Old West History Archives

Black Faced Charley

Black Faced Charley It seems that everyone in the Old West had nicknames… And some of them were very strange. But, none was as strange as Charles Bryant’s. He was called “Black Faced Charley.” It seems that he was shot point-blank in the face. The bullet just creased his cheek. But, the burnt powder coming out of the pistol imbedded in his face, giving him his nickname.
Later, Bryant joined the Dalton gang. And during the gang’s shootout with a posse was heard to say something like, “Me, I want to get killed in one heck of a minute of action.” Well, Bryant put it out there, and on August 23, 1891, he got his wish.
Being arrested, Bryant had to be transported to jail by Deputy U.S. Marshal Ed Short. Marshal Short was transporting the handcuffed Bryant in a train baggage car when he had to visit the john. Marshal Short gave his pistol to the railroad messenger and left. The messenger put the pistol in a desk drawer and went about his chores.
Unnoticed, Bryant moved around to the desk and got the pistol, just as Marshal Short entered the baggage car. Bryant placed one shot into Marshal Short’s chest. Short, carrying a rifle, shot Bryant…severing his spine. Bryant continued firing the pistol until it was empty. The rest of his shots went wild.
Bryant was killed in one heck of a minute of action just as he wished. Marshal Short helped the messenger pick up Bryant’s body. Marshal Short then laid down on the cot and died… also the victim of heck of a minute of action.
Both bodies were left on the train platform at the next stop.
Black Faced Charley

One Who Yawns aka Geronimo

One Who Yawns - GeronimoOne Who Yawns was born in 1823. He was known as an easygoing person. But, as a young man, while the men were away, Mexicans attacked his village and killed the women and children, among who were his mother, wife and three children. This instilled in him a hatred for Mexicans that lasted throughout his life. A year after the attack on his village, One Who Yawns and some other braves retaliated, killing several Mexicans. In this battle he won his more popular Spanish name… Geronimo.
 
Although he was a great leader, Geronimo was never a chief, and always deferred to his people’s true chiefs. For decades he succeeded in keeping settlers off Apache lands using little more than a handful of braves. Although Geronimo never used a firearm himself, he made sure his braves had the best available. And they used field glasses for distance reconnaissance. He was a brilliant strategist who for years was able to evade the best the army could send. 
 
By 1886 Geronimo was in his 60’s, and the number of whites in the area kept growing. So, on September 4 at Skeleton Canyon, Arizona, Geronimo surrendered to General Nelson A. Miles becoming the last American Indian warrior to formally surrender to the Army. 
 
A number of times over the years Geronimo agreed to live on a reservation, and later, with justification, left it. So this time his people were shipped to Florida. After several years in Florida the army moved him to Oklahoma where he became a popular celebrity. He even rode in President Theodore Roosevelt’s inaugural parade in 1905. Geronimo died at the age of 86, a romantic symbol of the Wild West.

Dentist Clay Allison

Dentist Clay AllisonClay Allison was a hard-drinking, prankster of the type who becomes a legend in his own time. During his lifetime, Allison only killed four people. But the stories about him that didn’t involve killing are as entertaining as those that did. There’s the story of Dentist Clay Allison looking up gunman Mace Bowman with the object of killing him. But, Bowman was a congenial person, and the two men ended up getting drunk together. Still curious about who was the fastest, they decided to test each other’s speed with some fast draws. Allison found Bowman was faster than he was. So, Allison suggested they strip to underwear, and shoot at each other’s bare feet to see who could move faster. They were either poor shots or fleet of feet, because a short time later the two men, out of breath, bellied up to the bar for another drink.

Then, there was the time on August 16, 1874, when Allison arrived in Cheyenne, Wyoming. He had a raging toothache. Now, Cheyenne had two dentists. So, Allison chose the closest one and climbed in his chair. The dentist drilled away at the tooth, only to discover he was drilling the wrong one. When the dentist announced his mistake, Allison angrily jumped out of the chair, and went over to the other dentist’s office. The other dentist took care of the problem.

With his pain gone, Allison returned to the first dentist, and pinned the dentist in his chair. Grabbing the dentist’s forceps, Clay Allison proceeded to pull, according to different stories, one, three or all of the dentist’s teeth. I can assure you that dentist never drilled on the wrong tooth again.

Clay Allison, you sure are a card.

Ella Watson – A Daredevil in the Saddle

Ella WatsonElla Watson has been described as “a dare devil in the saddle, handy with a six shooter and adept with the lariat and branding iron.” She has also been described as a homely prostitute who happened to take the wrong form of payment for her services.
In truth she was homely. Ella Watson secretly married a Wyoming Territory merchant named Jim Averill. Jim wasn’t liked by the cattle ranchers. That’s because Jim had acquired land traditionally used for grazing, and he rubbed salt in the wound by writing “anti-cattlemen” letters to the local paper.
Ella Watson filed for a homestead, and built a log cabin close to Jim Averill’s store where she started plying her trade as a soiled dove. She also started taking cattle as payment for her services.
The cattle ranchers accused Jim and Ella of cattle rustling. Now, quite possibly a cowboy or two may have paid her with cattle not belonging to him… but because the local authorities wouldn’t take action against them, the cattlemen kidnapped Jim and Ella and lynched them.
It was well known who did the lynching. There were even five witnesses. But they were all either shot or disappeared. So the trial never took place.
Now, most people have never heard of Ella Watson, because after her death she acquired another name.
The town’s people started protesting the lynching. So the cattlemen planted stories in local newspapers changing the homely prostitute Ella Watson into a gun slinging gang leader by the name of “Cattle Kate”. She became so famous her story was written-up in New York’s “Police Gazette.”

Chief Eskiminzin

Chief EskiminzinIn the early 1870’s Chochise and his band were raiding and killing white settlers in southern Arizona, and resentment was running high against all Indians. Chief Eskiminzin was the leader of a small group of Apache. Low on food and poorly clothed he brought his people to Camp Grant near Tucson, Arizona. Eventually more than 400 Indians had assembled in the area, and the citizens were becoming fearful. Following an incident where a couple of settlers were killed, a mob of almost 150 men were assembled to punish the wrong doers.
               
Although Eskiminzin’s people had nothing to do with the killing, the mob attacked and killed about 100 of them, with most of them women and children. Eskiminzin lost two wives and five children.
 
Still Chief Eskiminzin wanted peace. But two month’s later a military attachment accidentally opened fire on his people. Eskiminzin had had enough. However, before he left the area he wanted to visit his old friend, Charles McKinney. So, on the evening of June 5, 1871 McKinney and Eskiminzin had dinner. Following the meal Eskiminzin suddenly stood up, drew his pistol and shot his friend McKinney dead.
 
Later Eskiminzin explained his action. He said: “I did it to teach my people that there must be no friendship between them and the white man. Anyone can kill an enemy, but it takes a strong man to kill a friend.”
Even though it was known that Chief Eskiminzin killed his friend, strange as it may seem, he never spent a day in jail for the killing, and neither did the mob that murdered his tribe.
 Page 1 of 51  1  2  3  4  5 » ...  Last »