September 22, 2008


      Picking up where I left off in the last chapter, covering the  bow and arrow.  I have pretty much exhausted my material on the equipment.  I reviewed my books and even looked on the Internet and did not find much more of interest.  One site, a fellow had a extensive list of bows made by various tribes, but it was kinda repetitive and dry in my opinion.  To boil it down to basics, average length of a bow was from 36″ to 48″, and average draw weight was 40#.  This is pretty consistent with all my books.  The average arrow length including the head is from 24″o 26″,  This seems pretty short for me but considering the length of the bow and the weight must be about right. Some bows did test up to 80# butwere rare. (I stand a just shy of 6′ and my arrows measure at 32″, but my bow was a 65# compound also).  The woods varied from locale to local and included Ash,  Hickory,  Osage Orange (most common) some Yew, Cedarand even Mesquit for the Navajo.   Also I did find quite a few recurve bows mentioned.

     On the plains good bow material was scarce and often a few braves would go on a expedition to far locales to obtain it, bringing back large bundles of the staves making them very popular in the tribe.  As I said the limbs would be dried slowly to cure them.  It often would take several months to make a suitable bow.  A brave also would try to have several spare weapons as breakage was always possible.  and he would carry a spare on a raid.

     The bow remained the weapon to be relied upon even after  the gun became available.  Guns were at first unreliable.  The flintlock was next to useless in wet or damp weather.  Gunpowder was not always available, and when one broke the Indian had not the tools or skill to repair them, and had to rely on a white-man for repairs.  So the bow was always available as a back up.  A skilled Indian could reload on horse-back in 30 seconds.  But he could also despense  six to eight accuratete arrows in the same time.  Percussion guns while some what more reliable also were subject to breakage and it was easy to lose all your precision caps at one time, and reloading was also slow.

     When cartridgeguns became available, either through trade or capture a Indian felt wealthy.  But again to availability of ammo became  a issue.  It was not until the late 1870’s and 80’s did the Indian slowly begin to become more dependant on the firearm than the bow.  By the time of the late Indian wars (say Custer’s time) The Indian was often better armed than the white-man. 


        One of the first tools and weapons the Indian had was the knife.  Of course we all know of the flint or stone tools that early man had.  But the first and in use until the steel knife came along was bone.  Most often the long leg bone would be split and gradually filed down to a point and edge.  Bone made up many of the Indians, from hide scrapers to hoes.  Many fine examples of bone knives are still in private and museum collections.   Flint was flaked to keen edges for weapons and tools.  Obsidian flakes to a surgical sharpness and makes a beautiful tool.  Handles were of wood, bone or raw-hide wrapped to protect the hands.

     Once the white-man entered the scene steel became available and was greatly desired and coveted.  Knives came in many shapes and sizes.  The Spanish introduced the Dagger and many Indians wanted them  for fighting knivesand lance heads and for war clubs.  Indians almost always would regrind their knives to have only one side beveled, this was because it made a better scraper that way.  The English traders began importing their knives as butcher knives and became the most common on the frontier.  The Russel Company began trading their “Green River” knife which was a thin butcher knife, about a 8″ blade.  It was popular with the Mountain Man Fur Trappers also.  It most often was packed into the trading areas for the Indians with no handles attached, this allowed a number of the to be stacked together conserving space and weight.  the Indians would trade for them and fashion their own handles.  Many are very artfull and clever and prized collector items today.  The Indian would also fashion blades for their knives from the steel of frying pans and files taken in raids.

     The sheaths fashioned by the Indian are as varied and individual as the Indian his-self.  the are simple, studded with brass tacks, beaded, quilled and painted.   Animal fur, claws, shells and feathers adorned them.  All I can advise is look at as many books as you can find.


      Probably the first weapon used by man was a club in the form of a stick grabbed of the ground.  And wood was extensively used by the Indian,  some are knobby things and others wonderfully carved and polished.  Soon stone came into Vogue, attached to the end of a shaft by raw-hide.  Some were just found stone fitted into a slot or grove and bound into place.  Some were pain-staking shaped  by grinding or flaking.    Eventually they were decorated by animal or human hair pendants.  Claws,feathers , beads and quill work was worked into the design. With the introduction of steel knife blades and steel spikes were added to some clubs.  Another interesting club was one with a wooden handle and a round stone head incased in raw-hide attached to the handle with a flexable, twisted or braided cord some-what like a mace in medieval times.  the flexibility added momentum to a blow. 

     Before horse back warfare clubs were usually about 20″ to 24″ long.  When the horse came along   clubs needed to be longer and some were as long 36″ a Popular plains club is called the gun-stock club.  It starts out with a hand grip and swells out to the shape of a rifle stock and is quite wide at the end at the bend  usually one to three knife type blades are inserted at the bend of the stock.  The flat sides of the club was always decorated by Brass tacks or paint.  suspended from the hand grip of most clubs were pendants of hide strips, feathers, hair or ribbons.  Often all the weapons of a warrior contained some reference to his spiritual helper.


     Rounding out the warriors arsenal was the lance.  There were two types of lance, the one used on foot and one used on horse back.  On foot the lance was generally thicker in diameter 1″ upto 3″ (the 3″ seems pretty heavy to me but that is what the book says, and he is supposed to be a authority).  In length, including the head, it seldom measured a foot longer than the Man.  It’s head was often heavier than on on horse back.  It was most often used in a stabbing fashion, overhead or in a thrusting motion.  It could be thrown, but once it leaves your hand you are empty handed until you can rearm yourself.

     A lance for horse back use needed to be longer and lighter.  A average lance was 5/8′ to 1 1/2 inch in diameter often was a long tapper.   Standard use was locked under the right side at the elbow and  using the horse’s momentum to deliverthe thrust. There are reports that some tribes like the Kiowa and Crow use lances as long as 12′-18″ in length.  Often lances were wrapped with fur and trade cloth and beaded quite heavily with a profusion of feathers and horse hair and human scalps. 

     Lances were often equipped with slings so they could be carried across the back or on the horse when in travel.  Bows were unstrung when not in use and carried in cases along with the arrow quiver, either slung on the back or on the horse.  Clubs were stuck in the belt or suspended by loops on the handle.  Of course knives were in sheaths on the belt or another common custom around he neck like a necklace.


      Just to be brief here, tomahawkswere a white-man invention.  They came about as trade hatchets.  With the instant appeal to the Indian manufacture as a trade item soon followed.  The English blades were just a smaller version of the battle-axe.  The French provided a “Fleur-De-Luis”; design, while the Spanish introduced a spade style.  All were a instant hit.  As in all other weapons artistic design followed the taste of the individual and tribe.  Soon the Peace pipe tomahawk made its appearance.  It was never intended as a weapon but as a symbol of peace.  It was often of cast metal and broke easily if used as a implement.


     Shields are a defensive and religious devise.  They were made with much thought and religious ceremony, and care.  They were always treated with much respect and care.  A shield was the last implement a warrior was allowed to make, only after receiving permission from someone of authority within the tribe.  Usually the warrior went to a holy man or leader of respect for assistance.  A old buffalo was selected because of its age and survival instincts, and also because its hide would be thick.  A piece a little twice the size of the shield was cut out of the hump area.  It was carefully de-haired and while still green, in a ceremoniously way was carefully srinked to almost half the original size.   This caused the hide to thicken to almost twice the original thickness, to sometimes 1/2″to1″; thick.  It was then smoothed and cut to the final shape,   the hand and arm straps placed on the back.   The shields were most often convex,  But I just discovered that some were concave, The reason being that any thing deflected was bounced away from the bearer.  With a convex shield a arrow or bullet could bounce into the bearer.  And yes,  there are a number of reports of a good, well made shield  turnning a arrow or bullet of a muzzle loader a medium range. Then the decorations began.  Almost always a  spiritual helper from a vision was Incorporated.   Feathers, claws, skins, trade cloth and paints were used.  Once the shield was completed a shield cover was made to protected it.  The cover was often as elaborately decorated as the shield it’s self.    Then often a second cover was made for every day travel.  On every sunny day the Shield was usually placed outside the tee pee in the sun on a tripod to absorb the energy of the sun and anounce the owner, much as our house numbers do for us. 

Well this concludes this amateur ramble for now.

thanks for sticking it out to the end.





September 18, 2008



         If you are one of my regular readers you know that I have a real love of the history of our country, especaly  the “old west”  (the 19th century).  So of course that includes our Native Americans, A word here, or one of my by now famous rambles.   For a couple of centuries now the accepted word was Indian, now that is offensive to some, and they insist on Native Americans.  Why they do not object to American, I do  not know because that is a name bestowed on us by the Italians, after Amerigo Vespucci, Who they credit with actually discovering the Continent.  “Indians  actually had no name for the place they usually just had a word for their little tribes that meant “The People”.  Enough of that, back to the article.

    Lord where to start?  I guess with the Bow and arrow, as that is where I first started messing around.  Archery became one of my interest that lasted until last year just before I had the stroke this April.  I had accumulated a collection of Bow’s of diffrent materials and style’s.  I had 55# fiberglass long bow I had had since the early 60’s.  And several re curve’s of different weights, pulse a Yew long bow .   I had a 65# Compound Bow.  My strengthhad dwindle with age and no one in the family had any use for any of them so I gave the bunch to a charitable  agency for resale.  I sent the Compound to a favorite niece’s husband in Oregon who hunts also he received the old crossbow.  But here I go rambling from the original subject again, that is the price you pay for reading my junk.  But thanks for the Patience anyway.

      At about the age of 13 I found a long straight staff of about 5 feet, I at the time thought it was Hickory, but now believe it to have been Osage Orange,  it was a common fast growing  tree   that often grew along fence lines.   In later years I later learned the the Indians of that part of the country used it to fashion their bows.   The tree which was really a rather gnarled growth would grow what we call sucker branches that would grow out of a mature limb in a straight offshoot.  When one of these could be found of a desirable length and thickness it was prized for its suitability as a bow or lance.  The limb that I found would have been to thin to make a proper bow out of, but for a 13 year old ignorant kid it was just right.  Now I am talking about a Missouri country boy in the late 40’s, with no close companions, so I was left to my own devices.  In those days I was eating the large shredded wheat cereal, which I really did not like, because in each box there was two cardboard separators that had  Straight Arrow Indian lore and facts printed  on them.  It was there that I first heard of a  Bow Lance.  This was a Bow that when it was unstrung had a lance head on one end.  In later years I found that this actually existed and even have a photo of one in one of my books from some ones collection.

              I fashioned a lance head our of a piece of old wood shinglefor one end and fastened it with heavy twine as I had no seniue.  With a piece of twine for a string I could bend the stave and shoot straight stick I found.  I soon learned that a unfetched  stick wobbles and wll turn any which way in the air.  By slitting one end of the stick and inserting paper vanes and binding the stick closed I found the shafts would fly straight and hit point first and stick into the ground, a feat my step-mother was not to pleased about.  And I soon learned to keep my Indian actives out of her sight.   

          So I wonder how many years ago the Native Americans learned the art of archery.  Almost all the examples of their arrows all have the three feathers for fetching just like most of the rest of the worlds archers and I have seen examples from all over.  As you might have guessed by now I look closely at the weapons of every culture I can see.   I once saw some ones collection on display at the museum at San Diego’s Balboa Park, it was a quite extensive collection of Bows and arrows.  And Arrow construction from all over the world was basically the same.  Three sets of fetching, nock placement (the position of the string notch) and the placement of the head, all similar.  Of course head material and construction was vastly different.

     Sorry I got side tracked again, Heart of Ceder, although as you might guess extremely difficult to get, Hickory, Osage Orange are just a few of the woods used to construct bows by our Indian forbears.  There is a definite art to the finding of the right wood and a drying process was involved, often hanging the limb high in the lodge so the heat of the fires could help cure it, the same witharrow shafts.  Indian bows most often were flat staves narrow in the center and long tapering to the ends.  I have never seen a Indian bow that was re-curved, they might exist but I have not seen one.  Some were laminated  with Bone orantlers, and I have read of some that were backed with seniue.  The woodland tribes generally had a little longer bow with shorter fetching on their arrows as the woodland flights were shorter.  The plains Indians after the advent of the horse fashioned their bows shorter for use on horse, back while warfare was at close range, hunting was at greater distances and their fetching was usually longer and thicker.

     Before the white-man made iron arrow heads available the Indian used different materials for arrowheads.  Most generally  we think of flint, and it was the most common.  However bone was a common material as well as antler.  In a museum in Spokane, Washington, I saw one of the best collections of arrowheads in the world every material conceivable was on display.  There was case after case full of amazing works of art, truly beautiful flaked  arrowheads. from large war heads to tiny bird points.

     Back in some of the early chapters of this blog I described my attempt at chipping a Obsidian arrowhead (I Think in one of the Mountain  Man chapters). It is not a easy task and I have to respect those early artisans.  Often The older braves turned to bow and arrow making when their ability to hunt declined.  It also was not uncommon for them to be blind in one eye from a flake of the stone to hit a eye as they had no safety eye protection as we do to day.  I know i was wearing my protective glasses with side Shields when I chipped my head and my glasses were struck several times in the process. 

      Smaller heads were required for smaller game and larger for bigger game.  Head placement depended on the arrows intended use.  For four legged game the head was positioned vertical to the ground so it would pass more easily between the ribs.  For upright game (emeny warriors and the dreaded white-man)  the head was placed parallel to the ground to pass through the ribs again.  I have read about the Cheyenne supposedly cuttting straight and zigzag lines on their arrow shafts , supposedly for the arrow to fly straight with the straight line and have the speed of lightning with the zigzag.  I have never seen this and had any realsupport for the claim.  To me it seems it would have weakened the shaft.  One person speculated that they groves served as blood gutters?  What would the need be for blood gutters when the head is always bigger than the shaft. 

     Well I am going to stop here this has been more ramble than information, but it’s my dime so I guess I am entitled. So I gonna ramble on out of here the next time will be more researched this has all been out of my head.



September 5, 2008


     I have not written anything for over a month now, but do check the site in case I need to respond to comments.  I simply have not had the energy or ambition to write.  I have been sort of researching George Armstrong Custer, but still need to dig out some packed books for the material I want.

     My diabetes is under reasonable control, but I seem to have no energy or interest in much of anything.  This damn stroke I had in April has seemed to taken more of a toll than I thought.  A simple  shopping excursion of several hours leaves me tired to the point of exhaustion. I have not been Reading as much as usual either, It takes book of real Internet to keep me occupied.

     Of course I do not believe that the fact I will be 70 at the end of next month has anything to do with it.  I have accumulated so many toys over the years that I do not know what to do with some of it.  I have decided to begin giving my son and daughter much of what I want them to have now.  When I told my  wife this she expressed concern and said I was beginning to scare her.  I reason that since I am no longer able to use most of it as before, I can get the enjoyment of watching them use the “junk” and and reap some voyeur pleasure in return.  Also They can receive it from my hands with love instead of inherit from the grave,

     However I am at loss as what to do with things like my Civil War library.  None of my children have a interest in this material.  I have two complete Time-Life series, one leather bound with gold leaf no longer in print.  and near 100 hard bound books, plus about six years of two   magizines in prefect condition.  I suppose there is E-bay but I do not want to get rid of them or the cowboy books as I still love to thumb through them yet.

      I intend to give my son my  Mountain Man .50 cal. muzzle loader soon.  He keeps talking about how he would like to try rendezvousing again.  Lord so would I,  but I will never tramp around the side of a mountain again.  But, Lord we had some shinning times on those cold Sept. nights around a camp fire.  My daughter still has her rifle I put together for her when she was nine.  She told me last week she had just pulled them all out of storage and cleaned them and showed them off to a friend.

     Well this has rambled on longer than intended so I’m out of here



August 1, 2008


      Tom Horn November 21, 1860- November 20, 1903, Hanged one day before his 43rd birthday in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  even to this day there is much speculation that he was hanged for a crime that he didn’t commit.  in 1998 a trial was staged in which the evidence used to prosecute Tom Horn was presented and the jury found him not guilty, of course this was 95 years to late to do poor Tom any good.

     What renewed my interest in the Tom Horn matter is the fact I recently started reading a book that my wife read some twenty plus years ago and has been laying around the garage for most of that time.  i never generated much interest in the book because I thought it was one of those historical romance novels.  The author is Anna Lee Waldo, and once I started to read her “Sacajawea” novel.  It was well written and well researched, but became tedious after awhile so I abandoned it, as I had read several other on her.  The current novel “PRAIRIE” is a historical     semi-biography of a Charlie Irwin.  And is a well written story of his      life and accomplishments.  In the story she weaves historical people he is supposed to have met and dealt with and one of the is Tom Horn and some of his escapades in Wyoming.  Miss Waldo does a creatable job in portraying Tom Horn At this time.  (so ends this side ramble and now back to Tom Horn.)

     Tom Horn cram ed a lot into his forty-three years of life.  And if he was executed for a killing he did not commit,  Like some said at the time he killed plenty more that he was never tried for. 

     Tom was born in north-east Missouri, in the town of Memphis, at a time when it is said anyone born in Missouri is destined for a bad end.  He fled his home at the age of sixteen probably because of a abusive father.  He headed to the Wild and Wolly  south-west, joining the U. S> Cavalry as a wrangler and scout.  During the Apache Wars  he became chief of scouts under Generals Crook and Miles.  And was instrumental in the final capture of Geronimo.  (a fact he seldom failed to mention in his stories of himself)

    Later after he left the military service he became involved in the Pleasant Valley Wars in Arizona, between cattlemen and sheepherders.  It is not known for certain on which side he was allied.  Both sides suffered several killings , and the killers were never identified.  (it is known that in later years Tom Horn was always employed by the cattle interest)

   For a time he was employed in Colorado as a deputy sheriff.  While in this line of work he drew the attention of the Pinkerton decetive agency because of his superior tracking abilities.   Hired by the Pinkerton’s in late 1889 or early 1890, he did tracking for them in Colorado and Wyoming.  Working out of the Denver office he covered  the area around the Rocky Mountains.  Considered calm under pressure   he tracked anyone assigned to him.  One story goes that he rode  alone into the hideout of a outlaw gang and arrested a outlaw known as “Peg-Leg” Watson and arrested him with out incident.  IN HIS REPORT HORN SAID “I HAD NO TROUBLE WITH HIM.”

     This is not to say Tom Horn was shy about using his gun.  In four years  of Pinkerton employment Horn is reported to have killed seven- teen men, none of which was ever contested in a court of law.

    Toms separation from the Pinkerton’s was not due to his use of deadly force, but rather that he was accused of committing a robbery in Nevada, while in the agency’s employment.  In a book by a Charlie Siringo’s he  quotes “William A. Pinkerton told me that Tom Horn was guilty of the crime, but that his people could not allow him to go to prison while in their employ.”   Tom Horn’s tracking abilities and the fact that he was a very talented agent could not hide the fact he ha a dark side that could be easily accessed.

     In 1994 under pressure Tom Horn resigned from the Pinkerton’s.  During the late 1890’s he hired out as a range detective for a number of     wealthy cattle ranchers in  Wyoming and Colorado.  During the Johnson county War (Which has been covered i this blog several times)  he worked for the Wyoming Stock Growers Association.  IN 1865 a known cattle theft named William Lewis attempted to kill Horn and was killed instead.  On September Tom kill Lewis’s partner, Fred Powell.

     Operating under the cover of “Range Detective”  Tom Horn was actually a killer for hire  While working for the Swan Land and Cattle Company , he killed two rustlers, Matt Rash and Isom Dart.  While implicated in these murders apparently nothing was ever done about them. 

     Horn was also involved at this time in the investigation of what was to become known as the Wilcox Train Robbery.  Horn had obtained information   from a explosive expert Bill Speck (in another source of information Horn  threatened to kill Speck if he did not talk.  Speck is said to have expressed fear of the gang if he talked.  To which Horn replied ‘I am here now and will kill you if you don’t)  as to who had killed Sheriff Josiah Hazen, during the purist of the robbers.  Speck supposedly named either George Curry or Kid Curry, both members of the Wild Bunch.  Horn then passed this information on to Charlie Siringo who was working for the Pinkerton’s.   It is felt that Horn was operating as an unofficial Pinkerton at the time. 

      Horn was receiving $600 for every rustler he killed.   He is alleged to have killed    around 22 to 24   rustlers during this period alone.  Horn once is alleged to have said, “Killing men is my specialty.  I look at as a business proposition, and I think I have a corner on the market.”  It has been said that he rested the head of his victim’s on a rock as a trademark. 

    He left  his chosen profession to serve in the Army during the Spanish American War.  Before he could steam from Tampa for Cuba, he came down with Malaria.  By the time his health returned the war was over and he returned to Wyoming, where he obtained work as a cowboy for the wealthy cattle baron John Cobe.  He entered into a romantic relationship with a local schoolmarm named Glendolene Kimmell. 

         A rancher named Jim Miller (no relation to Killin Jim Miller) and a  sheepherder named Nickell had been feuding over the fact that Nickle was allowing his sheep to graze on Millers land.  Words and threats had been exchanged between the two publicly.   At one point   Millers thirteen year old son and daughter were playing in a wagon when a shotgun blast killed the boy and scared the girl for life.  In some way not explained Miller blamed Nickle for the death.  three months later on a drizzly morning thirteen year old Willie Nickle left the house wearing his fathers slicker and hat and saddled his fathers horse to ride after some of his fathers hired help on a errand.  Dismounting to open the gate he was shot from some distance away, and killed with a large calibre rifle.

     Suspicion was immediately laid on the Miller fraction and Tom Horn.  No evidence surfaced on either party.   And the District Attorney and sheriff were becoming antious to find a killer to pros cute.  lawman Joe lafors devised a plan whereby he concealed a court stenographer and a second witness in a nearby room.  He began plying Tom Horn with liquor and in a friendly  manner began to ask leading questions. eventually leading up to the Nickle murder.  Tom denied the actual murder but,  in a braggart manner supplied enough circumstantial information.   County Prosecutor Walter Stoll used it along with circumstantial evidence that could have placed Horn in the vicinity of the crime as aexcuse to place Tom on trial for the murder. 

       During the trial the prosecution introduced only  certain parts of Horn’s statements to Lefors , greatly distorting what Horn had said.  What came out was a vague confession by Horn.   Perjured testimony by at least two individuals, one being Lafors himself, was introduced.  The additional evidence was just circumstantial that only placed Horn in the general vicinity.

     The schoolmarm Glendolene Kimmel, testified on Tom’s behalf at the trial, she stated that he had been set up, and that the fact of the ongoing feud between the miller and Nickle clans should make it clear    that someone from the Miller family committed the murder.  She also stated that Jim Miller, who she knew quite well, was nervous on the morning of the murder.  Other Character witness on Tom’s behalf was in effective also.  The Judge who presided was known to be sympathetic to the small ranchers and homesteaders who were generally considered rustlers by the large outfits that employed Tom Horn in the past.  The jury of Tom’s peers was also comprised of this same set of small ranchers.  Every attempt to suppress tainted evidence and circumstantial was struck down.  The Judges instructions to the jury before deliberation left little choice to the verdict they were to bring in.  The verdict was guilty and a sentience of death by hanging was set for November 20, 1903.

     All attempts for appeal or stay were denied.  Tom spent his time waiting for execution braiding horse hair ropes and bridles for friends.  A attempt of excape was tried by Tom and a second prisoner.  Both were quickly apprehended.  Tom had grabbed a Belgin automatic pistol (also identified as a German Luger), but could not figure out the safety on it.  A photo exist of him being escorted back to jail surrounded by a large group of excited onlookers some pushing bicycles.

     Petition of over one thousand signatures asking for clemency or a stay of execution was presented to Governor Fenimore Chatterton, just hours before the execution.  The capitol building was under heavy guard, supposedly the governor had received death threats.  After a quick glance at the petition Chatterton replied, “PersonallyI do not believe in capital punishment.  You may tell your fellow cattlemen that a proper hearing has been given Mr. Horn and the recommendations of the jury must be taken under the law.  Good-day, gentlemen,”

        Deputy Proctor stepped on to the gallows platform and in a loud voice pointed out that the gallows had been designed by Cheyenne architect, James P. Julian.  Tom Horn Had the distinction of being one of the few, and first to be hung by a automated process.  the trap door was connected to a lever which pulled a plug from a barrel of water.  this would cause a counterweight to rise, pulling the support beam from under the trap and hanging the condemned man.  It is said that Tom Horn wove the rope he was that pulled the plug from the barrel, while in jail awaiting his execution.

     After the annoucment about the gallows Deputy Proctor paused then looked look at the door leading to the cells and said “Alright we are ready now.” 

     Tom walked out seeming to tower over those on the platform.   He was over six feet tall.  Brushing cigarette ashes of his vest he looked around and said to Ed Smalley “What a scared-looking lot of lawmen.  What’s making them shiver?  Is it cold this twentieth November 1903, or is it fright for what they are to see?”

     The straps were tightened around tom’s legs and he nearly lost his balance.   :Seems to me you birds might steady  me.  I might tip over.”  Sheriff Smally and  Joe Cahill steadied him as the  rest of straps were tightened. 

     Proctor placed the hood over tom’s head and placed the noose with thirteen wraps around his neck.  and asked  Are You ready?”  With out hesitation Tom replied “Yes.”

     Cahill and Proctor lifted Tom onto the trap.  Nothing could be heard but the hiss of the escaping water   Suddenly the door split in half and Tom’s body plunged down,  after a few spasmodic jerks his body hung limp in the frigid Wyoming ait.

     Later Thompson of the Wyoming State Tribune would break the tension saying, “He was hanged at eleven-o-four, thirty-one seconds since he was on that damn door.  He’s fallen nearly four feet.”  Later Proctor explained that with Tom being over six feet, and weighing over two-hundred  pounds that a longer drop would have had the danger of snapping his head of the neck like Black_Jack Ketchem.

      So still to-day there is much controversy over whether Tom Horn was guilty of the Nicklle killing.  Many said it did not really matter as  he was know to have kille many more than that.  There is no way to know how many men Horn killed in his Killer-For-Hire days, but it is commonly believed to be in the neighborhood of 25 to 30.  Add that to the known 17 conformed killings while in the Pinkerton service and we have a total of between 42 and 47.  So where does this place Tom Horn on the list of “OLD WEST KILLERS” ?    If not on the top very near.  More than Killin Jim Miller and at least equal to John Westley Hardin.

     Once again there are many good sites on the web about Tom Horn, one that even explores the psychological impact his childhood had on his development.

     At least two films have been made about his last years.  “Mr. Horn”   a 1979 made for T-V starring David  Carradine (which I probably saw, but do not remember.)  And “Tom Horn” ,starring Steve McQueen ,1980,  The McQueen film was not very accurate but was pretty well received by the unassuming public.  The most memorable event      for me was at a dinner          by Senator Warren, one of the cattle barons,  Tom is at the buffet with Richard Farnsworth and he picks up a boiled Lobster and declares “I ain’t gonna eat no big bug.”

Well for once I ain’t got no ramble, the story tells it’sself.





July 14, 2008


     So those of you who don’t know what the M2HB, MG is, ask what the heck is that?  It’s “ma duce”, the M2 heavy barrel machine gun, the old reliable .50 cal. heavy duty machine gun.  introduce before WWII, by Browning the old girl has been around for over 100 years and earned he dues.  She has seen duty on every battle field and place of conflict since her introduction.  It’s a heavy reliable peice of equipment that has flown in airplane wings and bomber  planes, it has been on all large ships and small river boats.  Countless vehicles from trucks to tanks have proudly carried it into battle.  Carlos Hathaway, the famed Marine Corps sniper of Viet Nam, was even reported to have affixed a rifle scope onto one and made long range shots ( this was before the newer  .50 cal. sniper weapons,) The old girl still is in active service today in Iraq and Afghanistan.  like I say she has proved the worth and paid her dues.  

       Here are some stats on ‘ma duce”

     The M2Hb machine gun is a crew served offence and defence weapon, that is fed by a disintegrating metallic lin-belt,  By repositioning some of its components parts the gun can be fed from either side (making it possible to mount two side by side for close operation)  In some instances a quadruple mount has been used to create intense fire power.  It is also capable of single shot operation.  So here are the real stats

Length: 61.42 inches

Weight: Gun 84 pounds,    M3 Tripod mount: 44 pounds, Total 128 pounds

Bore Diameter: .50 inches

 Maximun effective range: 2000 meters

 Maximum range 4.22 miles

  Cycle rate of fire: 550 rounds per min.

Replacement cost: $14,002

        So what is this article about?  It seems like the old gal might be facing retirement, after more than one-hundred years in service.

     Reportable General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products, is currently developing a new .50 cal. weapon that weighs almost one-half as much as the older model M2, with less recoil and improved accuracy.  The army is set to start test trials soon.  It is thought that the new model might start replacing the old “ma duce” by 2011.

     I don”t think there is a Marine alive that has ever heard “ma” open up with her old reliable deep throat-ed steady stutter, that did not love the sound of that deep tumm! tumm! tumm!  Of course we Marines know we will be the last to see “ma duce”  go.  We always get the hind tit, when something new is introduced.  So I predict the old gal will have a century and a half at least with us Mountain Climbers.

     I just started the book “Generation Kill”  Written by the reporter embedded with the First Recon Battalion Marines, in the Gulf war.  He mentioned the heavy machine gun firing explosive rounds.  This was new to me, we did not have them in my day in the mid-fifties.  I did some research and found  what they call a explosive round does not explode per-say.  What it is  , is called a SLAP round  (Sabot Light Armor Per icing).  A sabot  round is a .30 cal armor per-icing round encased in a Teflon coatting  making it a .50 cal  round.  This allows the round to traverse the barrel at a higher rate of speed gaining velosity  and a falter trajectory with the lighter bullet.  It is capable of penetrating 3/4 inch steel at 1,500 meters.  It will chew up masonry and concrete like it is exploding.



Just a Personal Ramble Today

July 10, 2008

How My Day Went

     Every now and then  I just need to ramble free, don’t really care if anyone reads it or not. 

     First off a little about the girls.  Our little black Panther, Dakota, who will be two next month, has had a bad leason on her right neck for a long time.  We have had her to the vet repeatably for the damn thing.  The last time was two weeks ago tomorrow.  The vet gave her another antibiotic injection and some new cream to try.  It seems to work good, except that she licks it off.  Also alarming any one of the reasons for the visit two weeks ago is she has developed one on the inside of her rifht upper leg.  this one she can reach very easily.  And she scratches the one on the neck keeping it inflamed.

     So the old mans solution!  I cut the top off of some of my old stretched out white socks and cut a pair of holes in what became the bottom.  This made a perfect little white turtleneck sweater for her.  She could not lick or scratch the neck so she concentrated on the leg.  Then I tried to make tapered sleeve out of the bottom half of the sock and tried to attach it to the Little sweater.  Result one  poor little hobo looking kitty.

     Well this worked for awhile, then she started to chew on the sock and got it stuck in her teeth.  My wife was afraid to leave her at home alone with it on for fear she would harm herself.  Plus the weather has turned hotter than hell here so the hobo garment has been cast aside.  And tomorrow is the two week check up for her.

     Next the old girl seven in Sept. is a long haired Mane Coon.  She has a couple pg sever matts of both hips, that we cannot comb out.  We have watcher her stuffer for six years with this long coat in the summer heat.  An appointment was made at the last vet visit to take Cheyenne in and have her groomed and clipped.  Well she got the runs night before last and got crap matted on her backside.  So to nigh we caught her and gave her a bath on her hind quarters.  She is a big girl over 16 pounds and strong as heck.  With my wifes bad back and balance and my recent stroke and weak left side it was a battle royal.

     Now in the morning we have to try to catch both of them and get them into their carriers and loaded into to the vehicle and out to the vet by nine a.m..  Now I don’t know how but the little butt holes can sense a vet visit and they hide and it is a effort to catch and load them.

     Sound like enough?  More to come.  Two week ago this past Monday my wife took me to PT and dropped me off.  I finally convinced her it was too hot for her to sit in the car and wait two + hours in the sun and wait for me.  I finished PT and called her to come for me.  I waited and waited, finally she called the garage door had come off the track and she was in panic.  She has had 11 back surgerys and is on strong nerve meds as well.  After fighting it and hurting her back she got it down and came for me.  upon returning home I got it all the way down.  Now Mondays is street sweeping day so we could not park on the street.  We have a concrete slab in front of the garage big enough to parallel park of the ally so that’s what we did.

           I finally got someone out to repair the door around 5 p.m.  ($215).  While he was there in the alley three young punks kept hanging around grinning, the repairman thought they were caseing his truck, so I stood watch.  They kept watching me instead.  After he finished in less than half a hour, we were able to open the door and but the vehicle away.  Two days later as we were leaving a restaurant the sun was just right for my wife to notice some scratches on the bottom of the d driver door pannel.  It was a name Tomas with some graffiti markings.  Well shit hit the fan to no avail, nothing we could do about it.

     Yesterdayay we found that our auto insurance would cover the damage with on penalty to us.  Things were put into motion to take care of the mess.  Today was spent getting the rental.  The insurance will cover $16 day on rental.  The $16 cars are economy and neither one of us can get in or out of them so we wound up with GMC Envoy at  $46 aday we pay the difference.  Took the Trail Blazer to the shop.  They discovered additional damage of the same kind on the passenger side.  Had to cll the insurance back and get approval for additional repair.  Then found it will take five days for the repair to be affected.  Whoopee.  Driving a V8 at $30 aday +mileage plus gas at $4.40+ a galoon.  Oh happy day.

      Now I get to vent… I wish I had the power of Merlin and gould cause these little punks left nut’s swrivle up and ache, and every time they tried their graffiti it would srink even more until it fell off thereby prevent them from ever reproducing more of their kind.  I am tired of seeing their handiwork all over the place.  A perso should have the right to have what they have worked for and earned not molested by arragont little bastards who have no respect for others.  Nuff said, I’m done.  ain’t so just got a call from the repair shop, had to give them the Ok to start the work.  Crap here it is Thursday and they have not started yet, said it would be next Wed.  So had to call the ins. people to find if rental would cover that length of time.  Then Hertz to tell them we needed the crappy GMC longer.  Ain’t life grand, wife’s upset and pissed and I,m      nearly at wit’s end dealing with these people all  because of some damn little punk’s I cant’t do any thing about.  Crap send me bact to the old west I’d hang them all from a tree and shoot it out with their kin when they objected.




July 10, 2008


      Back in June of 2007, while writing about Wyatt Earp, I mentioned  Old Man Ike Clayton participating in a attract on a group of Mexican bandits making their way over the border with a large amount of ill-gotten loot.  This is a more in-depth look at the event and the legend that has grown out of the action.  (Here most of these facts are gleaned from a article printed Atizona  True Legends).

     Located gust a few miles from the Mexican border in southeast Arizona is Skeleton Canyon.  A long narrow canyon with fingers reaching into new Mexico it was a popular route for smugglers from Mexico to bring contraband into the U, S. for sale on the lucrative Black Market.  It was also well known to the bandits on this side of the border, and the Mexican bandits were a easy prey for the more adventuresome American desperado.

     In a small Mexican village the Estrada Gang was taking their ease after looting Monterrey in a successful raid in July of 1881.  Jim Hughes a American Bandit who spent much of his time roaming the lawless areas of the southwest and Mexico overheard the Bandits discussing their plans to smuggle their plunder over the border through the long narrow canyon that would later become known as Skeleton Canyon after their ill-fated adventure.

      Hughes rushed back to Arizona, to the town of Tombstone where he advised "Curly Bill Brazos"  of the Mexican outlaws plans.  He later met up with Billy Clanton, whom he had met the year before, who then took hin to his father Newton Hayes Clanton (Old Man Clanton) who was impressed with Hayes plan to ambush the Estrada gang as they traversed the canyon.

      The newly enhanced gang was still in the planning stages when their spies informed them the Estrada’s were intending ot smuggle their good in earlier than expected.  Curly Bill was out of town, so Hughes decided to take over the enterprise.  He recruited a few friends, Zwing Hunt    and Billy Grounds, (real name William Bloucher.)

     The Estrada Gang was spotted in a area known as the Devil’s Kitchen, just a few mile into Arizona.  Here they stopped to prepare a meal and rest their mules.  after eating it was time for the afternoon siesta.  The American gang was truly awed at the large heavily packed, thirty mule pack train.  After all the Mexican gang had fallen asleep the Americans opened fire, the Mexicans stood no chance at all and all were slaughtered.  However all the gunfire panicked the mules and thay began to run.  They were scattering so badly that in  desperation the gang shot them all.

When the gun-smoke cleared nine-teen Mexican bandits and twenty-nine mules lay dead.  It is the worst Massacre recorded in Arizona history.  According to the legend the gang gathered up a total of $75,000 in coin, jewelry and artifacts.  How ever with the slaughter of all the mules they had no  way to pack out the vast treasure trove.  Their horse could not carry such a heavy load, so the each divided up a small amount they could carry with them.  They buried the rest nearby for later retrieval.  They then retired to their hangouts in the nearby towns to sped their new found wealth.

     While the others were enjoying their    new wealth with new-found friends Jim Hughes  had other plans.  He rejoined with Zwing Hunt and Billy Grounds and concocted a plan to double-cross the others.  Hughes would stay in town so as not arouse the suspicions of the others, while Grounds and Hunt would go to Skeleton Canyon and dig up the treasure and re-hide it elsewhere.  The idea was only the three of them would know the new hiding place.  Zwing and Clanton found a Mexican teamster agreed to take his wagon and horses into the canyon.  They dug up the treasure at the end of the canyon and moved it further up the canyon or someplace nearby.  Of course you know the type of people we are dealing with here, they killed the Mexican and shot hishorses after they had served their purpose and were need on more.  It is said they buried the man and his horses and burned the wagon over the spot where they had buried the loot-to mark the spot..

     Now only Zwing and Clanton knew where the loot was buried.  Fearing retaliation from the rest of the gang they went into hiding.  They supposedly found refuge in a desert cave where they stayed for four months.  At this time Billy wrote a series of letters to his sister, Maggie Clark, in San Antonio, Texas.  He told her where the treasure was buried in case he did not come out of the event alive.  He would come out of the canyon and stop the stagecoach to have the driver post his letters.

     After some of the old gang was killed in the shootout at the O. K. Corral in Tombstone, they came out of hiding.  On March 25, they tried to rob Tombstone Mining and Milling Company in Charleston, near Tombstone.  The robbery did not work as planed one man was killed.  They fled the area, but had been positively identified. (why in God’s name would two men sitting on top of a buried treasure like they were do something so stupid, I don’t know.  Just the criminal mentality I guess.)   They went into hiding at Jack Chandlers Ranch.

    A shoot out ensued when the posse trapped them at Chandler’s Ranch.  Billy  Grounds was killed and Zwing badly wounded.     Zwing was taken to the hospital in Tombstone .  When Hughes heard of Zwing’s wounding and capture he rushed to the hospital in tombstone, hoping to learn where the treasure was concealed.  On his arrival he found that  Zwing was doing better than expected and had persuaded the doctors to let him go for a buggy ride with a friend.  It is believed it was his brother, Hugh Hunt, in disguise.  Zwing was never seen again.

     Zwing’s brother Hugh, later declared his brother was killed in a Indian fight after his escape from the hospital.  A group of Army scouts were reported to have buried him in what today is known a Hunt’s Canyon.  A third story is that Hugh and Zwing     made their way to their home in San Antonio where Zwing died of his wounds.  It is said that he drew a map of the burial site of the treasure for his uncle.  On the map it gave the burial site was at the base of Davis Mountain.  The only trouble was that Billy and Zwing named Davis mountain after a friend of theirs and no one else knew the mountain by that name.  Other clues were worthless also one said that very close to the mountain was curving canyon with its east wal  completely rocky and bare and the west covered with trees.  also through the same canyon ran a small stream with a ten foot drop where the water fell to two springs.  Twenty steps east       of the treasure was a square   shaped rock three feet high.  Over the treasure was the remains of a burned wagon.

     The Hunt family hunted for years and never found the site.  The two springs nevere were lcted.  The earthquake of 1886, might have caused the springs to be buried or dry up, or they migh have only flowed after a spring rain.  The remains of a burnt wagon was found once but no treasure was found under it.

     Billy wrote in one of his letters that from the mouth of the cave you can see the turf growing over where we buried the treasure. Many caves have been found in the astrea one even had remains of rotting ropes in it.  but still no treasure in the area.

    Through the years, many old Mexican coins have been found in the canyon.  And numerous human skulls and bones and mule bones have turned up in the canyon.  In 1891 cowboy and government official found a leather pouch with several thousand dollars of Mexican coins inside.  The story is that a cigar box full of jewels, two figures of pure gold,$90,000 in Mexican silver dollars, 39 gold bard and numerous bags of gold coins were included in the lost treasure.  The article says enough evidence exists to validate the legend.

       If it exists(?), it is still hidden, or someone sure has a closed mouth.  How many expeditions do you suppose has been mounted to find this treasure?  I expect the Radio Shack in southeast Arizona has done a good business in metal detectors.  I know I have a seldom used one hidden away in the junk in my bedroom.  I have never heard much about this one, I suppose if you lived in the area you would be well versed in the lore.  I know in the Superstition Mountains of Arizona near Phoenix, there were a number of people killed looking for the Lost Dutchman.  There were some large well funded parties involved in that search.  I have seen those rugged mountains from a distance and even have a topographical map of the area.  My thirst for the old west and adventure never pulled me in that area.

    Well this little peek into history is over for now.  If you have more to add pleade do.




Good Golly Miss Molly! A special story..

July 8, 2008

     Here is a neat story I recieved by E-mail, thought I would share it with you.  I love to watch horses run free, not on a race track.  Enjoy the story explains itself.




What a special story this is!

Wow what a story! 

Meet Molly. She’s a gray speckled pony who was abandoned by her owners when Katrina hit southern Louisiana , USA . She spent weeks on her own before finally being rescued and taken to a farm where abandoned animals were stockpiled. While there, she was attacked by a pit bull terrier, and almost died. Her gnawed right front leg became infected and her vet went to LSU for help. But LSU was overwhelmed, and this pony was a welfare case. You know how that goes.
But after surgeon Rustin Moore met Molly, he changed his mind. He saw how the pony was careful to lie down on different sides so she didn’t seem to get sores, and how she allowed people to handle her. She protected her injured leg. She constantly shifted her weight, and didn’t overload her good leg. She was a smart pony with a serious survival ethic.

Moore agreed to remove her leg below the knee and a temporary artificial limb was built. Molly walked out of the clinic and her story really begins there.

“This was the right horse and the right owner,” Moore insists.

Molly happened to be a one-in-a-million patient. She’s tough as nails, but sweet, and she was willing to cope with pain. She made it obvious she understood (that) she was in trouble. The other important factor, according to Moore , is having a truly committed and compliant owner who is dedicated to providing the daily care required over the lifetime of the horse.

Molly’s story turns into a parable for life in post-Katrina Louisiana . The little pony gained weight, her mane felt a comb. A human prosthesis designer built her a leg.


The prosthetic has given Molly a whole new life, Allison Barca DVM, Molly’s regular vet, reports.

And she asks for it! She will put her little limb out, and come to you and let you know that she wants you to put it on. Sometimes she w ants you to take it off too.” And sometimes, Molly gets away from Barca. “It can be pretty bad when you can’t catch a three-legged horse”, she laughs.

Most important of all, Molly has a job now. Kay, the rescue farm owner, started taking Molly to shelters, hospitals, nursing homes, rehabilitation centers. Anywhere she thought that people needed hope. Wherever Molly went, she showed people her pluck. She inspired people. And she had a good time doing it.

“It’s obvious to me that Molly had a bigger role to play in life”, Moore said, “She survived the hurricane, she survived a horrible injury, and now she is giving hope to others.”

“She’s not back to normal,” Barca concluded, “but she’s going to be better. To me, she could be a symbol for New Orleans itself.”

This is Molly’s most recent prosthesis.


The bottom photo shows the ground surface that she stands on, which has a smiley face embossed in it. Wherever Molly goes, she leaves a smiley hoof print behind.

     So there you haveit.  I am impressed by the mans generosity and love. 



July 2, 2008


Let’s return to El Paso, that wild town on the border of West Texas.  When the train finally reached that wild and woolly place, it disgorged a variety of good honest people, along with an abundance of less savory individuals.  In its march toward gentler times and more gentle civilization, we met many of its inhabitants before in these chapters.  There was Dallas Stroudenmire, Doc Cummings and the Manning brothers.  John Westley Harden, Elfego Baca and a host of others passed through.  Along with the gamblers, con men, gunslingers and regular cowboys, there came the Ladies of the Night. This episode covers a pair of famous El Paso Madams.

Etta Clark came by train – petite, and five foot tall – she brought with her a mean temper and a fiery mouth.  She must of had some charms because it was said she had a way with some of El Paso’s better heeled gentlemen.

El Paso had the usual assortment of these ladies of the night.  Beginning with the streetwalkers and crib girls who advertised their wares from the windows of the one-room apartments, or cribs.  Then came the saloon girls who worked in the lofts behind the saloon or upstairs.  At the top of the heap were the madams. 

The parlor houses in El Paso lined Utah Street (Now Mesa Street).  In these establishments were employed only the most beautiful women, in the finest gowns possible.  These establishments only catered to wealthiest men in town.  The men of El Paso had a wide variety of gals to choose from – crib girls worked for as little as fifty-cents to a dollar.  While parlor house gals charged from $3 to $5 (remember we are talking the 1880’s here).

Madams were experts at making money off their girls.  The girls were charged for the use of their rooms, meals, laundry, and any clothes provided them.  Since the girls often had trouble meeting their expenses the madams often permitted them to make a charge account. 

Often a girl became so hopelessly in debt that she could not catch up, and quite often a madam would inflict punishment on a girl for not making up her losses.  A common discipline was to confiscate a girls clothing until her arrears were caught up.    

Several of Etta Clark’s girls found themselves in this state, and from December until April 1882, they sued  Etta – claiming she “wrongly appropriated their belongings” –  eight lawsuits in all were filed.  Clark lost the case and had to pay the girls who had sued her.

Madams advertised their business in various ways.  In the 1901 Worleys Directory of the City of El Paso, Clark recorded her occupation as the owner of furnished rooms, and listed her name as Madam Etta Clark.  Most of the men who looked at the directory knew that meant she rented her rooms by the hour and the “furnishings” included a girl.

Leather-printed cards and advertisements in souvenir booklets for large city events were used.  The ladies were indeed cunning business women.

As stated, Clark was a great business woman. Her weakness was her terrible temper, considered beautiful by some, others found her vicious.  She often ran off customers with her foul mouth, creating more enemies than friends.


Known as “Fat Alice”,  Alice Abbot was Etta Clark’s rival  located just across the street from Clark’s establishment.  Alice arrived in El Paso in 1880, at six feet tall and weighing a formidable two-hundred pounds, Alice was a force to be reckoned with.  No one seems to know why the two became such bitter rivals.  At one time Alice was quoted as saying that “Etta Clark was a whore to niggers”  – the ultimate insult in that prejudicial time.

On April 18, 1886, an argument erupted between Abbot and one of her girls, Bessie Colvin, who wanted to leave and work for Etta Clark.  Bessie sought refuge in Etta’s parlor, with Fat Alice in pursuit.  Alice pounded on Etta’s door with her ham-like fists.  When Etta finally opened the door, Alice punched her in the face.  With great pain and anger, Etta turned and ran to grab a gun.

The incident is reported as follows, “The weapon roared its authority, sending a bullet into Alice’s pubic arch.  Clutching her groin, Alice screamed: “My God, I’m shot.”  She lurched from the hall and staggered down into the street.”  Etta Clark shot again but missed.  When Alice looked up, she caught Clark with a smile on her face as she went back in her house.

El Paso could not help but smile at the thought of the diminutive Clark drawing a heavy handgun and shooting the giant Abbot – a foot taller and a hundred pounds heavier – in the most delicate of parts.  They did more than smile if accounts are recorded right – they guffawed.

Alice survived the shooting, despite the risk of blood poisoning, and a fifty-fifty chance of dying. The newspapers called this the case of ” Public Arch Shooting” , hence the title of this chapter, but all who read it knew to what it  actually referenced.  The widely circulated story caused the public to make fun of Abbot, increasing her anger and hate.  To add insult to injury, it only took the jury fifteen minutes to find Etta Clark not guilty on grounds of self defence.  Alice Abbot’s humiliation was now complete.

In the early hours of July 12, 1888 Etta Clark’s parlor house caught fire while she and all the girls were asleep.  They all managed to escape, but the house and all belongings were destroyed.  Later it was determined that Abbot had hired a couple of drunks to start the fires, but gaps in the evidence led to both Alice’s and the mens acquittal.

Etta Clark and her girls were reduced to the level of street walkers.  Etta’s luck changed with the appearance of J. P. Dieter, one of her adoring clients, who built her a new huge parlor.  His wife divorced him and took their children back east.  Etta and Dieter lived as husband and wife without ever becoming married.   

In Februrary 1890 Alice Abbot leased her brothel to a younger woman, Tillie Howard.  Alice spent several lonely and unhappy years and, in her early 40’s, she died  on April 7, 1896  of a heart attack.  She was buried in the Evergreen Cemetery.  Her death went unreported in the papers because of widespread interest in a boxing match and municipal elections, a perfect time to have advertised in earlier days.

In 1904, Etta Clark became ill and decided to run her business from the third floor of the Mayar Opera  House.  The Opera House caught fire and burned down in 1905.  Etta barley escaped alive and suffered complications from smoke inhalation.  During a trip to her sister’s in Alanta in 1908 she died of these complications.. 

The first police officer killed in the line of duty was Assistant city Marshal Thomas Mode.  Mode, responding to a disturbance at Abbot’s brothel along with jailer Jim wheat.  During the investigation of said disturbance, Mode was shot several times and staggered out into the mud of Utah Street, where he died.  No further details are provided of this July 19, 1883 incident.

The fines levied against the streetwalkers and women of the brothels paid the salaries of the police and fire department, so the town fathers turned a deaf ear to the complaints levied about the brothels.   However in 1882 they began enforcing the sections 49 and 73 of the City charter, ordering the arrest of all wanton women and their employers.  Of course the term arrest was a misnomer, what it ment they were fined and turned loose.  This was in effect a license to practice their trade.

Madams all over the west ran their businesses successfully and some see them as the feminists of their age.
So pardners I’ve hung with these gals long enough.  I gotta scoot afore my wife catches me with them.


Related reading:


July 1, 2008



Trees:  We love them, we grow them in our yards, kids climb them and we tie hammocks to them.  Trees are everywhere, and we think nothing about them.  When we go to the hardware store and walk through the lumber department we seldom think to compare them to the shade tree in our front yard.  Also when we think of the old west we never think of the role that the tree played in its development.

Good gosh where to start!  let’s forget for a minute the practice of building the towns and farms, and ranch building.  How about we start with the wagon trains.  Of course the wagons were built of wood but they were for the most part already built east of the Mississippi River.  In their travels toward their western destinations they stopped for the night along the way and cooked evening and morning meals.  This required fire wood.  This was also a boiling point for the Native Americans along the way.  Over time whole groves of woods were depleted, changing the character of the land.  With the removal of the trees animals had no place to shelter – what few were left.  The land eroded and blew away.  But this is an element of the migration that is seldom explored.

Before the westward expansion of the railroad there were along the larger waterways the steamboat.  These required large amounts of cut timber for fire wood.  All along the rivers would be fueling points where cut wood would be taken aboard.  Large crews of timber cutters were employed to fell trees and cut them into lengths of usable fuel.  Once again large tracts of forests were depleted.  First timber near the river was cut ,then later it had to be cut and hauled by wagon – big business was built up around the industry based on lucrative contracts.  Often the cutting parties were the subject of Indian attacks, Not as interesting as an attract on a fort or wagon train, so these were ignored by the movies, and so we remain ignorant of them today. Read the rest of this entry »