Edward T. Beard was born in Illinois in 1828. As a young man he got married, and had several children. Feeling a married life in the mid-westwas boring and confining, Edward abandoned his wife and children to head out west and become a terror to everyone he met. Edward had red hair and beard, so people naturally to call him Red Beard.    
 
In 1873, Red Beard decided to settle down and open a dance hall in Delano, Kansas, just outside Wichita. The dance hall provided spirited drinks and spirited women for members of the 6th Cavalry stationed nearby. On the evening of June 3 a drunken soldier got into an argument with a soiled dove named Emma Stanley. The upset soldier pulled his pistol and shot Emma in the leg.       
 
Red Beard immediately jumped over the bar, and pulled his pistol, shooting wildly. One soldier was shot in the neck and the other in the leg. Unfortunately, neither was the culprit who shot Emma. He had bugged out the back door, and was never seen again.          
 
The shooting incident didn’t set well with the soldiers. And two nights later thirty soldiers showed up at Red Beard’s dance hall, and proceeded to shoot up the place. In the process three people were shot, including poor old Emma Stanley, who was shot in the other leg.
 
The soldiers then set fire to the dance hall, and watching from the street, cheered as it burned to the ground.
 
After this, Red Beard decided to give up the life of a legitimate businessman, and went back to being an outlaw, only to be shot and killed five months later.  
Red Beard

Filed under: Old West History

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