Bloody Prize Fight in Dodge City

Bloody Prize FightJune 16, 1877, Times, Dodge City, Kansas – On last Tuesday morning the champion prize fight of Dodge City was indulged in by Messrs. Nelson Whitman and the noted Red Hanley, familiarly known as ‘the red bird from the South: An indefinite rumor had been circulated in sporting circles that a fight was to take place, but the time and place was known only to a select few.  The sport took place in front of the Saratoga, at the silent hour of 4:30 a. m., when the city police were retiring after the dance hall revelry had subsided, and the belles who reign there were off duty.  Promptly at the appointed time, the two candidates for championship were at the joint.  Col. Norton acted as rounder up and whipper-in for both fighters, while Bobby Gill ably performed the arduous task of healing and handling and sponging off.  Norton called “time,” and the ball opened with some fine hits from the shoulder.  

Whitman was the favorite in the pools, but Red made a brilliant effort to win the champion belt.  During the forty second round, Red Hanley implored Norton to take Nelson off for a little while till he could have time to put his right eye back where it belonged, set his jaw bone and have the ragged edge trimmed off his ears where they had been chewed the worst.  This was against the rules of the ring, so Norton declined, encouraging him to bear it as well as he could and squeal when he got enough.  About the sixty-first round, Red squealed unmistakably, and Whitman was declared winner.  The only injuries sustained by the loser in this bloody prize fight were two ears chewed off, one eye busted and the other disabled, right cheek bone caved in, bridge of the nose broken, seven teeth knocked out, one jaw bone mashed, one side of the tongue chewed off, and several other unimportant fractures and bruises. Red retires from the ring in disgust.

Chuckwagon: Scotch Cookies

SCOTCH COOKIES

1 cup sugar                                                               ¼ cup molasses

1 beaten egg                                                             ¾ cup melted shortening

2 tsp ginger                                                               1 tsp cinnamon

2 tsp baking soda                                                     2 cups flour

 

Mix well; roll into balls.  Roll balls in sugar and bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.

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

SCOTCH COOKIES

 

Old West Newspaper Battle

old west newspaper battle

William Byers

In 1859 the Pikes Peak Gold Rush was a bust. The settlements of Cherry Creek, Montana City and Denver City were on the verge of becoming ghost towns when another gold vein was discovered, and people came running. This set the stage for the first Old West newspaper battle.

           
John Merrick decided the area needed a newspaper. He bought an old press and headed to Cherry Creek. Not seeing any reason for haste, Merrick took his time putting his newspaper together.
               
But, four days after Merrick had arrived; William Byers arrived from Omaha, Nebraska also with a printing press and the same idea. Byers immediately located an office in the best building in town… It happened to be an attic of a tavern, and the roof leaked so bad a canvas had to be hung over the press to keep it dry.
 
old west newspaper battle

First Office of the Rocky Mountain News

A race was on. Bets were placed, and everyone cheered on their favorite editor. Finally, on Saturday evening, April 23, 1859, William Byers’ Rocky Mountain News hit the streets just twenty minutes before the first copy of John Merrick’s Cherry Creek Pioneer. In the news industry, a scoop of twenty minutes is like a lifetime. So, John Merrick sold out and left for the gold fields.

 
William Byers had the area to himself. However, his troubles weren’t over. There was a battle between two neighboring towns on either side of Cherry Creek. So that Byers couldn’t be accused of favoritism, he moved his equipment to a building that was virtually astride Cherry Creek. Not a good move. Four years after he started his newspaper, the area flooded, and washed away the building. His press wasn’t found until 35 years later. 

Old West Book Review: Valley of the Guns

Valley of the GunsValley Of The Guns, Eduarado Obregôn Pagan, University of Oklahoma Press, $29.95, Cloth. Maps, Illustrations, Photos, Notes, Bibliography, Index.

“Pleasant Valley” conjures up images of warm summer evenings, horses quietly munching hay in the corral, Mom and Dad laughing quietly on the porch while kids play with a favorite pet lamb.  But don’t be fooled. Pleasant Valley was only a name.

The location is northern Arizona below the Mogollon Rim, made up of rough, mountainous country near Indian reservations and a long way to town. Men of derring-do pioneering spirit, determined to find success in a world of sprawling cattle and mining opportunities settled here.  Some brought wives with them, while most came alone.  They built sturdy one-room cabins compete with gun ports in the log walls.  Roving Apaches, sometimes fleeing the nearby reservation skulked amid the tall trees while coveting white man’s supplies and horses.

The late 1880s saw these settlers always on the lookout for trouble, while determined to make a good life.  Folks settling in the area soon made friendships and alliances with neighbors.  A long way from law enforcement, they learned to band together to protect one another.

However, a series of misunderstandings, revenge and stubborn pride led to the violent deaths of eighteen men, four seriously wounded, and one man missing.  The leading families involved were the Grahams and the Tewksburys.  The Tewksburys were Arizona natives with an Indian mother and white father.  The Grahams, originally from Iowa, like many young men of that era, decided to head “west” eventually meeting the Tewksburys in Pleasant Valley, Arizona.

The author of this book does a careful background search into the lives and origins of both these families and their friends. He delves into their history, what made them act and react to situations resulting in the Pleasant Valley War.  Over the years many historians have suggested the conflict was between sheep men and cattlemen, but this is not exactly true.  While the Grahams specialized in raising horses, the Tewksburys had both cattle and sheep, and at times shared grazing land with not only the Grahams, but others in the valley that had both cattle and sheep.  Many families helped one another in their quest to protect themselves from both rustlers and Apaches, thus the exact cause of the feud is hard to pin down.

What is known is that a lot of men died.  There was great fear in the community as even vigilantes and night riders took to the trails.  One by one, men died violently, while friends and relatives got revenge.  There was even the ghastly lynching of three young ranchers whose bodies were left dangling from a tree for many days as a warning to others who might consider stealing cows.

This book is easy to read, written in a style designed to inform as well as keep the reader turning pages.  The author digs into the underlying causes of fear, revenge, guilt, anger and hatred.  Blood feuds always result in senseless tragedy, and when they end, nobody seems able to remember what really started it all.  The author explains how humans react naturally during moments of grave danger.  We either fight, flee, or freeze.  We don’t know what we will really do until actually confronted with the emergency that requires instant decision.

Fear, murder and revenge rode those mountain trails.  The author of this book has done a creditable job of bringing the story of the Pleasant Valley War to life.  He has weeded through all the controversy, explains what happened to all of the participants of the conflict, and leaves the reader with much to ponder after turning the last page. This is a good addition to your Old West library.

Editor’s Note: The reviewer, Phyllis Morreale-de la Garza is the author of numerous books about the Old West including Nine Days at Dragoon Springs, published by Silk Label Books, P.O. Box 399, Unionville, New York ,10988. www.silklabelbooks.com

History of Deadwood, South Dakota

history of deadwoodThe history of Deadwood centers around discovery of gold in the southern Black Hills in 1874. This set off one of the great gold rushes in America, and in 1876, miners moved into the northern Black Hills. That’s where they came across a gulch full of dead trees and a creek full of gold and Deadwood was born. Practically overnight, the tiny gold camp boomed into a town that played by its own rules that attracted outlaws, gamblers and gunslingers along with the gold seekers. Wild Bill Hickok was one of those men who came looking for fortune. But just a few short weeks after arriving, he was gunned down while holding a poker hand of aces and eights. This hand has come to be known as the Dead Man’s Hand.

Calamity Jane also made a name for herself in these parts and is buried next to Hickok in Mount Moriah Cemetery. Other legends, like Potato Creek Johnny, Seth Bullock and Al Swearengen, created their legends and legacies in this tiny Black Hills town.
Deadwood has survived three major fires and numerous economic hardships, pushing it to the verge of becoming another Old West ghost town. But in 1989 limited-wage gambling was legalized and Deadwood was reborn.

Today, the town is booming once again. You’ll find modern-day casinos, resort hotels, full-service spas, big name concerts, and some of the best parties in the entire United States. You can walk in the footsteps of Deadwood’s legends and make history in Deadwood. They’ve been entertaining guests since 1876.

To get more information about Deadwood visit their web site: www.deadwood.com.

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