Wednesday, May 29, 2024

The Wyatt Earp Myth: America’s Most Famous Vigilante Wasn’t


Wyatt Earp famously delivered justice the American way—except it’s all a lie, says biographer Andrew Isenberg.

Story by Andrew C. Isenberg
Published Jul. 21, 2013 
Updated Jul. 11, 2017  


Eighty-five years ago in Los Angeles, the Western lawman Wyatt Earp, who participated in an infamous gunfight in Tombstone, Arizona, in 1881, met with an aspiring screenwriter, Stuart Lake, and began to dictate his memoirs. Four years later, Lake sold the screen rights to Earp’s story to Fox, and the first of what would be dozens of Earp films went into production.

By now, most Americans have learned what they know of Wyatt Earp from the screen. Older viewers may have first learned of Earp in 1957 from Gunfight at the OK Corral, which starred Burt Lancaster, or, between 1955 and 1961, from the ABC television program The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, starring Hugh O’Brian. Younger Americans know Earp from 1993’s Tombstone, with Kurt Russell as Earp, or 1994’s Wyatt Earp, starring Kevin Costner. Harrison Ford is reportedly planning to play Earp in a film adaptation of the 2007 novel Black Hats.

Over the decades, film and television has told a consistent narrative about Earp. According to the screen, he reluctantly pinned on a badge and was drawn into the Tombstone gunfight because of his sense of duty, his unshakable commitment to law and order, and his loyalty to his brothers, also lawmen. 

After the gunfight resulted in the deaths of three cowboys, the dead men’s allies exacted their revenge on the Earps by shooting two of Wyatt’s brothers in the back, killing one and crippling the other. Despairing of bringing the men responsible to justice in the frontier courts, Earp, wearing a Deputy U.S. Marshal’s badge, hunted down and killed some of the men he deemed responsible.

Some screen treatments admit some flaws in Earp’s character, yet all of the films condone Earp’s vigilante killings. Justice, in this view, is found not in fickle courtrooms, but in the character of stalwarts such as Earp, who possess an innate sense of law and order. It is a view that suggests, to paraphrase Mao, that justice grows out of the barrel of a gun.

This view of Earp is deeply cherished in some political quarters, where it has long been invoked to rationalize extra-legal justice. In the 1930s, Earp was a symbol of the FBI’s extra-legal methods of battling organized crime; in the 1950s, he was a symbol of the extra-legal methods in the fight against communism. The echoes are loud and clear in George W. Bush’s post-9/11 vow to bring justice to terrorists “dead or alive,” a vow that rationalized a disregard for privacy, civil rights, and due process.

One can hear the echoes in Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s “immigration posse,” which interdicts suspected illegal immigrants and includes among its members a Phoenix man, Wyatt Earp, who is not only the namesake of the 1880s lawman but claims to be his nephew. (This latter-day Earp had a small role in 1993’s Tombstone.) Not least of all, it resounds in National Rifle Association CEO Wayne LaPierre’s oft-repeated statement that "the only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun."

The irony is that the idealization of Earp as a good guy with a gun, an unswerving servant of law and order, is a myth. As a young man, Earp was arrested for horse theft and consorting with prostitutes. He was run out of a Texas town for trying to sell a rock painted yellow as a gold brick. 

He was drawn to police work not because of a devotion to the law but because, during the Gilded Age when public corruption was rampant, it was an easy source of cash. He went to court in 1896 for having refereed a fixed heavyweight championship prizefight, and as late as 1911, at age 63, he was arrested by the Los Angeles police for running a crooked card game.

The Earp myth originated not in Hollywood, but with Earp himself. Particularly following the 1896 scandal (which was the biggest sports gambling controversy until the fixed 1919 World Series) he became nationally renowned as a flim-flam man. 

Casting around for a way to remake his reputation, Earp stumbled upon Owen Wister’s popular 1901 Western novel, The Virginian, in which the hero participates in a gunfight and, reluctantly though necessarily, according to the author, in a vigilante hanging for horse theft. Earp seized on the interpretation. 

He became a fixture at Hollywood studios, befriended the early Western silent-film stars William S. Hart and Tom Mix, and dictated his Wister-inflected memoirs—with the arrest record expunged — several times over the last decades of his life. Like Jay Gatsby or Don Draper, Earp reinvented himself — and he used the newly created film industry as his tool.

Earp’s story is thus fundamental to American culture, but it is not the story with which we are familiar. It is not about the redemptive power of violence, but the redemptive power of the media. That we know Earp not as a "confidence-man" but as a duty-bound law officer was his most enduring and successful confidence game. Somebody should make a movie about that.

About the Author


Andrew C. Isenberg is the Hall Distinguished Professor of American History at the University of Kansas. He is a specialist in environmental history, Native American history, and the history of the North American West and its borderlands. He was born in Chicago, Illinois, and educated at St. Olaf College, from which he graduated magna cum laude. He received his Ph.D. in History from Northwestern University. He previously taught at the University of Puget Sound, Brown University, Princeton University, and Temple University.

Isenberg has appeared in a number of documentaries, including National Geographic's America Before Columbus in 2009, American Experience in 2010, The American West in 2016, and Ken Burns' The American Buffalo in 2023. He has published The Destruction of the Bison: An Environmental History, 1750-1920 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000), Mining California: An Ecological History (New York: Hill and Wang, 2005), and Wyatt Earp: A Vigilante Life (New York: Hill and Wang, 2013).

If you would like to read my review of Andrew C. Isenberg's Wyatt Earp: A Vigilante Life, please click here. Wyatt Earp's Biography By Stuart Lake -- Part 2

Tom Correa

Monday, May 27, 2024

Wyatt Earp Was Seen As A Bad Man of the Squared Circle

If you like first-hand accounts of historical events as much as I do, you'll enjoy this from The Los Angeles Herald, Volume 34, Number 104, 13 January 1907:



George Siler and Tim Hurst Among Notable Ring Officials

Wyatt Earp Bad Man of the Squared Circle

Good, competent boxing referees are scarce nowadays. Of the men active in presiding over the championship glove flights during the last ten or fifteen years George Siler of Chicago is practically the only one still in harness.

Siler's most recent engagement was in the Gans-Nelson battle at Goldfield, Nev., when he declared the colored man winner on a foul in the forty-third round, much to the satisfaction of a majority of the spectators.

Siler has refereed many fights. Some were private affairs at which there were comparatively few spectators because of the obscure reputations of the principals, while others attracted the attention of sporting men all over the world.

Because of an almost perfect knowledge of the rules of the ring, coupled with rugged honesty and cool-headed judgment, Slier has come to be regarded as the best boxing referee in America if not In the world.

Much of his fame has been earned by presiding over heavyweight contests, several of them for the championship, when Corbett put old Cullivan out at New Orleans, nearly fifteen years ago, John Dully was the referee. When Sullivan was reeling around the ring In front of the storm of jabs and punches that Corbett rained upon him he turned to Duffy with a fierce glare.

"I can't see him at all," growled Sullivan. "He's too young and fast for me."

Duffy, who had always admired Sullivan, nodded his head and said:

"That's right, John. Shall I stop It?"

"Stop nothing:" replied the fading champion.

John L. Game

"I'm here to get my medicine from a better man. So you live up to the rules."

When Duffy counted Sullivan out In the twenty-first round he was crying like a schoolboy.

Timothy Hurst, the American League baseball umpire, was another excellent referee, Tim got into the game with both feet when the late James C. Kennedy made him the official referee of the Empire Athletic Club at Maspeth.

lt was at this place where Hurst presided over the never to be forgotten Walcott-Levigne fight, probably the most sensational mill ever seen in this country. Hurst refereed the Sharkey-McCoy mill at the Lenox Athletic Club and showed his shrewdness to a marked degree. The fight was going against McCoy, when suddenly in the eighth round, the kid put his hands over his stomach.

"He fouled me, Tim!" wailed McCoy.

Hurst was purple with rage as he began to count off the seconds.

"One, two! You miserable faker!" he yelled, as he paused between counts. "You can't fool me with that bunk business! Four! Why, you cur! Get up and fight like a man! Five! Six! I'm going to count you out, sure! Seven! Eight! You coward! I can lick you myself! Nine!"

"Now take the beating that is coming and don't depend on me to help you escape it!"

Sharkey knocked the Kid out in the tenth round.

Honest John Kelly was another well known referee, but he was always in hot water. Kelly, once a National League baseball umpire and a good one too, went down to Jacksonville to referee the Corbett-Mitchell fight.

When John got into the ring he saw in the crowd some of the toughest customers in the world. They had guns In their hip pockets and were well supplied with whisky and money which they bet on Corbett. Kelly was introduced to the mob and looked nervous.

Corbett Fouls Mitchell

Corbettl, trained to the hour, had a personal grudge against Mitchell and was ready to fly off at a tangent. Mitchell knew this and was also fully aware that he was in for a good beating, as the Englishman at that time had entered the back number class.

So as soon as the fight was under way Mitchell began to apply all sorts of vile epithets to Corbett, which soon made the latter fairly crazy with rage. In a sharp mixup in the second round Mitchell fell to the floor. Corbett, a perfect wild man, landed a punch on the Englishman's head while the latter was still down, committing a clean cut foul.

"Foul! Foul!" yelled the men In Mitchell's corner and the crowd leaped up in an uproar.

All eyes were on Kelly. He saw whisky bottles and guns brandished on all sides and he lost no time in arriving at the conclusion that no foul had been committed. This ruling saved Corbett and also the money that had been wagered on him. Kelly told some friends afterward that he was lucky to get out of Jacksonville alive.

Referee Saves Corbett

It was the Corbett-Sharkey fight at the Lenox Athletic Club several years later that gave Kelly a black eye in the estimation of ring followers. When Corbett, beaten to a standstill, had his second, Con McVey, Jump into the ring In the tenth round to save him. Kelly should have decided Sharkey the winner then and there on a foul under the strict wording of the rules.

Kelly, however, became rattled and surprised the crowd by stating that although Corbett had lost, all bets were declared off. There was something queer about this fight, and direct charges were made that it was a fake. But nothing was proved even after an Investigation by Big Tim Sullivan had been held. Kelly was accused of having had a bet for himself on Corbett, but this was believed to be idle gossip. The decision caused no end of discussion and resulted in Kelly's finish as a referee.

Wyatt Earp -- Bad Man of the Squared Circle

Probably the rawest judge of a ring contest that ever rendered a decision was Wyatt Earp, who was known as a gunfighter and a bad man generally on the coast.

Earp refereed the Fitzsimmons-Sharkey fight at San Francisco. When Fitz lost on an alleged foul, which was pronounced highway robbery by close observers. Earp got into the ring with a cannon In his hip pocket. He had received instructions to give the fight to Sharkey and he was there with the goods when the proper time arrived.

When Sharkey fell to the floor in agony, Earp declared him the winner and then jumped out of the ring amid the wild scene. But nobody had the nerve to Intercept him. Little has been heard of Earp since.

-- end of article in The Los Angeles Herald, Volume 34, Number 104, 13 January 1907. 

If you like history as much as I do, I hope you'll appreciate how Old West and turn-of-the-20th century newspapers reported what they saw taking place. In this case how they viewed great referees versus how they viewed a crooked referee like Wyatt Earp. 

We sometimes forget that the people who Hollywood has made into American heroes were actually looked at much differently in their time. 

I guess that's why I find it so interesting how Hollywood can take a person like Wyatt Earp, someone who was a con artist and crook, a man who was arrested as a pimp and horsethief, a chronic liar, a man who stole school funds, a man charged with murderer but evaded justice, a fraud in all sorts of ways, a man considered a "Bad Man" and "Notorious" in his day, and allow film studios and screenwriters to turn him into something that he never was -- a legendary hero of mythical proportions.

And by the way, if Hollywood would like to do a true-to-life movie. I think a movie of the 1899 Sailor Tom Sharkey vs Charles Kid McCoy fight and referee Timothy Hurst having to shame boxer Kid McCoy to "Get up and fight like a man" during that long count would be great.

Tom Correa 

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Warren Earp Failed To Extort Money From Professor 1893

Reported in The San Francisco Call, Volume 74, Number 164, 11 November 1893,


One of the Earps Tries to Kill and Rob a Friend. 

Yuma, Nov. 10. — As Professor Behrens was coming from dinner today he met Warren Earp, who invited him to take a walk with him across the railroad bridge, which he did. 

When well on the bridge Earp seized the professor by the throat and attempted to throw him off the bridge, but he clung to his assailant and resisted till Earp said: "Give me $100." 

The professor said "No." 
"Then $50," when he said "No." 
"Then $25," when the professor said, "Yes, tonight" when Earp said, "I came here to kill you and throw you into the river." 

Both returned to town when Behrens swore out a warrant and had Earp arrested. He is now in jail under $500 bonds.

Warren Earp is the youngest of the Earp brothers, who made Tombstone famous in its early days. 

Behrens' neck is badly bruised and cut where Earp seized him. Earp said when arrested. "I may get two years for this, but remember I am on your track and will get you yet."

-- end of article.

Here's this from The Enterprise (Riverside), Volume VI, Number 62, 12 November 1893:

The telegraph brings word that Warren Earp, well known in this section, but who is now hibernating at Yuma, had gotten into a scrape at that place. It appears that Earp while out walking with a Yuma physician got into a quarrel with the latter, and the row occurring on a bridge, Earp threatened to throw his adversary off into the waters of the turbulent Colorado. To be released from taking the involuntary hath the doctor was forced to buy off Earp, so the story goes.

-- end of article.

In The Los Angeles Herald, Volume 41, Number 31, 11 November 1893, the news story stated:


Warren Earp Is At His Old Tricks ln Arizona. 

Yuma, Ariz., Nov. 10.—Warren Earp, one of the notorious brothers who terrorized Tombstone several years ago, was arrested today for assaulting Prof. Behrens. 

Earp induced the professor to walk across the railroad bridge with him, and when halfway across seized Behrens by the throat and attempted to throw him off the bridge. 

Behrens resisted successfully, and finally Induced Earp to let him alone by promising to give him $25.

-- end of article.

The San Jose Mercury News, Volume XLIV, Number 133, 11 November 1893 reported the story this way:


An Attempt to Extort Money From a Professor Fails. 

Special to the Mercury News

Yuma (A.T.), November 10.—Warren Earp, one of the notorious Earp brothers who terrorized Tombstone several years ago. was arrested today for assaulting Professor Behrens. 

Earp induced the Professor to walk across the railroad bridge with him, and when halfway across seized Behrens by the throat and attempted to throw him over the bridge. Behrens resisted and succeeded in inducing Earp to let him alone by promising to give him $25.

-- end of article.

A year earlier in San Bernardino, California, The Weekly Courier, Volume 6, Number 48, 26 November 1892, reported:

Sore Heads For Two

Last night in the M. and O. Saloon on Third Street, a Mexican named Joan Bustamenta and Warren Earp engaged in the pleasant pastime of cracking each other's heads. 

Earp got a blow on the nose which peeled that useful member somewhat, and Bustamente received a blow from a stick of wood on the side of the head, cutting and bruising him slightly. 

Another Mexican whose name was not learned figured slightly in the fracas. Earp and Bustamente both gave bail for their appearance this morning, but the third man laid out the night in the city bastille. Two sore heads is all there was left of the difficulty. Officers West, Clark, and Moesser made the arrests.

-- end of the article.

By now you're probably thinking, that Warren Earp was a real piece of work. And frankly, from everything I've read about him, he was just a cheap punk. It's said that he gained a reputation as a bully, playing off the reputation of his older brothers.

Some sources, believe it or not, list him as an "American frontiersman and lawman" because he rode with his brother Wyatt, Doc Holliday, "Turkey Creek" Jack Johnson, and Sherman McMaster seeking revenge after Morgan was shot and killed. But seriously folks, he participated in the ritualistic killing of Frank Stilwell in Tucson. The murder of Frank Stilwell resulted in the Tucson Grand Jury issuing indictments naming Warren, Wyatt, Doc Holliday, "Turkey Creek" Jack Johnson, and Sherman McMaster. 

It's true. Pima County Judge Charles Meyer issued warrants for the arrest of all five men for the murder of Frank Stilwell. Why all five men is because of the heinous nature of the crime. It was a murder where each man, Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, "Turkey Creek" Jack Johnson, Sherman McMaster, and Warren Earp, took their turn shooting their weapons into the corpse of Frank Stilwell.

When they did that while wearing Deputy U.S. Marshal badges, it proved to everyone that none of those men were what anyone can call "lawmen."

Tom Correa

Monday, May 20, 2024

Warren Earp "Stabbed A Negro" -- 1893

Let's talk about that time Warren Earp "Stabbed A Negro." While most agree that it's not smart to bring a knife to a gunfight, bringing a knife to a fistfight will normally get you jail time. 

According to The San Francisco Call newspaper, that's exactly what took place when Warren Earp, the youngest of the Earp brothers, stabbed a Black man in August of 1893 in San Bernardino, California.

Below is the news story reported in The San Francisco Call, Volume 74, Number 77, 16 August 1893:


One of the Notorious Family Stabs a Man at San Bernardino. 

San Bernardino, Aug. 15. —  About 2 o'clock yesterday Charles Steel was stabbed by Warren Earp in front of Anderson & Beam's Saloon in this city. 

The two men had been drinking together when Earp called Steel a vile name, whereupon Steel invited Earp to settle the matter on the street. 

When they reached the street, Steel struck Earp with his fist. Earp then drew a large pocket knife from his hip pocket. And making a heavy lunge with it, cut Steel across the back, making a wound four inches long. Steel continued to fight with his fists, and Earp, using his knife, again stabbed Steel in the back. 

Earp was taken in charge by the police and taken to the lockup upon a charge of assault with a deadly weapon. Steel is badly wounded, but will probably recover. 

The examination of Earp came up today before Justice Fetter. The court adjourned without reaching a conclusion. 

Earp is one of the notorious Earp brothers who made the Western world shudder at their daring and bloody deeds committed in Tombstone a few years ago.

-- end of news story reported in The San Francisco Call, Volume 74, Number 77, 16 August 1893.

As for those who wonder what happened to Warren Earp for stabbing Charles Steel? Well, there's this from The Fresno Weekly Expositor, Volume XXIV, Number 18, 23 August 1893

Stabbed a Negro.

San Bernardino, Aug. 18.—The preliminary examination of Warren Earp on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon, for stabbing a man named Steel in the back a few days ago, has terminated in the discharge of Earp, it being shown that Steel was the aggressor.

-- end of the news story.

As I said earlier, while most agree that it's not smart to bring a knife to a gunfight, bringing a knife to a fistfight will normally get you jail time. Well, it would unless it were 1893 and the man you stabbed was a Black man who you portrayed as the aggressor -- even if you started the fight as in the case of Warren Earp saying something vile to Charles Steele. 

Some say Warren Earp was a cheap punk and a coward for insulting Charles Steele, and then pulling a knife on Steele when their fistfight started. Of course, even in the Old West, it was known that a fistfight was considered "unarmed combat." In a fistfight, you are expected to punch and get punched. You didn't expect your opponent to pull a knife. You didn't expect to be stabbed. 

Introducing weapons into a fistfight changes the degree of how we are expected to defend ourselves. Even back in the Old West, people knew that fighting with your fists was not very effective against assailants with weapons of some sort. 

That's why in many heated situations, things escalated quickly. And yes, if you're wondering, it was considered justified to pull a gun in response to someone deciding to pull a knife during a fistfight. Of course, turning a fistfight into a gunfight meant that you hoped that you would shoot your assailant before he shot you. 

So now, when would it be justified to use a weapon in a fistfight? Well, when the fistfight has turned deadly and becomes something other than a fistfight. At that point, in the Old West. if you believed that your life was in real danger. That includes if your life had been threatened. And that includes if your assailant made a gesture indicating that he was about to use a weapon, or if you knew that your assailant had a history as a bad man. 

Of course, justifying pulling a knife or a gun goes out the window if you started the fight. Unless it were 1893 and the man you stabbed twice was a Black man who you lied about and portrayed as the aggressor -- whether he was or not.

Tom Correa

Friday, May 17, 2024

Wyatt Earp Shot In His Saloon At Nome, Alaska -- 1900

According to Wyatt Earp, he was never shot and wounded in any gunfight of any sort. But that doesn't make sense if the syndicated news reports from Nome, Alaska, were real and accurate. In at least two different newspapers during July of 1900, there was a report of Wyatt Earp being shot. Both reports talk about the same incident taking place. One report says he was "winged." 

Please read the short news stories below for yourself. 

From the Los Angeles Herald, Volume XXVII, Number 257, 15 July 1900:

Wyatt Earp Shot

San Francisco, July 14 —  News has been received from Cape Nome that Wyatt Earp, who refereed the Sharkey-Fitzsimmons fight and gave the decision to Sharkey on a foul, was shot recently in the saloon which he is running at Nome. At last accounts, he was still alive.

-- end of article from Los Angeles Herald, Volume XXVII, Number 257, 15 July 1900:

From the Enterprise (Riverside), Volume XIX, Number 403, 17 July 1900:


A dispatch printed in the San Francisco papers of Sunday states that Wyatt Earp, another of the noted family of Earps, got into a shooting scrape at Nome, and that Earp was winged by his antagonist. 

Only a few days ago, Warren, another of the boys, was killed at Wilcox, Ariz., by a cowboy. 

The jury in the last case exonerated the shooter, and if the story told of Wyatt’s scrape is correct, the man who shot him will be cleared, for Earp was the aggressor. Wyatt is keeping a saloon at Nome, and the shooting occurred in his house.

-- end of story from Enterprise (Riverside), Volume XIX, Number 403, 17 July 1900

From the Press Democrat, Volume XLIII, Number 82, 18 July 1900:


San Francisco, July 14. —News was received from Cape Nome today that Wyatt Earp nearly had his life cut short on the 29th of June by being shot by a customer. Earp was in his saloon and gambling place at the time he was shot. 

He had pulled a gun on the man, and the latter, who knew Earp's reputation, spared no time, but sent a leaden missile at the man whose only possession seems to be a bad man’s reputation. 

While being nursed back to health Earp will receive the news that his brother Warren who was shot last week at Wilcox, A. T., has passed in his checks. The notorious Earps gained their reputation as gun fighters on account of trouble with cattle rustlers in Arizona. There was four boys in the family. Warren as stated was killed a week ago yesterday in a saloon at Wilcox. He often threatened a cowboy named Johnny Boyett, and some lime ago he said) that when they should have trouble again some shooting should be done. With a pistol on Boyett’s stomach, he made the latter promise that they would shoot to avoid further quarreling. The two men met in a restaurant and Earp began his abuse. Boyett went into an adjoining saloon, followed by Earp. 

The latter said: "Boyett, go get your gun and we’ll settle the matter right here. I’ve got my gun; go get yours." 

Boyett was willing, and agreed to return in a few moments and fight it out. Earp also left the saloon. Boyett returned very soon, and, finding Earp gone, warned all loungers in the saloon to clear out. Emphasizing his warning by shooting into the ceiling. Earp shortly appeared through a back door. He started toward Boyett, throwing open his coat and saying: "Boyett. I am unarmed; you have all the best of this," advancing as he spoke. 

Boyett warned him not to come nearer, but Earp did not heed the words, and when within eight feet Boyett fired, shooting Earp through the heart and killing him instantly. Boyett was exonerated.

-- end of story from Press Democrat, Volume XLIII, Number 82, 18 July 1900.

So was Wyatt Earp shot in Nome, Alaska, in 1900? This news story appeared in the newspapers above, including Santa Barbara Weekly Press on 19 July 1900, The San Jose Herald on 14 July 1900, and many more.

But, according to Wyatt Earp by way of his biographer Stuart Lake, he was never shot or wounded in a gunfight. If that's true, then both of the above news stories were made up for some reason. If so, then that has me asking a few questions. My first question is why would someone make up such a story if it's not true? 

Remember, according to Wyatt Earp, he was never shot and wounded in any gunfight. So what are we to believe? Are the news stories of Wyatt Earp being shot accurate? Did they happen? If not, where did the stories come from? And really, why bother making them up? Why go through the trouble of sending out a story by wire, and syndicating it to other newspapers, if it wasn't true?

There's something else. Could these news stories disprove Wyatt Earp's claim about never being wounded in a gunfight? They are just two small articles. But can they be true?

Let's remember that for years, so-called Wyatt Earp experts were emphatic when supporting Earp's claim that he was buffalo hunting in Kansas  -- when in reality Earp was being arrested for being a Pimp in Illinois. It seemed very hard for them to admit that records were found giving everyone evidence that what Wyatt Earp told his biographer Stuart Lake was a tall tale in an attempt to re-write his history and put a positive spin on his life. 

What we know for a fact is that Wyatt Earp was a Pimp, and he was seen as part of the criminal element that people wanted out of Peoria, Illinois. So no, it's no surprise that he wanted people to think that he was buffalo hunting.

Some of the same so-called Earp experts would attack you if you disagreed with them over Frank Stilwell deliberately going to Tucson to kill members of the Earp party on their way to California. Today, we know that the notion that Frank Stilwell went to Tucson for the purpose is not true. We know that Frank Stilwell was summoned to Tucson to testify before a Grand Jury in Tucson. We know that that's what Stilwell was doing there. We also know that no weapon was found on his body. 

We know that Frank Stilwell never made it to testify before a Grand Jury because he was killed over and over again at the Tucson train station. And please, make no mistake about it, Stilwell was shot to pieces. That was the result of Deputy U.S. Marshal Wyatt Earp and each of the men in the Earp posse taking their turns to shoot the corpse of Frank Stilwell. 

So now, could these news stories prove that Wyatt Earp was wrong about him never being shot. Would these news stories prove that Wyatt Earp was not telling the truth about never being wounded? If not, where did these syndicated stories come from if they aren't true? 

How did they appear out of thin air in newspapers in July of 1900?

Tom Correa 

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

"Freedom to Chains" - by Paul Harvey - Original 1965 Broadcast

"Now then, what makes a nation strong? Taxes? (Heh) There’s nothing new about those either, the first income tax was paid by Abraham. It was written on a rock by the hand of Divinity and handed to Moses at the top of Mount Sinai (and you might want to remember this) it was at the flat rate of 10%. It promised the wrath of God on anybody who tampered with or violated that law. 

Christ was born in Bethlehem because Joseph was on his way to pay his taxes. Joseph was a relatively well-todo landowner of the house and lineage of David. Yet the taxes exacted by Caesar Augustus were so exorbitant that he didn’t have enough money left over to employ a trusted messenger for the mission so, though his wife was great with child, he made the journey himself. And Christ was born in Bethlehem because Joseph was on his way to pay his taxes. And Christ was born in a manger because there was a housing shortage when he got there. Our problems are not new.

At Runnymede the Magna Carta was handed to King John on the end of a sword denying to royalty the right of unlimited taxation. 

Yet, you know it was for us, the American People, to become the first in recorded history ever voluntarily to surrender our rights to private property? Oh, yes we did. With an innocent sounding Constitutional Amendment, the Sixteenth, which says that “Congress shall have the power to lay and collect taxes on incomes from whatever source derived” and we forgot to put any limit to the extent to which we could tax ourselves. 

Conceivably we could be taxed out of all private property. We could be taxed not 70%, 80%, 90% but at 100%. We could be awakened one morning and find the government owns the farm, and the house, and the car, and HAS A MORTGAGE ON THE CHURCH! LEGALLY!

Historically, when any nation has taxed its people more than 25% of their national income, initiative was destroyed and that nation was headed for economic eclipse. Presently (1965) the American People are being taxed 33% of their total income.

History says we’ll roll forward on momentum for a little while, but we’d better get some more gas in the tank pretty quick. You see, ours is not the first “By-George” good government to arise on the world stage, there have been several. Rome, Spain, Greece, China, and others, and each enjoyed about a hundred and fifty years at its zenith, and that’s just about our time in the new world, and then each decayed away. Not one of them was ever destroyed by anybody else’s marching legions. Each rotted away morally, socially, culturally, economically simultaneously. 

You know one of the most cruel paradoxes’ of history is this, because each was a good government it bore bountiful fruit and when it bore bountiful fruit the people got fat, and when they got fat they got lazy, and when they got lazy they began to want to absolve themselves of personal responsibility and turn over to government to do for them things which traditionally they had been doing for themselves.

At first there appears to be nothing wrong asking government to perform some extra service for you, but if you ask government for extra services government, in order to perform its increasing function, has to get bigger, right? And as government gets bigger, in order to support its increasing size it has to, what?

Tax the individual more, so the individual gets littler. And to collect the increased taxes requires more tax collectors so the government gets bigger and in order to pay the additional tax collectors, it has to tax the individual more so the government gets bigger and the individual get littler and the government gets bigger and the individual gets littler, until the government is all powerful and the individual is hardly anything at all. The government is all powerful and the people are cattle. 

Now, some believe that the need is for a vigorous, strong man to rise on the scene. To regulate and regiment the affairs of men. Yet, history tells us there have been several such.

Once upon a time there was a nation great and powerful and good. Few were suffering from the aftermath of war, from a depression. And then came upon the scene a leader, an idealist, selfconfident, intolerant to criticism. A wise lady limited his early activities to combating the financial depression, nobody could argue with that, but in a while he began to regulate business and establish new rules to govern commerce and finance. Some of them in diametrical disagreement with the God-Made laws of supply and demand, but anybody who disagreed with those new rules was promptly fired. The new leader saw that under the old system of free enterprise landlords prospered, so he levied new taxes to take away their profits and destroy what he called the “Monopoly of Capital”. To please laborers, he controlled prices. To win the favor of the farmers, he gave them loans and subsidies. The National Debt mounted, alarmingly. 

Whenever anybody tried to tell him “that governments, even as people, can go broke, when they spend beyond their incomes”, he said “They just didn’t understand deficit finance.”

Well, what do you say? Did he build on rock or on sand? I say on sand. For you see this was the story of Emperor Su Tung Po (Tsu Tong Phao) who led China to its doom more than a Thousand Years Ago. I am satisfied with all my heart that if Uncle Sam ever does get whipped, here too, it will have been an Inside Job. 

It was internal decay, it was not external attack that destroyed the Roman Empire. Starting about 146 B.C. internal conditions in Rome were characterized by a welter of class wars and conflicts, street brawls, corrupt governors, lack of personal integrity and moral responsibility. 

About 290 years after Christ a Roman Emperor named Diocletian took over. He really grabbed the bull by the horns. He took over in a period of turmoil and severe depression. The first thing Diocletian did was call in the gold and closed the banks and raised the taxes. He reduced the power of the Senate. Delegated its power to a lot of little government bureaus.

Do you know they even had a Transportation Act back there, prescribing the fee required to rent one laden jackass per mile and at today’s rate of exchange it would have amounted to about 1/8th cent per mile? Which meant that in order to make a profit a jackass would have to carry five passengers? 

That was simply beyond the capacity of the jack ass. Diocletian put millions of people on the public payroll, but when this failed to do the job, the country was still in trouble, he asked more personal powers for himself. For a brief while, incidentally, they were standby powers, but then he used them, all at once. He froze wages, he froze prices, he froze jobs, he stopped profits, he dictated to the farmer what he should plant, when and how he should sell it and for how much and he rationed food and what happened? The labor market closed down, incentive was gone. Farm life became dependent on bureaucratic red tape.

Exorbitant taxes cost the farmer his land. He kept for himself only a small plot on which he might grow turnips for his family. He lost the rest of it to the state and without food and with incentive gone city life stagnated and declined. And Rome past into what history has recorded as the “Dark Ages” lasting a thousand years. Just by turning to the left, the world has gone in circles. A nation would evolve from a monarchy, into an oligarchy, from oligarchy to dictatorship, from dictatorship to bureaucracy, from bureaucracy to pure democracy where, finally, the people would cry out from the chaos and confusion of the streets “Oh! Please God give us a king!” And God would give ’em a king and they’d have a monarchy again and start the whole silly cycle anew. Now either we will profit from the errors of their ways, or it follows as the night the day, our children are going to have to relive the dark ages, all over again. How come after thousands of years of experiment our new nation has come so far, so fast?

All this in less than two hundred years. What is the secret of our success? Well, I think it had to do with a basic American’s Creed. 

Perhaps it never passed a pioneer’s lips in this form, but if it had I think he would have said something like this: “I believe in my God, in my Country and in Myself.” I know that sounds like a trite too simple thing to say, and yet it’s a rare man today who will dare to stand up and say “I believe in my God and my Country and in Myself.” (And in that order.) 

When the early American pioneer first turned his eyes toward the west, there were only Indian trails or traces as they were called, for him to foll’er through the wilderness. Do you know today you can roller skate from Miami to Seattle, from San Diego to Plymouth Rock? In this little bitty instant, as historical time is measured, our 7% of the Earth’s population has come to possess more than half of all the world’s good things. How come?

Well sir, when that early pioneer turned his eyes toward the west he didn’t demand that somebody else look after him. He didn’t demand a free education. He didn’t demand a guaranteed rocking chair at eventide. He didn’t demand that somebody else take care of him if he got ill or got old. 

There was an old-fashioned philosophy in those days that a man was supposed to provide for his own and for his own future. He didn’t demand a maximum amount of money for a minimum amount of work. Nor did he expect pay for no work at all… Come to think of it he didn’t demand anything. That hard-handed pioneer just looked out there at the rolling plains stretching away to the tall green mountains and then lifted his eyes to the blue skies and said “Thank you God. Now I can take it from here.” 

That spirit isn’t dead in our country, it’s dormant. It’s been discredited in some circles, driven underground, but it isn’t dead.

It’s just that a few seasons ago politicians baiting their hooks with free barbeque and trading a

Ponzi promise for votes began telling us “we don’t want opportunity anymore, we want security.” “We don’t want opportunity” they said, “We want security.” And they said it so often we came to believe them. We wanted security. And they gave us chains and we were secure. 

Suddenly with our constitutional guarantees depleted, with our national character eroding away, with our tax laws penalizing those who would dare to prosper, with workers concentrating on how little they can get by with instead of how much they can produce. 

Suddenly we looked overhead one day to discover that the first to the moon in space was a Russian accomplishment. That free men dragging their feet had been outdistanced by slave workers dragging their chains. And we were sore afraid. Perhaps this was a disguised blessing, too.

Maybe a dramatic accomplishment by this cold war adversary was necessary to get us off our dead centers and back to work again. If we can revive in ourselves, then in our youth, something of that basic American’s Creed, the horizon has never ever been so limitless. 

For Man stands now on the threshold of his highest adventure of all: his first faltering footsteps into space. Twenty years from today, half of the products you will be using in your everyday living aren’t even in the dictionary yet. We’ve got it made. If we just keep on keeping on. We’ve got it made – and if we don’t? We will follow those other great nation-states of history into the graveyard of ignominious oblivion. 

History promises only this for certain – We Will Get Exactly What We Deserve.”

Paul Harvey

Saturday, May 11, 2024

"If I Were the Devil" - by Paul Harvey - Original 1965 Broadcast

“If I were the devil … If I were the Prince of Darkness, I’d want to engulf the whole world in darkness. And I’d have a third of its real estate, and four-fifths of its population, but I wouldn’t be happy until I had seized the ripest apple on the tree — Thee. So I’d set about however necessary to take over the United States. I’d subvert the churches first — I’d begin with a campaign of whispers. With the wisdom of a serpent, I would whisper to you as I whispered to Eve: ‘Do as you please.

To the young, I would whisper that ‘The Bible is a myth.’ I would convince them that man created God instead of the other way around. I would confide that what’s bad is good, and what’s good is ‘square.’ And the old, I would teach to pray, after me, ‘Our Father, which art in Washington…

And then I’d get organized. I’d educate authors in how to make lurid literature exciting, so that anything else would appear dull and uninteresting. I’d threaten TV with dirtier movies and vice versa. I’d pedal narcotics to whom I could. I’d sell alcohol to ladies and gentlemen of distinction. I’d tranquilize the rest with pills.

If I were the devil I’d soon have families at war with themselves, churches at war with themselves, and nations at war with themselves; until each in its turn was consumed. And with promises of higher ratings I’d have mesmerizing media fanning the flames. If I were the devil I would encourage schools to refine young intellects, but neglect to discipline emotions — just let those run wild, until before you knew it, you’d have to have drug-sniffing dogs and metal detectors at every schoolhouse door.

Within a decade I’d have prisons overflowing, I’d have judges promoting pornography — soon I could evict God from the courthouse, then from the schoolhouse, and then from the houses of Congress. And in His own churches, I would substitute psychology for religion, and deify science. I would lure priests and pastors into misusing boys and girls, and church money. If I were the devil I’d make the symbols of Easter an egg and the symbol of Christmas a bottle.

If I were the devil I’d take from those who have, and give to those who want until I had killed the incentive of the ambitious.

And what do you bet I could get whole states to promote gambling as the way to get rich? I would caution against extremes and hard work in Patriotism, in moral conduct. I would convince the young that marriage is old-fashioned, that swinging is more fun, that what you see on the TV is the way to be. And thus, I could undress you in public, and I could lure you into bed with diseases for which there is no cure. 

In other words, if I were the devil I’d just keep right on doing what he’s doing.”

Paul Harvey

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

A Bureaucrat on Every Boat? By Nate Jackson

The Supreme Court considers a case that's relevant to almost literally everything Americans do.

Story by Nate Jackson
The Patriot Post

America is full of fishermen who know what time to go and where, how to bait a hook, how to reel in the catch, and how to clean a fish. Fathers pass on the tradition to sons and don't need someone else to tell them what to do.

The federal government, however, demands a bureaucrat on every boat to make sure fisheries don't exceed any herring quotas, and the fisheries have to pay a $700-per-day fee for that bureaucrat. The government thinks it has this power because the Supreme Court effectively certified it in its 1984 Chevron USA v. Natural Resources Defense Council ruling.

That's an oversimplified way of framing yesterday's Supreme Court hearing in two related cases (Loper Bright Enterprises v. Raimondo and Relentless v. Department of Commerce) that threaten to upend the so-called "Chevron deference."

Now we'll oversimplify the history and the mechanics to show why this case matters so much for almost literally everything Americans do anymore.

President Woodrow Wilson is the father of the administrative state. During his presidency (1913-1921), Wilson pushed the idea that "experts" ought to govern us via regulation because they know so much better than we commoners do. Wilson, the quintessential academic, had an arrogant and unshakeable belief in the superiority of the executive, the Constitution be damned.

Presidents Franklin D. Roosevelt and Lyndon B. Johnson greatly expanded government authority by making use of Wilson's administrative state. We have now reached the point where there's little in our daily lives that's out of reach of a federal bureaucrat somewhere writing a rule addressing, regulating, or banning it.

Thus you could say that those three Democrats did more to kill "democracy" — as in republican rule by the people's elected representatives — than any other figures in U.S. history.

Indeed, Congress soon found it useful to abdicate and delegate power to the new fourth branch of government because then congressmen could campaign for or against whatever policy without actually being responsible for it.

That brings us to 1984, when the Supreme Court, led by the late and otherwise great Antonin Scalia, ruled that when a law is vague and ambiguous, the benefit of the doubt goes to a "reasonable" interpretation of the bureaucracy responsible for enforcing that law. The rationale was understandable, especially insofar as it countered activist judges, but it has been a disaster in practice because executive agencies end up effectively writing laws to their liking, regardless of the intent of Congress.

And that brings us to the cases at hand. While Donald Trump had a tremendous record of deregulation, his administration produced the pay-for-the-bureaucrat-on-the-boat rule. Congress did not spell it out in the relevant 1976 Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.

Fortunately, the man Trump nominated to replace Scalia, Neil Gorsuch, led the charge yesterday attacking the precedent and signaling that, like other awful Court precedents, its days are numbered. As Gorsuch put it, allowing agencies wide latitude to interpret laws "when Congress didn't think about the problem [means] the government always wins."

We'd go so far as to say Chevron severely undercuts the checks and balances of the Constitution. Congress abdicates law-making authority for its members' political benefit, executives run roughshod over the people with rules written by unelected career bureaucrats, and judges are largely stripped of any power to check that exercise of power. The "experts" exercise legislative, executive, and judicial power, all at the same time.

Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh asserted yesterday, "It's the role of the judiciary, historically, under the Constitution to police the line between the legislature and the executive, to make sure the executive is not operating as a king."

Justice Elena Kagan was seemingly more humble, but she and her two Democrat-appointed colleagues defended the Wilsonian tyranny of the "experts." "It's best to defer to people who do know, who have had long experience on the ground, who have seen a thousand of these kinds of situations," Kagan said. "Judges should know what they don't know."

We should all be skeptical of judges imposing their will over that of the executive branch, which at least is led by the elected president. Chevron was thought to correct that imbalance. But Kavanaugh is right. As we noted, in practice, Chevron has led to a massive expansion of powerful bureaucracies, which are staffed by "experts" who think far more highly of themselves than of your rights.

The solution isn't to empower activist judges, as Kagan pretends to fear will happen. It's to make Congress do its job. And in that case, the people's elected representatives ought to be far slower to regulate our lives. Frankly, much of what passes Congress runs so far afoul of the Founding Fathers' intent in the Constitution as to necessitate revolution far beyond a mere court ruling. But if those elected representatives are going to pass a law about something, they should at least have the decency to spell out more clearly what they mean instead of handing it off to the "experts."

As Gorsuch put it, in most of these cases, "Chevron is exploited against the individual and in favor of the government." Goliath beats David almost every time.

Should a fisherman have to onboard a bureaucrat monitor and pay for him to be there? That's just one of a thousand questions about routine daily activities that come under the weighty thumb of the administrative deep state. It's high time the High Court threw Chevron overboard.


Nate Jackson's career in political analysis began in arguments about Reaganomics with his eighth-grade American History teacher. His study of history and politics continued through school and work, and he finally landed at The Patriot Post in 2004. He's been managing editor since 2007

Monday, May 6, 2024

Illegal Immigrants Can Carry Guns: Federal Judge

The news story below comes from The Epoch Times. The article was sent to me to share with my readers. My first thought after reading this article. "Insanity has taken over American Courts." 

This ruling makes absolutely no sense. People here "illegally" are criminals. They are breaking the law. Criminals do not have "The Right to Bear Arms." People breaking the law do not have the "Rights" of United States citizens. American citizens who are Felons do not have the Constitution's Second Amendment which grants law-abiding citizens the "Right to Bear Arms."

So how can a Judge determine that people here, people who cross the border illegally and are subsequently criminals, have the same "Rights" as law-abiding citizens? Who knows. My guess is that the Judge in this case may be on the payroll of the Biden Administration who is responsible for the flood of Criminals into our country. 

Read the article and ask yourself, "Why would a Judge make such an asinine ruling?" 

Illegal Immigrants Can Carry Guns: Federal Judge

Ruling from U.S. Supreme Court means the attempt to ban an illegal immigrant from possessing firearms is unconstitutional, judge concludes.

Story by Zachary Stieber
The Epoch Times

An illegal immigrant was "wrongly" banned from possessing guns, according to a recent ruling. 

A federal law, Section 922 of Title 18 of the U.S. Code, bars illegal aliens from carrying guns or ammunition. Prosecutors charged illegal alien Heriberto Carbajal-Flores in 2020 after he was found in Chicago carrying a semi-automatic pistol despite “knowing he was an alien illegally and unlawfully in the United States.”

U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman rejected two motions to dismiss, but the third motion, based on a 2022 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, triggered the dismissal of the case on March 8.

"The noncitizen possession statute, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(5), violates the Second Amendment as applied to Carbajal-Flores,” Judge Coleman, appointed under President Barack Obama, wrote in her 8-page ruling. "Thus, the court grants Carbajal-Flores' motion to dismiss."

Lawyers for Mr. Carbajal-Flores had argued in the most recent motion to dismiss that the government could not show that the law in question was "part of the historical tradition that delimits the outer bounds of the right to keep and bear arms."

In 2022, the Supreme Court determined that the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment "presumptively protects" conduct that is covered by the amendment’s "plain text."

To justify regulations, governments must show that each regulation “is consistent with this nation’s historical tradition of firearm regulation,” the high court said at the time. “Only if a firearm regulation is consistent with this nation’s historical tradition may a court conclude that the individual’s conduct falls outside the Second Amendment’s ‘unqualified command,’” it said.

“Lifetime disarmament of an individual based on alienage or nationality alone does not have roots in the history and tradition of the United States,” Mr. Carbajal-Flores’s lawyers argued.
They pointed to several rulings interpreting the Supreme Court’s decision, including an appeals court ruling that declared stripping a man convicted of a nonviolent crime of his gun rights was unconstitutional.

The government opposed the motion, noting that neither of the cited decisions applied to illegal immigrants and that the defendant ignored other rulings that did, including a 2023 ruling that found that Second Amendment rights aren’t afforded to illegal immigrants. The government also offered examples of laws that prohibited certain categories of people from carrying guns, including “individuals who threatened the social order through their untrustworthy adherence to the rule of law.”

But Judge Coleman ruled for the defendant, finding that the laws against untrustworthy people contained exceptions for people who signed loyalty oaths and were deemed nonviolent.

“The government argues that Carbajal-Flores is a noncitizen who is unlawfully present in this country. The court notes, however, that Carbajal-Flores has never been convicted of a felony, a violent crime, or a crime involving the use of a weapon. Even in the present case, Carbajal-Flores contends that he received and used the handgun solely for self-protection and protection of property during a time of documented civil unrest in the Spring of 2020,” she wrote.

“Additionally, Pretrial Service has confirmed that Carbajal-Flores has consistently adhered to and fulfilled all the stipulated conditions of his release, is gainfully employed, and has no new arrests or outstanding warrants. The court finds that Carbajal-Flores’ criminal record, containing no improper use of a weapon, as well as the non-violent circumstances of his arrest do not support a finding that he poses a risk to public safety such that he cannot be trusted to use a weapon responsibly and should be deprived of his Second Amendment right to bear arms in self-defense.”

An attorney representing Mr. Carbajal-Flores declined to comment. Federal prosecutors didn’t respond to a request for comment.

ReactionsThe ruling drew a range of reactions from people in the legal community.

“Supreme Court has said the ‘people’ are members of the political community,” Larry Keane, a lawyer for the National Shooting Sports Foundation, wrote on X. “Illegal aliens in the U.S. are not part of the political community and thus do not have 2A rights.”

Kostas Moros, a lawyer who represents the California Rifle and Pistol Association, said that he also saw the issue that way.

“Bruen asks for a historical tradition of modern regulation that justifies the modern law, and one plainly exists here,” he wrote, noting that groups that have been disarmed in the past, including loyalists, have the common thread of being “outside of the political community.”

Matthew Larosiere, another lawyer, disagreed, writing in an analysis that all immigrants, even ones in the country illegally, are part of “the people” in the Second Amendment. His argument rested in part on the 14th Amendment, which applies to “any person within” the country.

“To find that illegal immigrants are outside of ’the people‘ protected by the Second Amendment, you must believe that the Framers were talking about a different ’people' in the First, Fourth, Ninth, and Tenth Amendments,” he wrote, adding later that he sided with the court in finding differences between historical laws such as the one that barred loyalists from owning guns and the law that applies to illegal immigrants.

Zachary Stieber

Zachary Stieber is a senior reporter for The Epoch Times based in Maryland. He covers U.S. and world news. Contact Zachary at

While ruling like this is why American citizens have lost trust in our Judicial System, we can only vote in November for people who will replace such Leftist Judges pushing their Globalist agenda.

Tom Correa

Sunday, May 5, 2024

The Double Hanging of Jerry Crane and Mickey Free 1855

When the justice system worked in the Old West, it worked well. Sadly though, as you will read below, justice didn't come swift enough to two murderers who have the distinction of being the first hangings in Coloma, California. 

On the day of the hangings, an estimated crowd of five thousand people turned out to watch the men dance on the end of ropes. Schoolmaster Jeremiah Crane who murdered a student was the first to swing. Behind him was a California serial killer by the name of Mickey Free. It was reported that he stood nearby waiting his turn with his hat cocked over one eye, supposedly ever so calmly tossing peanuts into his mouth. His cockiness was cut short when he was dropped and his neck snapped. 

Many there were disappointed that they died without a struggle. They did not deserve quick deaths. 

The Sacramento Daily Union
, Volume 10, Number 1432, October 27, 1855, reported the following,

Execution of Craine and Mickey Free at Coloma.

The telegraph informs us that these men met a felon's doom yesterday, in accordance with the sentence previously passed upon them. Of the vast assemblage, the prisoners appeared to be the least interested. They ascended to the scaffold at half past one o'clock.

Jeremiah Craine occupied about three-fourths of an hour in a speech, the burthen of which was that the Bible was a fable and that society would soon look upon the "Harmonia " as the surest guide to eternal happiness. Mickey Free made no speech, but commenced a song, the first verse of which he sung, and then stopped, as he had forgotten the words. A duet was then sung by the prisoners, the words of which were composed by Craine for the occasion, and which occupied some ten minutes.

After a short prayer was offered to the throne of grace, the final preparations were perfected, and at twenty minutes before two o'clock the prisoners were launched into eternity. With the fall of the block both necks were broken. They died without a struggle.

Some five or six thousand people were present, among whom were a large number of females. Everything passed off orderly and quietly. Sheriff Carson and Deputy received much praise for the good order which they maintained. The last words of Free were, " Now, boys, see that this is done up right." Crane's last words were, "Susan, receive me; I will soon be with you."

The above is the sequel to two of the bloodiest tragedies ever enacted within the borders of this State, the particulars of which were published in this paper at the periods of their occurrence. In order however to refresh the minds of those of our readers who feel any interest in such matters, we subjoin a brief recapitulation of the circumstances which have led to the violent deaths as narrated above. 

Craine was tried and found guilty of the murder of Miss Susan M. Newnham, near Ringgold, El Dorado County, on August 10th, but she survived until he shot her with a Colt revolver. In his confession he stated that he had formed an attachment for her some fifteen months previously; that they had been married, but only by God himself; that another, who was suitor to her hand, and who was favored, moreover, by her parents, had caused all the difficulty. He confessed that a bar existed to his marrying Susan openly, was that he had a wife living in the Eastern States.

Craine was over thirty years of age, and has four children living near Lexington, Ky. He was an enthusiastic Spiritualist, and on this subject was regarded as a monomaniac. The murdered woman confirmed the statement of Craine as to the marriage, but stated that Craine subsequently tore to pieces in her presence the paper binding him to her. She said, moreover, that Craine did not force her to sign the oath, but just worried her out of it.

Mickey Free — A long confession of the particulars of the life of this notoriously hardened culprit has been published, of which the following is an abstract:

He was born of good parents but committed his first theft at the early age of ten years. This offense was the stealing of a pair of rabbits, for which he was fined and sentenced to thirty days imprisonment. He was born at Brockford, Canada West, where he resided until eleven years of age. . His second offense was robbing an old lady of six or seven shillings, which he did in church. He used, also, to steal the money contributed for church purposes.

After a series of devilish tricks, the lad was sent to a printer's office. While officiating there as "devil," he twice robbed a store in Brockford. He next went to Chicago, committing, on the way, numerous thefts. We next hear of him robbing a courtezan of $50, then of being a witness to a murder and; afterward of committing sundry thefts on Mississippi steamboats.

Free acknowledges that he married a good, true and virtuous woman, whose precepts and example had he followed, would have deterred him from vice. He, however, robbed her of all her money and left for California. He arrived in San Francisco destitute, went to Mud Springs, El Dorado County, and soon after we find him mining successfully on Dry Creek and thereabouts.

We next hear of him accompanying one Dickson, Parks and a Scotchman from Mud Springs on a wild goose chase to the mountains. He returned to Mud Springs, and soon afterward his partner Parks came back and stated that they had hung Dickson, owing to not finding the diggings.

In the spring of '58, Mickey came to this city [Coloma], where he could find nothing to do. While rambling around town one night, he went into the house of ill-fame then kept by "Priscilla," on the corner of X and 3d Streets, called for something to drink, threw down a five-dollar piece, which a girl caught, and ran off with up stairs. He followed, got into a row and woke up in the Station House, next morning, minus his money.

Free then returned to Mud Springs, and commenced a scries of robberies upon Chinese miners, which however proved but partially successful. Next he goes into the mountains again in company with one Kelly, Wilson and others.  They proceeded up as far as Lake Valley, where they encountered three traders. They then returned to Slippery Ford. They decided to kill them. This was on Sunday evening, and to avert suspicion, told the traders who were there that they were going to return to Hangtown.

The murderers, however, left for the summit early in the morning. At evening they went on to the summit, where they could observe the movements of their victims in the valley. Before making the attack, they decided to kill the traders at Slippery Ford also. The particulars of the murder are thus given in the confession: 

"The next night we camped at the same place. About dark Wilson went up to the house; the men told him that a California lion visited a carcass a little way off, and they thought that if we would watch we might get a shot at him; this suited us exactly; we could now go with our guns without being suspected of any thing wrong. Our plan was, that Kelly should go in and remain in the house so that when I had killed one  he could prevent the other from getting away. 

George was to follow close to me and lire at the other immediately after I had disposed of mine. I cocked my gun before I went in. Kelly was at his post; the two men were sitting at the table with their faces fronting me as I entered. I walked briskly in with my gun, cocked and presented; I put the muzzle within two or three feet of him, and fired, lodging the contents in his breast. He never struggled or fell from his seat; the explosion of my gun put out the candle, and all was dark; the other ran into the I other room, and was trying to escape through a back door. 

I followed, caught and marched him back to the bar-room; he said, in the most piteous accents possible, that we should have all there was, which was thirty or forty dollars. I remarked we were pretty sure of that; he was very pale and nervous. I gave him up to George, who ordered him behind the counter, telling him he had used us! 

Damned bad or this would not have occurred, but that he must shell out, and he might live. I, during this time, had pulled the other off his seat and rifled his pockets, and in the breast pocket of his coat found the money. I now nudged George, who find at the one still living, who immediately cried, raising himself on his toes, "Boys, kill me quick!"  I, to oblige him, ran behind the counter and stabbed him several times in the heart. George then commenced abusing Kelly, and made him cut his throat after he was dead."

The murderers escaped to Amador County, where Mickey Free committed a bloody murder on a Dutchman, whom he robbed of all he had. He next either killed or horribly mutilated two Chinamen, near Fiddletown, and followed up the barbarities by robberies in various parts of E1 Dorado County and Amador County.

He at last fell into the clutches of justice, tardy to be sure, but sure indeed. Mickey Free has suffered death, but ten thousand lives like his could not atone for a moiety of the dark deeds he did in his lifetime. 

-- end of article in The Sacramento Daily Union, Volume 10, Number 1432, October 27, 1855.

The famous double hanging of Jerry Crane and Mickey Free took place in 1855. Schoolmaster Jerry Crane murdered one of his pupils, a young girl named Susan Newnham. 

It was reported that when the first person reached the house after hearing the shooting, he found Crane by the bedside bathing her face and talking to her saying, "Are you not my wife, Susan?" and her reply was "NO! Go away and let me alone, you have hurt me badly enough now." 

She lived for five days with a bullet in her brain, then remained conscious up to a few hours before her death. A crowd outside formed to lynch Crane. They had a rope and part of the crowd was for hanging him then and there. Others delayed things until the Sheriff could get there. Once the Sheriff showed up, Crane was arrested, taken from the lynch mob, and then put in the jail at Coloma. When asked why he had killed the girl, he reportedly replied, "Because I loved her." 

As for Mickey Free, the robber and serial killer, it's said he loved robbing Chinese camps, killing Chinese, as well as murdering other lone miners. He was arrested for killing a roadhouse keeper; one of his gang turned state’s evidence against him. 

As I said earlier, on the day of the double hanging, there was an estimated crowd of five thousand people who turned out to watch the murderers swing. Crane was first. Reports say he "marching up the gallows' steps, he sang a few verses he had written while in jail." And yes, it was reported that Free stood nearby waiting his turn, his hat cocked over one eye, calmly tossing peanuts into his mouth. He also attempted a bit of song when his turn came, but his courage broke as did his neck a few moments later."

The pioneer cemetery in Colma is a place that's said to be the final resting place for many '49ers. It's said that there sits the graves of "miners, farmers, merchants, tradesmen, and their families, as well as murderers and prostitutes." It's also the final resting place for the convicted murderers Jerry Crane and Mickey Free. Two men who truly deserved to be hanged.

Tom Correa