folks who abuse animals, especially horses. Recently, Calaveras County Animal Services and assisting agencies gathered up emaciated and dying stallions, mares, nursing mothers and foals, mules, and a few donkeys in Valley Springs, California.

In Calaveras County, California, we are a little over a thousand miles in size and only have a population close to 46,000 people. People around the country may be shocked to find out that an entire county in California has such a small population, especially when compared to say San Francisco County which the has a resident population of over 880,000 people in an area only 47 square miles in size. And think about this, San Francisco County swells to more than half of its official population during any given work day since there are thousands of people who work there that commute into that city. 

What am I getting at? Calaveras County is where I live, and this is rural America. Giving an owner the benefit of doubt, I understand how money restraints can make feeding horses a problem to overcome. I understand how people can get in over their heads. But frankly, I expect better out of people who live here -- certainly better than I do from the likes of people who live in the congested liberal shithole of San Francisco. Maybe that's why my hearing about people allowing their animals to starve offends me so much. There is never an excuse to let any animal starve.

Today, there are horse rescues. Today, there are agencies and groups that can help owners in trouble and take horses away. In most cases, those horses find a long term home with someone like me who doesn't mind taking in a few rescues. Of course, there are places that are long term rescues themselves that are great when an owner needs that option. The point is that today, there are options and horses don't have to be starved. What that means is that there's no excuse for it. 

Tom Correa

Friday, September 13, 2019

I Have Seen The Elephant

What's the origin of the phrase, "A white elephant" as in a burdensome item? A white elephant is a possession more trouble than it is worth.

White elephants are actually albino elephants. In some parts of the world such as Asian countries, they were regarded as "Holy" or Sacred" in ancient times. They are expensive since the owner had to provide it special food. They were also a bother in that the owners had to provide access for people who wanted to worship it.

Because the care and feeding of a sacred elephant was so expensive, and since that is exempt from work, owning a white elephant was seen as less than desirable. In fact, this was so much the case, that it's said if a Thai King became dissatisfied with a subordinate in his court, he would give him a white elephant. The gift would was meant to lead to that person's ruin.  

According to sources, the first reference in English to the idiomatic meaning of the term "white elephant" came in the G. E. Jewbury's Letters dated 1851, which said, "His services are like so many white elephants, of which nobody can make use, and yet that drain one's gratitude, if indeed one does not feel bankrupt."

While white elephants were seen as burdensome, even back in the Old West, among some of the more colorful saying back then was the popular phrase "I have seen the elephant." It was a phrase that referred to overcoming life's hardships.

Supposedly, the saying stems from a story about a farmer and a circus. The story revolves around his traveling to see the circus, specifically an elephant. In fact, since he had never seen an elephant in person, his curiosity pushed him to head to town to see one.

He decided to do just that on his next trip to town when he was to deliver produce. It was on the road into town that he encountered the elephant. Nothing prepared him for the sight before him. What's more is that nothing prepared his horse for the sight of such a large beast.

At the sight of the elephant, the farmer's horse got excited. Of course, today we know that elephants make a sound known as a trumpet. They do this to signal excitement, aggression, distress, or calling to their mates. It's said that a trumpeting elephant can be heard up to six miles away.

When the elephant lifted its trunk and let out a trumpeting call, the farmer's horse spooked, and upset the farmer's produce cart before running off. The calamity was a total loss for the farmer as it destroyed the farmer's produce. Though a hardship and loss, the farmer is said to have said, "I don't care, for I have seen the elephant."

Immigrants making the arduous journey to California during the 1849 Gold Rush came over land or by sea. Whether it was those who lived to tell about making it around the treacherous seas of Cape Horn, or those who told of walked across burning prairies and rugged mountains, it was common to hear them say with pride, that they "had seen the elephant, from the tip of his trunk to the end of his tail" by the time they arrived in California.

Of course, as with other adventurers, the newcomers to California's mining camps would write home to their families back East and tell harrowing tales of how they too came to see the elephant for themselves. And believe it or not, the term also meant finding adventure. Some would see the elephant in a few White Elephant Saloons that appeared here and there.

One very famous White Elephant Saloon was in Fort Worth, Texas. It opened to the public February 29th, 1884. It was said to be a gambling house and saloon frequented by many who are today legends of the Old West. Maybe at the time, not so much, but today Bat Masterson, Luke Short, "Longhaired Jim" Courtright, Charles Coe, would surely be considered legends

On the leap year day, a friday, the Fort Worth Daily Gazette reported, "The gorgeous magnificence of an Eastern palace exceeds the wildest flight of the most vivid imagination." The report went on to say, it was the "finest saloon outside the city of New York."

Fort Worth's White Elephant Saloon was located at 308 Main Street, and was described as "the most gorgeously gotten-up affair of the kind in the state." Downstairs, the pleasure palace had a forty-foot-long bar of mahogany and onyx, cut-glass chandeliers, gas light, what was said to be the best food, drink, and smokes in the city. Upstairs it had tables for faro, keno, monte, roulette, and poker. All gambling was purported as honest and above board.

In contrast to the opulence of Fort Worth's White Elephant Saloon, in January of 1884, 36 year-old Wyatt Earp with his "wife" Josie and his oldest brother James opened The White Elephant Saloon & Dance Hall in the booming gold and silver mining town of Eagle City, Idaho. They arrived in northern Idaho for the Coeur d'Alene Gold Rush.

In 1881, Eagle City became the first mining camp to spring up after Andrew Prichard discovered gold in a creek that flowed into the north fork of the Coeur D'Alene River. The Earps are said to have found a flat spot where a small creek ran into Eagle Gulch. Miners cabins and tents filled the area and the Earps saw easy pickings. 

Believe it or not, the Earps purchased a round circus tent that was 45 feet high and 50 feet in diameter for $2,250. It was there that they started their version of the White Elephant Saloon. As was the Earp luck, Eagle City was actually short lived. They left Eagle City in early 1885 when everyone else was vacating the area because the gold petered out fairly quickly. Eagle City turned into a ghost town, the White Elephant Saloon and all. There were just a few hangers-on from the thousands of miners that were there during the boom.

To take its place was the town of Murray which prospered by 1885 and became the Shoshone County seat. Murray's better all-around location up the creek from Eagle City, while it endured even after their boom went bust, it's population is only about 50 or 60 today. 

While the Fort Worth's White Elephant prospered and changed hands over a century or more, its building and status fluctuating over the decades that it's been there, Earp's White Elephant was fairly short lived. Not even a year by most accounts. As for Wyatt Earp leaving that area, it was later found out that he was accused of claim jumping. Some say it was just a vicious rumor started by someone who had a grudge against him over a bad real estate deal, others say it was par for Wyatt Earp. 

Wyatt Earp, always the self-promoter, took out an advertisement in the Coeur d'Alene Weekly calling his White Elephant Saloon, "The largest and finest saloon in the Coeur d'Alenes." He also took out an advertisement in a local newspaper which suggested that brave men "come and see the elephant," knowing that "to see the elephant" spoke to the adventurer in all of us.

Tom Correa 

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Sheriff J.C. Boggs -- A No Nonsense Lawman

As most of us know, the California Gold Rush brought hundreds of thousands of people from around the world to California in search of wealth. In addition to the miners arriving hoping to get rich, there were tens of thousands who came wanting to cash in on the boom by providing goods and services to meet the needs of others. Some say the merchants were the people who really got rich during the California Gold Rush.

John Craig Boggs was born in Greencastle, Pennsylvania, on October 18th, 1825. He was the middle child of a family of eight children. His father was a prominent doctor in Greencastle. His father died in 1847 at the age of 59. John Craig Boggs lost his mother in 1850 at the age of 56.

It's said that J.C. Boggs was like his brothers and sisters in that he was educated in what was termed the "common school" in Greencastle. A "common school" was what a "public school" was called in the United States during the 19th century.

Like his siblings, he excelled in the classics and theology. In fact, two of his brothers went on to become ministers. As for J.C., though he was a smart young man, going to school didn't hold his attention -- so he went to work instead. It's said that he started out as farm help, and later worked in an ironworks. In fact, by age 20, he was promoted to manager of an ironworks in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania.

By December of 1848, the news of the discovery of gold in California reached the East Coast. With a gift of $1,000 from his mother, actually an inheritance from the loss of his father, J.C. Boggs boarded the ship Xylon bound for California. It was a trip that would take him around Cape Horn, inside the Golden Gate, and to the gold fields.

Now, before someone writes to say that the Golden Gate Bridge was not there at the time, I know that. The term Golden Gate did not refer to the bridge. In fact, it referred to the strait leading into San Francisco Bay. It was called the Golden Gate because it was the golden passage to the Orient and wealth through trade with that part of the world.

As for J.C. Boggs on the Xylon, there is a story about an experience that Boggs had with the Xylon's Captain. Captain Brown was the master of the Xylon and is said to have been overbearing and cruel. He was a tyrant who treated passengers inhumanely, including putting paid passengers on short rations of water. It's said that Boggs and two other men were chosen by a committee made up of the passengers. The three were to deal with Captain Brown.

During their talk with him, they succeeded in persuading Captain Brown to dock at Rio de Janeiro. One story says that they convinced Brown to port there to take on needed water, after an argument took place. Another story talks about how Boggs stuck a small pistol into the Captain's belly during their conversation. Boggs is said to have then calmly explained to the Captain that they really needed more water, the crew sided with Boggs -- and the Captain agreed.

As for Brown, he was relieved of duty by his sailing company and sent home in disgrace. What helped getting Brown dismissed was the fact that the passengers all filed complaints with the American Consul in Rio de Janeiro. The American Consul was appalled at Brown's conduct and immediately used it's power to have him relieved of his command of the vessel Xylon.

By September of 1849, with a new Captain of the Xylon, Boggs arrived in California. He didn't bother with San Francisco and almost immediately headed to the gold fields. It was just a few months before that Placer County was the latest boom. As was the case, when Boggs got to California, he went to where the latest strike was taking place.

A lot of folks might not realize it, but the discovery of gold in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains was not just a single discovery made by James Marshall on January 24th, 1848, when he found gold at his boss John Sutter's mill in Coloma, California. Fact is, what took place was an ongoing gold rush that entailed a number of individuals who "discovered" gold up and down what became known as California's Gold Country.

For example, it's said the Murphy brothers were in Coyote Creek when they discovered gold down in that part of Calaveras County. It was there that the mining camp known as "Murphys Diggins" would turn into the town of Murphys.

Not too many miles away from Murphys in Angles Camp, a miner by the name of Bennager Rasberry was squirrel hunting when his ramrod got stuck in his musket. To dislodge it from the barrel of his musket, he fired it. The ramrod dislodged itself, but then lodged itself in the dirt near some bushes. Some say he accidentally shot his ramrod from his musket. But either way, he had to fetch it.

The story goes that when he went over to retrieve his ramrod from the dirt near those bushed, he pulled it out of the ground, and found gold quartz stuck to it. His finding those specks of gold led to his digging thousands of dollars worth of gold in that area. That's how the Angles Camp rush started, or at least that's the story that everyone down in that area is sticking to.

Within a few years of the discovery of gold, California counties were formed. Placer County was made up of portions of Sutter and Yuba counties on April 25th, 1851. The mining town of Auburn was made its county seat. Placer County took its name from the Spanish word for the sand and gravel containing gold. Miners washed away the sand and gravel while leaving the heavier "placer gold" behind. This was what is meant by "placer mining."

Auburn had only recently become a mining town after Claude Chana discovered gold in what is known as the Auburn Ravine in May of 1848. While Auburn, California, is not talked about too much in Western lore, or in the annals of Old West, the town had one of the toughest lawmen in the West right there to keep the peace. That lawman was J.C. Boggs.

Fact is, not too long after arriving in California, J.C. Boggs found himself in the mining camp of Auburn in Placer County. While there, he engaged in gold mining. But also, he ran a store that dealt in general merchandising. Soon, he found himself serving as Placer County Sheriff.

Placer County Sheriff J.C. Boggs was one of the Old West's must successful and courageous lawmen. He was a credit to those who pinned on a badge. To say that he was a no non-sense type of sheriff is an understatement. It's said, J.C. Boggs was the downfall of some of the worst outlaws of the Old West. Among them was the Tom Bell Gang.

Tom Bell was known as the "Outlaw Doc" because he was in reality a physician. In the history of crime in the United States, believe it or not, Bell was the first outlaw to organize a stagecoach robbery. Just as the Reno Gang were the first train robberies in United States history, Bell was the outlaw that started folks robbing stages.

Tom Bell was born Thomas J. Hodges in Rome, Tennessee. As a surgeon, he saw action in the Mexican–American War. After that war, Bell went to California during the Gold Rush. In his case, he was a lousy prospector and soon took to gambling. He supplemented his income by being a doctor in this mining town and that, before he took to being an outlaw.

His first arrest as "Doc Hedges" was over stealing five mules. He was arrested a few more times before starting to use the alias Tom Bell. During that time, he was just a small time cattle rustler trying to make quick cash. He was caught stealing cattle and was saved from a rope when it was decided that Bell should serving time in Angel Island Prison.

At the prison on Angel Island, he met Bill Gristy. The two successfully escaped later after faking a severe illness that fooled the prison doctor. With another five outlaws, Bell and Gristy formed a gang. Their business was robbing stagecoaches.

On August 12th, 1856, the Camptonville-Maryville stagecoach was supposedly carrying $100,000 worth of gold bullion. The Tom Bell gang tried to rob that stage. Though unsuccessfully, that was the first stage robbery in American history.

Everything went wrong for the Tom Bell Gang during the robbery. A shootout took place that resulted in a woman passenger being killed. The woman passenger was a black woman by the name of Mrs. Tilghman. She was the wife of a popular barber in the town of Maryville. Also, two male passengers were also wounded. And finally, the outlaws were driven off by the stagecoach guards who were a lot more armed and willing to defend that shipment than the outlaws had banked on.

While the attempted robbery was enough to galvanize the citizenry into action, the death of Mrs. Tilghman is what truly angered the citizens there at the time. She must have been a very beloved women, because both a sheriff's posse and the local vigilantes saddled up to search for those who killed her.

While we've all seen the movies where the posse turns back because they lost the trial of those they were pursuing, that wasn't the case with the folks in Placer County. In fact, a little of a month later, Bill Gristy was finally captured. To get him to talk and disclose where his compadres were hiding out, Sheriff Boggs threatened to turn him over to the local vigilantes. In fact, Boggs had a group of concerned citizens outside the jail just waiting for the chance to hang Gristy. Seeing that his options were limited, Gristy told Boggs how to find Bell's hideout.

On October 4, 1856, the law went after Tom Bell. It's said that when the law had arrived at the location to arrest Bell, they found that others had gotten to him first. What happened was that Bell was found near Firebaugh's Ferry by a Merced River rancher. His name was George Gordon Belt, and he quickly formed a posse. So when the law arrived, they found that the posse had already hanged Tom Bell. And no, no one ever said who hanged him.

While Tom Bell was swing, Sheriff J.C. Boggs went after the other members of Tom Bell's gang. The shootout that took place led to the sheriff capturing all of those responsible for perpetrated the first stage robbery.

Sheriff Boggs went after Richard “Rattlesnake Dick" Barter for armed robbery. These two hated each other. To giver you an example of how much Boggs hated Barter, there's the story of how Boggs went after Barter on a tip -- armed only with a derringer because he was in such a hurry to get him before he could get away.

The story on that has to do with J.C.Boggs being told that Rattlesnake Dick was taking a stage from Grass Valley to Folsom. In a hurry to catch the bandit, Sheriff Boggs stood by the side of the road and hailed the coach with only armed with an arrest warrant, a pair of handcuffs, and a single-shot derringer that he stuck in his pocket. Along with Barter was another member of his gang, an outlaw by the name of George Taylor. Knowing that Barter could be dangerous did not faze Sheriff Boggs.

It's said Barter and Taylor were sitting on top of the stage. Between them sat a San Francisco journalist by the name of A.W. Bee. It's said that, like most journalist even back in the day, Bee sat there very nervous as Sheriff Boggs found his men and held them there at gunpoint.

Barter and Taylor denied their identities. Then they refused to come down from the stage. One story about what too place says that Barter as for Boggs to produce a warrant for his arrest. When Boggs went for the warrant in his pocket, the two outlaws saw their chance and went for their guns. Barter and Taylor opened fire at close range on Boggs. But because they were in a hurry, both missed.

At the same time, Sheriff Boggs is said to have fired back. But he too missed to hit either man. The problem with derringers is that they are a close up weapon, and since the outlaws jumped from the far side of the stage, Boggs derringer was fairly ineffective as the outlaws ran away.

Sheriff Boggs would have other face-offs with Barter. One of their running gunfights resulted with Barter being captured and sent to prison. Barter would later escape, but he wasn't free very long. Though Barter and another of his gang members escaped together, the other members of his gang were either killed or behind bars.

On July 11th, 1859, Barter and a cohort ambushed Placer County Under Sheriff George C. Johnston, a deputy tax collector by the name of George W. Martin, and deputy William Crutcher in Auburn. The first shot from Barter immediately killed George W. Martin. Under Sheriff Johnston was wounded in the attack, but deputy William Crutcher shot Barter twice. Barter's cohort skedaddled when the shooting got thick. As for Barter himself, though shot twice, the outlaw was able to escape on horseback.

Sheriff Boggs led a posse the next morning. They found Barter's body on the side of the road near the Junction House stagecoach stop in Auburn. Barter is said to have refused to return to prison and took his own life by shooting himself in the head. A note found on the body of Rattlesnake Dick Barter indicated that he mistakenly thought that he had killed Sheriff J.C. Boggs in the ambush on the previous day.

The note found on Barter read, "If J. Boggs is dead, I am satisfied."

What Barter didn’t know was that the man that he had shot from ambush, was not Sheriff Boggs. The man that Barter shot off his horse was a tax collector by the name of George Martin. Barter also didn't know that the wounds that he was dying from were not fired by Sheriff Bogg -- but were shots fired by Sheriff George Johnson and deputy William Crutcher.

Yes, indeed. John Craig Boggs is one of those unsung lawmen of the Old West. No, he didn't make his mark back East in Kansas cow towns. And maybe, just maybe, that's why you've probably never heard of him. Even though he was known for getting those that he was after and took on outlaws, he was fortunate that he always left a shootout without being hit. All, while in many cases others right next to him were shot down.

Some say Old West lawmen never lived very long. Some say they aged before their time, grew cynical and callous, bitter and broke in many cases. Some say they died alone without family or friend to speak of their good deeds. I don't know if I can agree with that. For J.C. Boggs, he was a '49er, a man who came West to California to get rich just as hundreds of thousands of others did. In the process, he became a prospector, a miner, storekeeper, county sheriff, town marshal, county assessor, and postmaster. All before finally settling down on a farm in Newcastle.

On May 28th, 1909, he died at the age of 83, surrounded by his wife and children, and friends, in his beloved Placer County. He was buried in the Newcastle Cemetery there in Newcastle, after living a life well lived.

Tom Correa

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Patient Dumping At VA Palo Alto Hospital

My wife is Deanna is supposed to be covered by CHAMP VA. Though that's what we thought was the case, she was turned away and refused treatment at the Emergency Room at the VA Hospital in Palo Alto, California, recently. 

On August 4th, I took my wife to Sutter-Amador Hospital in Jackson, about a half-hour from where I live here in California. She was diagnosed as having gallstone problems. Before leaving the emergency room, the treating physician told us to arrange a follow-up as soon as possible. The next day, we called for a follow up appointment as we were instructed. The people at Sutter-Amador Hospital said that they could see her on August 29th. Yes, 25 days later. Image that. She was in moderate to severe pain, yet they wanted her to wait 25 days before a follow-up appointment.

Since my wife has medical coverage through me with the VA, covered by CHAMP VA, we made an appointment with her doctor to see her. The VA Clinic in Modesto scheduled her on the 14th. So OK, it was still 10 days later -- but it was better than nothing. Besides, I decided that if she were in excruciating pain as she was before going to the ER, then I'd rush her back to the ER at Sutter-Amador Hospital in Jackson again since it is the closest ER to where we live.

On August 14th, we went to her appointment at the VA Clinic in Modesto. We had to be there by 11 a.m., but a logging truck got in front of us and we ended up arriving 10 minutes late for her appointment. I figured the VA would refuse to see her since we were 10 minutes late, but I was surprised that they did.

During her visit, the Chinese doctor who was attending to my wife seemed to have a hard time understanding English and actually had to call a nurse in to help translate what was going on with my wife. It soon became very apparent that the doctor and nurse were not concerned about my wife’s symptoms, but instead were concerned more about her CHAMP VA coverage.

Because my wife was scared to eat anything that would create pain, my wife was not eating and had lost 10 pounds in 10 days. Yes, she lost 10 pounds from when first she was seen at the ER in Jackson on August 4th to when she was weighed in at the VA in Modesto on August 14th.

The doctor at the VA Modesto Clinic told us that my wife needed to get to the Emergency Room at the VA Hospital in Palo Alto. That is the main hospital in the VA Palo Alto healthcare system.

Because the people at the VA Clinic in Modesto said my wife needed to get to a VA emergency room, we immediately drove the three hours to the VA Hospital in Palo Alto. We arrived there at a little after 3 p.m., and by 5 p.m. the VA emergency room staff took her in to get an ultrasound exam. After that we waited. Even though they found gallstones, and suspected that one stone was in the bile duct leading to her large intestines and was responsible for creating the pain she was feeling, they refused to treat her.

Instead, the premier VA Hospital in Northern California, the VA Hospital in Palo Alto, decided to dump my wife's case to another hospital. Though she is supposedly covered by CHAMP VA because she's married to me, the VA there at Palo Alto refused to treat her and instead told me to take her to another hospital about an hour away.

While what they did was a clear case of "patient dumping," they said they were sending her somewhere else because they didn't recognize her coverage. Yes, even though her insurance coverage was through the VA.

It didn't matter. As far as they were concerned, she didn't have coverage and they weren't going to treat her -- no matter what condition she was in.

Just so you know, in California, "patient dumping" is supposedly illegal. Patient dumping is the practice of hospitals and emergency services not treating patients who they see as unable to pay for treatment.

After midnight, we left the VA Hospital in Palo Alto. That was after being in their ER for almost 10 hours. At 1 a.m., we arrived at Stanford ValleyCare Hospital in Pleasanton -- a little under an hour away from the VA Palo Alto Hospital.

The people at Stanford ValleyCare Hospital in Pleasanton were 180 degrees different than the treatment at the VA in Modesto and Palo Alto emergency room. They immediately admitted my wife. While they had a bed for her, I refused to leave her and simply slept in a chair.

Later that morning, Stanford ValleyCare Hospital in Pleasanton ran tests on my wife. A team of doctors came in to talk about removing my wife's gallbladder, and the blockage in the bile duct leading to her intestines. I was advised that her medical coverage was not an issue to being treated and that she was in good hands. I was also advised "even if she had absolutely no coverage, it is illegal to refuse treatment to her."

By that afternoon, she went into surgery. Later that day, after a few hours in surgery, she was returned to her room. She was out most of the day. Again, that night, I refused to leave her side and simply slept in a chair.

My wife was discharged on Friday afternoon after her surgeons came in to check on her. The people at Stanford ValleyCare Hospital in Pleasanton, California, are really top-notch folks. They are extremely professional, but also personable and caring.

I want to take a minute here to thank Surgeons Dr. Andrew Lee who removed my wife's gallbladder and Dr. Christopher Enwisle who was the specialist who was called in to get the stone blocking the duct to my wife's intestines. These two men are great surgeons and need to be complimented on their compassion and wonderful way with a patient like my wife who was very scared of what was taking place. They were certainly a comfort, truly Godsends.

Over the last week, she has been recuperating. And as for medical coverage for her, we are looking for coverage that will be honored. If we can help it, we will be relying a lot less on the VA for her coverage in the future. The VA simply doesn't care enough about family members of veterans.

As I told my wife after this was all said and done, I've been with the VA since 1995 and have had great care and lousy care in the past. While shoddy medical treatment for me is one thing, I don't want that for her. We are presently looking for medical coverage for her.

I first published what took place with my wife in another post. Since my publishing this incident, many of my readers are writing to ask what they should do?

My advice to the thousands of people who read my blog, you who are covered by CHAMP VA, is to find other coverage because the VA does not recognize CHAMP VA and will refuse treating you -- even if it's an emergency. The VA will not be there for you when you need them.

Tom Correa

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

A Short Summary About Tom Horn

Hello Friends, 

Allow me to answer a question or two from a reader regarding Tom Horn. My reader wants to know if I've ever written about Tom Horn, do I think he shot the boy, and was he essentially railroaded by the Wyoming Stock Growers Association?

First of all, I have written about Tom Horn. That was a few years when I decided to write about what I had found out about him. So where is that article? Well I'm sorry to say that I needed it for my upcoming book, so I pulled it off of my blog. In my book, I go into it a lot more than I'm about to -- but here we go.

As for Horn shooting young Willie Nickell? I believe that he did do it. That's just my opinion based on what I've researched. In fact, since the boy was shot twice, I really believe Horn shot the boy both times. Once off his horse and once while the boy was trying to crawl to safety.

As for people saying that he was "a big kid for his age" and "he was wearing his father's coat and hat." Let's be really clear on something, being big for your age or wearing your dad's coat isn't an excuse for murdering someone. Murder is murder. Horn waited and found his opportunity. He then took his shot. He was intending on killing someone that day, just so happens it was Kels Nickell's son Willie.

And by the way, if memory serves me right since I don't have my notes in front of me, I believe it was a week or so later that Horn actually tried to ambush Kels Nickell for a second time. You would think that after killing his son, that Horn would have laid off of Nickell. But that wasn't the case. Horn shot Kels Nickell, but failed to kill him.

I find it interesting that people assume that Kels Nickell was a new arrival to the area since he was a homesteader. Actually, he was in the Iron Mountain area of Wyoming a couple of years before John Coble. Just for the record, Coble turned out to be a crooked partner of Pennsylvania capitalist Henry C. Bosler who owned the Iron Mountain Ranch company with its headquarters at Bosler, Wyoming.

Kels Nickell was a homesteader, actually a sheep rancher. Coble objected when Nickell wanted to bring in sheep. There was a lot of tension between the two. In fact, there was an incident that was later reported as follows:

"A meeting of cattlemen was held, and Coble attempted to organize a raid to drive Nickel and his sheep out of the county. Nickel and Coble met at the Iron Mountain railway station one day following the meeting, and Nickel, having been advised of Coble's plan, took him to task.

Coble attempted to draw his gun, but Nickel plunged a bowie knife into the cattleman's stomach before Coble could get his sixshooter into play.

For this, Coble threatened "to get" Nickel, and soon after Coble left the hospital, Tom Horn, a notorious southwest range fighter, made his appearance at the Iron Mountain ranch. Horn warned Nickel of instant death if he did not leave the country. But Nickel was game, and remained.

One day as he was hauling logs from the hills, Horn appeared and opened fire on the sheepman. Nickel ran, and escaped to his home with a shattered elbow. A week later, Willie Nickel was shot and killed near the Nickel ranch, and Horn in his confession to Joe LaFors, the detective who ran him down, said he was laying for old man Nickel, when the boy appeared, and he had to kill him to prevent spreading alarm."

-- end of article for The Elko Independent, December 11th, 1914. 

To answer the question if I think Tom Horn was "railroaded" by the Wyoming Stock Growers Association as in the movie "Tom Horn" starring Steve McQueen eluded to? For me, again this is just my opinion after looking at the evidence available, I really don't believe that was the case for a number of reasons. 

Everyone there at the time knew that Tom Horn worked for John Coble as a stock detective, also known as a range detective. That was not a big secret to anyone there. As for authentic stock detectives, they went after rustlers and brought them to justice. Being a stock detective was a legitimate profession that actually supplemented the law in cattle country. Ranchers often hired their own people to look into who is doing the rustling to try to stop the lost of expensive property. Sometimes, I get the impression from my email that people forget that cattle are property. That's what cattle are. They are property. Subsequently, a loss of property can mean the life or death of a ranch.  

In the Old West, many a stock detective, also called a range detective, was hired on from the ranks of former lawmen, mine guards, shotgun riders, and others with skills in finding rustlers. They were hired to stop rustling. Not kill rustlers, but to bring them to justice.

Today, we have the evolution of stock detectives in the form of brand inspectors. Take for example the state of California today. In this state, the state’s brand registration and inspection program protects cattle owners against loss of animals by theft, straying, or misappropriation. Brand inspectors inspect cattle for lawful possession prior to movement, sale or slaughter, and recording of the information obtained by such inspections. They also assist local law enforcement with investigations and prosecutions involving cattle theft. 

Friends, the same thing was taking place in the Old West in the form of stock detectives. A stock detective's job was to ensure that the people in possession of the stock were actually the legal owners. Yes, no different than today's brand inspectors. Of course back in the day when computers were non-existent, a stock detective had to be able to recognize a dozens or more brands. 

For the state of California, its "brand registration and inspection program is financed, in its entirety, through brand registration and inspection fees paid by the cattle owners." Again, this is not very different than back in the day when associations paid for their loss prevention. The difference of course being that while most states have state controlled brand registrations who manage the fees and such, some states don't and depend on associations as they did in the old days. 

As for branding cattle, the old saying still applies, "Trust your neighbors, but brand your stock." A "slick" is still an unbranded animal that is very hard to legally identify. And as for "running irons" used by rustlers to alter brands, just having a "running iron" would get a person hanged in the Old West -- depending on the mood of those who discovered it. Tar and feathers worked well to discourage some back then. 

Few if any were "stock detectives" like Tom Horn. Most were good range detectives just doing their job to prevent stealing and tracking those down those that did the stealing. Their goal was prevention, recovery, apprehension, and prosecution. Tom Horn was a killer. He was in fact a hired gun. He got a bounty for those he killed in the name of stopping rustlers. Whether they were actually rustlers or not, he got paid.  

If Horn was "railroaded," then why was it no secret to everyone in Wyoming at the time that Horn worked for the Wyoming Stock Growers Association (WSGA), specially John Coble? It was also not a secret that WSGA kicked in a lot of money to pay for the best legal team that money could buy to get Horn off after he was charged. People attempting to railroad people don't spend their money to help them. 

And also, between the WSGA and John Coble stealing money from capitalist Henry C. Bosler in the way of using the operating funds of his Iron Mountain Ranch company to finance Horn's legal team, Horn's legal team was top notch. And if memory serves me right, one of his lawyers was a former territorial governor. 

Frankly, I believe what got Tom Horn hanged was Tom Horn's mouth. Tom Horn was extremely talkative. This actually hurt him in two ways. First, when the Deputy U.S. Marshal Joe LaFors was looking into the killing, he interviewed Horn and a number of others. No, not just Horn. During his initial talk with Horn, Horn talked too much. 

This lead Deputy U.S. Marshal Joe LaFors to conduct a second interview with Horn. It was in that interview that LaFors had an actual court reporter record Horn's statement. The guy taking down Horn's statement was not a bubbling armature as portrayed by Hollywood, but was a professional court reporter who was experienced in recording everything said during such interviews. That interview lead to Horn's arrest. 

The second part of how Tom Horn's talkative nature hurt him, really had to do with Horn's own conduct in court during his trial. Seriously, if their letters and such are accurate, Horn's legal team couldn't get him to shut up -- especially when Horn took the witness stand. 

After the trial, members of his legal team wrote about how they believed Horn's own testimony on the stand is what really did him in. He refused council and almost bragged about committing the deed while people in the courtroom listened and let him talk. And no, the trial was not held outside in a tent. I believe it was on the third floor of the courthouse in Cheyenne.  

There are a number of myths attached to Tom Horn. One is the myth about the water operated gallows. In the movie, Tom Horn, the film says that the water gallows was specially built to hang him since they could not find anyone to pull the lever and drop him. Fact is, that type of gallows was in operation for more than 10 years before Horn was ever hung. 

As for no one wanting to pull the lever? That was false. There were a lot of homesteaders who wanted to hang him. If for anything else, simply because he terrorized people in an attempt to drive them out. As for the most vocal person who wanted to pull the lever to drop him, that was Kels Nickell who lost his son and he himself was shot by Horn. 

Kels Nickell was there when Horn was hanged. He was brought over to see Horn's body in private before they carted Horn away. Since Horn strangled to death, his face was blue and Kels Nickell is said to have nodded in the affirmative that justice had been done. 

Also, some folks think that the people there were sorry to see him die. That's not the truth either. Let's keep in mind that Horn was not as popular as people today seem to think. He was seen as a child killer. And as for people disliking him, keep in mind that when he was being escorted back to jail after his attempted escape, people there at the time wanted to lynch him on the spot.

As for the myth that Tom Horn was a loyal and reliable hired gun, a killer who never implicated his employers? Really? Everyone in the area knew that he worked as a hired gun for John Coble. Everyone also knew that Coble and the WSGA paid big money for his legal defense. Some say Coble spent over $100,000 on Horn's defense. Friends, $100,000 in 1903 is equivalent in purchasing power to about $2,915,579.55 in 2019.

And there's something else, some say Horn kept his mouth shut thinking that the very wealthy and very politically connected WSGA and his friend Coble would find a way to get him a pardon or a reduced sentence. Some say that's why he didn't implicate John Coble who Horn took orders from. 

Others say Horn didn't cut a deal for leniency by implicating John Coble for the simple reason that if he had -- then his own life wouldn't have been worth a plug nickel. To me, even if he tried to get a reduced sentence by implicating Coble or another in the killing of Willie Nickell, I think Horn must have known that would have been futile. Horn was seen as a child killer, and the people were going to hang him for that. They weren't going to let him have life in prison for killing a child.

That's just how I see it. 

Tom Correa

Friday, August 30, 2019

Sitting Bull’s Railway Speech

As I've talked about in a couple of other posts, the U.S. government defeated the Sioux and took control of the Black Hills really no differently than the Sioux Indians did when they defeated the Cheyenne Indians for that same land. The Sioux claimed the Black Hills were sacred lands. They claimed they were their traditional homeland, yet their actual traditional homelands were far to the East.

While some believe the Sioux Indians were originally a woodland Indian tribe of the upper Mississippi River in Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin, we know that before the mid-1600s, that the Sioux actually lived in the area around Lake Superior. They were hunter gatherers. They fished using spears from canoes. They hunted deer, buffalo, and other game including turkey, elk, and bear. They gathered wild rice, wild spinach, turnips, wild herbs, and whatever else they could find.

Continual warfare with other Indian tribes, especially the Ojibwa Indians and the Chippewa, and the French, eventually drove them south into Western Minnesota. While being forced out of their homeland, the tribe split into the Dakota, Nakota, and Lakota Sioux tribes.

The Dakota Sioux, also known as the Isanti/Santee, consisted of four bands called the Sisseton, Wahpekute, Mdeakantonwon and the Wahpeton. The Nakota Sioux, also known as the Ihanktown, consisted of three bands called the Yankton, the Upper Yankton, and the Lower Yankton. The Lakota Sioux, consisted of seven bands including the Oglala, Hunkpapa, Sicangu, Miniconjous, Sihasapa, Oohenumpa and the Itazipacola.

During the Sioux Wars, it was the Lakota Sioux who fought the U.S. Army. Wars between the United States and the Sioux had been taking place since 1862. Coincidentally, that was the same year that the Homestead Act was passed in an attempt to get more American settlers to go West.

If the year 1862 sounds significant, it should because the Homestead Act was enacted in 1862 during the Civil War. So yes, while fighting the Confederacy, the federal government passed the Homestead Act. I believe it was to discourage some Southerners from taking up arms against the Union.

The reason that I believe that that was the case has to do with the provisions of the Homestead Act. It stated that any adult citizen, or intended U.S. citizen, who had not picked up arms against the Union, could claim 160 acres of surveyed government land. The catch was that you had to be a citizen of the United States, not the Confederate States, come up with a minimal filing fee, and stick it out for 5 years of continuous residence on that land.

After 5 years of continuous residence on the land, the original filer was entitled to the property, free and clear. Title could also be acquired after only a 6-month residency and trivial improvements, provided the claimant paid the government $1.25 per acre.

To make it more enticing to Union troops to take up homesteading, and possibly persuade Confederate troops to give a second thought to their decision to take up arms against the Union, after the Civil War, Union troops were able to deduct the time they had served from the residency requirements.

So think about that, if a Union soldier spent 4 years fighting in the Union Army from 1961 to 1865, he could have his homestead free and clear after only one year instead of five. If you're wondering how many laid down their arms or how did the Homestead Act affect enlistment, no, I have no idea if this enticement was enough to get some to lay down arms and others to stay the whole duration in uniform for the Union.

It should be noted that the Homestead Act was part of the Republican Party platform of 1860. It should also be noted that skin color was not a factor in claiming a homestead. What I mean by that is that Black Union troops and freed slaves where eligible to homestead. And of course, the same offer of Union troops being able to deduct the time they had served from the residency requirements also applied to Black Union troops. Of more than 500 million acres dispersed by the federal government between 1862 and 1904, more than 80 million acres went to homesteaders.

In 1874, gold was discovered in the Black Hills. The U.S. Army sent troops to try to ease problems with miners and adventurers flooding into the Black Hills, but that was really futile as gold called more and more settlers to the area. Of course this all only inflamed tensions with the Sioux Indians. It wasn't too long before the Great Sioux War of 1876 started. Also known as the Black Hills War, it would last until 1877. During its time, the Black Hills War saw a series of battles take place.

On June 25 and 26, 1876, the Battle of the Little Bighorn took place. That two day battle resulted in the largest defeat of U.S. forces in American history, and to merely say that it was the most significant action of the Great Sioux War of 1876 would be an understand.

Known as the Battle of the Greasy Grass to the Lakota Sioux, it took place along the Little Bighorn River in the Crow Indian Reservation in southeastern Montana Territory. It became known to Americans as "Custer's Last Stand."

The fight had been inspired by the visions of Sitting Bull. What took place was a battle of the combined forces of the Lakota Sioux, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho tribes, all versus the U.S. Army's 7th Cavalry Regiment. It was an overwhelming victory for the Lakota Sioux, Northern Cheyenne, and Arapaho.

The U.S. 7th Cavalry, Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer, who was formerly a brevetted Major General during the Civil War, and his total force of 700 soldiers suffered a lost of 268 dead and 55 wounded -- six of those wounded would die later from their wounds. Among those killed were four of Custer's Crow Indian scouts and two of his Arikara Indian scouts. A total of five of his twelve companies were completely annihilated. Custer himself, along with two of his brothers, and two other family members, were killed in that action.

The stunning defeat at the Battle of Little Big Horn had the American public screaming for vengeance as people was to annihilate the Sioux. While Sitting Bull's leadership inspired his people to a major victory that day, the federal government sent thousands more soldiers to force the Sioux into ultimately surrendering. It's said Sitting Bull refused to surrender until 1881. By being the last to surrender, he certainly showed how much he wanted to keep up the fight.

On September 8th, 1883, Sioux leader Sitting Bull was an honored guest at a ceremony marking the completion of the Northern Pacific Railway. In attendance was former President Ulysses S. Grant, Secretary of State Henry Teller, the governors of every state that the railway connected, Northern Pacific Railroad president Henry Villard, other federal and state government officials, politicians, railroad barons and workers, along with the U.S. Army. Besides the enlisted troops, a few high ranking Army officers attended the event.

It should be noted that as a result of the Homestead Act, the discovery of gold, and with the violation of treaties, by the mid-1870 there were about 5,000 American settlers living in the Black Hills. In 1880, that number was believed to be around 117,000 Americans living in that area. By the mid-1880s the number of settlers had doubled to about 234,000. Knowing this, it's a safe bet to say that Sitting Bull was not happy with Americans or the federal government's policies when he arrived at the dedication ceremony.

Sioux leader Sitting Bull was not only in attendance, but was there to say a few words to the audience. During that occasion, it's said that Sitting Bull seized the moment to give folks there an ear full of what he really thought of them.

When it was time for him to speak, the audience was surprised when the famous Indian warrior spoke in Lakota Sioux. Though fluent in English, he did not want to give his speech in English. Frankly, that was not very smart considering what took place.

Sitting Bull is reported to have looked directly at former President Ulysses S. Grant, Secretary of State Henry Teller, and the others there, and said, "I hate all White people. You are thieves and liars. You have taken away our land and made us outcasts." And yes, he went on from there.

Supposedly, Sitting Bull went on to say why he hated White people but never mentioned how his people killed and slaughters other Indians tribes who felt the same way about him and his people. It was reported that he stopped talking now and then to smile at them before returning to his polite rant.

Of course, the audience applauded enthusiastically since they had no idea what he was saying. Remember, he chose to give his speech in Sioux and not in English. After their applause, believe it or not, Sitting Bull would bow back to them in return before going back to telling them how much he hated them. Yes, he would smile and bow, all while telling those in attendance that he hated White people.

The whole time that Sitting Bull was telling the audience how much he couldn't stand them, the Army officer who was his translator is said to have sat and remained silent. Some say that Army officer kept his poker face in tact the whole time that Sitting Bull spoke. Then, once Sitting Bull was done with what he had to say, the quick thinking Army officer rose to his feet and said, "The Chief thanks everyone for being here, and that he looked forward to peace and prosperity with the White people."

At that moment, everyone rose and Sitting Bull received a standing ovation.

Imagine that!

Since first posting this story, I have been inundated with email telling me that "White people deserved his scorn. Native American tribes never did to other tribes what the Whites did to Indians."

OK, let's address that myth right here and now. First, in regards to my comment "Imagine that," it was not in reference to what Sitting Bull said but to what the Army officer interpreter came up with -- and the fact that the people applauded everything that Sitting Bull said without knowing what Sitting Bull really said.

As for Sitting Bull's moral outrage and his hating White peoples, and what Native American tribes did or did not do to other tribes compared to what the Whites did to Indians? While I don't blame him for hating the Whites since the Whites were a stronger military force and the Sioux were beaten, we should remember that the Sioux hated Whites in the exact same way as how Pawnee Indians hated the Sioux.

For one thing, the Pawnee Indians were nearly wiped out by the Sioux at Massacre Canyon which took place in Nebraska on August 5th, 1873. That massacre was one of the last of over a century of hostilities between the Pawnee and the Sioux who had been fighting genocidal warfare from the early 1700s into the 1880s.

The Massacre Canyon massacre took place when a party of over 1,500 Sioux warriors attacked a small group of close to 200 Pawnee, mostly made up of women and children. The Pawnee were out on their annual end of summer buffalo hunt. The Sioux murdered at least 156 of the Pawnee that day. Almost all were women and children.

The Pawnee hatred for the Sioux is justified since the Sioux mutilated all of the Pawnee women and children after they murdered them. But the Sioux didn't stop with murder and mutilation. The Sioux actually burned some of the women and children to death, and tortured them while they were still alive.

So while it is nice and fine to say that Sitting Bull was justified in hating the Whites, we should really understand that his hate is more like hypocrisy since he certainly proved that no one, not Indian or White, has exclusivity to moral outrage for horrible deeds.

Tom Correa

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Why No Old West History Posts Lately

Dear Readers,

I recently received a short, very to the point, e-mail lately. My reader asked: "Why no Old West history lately? Why no posts, not articles, nothing new? I love your posts, what's happened?"

Well, to answer her email. Whenever I've run into a little writer's block over the last few years, I've been able to pull up a draft and finish it for you. Some posts being easier to finish than others, I've been able to do that pretty often over the years.

As for my political editorials, my opinion posts on today's political environment, current events, are a lot easier to put out simply because of the time involved to do them. I take an issue and rant about it. While over the years, you've made it clear that that's not what you really come here for, I have to admit that my political rants have served to be a stress reliever for me. I'm sure my wife can usually figure out that I've finished a political post by the way I've stopped cussing out Democrats.

As I said, I know that's not what you come here for. Yes, I do know that. In fact, I know that so well that I try not to offend my Old West history fans by actually keeping my political post off of my blog's Facebook page. It's true. Since I like that people are as interested in American history, specifically Old West history, I really try not to chase folks away by posting things other than that on my blog's Facebook page. The last thing that I want to do is make someone disinterested in visiting my blog's Facebook page over my political rants.

Besides, contrary to what I thought for the longest time, I'm finding out that American history, our love of the Old West, is not confined to only Conservatives. Yes, as surprising as it has been to me to learn, there are some folks on the other side of my political persuasion that enjoy learning about American history.

Why does that shock me so much? It does because I find that a lot of people on the Left are closed minded when it comes to studying history. I've found Conservative to be open minded to looking at the whole story of what took place and not only what fit some sort of agenda.

For example, when I wrote about how the Black Hills were not the centuries old lands of the Sioux Indians, and how they in fact conquered the Cheyenne for those lands, and how the Cheyenne conquered the Kiowa for those lands, and so on, I had self-proclaimed anti-American Leftist demanding that I take that information off the Internet. Some of those people called me all sorts of names, including "racist" of course. In contrast, on the other hand, in regards to the same article, I still have people writing me to say how they did not know about the change of hands regarding those lands. The Last Tribe to get the Black Hills

When I looked into the how and why regarding the establishment of the Ku Klux Klan, my research led me into finding out about the actual legacy of racism and segregation of the Democrat Party. I had no idea that they have always been who they are, and I was absolutely surprised to find out that their racist and anti-equal rights policies extended to both blacks and women. And no, it did not stop in the 1800s, or the early 1920s, or the 1960s when the Democrats in Congress fought against the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, but extended well into the 1980s when the Democrats shot down the Equal Rights Amendment for women.

After I posted that four part series, some Democrats were crazed and as angry as can be. Some wrote to threaten me and my family. While I saw it as fascinating history, they saw it as a hit piece on the Democrat Party. Democrat Party Legacy of Racism & Segregation: Part One

Of course, my most popular article has been what I wrote in 2011 about the 9-11 Cross and what I've learned about Muslims since 9-11. As I state in that article, I knew little to nothing about Muslims prior to 9-11. Fact is, Muslims, who they are, what they want, their hate for others, hate for Christians and Jews, their want of Sharia Law, and their desire for world conquest, was nothing that I gave much thought. Frankly, other than Muslims at constant war with Jews, I didn't know much about who they are today. I certainly had no idea that they are as backwards as they are. The 9/11 Cross

As for my Old West history posts, my problems with my putting them out as often has to do with time and research. Because of what they are, they take a lot more research to get them right. And frankly, since I have a tendency to veer off course during an article, I like to make sure that the information that I think is relevant to a good story is accurate as well.

So now, as my reader asked, "Why no Old West history lately? Why no posts, not articles, nothing new? I love your posts, what's happened?" 

Well, there has been a number of things happening these days. Let me explain in no real order of the things that have been taking place to slow down my writing my blog. Besides finishing my first book which will be out in a couple of weeks, life has really gotten in the way of both my research and writing my blog.

I've made mention of some of my health problems, but never really precisely what's going on. So let me just say that I'm having problems since my family has a genetic predisposition to Congestive Heart Failure (CHF). CHF is a chronic progressive condition that affects the pumping power of your heart muscles. While CHF is simply referred to most often as "heart failure," CHF specifically refers to the stage in which fluid builds up around the heart and causes it to pump inefficiently. It is a chronic condition in which the heart doesn't pump blood as well as it should.

It's signs and symptoms may include: 1) Difficulty concentrating or decreased alertness, 2) Fatigue and weakness, 3) Very rapid weight gain from fluid retention, 4) Swelling in your legs, ankles and feet, 5) Rapid or irregular heartbeat, 6) Increased need to urinate at night, 7) Swelling of your abdomen, 8) Shortness of breath (dyspnea) when you exert yourself or when you lie down, 9) Sudden, severe shortness of breath, 10) Chest pain if your heart failure is caused by a heart attack, and 11) Reduced ability to exercise. Additional signs and symptoms that I haven't yet to experience are 1) Persistent cough or wheezing, and a 2) Lack of appetite and nausea.

What I'm having real problems with right now is how fatigue and weakness these days makes everything a chore. The rapid weight gain from fluid retention is what's responsible for swelling in my legs, ankles and feet. Along with a rapid or irregular heartbeat at times means that I'm having a reduced ability to exercise and a difficulty concentrating. My wife will tell you that I'm also having problems with decreased alertness long before these days.

How my life has changed because of this is pretty simply, I'm having a real problem with being tired all the time. I'm also gaining weight through fluid retention, and concentrating on things these days is getting tougher. Among other things, this makes it tough to write my blog or finish my book. Also, combine this with "writer's block" and my blog readership suffers.

What am I doing about this? Well, as for the CHF, I have a few medications that I'm taking, and believe it or not I'm trying to exercise more to reverse it's effects. The biggest catch 22 is my weight gain because I can't do as much these days -- mostly because I'm wiped out all the time. It's taking it's toll on my energy level.

While this is going on to make me feel exhausted, I still have my position at our local American Legion that I have to tend to. My horses and property needs my attention. I've also been busy with doing a lot of work around my place since my wife and I have been hard at work refinancing our home. Along with this, my wife has had medical problems as well.

On August 4th, I took her to Sutter-Amador Hospital in Jackson, about a half-hour from where I live here in California. She was diagnosed as having "possible" gallstone problems. Before leaving the emergency room, the treating physician told us to arrange a follow-up. The next day we called for a follow up appoint as we were instructed. The people at Sutter-Amador Hospital said that they could see her on August 29th. Yes, 25 days later. Image that.

Since my wife has medical coverage through me with the VA, we made an appointment with her doctor to see her on the 14th. So OK, it was still 10 days later -- but it was better than nothing. Besides, I decided that if she were in pain like the first time, then I'd rush her back to the ER at Sutter-Amador Hospital in Jackson again since it is the closest ER.

On August 14th, we went to her appointment at the VA Clinic in Modesto. We had to be there by 11 a.m., but a logging truck got in front of us and we ended up arriving 10 minutes late for her appointment. I figured the VA would refuse to see her since we were 10 minutes late, but I was surprised that they did. During her visit, the Chinese doctor who was attending to my wife seem to have a hard time understanding English and actually had to call a nurse in to help translate what was going on with my wife. Then they said that she needed to get to the VA Hospital in Palo Alto.

Because the people at the VA Clinic in Modesto said my wife needed to get to a VA emergency room, we drove the three hours to the VA Hospital in Palo Alto. We arrived at a little after 3 p.m., and by 5 p.m. the VA emergency room staff took her in to get an ultrasound exam. After that we waited. Even though they found gallstones, and suspected that one stone was in the duct leading to her large intestines and was responsible for creating the pain she was feeling, they refused to treat her.

Instead, the premier VA Hospital in Northern California, the VA Hospital in Palo Alto, decided to dump my wife's case to another hospital. Though she is supposedly covered by CHAMP VA because she's married to me, the VA there at Palo Alto refused to treat her and instead told me to take her to another hospital.

While what they did was a clear case of "patient dumping," they said they were sending her somewhere else because they didn't recognize her insurance. As far as they were concerned, she didn't have coverage and that weren't going to treat her no matter what condition she was in. Just so you know, in California, "patient dumping" is supposedly illegal. Patient dumping is the practice of hospitals and emergency services no treating patients who they see as unable to pay for treatment.

So at a little before 1 a.m., we left the VA Hospital in Palo Alto after being in their ER for almost 10 hours. Driving to the next hospital, my wife said to me, "If I were an Illegal Alien, they would have treated me and taken whatever insurance I have -- but I'm a citizen."

At about 3 a.m., we arrived at Stanford ValleyCare Hospital in Pleasanton -- a little over an hour away from the VA Palo Alto Hospital. The people at that hospital were 180 degrees different than the treatment at the VA in Modesto and Palo Alto emergency room. They immediately admitted my wife. While they had a bed for her, I refused to leave her and simply slept in a chair.

The next day, they ran tests, a number of doctors came in to talk about removing her gallbladder and that stone which may be in the duct leading to her intestines. By that afternoon, she went into surgery. Later on that day, after a few hour surgery, she returned to her room. She was out most of the day. Again that night, I refused to leave her and simply slept in a chair.

My wife was discharged on Friday afternoon after her surgeons came in to check on her. The people at Stanford ValleyCare Hospital in Pleasanton, California, are really top-notch folks. They are extremely professional, but also personable and caring. I want to take a minute here to thank Surgeons Dr. Andrew Lee who removed my wife's gallbladder and Dr. Christopher Enwisle who was the specialist to go in and get the stone blocking that duct to my wife's intestines. These two men are great surgeons and need to be complimented on their compassion and wonderful way with a patient like my wife who was very scared of what was taking place. They were certainly a comfort, truly Godsends.

Over the last week, she has been recuperating. And as for medical coverage for her, we are looking for coverage that will be honored. If we can help it, we will be relying a lot less on the VA for her coverage in the future. They simply don't care enough about family members of veterans.

As I told my wife after this was all said and done, I've been with the VA since 1995 and have had great care and lousy care in the past. While shoddy medial treatment for me is one thing, I don't want that for her.

So now, getting back to writing my blog and providing you with what I hope are interesting stories about the Old West. Now that things have settled down a lot and my first book will be out in a couple of weeks on Amazon, I'm hoping to get at least two stories out a week in the future. Yes, I'm hoping to have a new story posted for you at least twice a week. Writer's block or not, whether it's my questioning if Wyatt Earp really did kill Curly Bill, or whether it's about a group of Indians who were blamed for a massacre that they didn't commit, I need to finish those stories because I really believe that you will find them as interesting as I do.

Fact is, I have a lot of drafts of what I think are not widely known stories. It's just up to me to finish them and post them for you. I hope that I don't disappoint you.

Tom Correa

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Is The Democrat Party Embracing Vladimir Lenin's Communism?

If not, than why does the Democrat Party want to nationalize health care, and take 70 to 90% of our wages in taxes? Why does the Democrat Party’s insist on government over regulations designed to attack free-enterprise and slow economic progress? And really, why do they want to get rid of private ownership of property, and property rights?

These days the Democrats make no secret anymore about their desire to confiscate guns, and repeal the Bill of Rights — especially targeting the 2nd Amendment. Yes, all to keep the people unarmed against a totalitarian government. 

Under Communist Revolutionary Vladimir Lenin, the Soviet Union became a one-party communist state governed by the Russian Communist Party. His ideology was Communism, but he expanded it and soon Marxism became Marxist–Leninism. Vladimir Lenin said, "One man with a gun can control 100 without one." Democrats know that. 

As for today's policies of the Democrat Party? Much are based on the Communist doctrine of totalitarianism which go along with the United Nations’s Agenda 21 manifesto which wants a one world government under Communism.

As for the Democrat Party attacking Christians and supporting Atheism in America? Democrats have listened to Vladimir Lenin, when he said, "Communism includes the propaganda of Atheism."

The Democrats see hard times in America as their opportunity to divide the American people. During prosperous times in America, Democrats spread lies and deal in fear mongering to bring about uncertainty and a loss of faith in our nation's economy. Recently, during the best economic times in modern history for our nation, the Democrats and their media stooges are spreading uncertainty by spreading the word that we are headed for an economic recession -- even though that is purely conjecture and wishful thinking on the part of the Democrats. 

Is that all right out of the Marxist–Leninist playbook to divide and bring discontent to our people? To answer that question, ask Democrats why it is so important for them to control the media, and why they hate Fox News? Vladimir Lenin said, "The press should be not only a collective propagandist and a collective agitator, but also a collective organizer of the masses." This is what Democrats are hoping for.

As for the hate spewing from the Left, the Democrat Party, those who serve the Democrats in the mainstream media, are they adhering to what Lenin advised when that Communist leader said, "We can and must write in a language which sows among the masses hate, revulsion, and scorn toward those who disagree with us." 

It appears that's what the Democrat Party is doing today. Yes, especially when we consider their constant animosity, antagonism, and open contempt for anyone who supports American values and embraces the promise of free-enterprise. Of course, the "oppressed" which the Democrat Party is fighting for today is actually wealthy college kids who see revolution and infecting pain on others as fun and exciting -- as is the case with ANTIFA which is the militant arm of the Democrat Party.

If the Democrat Party is not embracing Vladimir Lenin's ideology of Communism, if I'm wrong, then ask Democrat candidates running for the presidency to swear support of our Constitution, ALL of our Bill of Rights, condemn government take over of our rights including (for example) the state of Oregon where the state government there has deemed that rain belongs to the state and not the people. 

If not, ask Democrat candidates to celebrate America's First Principles and stop glorifying the Communist Doctrine that has failed and killed millions of people throughout the world. If they are not embracing Vladimir Lenin, ask the Democrat candidates out there to affirm that an armed citizenry is needed in Cuba, Venezuela, North Korea, or China to stop the oppressive Communist governments there from enslaving their peoples?

And if a Democrat candidate for president refuses to answer such questions, ask your local Democrat politician if he or she would stop attacking our Capitalist system which is responsible for rising more people out of poverty than any other economic system. Since the Democrat Party is constantly attacking the benefits that Capitalism brings to the world while openly supporting total Socialism, ask them to explain why people who support Socialism apparently forget to mention that it leads to Communism and slavery? 

Democrats don't want you to be reminded of what Vladimir Lenin said, "The goal of Socialism is Communism." No, not while they embrace Vladimir Lenin's form of Communism. After all, wanting Communism is the Democrat Party's dirty little secret.

Tom Correa