Old West Lifestyle & Stories


In the predawn darkness of August 28, 1885, nine men were lynched.  The local newspaper didn’t report it.  Residents didn’t talk about it.  And, even today little is said about it.  But, we’re going to talk about it.

The year was 1885. With the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad, passing through the town, Flagstaff, Arizona was booming.  As well as families, soiled doves, gamblers and hard cases arrived.  A section of town called Whiskey Row had saloons that were open round the clock.  And, there were as many as a dozen robberies each night.  The nearest law was in Prescott, Arizona, some 87 miles away.

When the local paper wrote articles condemning the bad element, they threatened to burn down the town.  Six local businessmen met in secret to discuss a solution to the problem.  In order to discover the troublemakers, one of the men voluFlagstaffnteered to cruse Whiskey Row with a pocket of gold coins.  After four nights, the men had accumulated quite a list.

In the middle of August an ultimatum was tacked on the door of every saloon.  It read: “Notice – Tinhorns have 24 hours left.”  A few left town.  But many stayed.

The names of the remaining tinhorns were put in a hat, and the morning of August 28, 1885 ten names were drawn out.  Quietly, nine of the ten were found; hands tied; and all nine men were hanged.  That morning citizens were whispering about men hanging from a tree outside town.

After about 24 hours the men were cut down and buried.  No one spoke of it openly.  Nothing was ever written about it in the newspaper.  The sheriff arrived from Prescott, and returned empty handed, because no one knew anything about a lynching.  Life went on as if nothing had happened.  Except for one thing, that is.  All the tinhorns decided Flagstaff, Arizona wasn’t that exciting a place to live.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *