Thursday, July 29, 2021

The Scalping of Josiah Pugh Wilbarger

Josiah Pugh Wilbarger was born in Rockingham County, Virginia, in September of 1801. His family moved to Kentucky when he was age 17 and then to Missouri by the time he was 22-years-old. It was there in Pike County, Missouri, that he met and married Margaret Barker in 1827. Late that same year, the couple moved to Mexican Texas. They first moved to what is today Matagorda, Texas, located between Galveston and Corpus Christi. Josiah was a teacher there for about a year before the couple moved to La Grange and then onto Stephen F. Austin"s "Little Colony" of Bastrop, Texas.

Bastrop's name is interesting since it was named after a man from the Netherlands that was on the run for embezzling funds in his native country. His name was Felipe Enrique Neri, Baron de Bastrop. His importance to this story is that he is the man who helped Moses and Stephen F. Austin get their Spanish land grants. So yes, it's understandable why they would name the town after him.

As for Josiah Wilbarger losing his scalp, that happened in August 1833 when he was a member of a survey party. He and three others were attacked by a Comanche war party about four miles east of present-day Austin, Texas. Of the four, two were killed and scalped by the Comanches. Believe it or not, Josiah Wilbarger was scalped but left for dead. The last man was able to get away to tell the tale of what took place. I couldn't find out his name, but it's a safe bet to say that he would be shocked later to find out that Josiah survived.

This is where legend and facts get a little mixed up, but let's go with the legend since no one knows exactly what happened. It is said that Josiah Wilbarger survived by crawling into a nearby stream and there washing his wounds. According to legend, though thought dead, the Indians who took his scalp didn't know he would survive.

So being weak from his loss of blood, way too weak to make it to Hornsby Bend for help, it's said that he decided to wait until he was found. It's true. In a land where people were sparse at best, he decided to prop himself against a large tree and wait to be found. It's believed that Josiah Wilbarger figured out that he was just too weak to make it to the closest homestead, which was that of Reuben Hornsby's who was an early Texas pioneer.

It's said he was sitting there for several hours, lapsing in and out of consciousness. Legend says, and many like to think that this really happened and that he wasn't simply hallucinating, that during that night, he dreamed of his sister, Margaret Clifton. His sister Margaret didn't live in Texas. She actually lived in Missouri at the time. But, that didn't stop him from dreaming of her while lapsing in and out of consciousness. He later said she appeared to him and said, "Josiah, stay where you are, and your friends will come and get you."

Reuben Hornsby actually worked for Stephen F. Austin as a surveyor. Hornsby was one of the first settlers in Travis County. He and his wife Sarah Morrison immigrating to Texas in 1830. They settled in Austin in 1832, living just east of Austin along the Colorado River in the area known as Hornsby Bend. It is said that Hornsby Bend was given to Hornsby by Stephen F. Austin as payment for surveying the area.

During that night when Josiah dreamed about his sister, Reuben Hornsby's wife Sarah dreamed that Josiah Wilbarger was wounded and bleeding but still alive. Legend says she woke her husband Reuben to tell him what she had seen in her dream, but he told her, "it is just a dream, Sarah, go back to sleep."

Thinking he was right, Sarah went back to sleep only to again dream that Josiah was hurt, bleeding, but still alive. With that, she got up and prepared breakfast for her husband. It's said she was determined to send her husband and the other men off at first light to search for Josiah and bury anyone who had been killed. And, believe it or not, legend says that Sarah gave her husband an accurate description of the oak tree that Josiah propped himself up against.

Josiah was still alive when he was found the next day by Reuben Hornsby and the others. Some say he was almost naked when he was found. The search party then located the two other surveyors who were killed and buried them. They took the dying Josiah Wilbarger to Hornsby's home for treatment. 

It's said that while Josiah Wilbarger never completely recovered from his wound, he did, in fact, live for eleven more years. And, as remarkable as it sounds, he served in the fight for Texas Independence. I believe he rose to the rank of Colonel during the fight for Texas Independence. 

So how did he die? Well, at the time of his death, eleven years after his scalping, he actually died from an infection of the area where he had been scalped. It's said that he sadly died at his home after he accidentally hit his head on a low-hanging support beam inside his cotton gin. He was only 44 years old when he died on April 11, 1845, right there in Bastrop because his exposed skull became infected.

Wilbarger was a living legend because he survived being scalped by the Comanche in 1833. Along with that and his service to Texas, he gained a unique place in Texas history. While he was originally buried near his home in Bastrop, because he was a veteran of the Republic of Texas, he was reinterred in Texas State Cemetery in 1936. Today, Wilbarger County, Texas, is named in honor of Texas pioneer Josiah Pugh Wilbarger.

Tom Correa

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Facts About Slavery They Don't Teach You At School

Thomas Sowell is an American economist, social theorist, and senior fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution. This short video has information that everyone should hear and understand in regards to the history of slavery. 

Though he was born in North Carolina on June 30, 1930, Thomas Sowell grew up in Harlem, New York. Of course, while he is known as an intellectual gift to us today, because of hard times and family issues, he dropped out of Stuyvesant High School before enlisting in the Marine Corps during the Korean War. 

When he returned from overseas, he enrolled at Harvard University, graduating magna cum laude in 1958. He received a Master's Degree from Columbia University in 1959 and earned his doctorate in economics from the University of Chicago in 1968.

Thomas Sowell had served on the faculties of several universities, including Cornell University and the University of California, Los Angeles. Since 1980, he has worked at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University, where he served as the Rose and Milton Friedman Senior Fellow on Public Policy. 

Thomas Sowell writes from a Libertarian–Conservative perspective. Sowell has written more than thirty books, and his work has been widely anthologized. He was a National Humanities Medal recipient for an innovative scholarship that incorporated history, economics, and political science.

The above bio for Thomas Sowell was sent to me by a friend who asked that I share this video.

As I said before, this short video has information that everyone should hear and understand in regards to the history of slavery. It appears no one race has the corner on grievances pertaining to being slaves. And also, it appears slave masters were of every race as well. 

I wish more people would watch this.

Tom Correa

Sunday, July 25, 2021

B.H. Fellehy's unedited statement in the Preliminary Hearing before Judge Wells Spicer

I posted Wyatt Earp's unedited statement in the Preliminary Hearing before Judge Wells Spicer a few days ago. In his statement, he recounts encounters with the Clantons before the shooting near the O.K. Corral and what he believed took place on the day of the gunfight. Then I posted Ike Clanton's unedited statement in the Preliminary Hearing before Judge Wells Spicer so that you can compare their statements.

Below is eye-witness B.H. Fellehy's statement in the Preliminary Hearing before Judge Wells Spicer as it appeared in the Tombstone Daily Nugget, CORONER'S INQUEST, Oct. 30, 1881

B.H. Fellehy, sworn:

I heard some stranger ask Ike Clanton what is the trouble; he said there would be no trouble; then Ike Clanton went over to Dolan's saloon; I then looked over and saw the Marshal standing at Hafford's doorway; Then saw the Sheriff going over to where the Marshal and Sheriff were talking. 

The Sheriff says, "What's the trouble," the Marshal says, "Those men have made their threats; I will not arrest them but will kill them on sight;" Virgil Earp said this. 

The Sheriff asked the Marshal in to take a drink; did not see them afterward as I crossed over the street to the other side; when I got over there I saw one of the Earp brothers, the youngest one, talking to Doc Holliday; looked across the street; saw the Marshal again; someone came up to him and called him aside; when this gentleman got through talking wit the Earps; saw three of the Earps and Holliday go down the street together; they kept on the left of the street on Fourth. 

I was on the right side; when I got to the corner of Fremont and Fourth I started to go across to the southwest corner of Fremont; when I got midway between in the street I saw the firing had commenced.

I kept my eye on the Earps and Holliday until the shooting commenced; I saw Doc Holliday in the middle of the street; the youngest of the Earps brothers was about three feet from the sidewalk; he was firing at a man behind a horse; Doc Holliday also fired at the man behind the horse, and firing at a man who ran by him on the opposite side of the street; then I saw the man who had the horse let go, and was staggering all the time until he fell; he had his pistol still when he fell; I never saw the two elder Earps; I did not know where they were situated. 

I then went to the young man [Frank McLaury] lying on the sidewalk and offered to pick him up; he never spoke except the movement of the lips; I picked up a revolver lying five feet from him; then I saw Doc Holliday running towards where the young man was lying, still having a revolver in his hand, making the remark, 'the s--- of a b--- has shot me and I mean to kill him;' could not say who fired the first shots. 

I didn't see a shotgun go off; I didn't see a shotgun after I walked down the street; I didn't see anyone with their hands up, I was too far away to see that.

-- -- end of his statement.

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Ike Clanton's unedited statement in the Preliminary Hearing before Judge Wells Spicer

I posted Wyatt Earp's unedited statement in the Preliminary Hearing before Judge Wells Spicer a few days ago. In his statement, he recounts encounters with the Clantons before the shooting near the O.K. Corral and what he believed took place on the day of the gunfight.

So that you can compare his statement to Ike Clanton's statement, below is Ike Clanton's unedited statement in the Preliminary Hearing before Judge Wells Spicer as it appeared in the Tombstone Daily Nugget, CORONER'S INQUEST, Oct. 30, 1881. 

Joseph I. "Ike" Clanton, a cattle dealer, testified that he was in Tombstone on October 26, 1881, and was the brother of William Clanton who was killed. Clanton describes encounters with Doc Holliday and the Earp brothers before the gunbattle and then recounts his version of what took place.

Joseph I. "Ike" Clanton, sworn:

"I am a cattle dealer; was present on the 26th of the month, and am a brother of William Clanton who was killed on that day, saw the whole transaction, the killing; well, the night before the killing went into the Occidental lunch saloon for a lunch; while in there Doc Holliday came in and raised a row with me; was abusing me; he had his hand on his pistol; called me a s--- of a b---; he told me to get my gun out; I told him I had no gun; I looked around and saw Morgan Earp behind him, they began to abuse me, when I turned and got out doors; Virgil Earp, Wyatt and Morgan were all up there, Morg Earp told me if I wanted to fight to turn myself loose; they all had their hands; I told them again that I was not armed.

Doc Holliday said, 'You s--- of a b---, go and arm yourself; I did then go and arm myself; I went back, saw V. Earp and T. McLowry; Virg Earp was playing poker with his pistol in his lap; we were playing poker, we quit at daylight; I followed him and said, 'I was abused the night before, and was still in town,' he said he was going to bed; the reason I followed him up was I saw him take his pistol out of his lap and stick it in his pants; I came back and passed in my chips; staid around until about 8 or 9 o'clock;

I Staid to meet Doc Holliday;

The next thing they, Virg and Morg Earp, slipped up and disarmed me; shortly after I met my brother; he asked me to go out of town; just then I met the man that had our team; I told him to harness up; then I went to get something left by my brother.

We then went to where our team was; met the sheriff there; he told us that he would have to arrest us and take our arms off. I told him that we were just going to leave town; that I had no arms on me; he then told Billy, my brother, to take his arms up to his office, Billy told him he was just leaving the town; the sheriff then told Frank and Tom McLowry to take their arms off.

Tom McLowry then opened his coat and said, 'Johnny, I have nothing.' Frank said that he was leaving town, and that he would disarm if the Earps would; that he had business that he would like to do before he left town. Just at that time Doc Holliday and the Earps appeared on the sidewalk; the sheriff stepped out to meet them; he told them that he had this party in charge; they walked right by him.

I stepped out and met Wyatt Earp; he stuck his - six shooter at me and said, 'Throw up your hands!' The marshal also told the other boys to throw up their hands; Frank McLowry and Billy Clanton threw up; Tom McLowry threw open his coat and said he had nothing; they said you's s--- of b---s came here to make a fight; at the same instant Doc Holliday and Morgan Earp shot; Morgan shot Billy Clanton, and I don't know which of the boys he shot; I saw Virg shooting at the same time; I grabbed Wyatt Earp and pushed him around the corner and then ran through the photograph gallery; at the same time I saw Billy Clanton fall; when I got away.


Except, Tom McLowry, who threw open his coat, saying he had nothing. There was some trouble between myself and the Earps prior to this; there was nothing between the other boys and the Earps; Doc Holliday had said that I had used his name; I said I hadn't; I never had any trouble with the Earps; they don't like me; we once had a transaction, myself and the Earps; I know of no threats made by the Clantons and the McLowrys that day; I made no threats, only as I formerly said; they, the Earps, met Billy Clanton 15 minutes before they killed him and shook hands with him and said they were glad to meet him; Billy Clanton and Frank McLowry were only half an hour in town; I might have made threats as said, as I felt that way, I made no worse threats then they did with me; I didn't expect Wyatt, I expected


Our crowd did not expect an attack until some one told us; at the time they made the attack I had no arms; the Earp brothers had my arms; Virg Earp had them; it was a six shooter; It was two days prior since I saw Billy or Frank McLowry until that morning; had never had a word of conversation with either of them in my life; I don't know whether the party had a shotgun; Virgil Earp was about six feet from me; they were three or four feet distant when, they fired; I did not see my brother or either of the McLowrys fire a shot.

There were four or five shots fired before I left the ground; at the time the Sheriff was talking to us; Billy Clanton and Billy Claiborne were standing together; the McLowrys and myself were standing five or six feet to the left; the Clantons came up from Antelope Springs for a load of freight, that is, the McLowrys; I don't know how near Claiborne was to me at the time of the shooting. 

I don't know whether Morgan Earp or Doc Holliday fired first; It was a nickel-plated pistol by one of them; their weapons were down when they came up; the Sheriff, after he had orderred us to give up our srms I did not think we were under arrest; he said it was all right if we left town; Behan had a conversation with Frank McLowry; I know where the Sheriff's office is, we could not have gone up to the Sheriff's office after he left us before the Earps came up; the Sheriff told us to stay where we were until he came back; I would not have staid there had I not orders from the Sheriff; after I saw the Earps armed; the Sheriff was with us about four, five or six minutes.

-- -- end of his statement.

Tom Correa

Monday, July 19, 2021

Wyatt Earp's unedited statement in the Preliminary Hearing before Judge Wells Spicer

Below is Wyatt Earp's unedited statement in the Preliminary Hearing before Judge Wells Spicer:

November 16, 1881

On this sixteenth day of November, 1881, upon the hearing of the above entitled action, on the examination of Wyatt Earp and J. H. Holliday, the prosecution having closed their evidence in chief, and the defendants, Wyatt Earp and J. H. Holliday, having first been informed of his rights to make a statement as provided in Section 133, page 22 of the laws of Arizona, approved February 12, 1881, and the said Wyatt Earp having chosen to make a statement under oath and having been personally sworn, makes such statement under oath in answer to interrogatories as follows:

(Q) What is your name and age?

(A) My name is Wyatt Earp: 32 years old last March the 19th.

(Q) Where were you born?

(A) In Monmouth, Warren County, Illinois.

(Q) Where do you reside and how long have you resided there?

(A) I reside in Tombstone, Cochise County Arizona: since December 1, 1879.

(Q) What is your business and profession?

(A) Saloon keeper at present. Also have been Deputy Sheriff and also a detective.

(Q) Give any explanations you may think proper of the circumstances appearing in the testimony against you, and state any facts which you think will tend to your exculpation.

(A) The difficulty which resulted in the death of William Clanton and Frank McLaury originated last spring, [Objection made by prosecution against the defendant, Wyatt Earp, in making his statement, of using a manuscript from which to make such statement, and object to the said defendant being allowed to make statement without limit as to it relevancy. Objection overruled.] and at a little over a year ago, I followed Tom and Frank McLaury and two other parties who had stolen six government mules from Camp Rucker. Myself, Virgil Earp, and Morgan Earp, and Marshall Williams, Captain Hurst and four soldiers; we traced those mules to McLaury's ranch. [Prosecution moved to strike out the foregoing statement as irrelevant. Objection overruled.]

While at Charleston I met a man by the name of Dave Estes. He told me I would find the mules at McLaury's ranch. He said he had seen them there the day before. He said they were branding the mules "D S," making the "D. S." out [of] "D. S." We tracked the mules right up to the ranch. Also found the branding iron "D. S." Afterwards, some of those mules were found with the same brand.

After we arrived at McLaury's ranch, there was a man by the name of Frank Patterson. He made some kind of a compromise with Captain Hurst. Captain Hurst come to us boys and told us he had made this compromise, and by so doing, he would get his mules back. We insisted on following them up. Hurst prevailed on us to go back to Tombstone, and so we came back. Hurst told us two or three weeks afterwards, that they would not give up the mules to him after we left, saying that they only wanted to get us away, that they could stand the soldiers off. Captain Hurst cautioned me and my brothers, Virgil and Morgan, to look out for those men, as they had made some threats against our lives.

About one month after we had followed up those mules. I met Frank and Tom McLaury in Charleston. They tried to pick a fuss out of me down there, and told me if I ever followed them up again as close as I did before, they would kill me. Shortly after the time Bud Philpot was killed by the men who tried to rob the Benson stage, as a detective [working for Wells, Fargo & Co.] I helped trace the matter up, and I was satisfied that three men, named Billy Leonard, Harry Head, and James Crane were in that robbery. I knew that Leonard, Head and Crane were friends and associates of the Clan tons and McLaurys and often stopped at their ranches.

It was generally understood among officers and those who have information about criminals, that Ike Clanton was sort of chief among the cowboys that the Clantons and McLaurys were cattle thieves and generally in the secret of the stage robbery, and that the Clanton and McLaury ranches were meeting places and places of shelter for the gang.

I had an ambition to be Sheriff of this County at the next election, and I thought it would be a great help to me with the people and businessmen if I could capture the men who killed Philpot. There were rewards offered of about $1,200 each for the capture of the robbers. Altogether there was about $3,600 offered for their capture. I thought this sum might tempt Ike Clanton and Frank McLaury to give away Leonard, Head, and Crane, so I went to Ike Clanton, Frank McLaury, and Joe Hill when they came to town. I had an interview with them in the back yard of the Oriental Saloon. I told them what I wanted. I told them I wanted the glory of capturing Leonard, Head, and Crane and if I could do it, it would help me make the race for Sheriff at the next election. I told them if they would put me on the track of Leonard, Head, and Crane, and tell me where those men were hid; I would give them all the reward and would never let anyone know where I got the information.

Ike Clanton said he would like to see them captured. He said that Leonard claimed a ranch that he claimed, and that if he could get him out of the way, he would have no opposition in regard to the ranch. Clanton said that Leonard, Head, and Crane would make a fight, that they would never be taken alive, and that I must find out if the reward would be paid for the capture of the robbers dead or alive. I then went to Marshall Williams, the agent of Wells, Fargo & Co., in this town and at my request, he telegraphed to the agent, or superintendent, in San Francisco to find out if the reward would be paid for the robbers dead or alive. He received, in June, 1881, a telegram, which he showed me, promising the reward would be paid dead or alive.

The next day I met Ike Clanton and Joe Hill on Allen Street in front of a little cigar store next to the Alhambra. I told them that the dispatch had come. I went to Marshall Williams and told him I wanted to see the dispatch for a few minutes. He went to look for it and could not find it, but went over to the telegraph office and got a copy of it, and he came back and gave it to me. I went and showed it to Ike Clanton and Joe Hill and returned it to Marshall Williams, and afterwards told Frank McLaury of its contents.

It was then agreed between us that they were to have all the $3,600 reward, outside of necessary expenses for horse hire in going after them, and that Joe Hill should go to where Leonard, Head, and Crane were hid, over near Yreka, in New Mexico, and lure them in near Frank and Tom McLaury's ranch near Soldier's Holes, 30 miles from here, and I would be on hand with a posse and capture them.

I asked Joe Hill, Ike Clanton, and Frank McLaury what tale they would make them to get them over here. They said they had agreed upon a plan to tell them there would be a paymaster going from Tombstone to Bisbee, to payoff the miners, and they wanted them to come in and take him in. Ike Clanton then sent Joe Hill to bring them 'in. Before starting, Joe Hill took off his watch and chain and between two and three hundred dollars in money, and gave it to Virgil Earp to keep for him until he got back. He was gone about ten days and returned with the word that he got there a day too late; that Leonard and Harry Head had been killed the day before he got there by horse thieves. I learned afterward that the thieves had been killed subsequently by members of the Clanton and McLaury gang.
After that, Ike Clanton and Frank McLaury claimed that I had given them away to Marshall Williams and Doc Holliday, and when they came in town, they shunned us, and Morgan, Virgil Earp, Doc Holliday and myself began to hear their threats against us.

I am a friend of Doc Holliday because when I was city marshal of Dodge City, Kansas, he came to my rescue and saved my life when I was surrounded by desperadoes.

About a month or more ago [October 1881], Morgan Earp and myself assisted to arrest Stilwell and Spence on the charge of robbing the Bisbee stage. The McLaurys and Clan tons were always friendly with Spence and Stilwell, and they laid the whole blame of their arrest on us, though the fact is, we only went as a sheriff's posse. After we got in town with Spence and Stilwell, Ike Clanton and Frank McLaury came in.

Frank McLaury took Morgan Earp into the street in front of the Alhambra, where John Ringo, Ike Clanton, and the two Hicks boys were also standing. Frank McLaury commenced to abuse Morgan Earp for going after Spence and Stilwell. Frank McLaury said he would never speak to Spence again for being arrested by us.

He said to Morgan, "If you ever come after me, you will never take me." Morgan replied that if he ever had occasion to go after him, he would arrest him. Frank McLaury then said to Morgan Earp, "I have threatened you boys' lives, and a few days later I had taken it back, but since this arrest, it now goes." Morgan made no reply and walked off.

Before this and after this, Marshall Williams, Farmer Daly, Ed Barnes, Old Man Urrides, Charley Smith and three or four others had told us at different times of threats to kill us, by Ike Clanton, Frank McLaury, Tom McLaury, Joe Hill, and John Ringo. I knew all these men were desperate and dangerous men, that they were connected with outlaws, cattle thieves, robbers and murderers. I knew of the McLaurys stealing six government mules, and also cattle, and when the owners went after them finding his stock on the McLaury's ranch; that he was drove off and told that if he ever said anything about it, he would be killed, and he kept his mouth shut until several days ago, for fear of being killed.

I heard of John Ringo shooting a man down in cold blood near Camp Thomas.5 I was satisfied that Frank and Tom McLaury killed and robbed Mexicans in Skeleton Canyon, about three or four months ago, and I naturally kept my eyes open and did not intend that any of the gang should get the drop on me if I could help it.

Ike Clanton met me at the Alhambra five or six weeks ago and told me I had told Holliday about this transaction, concerning the capture of Head, Leonard, and Crane. I told him I had never told Holliday anything. I told him when Holliday came up from Tucson I would prove it. Ike said that Holliday had told him so. When Holliday came back I asked him if he said so.

On the night of the 25th of October, Holliday met Ike Clanton in the Alhambra Saloon and asked him about it. Clanton denied it. They quarreled for three or four minutes. Holliday told Clanton he was a damned liar, if he said so. I was sitting eating lunch at the lunch counter. Morgan Earp was standing at the Alhambra bar talking with the bartender. I called him over to where I was sitting, knowing that he was an officer and told him that Holliday and Clanton were quarreling in the lunch room and for him to go in and stop it. He climbed over the lunch room counter from the Alhambra bar and went into the room, took Holliday by the arm and led him into the street. Ike Clanton in a few seconds followed them out. I got through eating and walked out of the bar. As I stopped at the door of the bar, they were still quarreling.

Just then Virgil Earp came up, I think out of the Occidental, and told them, Holliday and Clanton, if they didn't stop their quarreling he would have to arrest them. They all separated at that time, Morgan Earp going down the street to the Oriental Saloon, Ike going across the street to the Grand Hotel. I walked in the Eagle Brewery where I had a faro game which I had not closed. I stayed in there for a few minutes and walked out to the street and there met Ike Clanton. He asked me if I would take a walk with him, that he wanted to talk to me. I told him I would if he did not go too far, as I was waiting for my game in the Brewery to close, and I would have to take care of the money. We walked about halfway down the brewery building, going down Fifth Street and stopped.

He told me when Holliday approached him in the Alhambra that he wasn't fixed just right. He said that in the morning he would have man-for-man, that this fighting talk had been going on for a long time, and he guessed it was about time to fetch it to a close. I told him I would not fight no one if I could get away from it, because there was no money in it. He walked off and left me saying, "I will be ready for you in the morning."

I walked over to the Oriental. He followed me in and took a drink, having his six-shooter in plain sight. He says, "You must not think I won't be after you all in the morning." He said he would like to make a fight with Holliday now. I told him Holliday did not want to fight, but only to satisfy him that this talk had not been made. About that time the man that is dealing my game closed it and brought the money to me. I locked it in the safe and started home. I met Holliday on the street between the Oriental and Alhambra. Myself and Holliday walked down Allen Street, he going to his room, and I to my house, going to bed.

I got up the next day, October 26, about noon. Before I got up, Ned Boyle came to me and told me that he met Ike Clanton on Allen Street near the telegraph office, that Ike was armed, that he said, "as soon as those damned Earps make their appearance on the street today the ball will open, we are here to make a fight. We are looking for the sons-of-bitches!" I laid in bed some little time after that, and got up and went down to the Oriental Saloon.

Harry Jones came to me after I got up and said, "What does all this mean?" I asked him what he meant. He says, "Ike Clanton is hunting you boys with a Winchester rifle and six-shooter." I said, "I will go down and find him and see what he wants." I went out and on the comer of Fifth and Allen I met Virgil Earp, the marshal. He told me how he heard Ike Clanton was hunting us. I went down Allen Street and Virgil went down Fifth Street and then Fremont Street. Virgil found Ike Clanton on Fourth Street near Fremont Street, in the mouth of an alleyway.

I walked up to him and said, "I hear you are hunting for some of us." I was coming down Fourth Street at the time. Ike Clanton then threw his Winchester rifle around toward Virgil. Virgil grabbed it and hit Ike Clanton with his six-shooter and knocked him down. Clanton had his rifle and his six-shooter was in his pants. By that time I came up. Virgil and Morgan Earp took his rifle and six-shooter and took them to the Grand Hotel after examination, and I took Ike Clanton before Justice Wallace.

Before the investigation, Morgan Earp had Ike Clanton in charge, as Virgil Earp was out at the time. After I went into Wallace's Court and sat down on a bench, Ike Clanton looked over to me and said, "I will get even with all of you for this. If I had a six-shooter now I would make a fight with all of you." Morgan Earp then said to him, "If you want to make a fight right bad, I will give you this one!” at the same time offering Ike Clanton his own six-shooter.

Ike Clanton started to get up and take it, when Campbell, the deputy sheriff, pushed him back in his seat, saying he would not allow any fuss. I never had Ike Clanton's arms at any time, as he stated.

I would like to describe the positions we occupied in the courtroom. Ike Clanton sat on a bench with his face fronting to the north wall of the building. I myself sat down on a bench that ran against and along the north wall in front of where Ike sat. Morgan Earp stood up on his feet with his back against the wall and to the right of where I sat, and two or three feet from me.

Morgan Earp had Ike Clanton's Winchester in his hand, like this, with one end on the floor, with Clanton's six-shooter in his right hand. We had them all the time. Virgil Earp was not in the courtroom during any of this time and came there after I had walked out. He was out, he told me, hunting for Judge Wallace.

I was tired of being threatened by Ike Clanton and his gang and believe from what he said to me and others, and from their movements that they intended to assassinate me the first chance they had, and I thought that if I had to fight for my life with them I had better make them face me in an open fight. So I said to Ike Clanton, who was then sitting about eight feet away from me. "You damned dirty cow thief, you have been threatening our lives and I know it. I think I would be justified in shooting you down any place I should meet you, but if you are anxious to make a fight, I will go anywhere on earth to make a fight with you, even over to the San Simon among your crowd!" He replied, "I will see you after I get through here. I only want four feet of ground to fight on!"

I walked out and then just outside of the courtroom near the Justice's Office, I met Tom McLaury. He came up to me and said to me, "If you want to make a fight I will make a fight with you anywhere." I supposed at the time that he had heard what had just transpired between Ike Clanton and myself. I knew of his having threatened me, and I felt just as I did about Ike Clanton and if the fight had to come, I had better have it come when I had an even show to defend myself. So I said to him, "All right, make a fight right here!" And at the same time slapped him in the face with my left hand and drew my pistol with my right. He had a pistol in plain sight on his right hip in his pants, but made no move to draw it. I said to him, "Jerk your gun and use it!" He made no reply and I hit him on the head with my six-shooter and walked away, down to Hafford's Corner. I went into Hafford's and got a cigar and came out and stood by the door.

Pretty soon after I saw Tom McLaury, Frank McLaury, and William Clanton pass me and went down Fourth Street to the gunsmith shop. I followed them to see what they were going to do. When I got there, Frank McLaury's horse was standing on the sidewalk with his head in the door of the gun shop. I took the horse by the bit, as I was deputy city marshal, and commenced to back him off the sidewalk. Tom and Frank and Billy Clanton came to the door. Billy Clanton laid his hand on his six-shooter. Frank McLaury took hold of the horse's bridle and I said, "You will have to get this horse off the sidewalk." He backed him off into the street. Ike Clanton came up about this time and they all walked into the gun shop. I saw them in the gun shop changing cartridges into their belts. They came out of the shop and walked along Fourth Street to the comer of Allen Street. I followed them as far as the comer of Fourth and Allen Streets. They went down Allen Street and over to Dunbar's Corral. [Dunbar and Behan.]

Virgil Earp was then city marshal; Morgan Earp was a special policeman for six weeks or two months, wore a badge and drew pay. I had been sworn in Virgil's place, to act for him while Virgil was gone to Tucson on Spence's and Stilwell's trial. Virgil had been back several days but I was still acting and I knew it was Virgil's duty to disarm those men. I expected he would have trouble in doing so, and I followed up to give assistance if necessary, especially as they had been threatening us, as I have already stated.

About ten minutes afterwards, and while Virgil, Morgan, Doc Holliday and myself were standing on the comer of Fourth and Allen Streets, several people said, "There is going to be trouble with those fellows," and one man named Coleman said to Virgil Earp, "They mean trouble. They have just gone from Dunbar's Corral into the O.K. Corral, all armed, and I think you had better go and disarm them." Virgil turned around to Doc Holliday, Morgan Earp and myself and told us to come and assist him in disarming them.

Morgan Earp said to me, "They have horses, had we not better get some horses ourselves, so that if they make a running fight we can catch them?" I said, "No, if they try to make a running fight we can kill their horses and then capture them."

We four started through Fourth to Fremont Street. When we turned the comer of Fourth and Fremont we could see them standing near or about the vacant space between Fly's photograph gallery and the next building west. I first saw Frank McLaury, Tom McLaury, Billy Clanton and Sheriff Behan standing there. We went down the left-hand side of Fremont Street.

When we got within about 150 feet of them I saw Ike Clanton and Billy Clanton and another party. We had walked a few steps further and I saw Behan leave the party and come toward us. Every few steps he would look back as if he apprehended danger. I heard him say to Virgil Earp, "For God's sake, don't go down there, you will get murdered!" Virgil Earp replied, "I am going to disarm them." he, Virgil, being in the lead. When I and Morgan came up to Behan he said, "I have disarmed them." When he said this, I took my pistol, which I had in my hand, under my coat, and put it in my overcoat pocket. Behan then passed up the street, and we walked on down.

We came up on them close; Frank McLaury, Tom McLaury, and Billy Clanton standing in a row against the east side of the building on the opposite side of the vacant space west of Fly's photograph gallery. Ike Clanton and Billy Claiborne and a man I don't knows were standing in the vacant space about halfway between the photograph gallery and the next building west.
I saw that Billy Clanton and Frank and Tom McLaury had their hands by their sides, Frank McLaury and Billy Clanton's six-shooters were in plain sight. Virgil said, "Throw up your hands; I have come to disarm you!" Billy Clanton and Frank McLaury laid their hands on their six-shooters. Virgil said, "Hold, I don't mean that!" I have come to disarm you!" Then Billy Clanton and Frank McLaury commenced to draw their pistols. At the same time, Tom McLaury throwed his hand to his right hip, throwing his coat open like this, [showing how] and jumped behind his horse. [Actually it was Billy Clanton's horse.]

I had my pistol in my overcoat pocket, where I had put it when Behan told us he had disarmed the other parties. When I saw Billy Clanton and Frank McLaury draw their pistols, I drew my pistol. Billy Clanton leveled his pistol at me, but I did not aim at him. I knew that Frank McLaury had the reputation of being a good shot and a dangerous man, and I aimed at Frank McLaury. The first two shots were fired by Billy Clanton and myself, he shooting at me, and I shooting at Frank McLaury. I don't know which was fired first. We fired almost together. The fight then became general. After about four shots were fired, Ike Clanton ran up and grabbed my left arm. I could see no weapon in his hand, and thought at the time he had none, and so I said to him, "The fight had commenced. Go to fighting or get away,” at the same time pushing him off with my left hand, like this. He started and ran down the side of the building and disappeared between the lodging house and photograph gallery.

My first shot struck Frank McLaury in the belly. He staggered off on the sidewalk but fired one shot at me. When we told them to throw up their hands Claiborne threw up his left hand and broke and ran. I never saw him afterwards until late in the afternoon, after the fight. I never drew my pistol or made a motion to shoot until after Billy Clanton and Frank McLaury drew their pistols. If Tom McLaury was unarmed, I did not know it, I believe he was armed and fired two shots at our party before Holliday, who had the shotgun, fired and killed him. If he was unarmed, there was nothing in the circumstances or in what had been communicated to me, or in his acts or threats, that would have led me even to suspect his being unarmed.

I never fired at Ike Clanton, even after the shooting commenced, because I thought he was unarmed. I believed then, and believe now, from the acts I have stated and the threats I have related and the other threats communicated to me by other persons as having been made by Tom McLaury, Frank McLaury, and Ike Clanton, that these men last named had formed a conspiracy to murder my brothers, Morgan and Virgil, Doc Holliday and myself. I believe I would have been legally and morally justified in shooting any of them on sight, but I did not do so, nor attempt to do so. I sought no advantage when I went as deputy marshal [city marshal] to help disarm them and arrest them. I went as a part of my duty and under the direction of my brother, the marshal; I did not intend to fight unless it became necessary in self-defense and in the performance of official duty. When Billy Clanton and Frank McLaury drew their pistols, I knew it was a fight for life, and I drew in defense of my own life and the lives of my brothers and Doc Holliday.

I have been in Tombstone since December 1, 1879. I came here directly from Dodge City, Kansas. Against the protest of businessmen and officials, I resigned the office of city marshal, which I held from 1876. I came to Dodge City from Wichita, Kansas. I was on the police force in Wichita from 1874 until I went to Dodge City.
The testimony of Isaac Clanton that I ever said to him that I had anything to do with any stage robbery or giving information to Morgan Earp going on the stage, or any improper communication whatever with any criminal enterprise is a tissue of lies from beginning to end.

Sheriff Behan made me an offer in his office on Allen Street in the back room of a cigar store, where he, Behan, had his office, that if I would withdraw and not try to get appointed sheriff of Cochise County, that he would hire a clerk and divide the profits. I done so, and he never said an­other word about it afterwards, but claimed in his statement and gave his reason for not complying with his contract, which is false in every particular.

Myself and Doc Holliday happened to go to Charleston the night that Behan went down there to subpoena Ike Clanton. We went there for the purpose to get a horse that I had had stolen from me a few days after I came to Tombstone. I had heard several times that the Clan tons had him. When I got there that night, I was told by a friend of mine that the man that carried the dispatch from Charleston to Ike Clanton's ranch had rode my horse. At this time I did not know where Ike Clanton's ranch was.

A short time afterwards I was in the Huachucas locating some water rights. I had started home to Tombstone. I had got within 12 or 15 miles of Charleston when I met a man named McMasters. He told me if I would hurry up, I would find my horse in Charleston. I drove into Charleston and saw my horse going through the streets toward the corral. I put up for the night in another corral. I went to Burnett's office to get papers for the recovery of the horse. He was not at home having gone down to Sonora to some coal fields that had been discovered. I telegraphed to Tombstone to James Earp and told him to have papers made out and sent to me. He went to Judge Wallace and Mr. Street. They made the papers out and sent them to Charleston by my youngest brother, Warren Earp, that night. While I was waiting for the papers, Billy Clanton found out that I was in town and went and tried to take the horse out of the corral. I told him that he could not take him out, that it was my horse. After the papers came, he gave the horse up without the papers being served, and asked me if I had any more horses to lose. I told him I would keep them in the stable after this, and give him no chance to steal them.

I give here, as part of the statement, a document sent me from Dodge City since my arrest on this charge, which I wish attached to this statement and marked "Exhibit A."

[Here counsel for the Prosecution objects to this paper being introduced or used for, or attached as an exhibit as a part of this statement, on the ground that the paper is not on its face, a statement of the defendant, but a statement of other persons made long after the alleged commission of this crime. Counsel for the Defense objects to any objections interpolated by counsel for the prosecution in a statutory statement made by the party charged with crime, for the reason that the law contemplates such statement shall not be interrupted by the court, the counsel for the prosecution, or the counsel for the defense, or for the further reason that it is perfect evidence of character lacking only the absurd formality. Objection of counsel for prosecution overruled and the paper ordered to be filed as part of this statement.]

In relation to the conversation that I had with Ike Clanton, Frank McLaury, and Joe Hill was four or five different times, and they were all held in the backyard of the Oriental Saloon.

I told Ike Clanton in one of those conversations that there were some parties here in town that were trying to give Doc Holliday the worst of it by their talk, that there was some suspicion that he knew something about the attempted robbery and killing of Bud Philpot, and if I could catch Leonard, Head, and Crane, I could prove to the citizens that he knew nothing of it.

In following the trail of Leonard, Head, and Crane, we struck it at the scene of the attempted robbery, and never lost the trail or hardly a footprint from the time we started from Drew's ranch on the San Pedro, until we got to Helm's ranch in the Dragoons. After following about 80 miles down the San Pedro River and capturing one of the men named King that was supposed to be with them, we then crossed the Catalina Mountains within 15 miles of Tucson following their trail around the foot of the mountain to Tres Alamos on the San Pedro River, thence to the Dragoons to Helm's ranch.

We then started out from Helm's ranch and got on their trail. They had stolen 15 or 20 head of stock, so as to cover their trail. Virgil Earp and Morgan Earp, Robert H. Paul, Breakenridge the deputy sheriff, Johnny Behan the sheriff and one or two others still followed their trail to New Mexico.

Their trail never led south from Helm's ranch as Ike Clanton has stated. We used every effort we could to capture those men or robbers. I was out ten days. Virgil and Morgan Earp were out sixteen days, and [we] all done all we could to catch those men, and I safely say if it had not been for myself and Morgan Earp they would not have got King as he started to run when we rose up to his hiding place and was making for a big patch of brush on the river and would have got in it, if [it] had not been for us two.

[Signed] Wyatt S. Earp

-- end of his statement on November 16, 1881. 

Tom Correa

Sunday, July 18, 2021

The Happy Trails Children's Foundation

The Happy Trails Children's Foundation is located in Apple Valley, California. Below are a couple of fliers from this year's charity raffle. Sadly, I was unable to repost their raffle posters hear with the clarity that they deserve. So please, to see these in detail and maybe enter the raffle, go to:


The description below comes from The Happy Trails Children's Foundation website:

The Happy Trails Children's Foundation is pleased to carry on the work with abused children who were so important to Roy Rogers and Dale Evans. Child abuse is a very serious problem that is growing in epidemic proportions. It is heartbreaking to hear the case histories of children who have been the victims of severe mental and physical abuse, beatings, sexual abuse, kidnappings, neglect, abandonment, and death.

An astounding number of almost one in ten children nationwide is a victim of severe child abuse in one form or another. The number of major cases appears to be increasing at an alarming rate. There is an urgent need for the services provided by the Cooper Home, a project of the Happy Trails Children's Foundation. The foundation in partnership with Trinity Youth Services operates two cottages with a total of 44 beds for boys between the ages of 10 and 16. 

These boys are victims of child abuse who have been removed from their homes throughout Southern California by child protective services and sent to us by the courts for residential care and treatment services. The boys are here on average about 12 to 18 months, going through an intensive program of group and individual therapy. They have a prescribed program with goals that must be met along the way. An important part of their treatment involves a healthy dose of outdoor activities and athletics. 

Upon graduation from the program, their caseworker in consultation with staff determines the best placement for them. Some are able to return to their homes. Others go to a foster home or live with grandparents, aunts, uncles, an older brother or sister, or another group home for older boys till they are 18. 

We know our program is working to help these youth because they are not showing back up in the system. We are proud of these boys and the progress they have made. We are proud of our beautiful facility and our dedicated staff. The foundation has made great strides in recent years but much remains to be done. 

We receive public support from Roy Rogers and Dale Evans fans all across the country and around the world. We are also supported by generous contributions from Single Action Shooting Society members and other shooters, collectors, organized shooting sports, and the firearms industry. A major portion of our revenue comes from opportunity drawings, live and silent auctions. 

We also publish an annual newsletter that is sent to our donors and we hold special events that raise funds for the foundation throughout the year – such as The Breakfast Club, the FRIENDS OF HAPPY TRAILS BANQUET, and Curly’s Cowboy Christmas dinner and show among others! 

The Happy Trails Children's Foundation is a non-profit, tax-exempt charitable organization under the Internal Revenue Code, Section 501 (c)(3), run by a volunteer Board of Directors and a paid and volunteer staff. All donations are fully tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.


The Happy Trails Children’s Foundation has a very simple privacy policy. We do not sell, rent, or loan our mailing list to any organization, individual, or company for any reason whatsoever. No one has access to our list other than our office staff. You get on our list by making a donation, buying a ticket to one of our fundraising events, buying an opportunity ticket, or item at one of our auctions, or specifically requesting to be added to our mailing list. If you do not wish to be on our mailing list, you may send us an email, call or write us and request that your name be removed from our list. If you have any questions about our privacy policy, please contact us. 

As most of you know, I support a few non-profits that I believe do a great job. I support the 4H, the FFA, the Working Ranch Cowboys Association, the Ranchers Gathering Crisis Fund, including St. Joseph's Indian School, the Northern Plains Reservation Aid program, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, the Evacuation Teams of Amador, as well as Judicial Watch, and a few others. 

While some of those are non-profits that people don't usually hear about, they too need our support. Frankly, I'm proud to support The Happy Trails Children's Foundation in whatever way that I can. This year, I'm trying to get you my readers to take notice of this organization and hopefully participate in their raffle. I know I will.  

As a part of full disclosure, while I'm not a member of their board, I am a member of The John Coffee Hays Club which has a fundraiser dinner each year for this group. I learned about The Happy Trails Children's Foundation and its worthy mission a little over a year ago when I was asked to speak at the 2020 John Coffee Hays Club fundraiser dinner. 

I really hope you take a minute to check out The Happy Trails Children's Foundation and join in on their raffle. As for other non-profits that I support, you can find links to those special non-profit programs at the bottom of my blog. Please take the time to check them out.

Thank you, and God Bless you for caring! 
Tom Correa

Thursday, July 15, 2021

The Mystery That's William "Billy" Brooks

Was William Brooks known as "Buffalo Bill" in his late teens? Was he a town marshal of Newton, Kansas? Was he the gunslinger that some say he was? Was he framed for a crime when he was lynched?

Some of the mystery surrounding William Brooks starts at his birth around 1832 somewhere in Ohio. From everything that I've looked at, 1832 is the year that is claimed as the year he was born. As for where? Well, all I can find is somewhere in Ohio. While there may be genealogists who know more than that, I can't seem to find that out. 

As for what he did during his life, that seems to be a mystery as well. Frankly, from what I've read, no one really knows what he did for most of his life. It is believed that by the late 1840s and early 1850s, in his late teens and early 20s, that he was a buffalo hunter supposedly known as "Buffalo Bill." 

As for the moniker Buffalo Bill, it seems that more men than simply famed showman Buffalo Bill Cody made a claim to that handle. Of course, just as there is no supporting evidence for his being called Buffalo Bill, there isn't any evidence to support the claims that he supposedly killed several men during the late 1860s and early 1870s. And no, I can't find if he ever served for the Union or Confederacy during the Civil War. 

While this all sounds like a mystery, there are a few things that we know about this man. For example, according to the Newton, Kansas, Police Department:

In February 1872, Newton was incorporated as a Third Class city. William Brooks, a stage coach driver, was appointed the first City Marshal of Newton. He resigned in June 1872 after being shot.

Newton's early days were filled with violence and bloodshed. Newton was described as "the toughest, loudest and most dangerous spot in the West."

Newton Police Chiefs/City Marshals

This list was obtained from various sources and is believed to be complete. Service overlap is due to the various sources providing different names or dates. These sources also provided differing numbers of Chiefs/Marshals, so all persons found designated as such are included in this list. Sources used were clippings from the Newton Kansan and information compiled about the City of Newton located in the Newton Police history books and archives.

Officers listed with an * in 1871 were appointed as the "Night Policeman" prior to the City of Newton being incorporated. William S. Brooks was the first official City Marshal.

1871-1871 Arthur Delaney aka Mike McCluskie*
1871-1871 Tom Carson*
1871-1871 Carlos King*
1872-1872 William S. Brooks

So yes, with the help of the Newton Police Department, we know that William S. Brooks was the first official City Marshal of the City of Newton at around 30 years of age. With their help, we can also confirm that he was already a stage driver when he was hired for the position of City Marshal. This coincides with his being briefly hired as a stage driver for the Southwestern Stage Company before becoming the City Marshal of Newton in 1872. 

As for Brooks appearing in newspapers of the time, the gunfight that cut short his career as a lawman  was reported by the Wichita City Eagle on June 14, 1872:

Bill Brooks, marshal of Newton, formerly a stage driver between that point and Wichita, was shot three times, on Sunday night last, in an attempt to arrest a couple of Texas men. As near as we can get at the facts, the Texas men were on a spree, and, as a consequence, making it hot for pedestrians. Brooks had run them out of the town, when they turned and fired three shots into him, with what effect may be judged, from the fact that he continued his pursuit for ten miles before he returned to have his wounds dressed, shot passed through his right breast, and the other two were in his limbs. We learn from a driver here that he will recover. Bill has sand enough to best the hour-glass that tries to run him out.

On June 15, 1872, The Kansas Daily Commonwealth of Topeka, Kansas, reported: 

"A party of Texans, fresh from the trail, had corralled the proprietor of a dance-house with their six-shooters, and were carrying things on a high hand, when Marshall Brooks, being sent for, endeavored to preserve the peace. While thus employed, one of the party by the name of Joe Miller, fired at him, the ball striking the collar bone, but inflicting merely a trifling wound...."

Then on March 20, 1873, The Wichita City Eagle reported:

Billy Brooks, the whilom Wichita stage driver, is not dead, as was reported, but is on duty in Dodge City.

Did The Wichita City Eagle mean that Brooks was employed as a stage driver in Dodge City? Did that newspaper intend to say that he was working as a police officer in Dodge City or something else? 

Though some of his biographies say that William Brooks was involved in more than a dozen gunfights, the newspapers at the time only mention the items that I've listed. While that's true, several of his biographies indicate that "Billy" Brooks took a position in Dodge City as its City Marshal in 1873. We know that's not true since P.L. Beatty, the first Mayor of Dodge City, appointed Lawrence Deger to be the first City Marshal of Dodge City in December 1875.

Keep in mind that before towns had organized law enforcement, the citizens provided security for the towns. As violence got worse, merchants started hiring citizens to give extra attention to their businesses. By late 1872, local merchants in Dodge City needed to hire their own watchman. So yes, they hired Brook as a "private lawman." It's said he patroled Dodge City with authority given to him by the merchants.

During that time, Brooks was supposedly referred to as "Bully" Brooks instead of Billy Brooks. The story goes that he attempted to intimidate criminals from acting out by wearing a set of Navy Colts and a Bowie knife. 

It was at that time, in 1872, that a young buffalo hunter by the name of H.H. Raymond is said to have remarked how when he entered a saloon in November of 1872, he saw Brooks. He said, "The man with his back to me as I entered wore a blouse, and protruding from it were the barrels of two large revolvers. I learned later this was Bill Brooks. Quite an unusual sight for a tenderfoot." 

Brooks only held the position of "private lawman" until the merchants found that he wasn't up to controlling the theft and violence. Then on March 4, 1874, H.H. Raymond wrote in his diary that Brooks got into a gunfight with a buffalo hunter by the name of Kirk Jordan. It was over the fact that Brooks was believed to have killed Jordan's friend. Jordan attempted to kill Brooks in an ambush that resulted in a shootout. While neither man was hit, the gunfight ended when Brooks ran away and hid under a bed in a livery stable. Right after that, even though the air was cleared with Jordan, Brooks left Dodge City. 

After leaving Dodge City in early 1874, Brooks again became a stage driver for the Southwestern Stage Company. It's said that Brooks would not only drive. He was known to switch off and ride shotgun on the routes of other drivers. Unlike being a stage driver, shotgun riders were strictly guards who rode alongside a stagecoach driver. Riding shotgun meant being armed with a side-by-side shotgun, called a "coach gun." Because of the spread of a 12 gauge shotgun, a shotgun guard didn't have to be as good a shot as he would with a rifle. 

It's said that the Southwestern Stage Company would later have competition from a few stage lines, including the Adams Express Company and the Wells Fargo Express Company. It wasn't unusual for employees to go from one stage line to the next. And no, it wasn't out of the question for competing stage companies to try to hire, or steal, good drivers and guards, or even buy out livestock and coaches when a company went under.  

By late 1874, the Southwestern Stage Company, its horses and mules branded with the "S.Co," took a financial hit that resulted in their having to lay off some of their employees. The company had lost a mail delivery contract to a competing stage line. Because of the loss of that contract, Brooks lost his job. 

Then in June of that year, it was reported that several horses and mules owned by that competing stage line were stolen. It was soon discovered that the former City Marshal for the City of Newton Billy Brooks and two other men, L.B. Hasbrouck and Charlie Smith, stole the horses and mules. By early July, Brooks and the other two men were arrested near Caldwell, Kansas. It was believed at the time that they were heading to Texas and away from the law. After it was determined that Brooks attempted to hurt the rival stage company of the Southwestern Stage Company, the three were charged with stealing horses and mules. 

On July 29, 1874, while jailed and awaiting trial near Caldwell, Kansas, a lynch mob stormed the jail. Brooks and the other two men were taken to a nearby tree. There they pled their case and cried out for a fair trial. They cried out for mercy. But soon, all three were hanged despite their pleas. As for Billy Brooks, it's said he struggled and fought to get loose even after the rope didn't break his neck. His struggle was all in vain since he was left there to strangle to death.

It was believed that Brooks stole the horses and mules in an effort to get back the mail delivery contract for the Southwestern Stage Company. Of course, before the trial started and they were being held, talk started to swirl, and soon people started asking if the Southwestern Stage Company was behind what took place. One of the questions that no one could answer had to do with the money that Brooks used to pay his two cohorts to help him carry out the crime. 

So if the three decided to simply steal the horses and mules to hurt a rival stage line and not sell them, then where did Brooks get the money to pay two men to help him commit that crime? And really, what did they plan to do with the horses? Of course, as it turned out, no one would ever find the answers to those questions. 

While much of the life of Billy Brooks is a mystery, some say even his life ended in mystery. After all, some still ask if Billy Brooks could have been framed for stealing those horses and mules. And yes, the bigger question is why a lynch mob would hang three horse thieves who were already caught and awaiting trial? If they were killers, then no one would ask. But to hang a horsethief for trying to help an employer get back a mail contract seems pretty extreme -- even for those back in the Old West. 

Tom Correa

Sunday, July 11, 2021

How STETSON Cowboy Hats Are Made

If you have ever wondered how a Stetson Cowboy Hat is made, check out this video.

I hope you found this as interesting as I did.

Tom Correa

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Calaveras County & Ironstone Vineyards' Crown Jewel

I love hearing from you. Some of you ask some very interesting questions that I would have never thought about. Some of those questions have to do with Old West gunfights, historical figures, and some of you send me on searches of things that I never thought about looking into. Of course, some of you ask more personal questions.

Granted, I usually simply answer in your emails and not here. But, since I've been very busy with fixing fences, painting, general maintenance around my property, and still trying to finish my second book, I decided that this would be a perfect time and place to answer one of your questions.

Some of you want to know where Glencoe, California, is located and what sort of a place it is. Well, as for Glencoe, California? During the 1849 California Gold Rush, this area was known as Mosquito Gulch. Someone changed its name many years later, I believe the late 1880s, and we've been known as Glencoe ever since.

Our little "town" is more or less a blink in the road. Glencoe is located in the California foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains at 2700 ft elevation. We are right at the snowline and have a population of 189 give or take a few. Our grocery shopping is in the bigger town of Jackson. Jackson is our main hub with a population of about 4,700, it's about 20 or so miles away. Glencoe has a post office and an American Legion post. For right now, that's it.

Since they don't serve drinks and burgers at the Post Office, our American Legion post is our community center. It's a small post with less than a hundred members. But we are an active post as far as our doing things and being the hub of our community. I've been the 2nd Vice Commander at our post since 2010. Among the other things that keep me busy are my responsibilities as its 2nd Vice. I'm in charge of the kitchen, the bar, organizing special events, conducting ceremonies, and other things. Some say I run the place, but it really is a team effort.

This area is the heart of the California Gold Country. It's rich with history, good people, ranch land, farmland, loggers, vineyards, and big trees. Glencoe is in Calaveras County. The word "Calaveras" might hit a nerve with my Spanish-speaking readers. The word "Calaveras" means "skulls" in Spanish.
This county takes its name "Skulls" from the Calaveras River which got its name from Spanish explorer Gabriel Moraga during his 1806 – 1808 expeditions. He named that river "Calaveras River," or "Skulls River," when he found the skulls of waring Indian tribe along the banks of the river. While some say it was a few dozen skulls, others say there were hundreds of skulls.

While there are those who want to blame the Spanish for the skulls found there, saying they were a result of epidemic disease which was acquired from interacting with other tribes near the Spanish Missions on the coast, there is zero proof to support that theory.

Gabriel Moraga himself is said to have described the scene as a battlefield. Skulls and bones being found with evidence of wounds are in direct contrast to people dying of sickness. Morago is said to have believed they had been killed in territorial wars between various tribes. It's believed those wars were over hunting and fishing grounds. And yes, if you're wondering, us knowing this is just more evidence that Europeans were not the only people killing others over land. Conquest seems to be a human desire.

Gabriel Moraga believed the Lakisamni Indians of Central California were hostile. Since the Lakisamni lived adjacent to the Miwok tribe, who were seen as friendly and not warlike, he believed the skulls may have been the result of conflicts between the two tribes.

Almost 30 years after its discovery, the Spanish named the Stanislaus River, which forms the southern boundary of Calaveras County, in honor of a Lakisamni Yokut Indian named Estanislao. He is said to have been a part of those living at Mission San Jose and escaped in the late 1830s. He reportedly raised a group of men to fight the Spanish. Using their crude clubs and spears as weapons, it's said they were "decimated" by the Spanish and Mexican governments of California.

In 1836, a party made up of Spanish and newly-arrived Americans were exploring the area when they made camp on the Calaveras River. The story goes that it was dark with they decided to make camp on the riverbed. When they woke that next morning, they found that they camped amongst a huge number of skulls and bones. That was when the river and the area were reaffirmed as the Calaveras.

Calaveras County was one of the original counties of the state of California. Established in 1850 at the time of admission to the Union, it was initially very large. I've written about the quiet town of Mokelumne Hill a few miles from Glencoe, actually on the way to Jackson. It might be quiet today, but it wasn't back in 1851 when it was reported in the newspapers that the town of Mokelumne Hill experienced a murder a week for 17 weeks straight. It took the militia and vigilantes to stop the killing there. That is until later during the Tong War when Chinese immigrants were killing each other by the boatload.

In 1854, parts of the Calaveras County's territory were reassigned and became part of Amador County to the North. Ten years later in 1864, some of Calaveras County became Alpine County to the West.

As for Mark Twain, he spent 88 days in this county in 1865. Besides being known for getting into trouble for publishing some false news stories, fake news, he actually made his mark here when he heard a group of miners telling a story about a jumping frog contest. He in turn wrote and published that that story. He called it "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County." As you can tell by its title, Twain set his story in this county. As for how important that story was to his fame, it is said that that's the story that kicked off his career.

Did that story really put Calaveras County on the map? Well, the California Gold Rush did that. Of course, since Calaveras County is part of the San Joaquin Valley, the Gold Country, and the High Sierra Nevada Mountains, that means this place has traditionally been about cattle, farming, logging, mining, and wineries. Frankly, while mining is not as big as it once was here, the rest still exists.

Of course, like everyone else, today we love the tourist. And frankly, Calaveras Big Trees State Park which is a huge preserve of giant sequoia trees is the place everyone should see. Those giants are absolutely incredible. And by the way, credit for the "discovery" of those giant sequoias is owed to Augustus T. Dowd. He was a trapper who made the discovery in 1852 while tracking a bear. The fact is, he sort of stumbled upon them. And no, no one knows if he ever got the bear.

While I can go on with stories about this county, believe it or not, Calaveras County is known for having its own kind of gold. The uncommon gold telluride mineral discovered in this county was named "Calaverite." This type of gold was discovered when it was found in the Stanislaus Mine in Carson Hill near the town of Angels Camp in Calaveras County in 1861. It was named for this county by chemist and mineralogist Frederick Augustus Genth. He differentiated it from the known gold telluride mineral sylvanite. He formally reported it as a "new gold mineral" in 1868.

If you've gone exploring the California Gold Country, one of the things you might find is stamp mills. Stamp mills were important to gold mining because all of the rivers and streams had been picked clean of placer gold, loose gold, often nuggets, within just a couple of years after the first discovery of gold. Because of that, it didn't take long for miners to follow a gold strike deep into the Sierra's.

Because gold found in California is often in quartz, which is typically hard rock mining, miners mined in vertical or horizontal shafts. Unlike fine gold that was recovered using hydraulic mining. A system that washed always mountainsides for very little in return, gold trapped within these deep mountainous veins could produce thousands of ounces of gold. That's how hard rock or "lode" mining began. Stamps mills were an efficient way to crush the rock into powder. In that way, the miners could extract even fine particles of gold.


So now, let's talk about Ironstone’s Crown Jewel. 

It is believed to be the world’s largest piece of crystalline gold. It is truly a giant gold nugget. It was unearthed at the Sonora Mining Corporation mine in Carson Hill, California on December 24, 1992. Heck of a Christmas present.

It was found with other gold-heavy quartz pieces. And believe it or not, those there that day initially thought they found some old pieces of damaged machinery. Several days later, after being examined, they realized that they had found one of the biggest pieces of gold ever to be found. to be full of gold. Among the several pieces was what we know of as "The Crown Jewel." It was the largest of the pieces encased in quartz, weighing in at 63 lb troy.

It's said that almost immediately its discovery had the Gold Trust and Reinsurance company of the West Indies make an offer of $20 million for it. It's said that the French government also offered to buy the huge nugget. In April 1993, Sonora Mining offered the gold specimen as a bond to Tuolumne County, California. The county ultimately declined the offer simply because it could afford it. The man who ultimately bought it was John Kautz.

John Kautz is Chairman of Ironstone Winery and owner of Kautz Farms. These days he oversees over 7,000 acres of wine grapes. But no, he didn't start out with a silver spoon in his mouth. He is a man who has worked for everything he has today.

It is said that after the death of his father in 1952, that he took over the family farm to become a second-generation farmer in Lodi, California. At the time, he only owned 38 acres of land that his parents had purchased through Farmers Home Administration (FmHA).

For people who have never heard of the Farmers Home Administration, it was a federal government agency established after World War II, actually in August 1946. It was designed to replace the Farm Security Administration (FSA) which was one of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal agencies. It was created to fight rural poverty during the Great Depression.

The Farmers Home Administration (FmHA) was in operation until 2006. The Farmers Home Administration (FmHA) programs extended credit for agriculture and rural development. Direct and guaranteed credit went to individual farmers, low-income families, and seniors in rural areas.

Over the years, John Kautz expanded his farm. In 1965, he was recognized for his hard work and was given the distinguished honor of being named "National Outstanding Young Farmer." In 1969, the Ford Foundation named him, "Top Farm Manager USA." After that, he received the Goodyear "National Award for Soil Conservation" to again acknowledge his dedication, commitment, and enthusiasm, which was reflected in his hard work.

Americans are always asking me where are those people who young men and women should emulate? I say John Kautz and his family are made of the stuff that has made America the envy of the world. Besides working hard to succeed, he is very active in civic and community organizations. His belief that "Giving back to the community is just a way of life. It's something that I feel is very important" is something reflected in his obtaining "The Crown Jewel."

Because he felt that it is a huge part of California's history, certainly a significant part of Calaveras County history, he purchased it for an undisclosed amount and today keeps it in his Ironstone Vineyards' Heritage Museum in Murphys, California. Yes, not that far from where it was unearthed.

Ironstone Vineyards Crown Jewel is believed to be the world's largest piece of crystalline gold. Besides its size, it is very rare. In fact, crystalline gold is one of the rarest and most precious natural gold formations known. Sources say it's made of "gold deposited between layers of quartz, clay, maraposite, decomposed shale, and pyrite." Ironstone Vineyards Crown Jewel weighed 63 pounds when it was discovered. But, soon after it was purchased by Mr. Kautz purchased in 1994, the piece spent almost a year in an acid bath to reveal the incredible nugget that we see today.

So, go to Calaveras County to see the giant sequoia trees, go to see quiet Mokelumne Hill which was bloodier than Tombstone, and go to Angels Camp and walk the same street that Mark Twain. In Calaveras County, you can go from a few hundred feet elevation to over 8,000 ft elevation and be in the same county. This place is over 1,036 square miles and has a population of about 46,000 residents.

This is not the California that people see on television. We have nothing in common with Baywatch, Los Angeles, and the San Francisco Bay Area. As for people here being mostly Conservatives? We are pretty proud of it. In fact, there is a saying here, "Even our trees lean to the Right."

We have more in common with other Conservative places where folks are concerned with upholding American traditions and supporting Judeo-Christian values. Folks up here gather and pray on Memorial Day. We praise God and Old Glory. We take our guns, freedom, and property rights very seriously. Most here live American individuality to its fullest. And most know, this is a great place to live. I call it America's best-kept secret.

If you visit, drive up Highway 4 to Arnold and head for Lake Alpine. The scenery of the mountain country is something that you really need to see. On your way back, visit Murphys, and don't forget to step into Ironstone Vineyards jewelry store and Heritage Museum. It is there that you will see an incredible lustrous chunk of 99% pure gold that is found nowhere else in the world. It's on display in a vault for all of us to see. And yes, it might make you wonder, as it did me, what other pieces of gold are still waiting to be found in Calaveras County?

Tom Correa 

Friday, July 2, 2021

God Bless America -- The Story Behind The Song

The story below is reprinted from The Kennedy Center website:

This is the story behind “God Bless America.” This simple one-verse song became an overnight hit, and a hopeful song as war threatened. “It’s not a patriotic song,” composer Irving Berlin said in a 1940 interview, “but an expression of gratitude for what this country has done for its citizens, of what home really means.” Today, many Americans consider “God Bless America” an unofficial national anthem of the United States.

The life of Irving Berlin is a uniquely American success story. He was born Israel Baline in the Jewish village of Tyumen, in a harsh region of Russia known as Siberia. When he was about five, an anti-Jewish mob destroyed his family’s home, and the Balines set out for America. They settled on New York’s Lower East Side.

Irving Berlin's father died when he was eight, and “Izzy” went to work selling newspapers to help support his family. As a young teen, he began singing in saloons and at some point taught himself piano. He began copying the musical styles of the day, and developed an incredible instinct for creating popular tunes that people loved to sing. A printing error on a published piece of sheet music left him with the name Irving Berlin, and that was the name he carried as he wrote song after song. In 1911, he wrote his first huge dance hit, “Alexander’s Ragtime Band.”

After that, Berlin’s career took off like a rocket. He wrote stage musicals and film scores, and produced hit after hit. Many are still sung today, including: “White Christmas,” “Blue Skies,” “Always,” “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” “Heat Wave,” “I’ve Got My Love to Keep Me Warm,”—and “God Bless America.”

When describing his goal as a songwriter, Berlin said: “My ambition is to reach the heart of the average American…that vast intermediate crew which is the real soul of the country….My public is the real people.”

Kate Smith, one of the great singers of her day, had asked for a new number for her radio show. The year was 1938, and she was looking for something fresh to mark the 20th anniversary of the end of the Great War, what would later be called World War I. Irving Berlin had composer’s block.

Berlin felt the urgency to deliver. He had recently returned from Europe, where catastrophe was brewing. Nazi Germany, led by Adolf Hitler, was growing more powerful and aggressive and seemed to be preparing for war. But Berlin wasn’t focused on writing a get-America-ready-for-war song. He wanted to create something to celebrate America as a special place to live.

Then he remembered a song he had drafted years earlier. He pulled out an old trunk and dusted off the 20-year-old manuscript.

Reviving and Revising a Forgotten Song

In 1918, Sergeant Irving Berlin was stationed at Camp Upton in Yaphank, on Long Island, New York. Berlin was already a successful songwriter, now a draftee, and his commanding officer enlisted him to write a musical revue to help raise money for a new building. The result was Yip, Yip, Yaphank, a light-hearted musical revue about army life featuring music, skits, and military drills. The show produced one of the hits of World War I, “Oh! How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning,” a comic song about a soldier’s reluctance to answer reveille, the army’s early AM alarm clock played on a bugle.

Berlin had written another song for the revue, but had cut it from the show. He thought the lyrics were too sappy. So “God Bless America” waited in that trunk for two decades.

Then Kate Smith came calling. Now, Berlin looked over his earlier work and rapidly began rewriting and revising. He had less than two weeks to get it ready for her performance.

Here is how the 1918 version had read:

God Bless America, land that I love
Stand beside her
And guide her
To the right with the light from above
Make her victorious on land and foam
God Bless America, my home sweet home.

Berlin knew he had to change the line To the right with the light from above. “The Right” in politics had come to mean conservative political groups. He wanted a song that brought Americans together, not set Americans apart. And he changed Make her victorious…since it suggested military conquest, rather than the “peace song” he was shooting for.

The result was the song most American school kids have learned by heart ever since.

God bless America, land that I love
Stand beside her and guide her
Through the night with the light from above
From the mountains,
To the prairies,
To the ocean white with foam
God bless America,
My home sweet home.

Smith sang the song as the show-closer on her live national broadcast that night. Berlin’s phone immediately began ringing off the hook. Everyone wanted to know where they could get the music.

After that, Smith almost always included the song in her weekly show, and it became her trademark during a career that spanned five decades. She also added a short poem-prelude that Berlin had written:

While the storm clouds gather far across the sea,
Let us swear allegiance to a land that’s free,
Let us all be grateful for a land so fair,
As we raise our voices in solemn prayer.

Storm clouds were indeed gathering over Europe. Less than a year after the debut of “God Bless America,” Germany’s war machine rolled into Poland, igniting World War II in Europe. (The Japanese had already invaded China two years earlier, beginning the war in Asia.) The United States would not officially join the war until the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. But as “God Bless America” grew in popularity, most Americans already feared that it was just a matter of time before the U.S. would be called to fight.

During World War II, Berlin toured with his show This is the Army to raise money for the U.S. war effort. “God Bless America” was one of the featured songs.
The God Bless America Foundation

When it came to “God Bless America,” Irving Berlin and Kate Smith put their money where their mouths were. They donated all the royalties from the hit song to the Boy and Girl Scouts of America through the God Bless America Foundation. That arrangement is still in effect today.

Other wartime songs would remind Americans what they were fighting against. Berlin’s “God Bless America” reminded them of what they were fighting for.

-- end of the article.

I hope you found this as interesting as I did.

Tom Correa