John Wesley Hardin Kills a Town

John Wesley Harden Kills a TownThere are several great stories about John Wesley Hardin, one of the Old West’s best-known outlaws. One is how he hunted down and killed Juan Bideno. When Hardin told the story, he said he found Bideno in Bluff City. The town was actually Sumner City, and the story is  how John Wesley Hardin kills a town .
In 1871, Sumner City was a young thriving town. Just a year after it was founded the town had twelve buildings, including two hotels, post office, hardware store, bakery, two clothing stores, a livery stable and blacksmith shop. And, a newspaper was soon to open.
Although Sumner City was located in the center of Sumner County, Sumner County had no county seat, and Sumner City looked to be the obvious choice.
Then, on July 6, John Wesley Hardin and three others came into Sumner City looking for Juan Bideno, because Juan had killed a trail-boss friend of Hardin’s. Hardin caught up with Juan at a café. And, Juan ended up dead.
Leaving $20.00 to cover the costs of cleaning up the café, and burying Juan, Hardin and his friends left town.
People of the county couldn’t believe that the men weren’t arrested. Newspapers asked for officers who would carry out their duties, saying the county needed officials to stem this violence.
When the county seat election took place, there were four towns in contention. And, Sumner City came in dead last.
It was but a short time before Sumner City’s buildings were removed and relocated to the county seat. And, Sumner City became just another notch on John Wesley Hardin’s gun.

Texas Ranger Frank Jones

Texas Ranger Frank JonesBorn in Austin, Texas in 1856, Frank Jones joined the Texas Rangers at the age of 17. He saw his first action when he and two other Rangers were sent after some Mexican horse thieves. In the process, the horse thieves ambushed the Rangers. Frank’s two companions were immediately taken out, but Frank was able to kill two of the bandits and capture a third.
Frank was promoted to corporal and later to sergeant. Once again while chasing a large gang of cattle rustlers, Frank and his six Ranger companions were ambushed. Three of the Rangers were immediately killed, and Frank and the other two Rangers were captured.
Now, it would have been much better for the rustlers if they had also killed Frank, for while the rustlers were congratulating themselves on their victory, Frank grabbed one of their rifles, and proceeded to kill all of them.
A few years later, now a captain, while traveling alone, Frank was again ambushed. This time by three desperadoes who shot him, and left him for dead. With a bad chest wound, Frank tracked the three men down on foot until he found their camp. He waited until dark; took one of their rifles; shot one and brought the other two back to stand trial.
Over the next few years Frank continued his confrontations and victories over outlaws. But on June 29, 1893 Frank went on his last mission. He and four other Rangers went after some cattle thieves on the Mexico border. This time they did the ambushing. But it didn’t turn out well for Frank. In the ensuing gunfight he was finally killed.
Now, I’m sure you agree that Captain Frank Jones definitely does typify the grit of the Texas Rangers.

Wilcox Train Robbery

In 1899, Butch Cassidy and the Wild Bunch were going full tilt. The Wild Bunch may have even divided into two groups, one specializing in banks, and the other in trains. Whether it was by the whole gang or just the train specialists, on June 2, 1899 the Overland Flyer was stopped in the area of Wilcox, Wyoming. Therein lies the story of the Wilcox Train Robbery.

They placed a red lantern on the track just in front of a wooden bridge. Thinking the bridge out, the train ground to a halt. Now, if it were the “train specialists,” they needed more “training” so to speak… because from this point forward things didn’t go well.

They wanted the engineer to pull the train to the other side of the bridge, so they could blow up the bridge. He refused; was pistol-whipped… and still he refused. Finally one of the wild bunch had to do it. After blowing the bridge, they approached the express car. A messenger named Woodcock guarded the car. He refused to open the door.

A well-placed stick of dynamite blew off one side of the car, and rendered Woodcock barely conscious. With Woodcock unable to open the safe, another stick of dynamite was put to the safe. The safe blew apart sending $30,000 flying through the air, and the robbers scrambling after the money.

Now, about the marked money… As the Wild Bunch picked up the money, they noticed it had a red stain on it. At first they though it was blood. But, it turned out to be from a crate of raspberries that was next to the safe. I can only imagine the telegrams sent to banks in the area. “Be on the lookout for money with burnt edges and the taste of raspberries.”

Wilcox Train Robbery

Both Officer and Highwayman Shot to Death

highwaymanJuly 28, 1896, Record-Union, Sacramento, California – The daring and mysterious outlaw who has terrorized this section of the State for the past six weeks, holding up travelers, singly and in groups, in broad daylight and without any attempt at disguise, was run to earth by Sheriff Douglass of this city yesterday afternoon, and in the duel which followed both Sheriff and highwayman were shot to death. 

Posse after posse had been dispatched on the trail of the road agent, but he eluded them all and continued his work of impoverishing the traveling public day by day without molestation. Becoming discouraged over the failure of his deputies.  Sheriff Douglass determined to hunt the robber single handed.  Accompanied only by his dog, the brave officer set out yesterday morning.  Nothing was heard from him during the day.  This morning his dog returned home, and the Sheriff’s friends became anxious.  A search party was organized, and in a short time the officer’s horse and buggy were found by the roadside a few miles from the city.  Half a mile distant in the bushes the bodies of the Sheriff and the outlaw were discovered within a few feet of each other, both rigid in death. 

The robber had been shot three times, one of the bullets entering his heart.  Upon examination it was found that the brave officer had received his death wounds from the rear, evidently at the hands of the robber’s confederate.  The outlaw’s camp was discovered, and showed traces of having been occupied by two men.

Fresh posses were immediately organized, and late this evening word was brought to the city that the murderer had been carefully surrounded in the woods and would undoubtedly be taken.  Lynching is certain to follow his capture, as Sheriff Douglass was an exceptionally popular officer, and his friends are enraged and determined to avenge the assassination.

The dead outlaw has been identified by several of his victims, but otherwise his personality remains a mystery. 

LATER —No further advices have been received to-night from the numerous posses of Deputy Sheriffs and citizens engaged in the search tor Sheriff Douglas’ supposed assassin.  The city presents an unusually lively appearance tonight, the streets being thronged with crowds of anxious citizens, eagerly awaiting news from the scene of the tragedy.  The dead outlaw has been identified by M. L. Marsh as a man who worked in his sawmill during the month of May last.  While in Marsh’s employ he passed as C. Meyers. 

Under Sheriff Pascoe, who went out this morning to search for Sheriff Douglass, had not returned at 11 o’clock tonight, and grave fears are entertained that he may have been ambushed and slain.  A large posse has been formed to search for him.  It is hardly probable that Pascoe would have remained out so long if something had not happened. He is a son of the late W. H. Pascoe, who was killed by Fredericks three years ago while Sheriff of this county. 

Dr. Tricknell conducted a post-mortem examination over the bodies of Sheriff Douglass and the outlaw to night. He said the men had been dead fifteen hours. 

The rifle used by the robber was stolen from Grant Dart of Rough and Ready, eight miles from here. The dead robber worked for two days at Marsh’s sawmill in this town and also worked for two days at Lord’s livery stable in Grass Valley.  He was seen in this city last Friday evening.  He drank heavily.  No one identified him as the tool-taker.

The murderer of Sheriff Douglass had robbed both his victims and the dead outlaw of all their clothing had been turned inside out, and everything they contained removed.

Clay Allison Dies

Clay Allison DiesJuly 26, 1887, The Globe Live Stock Journal, Dodge City, Kansas – Reporting on Clay Allison Dies: Clay Allison, a brave, true-hearted and oft-times dangerously reckless man, when in his cups, has at last died with his boots on, but not by the pistol route. He fell from his wagon in Texas, some days ago, the wheels of the same running over his neck and breaking it. The career of Clay Allison is perhaps unparalleled in the western country and should be written up by some one conversant with it.

All of our old timers knew Clay Allison. He knew no fear, was a good looking man. To incur his enmity was about equivalent to a death sentence. He contended always that he had never killed a man willingly; but that the necessity in every instance had been thrust upon him. He was expert with his revolver, and never failed to come out first best in a deadly encounter. Whether this brave, genteel border man was in truth a villain or a gentleman is a question that many who knew him never settled to their own satisfaction. Certain it is that many of his stern deeds were for the right as he understood the right to be.

By 1883, Allison had sold his ranch and moved to Pope’s Wells (a landmark along the Goodnight–Loving Trail), purchasing a ranch near the Pecos River crossing of the Texas-New Mexico line (50 miles northwest of Pecos, Texas). Clay and his wife, “Dora,” had two daughters: Patti Dora Allison (born on August 9, 1885; Cimarron, New Mexico), and Clay Pearl Allison (born February 10, 1888; Pecos, Texas—seven months after her father’s death).

In a special ceremony held on August 28, 1975, Clay Allison’s remains were re-interred at Pecos Park, just west of the Pecos Museum. His grave marker (which has the incorrect birth date of 1840), reads:

ROBERT C ALLISON
CSA
CO F
9th TENN CAV
SEP 2 1840
JUL 3 1887
GENTLEMAN
GUN FIGHTER


A second marker was later placed at the foot of the grave (see below); with the added phrase: “He never killed a man that did not need killing”.

Clay Allison Dies

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