Firsts in The Old West

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Firsts in the Old West

Alkali's outhouse - Firsts in the Old West

When and where did it happen the First Time in the Old West?  Who did it?
Firsts in the Old West knows!
And just for fun, here they are, in date order.
Plucked from the pages of Old West Daily Reader by our prize pack of History Miners,™
so History Riders™ can find ’em without gettin’ their ponies all lathered up.
Ain’t that nice! Enjoy!
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Currently includes items from WEEKS 1-52 with some entries from other pages.
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The “Firsts!”


1685/02/20 – Robert de La Salle (René-Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle – 1643-87) leading three ships bearing French colonists landed at Matagorda Bay in present-day Texas and established Fort St. Louis. Thereby forming the basis for France’s claim to Texas and later the basis of the U.S. claim to the region as part of the Louisiana Purchase.  {001}
Wk. 10, 03/10/1804 – Three Flags Day
The Originals Index – Western Forts and Trading Posts

1687/3/14 – Eusebio Kino (08/10 /1645 – 03/15/1711) Italian Jesuit priest, missionary, geographer, explorer, cartographer and astronomer, left Cucurpe, MX, the “Rim of Christendom.” to begin his 24 year long explorations of the Pimería Alta, the Baja and lands destined to become Arizona…  {001}
The Originals Index – Expeditions Eusebio Francisco Kino



1764/02/15 – City of St. Louis, MO founded by French fur trader/businessman Pierre Laclède and 14-year-old stepson, Auguste Chouteau. Laclede taught Auguste his business, and he brought him up the Mississippi to found a trading post at the confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. In November of 1763, Laclède found a place with a limestone bluff, and he laid out a town by marking trees before leaving for the winter. In February, with Auguste and 30 workers he went back to begin clearing land on this day in 1764. Chouteau became the most prominent citizen of the booming St. Louis – he established himself as a fur trader, banker, and, of course, a dealer in real estate.  [003}
1789/9/24 – U.S. Marshal Badge - Firsts in the Old WestThe Judiciary Act of 1789, passed by the First Congress and signed into law by President George Washington, created the office of United States Marshal. The United States Marshal’s primary function was to execute all lawful warrants issued to him under the authority of the United States. The law defined marshals as officers of the courts charged with assisting federal courts in their law-enforcement functions. “…to execute throughout the district, all lawful precepts directed to him, and issued under the authority of the United States, and he shall have the power to command all necessary assistance in the execution of his duty, and to appoint as shall be occasion, one or more deputies.” Badge Image: U.S. PD, courtesy USMS Publishing & Multimedia Services.  {001}

1792/04/02 – An act establishing a mint, and regulating the Coins of the United States; aka The Coinage Act or the Mint Act. It established the United States Mint, regulated the coinage and created a decimal system for U.S. currency. The silver dollar was established the as the unit of money and declared to be lawful tender.

1792/05/08 – President George Washington signs An Act to Provide For a Copper Coinage.  The Act stipulated that “the director of the mint… be authorized to contract for and purchase a quantity of copper, not exceeding one hundred and fifty tons… to be coined at the mint into cents and half-cents… and be paid into the treasury of the United States, thence to issue into circulation.” This legislation resulted in the birth of the copper cent and some joy in those interested in developing the resources of the new nation. Copper would be part of the mining boom to come in the West.  {001}
Photo Gallery Index – Mining Photos – Mining MineralsCopper

1793/07/22 – Alex MacKenzie Inscription 1793 - Firsts in the Old WestScottish explorer Alexander Mackenzie (1764-1820) left this inscription, “Alex Mackenzie from Canada by land 22nd July 1793,” (painted on a rock in bear grease dyed with vermillion) two days after completing the first known transcontinental crossing of North America north of Mexico (via Canada). The inscription was chiseled into the rock by later surveyors. (Note: this was ten years before Lewis & Clark) Photo: U.S. PD Wikipedia.  {001}
see also:
The Originals  Index – Expeditions – The Fur Trade
The Originals  Index – Western Forts and Trading Posts

1795/10/27 –  Pinckney’s Treaty, signed with Spain, gives American merchants the “right of deposit” in New Orleans, granting them use of the port to store goods for trade and export. Americans will use this right to transport flour, tobacco, pork, bacon, lard, feathers, cider, butter, and cheese. The treaty also recognizes American rights to navigate the entire Mississippi River, which has become vital to the growing trade throughout the western territories. Spain will rescind the treaty in 1798 to the great consternation of Americans in the territory. Because of political and economic pressures in 1801, new Spanish Governor Don Juan Manuel de Salcedo will reestablish the U.S. right to deposit goods.  {003}
see also:
The Originals Index – Trade in the Old West
Commerce in the Old West – activity around 1795



1803/4/30 – The Louisiana Purchase Treaty is quietly signed in France on this date. Encompassing 530,000,000 acres of land, an estimated 60,000 European immigrants, and uncounted natives. The U.S. paid 50 million francs for the territory and forgave French debts worth another 18 million francs (15 million dollars total). At roughly 3 cents an acre it opens the American flood gates to the west. Long a pawn of European powers it is a coup for President Jefferson and the burgeoning nation.  {003}

1804/3/26 – The first official U.S. Government notice ordering Indians to move west of the Mississippi River.  {001}

1804/5/13 – The first overland expedition across the continent set out from St. Louis, under the leadership of Captain Meriwether Lewis and Lieutenant William Clark. The Lewis & Clark Expedition was ordered by President Thomas Jefferson in order to get a sense of the new land acquired from France via the Louisiana Purchase. The exploration would take Lewis and Clark and about forty others up the Missouri River, through the Dakotas and Montana, over the Continental Divide, and finally to the mouth of the Columbia River. Per President Jefferson’s request, Lewis and Clark kept detailed journals in which they documented their adventures, and including the plants and animals they encountered on their way. They recorded 178 plants and 122 animals–now, many of those populations are sharply reduced and at risk of extinction.  {003}

1805/02/12 – Noted in the journal of Meriwether Lewis: born at Fort Mandan, to Toussaint Charbonneau and Sacajawea is Jean Baptiste Charbonneau (called Pomp, “first-born” in Shoshone). He will accompany the Lewis and Clark Expedition with his parents.  {001}

1806/11/15 – Lt. Zebulon Pike and expedition physician Dr. John H. Robinson first sight the distant Colorado peak which Pike calls Grand Peak — but which will later be named for him. Near Ft. Lyons, CO.  {001}

1809/02/23 – Founding of the Missouri Fur Company (to 1830) in St. Louis, MO.  {001}

1809/05/05 – Wk. 18

Mary Dixon Kies received a patent, in her own name, (signed by President James Madison) for a new technique of weaving straw with silk and thread to make hats. This is claimed by some sources to be the first American woman to receive a patent. Others claim that Hannah Slater was the first, with a new method of producing sewing thread from cotton in 1793. However, that patent, was in the name of Mrs.Samuel Slater. Portrait: U.S. PD pre-1810.  {001}

After sailing around Cape Horn from New York, the ten cannon, 290-ton bark Tonquin, owned by the Pacific Fur Trading Company and commanded by U.S Navy Lieutenant Jonathan Thorn, arrived at the mouth of the Columbia River. Intending to trade for furs with the natives of the northern Pacific coast, the traders established Fort Astoria, the first American claim on the Pacific coast.  {001}
see also:
The Originals Index – Western Forts and Trading Posts
The Originals Index – Expeditions – The Fur Trade

1811/10/20 – The first steamboat to journey along the Mississippi River set sail from Pittsburgh, PA, and headed toward New Orleans, LA. Christened the New Orleans, the boat had fifteen people aboard, including the captain’s pregnant wife and a Newfoundland dog named Tiger.
Over the 82-day, 981-mile voyage, the travelers witnessed cheering throngs along the Ohio River, the birth of the captain’s son near Louisville, and observed the Battle of Tippecanoe near present-day Lafayette, Indiana.
In mid-December, a succession of potent earthquakes around the Mississippi town of New Madrid disarranged the river and its landmarks, leaving the crew’s map useless*. The boat’s successful expedition proved the feasibility of steam travel and opened the Ohio and Mississippi River valleys for trade, creating a national market for farm goods. The boat’s designer and engineer Robert Fulton wrote, “the Mississippi, as I before wrote you, is conquered.”  {003}
*Wk. 50, 12/11/1811 – New Madrid, MO next article

1811/12/11 – The first of the mighty earthquakes that would rattle the mid-west for a month or so. Maybe 500 dead in the sparsely settled country around New Madrid, MO. The Mississippi River ran uphill several times. Destined to happen again.  {001}

1819/9/19 – The Western Engineer, first steamboat to navigate the Missouri River, reaches Missouri Trading Company‘s Fort Lisa (today, North Omaha).  {001}

1821/9/1 – A pack train trading party led by Captain William Becknell departs Arrow Rock, MO, bound for Santa Fe (NM). This event led to the opening of the Santa Fe Trail, a major trade and military route into what would become the American southwest.  {001}
see also:
The Originals Index – Expeditions

1825/06/23 – Madison County, IN: Andrew Sawyer and John Bridge Sr. hanged for their participation in the Fall Creek Massacre of 1824. Two of the first three settlers, hanged in the U.S. for the massacre of Indians.  {001}

1825/10/26 – Erie Canal Map 1840 - Firsts in the Old WestEight years and seven million dollars see completion of New York Governor Dewitt Clinton‘s “Eighth Wonder of the World”. The Erie Canal opens, linking Buffalo on Lake Erie in western New York to Albany on the Hudson River. Reducing the cost of freight from around one hundred dollars a ton to four dollars per ton, the canal was a major step in the opening of the mid-west to settlement.  {003 & 001}

1828/02/21 – Cherokee Phoenix - Firsts in the Old WestThe first newspaper published by Native Americans in the U. S. and the first published in a Native American language. The Cherokee Phoenix (Cherokee: ᏣᎳᎩ ᏧᎴᎯᏌᏅᎯ, translit. Tsalagi Tsulehisanəhi), Elias Boudinot editor, was published in New Echota, capital of the Cherokee Nation (today, in Georgia). Publication continued until 1834, scuttled by complications around the Remove issue.* Revived in the 20th century, the Cherokee Phoenix publishes both print and Internet versions. Photo: U.S. PD 1828 – 1st. four page edition – 1828.  {001}
*02/24/1831Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creekbelow

1828/04/14 – Webster Noah - engraving c 1820s - Firsts in the Old WestLexicographer Noah Webster copyrighted the first edition of his dictionary of American English. Engraving: U.S. PD 1859  Morse Pinx, Kellogg Sc.  {001}

First publication of The Book of Mormon: An Account Written by the Hand of Mormon upon Plates Taken from the Plates of Nephi. Written by Joseph Smith*, founder of (today’s) Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.  {001}
Wk. 26, 06/26/1844 – Joseph Smith

1830/5/28 – Indian Removal Act Map (1830-38) - Firsts in the Old WestCongress passes President Andrew Jackson‘s Indian Removal Act into law.  It deviated from older policies which respected Native rights.  The Act hit the Cherokee, Choctaw, Creek, Chickasaw, and Seminole nations of the southeastern states hardest.  The five nations resisted nonviolently and tried to embrace Anglo-American practices of education, farming, and slave-holding, but to no avail, and about 100,000 Indians were forcibly marched thousands of miles – sometimes in manacles – to lands west of the Mississippi, most of which were judged undesirable by white settlers.  The Cherokee fought the Removal Act in court, and Seminoles of Florida fought it literally and as many as 25 percent died in-route. In the next eight years, thousands will be driven from their historic lands. Map U.S. PD © – Fair Use  {003 & 001}
see also:
Wk. 09, 02/28/1823 – Johnson vs. M’Intosh
Wk. 11, 03/18/1831 – Cherokee Nation v. Georgia
Players – Timelines – Timelines M-Z – Time to Ponder
Quotes Index – Indian QuotesAndrew Johnson and Chief Osceola
PLAYERS – Timelines – Timelines A-L – Indian Treaties Timeline

1831/02/24 – Proclamation of the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek (09/27/1830): The Choctaw Nation ceded their lands in Mississippi and agreed to move to the Indian Territory in Oklahoma. This is the first treaty effective under the Indian Removal Act* . The Choctaw who remained in Mississippi became the first ethnic group to be recognized as U.S. citizens. As with all treaties undertaken with the Indians, it was later violated by the government.  {001}
*Wk. 22, 05/28/1830 – Indian Removal Act

1831/3/18 – Cherokee Nation v. Georgia, an avoided decision by the Marshall Supreme Court which declared that Indian Tribes were “domestic dependent nations” describing the relationship akin to that of a “ward to a guardian”. Thus, they were unable to protect themselves by suing the Federal Government for any protection or justice. This set the stage for the removals and land thefts which soon followed.  {001}
see also:
Wk. 22 05/28/1830 – Indian Removal Act
Wk. 9, 02/28/1823 – Johnson vs. M’Intosh
PLAYERS – Timelines – Timelines A-L – Indian Treaties Timeline

1832/5/14 – The first engagement of The Blackhawk War (east). Isaiah Stillman‘s Illinois Militia are routed by Blackhawk‘s “British Band” of Sauk and Fox [Meskwaki] Indians at the battle of Stillman’s Run.  {001}

1836/02/25 – Colt Paterson No 5 - Firsts in the Old WestSam Colt’s patent #9430X (this date) and patent No. 1304, dated August 29, 1836, protected the basic principles of his revolving-breech loading, folding trigger firearm named the Colt Paterson. This is the beginning of the firearms revolution sparked by Colt. Photo: U.S. PD? internet, #5 Colt Patterson.  {001}
see also:
Wk. 10, 03/05/1837 – Patent Arms Manufacturing Company – below

1837/03/05 – The Patent Arms Manufacturing Company of Patterson, NJ, is chartered by Sam Colt and his investors. Numerous factors such as the Panic of 1837 (economic), reluctant markets because of the Panic, government law tangles that prevented government contracts for the military, reluctant financial backing for needed machinery to standardize parts and finally Colt’s own extravagance and money mis-management led to the failure of the company. They did turn out 1,450 revolving rifles and carbines, 462 revolving shotguns and 2,350 revolving pistols between 1836 and 1842. Colt was able to keep his patents when the business failed.  {001}
see also:
Wk. 08, 02/25/1836 – Colt Paterson

1839/8/19 – Louis Daguerre - Firsts in the Old WestA world changing event: at a special joint meeting of the Académie des Sciences  and  Académie des Beaux-Arts held at the Institut de France in Paris, France — Louis Jacques-Mandé Daguerre (1787 – 1851) revealed the secret of his photographic process to the world. The first commercially successful photographic process, it will come to be called daguerreotypy.  It came to the American West and it’s why we know what so many of the old timers looked like. The other common process was tintype (Ferrotype). Photo: U.S. PD, Jean-Baptiste Sabatier-Blot – 1844; Daguerre himself.
{003 & 001}
see also:
References – DictionaryPhotography in the Old West

1842/4/20 – Adelsverein logo - 1842 - Firsts in the Old WestThe Adelsverein (The Society for the Protection of German Immigrants in Texas) was a colonial attempt to establish a new Germany within the borders of the Republic of Texas. The first Adelsverein sponsored immigrants arrived in Galveston, TX in July 1844. A separate agreement was made with the Darmstadt Forty (1847), to settle socialist colonies within the land grant; of the seven colonies established, six failed when the funding ran out, that and conflicts about of social structure and authority. Members moved elsewhere, to other Adelsverein settlements in Texas or returned to Germany.Adelsverein ended its colonization campaign in Texas in 1853 due to excessive debt. Logo: U.S. PD 1842.  {001}.

1843 – French gunmaker Casimir Lefaucheux develops the Pinfire Ignition system for firearms. The design,  used a small brass pin protruding from the cartridge to ignite an internal primer cap. It was very well -received in Europe, and by the late 1840s, numerous armsmakers were manufacturing revolvers, rifles, and shotguns to work with a variety of  pinfire ammunition. An ingenious design; spent pinfire cartridges could be reloaded. A big first!
Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos – Ammunition Then and NowPinfire

1844/01/15 –  Yup. This is the first one. Thomas Coleman “Cole” Younger born at Lee’s Summit, MO. Outlaw.  {001}

1845/10/13 – The Republic of Texas. A majority of the republic’s voters (4,174 to 312) agree to an “offer” of annexation by the U.S. They also accept a proposed constitution which, if approved by the U.S. Congress, will result in statehood for the republic.  {001}

1847/01/04/ – 1847 Walker Colt Revolver - Firsts in the Old WestSamuel Hamilton Walker c 1846 - Firsts in the Old WestCaptain Samuel Walker of the Texas Rangers ordered 1,000 revolvers from Samuel Colt, who at the time had no factory. He hired Eli Whitney Blake to make the guns according to an improved design from a collaboration with Walker. The new revolvers would hold 6-shots instead of 5, have enough power to kill either a man or a horse with a single shot (.44 cal. BP) and be quicker to reload. This led to an order for 1,000 more pistols and Colt parlayed his profits ($10 per pistol on both orders) into the Colt’s Patent FireArms Manufacturing Company in Hartford, CT.  Orders poured in…  {001}

1847/9/11 –  The Eagle Ice Cream Saloon in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Stephen Foster‘s minstrel song “Oh! Susanna is first played in public (published in 1848). Foster would become America’s first professional song writer; his music would travel west with the immigrants and everyone else.  {001}
see also:
Photo Gallery Index – Transportation PhotosThe Clippers

1848/02/02 – The Eagle arrives in San Francisco, CA, with the first group of Chinese immigrants to land in America.  {001}

1848/09/20 – The American Association for the Advancement of Science formed at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia, PA. A reformation of the Association of American Geologists and Naturalists, it became an international non-profit organization with the stated goals of promoting cooperation among scientists, defending scientific freedom, encouraging scientific responsibility, and supporting scientific education and science outreach for the betterment of all humanity. The world’s largest general scientific society, it has more than 120,000 members and is the publisher of the well-known scientific journal Science. Each year, the organization gives out a number of honorary awards which recognize “scientists, journalists, and public servants for significant contributions to science and to the public’s understanding of science.”  Logo: © AAAS, fair use.  {001}

1849/02/28 – S.S. California - Firsts in the Old WestThe paddle-wheeler California first entered San Francisco Bay steaming from New York around the tip of South America. Soon, more Paddle-wheelers would be transporting gold seekers and mail to California, both around Cape Horn and from the Panamanian overland route, and carrying ore and gold bricks back to the East Coast. The Paddle-wheelers could navigate the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers from San Francisco Bay, therefore, passengers could book transport to Sacramento and Stockton for closer jumping-off points to the gold fields. U.S. PD Contemporary advertising poster c. 1850’s – S.S. California.  {001}
see also:
Photo Gallery Index – Transportation Photos The Clippers



1850/6/11 – San Francisco, CA. The newly formed Vigilance Committee flexes its muscles and strings up an Australian convict named John Jenkins.  {001}

1851/04/09 – Settlers from Taos (Taoseño’s), in what will soon be the New Mexico Territory found San Luis, the first permanent settlement in what will become the Colorado Territory in another ten years.  {001}

1851/09/14 – Fort Defiance established in Apache country, Arizona Territory-to-be.  {001}

1851/09/17 – The Treaty of Ft. Laramie (1851) involved many tribes and agreed on some traditional tribal boundaries — but was really intended to protect settlers on the Oregon Trail. Typically, payments and goods promised to Indians never materialized and the volume of settlers steadily increased. When gold was discovered on Indian lands the treaty, as most, was just so much smoke.  {001}

1852/03/20 – Harriet Beecher Stowe - Firsts in the Old WestFirst Publication of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s, Uncle Tom’s Cabin or, Life Among the Lowly. The best-selling novel of the nineteenth century. Said to be one of the precursors to the Civil War.  Photo: U.S. PD  {001}
see also:
Wk. 11, 03/14/1794 – cotton gin

1854/01/19 – Republican Elephant - Thomas Nast - 1874 - Firsts in the Old WestThe name Republican was first applied to a burgeoning movement made up of anti-slavery former Whigs, immigrants, and abolitionists in a small schoolhouse in Ripon, Wisconsin. Anti-Nebraska gatherings were called to voice opposition to Steven DouglasKansas/Nebraska Act* which wiped out the earlier Missouri Compromise of 1850.** Where the compromise assured the containment of slavery in the south and made the western territories free states (except Missouri) the new act would allow the settlers to choose their own path by a vote. Recent migrants were to be denied suffrage. Wisconsin was teeming with recent immigrants concerned for their rights. Most northern Whigs were pro-industry, pro-education, pro-modernization, and ambivalent about slavery, but when they seized on the popularity of the slavery issue they outgrew the old party, and the Republican Party was conceived.  Cartoon U.S. PD 1874 Thomas Nast, the first time for the elephant!  {003 & 001}
*Wk. 22, 05/30/1854 – Kansas-Nebraska Act
**Wk. 36, 09/04/1850 – Compromise of 1850

1854/12/26 –  The Treaty of Medicine Creek was signed in Thurston County, WA in a grove of Douglas fir trees well known to the tribes; along a creek then known as She-nah-num by the natives, or Medicine Creek by white settlers (today: McAllister Creek). In exchange for establishing three reservations, cash payments over a period of twenty years, and recognition of traditional native fishing and hunting rights; the treaty granted 2.24 million acres (9,060;km²) of land to the United States. This treaty with the Nisqually, Puyallup and Squaxin Island Indian Tribes, was the first of some 13 treaties with the many Native American tribes in the northwest. The pattern of treaty violation and ignoring the rights granted in the treaty, by the territorial and later the state government, began immediately.  {001}

1855/01/23 – First Mississippi River Bridge 1855 - Firsts in the Old WestThe Minneapolis Bridge Company opens the first bridge over the Mississippi River at Minneapolis, MN. A wooden towered lumber and wire structure, 620 feet long, designed by New York engineer Thomas M. Griffith. Photo: U.S. PD  {001 & 003}
Quotes Index – Commentators Quotes – New York Times – 1855

1856/1/26 – Marines from the USS Decatur drive off attacking Indians at the First Battle of Seattle (WA).  {001}

1855/5/15 – Cherokee cowboy Clem Rogers and 15 others began a drive of 500 longhorn steers from Indian Country (OK) to sell in Kansas City. Finding no buyers there, they continued four months and 250 more miles to St. Louis, MO.  {001}
see also:
The Originals Index – Cow? What cow?Where did all the little dogies git along to?

1856/05/14 – Major Henry C. Wayne - Firsts in the Old WestArmy Maj. Henry C. Wayne lands at Indianola, TX with the first 34 camels of the U.S. Camel Corps; 41 more will arrive in February of 1857. Photos: Wayne, PD U.S.  {001}
Wk. 9, 03/03/1855 – Camels
Photo Gallery Index – Transportation PhotosCamels?)

1856/06/09 – Mormon Handcart Statue - Firsts in the Old WestSponsored by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (Mormons) and using church assets along with private donations, the Perpetual Emigrating Fund Company [PEF] (1849) helped poor church members get to Utah. After traveling by ship and train to Iowa City, IA, 274 emigrants from Europe, the First Hand Cart Company (Ellsworth) begin the 1,300 mile trek on The Mormon Trail to the Salt Lake Valley in Utah. Two more companies will soon follow… Photo: U.S. PD CDGentry, statue by: Torleif S. Knaphus (1945).  {001}
see also:
& Photo Gallery Index – Transportation Photos Mormon Hand Carts

1856/09/25 – Zion at last! The First Hand Cart Company (Ellsworth) arrives safe and sound in Salt Lake City, UT. In the one hundred-ten days since leaving Iowa City, IA, they have lost but thirteen of the 274 immigrants who began the westward journey. The concept has been proven! There will be more!  {001}
Photo Gallery Index – Transportation PhotosMormon Hand Carts

1857/2/21 – Coin Ferdinand VII - Firsts in the Old WestThe Coinage Act of 1857 repealed the Act of 1806, and any others which had allowed foreign coinage (silver or gold) to be accepted as legal tender in the U.S. No more pieces of eight*. But, the new U.S. dollar and others in the new world were based on the peso. One story has our $ sign inspired by the art on the reverse (right, in the photo) of newer coins which were in circulation at the time.  Photo: PD by Coinman62 via Wikipedia. Spanish Silver Dollar (c. 1821, Ferdinand VII).  {001}
*References – Dictionary – Piece of Eight

1857 – The first metallic cartridge produced in the U.S. was the .22 short. Introduced for the first S&W revolver, a pocket pistol developed for personal protection. It was popular during the American Civil War, carried as personal weapons by soldiers on both sides.
Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos – Ammunition Then and NowRimfire

1857/7/9 Celerity Coach (mud wagon) - Firsts in the Old WestThe granddaddy of ’em all — first run of “The Jackass Mail“, the San Antonio-San Diego Mail Line, via horseback, to meet a U.S. Government Mail contract date. Thereafter, semi-monthly service was established — with a coach leaving each terminal city on the 9th and 24th of the month. They met at Maricopa Wells, AZ, exchanging mail and passengers, then returning to the home station. Supported by 87 stations, 400 head of stock (mules), and 65 employees operating celerity wagons. (Similar to military ambulances and much lighter weight than a Concord Coach). The 1,500 mile service, averaging 30+ days in a four-horse coach, ran until 1858 when it lost the El Paso to Fort Yuma portion of the route to the Butterfield Overland Mail*, which soon increased that service to weekly. Through various configurations and routes the service lasted until 1861 when Apaches and the Civil War finally ended it. Photo: U.S.P.D. David R., Seeley Stable Museum, Abbott & Downing Celerity (mud) wagon.  {001}
*Wk. 37, 09/16/1857 – Butterfield Overland Mail
Photo Gallery Index – Transportation Photos“Moses” Ambulance
The Originals Index – Resources & Hazards – Animals Index Page
Mammals Mule

1857/09/16 – The Butterfield Overland Mail commences service on the “Oxbow Route” with a $600,000, six year mail contract with the U.S. Postal Service. Concord coaches would leave from Tipton, MO, and San Francisco, CA, on a twice weekly (Monday & Thursday) run, scheduled for twenty-five days (usually about 22 days). One-way fare from Memphis, TN, or St. Louis to San Francisco was $200. The railroad ran from St. Louis to Tipton and a stage served from Memphis to Fort Smith, AR, to meet the westbound mail coach.  {001}
see also:
Quotes Index – Commentators QuotesWm. Ormsby
Photo Gallery Index – Transportation Photos
Tally Ho Coach – 3rd. down
Don’t think the mail runs carried quite this many passengers. – Doc

1858/1/2/ – Hardyville, AZ Territory-to-be: The steamboat “General Jessup” arrives after working its way up the Colorado River. The old timers took a run at a number of the big western rivers with steamboats (little ones, not big ones).  {001}

1858/10/09 – The San Francisco, CA, to St. Louis, MO, Butterfield Overland Mail Stage arrives after 24 days in transit.  {001}

1858/12/18 –  The Territorial Enterprise is founded in Virgina City, NV, by Alfred James and William Jernegan. Mark Twain served as editor for a time at the paper, making $25 a week publishing writings that are treasured today.  {001}

1859/04/20 – First publication of the Rocky Mountain News in the Pikes Peak Region (Colorado territory-to-be).  {001}

1859/06/12 – Comstock Ore - Firsts in the Old WestSix Mile Canyon near Virginia City, NV. Gold prospectors Patrick McLaughlin and Peter O’Riley dug a small hole as a water basin for their rocker. In the bottom of the hole was their gold strike! But the blue-black junk with it that clogged the rocker and made it hard to pan out the fines, turned out to be near-pure sulphuret of silver. This was the first major silver strike in the U.S., the fabulous Comstock Lode. It grossed $320 million between 1859 and 1882, but after costs and expenditures the net yield was only about $55 million. A highly paid miner received perhaps $4 a day for the immense risks taken in these dangerous mines. Western Utah Territory (Mt. Davidson, Virginia Range, NV.). Photo: U.S. PD Chris Ralph.  {001}
see also:
Photo Gallery Index – Mining Photos
-“The Cradle” & Mining on the Comstock
The Originals – Trade in the Old West – Commerce in the Old West
– metal values around 1859

1859/8/27 – The world’s first oil well, in Titusville, PA, is drilled by Col. Edwin Drake. The search for oil will move west…  {001}

1859/12/02 – John Brown - Daguerreotype - c 1856 - Firsts in the Old WestJohn Brown, age 59, abolitionist and perhaps America’s first terrorist, is hung in Charles Town, VA, for a raid on the Federal Arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, VA (see: Wk. 42, 10/16/1859). He refused a rescue attempt by Silas Soule+2 and went to his death believing it would spark armed reaction to slavery. His actions and court testimony, with their impact on the public, are considered to be among the major causes of the Civil War. Photo: PD, Daguerreotype c. 1856, by John Bowles (1833-1900)  {001}
Quotes Index – Commentators Quotes

1860/04/03 – Pony Express Messenger badge - Firsts in the Old WestThe first runs of the Pony Express leave from St. Joseph, MO, (Johnny Frey on Sylph) and Sacramento, CA. (Harry Roff on a horse unnamed in history). [All names and facts of departures heavily questioned and debated]  Photo: U.S. PD  {001}

1860/4/13 – First Westbound Pony Express Rider arrives in Sacramento, CA  {001}

1860/06/09 – The first publication in (Beadle and Adams) of the Beadle’s Dime Novel SeriesMaleaska, the Indian Wife of the White Hunter, by Ann S. Stephens, is credited with founding the genre.*  Dime Novels, influential in the perception of the West, but never limited to western themes or any standard of veracity, were popular well into the 1920’s when they were finally overwhelmed by the pulp magazine.  {001}
Wk. 13, 03/30/1810 – Ann Sophia Stephens

1860/07/23 – Explorer/prospector Capt. Richard Sopris becomes the first white man to enjoy the Yampah Hot Springs at what will become Glenwood Springs, CO. The spectacular mountain that rises over 6,000 ft. above the Roaring Fork River and surrounding countryside (Carbondale, CO) to a height of 12, 965 ft. above sea-level was named Mt. Sopris by members of the expedition. The names of all 14 expedition members were carved on a large cottonwood tree on the island near the spring.  {001 & 009}

1860/07/23 – Clark Gruber $10 gold coin - Firsts in the Old WestClark, Gruber & Co. opened a private mint in a two story brick building on the corner of Market and 16th Streets in Denver, CO. Minting $10 gold pieces (an “Eagle”) at the rate of “fifteen or twenty coins a minute”. Next, a $20 gold coin (a “Double Eagle”)… “the weight will be greater, but the value the same as the United States coin of like denomination”. A $5 and a $2.5 gold coin were soon added, with production reaching $18,000 per week. In not quite three years of operation, they minted $594,305 worth of Pike’s Peak Gold into coins. They also purchased 77,000 troy ounces of raw gold* and shipped “large amounts of dust” to the Philadelphia Mint. The building, assaying and minting equipment was purchased by the US Treasury in April 1863 and became the United States Mint, which actually, only operated as an assay office until 1906. Clark, Gruber & Co. remained as a bank until 1865 when they were purchased by the First National Bank of Denver. Photo: U.S. PD? internet – 1860 C, G & Co. $10 gold coin.  {001}
*at the then market price of gold, $20.67 oz. (Troy), that’s not quite $1.6 million in 1860’s dollars.
The Originals Index – Trade in the Old West
Commerce in the Old West around 1860…

The first skirmish of The Battle of Glorieta Pass, New Mexico Territory, resulted in a small Union victory.  {001}

1862/05/20 – Free Land!!  The Homestead Act is signed by President Abraham Lincoln. It offers up to 160 acres outside the  original 13 colonies, to anyone (21) who had never taken up arms (including freed slaves) against the U.S. Apply (do the paperwork), Prove Up (make the required improvements), Apply for your deed. Aside from populating the west, the act was useful for replacing indigenous peoples with tax-paying farmers and as a method for manipulating water and other resources. Other major reiterations of the act were passed in 1909 and 1916. Nearly 10% of all land in the U.S. was homesteaded. Forty-two percent of Women claimants proved up, only thirty-seven percent of the men did. The old timers said, “With the Homestead Act, the U.S. is betting 160 acres that you can’t live on it.”  {001}

1862/10/24 – Tonkawa Massacre survivors - Firsts in the Old WestWichita Agency Massacre: After the attack on the Wichita Agency* the fleeing Tonkawa were caught before they could reach the safety of Ft. Arbuckle. In the massacre which followed, an estimated 137 men, women and children were slaughtered. Among them Chief Plácido, aka: Ha-shu-ka-na (“Can’t Kill Him”). While various tribes taking sides in the Civil War was certainly an issue, there was something else… the Tonkawa were rumored to be cannibals. It was claimed that they had killed and eaten two Shawnees, and that they were responsible for the death and dismemberment of a young Caddo boy. Relations between the Tonkawa and neighboring tribes had been antagonistic for years for a variety of reasons: including the Tonkawa acting as scouts for the Texas Rangers and fighting alongside them in actions against other tribes, including the Comanche. Varying contemporary accounts claim the Lenape, Osage, Shawnee, Caddo, Comanche, Kiowa, Wichita and Seminole participated in the massacre. Photo: U.S. PD c.1898 Frank Rinehart – Tonkawa survivors and descendants of survivors: Standing L-R, Winnie Richards, John Rush Buffalo, William Stevens, John Allen, and Mary Richards. Seated L-R John Williams, Grant Richards, and Sherman Miles.  {001}
*10/23/1862 – above
The Originals – Native American Tribes
References – Dictionary Wendigo

1862/11/4 – Ft. Sumner is established in what will become Lincoln County, NM Territory.  {001}

Daniel Freeman: physician, county coroner, sheriff and plaintiff in a landmark separation of church and state case before the Nebraska Supreme Court. Freeman became the first applicant for land under the Homestead Act. St. Louis, Mo.  (How did that land office open at midnight?)  {001}

1863/02/02 – Leland Stanford sets the first spike of the Central Pacific Railroad at Sacramento, CA.  {001}

1863/11/03 – Sentenced to death for the killing of one John Savage, Chipita Rodriguez gains the dubious honor of becoming the first woman to be legally hanged in Texas.  {001}

1864 – Austrian Archduke Ferdinand Maximilian Joseph “Emperor of Mexico” arrives in Veracruz to cheering crowds and the joy of the monarchists. The Republicans, Benito Juárez, and others are not so pleased.  {001}
see also:
PLAYERS – Timelines Index – Timelines M-Z Index
Mexican History Timeline

1864/02/27 – Andersonville, GA: the first Union prisoners arrive at Camp Sumter. It will become the most notorious prison of the American Civil War.  {001}

1864/04/20 – 1864 2 Cent Lg Motto (obv) - Firsts in the Old WestCongress passes the Coinage Act of 1864, which authorized the minting of a two-cent copper coin bearing the phrase “In God we trust“. The first U.S. coin to do so. Just under 20 million coins were struck in the first year.
Copyleft_white.svg CC U.S. PD 1864 two cent coin, large motto  {001}

First Battle of Adobe Walls, (Hutchinson County) TX. Col. Christopher “Kit” Carson, in command of the First Cavalry, New Mexico Volunteers, leads a punitive expedition against Indian winter encampments in retaliation for raids on wagon trains along the Santa Fe Trail. After attacking a Kiowa village, the troopers press on to the site of Bent’s old fort at Adobe Walls. Perhaps only saved by the presence of Lt. George Pettis’s mountain howitzers, the expedition of fewer than 500 men beats a successful retreat after determining that they face a combined force of 3000 to  7000 Comanche and Kiowa warriors led by Dohäsan, Stumbling Bear and Satana.  {001}

1865/07/21 – Generally thought to be the first old west showdown. James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok+3, a professional gambler and former Union scout, and Davis Tutt, cowboy and former Confederate soldier met in the market square in Springfield, MO. The two fell out over a woman and a gambling debt, and ultimately determined to resolve their differences by a duel. They faced off with about 75 paces separating them and fired simultaneously. Tutt’s shot went wild, but Hickok’s struck Tutt through the heart. Wild Bill’s reputation as one of the finest pistol shots in the old west was cemented*. TYH!  {003 & 007}
*Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Index
– Firearms – Mikes Revolvers Page 1Colt Dragoon

1865/12/06 – The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution is adopted. Slavery and involuntary servitude — except in punishment for a crime — are outlawed in the United States.  {001}

1866/07/28 – Buffalo Soldiers Monument - Firsts in the Old WestDrawing heavily on Civil War veterans, Congress authorizes six regiments of “colored troops” {USCT} with white officers*: the 38th & 41st infantry regiments) consolidated into the 24th IR (1869), and the 39th & 40th infantry regiments consolidated as the 25th IR (1869), and two regiments of cavalry: the 9th and 10th. Many of these units fought in the Indian Wars and the Cheyenne would come to call the fighters of the 10th Cavalry “wild buffalo” (1867). In time, all black soldiers would be called “Buffalo Soldiers“+2 . Legend also says the name derived from the similarity of their hair to that of the buffalo. Considerable respect from any Indians who faced them and numerous awards of the Medal of Honor attest to the fighting courage and prowess of these troops. TYH!  Photo: Buffalo Soldier Monument at Fort Leavenworth, KS; PD US Gov, sculpture by Eddie Dixon.  {001}
*Wk. 03, 01/19/1899 – General Ranald S. Mackenzie

1866/10/06 – America’s first peacetime train robbers took the Ohio & Mississippi train soon after it left Seymour, ID. Frank and “Sim” Reno, along with Frank Sparks, boarded the train while the rest of the gang waited alongside the tracks. They opened a small safe on the locomotive and tossed a much larger one from the express car before jumping off themselves. Unable to open the purloined safe, they fled under the pressure of an approaching angry posse. The Pinkerton National Detective Agency identified the Reno Gang as the perpetrators through the testimony of a passenger, who was later murdered.  {001}
The Originals Index – Outlaw Gangs Index – Reno Gang

1867/03/30 – William H. Seward - Firsts in the Old WestSeward’s Folly“: for the grand sum of $7.2 million dollars the United States purchased a Russian territory [since 1741] called Alaska.  The American public was not sold on the deal for 663,268 square miles of frozen tundra. Negotiated with Russian minister, Baron Eduard de Stoeckl and signed by President Andrew Johnson’s secretary of state, William Seward, the acquisition was also described as Andrew Johnson’s “polar bear garden” and “Seward’s Icebox.” In the end, the Alaska purchase would be seen as one of Seward’s greatest accomplishments. Photo: U.S. PD, c. 1860-65 Mathew Brady & Levin Handy – Secretary of State (1861-69  William Henry Seward)  {001 & 003}
Wk. 15, 04/10/1867 – Alaska Purchase
Quotes Index – Commentator’s QuotesPolitics and the Law

1867/08/06 – The newly created Indian Peace Commission meets in St. Louis, MO, and determines, among other things, that “hostile” Indians must be confined to reservations away from the routes in use by immigrants for western expansion.  {001}

1867/12/04 – Stamp - National Grange - 1967 - Firsts in the Old WestOliver Hudson Kelley founds the National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry (The Grange). Kelley conceived of a fraternal organization patterned on the Freemasons, and functioning to improve conditions for farmers. Unusual for the times, the Grange encouraged women and teenagers to participate and required that four of its nationally elected positions be held by women. The Grange advocated for the rights of farmers in clashes with railroads, it launched free rural mail delivery, and aided farmers through research and education. It also advocated strongly for more broadly focused issues like temperance and women’s suffrage. The Granger motto was, “I Pay for All“. Stamp: U.S. Postage 1967, Grange Centennial.  {003}

1868/12/12 – Frank, Simeon “Sim”, and William Reno — along with Reno Gangmember Charles Anderson — are lynched by 65 hooded vigilantes in New Albany, ID. This is the end of America’s first gang of train robbers. “Judge Lynch” had spoken through the auspices of the “Scarlet Mask Society” of Jackson County. Charlie Anderson and Frank Reno are the only prisoners in U.S. history known to have been lynched while technically in federal custody.  {001}
The Originals Index – Outlaw Gangs Index – Reno Gang

1869/05/10 – Transcontinental RR - Last Spike! - Firsts in the Old WestPromontory Summit, UT. Two gold, one silver, and one forged of gold, silver and iron (plus one common iron spike wired to the telegraph) join the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific Railroads, completing the Transcontinental Railroad. Now its $69 and seven days to California… Photo: U.S. PD 1869 LOC Central Pacific RR (left), Union Pacific RR (right).  {001}
see also:
Wk. 18, 5/1/1839 – Thomas J. Farnham
Wk. 26, 07/01/1862 – The Pacific Railway Act
Photo Gallery Index – Transportation Photos – Railroads in the West

1869/07/26 – The Dan Castello Circus opens in San Francisco, CA. The first circus to play both the east and west coasts.  {001}

1869/08/13 – John Wesley Powell‘s first Colorado River expedition reaches the mouth of the Virgin River in Arizona after 82 days and some 930 perilous river miles. Three men who quit the expedition and attempted to walk out were likely killed by Paiute Indians. His second expedition traversed the route again in 1871-72.  In 1867 he began exploring and mapping areas that would, in time, become treasured national parks: Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands, Grand Canyon, Zion, and many others which would become national monuments and recreation areas. His story is far too big for Old West Daily Reader; start with his revised expedition report, The Exploration of the Colorado River and Its Canyons – J.W. Powell (1895).  {001 & 003}
see also:
Wk. 38, 09/23/1902 – John Wesley Powell

1869/12/23 – Buffalo Bill: King of the Border Men first appeared as a serial in Street and Smith’s New York Weekly with the byline of Ned Buntline.  {001}

1870/10/15 – The first issue of the Arizona Citizen hits the streets of Tuscon, AZ. Editor/publisher Richard McCormick will have plenty to write about.  {001)

1872/01/14 – Grand Duke Alexei - Firsts in the Old WestGeorge Custer and Grand Duke Alexei Alexandrovitch - Firsts in the Old WestOn the occasion of his 22nd birthday, Grand Duke Alexi’s buffalo hunt is replete with 600 Sioux Indians led by Spotted Tail and other notable warriors, two companies each of infantry and cavalry, and a huge support train. With Lt. Col. “General” George Custer as Grand Master of the hunt, Buffalo Bill Cody coached the duke, who proved a capable hunter and who later became an admirer of America. The champagne, caviar and fantastic demonstrations of Indian skills as hunters and warriors is a tale too grand to receive full justice in the OWDR! Look this one up and get the full effect of this 19th century international event. It was actually a formal visit by the Russian Navy.  {001}
It was definitely a “First” but also an “Only“! I don’t think any other European royalty got this treatment. – Doc

1871/11/17 – The National Rifle Association was first chartered in the state of New York by William Conant Church and George Wood Wingate.  [001}

1872/03/01 – President Ulysses S. Grant signs an Act of Dedication preserving 3,468.4 square miles of distant wilderness as Yellowstone National Park. Early descriptions of the place the Arapaho called Henihco’oo or Héetíhco’oo were generally dismissed as tall tales. Jim Bridger maintained he had seen petrified trees and waterfalls shooting up to the sky. Trapper Joe Meek related tales of boiling mud, and steaming rivers. On the back-burner due to the Civil War and the Indian Wars the United States Geological Survey finally explored the Yellowstone in 1871. The team persuasively led by geologist Ferdinand Vandeveer Hayden delivered a 500-page report to Congress; Congress and President Grant, delivered the world’s first national park.  {003}
see also:
Wk. 51, 12/23/1887 – Hayden
The Originals Index – ExpeditionsHayden

1872/08/02 – Cable Car - Firsts in the Old WestSan Francisco, CA, Four a.m. – Andrew Smith Hallidie had arrived in San Francisco in 1852 during the Gold Rush. One damp and foggy day in 1869, he saw a team struggling to pull a horse-drawn car up a steep, cobblestone hill.  The teamster violently whipped the struggling horses, but they lost their purchase, fell and were hopelessly dragged by the heavy car as it accelerated down the hill.
Hallidie’s father held an English patent for “wire rope”. Andrew was using the product in constructing suspension bridges and ore transport machinery for the mines. Over the next four years he coupled a steam engine to a cable to get the power to safely haul a car up San Francisco’s steep hills. Contracting with the city to form the Clay Street Hill Railroad, work started in May 1873. In just three months the “cable” car was operational. Hallidie made the first successful test trip to the top of Nob Hill… Later in the day came the pictured public trial trip up the hill. Photo: U.S. PD 1873, courtesy Cable Car Museum SF, CA.  {003}

1872/08/15 – Named after nearby Fort Dodge, the town company of Dodge City, KS, made a formality of the little settlement around Henry L. Sitler’s three room soddy and George M. Hoover’s plank and sod whiskey bar on the Santa Fe Trail where it crossed the Arkansas River. The Santa Fe Railroad arrived in September to bring in supplies and take out hides and meat. Green buffalo hides piled high along Front Street provided an odious background to the saloons and the brothels lit by the red lanterns of visiting railroad men. Land speculators, gamblers, merchants and madams flourished in booming Ford County. In time, Texas cattle would arrive for shipment east — and the city would become the epitome of the Wild Western community. Boot Hill would become legend.  {001}

1872/11/29 – The first serious incident in the Modoc War, the Battle of Lost River was set off by the army’s attempt to force the Modoc onto a reservation at Klamath, OR.  {001}

1873/07/21 – The James Gang’s first train robbery (derailed it and put the locomotive on its side!). Engineer John Rafferty is killed as the boys take  a mere $3000 from the express car then rob passengers in frustration on the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific near Adair, Iowa.  The second successful(?) (third overall) peacetime train robbery in the United States. Five of the seven miscreants were later identified by a farmer who had fed them during their escape: Frank and Jesse James, Clell Miller, and Bob and Jim Younger. The train they had intended to rob — the one with the big gold shipment?? That was the next train!  {001}

1873/09/01 – Clay Street RR cable car - Firsts in the Old WestAndrew Smith Hallidie engineered a safe and efficient means of transporting passengers over the growing cities’ precipitous hillside streets and San Francisco‘s first cable cars began routine service on the Clay Street Hill Railroad. Other engineers improved the “grip”, the brakes, and various other parts of the system, but the cable car made Hallidie a wealthy man. Photo: U.S. PD pre-1900, by unknown, Cable Car Museum.  {003}

1874/07/20 – Rocky Mountain Locust - LOC - Firsts in the Old WestJust east of the Rockies: farmers saw a cloud approaching from the west, sparkling around the edges where the wings of billions of Rocky Mountain Locusts reflected the light of the sun.  The most massive single swarm of locusts in history — 1,800 miles long, half a mile thick and 110 miles wide stretching from Canada to Texas as it erupted into America’s Great Plains. Woodcut: U.S. PD LOC.

1874/07/31 – “We found gold among the roots of the grass.” Custer‘s Black Hills Expedition geologists hit the jackpot at French Creek. The price will be high, all the way around.  {001}

WCTU logo - Firsts in the Old West1873/11/19 – Founding of The National Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) in Hillsboro, OH. (Officially declared at a national convention in Cleveland, OH in 1874). The purpose was to create a “sober and pure world” by abstinence, purity, and evangelical Christianity. The First National President was Mrs. Annie Turner Wittenmyer (serving, 1874-1879). The World’s Woman’s Christian Temperance Union was founded in 1883 and became the international arm of the organization. The temperance movement is still going today, with chapters in 72 countries. Photo, U.S. PD pre-1923 – internet. Logo: WCTU 1920 © WCTU, Scanned from 1920 WCTU temperance flyer – Wikipedia.  {003 & 001} Logo: WCTU 1920 © WCTU, Fair Use.  {003 & 001}
see also:
References – DictionaryWomen’s Christian Temperance Union.
Wk. 23, 06/09/1911- Carrie Nation

1875/7/11 – Native Sons of the Golden West logo - Firsts in the Old WestThe Native Sons of the Golden West, a fraternal service organization limited to native born Californians, is established. It is dedicated to historic preservation, documentation of historic structures and places in the state, the placement of historic plaques, and other charitable functions within California. The discovery of gold in 1890 is commemorated by placing the first historical marker in the state. The institution gave rise to California’s nickname “Golden State” and to the term, “Golden West.” Brother organization to Native Daughters of the Golden West. Logo U.S.  © Native Sons, Fair Use.  {001}

1875/07/26 – First stage robbery by “Black Bart”, between Sonora and Milton, Calaveras County, CA.  {001}

1875/09/03 – The brand new gallows at Ft. Smith, AR, swings its first six badmen (three whites, two Indians and a black man) for “Hanging” Judge Isaac Parker. There will be 73 more over the next 21 years.  {001}
see also:
Photo Gallery Index – Hangings and Shootings (Caution!)Fort Smith Gallows

1876/3/7 – Alexander Graham Bell is granted a patent for the telephone. Wyatt Earp will use one in TombstoneKid Curry will be sorry (for a short time) that it was ever invented.  {001}

1876/05/31 – Bismark, SD. The Bismark Tribune publishes the first three dispatches from reporter Marcus “Mark” H. Kellogg. They are the first of the last, as he is riding with Custer.  {001}

1876/09/05 – Tehachapi Loop - Firsts in the Old WestAn engineering marvel! The Tehachapi Loop is completed and the first Southern Pacific through train from San Francisco arrives in Los Angeles, CA. (Illustration: U.S. PD USPS pictorial cancellation from the Keene, CA, post office celebrating the Loop’s 129th anniversary.)  {001}

1876/11/08 – First woman in the United States elected as a justice of the peace is Mary Davis, at Tie Siding, WY.  {001}

1877/04/07 – The Gem Theater - Firsts in the Old WestEntrepreneur Al Swearengen‘s modest Cricket Saloon’s “Prize Fights” have taken enough money from the local miners to build a far more grand affair; the opulent Gem Variety Theater opens in Deadwood, SD.  Between dishonest gambling games, prostitution and liquor sales the Gem could bring in $ 5,000, or more, every night! Well over $100,000 in today’s devalued funds. Plus, Al controlled the lucrative opium trade in the city. Photo: U.S. PD c. 1878, unknown, The Gem Variety Theater. (Thought to be Al in the left buggy.)  {001}

1877/06/01 – Eadweard Muybridge’s first attempt to answer the question “Does a horse lift all its hooves off the ground at the same time?”.  The “automatic electro-photograph” showed Occident, a Stanford racehorse, seemingly with all four feet off the ground.  But it was not accepted as proof, because it was clearly retouched.  The photo had been painted over, then rephotographed and produced as a woodcut of the photo.  Muybridge and Stanford will try again next year.  {003}

1877/06/01 – Deadwood Dick completes his first round trip to Dodge City, KS, on a cattle drive after his fight and escape from the camp of Yellow Dog*. The trip is without incident (but for the rampage of the local watering holes after delivery of the herd). The one incident worth noting has to do with Dick, “getting too much bad whiskey under his shirt”. Leaving town, he rode boldly into Ft. Dodge and roped a cannon with the intent to drag it back to Texas to fight Indians. The cannon proving too heavy to move, he made good his escape from the fort; but was soon apprehended by pursuing troopers. Only the intervention of Bat Masterson, who sprung for a $15 round of whiskey, saw Dick safely on his way back south. Bat said Dick was the only cowboy he liked.  {001}
*Wk. 40, 10/04/1876 – Yellow Dog

1877/08/23 – A military telegram and a newspaper article (Arizona Weekly Star) mark the first use of the alias “Kid” for “Henry Antrim”, soon to be known as “Billy the Kid”.  {001}

1877/09/03 – Ed Schieffelin - 1880 - Firsts in the Old WestEd Schieffelin recorded his first silver claim at Tombstone, AZ. Note that he doesn’t have his prospecting equipment but he does have the other “tools” necessary for survival out there in the countryside. This man had immense personal courage, wandering alone out there in deadly Indian country. Folks about told him that all he would ever find out there was his tombstone. So, that’s what he named the mine that made him a rich man. Photo: U.S. PD c. 1870’s, unknown.  {001}

1878/01/25 – Denison, TX farmer John Martin, witnessed a strange dark object flying over his land while out hunting. The strange shape and the apparent high speed of the moving object quickly caught his attention. He took his eyes off it for a second in order to refocus his gaze. When he found it again, it was almost overhead and although now clear in his vision, it still appeared to be at a great height. He could only compare the object to a (hot air) balloon, but accepted that it moved much too fast for this to realistically be the case. He described it as a “large saucer”
The Denison Daily News ended their article on Mr. Martin’s sighting by concluding that the event “deserves the attention of our scientists!”   {001}
Back then, they didn’t call them UFO‘s yet. This is the first one noted in OWDR. – Doc

1878/02/28 – The announcement of the discovery of the Little Pittsburgh mine at Leadville, CO, marks the beginning of the great silver boom.  {001}
see also:
Wk. 15, 04/10/1899 – Haw Tabor

1879/05/02 – Standing Bear - Firsts in the Old WestUnited States ex rel. Standing Bear v. Crook. Ponca Chief Standing Bear had been arrested by General George Cook for leaving the reservation. He and his wife Susette Primeau sued the federal government via Cook (with Cook’s contrivance) in U.S. District Court in Omaha, Nebraska, Judge Elmer S. Dundy presiding. Noted attorneys John L. Webster and the chief attorney of the Union Pacific Railroad, Andrew J. Poppleton provided their services pro bono. A well-educated, bi-lingual Omaha Indian, Susette “Bright Eyes” LaFlesche provided translation service. An Indian was not deemed to be a “person” before the law. Standing Bear needed to establish that he was a “person” before he could contend for a writ of habeas corpus. Assistant editor Thomas Tibbles of The Omaha Daily Herald was heavily involved in bringing the issue to court. This was a revolutionary issue in America at the time, with partisans on both sides. Photo: U.S. PD c. 1880’s.   {001}
Wk. 19, 05/12/1879 – Standing Bear v. Crook
Quotes Index – Indian Quotes
Politicians, Soldiers, Preachers & others… Elmer S. Dundy

1879/11/01 – Carlisle Indian School Logo - Firsts in the Old WestFounded by Captain Richard Henry Pratt, the Carlisle Indian School opened with 147 students, from five to twenty-five, the majority being teenagers. The class included eighty-four Lakota, fifty-two Cheyenne, Kiowa and Pawnee, and eleven Apache. Two-thirds were the children of Plains Indian tribal leaders. The school operated from 1879 until 1918 with over 10,000 Native American children from 140 tribes attending; however, only 158 students ever graduated. The Indian schools were very controversial. Native Americans say that they forced children to leave their families at young ages and often compelled them to give up their Indian names in favor of Anglo designations. They lost their culture, language and religion. The psychological damage to the children, parents, and the tribes themselves haunts Indian relations yet today. School Logo U.S. PD 1900.

1880/05/01 – John P. Clum prints the first Edition of the Tombstone Epitaph. The newspaper still exists today as a living archive of the historical west. Tombstone, AZTYH!  {001}

1880/09/09 – Tombstone, AZ, the Grand Hotel opened with an invitation only ball. Richly appointed with elegant chandeliers, thick Brussels carpets, walnut and silk-covered furniture, a fine selection of oil paintings, toilet stands and kitchen replete with hot and cold running water. Sporting 16 rooms “with a view”, it boasted facilities sufficient to serve some 500 people in the span of a couple of hours. Western elegance at its best!  In its time, the establishment hosted such famous personalities as Wyatt and Virgil Earp, Doc Holliday and Red Sash Gang members Billy and Ike Clanton, Frank and Tom McLaury, as well as numerous others. It became the “headquarters” of The Cowboys when they were in town. Unfortunately, the hotel did not survive the great fire of 05/23/1882*.  {001}
*Wk. 21, 05/23/1882 – Grand Hotel
The Originals – Lost Treasures in the Old West Grand Hotel

1880/12/21 – Bird Cage Theater - Firsts in the Old West(T) Opening night at Lottie and William Hutchinson’s Bird Cage Variety Theater. A typical “box” house*, there is general seating on the main floor and curtained private boxes above… whatever happens up there is veiled from view. The “Doves of the Roost” ply their trade. With talent imported from both coasts, the stage was graced by luminaries of the times such as: Lillian Russell, Eddie Foy, Sr., Lotta Crabtree and Lillie Langtry. The legendary Fatima was said to have performed her belly-dancing routine there in 1882. A 24/7 high stakes poker game ($1,000) beneath the stage was supported by four “cribs”. (This, incidentally, is claimed to be the longest-running poker game in history at twenty-four hours a day for eight years, five months, and three days. It is alleged to have turned over some $10,000,000 [10% to the house]. Known participants included Doc Holliday, Bat Masterson, Diamond Jim Brady, and George Hearst.) Mothballed in 1889, this historic treasure was rediscovered in 1934. Visit it today in old Tombstone. TYH!+2 (25th?)  Photo: U.S. PD.   {001}
*References – DictionaryBox House

1883/05/19 – First performance of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show, Omaha, NE.  {001}

1883/11/18 – The U.S. Naval Observatory adopts Standard Time as defined by the nation’s largest railroads, resulting in four times zones across the U.S. This led to a vast simplification of RR schedules across the country, enhancements in RR safety and improvements in weather forecasting.  {001}

1884/03/28 – Tombstone, AZ Territory: Bill Delaney, Dan Dowd, Dan Kelly, Tex Howard and Red Sample are the subjects of Cochise County’s first official hanging. In front of 50 official guests invited by Sheriff Jerome Ward, the perpetrators of The Bisbee Massacre receive their just reward. They soon joined mastermind John Heath in Boot Hill. {001}
Wk.49, 12/08/1883 – The Bisbee Massacre
Wk. 08, 02/22/1884 – John Heath

1884/07/30 – James Miller takes his first victim, brother-in-law John Coop. Coop was shot in the head while sleeping on his porch after a disagreement with the teenage Miller, whose life sentence was voided by a technicality. Plum Creek, TX.  {001}

1886/09/25 – Native Daughters of the Golden West: An American non-profit organization for women born in California focuses on the care and preservation of California history. Sister organization to Native Sons of the Golden West.  {001}

1889/01/19 – “This is the first time in the annals of history where unarmed prisoners, shackled together, ever repelled a mob. Such cool courage that preferred to fight against such great odds and die in glorious battle.”
Judge Andrew Phelps McCormick, 1891 in reference to the Marlow brothers.

1888/01/03 – First light for the 36 in (91 cm) refracting telescope at the Lick Observatory near San Jose, California; largest in the world at the time.  {001}

1888/12/18 – Charlie Mason and Richard Weatherill discover and explore the Anasazi Indian ruins that will become Mesa Verde National Park near Cortez, CO.  {001}

1890/09/24 – A proclamation directing all Mormons (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) to obey the federal government decree forbidding multiple marriage is issued by Church President Wilford Woodruff.  {001}

1893/02/15 – Bison Pair - Firsts in the Old WestWilliam Glassman and John Dooly take twelve bison, 4 bulls (males), 4 cows (females) and 4 calves by boat to the Antelope Island in The Great Salt Lake. Originally from a small private herd in Texas, these twelve became the foundation for the Antelope Island Bison Herd which today numbers some 550 to 750 animals. A publicly owned herd managed by the State of Utah. (See: The Originals – Cow? What Cow?)  Photo: U.S. PD 2009 Spontaneouscombustion  {001}

1893/09/16 – Cherokee Strip Land Rush 1893 - Firsts in the Old WestThe Cherokee Strip Land Run: After the Civil War, because they had supported the Confederacy, the Cherokee tribe was forced to renegotiate all treaties and was eventually coerced, largely by the changing reality of white intrusion, into selling the Cherokee Outlet (7 million+ acres — for $1 an acre; actually $8,595,736.12.) The government then sponsored what still stands today as the biggest land run in the U.S. and the world — and allowed settlement of the east end of the outlet. During this and other land giveaways in Oklahoma (seven in all), those who broke the rules and slipped in early were called “Sooners”. It stuck, and today anyone from Oklahoma is a “Sooner” (Photo: U.S. PD 1893 McClenny Family Picture Album; Map U.S. PD).  {001}Cherokee Outlet Strip - Firsts in the Old West

1896/03/02 – Railroad: The Railroad Safety Appliance Act (SAA) is a U. S. federal law that made air brakes and automatic couplers mandatory on all trains in the United States. After a seven-year grace period for the railroads to acquire and install equipment, the law took effect in 1900. It was immediately credited with a sharp drop in accidents on American railroads in the early 20th century. The results of the switch to the Janney coupler* constitute an excellent example of the benefit.
Between 1877 and 1887, approximately 38% of all railroad worker accidents involved coupling. That percentage fell as the railroads began to replace link and pin couplers** with automatic (Janney) couplers. By 1902, only two years after the SAA‘s effective date, coupling accidents constituted only 4% of all employee accidents. Coupler-related accidents dropped from nearly 11,000 in 1892 to just over 2,000 in 1902, even though the number of railroad employees steadily increased during that decade.
see also:
Wk.17, 04/29/1873 – Janney coupler
*References – Dictionary Janney coupler
**References – Dictionary Link and Pin coupler
Photo Gallery Index – Transportation Photos – Railroads in the West



1897/08/31 – Kinetoscope - Firsts in the Old WestThomas Edison granted a patent for the Kinetoscope, a precursor to the movie projector. The device allowed only one individual to view the film through a peephole at the top of the device. It created the illusion of movement by conveying a strip of perforated film bearing sequential images over a light source with a high-speed shutter. Not a movie projector, as such, but it introduced the basic approach that would become the standard for all cinematic projection before the advent of video. The majority of the developmental work on the device was accomplished by Edison’s talented assistant William Kennedy Laurie Dickson.  The Kinetoscope was clearly instrumental to the birth of American movie culture which was soon to to blossom. Drawing: U.S. PD c. mid-1890’s – Schematic of W. K. L. Dickson’s Kinetoscope.  {001}
Wk. 25
, 06/19/1878 – Horse in Motion Study
Wk.  19, 05/08/1904 – Eadweard James Muybridge
The Pretenders Index – Movies – Look for the “Silents

1902/05/28 – Novelist Owen Wister published The Virginian, now considered the first true western. Born in Philadelphia, he moved to Wyoming, and loved it.  He was stirred to write about a cowboy known as “the Virginian,” who comes to Bear Creek, Wyoming, gets a job on a ranch, and falls in love with the schoolmarm, Molly Wood. There he meets a gang of rustlers. Gang leader Trampas threatens the Virginian. The novel contains the famous line, “This town ain’t big enough for both of us,” and it ends with a shootout in the street. One of the most popular books of the time, it sold 20,000 copies the first month, 300,000 by year’s end, and 1½ million copies by the time of Wister’s death in 1938.  It was his only book about the American West.  {003}
Wk. 29, 07/21/1938 – Owen Wister

1902/09/26 – Levi Strauss - Firsts in the Old WestLevi (Leob) Strauss, age 73, died in San Francisco, CA. Entrepreneur and clothing manufacturer. In 1853 he was making pants for miners out of canvas in booming San Francisco. Running out of that material, he tried a durable cotton fabric from Italy called genes. The product was wildly successful, the name changed to jeans, and after a small improvement*  became the product that spread worldwide. You probably own a pair. Photo: U.S. PD  {001}
*Wk. 20, 05/19/1873 – copper rivets

1903/12/01/ – Great Train Robbery - still - Firsts in the Old WestThe first narrative movie, one that told a complete story. “The Great Train Robbery” directed by Edwin S. Porter and starring Gilbert M. ‘Broncho Billy’ Anderson, Slim Nesbitt, A.C. Abadie and others. Cowboy outlaws hold up a train, rob the passengers and are then pursued by a Sheriff’s posse (12 min). A still from the movie: The final scene, when the outlaw leader, Justus D. Barnes, fires his pistol directly at the audience!   {001}
Wk. 18, 04/30/1941 – Edwin S. Porter
Wk. 03, 01/20/1971 – “Broncho Billy” Anderson

1904/04/30 – Louisiana Purchase 10c Stamp - Firsts in the Old WestThe Louisiana Purchase Exposition of 1904 (aka: The St. Louis World’s Fair) opened in St. Louis, MO. An interesting display of American hubris and notable in its own right; the fair included several items of Western note. Theodore Roosevelt opened the fair by telegraph. The Ethnology Exhibit featured a teepee and included the notorious Chiricahua Apache Geronimo “on display”. One could also purchase his autograph. Worlds Fair Map 1904 - Firsts in the Old WestThe world famous exhibition shooters, “The Fabulous Topperwein’sAdolph “Ad” and Elizabeth “Plinky” made their reputation during the six month run of the fair. A 42 year career in professional shooting followed, most of it with Winchester Arms Company. “Plinky” was a fine aerial rifle shot in the tradition of Annie Oakley. Stamp: U.S. © 1904 U.S. Bureau of Printing and Engraving. Map: U.S. PD 1904 Pharius Map.  {001}
See also:
Wk. 22, 06/01/1904 – The Model Indian School

1904/11/04 – Indian Head Eagle obverse 1932 - Firsts in the Old WestIndian Eagle - reverse - Firsts in the Old WestFirst release date of the Indian Head Eagle $10 gold piece. Championed by Theodore Roosevelt, the coin quickly raised an outcry from the public.  Omission of the motto “In God We Trust” (intentional) on the new coins caused public outrage and prompted Congress to pass a bill mandating its inclusion. The phrase was added in 1908. Indian Head Eagle reverse 1932 - Firsts in the Old WestThe coin was produced with minor changes until 1933 when all gold in the U.S. was called in. This ended the eagle series of gold coins, originally initiated in 1795.  Photos: U.S. PD 1908 & 1932 coins, anonymous.  {001}
Wk.52, 12/28/1933 – call in the gold…

1906/02/01 – The Denver, CO U.S. Mint strikes it’s first coins. During the first year, 167 million coins were produced, including $20 gold (double eagle) coins, $10 gold (eagle) coins, $5 gold (half eagle) coins and assorted denominations of silver coins.  {001}

1906/03/03 – James S. Hogg - Firsts in the Old WestJames Stephen “Big Jim” Hogg, passes at 54 years. American lawyer and statesman, the 20th Governor of Texas and the first native born. His final request and a lasting legacy to Texas, was for a pecan tree be planted on his grave instead of a headstone and asking that the seeds be distributed throughout the state to make Texas a “Land of Trees”. He got his wish. TYH! Photo: U.S. PD,  Frontispiece, Speeches and State Papers of James Stephen Hogg (1905).  {001}
The Originals Index – Resources & Hazards – Plants – Food PlantsPecan

1906/09/24 – Devils Tower - Firsts in the Old WestDevil’s Tower (WY) is proclaimed the nation’s first national monument by President Theodore Roosevelt. Photo: U.S. PD, 2005, Colin.faulkingham  {001}

1908/07/26 – U.S. Attorney General Charles Bonaparte, using Department of Justice expense funds, established the Bureau of Investigation, the BOI or BI for short. The first “Chief”  was Stanley Finch . Its name was changed to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in 1935 (the title is now, “Director”).  {001}

1910/07/29 – Local rancher Herman Rosenberg and some friends create a non-profit organization called the “Northwestern Frontier Exhibition Association” and every year during the second week of September the association puts on The Pendleton Roundup at Pendleton, OR. One of the granddaddies of modern rodeo. Art Acord* and other early Western movie stars competed there.  {001}
Wk. 01, 01/04/1931 – Art Acord

1911/12/08 – National American Indian Memorial - Firsts in the Old WestCongress sets aside land (Fort Tompkins on Staten Island, NY) as a location to erect a National Indian Memorial but authorizes no funding. President William H. Taft breaks ground with a silver spade in 1913. However, private funding fails and the project fizzles. Even the bronze plaque marking the groundbreaking is gone. As with so many things Indian, the white man never comes through. Photo/Design: Rodman Wanamaker, sculptor Daniel Chester French and architect Thomas Hastings.  {001}

1912/09/2nd to the 7th is the first performance of the Calgary Stampede, founded by Guy Weadick (1886-1953, a well known roper) and H.C. McMullen, a livestock agent for the Canadian Pacific Railway).  {001}

Andriza_Mircovich mug shot - Firsts in the Old West1913/05/14 –  The first and only inmate in Nevada to be executed by firing squad, Andriza Mircovich. The warden of Nevada State Prison was unable to find five men to form a firing squad and so a shooting machine had to be built to carry out the execution. Photo: U.S. PD 1912-13 Nevada State Prison mug shot.  {001}

1914/12/05 – “Born a slave somewhere in Tennessee, Mary lived to become one of the freest souls ever to draw a breath, or a .38.”
Montana resident, actor Gary Cooper, Ebony Magazine 1959
in reference to Stagecoach Mary Fields. Photo: U.S. PD pre-1923 – internet – Stagecoach Mary Fields
Not just a “First” but an “Only!” Mary was a unique piece of work! – Doc
see also:
Wk. 49, 12/05/1914 – Stagecoach Mary Fields
Quotes Index – Women QuotesStagecoach Mary Fields
Photo Gallery Index –
People and Places Photos – entire photo

1918/03/11 – Fort Riley, KS. 107 sick soldiers become the first known U.S. cases of what would soon grow into the worst influenza pandemic in world history. The flu that year killed only 2.5 percent of its victims, but more than a fifth of the world’s entire population caught it. Estimates indicate that upwards of fifty million people died in just a few months, some 650,000 in the U.S. alone. Undertakers ran out of coffins, streetcars had to be used as hearses, and mass graves were necessitated, yet wartime censorship limited public knowledge of the danger of contagion, thereby increasing the toll.  {001 & 003}
The Originals Index – Critters of the West – DiseaseInfluenza
Quotes Index – Commentators QuotesHistory

1916/03/09 – Columbus, NM - Firsts in the Old WestMexican revolutionary Pancho Villa sends Generals Nicolás Fernández and Pablo López, with Colonels Francisco Beltrán and Candelario Cervantes, into the United States, leading some five hundred Mexican troops against Columbus, NM. Ten citizens are killed, part of the community burned, and the U.S. 13th Cavalry Regiment takes a number of casualties defending the city. The Mexicans immediately retreat back into Mexico, and the U.S. is outraged. Photo: U.S. PD 1916 W.H. Horne, Columbus after the raid.  {001}

Jeannette Rankin - Firsts in the Old West1916/11/08 – First woman elected to the U.S. Congress is Jeannette Pickering Rankin (R)-Montana, at large, and again in 1940 for 1st district. Photo: U.S. PD, 1917 Matzene – Chicago.  {001}
Quotes Index – Women Quotes
Elizabeth Cady Stanton

1919/06/04 – 40 years after the bill was first introduced, congress finally approved the Nineteenth Amendment, giving women the vote. The early movement had grown along with the abolitionist cause. Many women were engaged in both causes, and women’s rights rallies often welcomed Frederick Douglass’ speeches. By 1869 two groups: the National Woman Suffrage Association and the American Woman Suffrage Association, were working for constitutional amendments on the national and state levels.  Wyoming* was the first state to extend voting rights to women.  {003}
*Wk. 50, 12/10/1869 – Wyoming Suffrage
Quotes Index – Women QuotesElizabeth Cady Stanton

1922/10/29 – Ropin' Fool cover - Firsts in the Old WestFirst release of The Ropin’ Fool starring Will Rogers+2 as “Ropes Reilly”. The classic rope trick movie: a cowboy comedy featuring Rogers performing more than twenty roping feats, including the amazing three-rope trick invented by Bee Ho Gray. If you want to be a roper, if you think you are a roper, if you want to know what a roper really is… watch this film! Will was a lot more than just a roper! TYH! Photo: U.S. PD Movie poster/cover, c. 1922.  {001}

1924/04/19 – National Barn Dance Ad - Firsts in the Old WestThe first presentation of The National Barn Dance on Chicago’s WLS-AM Radio. The grandaddy of almost all western music shows, it persisted through numerous changes (ABC Saturday nights 1933-52) until 1968 and sparked, among others, The Grand Ole Opry, Hollywood Barn Dance and Louisiana Hayride. It featured such regulars as Gene Autry, Lulu Belle and Scotty, Pat Buttram, Patsy Montana and other western luminaries: Smiley Burnett, George Gobel, Homer and Jethro, Bill Monroe and many others as guests. Ad U.S. ©? c.1924, Fair Use.  {001}
see also:
Wk. 06, 02/08/1999 – Lulu Belle and Scotty
Wk.40, 10/02/1998 – Gene Autry
Wk. 02, 01/08/1994 – Pat Buttram
Wk 16, 02/16/1967 – Smiley Burnett

1924/06/02 – President Calvin Coolidge signs the Indian Citizenship Act: full U.S. citizenship is granted to all “indigenous” people.  {001}

1925/11/28 – Grand Ole Opry - Firsts in the Old WestFirst broadcast of the Grand Ole Opry on WSM-AM radio, Nashville, TN. Still going strong and long ago on TV. Anybody who’s anybody in country/western music has been or wants to be on this show. Today, this modernized old show is available on Sirius satellite radio.  TYH! Photo: U.S. PD Opry promo shot in the Hillsboro Theater (1934).  {001}

1931/10/07 – First publication of Wyatt Earp Frontier Marshal by Stuart Lake.  {001}

1932/10/17 – The H Bar O Rangers, starring Richard Wanamaker as Bobby Benson and Herbert C. Rice (director) as Buck Mason (the foreman of the ranch) and Wong Lee (the cook), begins on CBS radio (15 min) in 1932. Seven hundred episodes later, production stopped in December of 1936. The series was revived on the Mutual Network by Rice in 1949. The ranch was renamed the B Bar B but the show carried the same name, ending again in 1955 after some 350 episodes. It spun off two different TV series and twenty issues of a comic book (1950- 53). At one time both Don Knotts and Tex Ritter played on the show.  {001}

1933/09/25 – The Tom Mix Ralston Straight Shooters Radio Show (15 min.) debuted from New York City with Artells “Art” Dickson as Tom and “The Old Wrangler” played by Percy Hemus. There were numerous character changes and additions, a year long hiatus beginning in 1943, and the extension of the show to thirty minutes in 1949. The adventures from the TM Bar Ranch near Dobie, TX, ended due to competition from television in 1950.  {001}

1935/09/24 – The first outdoor rodeo under lights was produced by Earl and Weldon Bascom. Columbia, MS.  {001}

1936/10/30 – PRCA - logo - Firsts in the Old WestThe Cowboy’s Turtle Association is, “Slow to organize, but unafraid to stick its neck out to get what it wants“. Rodeo cowboys at Boston Gardens had a walkout over money and stuck to their guns until promoter W.T. Johnson gave in. Encouraged by the results of unified action, they formed The Turtles. One of the few women organizers was Alice Greenough Orr*. The Turtles changed their name to the Rodeo Cowboys Association (RCA) in 1945, and in 1975, RCA became today’s Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) located in Colorado Springs, CO. Rodeos are sanctioned in 37 U.S. states and 3 Canadian provinces. Top 15 money winners in each PRCA discipline compete in the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (National Finals, NFR) Las Vegas, NV, each December. PRCA is the highest-paying American rodeo organization in the world. TYH! Logo © courtesy PRCA.  {001}
see also:
*Wk. 34, 08/20/1995 – Alice Greenough Orr
Week 15, 04/09/2005 – ProRodeo Hall of Fame
Wk. 09, 02/28/1948 – Women’s Professional Rodeo Association
The Originals Index – Entertainment in the Old West
Rodeos and Wild West Shows

1938/10/16 – Aaron Copland 1970 - Firsts in the Old WestBilly the Kid, an opera by Aaron Copeland and choreographed by Eugene Loring opened in Chicago. Incorporating adaptations of numerous American cowboy ballads and folk songs, the production is still popular today. It is certainly a different way of looking at the American West. Photo: U.S. PD 1970 Aaron Copeland, CBS TV Promo  {001}

1938/11/06 – The Red Ryder comic strip, syndicated by the Newspaper Enterprise Association, eventually garnered over 14 million readers. It was published in 750 papers and translated into ten languages worldwide.  {001}

1943/02/03 – Red Ryder radio series began nationwide on the Blue Network.  {001}

1948 – WPRA logo - Firsts in the Old WestSan Angelo, TX: Thirty-eight women meet to form the Girls Rodeo Association (GRA). In its inaugural year, the GRA had 74 members and held 60 events, mostly barrel racing, at various established rodeos. In 1981 the organization became the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association. The WPRA’s primary sanctioned event is Barrel racing, usually held in conjunction with Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) events around the country. An All Women’s Division sanctions rodeos exclusively for women. In addition to Barrel racing, events include: breakaway calf roping, tie-down calf roping, team roping, bareback riding and bull riding. It all gets laid on the line at the Women’s National Finals Rodeo at Ft. Worth, TX in October. The skill, courage and talent of these ladies is certainly equal to that of the men. In 1985, they became the first women’s professional sports organization to achieve fiscal equality with their male counterparts. TYH! Logo: ©WPRA, Fair Use.  {001}

1948/04/03 – Shreveport Municipal Auditorium, Shreveport, LA; KWKH-AM radio’s first broadcast of Louisiana Hayride. The immensely popular country/western music show would play until 08/27/1960 and eventually morph into a TV show of the same name. Almost every C/W star of the times appeared on this show. Other copycat shows around the country went along for the hayride.  {001}



1952/03/01 – First airing of the syndicated Western anthology TV show, Death Valley Days. Replacing the long running radio show of the same name.  {001}
Wk. 37, 09/14/1951 – Death Valley Days

1955/09/10 – With an introduction by John Wayne, Gunsmoke comes to CBS television, starring James Arness as U.S. Marshal Matt Dillon, Dennis Weaver as sidekick+4 Chester, Amanda Blake as Miss Kitty Russell and Milburn Stone as Doc Adams.

1956/10/05 – Dick Powell’s Zane Grey Theater debuted on CBS TV. It would run nearly 150 episodes (until 1961) and bring a large cross-section of name American actors to small screen westerns. It would also spawn numerous other TV westerns.  {001}

1957/08/07 – Release of the original film version of Elmore Leonard‘s short story, 3:10 to Yuma (1953), starring Glen Ford and Van Heflin. 3:10 to Yuma (1957)* is a great black and white Western classic, with the title song sung by Frankie Lane.  {001}
*Wk. 32, 08/07/1957 – 3:10 to Yuma
Wk. 36, 09/07/2007 – remake

1957/09/14 – Richard Boone stars as Paladin in the opening show of Have Gun, Will Travel” on CBS-TV.  {001}

1957/09/18 – The NBC series Wagon Train began its eight year, 284-episode run. It starred Ward Bond, Robert Horton, John McIntire, Frank McGrath, and others. Guest stars included Roscoe Ates, Lee Marvin, and Ronald Regan. Based on the 1950 John Ford-directed film Wagon Master starring Ward Bond, Harry Carey, Jr. and Ben Johnson.  {001}

1966/09/09 – The Cowboy Artists of America opened their first annual exhibition at the (then) National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City, OK. Work from the four founders and ten other artists filled out the show. Founder George Phippen had died that spring.  {001}
Wk. 26, 06/26/1965 – Cowboy Artists of America

1969/10/24 – Butch & Sundance Movie Poster - Firsts in the Old WestFirst release of Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid (1969) starring Paul Newman as Cassidy and Robert Redford as Sundance. Loosely follows their ill-fated retreat to Bolivia and leaves them shot up but freeze-framed with guns blazing… just like it didn’t happen. More fodder for the, “they got away and lived to a ripe old age,” theorists . Movie Poster © 1969 New Films International, fair use.  {001}
Wk. 45, 11/07/1908 – Butch Cassidy
Wk. 29, 07/20/1937 – Butch Cassidy again

1970/12/23 – Definitely a different perspective… the revisionist Western comedy (with some dark moments) Little Big Man recounts the life of a white boy raised by Indians, contrasting it to the life of the Western pioneers. OWDR History Riders and others with an open interest in Native Americans should certainly find it interesting.  {001}
see also:
The Pretenders – Movies

1971/06/24 – First release of McCabe and Mrs. Miller starring Warren Beatty and Julie Christie. The bad guys want the land, sure enough, but there are more than a few twists of tradition in this unusual, off-beat Western. {001}

1977/08/15 – American Indian Institute logo - Firsts in the Old WestThe Absaalooke (Crow) Nation hosted a gathering of approximately 35 Indian spiritual leaders at the Headwaters of the Missouri River. Traveling from the four directions, they worked together to forge the Two-Circles relationship between the Traditional Circle of Indian Elders and Youth (composed of grassroots spiritual leaders from Indian nations throughout North America. Structured in the ancestral way, the Circle is open to all traditional Indian people. It serves as a living repository of indigenous wisdom and values. Its focus is exclusively on perpetuating traditional cultural and spiritual values.) and the American Indian Institute; (a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, non-Indian Circle that provides administrative, fund development and program support to advance the work and vision of the Traditional Circle). Logo: © AII, used with permission.  {001}
References – WebsitesAmerican Indian Institute

1971/12/18 – The feral descendants of Old World Spanish stock (1500’s), mustangs and wild burros are to be protected as “living symbols of the historic and pioneer spirit of the West”. Congress passes and President Richard M. Nixon signs into law the Wild and Free-Roaming Horses and Burros Act of 1971. Approximately 40, 000 horses and 5,000 burros in 2010. This is a good place to remember that the American Indian* only had horses from the 1500’s onward. Before that, the largest beast of burden in the New World was the llama and the Indians, north of Mexico, didn’t have any. The only pack animals were dogs.  {001}
see also:
*Quotes Index – Indian Quotes –  Reno
The Originals Index – Hazards & Resources – Animals Index Page
MammalsBurro and Horse)
The Originals Index – Horses

1980/07/17 – Red Barry 1979 - crop - Firsts in the Old WestAdventures of Red Ryder poster - Firsts in the Old WestThe first “Red Ryder” JohnRedBarry, aged 68, died a suicide in North Hollywood, CA. Poster: U.S. PD movie promo. Photo: U.S. PD pre-1980unknown, crop.  {001}


1990/11/16 – The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA). Activists inspired by Maria Pearson finally succeed in securing legislation regarding proprietorship and disposition of human remains and cultural objects of Native American peoples: a complicated and ongoing issue.  {001}

1993/12/23 – Tombstone Movie poster - Firsts in the Old WestGeneral release of the movie Tombstone directed by George P. Cosmatos. A great “Western” and easily the best of the films dealing with the events in and around Tombstone, AZ c. early 1880’s. As movies must, there are condensations, exaggerations and one very major historical alteration for added drama. Val Kilmer‘s Doc Holliday is exquisite and in my opinion, captures the man. Kurt Russell is a strong, hard Wyatt Earp. Powers Boothe as Curly Bill Brocius is memorable. All of the supporting cast are believable and the story is well told. Definitely a classic, don’t miss it! Photo/Poster © fair use  {001}
see also:
For a look at the actual events:
Wk. 43, 10/26/1881 – OK Corral – 3 listings
PLAYERS – Timelines Index – Timelines A-L Index:
Sheriff Johnny Behan Timeline
Ike Clanton Timeline
– Fred J. Dodge Timeline
Morgan Seth Earp Timeline)
Virgil Walter Earp Timeline
– Wyatt Berry Stapp Earp Timeline
– Doc Holliday Timeline
The Pretenders – Movies



2004/03/21 –Deadwood - TV show title image - Firsts in the Old WestDeadwood begins its run on HBO TV. Business, Brothels and Bullets. A historical fiction look at one of the wildest of the frontier towns. Seth Bullock (Timothy Olyphant), Al Swearengen (Ian McShane), Calamity Jane (Robin Weigert), Wyatt Earp+5 , Wild Bill Hickok and other legendary figures are portrayed. Well written and played, raw and real—watch it! And don’t be buyin’ no pork chops from Mr. Wu. Photo: U.S. © DVD cover, Fair Use.  {001}

2004/09/21 – Museum of the American Indian - DC 2007 - Firsts in the Old WestNMAI – Opening as part of the Smithsonian Institution, the National Museum of the American Indian on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., is  dedicated to the life, languages, literature, history, and arts of the Native Americans of the Western Hemisphere. There are two other facilities; the George Gustav Heye Center, a permanent museum in New York City; and the Cultural Resources Center, a research and collections facility in Suitland, MD. Foundations of the present collections were first assembled in the former Museum of the American Indian in New York City (est. 1916) which became part of the Smithsonian in 1990. Photo: U.S. PD 2007 by  Gryffindor  {001}

2007/09/07 – First release of the color remake of 3:10 to Yuma (2007) starring Russell Crowe and Christian Bale. As with many of the newer versions of western classics, this is a good one. Watch ’em both, see the changes in the story and character interpretations.  {001}
Wk. 32, 08/07/1957 – 3:10 to Yuma

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References – Websites

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