Bloody Bill Anderson

"Bloody" Bill AndersonThe Anderson family resided in Jefferson County, Missouri. Although they were farmers, the Anderson men had a tendency to augment their income with armed robbery. From these family roots sprung Bloody Bill Anderson.
 
In 1862, Confederate Quantrill raided the town where the Andersons lived. As a result, Union troops came to the area, and four days later, two of the Anderson men were hanged as Confederate sympathizers. This angered 25-year-old Bill Anderson to the point that he dropped his plow and joined Quantrill’s raiders.  
 
Later Bill Anderson’s three sisters were arrested for being spies. And, while in prison, the building collapsed killing one of them. As you can imagine, this pushed an angry Bill Anderson over the edge. Any civility he had was gone to the point people started calling him “Bloody” Bill Anderson. Becoming one of Quantrill’s chief lieutenants, at the massacre of Lawrence, Kansas, the men under his command supposedly killed more people than anyone else. At a raid in Centralia, Missouri, he was responsible for prisoners being stripped and shot.  
 
October 27, 1864, just a year and a half after he joined Quantrill, Bloody Bill Anderson was shot and killed by Union soldiers. A silk scarf reportedly was found with 53 knots in it. Supposedly, the scarf belonged to the sister who was killed with the collapse of the jail. And each knot represented a person killed.  
 
But then there were other reports that someone else was riding Bloody Bill’s horse, and he was shot instead. Bloody Bill realizing this was a good opportunity to get the bloodhounds off his back, quietly went to Texas and then Oklahoma. I’m sure he met up with Jesse James, Billy the Kid, Butch Cassidy and all the other outlaws who were also fortunate enough to have had someone else die in their place.  

Old West Book Review: They Called Him Buckskin Frank

Buckskin FrankThey Called Him Buckskin Frank, Jack Demattos an Chuck Parsons, University of North Texas Press, $29.95, Cloth, Photos, Notes, Bibliography, Index.

The name Buckskin Frank Leslie seems always to appear in the old Tombstone stories.  Doc Holliday the Earps, Johnny Ringo and some others had some association with him, but he was always on the “fringe.”  (No pun intended.) He was tagged with the name “Buckskin Frank” probably because he nearly always wore a buckskin jacket.

The reality was that he handled guns, sometimes rode with the sheriff, scouted for the Army during the Geronimo campaign, and owned saloons in Tombstone.  He was notorious for having shot and killed his girlfriend but never really became a major figure in the Tombstone story we have seen in countless movies and television shows.

The authors of this book have sorted through the wild tales and incomplete history of Buckskin Frank, but information such as exactly where he was born, and parental history remain vague.  He claimed to be college educated, and this may very well be true.  A long letter he wrote for a San Francisco newspaper in 1900 detailing his participation in trailing Apaches is extremely well-written.  This alone shows he was probably educated beyond the usual Tombstone cowboys of that time.

Buckskin Frank was short in statue, but handsome nonetheless, able to attract the ladies in droves.  He had a long list of girlfriends, lovers and wives. He shot and killed the husband of one of his future wives, he left others in divorce court or simply vanished when convenient.  One lady scheduled to be his wife was left quite dead as a result of the business end of his shootin’ iron after a drunken brawl at his ranch near Tombstone.  Her grave marker in the Arizona desert says “Mollie Williams”, but her real name was Mollie Edwards.  The result of her death sent Buckskin Frank to Yuma Territorial prison for eight years.

He was a model prisoner, put in charge of the prison pharmacy, and was released early due to his good behavior on November 17, 1896.  He was met at the prison gates by a love-sick widow whom he married fifteen days later.  After promising her a honeymoon trip to China, he dumped her in April.  Apparently China was the farthest thing from his mind.

He spun some good yarns about himself, which got mixed up with reality thus making it difficult for biographers to sift through the information, real and otherwise.

 For instance he claimed to have been a scout for General George Armstrong Custer, but no military records can be found giving proof of this.  He did scout during the Geronimo Campaign in Arizona, having gone deep into Mexico hunting for runaway Apaches. He did kill several men in gunfights, and he was involved in the Spanish American War in Cuba.

The authors have trailed Buckskin Frank to San Francisco where he continued to move from one house to another, frequented billiard parlors and saloons, had mining interests South of the Border, and eventually in his old age disappeared all together.  It is suggested he was the victim of foul play, complete with skeletal remains, outside Oakland, California.

This book is enchanting, putting some old fictionalized tales regarding Buckskin Frank to rest, but also pointing to some new and tantalizing information about the man. Buckskin Frank’s life was certainly filled with unusual adventures. Gambler,

Who really was Buckskin Frank Leslie?  This book is a fascinating read.

Editor’s Note: The reviewer Phyllis Morreale-de la Garza is the author of numerous books about the Old West including Death For Dinner, The Benders of (Old) Kansas, published by Silk Label Books, P.O. Box 399, Unionville, New York 10988 www.siIklabelbooks.com

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

Crook’s Starvation March

George Crook's Starvation MarchIt was June of 1876. About 1,000 Sioux and Cheyenne attacked General George Crook and 1,400 soldiers in what was to be called the Battle of the Rosebud. Although the battle ended in a tie, the Indians fled, and Crook, licking his wounds, chose not to immediately follow them. Finally, after a month and a half, Crook took out after them toward the Black Hills. Thus began what is now called Crook’s Starvation March.
       
In order to make up time, they abandon all wagons, tents and extra clothes. With the extra speed that light travel afforded, Crook expected to meet up with the hostile Indians the later part of August. But it didn’t happen. They traveled for weeks through Wyoming, Montana and finally the Dakota Territory. Weather turned bad, and it hailed. It even rained for 11 straight days, adding even more to the soldier’s misery. 
               
With no tents, the soldiers took their blankets, and stretched them over bent branches, and slept in the mud. Famished soldiers collapsed on the trail and horses fell dead of exhaustion. With only wild onions and berries to eat, the desperate soldiers had to resort to eating horseflesh. During one week more than 500 horses died or were abandoned. A soldier, remarking on their having to resort to eating their mounts, said, “It seemed like cannibalism.” As an added note, the mules, loaded with supplies and ammunition did far better than the horses.       
Then on September 16 a supply train finally reached the soldiers, finally ending Crook’s Starvation March. It took a month for the soldiers to get their strength back. Although they captured some Indians on the way, and disarmed other Indians on reservations, they never caught up with the ones they were chasing. Once again the innovative fighting style of the plains Indians outmaneuvered that of the military.   

Chuckwagon: One Shot Pot

One Shot PotOne Shot Pot:

Early in the morning cut up stew meat 
in small pieces (beef or venison), 
onions, garlic, celery (celery salt will do fine).

Cook until tender which will take about two hours.

Then add a can of tomatoes, 1 can of corn, 
1 can of green beans and 1 can peas.

If no canned goods available you can add one cup macaroni, 
1 cup rice and several diced potatoes.

This is called Slum-gullion in some parts of the West.

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

Edward Cash – Cattle Rustler

Hangman's NooseEdward Cash was a hard working rancher with a wife who lived in Coryell County, in the southeastern part of Texas. Although he wasn’t necessarily handy with a gun, he was handy with his fists. And his ability to intimidate people was an asset to his ranching business. This was because Cash worked hard at acquired cattle one at a time… from his neighbor’s stock. It was virtually impossible to prove Cash as the thief because he was successful at getting rid of the stolen cattle. And, his neighbors didn’t really want to confront Cash and call him a cattle rustler based on just their suspicions. 
 
That is, they didn’t want to confront Cash until the evening of April 9, 1894. On this particular evening Cash’s wife was in labor, and the doctor and a couple of women were at his home assisting with the delivery, when the door crashed open, and seven armed and masked men entered the room.     
 
The masked men tied up Cash, and led him outside to an oak tree in his front yard. A rope was thrown over the limb. One end was put around Cash’s neck, and they pulled him off the ground.   
 
When properly done hanging a man breaks his neck. When improperly done the rope strangles him. And Cash was improperly hanged. Showing their lack of compassion, Cash’s neighbors waited until he had died of strangulation, and then each of them put a bullet in him.
 
It’s not known what happened to his wife, the doctor or the two mid-wives. But evidentially they chose not to pursue the matter because no one was ever arrested for the lynching.
 
Oh, yes. The event caused an end to the stolen cattle in the area.  
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