Old West History Archives

DICK FELLOWS

We see outlaws in the movies riding at breakneck speed to chase down a stagecoach, and then jump from the horse to the stagecoach to encounter the driver and guard. All outlaws weren’t that good of horsemen.

One such person got out of San Quentin Prison on this date back in 1881. His name was Dick Fellows.

Raised in Kentucky, Dick Fellows…An alias…came to California, and falling on hard times decided to rob stagecoaches. He picked the correct stage. It was carrying $240,000. However, as he was getting ready to go after the stage, the stolen horse he was riding threw him, and he was knocked unconscious.

Not one to give up, Fellows stole another horse and held up the next stage. He was successful. After the stage left, he tried to lift the strong box on his horse. The horse startled and raced off.

With night coming on he started walking with the strong box. Next he fell over a high bluff, knocking himself unconscious a second time. He woke up with a broken leg and foot.

Although the strong box has $1800 in it, he never got a chance to spend it, before Wells Fargo Detectives caught up with him.

When he got out of San Quentin, I believe most people would take the hint and go straight. But not Fellows. He went back to robbing stages, only to be caught again and sentenced to life in Folsom Prison.

BATTLE OF PALO ALTO

On this date back in 1846, Zachary Taylor led American forces against an attacking Mexican Army in the Battle of Palo Alto.

Mexico had never recognized the independence of Texas, and when the U.S. annexed Texas, Mexico sent troops into the disputed Rio Grande River area.

President Polk ordered General Taylor into Texas to defend the border. It was viewed by Mexico as a hostile invasion and the Mexican Army attacked the American forces.

Although the Mexican forces were much larger in number, General Taylor was not only victorious in this battle; he won four additional battles and gained control over the three northeastern Mexican states.

Incidentally, as a result of these and other victories, Zachary Taylor became a national hero referred to as “Old Rough and Ready”. This eventually catapulted him into the Presidency. Unfortunately, he was a much better general than President.

ANDY ADAMS

On this date back in 1859 Andy Adams, the author of The Log of a Cowboy was born. He’s considered one of the most authentic chroniclers of the Old West.

Andy was born in Indians and ran away from home when a teenager. Ending up in Texas, he became a cowboy during the golden era of the cowboy. When the cattle drives ended he went to Colorado looking for gold. Not able to find his fortune, he settled down in Colorado Springs.

Andy began writing stories of his experiences as a cowboy. He wrote and published four books in four years. He’s best known for The Log of a Cowboy. This book is a must for any person interested in the Old West cowboy.

TIME ZONES

Have you ever wondered how time zones came about?  Well, wonder no more.  All you have to do is to click on the video link below and you’ll know the whole scoop.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5EKHRnnonxE

 

BAT MASTERSON

I find Bat Masterson one of the more intriguing men of the Old West.  He is known as a gunfighter, but he was in very few gun fights.

The last gunfight he was in took place on this day back in 1881.  It was to help out his brother Jim.  Jim owned a business in Dodge City and was having trouble with Al Updegraff, a business partner.  It had even involved gunfire.

I don’t know if Jim actually said the words, “I going to get my big brother and he’ll beat you up,” but Bat, in Tombstone at the time, heard about the conflict and jumped on a train to Dodge City.

Not a man to mince words, Bat immediately spotted Updegraff and brother-in-law Peacock and said, “I have come over a thousand miles to settle this.  I know you are heeled, now fight!”  All three men immediately drew their guns.

In the fracas Updegraff took a bullet in his right lung.  The mayor and sheriff arrived with shotguns and stopped the shooting.  No one was mortally injured in the shooting, and in accordance with Old West standards, the gunfight was fought fairly.  So Masterson was fined $8.  He paid the fine and took the next train out of Dodge City.

As an aside, had Bat not left Tombstone to help his brother, the chances are excellent he would have been around to help his friend Wyatt Earp in another gunfight…The one that took place at the OK Corral.

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