Sunday, December 31, 2023

2023 Ends With Americans Very Angry -- Part One

We Are Very Angry About A Lot Of Things

Let's get right to it. While many of you like Old West History as much as I do, a lot of you are asking why I haven't written about the problems facing Americans today. My answer might surprise you a little.

Frankly, I don't know why people want to hear me talk about politics -- especially since there are several news and political commentary websites out there these days. To be really frank, I'm a little surprised that several of you have written to ask for my perspective on things in the news. Most of you want to know my opinion about why so many Americans are so angry today.

Back when I wrote a lot about this sort of thing, I got a lot of hate mail from people who accused me of being everything that they didn't like. But, since you've asked for my "opinion," we need to get something straight here. As I've said before, what I see taking place in America today is not much different than what a lot of you see happening these days.

From what I can see, Americans are being attacked in a lot of ways. Mostly, I believe we are under attack from the Left which has an agenda that's not healthy for America. Many Americans today are angry because they see our Federal Government as an adversary and oppressor. Many people who I talk with don't see the Federal Government as our friend.

For me, while I can understand why people can be angry at Biden and his administration, I see being angry at our Federal Government as a whole as being angry at the wrong people. I've known some really wonderful people who work very hard in our Government. Most have absolutely nothing to do with the temporary residents of the White House. That is why I think we should all understand something very important, it's not our Government that we should fear -- it's the Administration in power that we should be wary of.

An Administration that's business-friendly and wants to ease the burdens of the American people, an administration that puts America First is the sort of American-friendly Administration that we want in charge. On the other hand, an adversarial power-hungry dictatorial Administration, one that serves the needs of special interest Environmental Groups and European Climate Change Pacts, and works to benefit other nations instead of our own people, an administration like the Biden Administration, is what we should loath and fear.

 
Most see the Federal Government these days as "Big Brother." I believe that "Big Brother" shows up when the wrong Administration is in power. We have politics in just about everything. As for Americans being angry, it seems like angry Americans are everywhere for good reason -- the Biden administration is 1984 Big Brother in the flesh. 

That's the reason why I believe that the Biden Administration is a very anti-American group. They don't care about what Americans need as they try to shove their New Green Deal Leftist policies down our throats. Their dictatorial measures, their attack on American Oil production and American manufacturing, their use of agencies of the Federal Government to attack Americans, their inciting division, their pitting one group against another while making Trump supporters and one race of Americans -- specifically White Americans -- the target of hate, have Americans very angry these days. 

So really, where do we start?

Americans are very angry at our Public Schools for good reasons. We all read about Public School administrators and teachers with political agendas who purposely hurt, confuse, and take advantage of our children. Administrators and teachers focusing on their liberal social ideals and the LGBQT Queer agenda instead of focusing on educating children in English, Math, History, and accurate Science doesn't help our kids or our nation. And yes, as far as I'm concerned, the dumbing down of our children is an attack on our nation.

So, after researching about what's going on in public schools these days, I've become a big supporter of homeschooling children. But besides homeschooling children, I really believe that parents need to be more involved with their kids. Kids today really need discipline. They need parents to teach them how to treat others.

Children should grow up nurtured but not spoiled. They should be loved, but also be corrected when needed. Kids need to be brought up with respect and common courtesy for others. They should learn responsibility by doing chores and such. They need to learn to have a good work ethic, be on time, make an effort, follow instructions, and how doing a good job makes others respect and admire them. It reflects well on them. Such things build good character traits. And frankly, these are things that kids today are lacking.

One of the things that make Americans very angry is the color division that seems to be very present today. It seems that the fight that was waged to bring about a "Color Blind Society" where people would not be judged by the color of their skin has been for nothing. And frankly, it's really too bad that all of the efforts of so many good people of all colors have ended with us now in a New Era when skin color means everything -- and good character means very little.

As for Americans being angry about being called "Racist" when they are not? Speaking for myself, the word "Racist" has gotten old. In fact, I'd say that the media and politicians have made it a word that means little to nothing anymore. They did this by applying it to everything. After a while, doing that makes it meaningless.

Today, just about everything can be considered "Racist." It's true. Today, we even have people in the media and politicians looking for votes who will call anything "Racist." I've heard a Biden admin member call a road and highway overpass, "racist." Yes, as dumb as that is, and as dumb as they are, they are in charge.

I've heard people, mostly those on the Left, call statues and buildings and whole mountains, along with several everyday food products, "racist." While you and I know full well that inanimate objects have no feelings and cannot be racist, that hasn't stopped some people from declaring some of the dumbest things racist.

Of course, being called a "Racist" means nothing to me anymore. It did once. But no, not anymore. The reason has to do with me being called a "Racist" over things that have nothing to do with race. For example, I've disagreed with the whole concept of giving reparations to people for something that happened over a hundred years before all of us were born.

I've talked about how the Civil Liberties Act of 1988 gave surviving Japanese Americans reparations and a formal apology from President Ronald Reagan for their incarceration during World War II. This was to try to compensate them for what happened to them and their children. 

Japanese American reparations are not the same as giving money to Black Americans who have never themselves been slaves. Japanese Americans reparations were made to Americans who were either still alive or their children. When I explained my position on this, I was called a "Racist."

I've said that all men and women, regardless of their color, should be treated equally, period, equal pay, equal opportunity, and equal respect, and I was called a "Racist." I've said that Women's Sports should just be for women, and I was called a "Racist." I said that there is no such thing as humans being able to "transition" from one gender to another, it's impossible and goes against the laws of nature. I said trying to distort a biological reality does not make a biological male a biological woman, and I was called a "Racist."

And to beat a dead horse even more, I remember writing about how I believe that the looters and arsonists who robbed and torched all of those businesses in 2020 are all criminals who should have been rounded up and prosecuted to the full extent of the law, and I was called a "Racist." I remember saying that I'm color blind and treat all of my friends and associates alike. I also said that all lives matter, and I was called a "Racist."

I said that we should have a truly bi-partisan investigation of the 2020 Election to see why the number of ballots counted did not match the number of registered voters in some places. I said we needed to find how there were thousands of more ballots than people registered to vote, and I was called a "Racist."

I wrote about how all of the videos coming out "shows that the January 6th riot at the U.S. Capitol seem assisted by the Capitol Police who acted like tour guides." I went on to write that "Democrat Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi failed to do her job as Speaker when she refused President Trump's offer to bring in National Guard troops to the Capitol beforehand to protect the Capitol." Yes, believe it or not, I was called a "Racist" for saying such things.

I said that I supported Trump for president in 2016, and 2020, and would vote for him again in 2024, and again I was called a "Racist." The result is that the word "Racist" obviously means nothing today. Because its usage and meaning have been corrupted to such an extent, the word has become meaningless to most people. 

Should White Americans be angry over being accused of being "racists" when they're not? Of course, just as with any other people, there are White Americans who are "racist." But why paint every White person as "racist" when they're not? 

While the Left usually targets Conservative Americans, these days their target is White Americans as a whole. And really, why is the Left specifically targeting and attacking White Americans when other Americans are all just as "racist" as anyone else these days? 

The reason has to do with hate for White Americans coming from the Mainstream Media because they need a scapegoat to blame for everything that they don't like. It's hate in the form of pushing Wokism and Critical Race Theory to attack Whites. It's their message of hate. Their message is simple: all White people are to blame for everything wrong with the world. And yes, to the Left's twisted way of thinking, Whites should be the target today. 

Do you think that I'm over-blowing what's happening these days? The Left and the Mainstream Media have gone out of their way to attack White Americans and push an agenda of division. To get what they want, they need a target for people to focus on. Today, Whites are the preferred group of people to attack. Whites have been made both the villains and the enemies of America these days. And frankly, it's sad that there are people who believe it.

Of course, the Left pushes their hate for White Americans by encouraging the spread of lies. For example, the myth of "White Privilege" is alive and widespread even if it's a lie designed to incite hate for White Americans. Let's get something straight here, and yes this is for the woman in New York who wrote to tell me that I have had all sorts of privileges handed to me because of the color of my skin: the color of my skin never got me a job, a free education, a free meal, a free car, free housing, or free anything. I've worked all for it.

And as for White Americans all being lumped together and being seen today as "the problem with everything in the world" as I was told recently, it's truly racist to think that's the case. While such hate for White people is real racism because it is based on hate for White people, that sort of hate and racism is not new. I remember back in 2005 when a University of North Carolina professor said "Blacks must Exterminate all White People."

Before you write to tell me that I sound like a White Supremacist, please don't. I'm as far from a White Supremacist as someone can get. And really, I'm only talking about what I see taking place in America these days. The Left is encouraging division and hate. To me, I believe the Left wants to bring back segregation. And frankly, that is very hard for people to accept.

Of course, in 2023, there is another group of Americans who are also under attack from the Left. And really, Americans should be furious that it's taking place -- especially as a result of what's being taught at American universities. 

This is the year that Americans have found out how Universities have encouraged hate for Jewish Americans while turning a blind eye to the atrocities committed by Muslim terrorist groups like Hamas. The closest thing reminiscent of the sort of anti-Semite hate that has poured out of our Ivy League universities and into the streets of America is the hate that Jews had to endure in Nazi Germany in the 1930s and 1940s.

It has been a horrible sight to see in America. It is a low point in our history. What makes it worse is that many of those taking to the streets with banners that read "Exterminate All Jews" are Muslim Foreign Exchange students here on Student visas.

But it's not only White Americans and Jewish Americans who have become the target of hate these days, women and Women's Rights are under attack in a big way across our nation. In fact, I'd go so far as to say that Women's Rights mean very little to too many on the Left these days -- especially to those in College Sports who have let biological males compete in women's sports.

Frankly, I'd be pissed if I had a daughter and she trained all her life to enter into a competition against other women -- only to find out that young men are now being allowed to compete against her. And even more so, I'd be standing at the door preventing those young men from entering her locker room or shower area. But then again, if I were a parent who had a daughter in a school that did that sort of thing, I'd find another College or university that doesn't allow such amoral behavior to take place.

Of course, Democrats are silent on condemning such things. Leftist political groups see Gay Men wanting to compete against women and use the same dressing areas as women as somehow okay when it's not okay at all. Liberals seem to think that it's okay for a man to compete against a woman when the competitors are not of equal strength and build. It's just not fair. But hey, Democrats have never cared about fairness.

But then, why should we expect anything less from Democrats. After all, there are Democrats in Washington D.C. sitting in Congress and are sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court who can't even identify "What a woman is" because they fear upsetting the Gay Trans Lobby.

And sadly, I don't see anyone on the Left willing to fight for women to be recognized and appreciated. But then again, that's no different than the way it was over 160 years ago when Democrats fought against Equal Rights for Women. Nothing's changed.

I find it ironic that the political party, the Democrats, who always talk about helping women, are silent and nowhere to be found on this. But Republicans are again willing to fight for Women's Rights just as they have for over 160 years. While Republicans are defending women and their hard-fought rights, there's the question if Americans in general should be angry over being attacked for our political affiliation or our support of President Trump? Should Trump supporters like me be angry that Americans are being described as "semi-fascist" and "enemies of American democracy" by Joe Biden? Is it okay for Biden to make those who support someone other than him political targets? 
 
Joe Biden has called Republicans like me "semi-fascist" for supporting President Trump. Biden has even said that Americans like me who support the "Make America Great Again" (MAGA) movement are a threat to our democracy. Imagine how truly asinine you have to be to say that crap. 

Biden did say it. He said, "MAGA Republicans pose a clear and present danger to American democracy." Of course, there are those on the Left who tell me that I should not be angry about that. I'm told not to take it to heart because Joe Biden is really trying to unite the country. Imagine that. I guess the Left believes that telling lies about 81 Million Americans is how to unite the country? 

We all know that there are Democrat voters who will believe it because Biden said it even though it's a lie. Of course, that's what Democrat politicians do best -- they continuously lie to their supporters because they know that their supporters accept their lies without question. The fact is, whether Liberals want to admit it or not, Democrat supporters are a dream come true for scammers, hoaxers, and con artists. All that a Democrat politician has to do, the same as what any con artist would do, is play on their feelings and emotions.

Democrat politicians and their political activists, including the Mainstream Media, know that Democrat voters are easy to take advantage of because they are not the smartest people out there. Democrat politicians know full well that on any sunny day that they can piss on one of their supporter's sandals and tell them that it's raining, and they know that their supporters will believe and accept what they say as the truth without question.

By the way, that's how the Democrats play their supporters. That's what Democrats have going for them. Democrat politicians and their minion activists can treat their supporters like mindless robots, brainless no-nothing zombies, wooden-headed dummies who can't think or reason for themselves. They see their supporters as the perfect victims of whatever scam a Democrat wants to run. And they do, and they are believed -- even though Democrats are just passing out more lies.

For example, Americans went through 4 years of having a sitting president who did not get us into a war. The Democrats didn't care that that was happening. Democrats still portrayed Trump as a "Warmonger" out to start World War III -- and Democrat voters believed that lie without question. Some of their voters still do.

Another example: President Trump had to fight to clear himself in a failed impeachment trial that has been proven to be a silent coup. Yes, today, we all know that the whole "Russian Collusion Hoax" was in fact a criminal conspiracy, a coup, to unseat a sitting United States President. We also now know that the entire criminal conspiracy was paid for and organized by the top echelon of the Democrat Party, including Hilary Clinton. 

We know that the Democrat Party received help from the FBI, CIA, the NSA, Big Tech companies, and Mainstream Media outlets who were all in on it. We know this to be the truth, just like how we've found out that the "Russia, Russia, Russia" thing was all about fabricated lies to unseat Donald Trump. But really, there are Democrats who still believe it.

It's true. Even though we all now know what happened during his term in office, that hasn't stopped Democratic voters from accepting the Democrat Party's lies and thinking that Trump is guilty. As one reader wrote to me and said, "You Republicans can't see it, but we Democrats know Trump is guilty of something. We just don't know what it is yet."

I find it interesting that in contrast to Democrats, Republicans seem to come equipped with "Bullshit Detectors" that sniff out what some politician is selling. Whether a politician is a Republican, Independent, Democrat, or a RINO (Republican In Name Only), Republican voters are just cynical enough to question what they are being told.

Frankly, that's a good thing if you don't like to be played for a fool. And yes, my friends, you would have to be a fool to not understand what occurred when President Trump was in office. The whole Russian Collusion thing to get him out of office was an incredibly elaborate criminal conspiracy.

And as for nerve, imagine the nerve it took to attempt a coup to unseat a sitting American President using false data, all completely fabricated, using the FBI and CIA and Foreign Intelligence operatives, and none of it was true as we found out later. Democrats ran with it in the Mainstream Media every day and night, relentlessly over and over again, to make the lie sound like the truth.

And please, think about this. Imagine what sort of organization that took? Imagine the cooperation that's needed to try to Impeach a United States President using completely false claims and a completely fabricated story? And yes, you do it with the complete cooperation of Democrat members of Congress. Imagine that. 

And let's not forget, most if not all, on the Left still believe that "Trump colluded with the Russians." Yes, even though we now know for a fact that there was a criminal conspiracy and effort to defraud the American people on a scale that we have never seen before. It's a criminal conspiracy that makes Watergate look small in comparison.

So now, knowing that Hilary Clinton and members of the Obama administration were capable of succeeding in achieving such a criminal act, what makes you think that Biden and the Democrats haven't framed all of those being prosecuted as January 6th insurgents?

Think about this for a moment. We have records showing that President Trump contacted Nancy Pelosi to offer her assistance by calling in the National Guard to protect the Capitol. We have a video of people who are alive during the time when the January 6th Committee said they were dead. We have videos of Capitol Police opening doors and showing the January 6th intruders around the offices and down hallways. We have pictures of January 6th intruders being escorted around as they stay within the robes while moving from one room to another. And yes, we have a key video that was withheld which shows that FBI agents were inciting the crowd that day.

We now have a video that's been made available to the public of President Trump telling his supporters that day to "Go home." We now know that that video of President Trump was on Instagram and Twitter but was immediately suppressed and taken down. It's true. By the way, Democrats are saying he didn't do that. Of course, it's inconvenient for them that we can all see that President Trump did in fact tell those rioters to "Go home."

With evidence like being exposed about what really happened on January 6th, and lies coming from the Biden Administration about Climate Change and Ukraine and Biden's open-border policy on our Southern Border, it's no wonder Americans are outraged these days. 

Sure, Americans are angry about food and gas prices. Sure, Americans are pissed off over having such a hard time making ends meet. But the issues of race relations which are at a horrible stage today, the issue of how politics in our schools is purposely dumbing down our children, the fact that crime is soaring, that criminals are going free, that the police are under attack more than ever, all lend to make Americans very angry at what's going on these days.

Joe Biden and the Democrats are telling lie after lie while trying to justify sending Billions of American taxpayer dollars to Ukraine, trying to justify ignoring the plight of Americans and the invasion that taking place on our Southern Border, and trying to justify attacking Americans with more regulations because of the Climate Change Hoax. None of this is healthy for America.

The bottom line of why we are so angry? It's because these problems are being created by the Left and the Biden Administration -- and not being corrected or solved. And frankly, people can see that. 

End of Part One -- In Part Two, I'm taking on sending Billions of American taxpayer dollars to Ukraine, the Climate Change Scam, the Invasion of America on our Southern Border, and more.





Saturday, December 23, 2023

Texas Primer: Christmas on the Range

Illustration by Vivienne Flesher

Deck the halls with cedar and red chiles!
December 1983 article By Anne Dingus

This story is from Texas Monthly’s archives. It is being reprinted here with the text left as it was originally published to maintain a clear historical record. Read more here about our archive digitization project

“Christmas Eve fell as balmy as April,” wrote O. Henry in 1903, thereby summing up the distinguishing mark of a Texas Christmas: it’s hot. O. Henry didn’t know the blizzardy side of the state, living as he did in the south of it, but he knew that few native Texans witness many white Christmases. Most of us resign ourselves to green ones. Unless we live in East Texas, where pines are native, we have to buy our Christmas trees from the Optimist club. Without fireplaces, we lack the proper place to hang stockings, roast chestnuts (well, pecans then), and look for bootprints in the morning ashes. It makes us a little wistful, but we have faced the inescapable truth: the Christmas of Currier & Ives will never be ours.

Luckily, over the years we have created traditions of our own. In the case of the Christmas tree, our forebears used cedar, a pestilent plant that had never before done anyone much good. A. C. Greene recalls childhood trips to fetch “the least lopsided and wind-whipped” tree. If cedar was unavailable, a sapling, tumbleweed, or cactus might serve. Decorations varied—popcorn garlands, candles, strings of red chiles and garlic. On top, of course, was a lone star.

Texas does have mistletoe, which, like cedar, is a nuisance that redeems itself only in December. All over the state you can spot mistletoe snippers gingerly scaling barbed wire to cut bunches from beleaguered mesquites by the side of the road. The familiar shrub with its pearly berries must have provided European immigrants with a welcome reminder of home.

In addition to Christmas kisses under the mistletoe, immigrants brought to Texas a wealth of other customs. The Germans offered Kris Kringle and pfeffernuesse and caroling; around the original German settlements you can still hear the words “stille Nacht, heilige Nacht” sung to a well-known melody. Mexico gave us buñuelos, poinsettias, and luminarias, those lanterns made of candles inside sand-weighted paper bags. Bright Mexican goods and decorations, which seem so gaudy most of the year, fit right in at Christmastime.

Our most influential culture, though, was that of the cowboy. The range life was a solitary one, and holidays meant a rare chance to socialize. Most towns held a dance, and cowboys would ride all day to attend. Caroling was a mite civilized for early Texas tastes, so cowboys initiated the Christmas serenade, a shivareelike procession whose sole purpose was to make a huge commotion. 

On Christmas morning they settled down long enough for a church service or a few impromptu prayers; for all their horseplay, cowboys were believers. Later in the day, married couples invited them in for revelry and chow; they reciprocated by smuggling in trinkets for the children, who surely redoubled their faith in Santa when goodies miraculously appeared in their stockings, with not a store for miles. Texas kids, J. Evetts Haley wrote, “knew exactly what Santa’s sled and reindeer looked like”—after all, they grew up around harness and livestock.

Not so commonplace on the frontier was overindulgence, but during the holidays even thrifty Texans enjoyed this most universal of Christmas traditions. Cooks cheerfully used up hoards of dried fruit and sugar to make treats like fruitcake, an old Texas favorite, but the real delicacies were fresh foods brought in for the occasion. 

Bertha McKee Dobie remembered her father’s once asking “the name of that vegetable that is shipped in at Christmas.” It was celery. Eggs went for eggnog; oranges were sugarplums. The high point of any gathering might well have been the whiskey, for Christmas was one day when drinking could be done in public and to excess.

Excess has become a Texas tradition too. We always try to be the biggest, the noisiest, the best. We string colored lights on everything from fences to pump jacks, drink Noche Buena instead of wassail, and ring cowbells instead of sleigh bells. Who needs snow-covered pine trees anyway? They just block out the stars in our big December sky.

Merry Christmas! 

Monday, December 18, 2023

Use A Friend As Bear Bait?



When I read the story below from Cowboy State Daily, it immediately reminded me of an old joke about "the best firearm to carry for defense against bears." It is a very old joke that I remember first hearing in the Marine Corps about 50 years ago. The joke goes like this:

When asked what is the best firearm that should be carried in case of a bear attack, one experienced hunter and hiker said that he always uses a small .22 caliber pocket pistol. Seeing the shock on the face of the person asking him that question, he went on to explain. Whether hunting or simply hiking, he liked to carry a small .22 pistol in his pocket in case of a bear attack -- and went on to say that he always has one in his pocket when in bear country. 

He then explained that many years ago he learned that he should never hunt or go hiking alone. When asked what that had to do with his choice of firearm, he related a story of the time that he was hiking with his brother-in-law. Unbeknownst to the both of them, they got too near a Mama Bear and her cubs by accident. That Mama Bear came out of nowhere angry and charging them.

Being an experienced hunter and hiker, he pulled his small .22 pistol from his pocket. It was right then and there that he knew what he had to do to survive. He aimed and fired one shot -- right into his brother-in-law's knee. He said by doing so, he was able to escape by just walking at a brisk pace. He later admitted that he was never really that close to his brother-in-law anyway.  

Yes, that's what I thought about after reading the following story in the Cowboy State Daily:

If A Bear Charges You While Skiing, Go Fast Or Trip Someone, Says Ski Instructor

Video of a bear charging across a Lake Tahoe ski slope on Sunday has a Wyoming ski and snowboard instructor advising a skier’s best options are speed, or putting a slower skier between you and the bear.

Story by Mark Heinz, Cowboy State Daily
December 12, 2023 

While rare, it’s not unheard of for adrenaline-fueled bears to chase after skiers on the slopes or out in the backcountry.

Recent video of a bear charging through skiers on the slopes of a California resort has some Wyoming outdoorsmen experienced with recreating in bear country advising the best course of action if a bear crashes your ski outing is to pile on the speed.

And it doesn’t hurt knocking somebody else down in the process, joked a former Wyoming ski and snowboard instructor.

If confronted by a rampaging bear on the slopes, “I would simply ski as fast as I could to get out of harm’s way as soon as possible,” noted outdoorsman Paul Ulrich of Pinedale told Cowboy State Daily on Tuesday.

“If you get some decent speed, you might be able to outpace a bear. Bears are incredibly fast, but if you’ve got a steep hill, you could get to 70 mph and blow him away," Ulrich said.

Don’t think it couldn’t happen. A skier missed getting in the path of a galloping black bear’s chunky butt by mere inches Sunday in Lake Tahoe and caught the wild encounter on video.

Wildlife biologists say that although bears are typically snoozing by the time the snow piles up to skiing depth, a few bears might still venture out during the winter.

Close Encounter Of The Bear Kind

In the video, the skier initially spots the bear lurking alongside an open slope at Heavenly Ski Resort near South Lake Tahoe.

At first, the bear seems confused about what to do, but then starts barreling across the slope into the paths of skiers and snowboarders.

The skier taking the video utters an expletive when it seems apparent that he and the bear are on a collision course. But the bear manages to just barely avoid him before barging past other skiers and down the far side of the slope.


Use A Friend As Bear Bait

Ulrich said he’s never found himself in such a predicament. But if he did, he said the natural law of every man for himself would probably kick in, and the best tactic could be to find somebody else to distract the bear.

“I’ve never been chased by a bear on skis before so this is all speculation, of course, but one thing you could do if the bear is really aggressive: Find another skier and purposely drive them into the snow,” Ulrich said. “The bear will likely quit following you and just attack that poor sap.

“I’m not saying that’s the best advice, but sometimes there are no good choices. I would try to find someone who was particularly slow if that’s my only option.”

Ulrich even has a particular person in mind should a bear ever show up on the Wyoming slopes.

“Like Jonathan Downing, for example,” he said, mentioning his old friend who is a well-known lobbyist in Wyoming. “I would hope I could spot Jonathan on the slopes and trip him.”

Winter Bears Rare, But Not Impossible

Cowboy State Daily has been told by wildlife biologists that winter bear encounters are extremely rare, but not unheard of.

The good news is, Wyoming grizzly bears are smart enough to avoid places where people might annoy them during the winter. So, they’re far less likely to show up on ski slopes than the California black bear was.

Wyoming Game and Fish Department large carnivore specialist Dan Thompson said that “grizzlies especially tend to be in higher altitudes and away from any human activities” when denning for the winter.

That was echoed by Jennifer Fortin-Noreus, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife grizzly bear biologist with the University of Montana’s grizzly bear recovery program.

“Remember that most bears den at very high elevations on steep slopes, so the likelihood of encounter is rare, but they have been seen by backcountry skiers, snowmobilers, etc.,” she said.

Mark Heinz can be reached at mark@cowboystatedaily.com.

Use a friend as bear bait? Well, at least you know why I was thinking about that old joke. It seems that there may actually be people out there who may in fact practice such acts of self-preservation. This may be something to think about if someone asks you to go hunting, hiking, or fishing in bear country. 

Tom Correa


Monday, December 11, 2023

Being A Cowboy


Story by Terry McGahey

For those of you who would like to here what it’s really like to be a cowboy I thought I would write down a few stories of my life. This story relays to my time on one of the ranches back in the late 90s and early 2000s called the Cobra, which is a fairly small outfit of a little over 60,000 acres of mountainous very rough country that could kill you and your horse if you weren’t careful. 

The Cobra is located in an area called Klondike Arizona, not much there but a small general store with the post office located within it and from what I hear it’s now gone.

This area only consisted of cattle ranches at that time which is located about 58 miles of dirt road from either Wilcox or Safford Arizona. Because of the distance on the old rocky dirt road we only went to town about every two weeks and sometimes only once a month to get supplies and maybe have a drink or two or three and sometimes more at one of the local beer joints. We took advantage of goin’ to town.

My pard Jeff whom I had worked with on other outfits took over the Cobra as ranch manager and he asked me to join him and being we was best of friends I never even gave it a second thought. This outfit had been only taken care of by an old couple who just watched over the place and it had been let go for quite awhile with the state threatening to pull the leases.

Now the next thing to understand is this outfit was a purebred longhorn ranch and many of them hadn’t seen people in probably three years being up in the rough mountain pastures. These longhorns were wild, mean and fast. We wore out two horses a day at times rounding these critters up and pushing them down to the ranch area. 

You had to push these cattle like buffalo, slow and easy only guiding them best you could. when some would brake away you just let them go as not to loose the main body and came back later to gather them once more. You didn’t use your rope much on these critters but if you did you had to heal them because if you headed them you might not get your rope back for awhile and sometimes they would turn and come up your rope a hooking with those double twist horns trying to gut your horse and you also.

I remember one time I was working with one eyed Luke and yes he had only one eye. Jeff and Roddy roped this big cow by head and heal, sucked it to the ground while we had to brand it. This cow hadn’t seen people in lord knows how long and I guessed this cow to be about three years old. 

Well, when we finished I went to pull the head rope but hadn’t quite cleared the horns when Luke pulled the foot rope, this onery bitch came up before I could get out of the way and hit me, goring me slightly in the left leg and threw me what felt like ten feet in the air and maybe fifteen feet away before hitting the ground. I jumped up quick because that bitch was coming fast but I got to the side of the pen and clambered up to the top real quick. After that I looked at old Luke and said “Next time look at me with your good eye”

There is much more to tell about when it came to a few of the guys getting hurt, and a few were hurt pretty badly but I do not wish to get into that part. Every day the dangers were there, if not because of the terrain, horse wrecks or shale cliffs it was those wild ass longhorns themselves. Anyway, maybe this little insight I am giving you can give you a slight idea of what it’s like to be a working cowboy.

Terry McGahey
Associate Writer/ Old West Historian
 

Terry has been a working cowboy, writer, and historian. He is best known for the fight that he waged against the City of Tombstone and their historic City Ordinance Number 9. He was instrumental in getting the famous Tombstone City Ordinance Number 9 repealed while at the same time forcing the City of Tombstone to fall in line and comply with the laws of the State of Arizona.

If you care to read how he fought Tombstone's City Hall and won, check out:


Thursday, November 30, 2023

Do We Need To Get Rid Of Public Schools

It's very hard to accept what's going on around us these days. And really, where do you start. We have adults in charge of schools who are telling children that it's okay to think that you are something that you are not. We've all heard the stories lately of children who "identify" as cats and dogs -- boys who "identify" as girls and girls who "identify" as boys. 

This is the sort of insanity that our Public Schools seem to embrace these days. And yes, as we all know, Public Schools are failing when it comes to giving the public what we need. And frankly, what we need from Public School systems is not too difficult to understand. 

We need our children to be educated so they are able to comprehend what they read, communicate in writing, accomplish math, and understand why we need to be able to do math without a calculator. Our children should also be able to understand and appreciate civics and how our government is supposed to function. 

Of course, it would be great if our children understood the timeline of our history. Maybe that would give them the ability to appreciate the toil of those who came before them, understand the struggles, understand the setbacks, and realize what it is to accomplish great things.  

I believe it would be great if we could get our Public Schools to help create good citizens. It would be wonderful if Public Schools produced patriotic American citizens who understand why America is not the bad place our enemies make it out to be. Of course, it would also be wonderful if our children grew up to want to do good in the present and future, and not simply blame others and destroy the past for everything. 

While Public Schools are not only the problem to what's wrong with America today, Public Schools are screwed up. Instead of focusing on academics, Public Schools, especially those in urban areas, are intentionally dumbing down and subsequently hurting our children. Public Schools are doing this by focusing on unimportant time-consuming idiocy such as gender dysphoria, actually creating division between races and relegions, and inspiring hate and loathing for America. Such things have nothing to do with getting a good education. And more so, such distractions from academic learning only serve to confuse young and easily influenced minds into thinking about things that are not relevant to their attending school. 

The problem with Public Schools can be fixed by getting rid of Public Schools. Or, at least the ones that aren't serving the public interest. And really, let's re-examine their need when in many cities they are little more than daycare centers forcing kids to be there who don't want to be there. Let's fire teachers who see teaching as an opportunity to imprint their Leftist political and social agendas into the minds of impressionable children who see them as role models.

Now before someone writes to argue that Public Schools are needed, all I ask is for you to look at what they are producing? Today, from the research that I've seen, Public Schools are a waste of time and taxpayer money. Look at the test scores and look at the failing numbers. While not all, there are Public Schools that don't educate children. 

Research why tests are now seen as "racist" and unneeded these days. The reason that tests are now seen as "the enemy" in schools is that tests are a gauge to measure the efficiency of teachers. Tests measure the effectiveness of those who claim to be educators when they are not. 

Research why Public Schools are failing to produce educated children when they have more and more resources at their disposal, including computers and other learning tools.  Research why more and more is being asked for in the way of salaries and benefits for teachers and staff, yet kids are leaving Public Schools dumber than if they had simply stayed home and watched television. In some cities around the country, the attitude of the Public School districts is this: If you can’t pass your high school graduation requirements, we’ll just give you a diploma anyway. 

By the way, this is nothing new. While it's all worse today, even back in the 1970s, I remember friends who taught at a couple of Colleges complaining about how they had to spend their time educating children entering College because High Schools didn't. My teacher friends used to complain about how children arrived ignorant of Basic English, Math, Science, and History because Public Schools failed to do their job and teach. So no, what's happening in our Public Schools is nothing new. It's just getting worse because the Liberal Agenda is now a Leftist Agenda of dumbing down those who will be our future. 

The Leftists know full well that the uneducated are easier to control than the educated -- especially when it comes to those educated who have learned to think for themselves and not simply accept the Leftist line of crap. Let's keep in mind that those people destroying historical statues and burning down cities were doing so because they've been taught that they have the right to attack Capitalism and what has made America great. 

For me, I think it would be wonderful if Public Schools knocked off the Leftist Political Indoctrination crap and stopped trying to brainwash our children into thinking that somehow being a slave with no rights living in a Communist Nation is better than having the freedom to live your own life. It would be great if children left school knowing geography and why others flood our borders while running from oppression. And yes, I would love it if teachers quit conducting themselves as pseudo-psychologists and instead focused on doing their jobs as academics. 

Wouldn't it be wonderful if schools tried teaching Math, English, Science, and History without an undercurrent of Liberal partisanship. Frankly, a teacher's hatred for America, just as with their prejudice in favor of or against one thing, a certain person, or a group compared with another, is not the sort of unfairness that children should learn. 

Public Schools should spend their efforts building a foundation of knowledge that children can use. Children should be leaving school with the ability to comprehend what they read, communicate in writing, accomplish math, understand and appreciate civics, and learn how our government is supposed to function. Such a foundation enables them to communicate, problem-solve, and create practical life skills.

But sadly, that's not happening these days. And yes, that's why we have to start fixing the problems that we have by thinking about alternatives and possibly getting rid of Public Schools that are a part of the problem.

That's just how I see it.

Tom Correa

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

A Homesick Thanksgiving -- Daily Alta California, 1850

The Daily Alta California printed the following on November 23, 1850:

Although there are not many public indications that our good citizens have prepared themselves to pay proper respect to the Governor's proclamation of a day of Thanksgiving, on the 30th of November, I hope that there are numerous preparations going silently on, which will render the day one that it should be. 

It is a good old custom, which men of all nations may enter into with good feelings — in which, forgetting that they are upon foreign soil, they may bless that beneficent providence which has placed them in a free and generous country — and losing sight of the peculiar origin of the custom, men of all religions may bless the common Father of all that he has vouchsafed to us so many blessings as we have enjoyed. 

If we have been denied many delicacies and comforts to which we were accustomed at home, let us bear in mind that we are in a new country, from which privations of someone or another sort are ever inseparable: if we have had sickness, let us remember that no small portion of its causes are attributable to our own imprudences. 

The laws of Nature are inviolable; they form the great system of infinite wisdom, and are not to be expected, by rational men, to be brought down to our whims and wishes, but it is one of the wisest of them that we should conform to their requirements. 

An ever-kind Father has established rules for our guidance, which we have only to comply with to secure at least a certain degree of happiness in life, as well as a positive exemption from many ills which we now suffer. 

As the rain now patters, against my window and upon the roof over my head, thoughts and feelings of home, of dear friends and kindred, come over me with a chastening influence, "like the sweet wind of the fair South." 

Why is it that we love to hear the pattering rain within, which is so unpleasant without? Why does it, here, in our dry country, recall memories of home and of the thousand sweet associations connected with it? In each rain-drop, in each gust that shakes our frail buildings, you may hear kindly whispers from old friends — and in your slumbers fancy yourself in your old Eastern home, where rain is a faithful and welcome guest, whose influence may be seen in the greener foliage which may gladden our eyes upon the morrow and bestow gladness upon the heart of the laborious husbandman. 

And thus, as a rain at home rejuvenates the parched soil, and indeed gives joy to all of God's animate and inanimate creatures, so may our present rain — the precursor of a Thanksgiving — bring kindly thoughts of home, of our dear family circles, and of all the enjoyments we have left behind us, but of which we may fondly hope all there are in full possession. 

A Thanksgiving in California! 

It will be the first in our young State, and let it be such a one as we will long remember. Let men of all sects, of all parties, of all lands, unite to swell the paeans to a good Father, for the garden and goodly land in which we dwell — let us bury deep all private or public animosities, and join hand in hand in a glorious, a universal jubilee! 

In extending so inestimable a custom as that of our annual Thanksgiving to the Pacific, we are still far short of the extent of goodness for which we would be thankful; in perpetuating the custom, we perform an act grateful and beneficent to our own hearts, honorable to ourselves, and valuable to posterity; and not the least, the associations inseparable from the occasion, in bringing to us visions of a Thanksgiving at home, are worth, each hour, in every good influence upon ourselves, and even far more than could be reckoned in California gold.



Sunday, November 19, 2023

November 19th, 1863 -- Lincoln's Gettysburg Address



On this day in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address. His speech that day is considered one of the most memorable speeches in American history. His speech, though just 272- words, served as a reminder to a war-weary American public as to why the Union had to be restored, why they were fighting, and why they had to win the "War Between the States," as the Civil War was also known.

The year 1863 did not start well for the Union. Confederate successes on the battlefield were mounting. At a great cost to both the Union and the Confederacy, the Battle of Gettysburg proved to be the turning point of the war -- especially since it was the beginning of the end of the Confederacy. And frankly, the defeat of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee proved that Lee was beatable. That fact was one that boosted morale in the North. 

More than 51,000 men were killed, injured, captured, or simply went missing at Gettysburg. The Union lost 23,049 men at Gettysburg and the Confederates lost 28,063 men. That was the sort of death toll that took place in merely 3 days of fighting. Yes, in 3 days. And yes, in case you've wondered, that's why it is considered the bloodiest battle of the Civil War.

After the battle, the Gettysburg town and the surrounding area was a horrible place to see. Among the bodies of dead soldiers and trampled fields were dead horses, and ruins of buildings. It's said the air there reeked with the ghastly odor of rotting flesh.

Although both the Union and Confederate Armies buried many of their dead before marching away, many of the dead bodies killed during the battle simply remained where they were killed -- above ground open to the elements and scavengers. Let's remember that Union and Confederate forces fought that battle between July 1 and July 3, 1863, in and around Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. On July 4th, as the Confederate Army retreated, heavy rains washed open many of the shallow graves there.

The town's public buildings and homes and barns of the local farms, many of which were turned into make-shift hospitals during the battle, were occupied by over 20,000 wounded and dying soldiers after the battle. Medical authorities attempted to get the wounded to general hospitals in nearby towns and cities, but it took so long that the last of the wounded did not leave Gettysburg until four days after President Lincoln's visit over four months after the battle.

Many Union dead were embalmed and sent to their homes, and survivors of a few purchased lots for them in Evergreen Cemetery. Confederate dead were buried as individuals or in mass graves near the places of their deaths. After the war, the bodies of some of the known Confederate dead were exhumed and taken to home cemeteries.

Northern states with units in the battle sent representatives to Gettysburg to look after their dead and wounded soldiers. Of them, Governor Andrew G. Curtin of Pennsylvania visited Gettysburg right after the battle and saw its problems firsthand. He named Gettysburg attorney David Wills to represent Pennsylvania's interest in addressing the needs of the dead and wounded soldiers from Pennsylvania units. 

David Wills, together with other Union state representatives, decided that a cemetery should be established for the Union dead. With Gov. Curtin's permission, Wills purchased 17 acres on the northwest slope of Cemetery Hill for a cemetery. He hired the noted landscape architect William Saunders to create a cemetery plan. 

As for the dedication, David Wills invited the Honorable Edward Everett to deliver the main address at the cemetery's dedication on November 19, 1863. Edward Everett had been president of Harvard, Governor of Massachusetts, a former Senator, and a former Secretary of State. He was considered one of the leading orators of his time.

Just two weeks before the cemetery's dedication, David Willis sent a letter to President Lincoln requesting that he attend the dedication and say "a few appropriate remarks" to consecrate the grounds.
President Abraham Lincoln took this to heart and worked on a speech. It is said that he finished his speech as he traveled by train from Washington to Pennsylvania to dedicate the most famous battle in American history. 

The dedication ceremonies began at Noon on November 19, 1863. The program included music by the Marine band, prayers, and hymns. Edward Everett gave an address that reviewed the course of the battle. His speech lasted nearly two hours. 

Lincoln delivered the address during the dedication ceremony of the Soldiers’ National Cemetery in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, in no time at all. It's true. The president's remarks only required a few minutes, but they have become immortal. His speech was concise, lasting only about two minutes. And to show you how short of a speech it was, a photographer there didn't even have time to capture the moment. He only photographed the president as he stepped away from the podium. 

Lincoln began the address by acknowledging the significance of the location, stating that the nation was "conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." 

He emphasized the enduring nature of the American experiment and the importance of preserving the Union. And, despite the profound challenges posed by the Civil War, he went on to frame the conflict not merely as a struggle to preserve the Union but as a test of the ideals upon which the nation was founded. 

Lincoln's Gettysburg Address is revered for its profound message because it speaks directly to what symbolizes the essence of our identity as a people. In that, it speaks to the ideals that unite Americans, our nation's commitment to liberty and the pursuit of a more perfect union, and the ongoing struggle for freedom and equality for all Americans. Not equality for one group at the expense of another, but equality for all Americans.

President Lincoln delivered the 272-word Gettysburg Address on November 19th, 1863 on the battlefield near Gettysburg, Pennsylvania:

"Fourscore and seven years ago our fathers brought forth, on this continent, a new nation, conceived in liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting-place for those who here gave their lives, that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate, we cannot consecrate—we cannot hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they here gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

The Soldiers' National Cemetery was incorporated by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania in March 1864 but was turned over to the United States government as a National Cemetery on May 1, 1872.

The Gettysburg Address, delivered by President Abraham Lincoln on November 19, 1863, is one of the most iconic speeches in American history. The reason that its impact has reverberated throughout the annals of our history has to do with President Lincoln's vision of America. 

He correctly saw America as a republic that draws its strength from its commitment to equality and democracy. His speech reminds us that our vigilance and steadfast desire to safeguard our precious liberty is what is needed to ensure that our republic is a "government of the people, by the people, for the people." In that, we the people ensure a "government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth."

Tom Correa

Saturday, November 18, 2023

The History of Jesus Maria -- Written by Judith Marvin

May contain: nature, outdoors, and countrysideView north down the main street of Jesus Maria, ca. 1900 (Courtesy Calaveras County Historical Society).

An overview history of Jesus Maria is accompanied by more specific histories of: the Milk Ranch owned by Hughes, Beffa, Dotta, Jelmini, and Gnecco families; the town’s stone and adobe stores owned by the Ratto, Lagomarsino, Molle, Gayon, Gnecco, and Cavanna families; the Gregoire Vineyard and Ranch; and the Plumb Ranch.

Overview History

Gold was discovered along the banks of Jesus Maria Creek, a tributary of the Calaveras River, in the earliest days of the Gold Rush.  Jesus Maria, like many other Gold Rush era camps, soon had a reputation for lawlessness and was considered one of the area’s wildest, with fandango houses, saloons, and gambling establishments catering to the miners.  Numerous accounts of violence, robbery, fighting, and murders were recounted. 

By the summer of 1852 the community had settled into a more peaceful existence, as a correspondent for the San Francisco Alta commented:

Jesus Maria – This place, which a short time ago was but an inconsiderable camp, consisting of a few scattered tents, presents now the appearance of a fine and flourishing village.  Large numbers of miners are daily arriving, and houses are springing up with surprising rapidity.  Hill diggings have been struck, and tunneling is carried on to a large extent.  We know of scarcely a single instance of a tunnel in operation there which is not paying something, while some are said to be remarkably rich. Very little is doing on the river, as the water is exceedingly high at present (San Francisco Alta, June 7, 1852).  

The name was derived from a Mexican vegetable peddler who sold to miners in the early 1850s (Gudde 1975:177).  Although Jesus Maria had been living in the town since its establishment, very little is known about him other than assessments for property from 1856-1860, and the 1860 census when he was listed as a miner, from Mexico, aged 53.  

In addition to a large population of Mexicans, the community included Chileans, French, Italians, Americans, and Chinese.  The other prominent name in town, Negro (Nigger) Gulch, was named for two black men who operated a saloon in Mokelumne Hill and mined in the gulch (Matzek 1987).  It refers to the gulch which courses uphill northeasterly from Jesus Maria to Whiskey Slide, a hard rock mining community about a mile away.

As was common in these early placer mining communities, once the easy gold was depleted, the population moved on to richer strikes elsewhere, often just walking away from their properties.  Most of the names in the earliest records were Hispanic, either Mexican or Chilean, but by 1854, many had departed without leaving any record of land transactions.   The community stabilized, however, as stores, butcher shops, saloons, liveries, blacksmiths, dairies, winery, hotels, restaurants, gardens, and farms were established.  The town cast 213 votes in the election of 1854.

Sixteen men were assessed for property in 1854, including French, Mexicans, Italians, Chileans, and Americans.  Identifiable were Ratto & Co’s. Italian Store, John Garnier’s Hotel de France, Francis Dauphine’s Vineyard, Joseph Gayon’s store, John Mandis’ Saloon, Mathews & Holmes Livery Stable, John Solari’s Store (with Molle), and the Boston Flat Ranch (BF-7), about a mile east of town.  

Numerous miners were undoubtedly residing locally, living in tents and cabins, but not assessed for property.  Two years later Louis Dulac opened his French Restaurant, and in 1857 Catherine Fischer operated a butcher shop in her own name, Thomas Phillips had a livery and trading post, and Harry Sing had a wash house (Calaveras County Assessment Rolls, various).

May contain: nature, rural, building, countryside, shelter, outdoors, advertisement, poster, and housing
Adobe home and store of the Cavanna family, 1936 (Courtesy Judge Smith Collection).

By 1858-9, the population in the village peaked with 26 men assessed for businesses or houses in town and the Nigger Gulch School (soon changed to Negro Gulch School) had been established.  

In addition to the businesses mentioned above, a “Milk Ranch” was operating, providing milk to Jesus Maria and vicinity, first by Christopher Hughes, and then by the Swiss Alexander Beffa and Giobatta Dotta; Elias Craig had opened a blacksmith shop; Bartolomeo Ruizzo was operating a confectionary, Eugene Jacob a butcher shop; James Carr a billiard saloon; Louis Rieffel a French bakery; Joseph Michel a butcher shop and clothing store; and four stores were selling groceries and dry goods:  Ratto & Lagomarsino’s Italian Store, Paulo Molle’s Italian Store, Juan Falco’s Store, and David Phillips Store.  

Two Chinese were also assessed: Ah Chin for a Spanish horse and John Sing for a house and lot.  Most of the Chinese, however, resided in a community up a gulch southwest of town, along the road to the Fischer Ranch in Oak Flat (Hughes 2015). 

Other assessed properties were not identified by use and could have simply been the homes of miners (Calaveras County Assessment Rolls, 1858, 1859).  Up Negro Gulch near town, Giobatta Falco was mining on the Mauna Ranch with water from his Falco Ditch.  Mining continued in Jesus Maria Creek and on its banks for several years, however, including Ratto and Lagomarsino and others.  East of town, Bartolomeo Ratto and Giovanni Batista (George) Lagomarsino purchased the Boston Flat Ranch (BF-7). 

These enterprises continued in operation through February 1861, when a fire decimated most of the community.  The fire burned westward on both sides of the street, finally stopping at Falco’s stone store (the later Gnecco home).  With the easy gold recovered, many of the townspeople moved on to more successful diggings, including virtually all of the Mexican population.  Only one Chilean family, that of Manuel and Carmen Mauna, remained. 

After the fire, only 14 properties were assessed; one was Alfred Norton’s Saloon, occupied by Hooper as a billiard saloon.  A New Yorker, Norton was serving as Justice of the Peace, law and order having come to Jesus Maria.  Thomas Tanner had taken over the Hotel de France, but there was no longer an assessment for it after 1865.  

Elias Craig was blacksmithing (southeast of Ctx. 214); Mandis was operating his saloon, selling it to Gayon by 1865; the Falco, Gayon, Molle, and Ratto stores were operating; Beffa was dairying at the Milk Ranch; and Manuel Mauna mining and residing on a ranch on Negro Gulch.  Martin and Catherine Fischer had moved their butchering operation to Oak Flat, about a mile south of Jesus Maria.

As the 1860s wore on, more and more gardeners and farmers settled in the community, taking over the mining ditches from Jesus Maria Creek, Esperanza Creek, and Wet Gulch to irrigate their lands.  Among those who arrived in those years were Joseph and Catherine Costa who had a ranch on the south side of Jesus Maria Creek below town; Stefano and Maria Cavanna, also across the creek below town; J.S. Stevens and Olivia Jacinto who had small farms on the creek one-quarter mile above town; miner Orrin Plumb  who farmed in the creek below his house and barn on the north side of Jesus Maria Road on the east end of town; and several folk who were noted as having small gardens, including Elias Craig, John Estuela, Manuel Mauna, and Francisco Gnecco.  Several ranchers also settled at Whiskey Slide about this time. 

Farmers grew vegetables, potatoes, fruit, and raised livestock, including cattle, hogs, and sheep, while others grew grapes and made wine and brandy.  The most long lasting agricultural enterprise in town was the vineyard and winery of Dauphine/Gregoire/Gnecco.  The vineyard was located near Jesus Maria, running northerly “along the Jesus Maria to Whiskey Slide Road about one mile to a post marked D.F., east about 100 rods, bounded south by Plumb’s fence, about 100 rods to Boston Flat Road, along Boston Flat Road to beginning” (Deed Book B:409). 

In April 1857 Dauphine sold half of his land to Francois Fouroche, who sold to James Gregoire in 1862, and in June 1871, Gregoire advertised “Ranch For Sale Cheap,” located at Jesus Maria, with an enclosed pasture of 400 acres, securely fenced with rails, and a ranch of 40 acres fenced with pickets; containing 6,000 grape vines, all in full bearing; a shed, 40 x 20 feet, three stables, each 40 feet in length, built in 1870, costing $600 when built, with the entire property offered for $500” (Calaveras Prospect, July 1871).  Gregoire’s house, barn, and sheds were recorded as BF-4 CTX 230)

John Gnecco
John Gnecco

Two years later James and Elisa Lancell Gregoire deeded the property to Eugene Jacob, acting in company with John Deforse, for $200.  The deed included a ditch conveying water from Jesus Maria Creek to a garden on the south bank of the creek, and a house, barn, and fence.  

In 1873-4, Francisco Gnecco was assessed for Gregoire’s Vineyard, located back of Gregoire’s house.  By 1876 he was also assessed for 1000 gallons of wine and 50 gallons of brandy, evidently continuing the French winemaking tradition.  

From 1875 thereon, Gregoire’s Vineyard was assessed to John Gnecco, who had taken over his father’s properties.  Over the ensuing years the vineyard was noted as 10 acres, 18 acres, and eventually three acres by the 1930s. 

Whatever the size of the vineyard, John Gnecco had the most enduring and successful business in Jesus Maria.  His wife Louisa (Lagomarsino) was known for her hospitality, serving teamsters and travelers from their home on the north side of Main Street in the west end of town.  She also grew melons, alfalfa, sugar beets for cattle, and made cheese from milk.  In addition, the family raised cattle, taking them to Jelmini Basin and Bear Trap in Alpine County during the summer months after they acquired the Jelmini properties in 1910.  John grew vegetables, distilled grappa, made wine and brandy, and, during the Depression, his son Frank was recalled as having “made whiskey and made money” (Hughes 2015). 

As was common in areas in Calaveras County that were distant from established townsites, once the government surveys were completed in the early 1870s, all claimants in town allowed a prominent landowner, usually a merchant, to patent the land, then deed the properties back to them, thus providing legal title. This occurred in Jesus Maria with merchant Francisco Gnecco.  

On April 10, 1875, Gnecco patented the lands within the townsite, deeding individual properties back to the original owners.  In 1877, Francisco moved back to Italy and deeded his Jesus Maria properties to his son Giovanni Batista (John), who continued the tradition.  When people moved away, many of them sold their properties to the Gneccos as well. 

historic photo of JM Gnecco house
Gnecco house in Jesus Maria in 1890, with Louisa Lagomarsino Gnecco and children Frank and Grace on the porch.  It burned in 1898.

A few stores, a butcher shop, dairy, saloon, blacksmith, vineyard, farms and ranches survived into the mid-1870s, but by the 1880s only a handful of properties in the village were extant.  

By that time, Joseph Gayon was still selling wine and groceries, Stefano Cavanna and family were farming, Gnecco was making wine and brandy, Paul Lancell was operating the old Jacob butcher shop in Falco’s old store, the Maunas were operating a saloon in town, and Jelmini was running cows and cattle.  

Up at Camp Whiskey Slide, the Phillips family had settled near the Hughes, Moffitt, and Wilhelm ranching families, where the Negro Gulch School was established in 1858.

By 1894, the only folk in town were John and Louisa Gnecco residing in the old Falco store, adapted into a fine two-story house ner  the center of town. Also in residence were Gaetano and Johanna Jelmini on the west end of town; Bartolo Cavanna owning the old Ratto Italian Store, and residing with his mother Mary in Gayon’s old adobe store; Manuel and Carmen Mauna on the north side of Main Street; and Orrin Plumb’s sons on his ranch.  

Agostino Lagomarsino had taken over his brother’s ranch at Boston Flat and was residing there with his daughter, Celestina Giuffra, and her family.

May contain: human, person, animal, mammal, horse, dog, canine, pet, building, housing, and furniture
John and Louisa Gnecco's new home in Jesus Maria`; it burned in 1936.

The Gneco home burned in 1898, but they soon built a new one-story house a bit west, south of Molle’s old adobe store (Ctx. 207) .  

In 1907, only the Cavannas, Maunas, Gneccos, and Johanna Jelmini were assessed in town.  

The widowed Celestina Giuffra had purchased the Plumb ranch, but was residing in her Boston Flat Ranch.  

By 1918, only the Cavanna stone and adobe buildings and Gnecco home were assessed.  The second Gnecco home burned in 1936, and a newspaper reporter commented, “since this latest fire, there remains on the historical old townsite of Jesus Maria only one building to attest to the affluence of the town in the boon ‘50s, a stone and adobe structure (actually two structures), known as the old Cavanna house” (Calaveras Prospect, January 18, 1936.  

In 1947 Willard Hughes, whose ancestors had once owned the first livery and dairy ranch in town, purchased the townsite from Frank Gnecco.

Of the 1850s’ buildings, only three were to last until the 20th century:  Ratto & Co. stone store, Joseph Gayon’s adobe store, and Paulo Molle’s adobe store; the stone store of Giovanni Falco -- subsumed into the Gnecco home by the 1880s -- was demolished when it burned in 1898.  The other early buildings in town were of frame construction, and either burned, were torn down, or collapsed over the ensuing years.  

The only remaining standing building, Molle’s ca.1854 adobe– later known as the Gnecco Winery – was destroyed in the 2015 Butte Fire.

Story by Judith Marvin, 2016, Calaveras County Historical Society

Thursday, November 9, 2023

Jewish Americans Buy Guns For Protection Against The Left


There is a part of me that feels sorry for Jewish Americans who have solidly supported their Leftist friends but now find themselves in a position of being threatened by their so-called friends. Imagine the awakening they must be going through. One day they find themselves supporting Democrats and so-called Progressives, and the next day they find themselves having to buy guns to protect themselves and their family from being harmed by the very people that they were allied with. It happens. It's sad. But yes, it happens.

So how does that work exactly for those on the Left?

Well, for years, Jewish Americans on the Left protested with those whom they thought were their friends. They marched together against American oil companies and were too dumb to understand that they were supporting Foreign oil companies that sponsor terrorist groups. They chanted together with other Liberals for the right to kill babies and saw nothing wrong with killing a child at birth. Of course, it never dawned on them that anyone who would find it so easy to kill a child would also find it very easy to kill them and their family.

They attended the same universities where extremely well-paid professors condemned America and brainwashed them into thinking that slavery to a Communist government was better than freedom in a representative democracy. They didn't care to ask why Communism has never been successful, why people flee Communist states, or how it is to live under Communism. Like good Leftists, they simply drank the Kool-Aid and accepted everything they were told. Of course, they were too busy condemning America to even understand that in a dictatorial Communist state -- they wouldn't have been allowed to condemn the state. 

Of course, they and their Leftist pals attended the same classes that told them why they should question their gender even though a trip to the restroom confirms what sex they are. And yes, they even sat together and commiserated about how those nasty Conservatives are so narrow-minded when it comes to their not wanting to limit our 2nd Amendment Rights. They could never see the reason why anyone would need a firearm of any sort -- they and their vegan buddies even wanted to take the guns away from hunters. And now, they are actually thinking differently about owning large-capacity magazines and a rifle that could be used for defensive purposes.

So, what changed? Why the turn around on seeing guns as "useful tools" rather than "instruments of death"? What made the Jewish American who has been on the Left suspect that his or her Leftist friends are full-of-shit and worse -- they want to hurt you and your family.

Well, that awakening came about after October 7th of this year. This year, 2023, is a year that has opened the eyes of millions of Americans and not only Jewish Americans. After years of Democrats and the Left telling America that MAGA Americans, those White Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, and Black Americans who are Conservative, are America's Public Enemy number one, Jewish Americans on the Left now realize that that's all been a lie.

They have found out that it's their pals, the Democrats, and so-called Progressives that they've identified with, those on the Left who have all sorts of ideas of how the world would be perfect if we all simply allowed the government to "rule us," that now want them dead because they are Jews.

It's their pals who are marching in the streets and in universities by the hundreds of thousands. It's their pals who have now shown themselves to be the real enemies of America. It's their pals who have turned on them. It's the Left that's been chanting "Gas the Jews!" "Kill the Jews!" "Wipe Out Israel!" "From the River to the Sea!" Those pals of theirs now want them, their families, their race, exterminated.

They can't believe their fair-weather friends would be so hateful, have such bloodlust, be such Racists, be the Fascists that they were told were the Conservatives. Jewish Americans across the board, from the young in colleges to the old who supported Biden, are finding out the truth about who they've been running with. 

And yes, my friends, as hard as it is for them to believe, it's their friends, their fellow travelers, and their Communist comrades, who are now openly supporting the Hamas terrorists. And really, it must be a bit of a shock to see their pals support the evil who decapitated babies, raped the young and the old before slaughtering them, and burned others alive on October 7th in Israel.

The awakening of Jewish Americans to the truth of who the Left really is is something that no one thought we'd see in our lifetime. Like other Leftists, Liberal Jews believed with all their hearts that the hoax called "Climate Change" was going to destroy the earth. 

But now, Jewish Americans are watching the Left protesting and their huge rallies are calling for their death. And really, it must be tough for them to find out they don't need to worry about Climate Change or the supposed threat from MAGA Americans --  when in fact they are learning that the real threat to all of humanity and the Jewish race specifically comes from their Liberal friends.   

Their friends are the real Racists and fascists in America. Their friends support Hamas and other Muslim terrorists. It's their friends who want the Jewish race exterminated. Because Jewish Americans wake to see another day, they are the enemy of those who support groups like Hamas. And as shocking as it is to Jewish Americans, they now see that it's their friends who are acting no differently than the Nazis of the 1930s and 1940s Germany who slaughtered 6,000,000 Jews during the Holocaust.

It's a hard lesson to find out that you've been friends with people who side with the terrorists and who want to kill you, people like you, and other Jews. And yes, that's why like so many other Jewish Americans since October 7th, many have decided that they need to buy a gun to protect themself against those on the Left. They have learned that those so-called friends of theirs see Jews as people who should be exterminated.

Frankly, that's a hard way to learn that you need to buy a gun to protect yourself. Fear of being killed is a great motivator to fight to stay alive. And to stay alive, high numbers of Jewish Americans, those who have acknowledged the threat coming from Democrats and so-called Progressives for what it is, are now buying guns at record numbers.

They are smart to do so since the government can’t protect them. And since history looks like it is repeating itself,  and the times look a lot like what took place in Nazi Germany in the 1930s and 1940s, purchasing weapons out of fear for the safety of themselves, their communities, and their families is smart. 

Of course, when the Left comes to get them, the only hope for defenseless Jewish Americans will be the protection they get from MAGA Americans. Ironically, the people who will fight to protect Jewish Americans are those very people whom the Left has told the Jews to hate.

That's how I see it.

Tom Correa 

Sunday, November 5, 2023

The Benson Stage Debacle -- by Joyce Aros


by Joyce Aros

From the June 2006 issue of Tombstone Times

The story has been told and retold. In fact, one could not relate the build-up to the gunfight on Fremont Street without including the account about the Benson stage robbery attempt and the shooting of Bud Philpot. It is one of the major peripheral factors in the events of October 26, 1881.

As it turns out, it may be even more important than that! It has been one of the enduring mysteries of old Tombstone... did Doc Holliday really have anything to do with that attempted robbery and did he actually shoot Bud Philpot?

For me the story was a paradox. On the one hand, though I believed Doc Holliday to be capable of almost anything to do with money, I really had a hard time seeing him as a highwayman. After all, wasn't he a smartly dressed urban man who loved the atmosphere of saloons, cigar smoke and playing cards? Yes, indeed, so what would entice him to be out on a dusty desert road with a bunch of rough cowboy types holding up a stage? It just didn't fit my image.

But then there was the other side of the coin. Kate Elder, his common-law wife. Now, Kate and Doc had a very volatile relationship as was well known at the time. There is some indication that it occasionally came to blows. And these kinds of fights often result in a temporary loss of loyalty by one party or the other. Perhaps this happened in Kate's case, for she did indeed turn on Doc in a way she had not done before. She accused him of murder!

But let me give you the background knowledge you need to understand this whole story. On March 15th, 1881, the Sandy Bob stage out from Tombstone and on its way to Benson was robbed. Actually, it was an attempted robbery. 

The driver, Bud Philpot, was in reality to be the shotgun messenger at the time, and Bob Paul was to have been the driver. But at some point and for some reason, they changed positions, perhaps to give the driver a chance to warm his hands, as March can be chilly in this desert. 

As the stage slowed for a small incline in the road, a masked bandit appeared in the path of the coach and demanded that the driver pull up. Bob Paul immediately raised his shotgun to resist the attempt, but the gunman fired first, killing Philpot. The startled horses bolted and the highwaymen took off, losing out on the desired Wells Fargo booty of twenty-six thousand dollars in pure silver. I cannot tell you how much that would be in today's money, but the general consensus seems to be to multiply by ten.

The driver was able to get the team under control and drove it into Benson where he quickly sent a telegram to Tombstone with the necessary information regarding the attempted hold-up and the subsequent murders of Philpot and Peter Roerig, the hapless passenger who had been shot at as the horses sped away. 

A large posse was gathered and took off after the robbers in a cloud of dust and excitement. This would seem to be some time after ten o'clock at night when the news arrived and was probably closer to midnight by the time men and horses were choking the road with heel dust. 

There were two posses, one led by Virgil Earp. With him were Wyatt, Morgan, Bat Masterson, Doc Holliday and Marshall Williams. A formidable bunch to be sure. The other group was led by Johnny Behan and did not include such notable names.

Jim Crane, Harry Head, and Billy Leonard were accused of the crime but were never located. One man who was with them, Luther King, was found and brought back to the sheriff's jail, but miraculously escaped shortly thereafter and was never heard from again.

I am not going to ramble on with the continuing details of posse accounts and resulting disappointments for all. The case was never really solved. The outlaws that were believed to be involved met various violent ends in a short time. All except one. It seems there was another man with Leonard, Head and Crane. We are not talking about the in and out escapee. He just held the horses and seemed to have little stomach for the rough stuff; but there was someone else who disappeared into the night right after the attempted hold-up.

At this point I am going to quote an item from a Tucson newspaper, The Arizona Daily Star, dated March 26th, 1882. The article is titled "The Vendetti," and was written after the so-called vendetta ride of the Earp gang after the brothers were attacked. The news piece attempts to review the events leading up to and after the Fremont Street murders.

"...The trouble between the Earps and the Clanton and McLowry boys grew out of the robbery of the Benson stage. On March 15th1881, the stage with Wells, Fargo & Co.'s express left Tombstone for Benson with a large treasure, 'Bud' Philpot driving and Bob Paul as Wells, Fargo & Co.'s messenger. The coach left at 6:00pm and at 7:30pm, while only 200 yards out from the first station, the order to halt was given. Simultaneously with it two shots were fired, one of which killed the driver and the other perforated the cushion upon which Paul was setting. 

The driver fell off, carrying the lines with him, and the horses ran away. Paul emptied his gun, returning shot for shot, but without effect. The horses kept running, and the robbers kept shooting, and in all fired some twenty shots at the retreating stage with its load of ten passengers. 

They succeeded in killing one man who was on top. Paul managed to stop the team, gathered up the lines and drove rapidly to Benson, where he telegraphed the news to Tombstone. Immediately all was excitement. Agent Williams of Wells, Fargo & Co. and the Earp brothers were rushing around, preparing to hunt the robbers. 

At 8:30 that same evening Doc Holliday rode up to a saloon in Charleston, ten miles from the scene of the attempted robbery and inquired of Billy Clanton. On being told that he was not there, started in the direction of Tombstone, which was nine miles distant, and about 10:00 o'clock rode up to a saloon on a back street in Tombstone and called for a big drink of whiskey, which he drank at a gulp, without dismounting. His horse at the time was covered with foam. 

This all happened before the news of the murder reached Tombstone. At midnight the agent and the Earp brothers, with Holliday, left town to meet Paul. It was too dark to follow a trail when they arrived on the ground, so they camped until morning. 

They found three masks made of hay rope and about twenty large-size rifle cartridges. They then took the trail and followed it for about three weeks without catching any one but a supposed accomplice, and he was assisted by some unknown person to escape from the custody of the sheriff while consulting with his lawyer...."

So now you have been over the account twice and it sounds like a pretty routine stick-'em-up for the time period. But wait... it gets better.

Let's take the notorious Ike Clanton and try to flesh him out a bit. He is always spoken of as that miserable loud-mouthed coward that got his kid brother killed and then ran away, groveling somewhere under somebody's back stoop. The movies show him off even worse, almost licking Wyatt Earp's boots as he begs for his life. 

Wow! If that were really so, I don't think Ike Clanton could have spent another 24 hour period in the whole of Cochise county. Cowards were not suffered gracefully by the cowboy crowd and Ike's existence would have been too miserable to bear. Actually, reminiscing old timers around Charleston recall that it was Billy Claiborne and Johnny Behan that were censured by the folks around for not helping the McLaurys and Billy Clanton. There was no bad feeling about Ike Clanton. There has got to be more to the story.

To quote the succeeding paragraph... "The news of Holliday's ride becoming known, coupled with the facts that he was seen mounted and armed in the early part of the afternoon, ostensibly to go to Mexico, caused many surmises, and not a few made the remark that the 'robbers were hunting themselves.' Before the return of the agent's posse it became known that Billy Leonard, Jim Crane and Harry Head were interested in the murder, and it was their trail that Paul was following. Wells, Fargo & Co. offered a large reward for them, but it was of no use...."

Our interest in these lengthy quotes is in regard to John Henry Holliday and his late night ride to... Mexico?... then Charleston... then to a back street saloon in Tombstone... and then to join the midnight ride of the posses. 

If we go back to the middle of the account, we see that about 8:30 pm, an hour after the attempted hold-up and only nine miles away, Doc Holliday turns up in a saloon in Charleston, of all places, when he has been reported to be on his way to Mexico for an extended period of time. 

In Charleston he is asking for Billy Clanton! He has never met the nineteen year old cowboy and logically, should have no interest in him whatsoever, yet here he is well off his supposed path to Mexico to seek this very person. Why? What reason could he have to make such an effort?

Possibly the answer might be found in the correspondence of Will McLaury, the older brother of Frank and Tom McLaury. Will had come to Tombstone just a few days after he received word of the deaths of his two brothers. 

The older McLaury was a lawyer and joined the prosecution team at the Hearing proceedings against the Earps and Doc Holliday regarding the gunfight known as the O.K. Corral showdown. He wrote to his brother-in-law, D.D. Applegate in Toledo, Ohio, a letter wherein he describes what he understands to be the cause of the gunfight. 

I'll quote the pertinent portion ... "The cause of it was this; some time ago, Holliday, one of the murderers, attempted to rob the express of Wells-Fargo & Co. and in so doing killed a stage driver and a passenger and the other parties involved with him the Earp brothers were interested in the attempted express robbery and young Clanton, who was killed, a boy 18 years old, knew the facts about the attempted robbery and had told his brother, J.I. Clanton, Thos. and Robt. And they had got up facts intending to prosecute him Holliday and the Earp brothers and Holliday had information of it. It is now known that the other two men who knew of the murder in the attempted robbery have since then been killed in Mexico, the report was by 'greasers' but at the time they were killed, Holliday was out of town 'said to be visiting relatives in Georgia.'"

It is fair to say that Will McLaury's view of the tragic consequence to his brothers is biased. But the opposing viewpoints are also. However, it still gets better...because we have the action of Big Nose Kate, Doc's girlfriend!

Though most women in that day and age probably knew very little about what their men were doing, Kate was in a unique position. Wives and sweethearts of the menfolk of that day would be more submissive and less likely to make inroads into a mans' world. But Kate, ever plying her trade in the saloons, would not only be less submissive but also able to pick up on a lot of talk and action in the environment she breathed in. And as Doc likely treated her more as a concubine than a wife, he probably talked pretty freely around her as well. She would not be as sheltered from language and back-street talk as would the more respected wife. And so it is reasonable to assume that Kate knew what was going on with the Benson stage robbery and Doc's involvement with it, and by extension, the Earps' activity as well. Her association with the group via Doc had to have allowed her to be privy to some things she had best not share with the general public.

Kate was a drinker. And she started drinking heavily after some sort of argument with Doc that may or may not have gotten physical. She no doubt complained about her treatment to anyone in the saloon who would listen to her, as drunken women are reputed to do. Johnny Behan listened and got an earful. Talk about a happy man! 

At the time, there was a great deal of suspicion that Doc had been involved in the hold-up and was indeed the triggerman. Therefore, when Kate began to complain about Doc's abuse, which she often claimed came from his association with the much-disliked Earps; she also voiced her belief about Doc's contribution to the tragic bloodletting. Could this actually be the chance to incarcerate the unpopular Holliday... maybe even hang him? Behan had to be beside himself with joy.

Never one to miss such an opportunity, Behan likely bought a few more rounds for Kate before giving her pen and paper. Just a little insurance! 

Only a woman scorned and mistreated and tending toward drowning her sorrows would take such a risk. Kate was indeed a sad creature. Angry and hurt, the alcohol caused her to throw caution to the winds and lose sight of any immediate consequences. She signed a complaint against Doc.

The Nugget of July 6th, 1881, reported that Holliday was arrested on July 5th; charged with complicity in the Benson stage hold-up on the complaint of Kate Elder. But, he was freed on a $5000 bail that was put up by Wyatt Earp and friends.

Then Kate was arrested the following day by Virgil Earp. She was arrested for drunk and disorderly conduct in one of the town's saloons. For some reason, Virgil did not feel compelled to arrest all the other likely drunken patrons of the saloon. No cell room, I guess.

Kate was held for several days without any formal charges. The Earps were not above 'framing mischief by law,' so to speak, and though this seems like a relatively small but uncomfortable situation, it was a frightening one for Kate. 

It would be naïve to think that the jail time did not include some sage advice about travel arrangements and even some threats from the Earp faction. Kate knew these men and she didn't like them. She complied and recanted for her release. Doc's appearance in court was short as Kate now refused to testify. The case was thrown out, but we get a good look at the way the Earps operate. It should not be forgotten.

Now I want to get back to Doc's hasty ride into Charleston right after the stage was attacked. I am very concerned about his desire to find Billy Clanton. And from what Will McLaury had to say in his letter to his brother-in-law about the whole episode, there's good reason to be. Doc hated the cowboys and just did not associate with them at all. 

Why go looking for a young cowboy late at night, lathering up his horse to do it, when he had never met the boy? In my mind... why else but to threaten or kill him! Either Doc or someone of his group saw the young man in the vicinity of the hold-up. One of the group recognized him. They knew he had seen them commit the crime, just as Will McLaury wrote in his letter. 

Billy Clanton had been working cattle in the area all day. He was heading home to the ranch and was either on the Charleston road or cutting across it. He may even have come close to the group in the dark after they took off their hemp rope masks, for that evening there was a bright moon. At any rate, he knew who pulled off the attempt and he told his brother and the McLaurys. And possibly sealed his fate!

That is how the circumstantial evidence stacks up. Billy's witnessing what happened and then Kate backing it up. Witnesses saw Doc in Charleston right after the stick-up and others saw him race into town to a back-street saloon he likely never frequented, his horse totally winded and lathered when he had said he was off for a few days to Mexico! And, interestingly, Doc was spotted on the road from Charleston that evening by another almost unimpeachable witness, John Slaughter, who was driving with his wife in a buggy. Slaughter said there was no doubt in his mind it was Doc Holliday he saw in the moonlight. Slaughter is a tough one to deny!

But there is yet another suspicious act on the part of the not-too-clever Holliday. On October 26th, 1881, as Billy Clanton and Frank McLaury were leaving the Grand Hotel to go hunt up their brothers, Doc Holliday approached Billy, introduced himself and shook hands with the puzzled boy, saying that he was "glad to meet him". 

He didn't approach Frank McLaury or Billy Allen or Major Frink, those who were with Billy. Just Billy Clanton. Billy rarely came into town, so it seems obvious to me, at any rate, after his seeking the young cowboy in Charleston that night unsuccessfully, that Doc wanted to identify the boy... make sure he shot the right one... the eye witness. He did! Billy Clanton was mortally wounded at the onset of the fight on Fremont Street in another hour or so. 

Many witnesses testified that Doc and Morgan Earp shot first, and one of the first ones shot was Billy Clanton, despite his hands raised and his statement that he did not want to fight.

One other little thing of note to throw in the pot; Holliday was a close personal friend of Billy Leonard, one of the robbers. They had known each other before either one came to Tombstone, and the story goes that Doc was known to go and visit Leonard out of town several times before the robbery took place. Though Leonard was a friend of Doc's, he didn't hesitate to describe him as a "shiftless, bagged-legged character; a killer and professional cut-throat and not a wit too refined to rob stages or even steal sheep..."

So what do we make of all this? Did the Earps know what Doc had done? Almost surely! Were they in on it? That's up for debate but it seems possible. For sure they wanted to protect Doc from his own folly and protect themselves from the damning fallout. 

Wyatt had a burning ambition to be the next sheriff of Cochise County, a real money-maker of a job. The kickback from collecting taxes and other fees was considerable, to say the least. But this stuff with Doc Holliday and murder! That could really kill his chances if Doc couldn't be cleared in some way. Wyatt's brain was buzzing!

And of course, the crafty Wyatt came up with a plan. His posse had chased the outlaws all over creation for more than three weeks trying to catch them. It was important that they be apprehended, and in the course of their capture, likely be shot for resisting arrest. That way they would never spill the beans about Doc's (or the Earps) complicity in the botched hold-up. 

Why would I think that? Well, I am going to rely on the newspaper account in the Star again. The 'Vendetti' article explains it.

"...So matters rested for some time, until, as Ike Clanton swears, Wyatt Earp called him aside and told him that he would guarantee him (Ike) all of the Wells, Fargo & Co.'s reward and one thousand dollars more on top of it, if he would induce Leonard and Head to come to some ranch in the neighborhood of Tombstone so that he (Wyatt) could surprise and kill them. 

He gave as his reasons that they had failed to realize anything from the attempted robbery and they might squeal sometime. Crane had been killed by the Mexicans with 'Old Man Clanton,' so there was nothing to fear from him. To satisfy Clanton that he meant business, Earp had Wells Fargo's agent telegraph to San Francisco asking whether the reward would be paid dead. The answer came back yes. But while negotiations were pending Leonard and Crane were both killed in New Mexico for cattle stealing..."

This is really interesting and falls right in line with Earp's ambitions. He'll deal with anyone to attain his ends. At the time, it would seem he was on some sort of friendly terms with Ike Clanton or he wouldn't have approached him. Ike was the man in the valleys who had his finger on the pulse. He was well connected and well informed about everything going on in the surrounding environment of the outlaws. If anyone could help with the capture certainly Ike could... but would he?

There is not one writer I have read that didn't think Ike greedily jumped at the chance and even dragged in his equally greedy companions, the McLaurys. I just don't buy it. It doesn't fit. Ike was a wheeler-dealer of sorts, a businessman more than anything else, though a rough-edged cowboy for sure. But it seems he was a broker for the ranchers and butchers and even the army in dealing with the stolen cattle market. He had a strong business relationship with the rustlers who supplied a very demanding meat market. Ike was the go-between, the buffer. 

Would he jeopardize that for a deal that would benefit no one but Wyatt Earp? I don't think so. Ike was not short of cash. He handled huge amounts for the people he did business with and made a fat profit or he wouldn't be doing it. $6000 split three ways (Earp says the McLaurys were in on it) was not enough for any of them to take the risk of being found out. There's no doubt they would be killed. 

It has become apparent in different accounts that Frank McLaury was very cautious in crossing some of those men as he helped out Billy Breakenridge with one or two problems. Such a treacherous act as setting up some 'friends' of his would definitely be disastrous for any of them as it would be sure to leak out eventually. No, I don't believe Ike went for it at all.

But many people do because that's the way Wyatt Earp tells it. It seems that Ike told of the proposition that Earp made him, and when Earp heard about it, it made bad blood between them. Couple that with Doc's finding out that the Clantons and McLaurys knew of his involvement in the Benson stage hold-up and you can see where this is going. Those cowboys were ruining everything for the Earps and their plans to become rich and powerful in Tombstone. Something had to be done!

It was. The chips all fell into place for the Earps when all the parties came together on October 26th, 1881 in the vacant lot off Fremont Street. But it was no real benefit to the Earps after all. As usual, they made the wrong play and shortsightedly botched their long term plans to be big players in the territory.

--- The above article is by Joyce Aros 

I'm always a little fascinated by articles like this. The writer took a look at an event and gives her analysis of what took place -- as well as her take on some of the characters involved. And just so you know, I've read where some people who claim to be Earp Experts don't like what she wrote in her books. And as you've heard me say over the years, I have very little respect for many of those so-called "Experts." When it comes to the Earps, I've found them to be more like infatuated adolescent fans rather than objective researchers. 

So what do you think? For me, this is one of those article that I have to read and re-read a few times to see what might go against what I already know about what took place during that stage robbery and killing. I do have to say that I respect her analysis and I'll really give it some thought. 

So why do I like articles like this, especially since I know it goes against the "accepted story" of what took place? Well, while her view of things is in contrast to what the "accepted story" of what took place, she really makes a lot of litgitimate points. 

That's not a bad thing at all. In fact, since I've come to the conclusion that the Earp family as a whole were no where near being honorable people, certainly not choir boys, I really believe that sometimes the "accepted story" is just not true. 

Maybe after some digging, I'll be able to report back to you to say whether she was right or not. After all, she might be. 

Tom Correa