Monday, November 18, 2019

The Year Was 1881

American illustrator Thomas Nast is said to have "invented" the image that we recognize as Santa Claus. Created in woodblock, Thomas Nast made his familiar illustration of "Merry Old Santa Claus" for the January 1st, 1881, issue of Harper's WeeklyIt's believed that he first drew Santa Claus for the 1862 Christmas season Harper’s Weekly cover and center-fold illustration to memorialize the family sacrifices of the Union during the early days of the Civil War. 

America has always had a majority of Christians, and of course the holiday celebrating the birth of Christ is a long standing American tradition. When Nast created his image of Santa Claus, it's said that he was drawing on his native German tradition of Saint Nicholas who was a fourth century bishop known for his kindness and generosity. Nast’s Santa appeared as a kindly figure representing Christmas. It would be how Americans see Santa for the rest of time.

On January 11th, 1881, Los Angeles County Deputy Sheriff George Gillis was shot in El Monte, California. He died the next day.

Deputy Gillis and Los Angeles County Sheriff William "Billy" Richard Rowland had gone to the city of El Monte while attempting to find a man who was believed to be a person of interest in a criminal investigation. Sheriff Rowland returned to Los Angeles after they could not locate the man, but Deputy Gillis remained in El Monte to continue the search.

Deputy Gillis located the man while the individual was fighting with another man. Deputy Gillis identified himself as a deputy and ordered the men to stop fighting. The man then pushed Deputy Gillis out of the saloon door, drew a handgun, and shot the Deputy. The subject then stole Deputy Gillis' horse and fled to San Juan Capistrano. The killer was later captured, tried and convicted of Deputy Gillis' murder.

If you've ever wondered why vigilante groups acted out in so many instances in the Old West, it's because lenient sentences took place even back in those days. No, it's not just something taking place these days. A great example of that is how Deputy Gillis' killer was sentenced to a mere 11 years in prison. It is said that many there at the time felt Deputy Gillis' killer got away with murder.

On January 25, 1881, Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham Bell formed the Oriental Telephone Company. During that same year on February 5th, the City of Phoenix, Arizona was incorporated.

On February 19, Kansas became the first state to outlaw alcoholic beverages in its Constitution. By 1878, the temperance movement was organized and had a great deal of political influence there. That movement wanted a national constitutional prohibition, and they started their march to obtain their goal in Kansas when they staged the first National Temperance Camp Meeting in Bismarck Grove near Lawrence in late August and September of 1878.

While they couldn't organize a Prohibition Party, Kansas voters elected Republican John St. John as their governor. He was a prohibitionist. In his inaugural address to the state legislature, he called for decisive action to deal with the liquor issue. In response, the legislature passed a state constitutional amendment that prohibited "the manufacture and sale of intoxicating liquors" in the state. It was ratified by a majority of the voters in November 1880, and took effect on January 1, 1881.

The Kansas Legislature made manufacturing alcohol a misdemeanor. While the law took effect on May 1st, 1881, the law had no teeth and did not "dry up" the state. Saloon owners simply paid the $100 fine each month to keep their businesses open and the booze flowing. It is interesting to note that because of built in loopholes in the state law, and the law's poor enforcement, all in all the law led to an increase in the number of saloons and other "joints" in Kansas. And just for the record, Kansas didn't drop it prohibition on alcoholic beverages until 1948.

On March 4th, James A. Garfield was inaugurated as 20th President. He was the first sitting member of Congress to be elected to the presidency, and still remains the only sitting member of the House to have gained the White House. Later that same year, he would be assassinated.

For those of us who love a circus, and I'm not talking about the sort that goes on in Congress these days, the "Greatest Show On Earth" was formed by P.T. Barnum and James A. Bailey on March 16th, 1881. A few days later, the "Barnum & Bailey Circus" debuted its "Greatest Show on Earth" in Madison Square Gardens, New York City.

On April 7th, 1881, a North Carolina moonshiner by the name of Lewis R. Redmond was wanted for two murders and cornered at his home. Back on March 1st, 1876, twenty-four year old Deputy U.S. Marshal Alfred Duckworth attempted to arrest Lewis Redmond on a warrant for transporting illegal alcohol in Transylvania County, North Carolina. Redmond was found on a road near the East Fork area of the county. He was told that he was under arrest.

During the arrest, Redmond supposedly demanded that Deputy Marshal Duckworth read the arrest warrant out loud. After reading it, Redmond faked surrender by saying that he would go along peacefully. Marshal Duckworth made the mistake of believing him and started to put his pistol away when Redmond produced a small pocket pistol and shot Duckworth in the neck.  

Marshal Duckworth was killed while serving a federal warrant on Redmond for the illegal manufacture and sale of distilled liquor. Right after he murdered Marshal Duckworth, Redmond fled to Pickens County, South Carolina. It was an area known as "Dark Corners." 

While there, Redmond is said to have has a number of encounters with the law. Sympathetic newspapers who saw nothing wrong with killing lawmen, actually labeled Redmond the "King of the Moonshiners." And as surprising as it might sound, there was a lot of local sympathy for Redmond. 

Supposedly, the folks there at the time attempted to justify their support for the killer by saying that Redmond was just living the life that he was accustomed to living. The justification was that since he grew up in the 1850's and 1860's when the production of distilled alcohol was seen as simply an additional source of income for Southern farmers, he was just fighting for his way of life.

Newspapers were portraying that cop killer as a folk hero. During Reconstruction, many illegal distillers, known as moonshiners because they produced their product "out of the light of day," tried to get around paying liquor taxes. This led to an ongoing war with the federal government.  

Lewis Redmond shot and killed Deputy U.S. Marshal Van Buren Hendrix on February 12th, 1877, while the marshal led a posse to track down and arrest Redmond. Redmond shot and killed Deputy U.S. Marshal Van Buren Hendrix in Greenville County, South Carolina. That killing didn't stop other lawmen from hunting him down, and two years later he was captured Swain County. 

Even though he was shot six times while trying to escape, believe it or not Redmond survived to stand trial. And yes, this story also goes along with what we were talking about previously with Officer George Gillis who was shot in El Monte, California, and his killer only got 11 years. 

Though murdering two Deputy U.S. Marshals, Lewis Redmond was acquitted on grounds of self-defense for his killing of Deputy U.S. Marshal Van Buren Hendrix. As for killing of Deputy U.S. Marshal Alfred Duckworth, he was convicted and only sentenced to 10 years in prison. As incredible as that sounds, Redmond was pardoned after only serving just 3 years. 

Of course, one of the more famous events in 1881 took place on April 28th. On that day, William Bonney, also known as Billy the Kid, escaped from the Lincoln County Courthouse jail, near Carrizozo, New Mexico. In his wake, he  killed two deputies who were assigned to guard him.

He was being held for the shooting of Sheriff William Brady. On April 13, Judge Warren Bristol sentenced Bonney to hang. His execution was scheduled for May 13th. While legend says that the Judge pronounced sentence saying they he was to hang until he was "dead, dead, dead!" The rest of the legend says that Bonney responded to that by telling the judge, "you can go to hell, hell, hell!"

This is the sort of Hollywood legend that takes hold and simply won't go away. Fact is, according to the county records, William Bonney did not say a word in response to Judge Bristol issuing his sentence. While awaiting his sentence, Bonney was held in the Lincoln County Courthouse jail under guard on the second floor. There were two guards on duty, Sheriffs Deputies James Bell and Bob Olinger.

On April 28, while Sheriff Pat Garrett was away, Officer Olinger went across the street to the Wortley Hotel to have lunch. This left Officer James Bell with Bonney. It was during that time that Bonney asked to use the outhouse. The jail's outhouse was located behind the courthouse.

After coming out of the outhouse, on their return to the jail, Bonney was walking ahead of Officer Bell up the stairs to his cell. One story says that Bonney got ahead of Bell and somehow slipped out of his handcuffs before beating Officer Bell with the iron handcuffs. Supposedly, during the fight with Bell, Bonney is said to have grabbed Officer Bell's revolver and shot him.

The other story is that a sympathetic citizen placed a 1876 Colt Single Action Army revolver in the outhouse and Bonney retrieved it. From there, as with the first version, since there were no witnesses it's actually anyone's guest how he shot Officer Bell in the back. Some say it was when Officer Bell tried to get away.

We do know that after killing Officer Bell, Bonney broke into Sheriff's office and found a loaded shotgun that supposedly belong to Officer Olinger. Legend says that Olinger used to taunt Bonney by telling him that he had special loads just for him.

Legend says that Bonney waited at the upstairs window of the jail as Olinger returned after hearing the gunshot that killed James Bell. Legend says that he called out to him, and when Olinger looked up, Bonney shot and killed him before fleeing town. Deputy Robert W. Ollinger was the last victim of William Bonney, alias Billy the Kid.

On May 1st of that year, a little known story is that of a family wagon got stuck on train tracks in the town of San Lorenzo, California, as a train approached. The accident was horrifying as 5 of 6 children aboard the wagon were killed.

On May 16th, Guadalupe County, Texas, Deputy Sheriff Richard "Texas" McCoy who was shot and killed in LaSalle County while searching for cattle thieves. He was part of a posse of several Texas Rangers and cattlemen when they discovered approximately 100 stolen cattle. The posse round up the cattle and took them to a nearby home to temporarily store them. What they didn't realize was that that was the home of the cattle thieves.

After arriving at the ranch, Deputy McCoy asked the woman of the house if he could pen the cattle there. Deputy McCoy was no rookie. He was a veteran of the Confederate Army, and had previously served as a Texas Ranger for a year. McCoy and the others didn't know that the cattle thieves inside the house had setup an ambush. When they opened fire on the posse, they killed Deputy McCoy almost instantly as he opened corral gate.

Those who did the ambush were charged with Deputy McCoy's murder. But because the defense questioned the credibility of a witness, believe it or not, the charges were dropped. One of those men later murdered another Deputy in another part of Texas on April 7th, 1887. It is said that there were a large number of residents in Guadalupe County, Texas, who felt that they should have taken those killers out to the nearest tree. Some folks are said to have voiced the opinion that if that had, then they may have saved the life of that second Deputy.

On May 21st, Clara Barton and Adolphus Solomons founded the American National Red Cross. It was set up as a charitable group with links to the U.S. military to provide humanitarian aid to victims of wars and natural disasters.

On Sunday, June 5th, 1881, in Ohio, Oberlin Police Department's Constable Frank Stone succumbed to a gunshot wound sustained on May 12th.

Constable Frank Stone chased down a subject on an assault warrant. The suspect is said to have initially cooperated with the Constable, but then changed his mind when they passed a blacksmith shop where his father and brother were working.

When his family members came out of the blacksmith shop, they attacked Constable Stone. This gave the subject the opportunity to escape. Right after that, Constable Stone swore out warrants for the father and brother.

The following day, Constable Stone attempted to make the arrest at the home the subject's father. As the countable stood in the doorway, the subject appeared with a rifle and shot the constable in the chest. Constable Stone was taken to his home where he remained until passing away on June 5, 1881.

The subject's father was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. But, he only served 10 years because he was pardoned in 1891 due to his frail health. Knowing that the killer only spent 10 years in prison for murder, and then being pardoned, didn't sit well with a lot of folks there at the time.

On June 12, the steamship USS Jeannette sank under ice during an expedition to reach the North Pole. The crew abandoned ship, and attempted to reach Siberia in three lifeboats. Less than half of the men survived the ordeal.

In early July of 1881, US Army Lt. Augustus W. Greely led a scientific expedition to Ellesmere Island in the Canadian Arctic and called the site Fort Conger. While the expedition set out with 25 American soldiers with the mission of establishing a scientific base in the Arctic, it was a horrid failure and only 6 survived before starving to death.

On July 2nd, less than five months after his inauguration, the 20th President of the United States, James Garfield, was assassinated by Charles J. Guiteau at the Washington railroad station. As insane as it sounds, the killer's motive was that he felt that he earned an appointment as consul to France -- because he worked so hard to get the president elected.

President Garfield lived out the summer with a fractured spine and seemed to be gaining strength until he died on September 19th. As for Guiteau, he was arrested at the time of the shooting. And, in spite of his plea of insanity, he was convicted of murder. Guiteau was hanged in June 1882.

On July 4th, former slave Booker T. Washington establishes the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. He started out with 30 students. His goal was to establish a "normal" school and industrial institute where "colored" people with little or no formal schooling could be trained as teachers and skilled workers.

On of my favorite events in history took place on July 8th when Edward Berner of Two Rivers, Wisconsin, created the first Ice Cream Sundae. Such a wonderful contribution to mankind should not go unsaid.

On July 14th, the punk killer who was known as Billy the Kid, though born as Henry McCarty, and used the names William H. Bonney or Kid Antrim, was shot and killed by Sheriff Pat Garrett in Fort Sumner, New Mexico. Just a few months earlier, he had killed two deputies and fled to Fort Sumner.

Accompanied by lawmen John Poe and Thomas C. "Kip" McKinney, Sheriff Pat Garrett set out to find Bonney after Pete Maxwell alerted the law to his whereabouts. Sheriff Garrett arrived and awaited inside as Bonney entered the room. Garrett shot him in the chest.

On July 20th, while still fugitives from the reservation, Sioux Chief Sitting Bull leads the last group of his tribe to surrender to U.S. Army at Fort Buford, Montana. He and his group fled into Canada after the Battle of the Little Big Horn in 1876.

Sitting Bull had his young son hand over his rifle to General Terry in an attempt at insulting the General, then saying, "I wish it to be remembered that I was the last man of my tribe to surrender my rifle. This boy has given it to you, and he now wants to know how he is going to make a living."

Then there was the case of Silverton, Colorado, Town Marshal David Clayton "Clate" Ogsbury. He died on August 24th, 1881, at the age of 33, while in the capacity of acting town marshal. He was only in that position for three months when he was killed in the line of duty by a member of the Stockton-Eskridge Gang. The gang was known for robbing and rustling cattle in northern New Mexico then escaping into the Silverton, Colorado, area.

The gang had arrived in town on August 24th. Marshal Ogsbury and the San Juan County Sheriff were said to be waiting for arrest warrants to arrive from La Plata County. The warrants did not arrive until 11 p.m. that night. That was when La Plata County Sheriff Luke Hunter showed up from Durango with the warrants in hand.

Sheriff Hunter contacted Marshal Ogsbury who was asleep in his room in the back of Goode's Saloon. The two, along with town deputy Emerson Hodges, walked to the Diamond Saloon where the outlaws were drinking it up.

It is said that Marshal Ogsbury saw one of the wanted men leaning against the saloon in the dark. But before he could say a word, or draw his pistol, the outlaw opened fire mortally wounding Marshal Ogsbury. It was then that the other outlaws pulled their guns and started firing. Sheriff Hunter and Deputy Hodges were forced to retreat out of the saloon. When the lawmen returned, it's said the townsfolk joined them. Soon, the outlaws were captured. The townsfolk, what some call vigilantes, took over and lynched the killers.

On August 27th, a hurricane hit Florida and the Carolinas. More than 700 Americans died as a result of the horrible devastation. Also in August of that year, The Edison Electric Illumination Co. began building its 1st DC generating plant in Manhattan. The station was completed in September of 1882.

On September 5th, a fire in Michigan burns over a million acres and killed 169 people. On September 13th, Inventor Lewis Latimer patented an electric lamp with a carbon filament.

On September 19th, the 20th President of the United States, James A. Garfield, died of wounds inflicted by assassin madman Charles J. Guiteau. What some might find interesting is that inventor Alexander Graham Bell made several unsuccessful attempts to remove the assassin's bullet from the dying President with a new metal detection device. Also, it's said that standard medical practice at the time had doctors inserting their un-sterilized fingers into wounds in an effort to probe and locate the path of the bullet.

Germ theory had not been accepted as standard practice yet. So even though 16 doctors attended to President Garfield, and each probed his wound with their fingers and dirty instruments, it's believe that infection was a significant factor in President Garfield's death. Of course, the day after President Garfield's death, Vice President Chester A. Arthur was sworn in as the 21st President of the United States.

End of an era! Here's something to think about. The last big cattle drive to Dodge City took place late that summer of 1881. There are a few reasons for the end of the era of the cattle drives. Mostly it was because livestock became plentiful on the plains, and that made long drives no longer profitable. Also, by 1881, most states were then prohibiting driving out-of-state cattle across their borders.

Another thing was barbed wire. The increasing use of barbed wire to enclose farms and grazing land effectively ended the era of the open range. In the 15 years since Texas cowboys first hit the trail, over two million longhorns were driven to market in Dodge. By the end of that summer, that all ended.

Just as a side note to the end of the cattle drives. Let's think about this when comparing cattle boomtowns with mining boomtowns. In reality, while mining towns dried up and blew away, turning into ghost towns, most cattle boomtowns actually survived after their boom went bust. The reason has to do with who stayed. In relation to mining towns, miners left when the mines petered out. Subsequently, most mining towns simply died.

In contrast, even though the trail drives stopped, the cattle and agriculture industries around cow towns survived because ranchers and farmers took root in the surrounding areas. They stayed put, endured, and prevailed.

On Saturday, October 1, 1881, McLean County Deputy Sheriff Henry "Teddy" Frank was shot and killed in Illinois. The forty-one year old deputy was shot and killed by a prisoner who he was moving within the county jail. The prisoner, who was a convicted horse thieve, somehow grabbed Deputy Frank's service weapon. The prisoner actually grabbed the Colt .38 caliber revolver from Frank's hip pocket when he was unlocking a door. That was at 6:30 pm.

Deputy Frank yelled at the prisoner to stop. The prisoner turned and fired. The round stoke the deputy in the shoulder. This didn't stop Deputy Frank from grabbing the prisoner. During the struggle, the prisoner fired four more shots. Two struck the deputy in the chest and actually exited his back.

It is said that Deputy Frank's sense of duty wasn't slowed despite being mortally wounded. In fact, it's said that he was actually able to stop the prisoner's escape until the Sheriff and other reinforcements arrived. Though shot three times, twice in the chest, Deputy Henry "Teddy" Frank is said to have actually walked to a nearby cot to lie down. Once there, he succumbed to his wounds and died.

Within a couple of hours of hearing what took place, vigilantes gathers outside the jail. At the same time, in the jail, the Sheriff and his Deputies tried to keep the citizens from entering the jail. It's said that a mob is defined as "a large and disorderly crowd of people especially -- one bent on riotous or destructive action." The mob that gained entry to the jail that night used two telephone poles used as battering rams. They also brought a keg of gunpowder to blow up the door if the Sheriff and his Deputies found a way to stop them from battering it down.

Deputy Frank was a Union veteran who served during the Civil War. He was survived by his wife and daughter, his parents, and six siblings. The townspeople knew him and his family. They weren't going to chance his killer getting away with it. They demonstrated the same sort of anger and frustration over lenient sentences, acquittals, and pardons that fueled the growth of vigilante groups.

In fact, it's said that more than 5,000 local citizens, no hoods or disguises, gathered outside of the jail and demanded the prisoner be turned over to them. Once inside, they took the prisoner and walked him across the street where he was hanged from a tree.

On October 26th, in Tombstone, Arizona, Deputy U.S. Marshal/ Tombstone Town Marshal Virgil Earp, his two brothers Wyatt and Morgan, and "Doc" Holliday showed up a lot adjacent to the rear of the OK Corral livery stable. The official story is that they were there to disarm, arrest, and fine Ike and Billy Clanton, Tom and Frank McLaury, and Billy Claiborne for violating a city ordinance pertaining to a ban on carrying guns in the city limits.

While I have been in contact with people who say it was merely the Earp faction exercising their ability to disarm their enemies, I've had others tell me that the Earps were there simply to enforce the city ordinance. Some see the Earps as simply lawmen doing their job, while some see them no different than the people they were confronting. Either way, during the subsequent shootout, Billy Clanton and Tom and Frank McLaury were killed; Virgil and Morgan Earp were wounded.

And while I have heard from readers who tell me that Wyatt Earp was not even shot at during the short gunfight, it is a fact that Wyatt Earp's role in the shootout grew after his autobiography was published in 1931. Because of a 1950's movie of the same name, people will come to call the 30 second incident the "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral."

On August 30th, 1881, the Battle of Cibecue Creek took place. In that fight, the U.S. Army and White Mountain Apaches clashed at Cibecue Creek on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation. After soldiers arrested a prominent Cibecue Apache medicine man named Nock-ay-det-klinne, the soldiers were taking Nock-ay-det-klinne back to the fort when they were ambushed by Apache warriors.

During the fight, U.S. Army soldiers killed the medicine man and most of the twenty-three Apache scouts actually mutinied. It was the first time that Indian scouts had mutinied in United States history. The mutiny forced the soldiers to retreat to Fort Apache.

The following day, the White Mountain Apache mounted a counterattack. The events sparked general unrest and led to White Mountain Apache warriors leaving the Fort Apache Indian Reservation to join forces with Geronimo.

On November 7th, Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday were arrested and jailed for their participation in the now famous Gunfight at the O.K. Corral. 

On November 8, after counting 45,497 votes, Denver was elected Colorado's capital city. Denver was named after the governor of the Kansas Territory, James William Denver.

On November 14th, assassin Charles J. Guiteau went on trial for murdering President Garfield. He was convicted and hanged the following year.

On December 1st, the Earps and Holliday were exonerated in court for their action in what later became known as the gunfight at the O.K. Corral.

On December 13th, San Jose, California becomes the first city west of the Rocky Mountains with civic electric lighting when they erect a 237-foot-tall "moonlight tower" to illuminate downtown.

On December 28, at about 11:30 pm, in Tombstone, Arizona, Virgil Earp was ambushed as he walked from the Oriental Saloon to his room. Though not killed, he was crippled for life. After the shootout near the O.K. Corral, the Earps relocate their families to the Cosmopolitan Hotel.

On the day after the ambush Marshal Virgil Earp, newspapers reported that "he was fired upon with double-barreled shotguns, loaded with buckshot, by three men concealed in an unfinished building diagonally across on Allen street."

Virgil was hit in the back and left arm by three loads of buckshot from about 50 to 60 feet away The Crystal Palace Saloon and the Eagle Brewery which were on the other side of Marshal Earp were hit with a large number of buckshot. In fact, it is said that three buckshot went through a window and landed about a foot over the heads of some of the men who were standing at a faro-table.

There was little doubt that the Clanton faction did the shooting. Ambushes and not straight out duels were the way enemies settled things more than not in the Old West.

In 1881, the Marlin Firearms Company was incorporated. Marlin-Ballard rifles are well-known for their accuracy and workmanship. It was that year that Marlin introduced their Model 1881 lever-action tubular magazine repeating rifle. This rifle was available in a variety of calibers including the big .45-70 Government. Marlin's Model 1881 lever action repeater was the first lever action that could handle big bore cartridges such as the .45-70. The Winchester didn't come out with a big bore lever action until 1886.  

In 1881, Reverend F.M. Warrington described the mining town of Bodie, California, as "a sea of sin, lashed by the tempests of lust and passion."

In that same year, the city directory of San Francisco included 233,959 residents, 428 restaurants, 342 oyster saloons, 18 oyster dealers, 90 coffee saloons, 299 bakeries, 254 retail butchers, 205 fresh fruit sellers, some 1400 grocers and an equal number of bars, 40 brewers and 15 champagne importers. One of those businesses was owned by Joseph Brandenstein who opened a coffee company in San Francisco. He named it after his son Michael J. Brandenstein and Co. The name was later shortened to MJB Inc.

In 1881, Fort Hays, Kansas, became the temporary home to the U.S. Army's "buffalo soldiers." 

It was during that year that Hawaii's King David Kalakaua embarked on a world tour with San Francisco as his first stop. The United States Navy provided him with a warship to make his world wide tour. 

Up in Oregon's Rogue River area, Henry Rosenbrook, also known as Dutch Henry, went on trial for murder. He homesteaded in the area, raised cattle, grew crops, and mined. Oregon's Dutch Henry was a German miner best known as the "Gangly Murderer." He was tried in 1881, but acquitted for the murders of his two mining partners. William Black was Dutch Henry's second victim. 

While it's believed that Dutch Henry murdered a large number of miners, he claimed they were all in "self defense." He was never convicted. He shouldn't be mistaken for Montana's outlaw bandit by the same alias of Dutch Henry.

In 1881, Frank Baum was the publisher of the South Dakota Aberdeen Saturday Pioneer. Believe it or not, Braum called for the extermination of American Indians. He wrote, "Having wronged them for centuries we had better, in order to protect our civilization, follow it up by one more wrong and wipe these untamed and untamable creatures from the face of the Earth."

Here's something to think about, Frank Baum later authored "The Wizard of Oz."

Tom Correa

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