They Had Three Shootouts!

At the ripe old age of sixteen, Texan Bud Frazer joined the Texas Rangers. Ten years later he was elected the sheriff of Reeves County.

One of his deputies was a man named Jim Miller. Miller is considered by some historians to be the deadliest gunman of the Old West. He was a dapper little man who was quiet and never cussed. Yet he usually operated as a hired gun killing nameless men who were buried in unmarked graves.
 
It seems that while a deputy under Frazer, Miller shot a Mexican prisoner. Supposedly the prisoner had information about Miller stealing a couple of mules. Sheriff Frazer fired Miller. Later Miller was appointed the city marshal of Pecos, Texas. A feud between Frazer and Miller went on for about two years when on April 12, 1894 the two men engaged in a shootout. In the process Frazer shot Miller in the arm, and unloaded his pistol in Miller’s chest. Miraculously, Miller survived.
Eight months later the two men met again. This time Frazer shot Miller in the right arm and left leg. Frazer then shot Miller two more times in the chest. But Miller didn’t go down, and Frazer ran off in confusion.
Bud Frazer began wondering what it would take to kill this man. After all he had shot him at least a half dozen time in the chest. Then Frazer discovered the reason Miller survived the shootings. Both times he was wearing a steel breastplate. 
 
Two years later the two men met a third time. This time Jim Miller got off the first shot… a shotgun blast to Bud Frazer’s face. I guess Miller was concerned that Frazer might have started wearing a breastplate.
At the ripe old age of sixteen, Texan Bud Frazer joined the Texas Rangers. Ten years later he was elected the sheriff of Reeves County.

One of his deputies was a man named Jim Miller. Miller is considered by some historians to be the deadliest gunman of the Old West. He was a dapper little man who was quiet and never cussed. Yet he usually operated as a hired gun killing nameless men who were buried in unmarked graves.
 
It seems that while a deputy under Frazer, Miller shot a Mexican prisoner. Supposedly the prisoner had information about Miller stealing a couple of mules. Sheriff Frazer fired Miller. Later Miller was appointed the city marshal of Pecos, Texas. A feud between Frazer and Miller went on for about two years when on April 12, 1894 the two men engaged in a shootout. In the process Frazer shot Miller in the arm, and unloaded his pistol in Miller’s chest. Miraculously, Miller survived.
Eight months later the two men met again. This time Frazer shot Miller in the right arm and left leg. Frazer then shot Miller two more times in the chest. But Miller didn’t go down, and Frazer ran off in confusion.

Bud Frazer began wondering what it would take to kill this man. After all he had shot him at least a half dozen time in the chest. Then Frazer discovered the reason Miller survived the shootings. Both times he was wearing a steel breastplate. 
 
Two years later the two men met a third time. This time Jim Miller got off the first shot… a shotgun blast to Bud Frazer’s face. I guess Miller was concerned that Frazer might have started wearing a breastplate.

Old West TV: How Show Low, AZ Got It’s Name

For many years Show Low, Arizona has been home base for Chronicle of the Old West, Dog Jake Western Store and Cowboy To Cowboy. On this episode of Chronicle of the Old West TV Dakota Livesay explains how Show Low got it’s name.

Old West Book Review: Cowboys

CowboysCowboys, John Eggen, Schiffer Publishing Co., schifferbooks.com, $19.95, 128 pages, Photos, Paper.

Beginning with the cover photo, western buffs will be mightily entertained by this unusual book made up mostly of beautiful, large, clear photographs.  On the cover readers see the chuck wagon cook pouring flour from a bucket into a washtub, one cowboy sitting inside a storage box on top of the chuck wagon, while another pours what looks like “white lightning” from a jug into somebody’s tin cup.  Here you have the makings of a fine outdoor dinner.  Bed rolls on the ground and smoke rising from the fire under enormous Dutch ovens tell it all.

The book begins by telling the story of the original photographer Frank M. Sherman, who, along with his three cowboy brothers before 1900 rode the old-time trails driving cattle throughout Colorado and beyond.  Frank eventually became a photographer, and by 1903 he owned a photo studio in Colorado Springs, Colorado.  He wanted to expand his post card collection, so re-joined his brothers on a cattle drive at that time.  During the drive he unexpectedly got information that President Theodore Roosevelt was traveling by train through Colorado, and the cowboys invited him to stop and enjoy a “cowboy chuck wagon breakfast” with them.  Thus the president appears in this book laughing with the crew.  His silk high-hat and elegant suit makes a comical contrast with the battered cowboy garb assembled around him.  Everybody looks like they are having a great time.

In 1906 Frank re-located to Oregon where he opened a photo shop, and also became a prominent small fruit grower.  He married, had a family, but was tragically killed in a shooting accident at his farm in 1921.  His widow abandoned the property, including Frank’s collection of glass negatives

These precious negatives languished in the basement of the house until 1966 when a new lady owner of the property discovered the box and just before hauling it all to the city garbage dump, contacted the local photographer John Eggen.  She asked if he would like to have the plates since she did not know anything about them and had no interest in it. Mr. Eggen accepted the offer, and when examining the contents of this mysterious box he found three hundred 5 X 7 glass plates, a treasure chest record of real old-time cowboys working on the open range.

Mr. Eggen compiled a book which was published in 1992. Having grown up on a ranch in western South Dakota, Mr. Eggen appreciated these wonderful photos and carefully preserved them here for us to see.

Page after page, readers will find the guns, the spurs, the chaps, the steely-eyed expressions on the faces of real working cowboys.  The chuck wagons and all the gear, bucking horses, cattle branding, ranch buildings and corrals, throwing a bronc to trim its hooves, roping steers, and the desolate plains are here.  Cowboys chop wood, haul “buffalo chips”, harness horses, run cows through the dipping pens, and doctor sick calves.  Readers see the dust and the smoke and the brand inspection.  Some of these men grinned for the cameraman, but most were a no-nonsense crowd doing a hard job.

Who said the Old West was merely a fantasy?  Surely that remark came from somebody who lived in Hollywood.  This book shows what true grit is all about.

Cowboys by John Eggen belongs in your Old West library.

Editor’s Note:  The Reviewer, Phyllis Morreale-de la Garza is the author of many published books, including the novel Widow’s Peak, published by Silk Label Books, P.O. Box 700, Unionville, New York 10988 (845-726-3434) www.silklabelbooks.com

*Courtesy of Chronicle of the Old West newspaper, for more click HERE.

Wild West Renaissance Man

Granville Stuart was born with his brothers in West Virginia, and at a young age, he started migrating west. After reaching Montana, Granville and his brother, James discovered gold there, and they spread the news, the result of their writing their brother back east. Unfortunately, the Stuarts didn’t get rich from their discovery.
 
In 1863, Granville rode with the vigilantes that wiped out the “The Innocents”, a gang led by Henry Plummer, who also happened to be the town marshal.
 
Being interested in cattle, and seeing the lush grasslands in Montana, Granville helped start the cattle industry there. By 1883, things were not going well for the cattlemen. Because of rustling, cattle attrition was considerable. So Granville, using his earlier experience, help organize the Montana Vigilantes, who were known as “The Stranglers”, the result of their frequent use of the rope… And supposedly as many as 70 men ended up with hemp around their necks.
 
The harsh winter of 1886 all but wiped out Montana’s cattle, and Granville left the cattle industry behind for…an appointment as Minster to Uruguay and Paraguay. For five years, he lived in South America, only to return to Montana to become the Butte, Montana… librarian.
 
Granville Stuart has been described as an intellectual, a fine writer and a wise man with an engaging sense of humor. Although he had no formal training, Granville was an excellent artist. He wrote and illustrated three books. One was a geographical description of Montana. Another was a narration of the discovery and early settlement of Montana.
 
Granville was commissioned by the state of Montana to write a history of the state. But unfortunately, he died on October 2, 1918 before he could finish it.
 
I think you can agree that Granville Stuart was truly a renaissance man. 

The Monroe Doctrine and Manifest Destiny

President James Monroe

Two speeches, each delivered on December 2, that happened to be 22 years apart, resulted in affecting the development of the west more than any other single action during the 1800’s.

On December 2, 1823, during his seventh speech before Congress, President James Monroe introduced the concept that, for reasons of national security, all European influence should be removed from the areas immediately surrounding the United States.  So, the United States started peacefully acquiring territories owned by European countries.  This policy came to be known as the Monroe Doctrine.

On December 2, 1845, 22 years later, President James Polk made his first address to Congress.  During that speech he reasserted the Monroe Doctrine.  But President Polk went one step beyond, by stating his willingness to use force, if necessary, in removing European influence from areas determined for the expansion of the United States.  President Polk felt that the expansion of the United States was its “manifest destiny.”

President James Polk

President Polk wanted the United States to annex Texas, acquire California and gain total control of the Oregon territory.  Standing in the way of our doing this were just the countries of Mexico, Great Britain and France.

Fortunately, Great Britain peacefully surrendered its claim on the Oregon territory south of the 49th parallel.  With the annexation of the Republic of Texas into the United States, Mexico declared war.  As the United States entered into the war, President Polk was afraid that Great Britain and France would come in on the side of Mexico.  But that never happened.

In 1846, with the defeat of Mexico and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hadalgo, the vision of President Polk’s speech of December 2, 1845 was realized.  The final pieces of the puzzle had fallen into place.  The United States now controlled the areas that one day would become the Pacific Northwest, Texas, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and Utah.

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