Santee Sioux Hanging

Execution of 38 Santee Sioux IndiansFor almost 50 years the Santee Sioux, located in Minnesota, were mistreated by almost everyone with whom they came into contact. First, white settlers invaded the Minnesota Valley where they traditionally lived. With pressure both from settlers and the army, they relocated to a reservation. On the reservation they came under the authority of corrupt Indian Agents. The agents demanded a kickback on all the rations they distributed. When the Sioux realized they couldn’t live on what was left of the rations and refused to give them the normal kickback, the agents withheld all food distribution. On the verge of starvation, the Indians sought help. But no one came to their aid.
Reaching the limits of endurance, the Santee Sioux left the reservation, and started killing settlers and taking women and children as hostages. It was called the “Minnesota Uprising,” and was part of the battles that affected the area for much of the last half of the 1800’s. The army took off after the Sioux, and underestimating their fighting ability, 13 soldiers were killed, with another 45 wounded. Finally, General Sibley, with a large force of soldiers defeated the Sioux, forcing most of the Indians to surrender, and recovering the hostages.
The captured Sioux were tried. The abuse piled upon the Indians was not a factor in the trial. And on November 5, 1862, 300 Santee Sioux were found guilty of raping and murdering white settlers. They were all sentenced to be hanged.
But the mass hanging didn’t take place… because President Abraham Lincoln heard about the trial and the conditions that caused their crimes, and commuted the sentences of 262 of the Sioux. But in December 38 of the leaders were hanged in mass.

Camillo Orlando Hanks and Barbed Wire

Barbed WireBarbed wire had encircled the cattle. So, cowboys weren’t needed to ride the line, making sure cattle didn’t wander away. The railroads had been built down to Texas, so cattle drives weren’t necessary anymore. And many of the large ranches were being purchased by eastern conglomerates looking for a quick return for their money, or the ranches were simply broken up. So, many cowboys had to look for other means of employment.
           
One such cowboy was Camillo Orlando Hanks, also known as Deaf Charley. Deaf Charley was born in Texas in 1863. As a young man, he cowboyed, accompanying a herd of cattle up to Montana and stayed on several years until he could no longer find work. So Deaf Charley decided to take up another profession… that of a train robber. Unfortunately, he didn’t do too well at that profession, and he was captured. In 1892, he was sentenced to ten years in the pen.                 
Getting out in April of 1901, within three months he had hooked up with Butch Cassidy and the Hole-in-the-Wall Gang. In spite of his hearing loss, Deaf Charley’s job was keeping an eye on the train passengers while Butch, Sundance and the others stole their possessions. The gang got about $30,000 in bank notes from a train robbery in Montana. Wishing to spend his share of the money elsewhere, Deaf Charley went down to San Antonio, Texas. On October 22, 1902, Deaf Charley was in a saloon in San Antonio when the local law, Pink Taylor, confronted him. Guns were drawn, a shot was fired, and Deaf Charley was no more.           

California Joe

California Joe (Moses Embree Milner)Moses Embree Milner was a well-built man, more than 6 feet in height. Not only did he constantly smoke a pipe, he chewed tobacco at the same time. In 1849, at the age of 20, he went to California like everyone else… for gold. Then he moved up to Oregon, and then to Montana where he acquired the name California Joe.

He then started doing some scouting for the military. In 1868, George Custer made him chief of scouts for the Seventh Cavalry. But that job didn’t last long because California Joe went out the night of his appointment and got so drunk that he had to be hogtied and returned to camp lashed to a mule. The next day Custer fired him as chief, but kept him on as a regular scout.

In 1874 he accompanied Custer on his excursion into the Black Hills of the Dakotas where gold was discovered. Although the discovery was to be kept a secret, it was supposedly California Joe who let the word out. It was probably during a drinking spree the night of his arrival back to civilization.

A year later California Joe accompanied Walter P. Jenney’s expedition into the Black Hills to confirm the discovery of gold, and open it for settlement. California Joe was able to stake out a homestead on the future site of Rapid city, South Dakota.

While in Nebraska, California Joe got into an argument with Tom Newcomb, and on October 29, 1876 Tom found California Joe looking the other way and shot him in the back. Because there was no law in the area Tom Newcomb was never tried, but two years later a couple of California Joe’s friends shot Tom in the back.

Hop Alley Riot

Hop Alley RiotAs the West entered into the 1880’s there was a tremendous amount of prejudice against the Chinese who had been brought to the West to build the railroad. Ten years earlier Denver, Colorado had encouraged the Chinese to come there in the hopes of relieving the labor shortage conditions. Because of the access to drugs in the Chinese district, cowboys would often visit there. The main area of this district was appropriately called Hop Alley.
           
Although by 1880 there were less than 300 predominately male Chinese in Denver, The Rocky Mountain News maintained that because of their ever growing numbers, “white men would starve and women would be forced into prostitution.”  
 
On the evening of October 30, 1880 some drunken cowboys assaulted a Chinese. Another Chinese man in the process of defending his friend fired a shot from his gun, hitting no one. But, like that “telephone game” you played as a kid, it was no time before the story had mutated to “a Hop Alley resident had killed a white man.”
 
Mobs gathered. Windows were shattered, and many queues were clipped from Chinese heads. One group lynched an elderly man. Unfortunately, no one was held accountable for the tragedies.
 
However, as with all tragedies, there were bright spots of heroism. Desperado Jim Moon was in a Chinese laundry retrieving some shirts when a mob came in with the objective of lynching the owner of the laundry. Pulling his pistol, Moon yelled at the crowd, “If you kill Wong, who will do my laundry?”
 
Moon was credited with not only saving Wong, but also an additional 14 other Chinese hiding in the back.           

As the West entered into the 1880’s there was a tremendous amount of prejudice against the Chinese who had been brought to the West to build the railroad. Ten years earlier Denver, Colorado had encouraged the Chinese to come there in the hopes of relieving the labor shortage conditions. 

           
Although by 1880 there were less than 300 predominately male Chinese in Denver, The Rocky Mountain News maintained that because of their ever growing numbers, “white men would starve and women would be forced into prostitution.”  
               
Because of the access to drugs in the Chinese district, cowboys would often visit there. The main area of this district was appropriately called “Hop Alley.”
 
On the evening of October 30, 1880 some drunken cowboys assaulted a Chinese. Another Chinese man in the process of defending his friend fired a shot from his gun, hitting no one. But, like that “telephone game” you played as a kid, it was no time before the story had mutated to “a Hop Alley resident had killed a white man.”
 
Mobs gathered. Windows were shattered, and many queues were clipped from Chinese heads. One group lynched an elderly man. Unfortunately, no one was held accountable for the tragedies.
 
However, as with all tragedies, there were bright spots of heroism. Desperado Jim Moon was in a Chinese laundry retrieving some shirts when a mob came in with the objective of lynching the owner of the laundry. Pulling his pistol, Moon yelled at the crowd, “If you kill Wong, who will do my laundry?”
 
Moon was credited with not only saving Wong, but also an additional 14 other Chinese hiding in the back.           
 

As the West entered into the 1880’s there was a tremendous amount of prejudice against the Chinese who had been brought to the West to build the railroad. Ten years earlier Denver, Colorado had encouraged the Chinese to come there in the hopes of relieving the labor shortage conditions. 

           
Although by 1880 there were less than 300 predominately male Chinese in Denver, The Rocky Mountain News maintained that because of their ever growing numbers, “white men would starve and women would be forced into prostitution.”  
               
Because of the access to drugs in the Chinese district, cowboys would often visit there. The main area of this district was appropriately called “Hop Alley.”
 
On the evening of October 30, 1880 some drunken cowboys assaulted a Chinese. Another Chinese man in the process of defending his friend fired a shot from his gun, hitting no one. But, like that “telephone game” you played as a kid, it was no time before the story had mutated to “a Hop Alley resident had killed a white man.”
 
Mobs gathered. Windows were shattered, and many queues were clipped from Chinese heads. One group lynched an elderly man. Unfortunately, no one was held accountable for the tragedies.
 
However, as with all tragedies, there were bright spots of heroism. Desperado Jim Moon was in a Chinese laundry retrieving some shirts when a mob came in with the objective of lynching the owner of the laundry. Pulling his pistol, Moon yelled at the crowd, “If you kill Wong, who will do my laundry?”
 
Moon was credited with not only saving Wong, but also an additional 14 other Chinese hiding in the back.           

Old West TV: James Marshall and the Gold Rush

Dakota talks about Dr. George GoodfellowThis episode of Chronicle of the Old West TV Dakota Livesay tells us about the California Gold Rush and James Marshal. Here is some info on the man:

James Wilson Marshall (October 8, 1810 – August 10, 1885) was an American carpenter and sawmill operator, who reported the finding of gold at Coloma on the American River in California on January 24, 1848, the impetus for the California Gold Rush. The mill property was owned by Johann (John) Sutter who employed Marshall to build his mill. The wave of gold seekers turned everyone’s attention away from the mill which eventually fell into disrepair and was never used as intended. Neither Marshall nor Sutter ever profited from the gold find.

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