Old West History Archives

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.           

Natural Gas is Giving Out

The Supply Cannot Be Depended Upon, and Must Be Abandoned

April 30, 1892, Bee, Sacramento, California – The days of natural gas are numbered.  There is surprising unanimity among the mining engineers on this point.  They agree that more gas can be found, and that wells may continue to flow to some extent, but they say that experience has proven that the supply cannot be depended upon for manufacturing or for heating purposes.  The amount of natural gas reached its maximum two years ago.  It has fallen off each year since, notwithstanding the large number of new wells bored.

natural gas drillingSaid a Pittsburg engineer:  “We have had a pretty bad time this winter in Pittsburg.  The flow has given out repeatedly just at the time, perhaps, when most needed.  People who had no coal in their houses have had the gas go out on them in some of the very coldest weather.  Manufacturers who depended on gas for fuel have had to shut down, business has been deranged, and home life has been made miserable.  Some people are still boring wells and trying to keep up a supply by tapping places, but with only partial success.  One after another the wells give out.  When they cease flowing the only thing to be done is to turn the valve and leave them alone.  Sometimes a well will start up again and flow gas after it has been idle for some time, but all the same to reach a state of exhaustion sooner or later.  Manufacturers are going back to coal again, and householders are agreeing that it will not do to depend upon natural gas.  One thing has been made certain, the theory that this manufacture of gas is going on fast enough to supply the flow is all wrong. It is a slow process.   We have already bored holes enough to overtask Nature.”

Eighth Grade Exam

Below is the actual final exam for the Salina, Kansas eighth grade in 1895.  Could you pass the test?

GRAMMAR (Time, one hour)

  1. Give nine rules for the use of Capital Letters.
  2. Name the Parts of Speech and define those that have no modifications.
  3. Define Verse, Stanza and Paragraph.
  4. What are the Principal Parts of a verb? Give Principal Parts of do, lie, lay, and run.
  5. Define Case. Illustrate each Case.
  6. What is Punctuation? Give rules for principal marks of Punctuation.

7 through 10. Write a composition of about 150 words and show therein that you understand the practical use of the rules of grammar.

ARITHMETIC (Time, 1.25 hours)

  1. Name and define the Fundamental Rules of Arithmetic.
  2. A wagon box is 2 ft. deep, 10 feet long and 3 ft. wide. How many bushels of wheat will it hold?
  3. If a load of wheat weighs 3942 Ibs., what is it worth at 50 cents/bushel, deducting 1050 Ibs. for tare?
  4. District No. 33 has a valuation of $35,000. What is the necessary levy to carry on a school for seven months at $50 per month, and have $104 for incidentals?
  5. Find cost of 6720 Ibs. of coal at $6.00 per ton.
  6. Find the interest of $512.60 for 8 months and 18 days at 7 percent.
  7. What is the cost of 40 boards 12 inches wide and 16 ft. long at $20 per meter?
  8. Find the bank discount on $300 for 90 days (no grace) at 10 percent.
  9. What is the cost of a square farm at $15 per acre, the distance around which is 640 rods?
  10. Write a Bank Check, a Promissory Note, and a Receipt.

U.S. HISTORY (Time, 45 minutes)

  1. Give the epochs into which U.S. History is divided.
  2. Give an account of the discovery of America by Columbus.
  3. Relate the causes and results of the Revolutionary War.
  4. Show the territorial growth of the United States.
  5. Tell what you can of the history of Kansas.
  6. Describe three of the most prominent battles of the Rebellion.
  7. Who were the following: Morse, Whitney, Fulton, Bell, Lincoln, Penn, and Howe?
  8. Name events connected with the following dates: 1607, 1620, 1800, 1849, and 1865.

ORTHOGRAPHY (Time, one hour)

  1. What is meant by the following: alphabet, phonetic, orthography, etymology, and syllabication?
  2. What are the elementary sounds? How are they classified?
  3. What are the following, and give examples of each: trigraph, subvocals, diphthong, cognate letters, and linguals?
  4. Give four substitutes for caret ‘u’.
  5. Give two rules for spelling words with final ‘e’. Name two exceptions under each rule.
  6. Give two uses of silent letters in spelling. Illustrate each.
  7. Define the following prefixes and use in connection with a word: bi, dis, mis, pre, semi, post, non, inter, mono, sup
  8. Mark diacritically and divide into syllables the following, and name the sign that indicates the sound: card, ball, mercy, sir, odd, cell, rise, blood, fare, last.
  9. Use the following correctly in sentences: cite, site, sight, fane, fain, feign, vane, vain, vein, raze, raise, rays.
  10. Write 10 words frequently mispronounced and indicate pronunciation by use of diacritical marks and by syllabication.

GEOGRAPHY (Time, one hour)

  1. What is climate? Upon what does climate depend?
  2. How do you account for the extremes of climate in Kansas?
  3. Of what use are rivers? Of what use is the ocean?
  4. Describe the mountains of North America.
  5. Name and describe the following: Monrovia, Odessa, Denver, Manitoba, Hecla, Yukon, St. Helena, Juan Fernandez, Aspinwall and Orinoco.
  6. Name and locate the principal trade centers of the U.S.
  7. Name all the republics of Europe and give the capital of each.
  8. Why is the Atlantic Coast colder than the Pacific in the same latitude?
  9. Describe the process by which the water of the ocean returns to the sources of rivers.
  10. Describe the movements of the earth. Give the inclination of the earth.

Samuel Maverick

Samuel MaverickIn 1835 Samuel Maverick moved to the San Antonio, Texas area, and started practicing law.  He was even one of the signers of the Texas Declaration of Independence.

As the story goes, a neighbor owed him $1,200.  With no ready cash, the neighbor offered to pay him in cattle.  So, reluctantly Samuel agreed to take 400 head of cattle.  Not wanting to deal with the cattle, Samuel hired someone to take care of them.  At first the hired hand branded the calves with Samuel’s MK brand.  But soon things got out of hand, and many of the calves went unbranded.

By 1854 Samuel’s unbranded cattle were roaming all over the area, and his neighbors started complaining, stating that if Samuel didn’t do something about them, he wouldn’t have any.

Finally, in 1856, Samuel sold his cattle to another rancher.  The cattle were sold on the basis of “range delivery.”  This meant that the rancher bought an approximate number of cattle that happened to be located on the open range.  Whenever the new owner found an unbranded cow, he claimed them as Samuel Maverick’s cattle, or “Maverick’s”.  By 1857, people in the area were referring to unbranded cattle as “mavericks.”

But the term didn’t come into general use until after the Civil War, when the cattlemen returned to find tens of thousands of unbranded cattle roaming the plains.  It’s interesting to note that during this time, although taking a branded cow was a hanging offence, to take an unbranded calf that wasn’t following a cow, or a maverick, was not rustling.  And rounding up mavericks is the way many a cattle ranch started out.

William Brazleton – Masked and Unmasked

William BrazletonWilliam Brazleton was about 6 feet tall, and weighed around 200 pounds. He was described as “a great big, good natured fellow who was as harmless as any man could be.” Little is known about his early life. He did tell a friend that he had robbed a couple of stages in northern Arizona, three over by Silver City, New Mexico, and four around Tucson.        
 
There were stage robberies in the vicinity of Tucson that mysteriously had two sets of horse tracks leading to the scene of the robbery, but none leaving it. These robberies were performed by a man who wore a mask over his head with holes cut in it for his eyes and mouth.              
 
Because of information received from a confederate of Brazleton’s, the sheriff set up an ambush. On August 19, 1878 Brazleton was shot down in a hail of bullets.     
 
At this time, the reason for two sets of horse tracks leading to the robbery scenes, and none leaving it, was the following. It seems that Brazleton had devised horseshoes that could be reversed in order to confuse trackers.  
 
Now, as to his fame after death… Brazleton was brought back to Tucson, propped up against a wall, with his guns on his lap. And, pictures were taken of him with and without his mask. Today, any series of outlaw photographs, either alive or dead, includes at least one of the two pictures of Brazleton.
 
Incidentally, taking pictures of dead outlaws wasn’t unusual. Quite often dead outlaws were displayed in public with photographers charging money for people to have their picture taken next to the local bad boy. That is, until he started stinking too much.        
 
 
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