Old West History Archives


On this date back in 1870 Hiram Rhoades Revels, a Republican from Natchez, Mississippi, was sworn into the U.S. Senate, becoming the first Black ever to sit in Congress.

 During the Civil War, Revels, a college-educated minister, helped form Black army regiments for the Union cause, started a school for freed men, and served as a chaplain for the Union Army.  Revels remained in the former Confederate state after the war and entered into Reconstruction-era Southern politics.

 It’s interesting to note that the Senate seat Revels held was once held by Jefferson David, the former president of the Confederacy.


San Francisco has had it’s strange people.  But there were few who were as strange a Emperor Norton.  And, as you will see with this video, the people of San Francisco took him into their collective hearts.


On this date back in 1894 gunslinger and killer John Wesley Hardin was pardoned after spending 15 years in a Texas prison for murder.  He was 41 years old when he got out.

 Although he supposedly killed over 40 people prior to this, he tried to change his life by becoming a lawyer in El Paso.  That didn’t last long since he was shot in the back about a year later.


Don Pruett of Phoenix is a subscriber to our “This Week In The Old West” weekly story…If you’re not getting the free weekly story, go to:

http://chronicleoftheoldwest.com/this_week_in_the_old_west-signup-new.shtml and sign up.

A recent story was about Cynthia Ann Parker, a white woman captured by Indians, who was the mother of the great war chief Quanah Parker. John observed that the 1955 John Wayne movie “The Searchers” was probably based on the Cynthia Ann Parker story.

I think Don may just be correct. Incidentally, the picture is of Cynthia Ann Parker.


J.W. McCorlde just sent us a comment about his brother-in-law telling him about Cowboy To Cowboy.  It reminded me of some other Old West brothers-in-law.

Back in 1873, Clint Barkley was in Texas when he murdered a man.  Clint immediately bugged out of the area and went to Lampasas, Texas to seek help from his brother-in-law, Merritt Horrell.

Merritt was one of five Horrell brothers who were operating a cattle ranch.  The Horrell brothers weren’t exactly angels, but they did manage not to get crossways with the law…that is until brother-in-law Barkley arrived.

Shortly after Barkley arrived at the Horrell’s, Texas Ranger Captain Thomas Williams and three policemen arrived.  Ever loyal to their relatives, the Horrell’s said they wouldn’t turn over their dear brother-in-law.

On March 19, 1873, four of the Horrell brothers, Barkley and some other cowboys went to the Matador Saloon, and waited for the law to arrive.  And arrive they did, right through the front door.  The two groups exchanged gun shots.  Captain Williams and two of his men were immediately killed.  The third retreated, wounding two of the Horrell group in the process.

The two Horrell men were arrested.  Now brother-in-law Barkley took action.  On March 25, he and members of the Horrell faction raided the jail.  Barkley took a sledge-hammer to the jail door.  With led flying everywhere, Barkley was wounded, but he kept pounding until the prisoners were rescued.

Brother-in-law Barkley stuck with the Horrell brothers until they were all either killed or hanged by vigilantes.  No longer having any brothers-in-law to hang around with, Barkley left the area, and was never heard from again.

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