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ARIZONA COWBOY POETS GATHERING

We’re getting reCowboyPoetsWebady to head over to the Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering in Prescott, AZ.

We’ll be there Friday and Saturday enjoying the music and poetry, as well as having conversations with the entertainers and attendees for our weekly radio show.

I would highly recommend this event. Hope to see you there.

Their web site is: http://www.ycpac.com/portfolio/arizona-cowboy-poets-gathering/

TOM CUSTER

It is said of George Armstrong Custer that his officers fell into two categories: Those who hated him and those who were related to him… and five of them were related. This story is about one of those relations… his brother Tom.

Tom Custer was five years younger than George, and heTom Custer spent his life in the shadow of his older brother.  Although he wasn’t as flamboyant as George, Tom was his own man.  For instance, unlike his brother, Tom liked his liquor.

In 1870, while camped with the Seventh Cavalry near Hays City, Kansas, where at the time Wild Bill Hickok was the marshal; Tom supposedly got drunk, and was chased out of town by Hickok.  Tom vowed revenge.  A short time later Hickok had a shootout with three troopers from the Seventh.  It’s though that Tom Custer had something to do with the affair.

In 1874 Tom led an expedition into the Yellowstone River area and arrested a chief by the name of Rain-in-the-Face.  Rain-in-the-Face later escaped, vowing to someday cut out Tom’s heart.  Quite possibly Rain-in-the-Face got his wish for Toms body was so mutilated in the Little Big Horn battle that his initials, T. W. C., tattooed on his arm was the means of identification.

Although Tom never got the fame of his older brother, during the Civil War Tom’s exploits resulted in his accomplishing something no other soldier had done before him and few have accomplished since…Tom won two Congressional Medals of Honor…Tom Custer has been compared to Alvin York of World War I and Audie Murphy of World War II.

ZWING HUNT

Zwing Hunt was a minor character in the Old West.  But his story is one that has been repeated many times over.  Zwing was born in 1858 in Texas.  He grew up to be an honest young man.  According to one report he was generous to a fault and brave. Zwig Hunt It was also said that he was a child of circumstances and a creature of excitement.

At the age of 22 he came to Tombstone, Arizona where he palled up with a ne’er-do-well named Billy Grounds.  With the excitement of Tombstone’s low life tugging at his shirttails, he started hanging around the Clanton Gang that comprised the likes of Curly Bill Brocius and Johnnie Ringo.

After pulling a job or two with the Clantons, Zwing and his friend Billy Grounds decided they could do the same on their own.  One evening in the early spring of 1882 the two of them entered the Tombstone Mill & Mining Company with robbery on their minds.  In the ensuing excitement they killed a man.

A warrant was issued for their arrest; a posse was assembled; and the chase was on.  In a shootout Billy Grounds and a member of the posse were killed, and Zwing Hunt was shot in the lung.

Zwing was taken to the Tombstone hospital where about 3 weeks later, his brother smuggled him out.  This is where the story gets interesting.  Supposedly, on May 31, 1882 while Zwing and his brother were hiding out, a band of Indians attacked them and killed Zwing.  After chasing off the Indians, his brother supposedly buried Zwing in the Chiricahua Mountains.  But, the Zwing Hunt legend also says that he wasn’t really killed; that the prodigal son returned to Texas to live a full life.

WIND WAGON

Wind WagonIn the 1860’s when a pioneer family headed out west, they usually did it in a covered wagon pulled by horses or oxen. One man, Samuel Peppard, didn’t have horses or oxen, but that didn’t stop him.

On May 9, 1860 Samuel Peppard headed out west. This was during the time of the Pike’s Peak gold rush, and Samuel wanted to do some gold prospecting. He didn’t have any horses or oxen, and he didn’t want the obligation and expense of taking care of them.

But, he did live in the Kansas Territory. And anyone who has been through Kansas knows it’s pretty flat, and the wind tends to blow rather strongly. Being a creative person, Peppard decided to take advantage of the resources at hand, and so he designed the world’s first wind-sailor. Built like a small boat, it was about 8’ long and 3’ wide, and it had four large wagon wheels. Weighing about 350 pounds, it was designed to hold 4 people.

The first time out, the wind blew the wagon over. So Peppard reconstructed the sails, rudder and brakes. By now everyone called it “Peppard’s Folly”.

With three of his friends aboard, Peppard raised the sails, and “Peppard’s Folly” took off across the prairie. Depending on the strength of the wind, it got up to 30 miles per hour.
On days when there was no wind, Peppard and his three friends just sat back, smoked a cigarette, and swapped stories.

They traveled about 500 miles before a dust devil came along and turned the wind wagon into a pile of rubble.
Peppard and his friends finally made it to Denver, but like most seekers of gold, they didn’t find anything.
Peppard later went back to Kansas, and lived to the ripe old age of 82. But he was always known as the guy who sailed to Denver.

BILLY THE KID PARDON

At one time outlaw Billy the Kid came close to becoming an honest man.  But things didn’t work out the way he had hoped.

The year wBilly the Kidas 1879.  The Lincoln County War was all but over.  Lew Wallace, the governor of New Mexico, was in Lincoln County, taking a personal interest in getting to the bottom of the conflict.

Houston Chapman, an attorney had just been murdered, and Governor Wallace wanted his killers.  Although it was generally known who the killers were, someone had to testify against them in court.  The Governor knew that William Bonney, later to be known as Billy the Kid, was that man, because Bonny had already written him saying he would testify in exchange for immunity.  So, on March 17 Bonney and Governor Wallace met.  It was agreed there would be a mock arrest, and after the testimony, Wallace would give Bonney a pardon.


But, before the arrest, the killers of Chapman escaped.  However, Governor Wallace assured Bonney that the deal was still on.  So, on March 21, as per the arrangement, Bonney surrendered to the Lincoln County Sheriff.  In April the two accused murderers were captured again.  A grand jury was called.  But before Bonney could testify, he was taken away to Dona Ana County to stand trial for the murder of Sheriff William Brady, who was killed a year earlier. Bonney and two others were indicted for murder.  Although Bonney was still getting assurances that his deal was still in place, he sensed it was turning sour.  But he still went through with his part of the agreement by testifying against his friends.

Now feeling he had no bargaining power, and that things were still going bad, in May, William Bonney decided to give up trying to go straight, escaped his captors, went back to cattle rustling, and became Billy the Kid.

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