Week 31: July/August

Week 31: July 30th thru August 5th

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7/30 of… 1844

Marie LaFitte born in France, she will become a Madame in Fort Collins, CO.  {003}


Henry Vinton Plummer born a slave on the Three Sisters Plantation near Bowie Maryland. Destined to become a Chaplin to the Buffalo Soldiers.  {001}


Day five of the “Thirsting Time“: Capt. Nolan and thirteen men reach Double Lakes. Help will arrive the next day. Eventually the dead will all be accounted for: twenty-five horses, four mules, four soldiers and one buffalo hunter. Most survivors had been without water in the barren desert for more than eighty hours. This incredible story — of courage, deceit, and survival — replete with dissent and desertion in the ranks… and the Eastern papers in a tizzy over the whole event. The “Staked Plains Horror” is almost over.  {001}


James Miller+2 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}


SS Brother Jonathan - c. 1851 - Week 31: July 30th thru August 5thLeaving Crescent City, CA on the second leg of a journey to Portland, OR, and after futilely steaming north for hours in a heavy gale, the S.S. Brother Jonathan attempted to return to the port to escape the tempest. She struck an uncharted rock near Point St. George and sank. Only nineteen of the 244 passengers and crew aboard survived. Among the victims were Brigadier General George Wright, Union Commander of the Department of the Pacific. Surveyor General of the Washington Territory and Abraham Lincoln’s physician and closest friend, Dr. Anson G. Henry. James Nisbet, a well-known publisher, who wrote a love note and his will while awaiting his death and Roseanna Keenan, a colorful San Francisco madam, who was traveling with seven “soiled doves”. As a result of this tragedy, new laws were written to increase passenger-ship safety, including the ability of lifeboats to be released from a sinking ship.
Not found until modern times, among other other things, her cargo consisted of hundreds of thousands of dollars in $10 and $20 gold coins, some private money and some said to have been gold intended to buy off territorial claims of a number of Native American tribes in the Oregon country. Illustration: U.S. PD pre-1923.  {001}
The Originals Index – Lost treasures in the Old WestS. S. Brother Jonathon
References – DictionaryBrother Jonathon


Bat Masterson orders a pair of .45 cal. single action revolvers from Colt on the stationery of Cary and Wright’s Opera House Saloon: “…the barrel length should be the same length that the ejacting [sic] rod is, its finish should be nickel, and the grips, gutta percha.”  {001}


The Rufus Buck Gang+3 kills U.S. Deputy Marshal John Garrett, OK, Indian Territory  {001}
The Originals Index – Outlaw Gangs Index – Rufus Buck Gang


Midnight: the closing of the Chicago Union Stockyards after a run of 106 years.  {001}
Photo Gallery Index – Cow? What Cow?
Where did all the little dogies git along to?

7/31 of… 1860

Denver, CO. A group of rowdies from the Criterion move to take action against Rocky Mountain News editor W.N. Byers for his editorial against gambler Charley Harrison.* Assaulting Byers at his office, the group coerces him to accompany them back to the Criterion — where he is rescued by Harrison, armed and sent back to his workplace. Byers and others barricade themselves in, and soon George Steele rides by on a horse and fires into the window with a shotgun. A return shotgun blast wounds Steele. Steele gets attention to his wounds and returns to the attack! However, Marshal Tom Pollock has heard the gunfire and is himself approaching the scene on horseback, with his own shotgun. Steele fires at the marshal and misses; Marshal Pollock does not. Steele dies later in the day. The newspaper business on the frontier was a little different than it is now!  {001}
Wk. 30, 07/25/1860 – Charley Harrison


“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}


Encountering a white man and his daughter in a wagon on the road; the Rufus Buck Gang+3 holds the father at gunpoint while the gangs assaults his daughter.  {001}
The Originals Index – Outlaw Gangs Index – Rufus Buck Gang


Etta Place - Week 31: July 30th thru August 5thA strikingly beautiful woman, likely Ethel Place, attempted to secure a death certificate from the American Legation in La Paz, Bolivia, under the auspices of one Frank Aller, who was then US vice-consul in Antofagasta, Chile. Her stated purpose was to settle the estate of Harry A. Longabaugh, the Sundance Kid. Unsuccessful in this endeavor, she disappears from history leaving behind one of the finest mysteries of the old West. Who was she really? What happened to her? She was certainly at one time involved with Butch Cassiday but where did she come from? Was she a prostitute? A schoolteacher? Was she Ethel Bishop, a music teacher who lived near a brothel? She certainly wasn’t “Queen Ann” Bassett as some believe. Even the Pinkertons couldn’t find out the truth. Look up this legend and follow the convoluted tale that leads only to speculation and contradiction.  {001}
Wk. 45, 11/07/1908 – Sundance Kid
Wk. 45, 11/07/1908 – Butch Cassiday
Wk. 29, 07/20/1937 – Butch Cassiday

The remaining days of this week fall in August.

8/1 of…1770

Born in Ladysmith, Colony of Virginia: William Clark: soldier, territorial governor, Indian agent and yes, the Clark of Lewis and Clark.  {001}


Born in Marietta, Washington County, OH, George Hildreth Devol. He will become one of the most famous of the riverboat gamblers.  {001}


Battle of Bad Ax; aka: Bad Ax Massacre. After of the Battle of Wisconsin Heights, Black Hawk’s band fled, but the militia caught them a few miles downstream from the mouth of the Bad Axe River on the east bank of the Mississippi.  The fighting took place over two days, between U. S. Army regulars and militia and the Sauk and Fox tribes under Chief Black Hawk. Black Hawk and other leaders fled and left many of their followers to face the second day of battle without leadership. The steamboat Warrior was present on both days and certainly contributed to the slaughter on the 2nd. An estimated 150 Indians were killed and 75 taken prisoner. The one-sided battle has been deemed a massacre since the 1850s. The U.S. victory was decisive, ending the Black Hawk War and thereby opening much of Illinois and present-day Wisconsin for further settlement (Illinois and Michigan Territory).  {001}
Photo Gallery Index – Transportation Photos
SteamboatsSteamboat Warrior


Arizona Territory claimed by the Confederate States of America.  {001}


Samuel and Orion Clements pass a Pony Express rider on the trail in western Nebraska. Mark Twain will immortalize the incident in “Roughing It“.  {001}


John Ross (1790) - Week 31: July 30th thru August 5thJohn Ross, aka: Koo-wi-s-gu-wi (“Mysterious Little White Bird”), died in Washington, D.C at age 75. Raised bilingual and bicultural and but one-eighth Cherokee, by blood quantum), he was Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation from 1828 to 1866. He is often called the “Cherokee Moses”. Leader of the Cherokee “National Party”, Ross was also the unwilling but capable leader in the time of the “Trail of Tears” (1838 -39). Photo: U.S. PD pre-1866.  {001}


Colorado Seal - Week 31: July 30th thru August 5thColorado admitted to the Union as the 38th state. “The Centennial State”. Seal U.S. PD 1876.  {001}


With some twenty or thirty men at his back, Grip Crow, son of the murdered “rustler” who suffered the “Death of the Skins“*at the hands of the Print Olive+2 and his brothers, attacks them at their massive cattle pens near Williamson, TX. The gun battle rages all day.  {003}
References – DictionaryDeath of Skins


Mexican smuggler Miguel Garcia’s pack train is massacred at the Devils Kitchen in Skeleton Canyon, AZ. Curly Bill Brocius, Billy and Ike Clanton, Newman Hayes “Old Man” Clanton, Jim Crane, Jake GauzeBilly Grounds, Joe Hill, Zwing Hunt, Frank and Tom McLaury, Rattlesnake Bill, Johnny Ringo, Bud Snow, Charlie Thomas and perhaps others in the Red Sash Outlaw Band were rumored to have been the perpetrators. An estimated $4,000 in silver coin, some livestock, and other items were taken from the dead smugglers. Silver soon began appearing in the saloons and sporting houses in Charleston, Contention, Galeyville, and Tombstone. Mexican officials were not pleased.  {001}
see also:
The Originals – Lost Treasures in the Old West
– Skeleton Canyon Massacre Loot)


Already wounded in a previous encounter, “Zip” Wyatt and Ike Black have taken shelter in timber near Cantonment, OK, until they’re discovered by a posse headed by Deputy Sheriff Sam Campbell. Black is shot dead. Wyatt is shot in the chest but manages to shoot a posse member and escape on foot.  {001}
Wk. 24, 06/12/1895 – “Zip” Wyatt and Ike Black


Calamity Jane - Week 31: July 30th thru August 5th“Calamity Jane” (Martha Jane Cannary Burke), age 51, died in Terry, SD. “The White Devil of the Yellowstone”: dance hall girl, nurse, teamster, scout, Indian fighter, performer in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show (1893). Intimate with John Barleycorn, and a notorious fabulist. Jane may have been among the most well-known, but many women worked men’s jobs, some passing as men to do it. Some, like Jane, didn’t bother. They were working cowboys, soldiers, stage drivers… you name it, I’d bet women did it. A kind of freedom that the more genteel and “civilized” East didn’t offer.  Photo: U.S. PD  {001}
see also:
Wk. 41, 10/14/1868 – Cathay Williams


U.S. Deputy Marshal Ben Collins shotgunned to death returning home near Emet, OK. Jim “Killer Miller”+2 was indicted but never convicted. Said to have been a revenge killing sponsored by the Pruitt family for Collins having wounded and partly paralyzed Port Pruitt in 1903.  {001}


J. Lee (John Lee) Thompson born in England. Movie director.  {001}


Gene Autry‘s Melody Ranch CBS Radio show shuts down for the duration of the war.  {001}


The last show after a 31 year run. Death Valley Days goes into re-runs. The popular Western Anthology show began as a radio production in 1930, successfully moved to TV in 1952 and aired 452 shows. Everything, more than 1,000 shows, radio and TV, all written by Ruth Cornwall Woodman over the entire 31 years! One of the earliest and longest running shows in the communications industry. The original shows were sponsored by a producers of borax products. TYH!  {001}
Photo Gallery Index – Mining Photos
Photo Gallery Index – Transportation Photos

8/2 of… 1867

The Wagon Box Fight near Fort Phil Kearny, WY. Between 1000 and 2000 Lakota warriors, including Crazy Horse, attacked a wood-cutting expedition. The Indians were driven off with heavy losses by the new repeating rifles carried by the troops — who suffered five killed and two wounded.  {001}


Cable Car - Week 31: July 30th thru August 5thSan 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}


Wild Bill - Week 31: July 30th thru August 5thJames Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok {05}: actor, buffalo hunter, drover, gambler, gunfighter, lawman, showman, soldier, spy, wagon master, etc., killed by “Broken Nose Jack” McCall in Saloon No. 10 ( Nuttal & Mann’s saloon) at Deadwood, SD. Legend says Hickok held a “Dead Man’s Hand”* — a pair each of aces and eights, queen high. McCall entered the saloon, ordered a drink and then shot Hickok in the back of the head with an old .45; the bullet then wounded Frank Massie, seated across the table. Bartender Anson Tipple hurdled the bar to intercept the fleeing killer, only to have McCall snap his pistol at him and escape to the street. Harvey Young chased McCall as he attempted to vault onto a horse. The cinch broke, McCall hit the ground, jumped up and continued to flee on foot but was soon captured hiding in a butcher shop. Notwithstanding, he admitted in court to owing Wild Bill $110 from gambling losses the day before… and later rumors surfaced that Jack might have been paid $200 to do the job. He was acquitted in Deadwood when he gave false testimony to being brother to Samuel Strawwhim,* who had been killed by Hickock in 1869 in Hays City, KS. It may have been Hickok’s day… examination of McCall’s revolver showed that the five remaining cartridges were all duds,** the only good one having killed Wild Bill, one of the finest pistol shots of the old west.  Photo: U.S. PD Wikipedia; note the butt forward carry on the pistols [ivory handled ’51 Navy Colts].  {001}
*Wk. 39, 09/27/1867 – Samuel Strawhim
Wk. 29, 07/17/1870 – Wild Bill in Hayes City, KS
Photo Gallery Index – Pushin’ Up Daisies“Wild Bill” Hickok
Quotes Index – Gunfighter Quotes Jack McCall [3]
Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos
Mike’s Revolvers Page 1Colt 1851 Navy
*References – Dictionarydead man’s hand


As the gunfight at the Olive cattle pens continues into the second day, both Print+2 and Thomas Jefferson “Jay” Olive are wounded. The fight gradually dwindles away.  {003}


Judge Roy Bean appointed Justice of the Peace at Vinegaroon in Pecos County’s new Precinct 6, a position he will hold for the next twenty years.  {001}
Wk. 11, 03/16/1903 – Judge Roy Bean


Died: Tom W. Blackburn, age 79. Blackburn wrote novels, screenplays and song lyrics. Some of his novels: Tumbleweed with Spurs (1940),  Raton Pass (1950) (novel & screenplay), Short Grass (1950) (novel & screenplay), Navajo Canyon (1953), Sierra Baron (1955), A Good Day to Die (1967), and Compañeros (1978). Among his many TV and Screen plays: The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickock ( 1951, 2 episodes), Westward Ho, the Wagons! (Movie) 1956, and The Virginian (1964, 1 episode). Lyrics include: The Ballad of Davy Crockett for Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier (1955), The Ballad of John Colter for Westward Ho, the Wagons! (Movie) 1956 — and more.  {001}

8/3 of… 1877

Black Bart’s third heist, at Sonoma County, CA. He stops the stage between Point Arena and Duncan’s Mills.  {001}


Jesse R. Evans tries to kill Harry Ryan. Pecos County, TX.  {001}


William George Fargo, age 63, died in Buffalo, NY. Mayor (twice), a pioneer in express and passenger enterprises in the East and West. He formed companies as early as 1844, was involved in the formation the American Express Company (1850) and served as its president. He created Wells Fargo & Company (1852) with Henry Wells.  {001}
PLAYERS – Timelines Index – Timelines M-Z Index
Wells Fargo Timeline


Elisha Gaylord Marshall +2 – US Army Colonel (Brevet Brigadier General, Civil War). Fought in the Mohave War +2, Battle of the Colorado River +2 (AZ,  1859), his only western action of consequence. Photo: US PD 1855.  {001}


The Evans Gang, comprised of Chris Evans, and John and George Sontag, takes a Southern Pacific train near the station at Collis, Fresno County, CA. They dynamite the express car, seriously injuring express manager, George D. Roberts. The take is $500 and some bags of Mexican and Peruvian coins which had little value to the robbers. They escape but are identified. {001}
The Originals Index – Outlaw Gangs Index – Evans Gang (Chris)


Again, “ZipWyatt is surrounded and seriously wounded by a posse near Skeleton Creek, OK. This time they have him.  {001}
08/01/1895 – above


Bee Ho Gray (Emberry Cannon Gray), age 66, died in Pueblo, CO. World champion trick roper, trick rider, knife thrower, whip master andBee ho Gray - Week 31: July 30th thru August 5th banjo player, Gray worked in most of the major Wild West Shows, made silent movies, played in vaudeville and on Broadway. He performed in the circus and on radio in an amazing career spanning fifty years. Trained coyote, “Chink”.  TYH!+2  {001}

8/4 of…1859

Along the Colorado River, about twelve miles south of Fort Mojave, Captain Armstead and 1st. Lt Elisha Marshall +2, leading only fifty men attacked and routed over 200 Mojave warriors , killing twenty-three while taking only three wounded. The Battle of the Colorado River +2 was the final battle of the Mojave War +2  (1857 – 59) and the only pitched battle of the war. Everything else in the conflict had been raids and skirmishes. All, over the white encroachment on Mojave lands: Beal’s Ford, the wagon road to the California goldfields, the number of wagons coming through, a proposed town along the Colorado River, etc.  {001}


Custer is nearly killed when he leads an ill-considered pursuit of an Indian raid on his camp’s horses. This while on an expedition to the Yellowstone protecting Northern Pacific RR survey crews under the command of Colonel David Stanley. An ambush is sprung, but a panicked retreat and the timely arrival of reinforcements save the beleaguered troops. One killed on each side… this is the 7th. Cavalry‘s first brush with the Lakota.  {001}


“Texas Joe” Horner escapes from the prison at Huntsville, TX. Frank M. Canton heads north…  {001}


Wounded from an ambush at his ranch, Jacob Lauffer is yet another victim of the Pleasant Valley War in the Arizona Territory.  {001}


The Rufus Buck Gang+3 rape a Mrs Hassan near Sapulpa, OK Territory. She died of injuries. Two of three other female victims of the gang, an Indian girl near Sapulpa and a Miss Ayres also died. Mrs Wilson, a fourth victim, was reported to have recovered. The territory was in an uproar over these attacks.  {001}
The Originals Index – Outlaw Gangs Index – Rufus Buck Gang


Smith & Wesson Ad - Week 31: July 30th thru August 5thDaniel B. Wesson, age 81, died in Northborough, MA. Gunsmith and designer. In 1852 he partnered with Horace Smith to found Smith and Wesson Co. in Norwich, CN. After Smith patented the Volcanic cartridge in 1854 the company became the Volcanic Repeating Arms Co. (1855). Smith retired in 1855 and Wesson stayed on as superintendent when the business was bought out by Oliver Winchester* in 1856. Wesson left in 1857 and he and Smith formed another Smith &Wesson company (1857) which began production with the S&W Model 1 pistol, based on a newly designed cartridge. During the Civil War, the later Model 2 made their fortune. The company successfully went international in 1867. Wesson bought out his partner in 1883 and Smith retired. The U.S. Army adopted the “Schofield” (a Model 3) and it was used extensively during the Indian Wars. Wyatt Earp, among others, favored the “Russian Model” in .44 cal. Cartridges developed by this company became the basis for the fire arms revolution in America. TYH!+2  {001}
see also:
Wk. 50, 12/11/1880 –  Oliver Winchester
Wk. 34, 08/24/1869 – Smith and Wesson Model No. 3 “American”
Wk 21, 05/26/1874 – Wes Hardin
Wk. 03, 01/15/1894 – Horace Smith
Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos Index – Marcel’s Guns
Photo Gallery Index – Weapons Photos Index – Mikes Revolvers Page 1

8/5 of…1819

Born in Chautauqua County, New York, John Bidwell: pioneer, prospector, farmer, soldier, statesman, philanthropist, politician and prohibitionist.  {001}


J. D. Miller, George Peck, James and Julia Holmes reach the summit! Making Julia Archibald Holmes the first woman known to have climbed Pikes Peak. (not quite yet the Colorado Territory).  {001}


Massacre Canyon, NE: A Pawnee summer buffalo hunting expedition led by Chiefs Fighting Bear, Ruling His Son, Sky Chief (killed) and Sun Chief was attacked by an Oglala/Brulé Sioux war party led by Chiefs Charging Bear (aka John Grass, Blackfeet-Dakota), Little Wound (Oglala chief), Spotted Tail (Brulé chief) and Two Strike (Brulé). Heavily outnumbered, nearly 70 Pawnee were killed. This was one of the largest battles between the tribes and the last big one. Witnessed and reported by John Williamson, agent at the Genoa Agency (Pawnee).  {001}
Wk. 27, 07/02/1873 – Pawnee Indians


LCW: Billy the Kid, George Brown, George Coe and a half dozen or so Mexicans attempt a return to Blazer’s Mill to try to determine the disposition of Regulator chief Dick Brewer’s body (see: April 4). Coe, Brown and the Kid stop a mile before the Mescalero Indian Agency (NM) to water their horses while the Mexicans proceed on and end up killing Morris Bernstein, a clerk at the agency. Pursued, they race back to their surprised companions in a hail of gunfire. The Kid’s horse is spooked off and Brown’s is killed. Retreating to cover in a nearby stand of timber they find and rope two Indian horses and escape safely to Coe’s ranch.  {001}


Spotted Tail - Week 31: July 30th thru August 5thCrow_Dog - Week 31: July 30th thru August 5thBrule’ Sioux Leaders Crow Dog and Spotted Tail finally have it out, and Spotted Tail is shot dead: Rosebud Agency, SD. Settled by Indian Law the issue was thought to be ended until the Indian agent charged Crow Dog with murder. This began one of the most complex court challenges to Federal Jurisdiction on Indian lands and resulted in the Major Crimes Act of 1885 which subjected Indians to federal authority for murder and fourteen other named crimes. Spotted Tail was probably murdered over his involvement with the whites (he was a noted peacemaker) and likely for taking the wife of a crippled man, among other issues. Photos: LH, U.S. PD c. 1880 LOC; Charles Milton Bell & David Frances Barry, Spotted Tail & RH U.S. PD unknown, Crow Dog.  {001}


The Denver and Rio Grande Railway reaches the company-founded town (1880) of Durango, CO, and heads for Silverton. (It could have instead been Animas City some miles north of Durango, but they refused to pay a dowry to the railroad, and so lost having the depot.) Set to serve the San Juan Mining District, the narrow gauge (3′) rails are now rapidly providing the needed transportation for the timber and livestock industries as well, getting the growing state’s resources, freight and passengers in and out of the mountains.  {001}
see also:
Photo Gallery Index – Transportation Photos – Railroads in the West


George Contant Sontag - Week 31: July 30th thru August 5thThe House Party Shootout: Visalia, CA, police discover that the Evans Gang is in town. Chris Evans and John Sontag shoot their way out but George Contant Sontag (aka: George Contant) is taken. He testifies against Chris Evans but receives a life sentence at Folsom Prison anyway. This shootout and escape of the state’s two most wanted men generated the largest manhunt in the history of California. An estimated 300+ armed civilians (including bounty hunters) joined dozens of lawmen who scoured the San Joaquin Valley and surrounding mountains in search of the outlaws. Jittery nerves generated multiple shootouts and friendly fire incidents. The chase went on for several months. Photo: U.S. PD c. 1890’s Folsom Prison.  {001}
Quotes Index – Gunfighter Quotes Deputy sheriff Vernon Wilson
The Originals Index – Outlaw Gangs Index – Evans Gang (Chris)


Ira Aten, age 89, died at Burlingame, CA. Well known Texas Ranger, and XIT Ranch foreman in later years. {001}

barbed wire divider2 - Week 31: July 30th thru August 5thEnd: Week 31, July 30th thru August 5th.
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{001} C 11/20; E 11/20; F 05/11; P 09/19


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