DALTONS & COFFEYVILLE

On October 5, 1892, the famous Dalton Gang attempted a daring daylight robbery of two Coffeyville, Kansas banks at the same time. They wanted to do something no other outlaw gang had done. Instead, they were nearly all killed by quick-acting townspeople.

The gang rode into Coffeyville and tied their horses to a fence in an alley near the two banks and split up. Bob and Emmett Dalton headed for the First National, while Grat Dalton led Dick Broadwell and Bill Powers into the Condon Bank.

Unfortunately for the Daltons, they were recognized and the word quietly spread that the town banks were being robbed. The townspeople ran for their guns and surrounded the two banks. When the Dalton brothers walked out of the bank, a hail of bullets forced them back into the building. Regrouping, they tried to flee out the back door of the bank, but the townspeople were waiting for them there as well.

Meanwhile, in the Condon Bank a cashier had managed to delay Grat Dalton, Powers, and Broadwell with the claim that the vault was on a time lock and couldn’t be opened. That gave the townspeople enough time, and suddenly a bullet smashed through the bank window and hit Broadwell in the arm. The three men bolted out the door and fled down a back alley. But they were immediately shot and killed, this time by a local livery stable owner and a barber.

When the gun battle was over, the people of Coffeyville had destroyed the Dalton Gang, killing every member except for Emmett Dalton. But their victory was not without a price…The Dalton’s killed four of the townspeople.

BATTLE OF GONZALES

The ever patient Texans could take no more when on October 2, 1835 Mexican soldiers attempted to disarm the people of Gonzales.

Even though Texas had technically been a part of the Spanish empire since the 17th century, as late as the 1820s, there were only about 3,000 Spanish-Mexican settlers in Texas.

After winning its own independence from Spain in 1821, Mexico invited Anglo-Americans to come to Texas in the hopes they would be able to tame the Comanche Indians and the harsh land. During the next decade men like Stephen Austin brought more than 25,000 people to Texas, most of them Americans.

Even though these emigrants became Mexican citizens, they continued to speak English, and had closer trading ties to the United States than to Mexico.

In 1835, the president of Mexico, Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, overthrew the constitution and appointed himself dictator. Recognizing that the “American” Texans were likely to use his rise to power as an excuse to secede, Santa Anna ordered the Mexican military to begin disarming the Texans whenever possible. This proved more difficult than expected, and on October 2, 1835, Mexican soldiers attempting to take a small cannon from the village of Gonzales encountered stiff resistance from a hastily assembled militia of Texans. After a brief fight, the Mexicans retreated and the Texans kept their cannon.

The determined Texans would continue to battle Santa Ana and his army for another year and a half before winning their independence and establishing the Republic of Texas.

LIVING THE CODE

I’m excited to announce my long awaited book…at least it was long awaited for me…is now available. The book is titled “Living The Code” and is based on seven principles that represent the precepts developed on America’s frontier and made us a great country.

Since 2004 I’ve been promoting these principles through Chronicle of the Old West publication and our radio shows.

This is a book I truly believe has the capability of changing a person’s life. To get more information go to www.LivingTheCode.com.

SHERIFF BILL HICKOK

On September 27 back in 1869, Ellis County Sheriff Wild Bill Hickok and his deputy responded to a disturbance by a local ruffian named Samuel Strawhun and several of his drunken buddies at John Bitter’s Beer Saloon in Hays City, Kansas. Hickok ordered the men to stop, Strawhun turned to attack him, and Hickok shot and killed him.

This was typical of Wild Bill’s approach to a confrontation. As one cowboy said, Hickok would stand “with his back to the wall, looking at everything and everybody under his eyebrows–just like a mad old bull.”
But some Hays City citizens wondered if their new cure wasn’t worse than the disease. Shortly after becoming sheriff, Hickok shot a soldier who resisted arrest, and the man died the next day. Then, a few weeks later Hickok killed Strawhun. Even though his ways were effective, many Hays City citizens were less than impressed in that after only five weeks in office he had killed two men.

During the regular November election later that year, the people expressed their displeasure, and Hickok lost to his deputy, 144-89. Though Wild Bill Hickok would later go on to hold other law enforcement positions in the West, his first attempt at being a sheriff had lasted only three months.

OLIVER LOVING

On September 25, 1867 pioneering cattleman Oliver Loving died from gangrene poisoning in Fort Sumner, New Mexico. Living had been attacked by 500 Comanche at the Pecos River. Although he managed to escape and reach Fort Sumner, he had been shot in the arm and leg. Loving soon developed gangrene in his arm, a common infection in those days. Even then he might still have been saved had his arm been removed, unfortunately the fort doctor had never amputated any limbs and didn’t want to undertake such work.

If this story sounds familiar, it’s because the lives of Oliver Loving and his partner, Charles Goodnight, were portrayed in the movie Lonesome Dove. Robert Duvall played Gus, a takeoff of Oliver Loving.

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