Old West Myth & Fact Archives

Wyatt Earp Kills Hoy?

James Masterson

Jim Masterson

In 1876, Wyatt Earp became a policeman in Dodge City, Kansas. A fellow policeman was Jim Masterson, Bat’s brother. On July 29 1878, Wyatt and Jim were patrolling the streets. At about 3 o’clock in the morning three cowboys, after picking up their pistols, passed by the local dance hall. Thinking it would be a great joke, they fired several shots into the dance hall. Wyatt and Jim rushed to where the action was taking place. The cowboys immediately turned their guns on Wyatt and Jim. Had they not been plastered, the cowboys would have realized that up until then, what they had done would have just gotten them run out of town. However, with lead coming their way, both lawmen started shooting back.

The cowboys made it to their horses, and as they rode away both Wyatt and Jim emptied their pistols in their direction. Thinking they had missed, the policemen started walking away when George Hoy, one of the cowboys, fell from his saddle. Hoy had been shot in the arm. Hoy was taken to a doctor, and then jail. Unfortunately for him infection set into the wound and he died four weeks later.

Many historians credit Wyatt for the kill even though, with lead flying, it couldn’t be positively determined if Wyatt or Jim’s bullet did the damage. And, with Hoy dying, from what could have been considered a minor wound, quite possibly, it was the doctor that did the killing. But, then, as far as George Hoy is concerned, no matter who did the killing, the results were the same.

 

Wild Bill Hickok Shoots Soldiers

Wild Bill Hickok shoots soldiersOn July 17, 1870 Deputy U.S. Marshal Wild Bill Hickok was in a bar in Hayes City, Kansas when two of a group of five Seventh Cavalry troopers suddenly attacked him from behind. It’s not quite clear what provoked the attack, but there is thought it might have had something to do with an encounter Wild Bill had earlier with Tom Custer, brother of George Custer and a member of the Seventh. So here’s the story – Wild Bill Hickok shoots soldiers.
One soldier held Wild Bill’s arms so he couldn’t fight back. A second put the muzzle of his pistol to Wild Bill’s ear and pulled the trigger. Nothing happened.
Now Wild Bill is fighting with super human strength. He got one pistol upholstered and shot one of the soldiers. Finally able to point his pistol at the man holding him, Hickok shot him in the knee. Released, Wild Bill then did the old stuntman trick of jumping through the window, breaking glass, rolling on the ground outside, and hightailing it out of the area.
It was a good thing too, because when word of the shooting got back to the Seventh’s headquarters a number of soldiers headed into Hayes City looking for Wild Bill. General Sheridan even ordered Hickok’s arrested. But it never took place.
The event, just as it happened, was something most people would find an amazing feat. But as with most of Hickok’s adventures, it immediately took on even larger proportions. At first newspapers said all five soldiers attacked Hickok. And some ten years later Wild Bill had taken on 15 troopers, killing 3, and being wounded 7 times. Now that’s a story you could tell with pride.

Texas – New York Cattle Drive

Texas - New York Cattle DriveOn July 1, 1854 the first cattle driven from Texas arrived in New York City. New York City? That’s right New York City. Here’s the story of the Texas – New York Cattle Drive.     
As early as the 1840’s there were stories of cattle being driven from Texas to Missouri. However, cattle drives from Texas didn’t start in earnest until around 1866. But there was one cattle drive that took place over ten years earlier, taking cattle all the way to New York. And it wasn’t done by a Texas cowboy, but an English immigrant who grew up in Illinois, by the name of Thomas Ponting.

Now, Ponting wasn’t a novice around cattle. As a youth in England he drove cattle to London. And later in Illinois he drove cattle up to Wisconsin. Hearing about cheap cattle in Texas, he and partner Washington Malone went down there and bought 800 longhorn cattle.
               
They hired men to drive the supply wagon. An ox with a bell around his neck was tied to the back of the wagon. He was the lead steer, and the cattle followed him wherever he went.
 
While traveling through Missouri they restocked their provisions from local farmers. Four months after their start they got to Illinois. It was winter. So they took time to fatten the cattle on corn. In the spring Ponting sold all but 150 of the longhorns. Those 150 he wanted to take to New York. When they got to Muncie, Indiana, Pointing got the idea of transporting them the rest of the way by rail car.
 
On July 1, 1854 the cattle arrived in New York. They were taken to the Hundred Street Market and auctioned off.
 
Although Ponting’s cattle drive was a great feat in itself, his greatest achievement was to show that cattle could be brought 2,000 miles from Texas and sold at a profit. And with this a new page in Old West history was opened.

The “New” Lost Dutchman’s Mine

Lost Dutchman’s Mine In the past we have told the stories of two of Arizona’s lost treasures. One was the Lost Dutchman’s Mine located in the Superstition Mountains a short distance from a busy Phoenix freeway. Another was a treasure comprised of gold coins lost when a dam broke on the Hassayampa River just north of Phoenix.
This week we’re going to learn about another Arizona lost treasure.
It all started on May 10, 1881. A Wells Fargo Stage was taking passengers and mail from Canyon Diablo to Flagstaff. On the way the stagecoach was robbed by five bandits.
Two mailbags were taken containing $125,000 in gold, silver and coins. When the stage made it to Flagstaff the authorities were notified and a Cavalry detachment was dispatched to run down the outlaws. And that’s just what they did. A shootout ensued and all the outlaws were killed. But, the loot wasn’t found.
Now, fast forward some 32 years to 1913. The regulars were enjoying their libations at Black’s Saloon in Flagstaff when an excited Jimmy McGuire came into the saloon and ordered a drink. Quickly downing it, he ordered another. And Jimmy didn’t stop until he had four empty glasses in front of him.
He then pulled some gold coins from his pocket to pay for the drinks. They were immediately recognized as coming from the 1881 stage robbery. A crowd gathered around asking about the treasure. As Jimmy started explaining where he found them, he began gasping and holding his chest. In no time Jimmy was on the floor dead of a heart attack. And the location of the treasure died with him.

Denver’s 1863 Fire

 A constant fear for western towns was fire. The buildings were wood, and with the dry weather, they soon became kindling. During Denver’s 1863 fire that fear became a reality. A pile of garbage behind the Cherokee House Hotel ignited. A wind whipped up the flames into a citywide inferno. The resulting damage was estimated to be in the range of $350,000, which doesn’t sound like much, but in the 1860’s that was most of Denver.
               
As with most tragedies, it brought out the worst and the best in men. When it came time to rebuild the area the local Kountze Brothers Bank announced that they were willing to give loans to merchants… The best in men? Not really. The interest was a whopping 25% per year… And we think interest rates are high today.
 
Prior to the fire there was quite a bit of animosity between Denver City and neighboring Cherry Creek. With both cities adversely affected, they put aside their animosity and worked together… Truly the best in men.
 
One of the individuals who borrowed money from the Kountze Brothers Bank was a Black entrepreneur by the name of Barney Ford. He operated a barbershop that was destroyed in the fire. Barney borrowed $9,000 at the going rate of 25% interest.
 
But, Barney Ford didn’t use it to reopen his barbershop. He used it to open the People’s Restaurant. Along with great food, the restaurant advertised fresh oysters and Havana cigars. How did Barney Ford do? Well, even at the high interest rate, he paid off the loan in just 90 days. 
Denver's 1863 Fire
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