As a diversion away from politics, this attempt is to follow up two other fictional stories I wrote, supplementing excessive action and background information, as well as injecting drama and humor. It is experimental, as were other prior writing attempts such as:
I generally write rough draft, sometimes proof reading and sometimes not. In this case, mis-spellings for the sake of sounding western are intentional. I hope despite the flaws of not being able to write writing more seamlessly, it is still yet enjoyable to most readers and also a welcome diversion, nevertheless. -- Brianroy
Recollections of a Western Deputy (1871 -1897)
For my entries on these days, I simply listed the dates with words, like Sarah June, Carnie Raiders, Zeke Blunt, Carnack. While Sheriff Bond and Marshall Jackson was still livin', I swore to them I would nary say a word, even in my sleep, of what happened. Both passed on. One went up, and the other is burning and a cracklin' and probably a poppin'. I hope he isn't a cracklin' and a poppin' that much. He was the best United states Marshall I ever knew. Both he and the Sheriff were good men when I knew them, and maybe for the one who went down instead of up, maybe all the good he did will keep him from a cracklin' and a poppin' too much (like what happens to wood with bugs when it burns in the fire after a while). - Deputy B.
April 5, 1882 Word Jesse James Died and My First Taste of Beer
We got word on the death of Jesse James two days earlier. It kinda surprised most folks around here, as at that time, we had someone with round 40 riders living in the woods and prospecting for silver at Rustler's Pass out in Tombstone Canyon some 3 miles north by northeast beyond the outskirts of town, being led by a Carnie (a carnival cheat) sharp shooter pretendin' to be him, Jesse James.
I first heard the news of how Jesse got from behind in his own house while I was tastin' my first beer in Maywood's Saloon. That beer was was come to town a few hours after daybreak and delivered the news that came off the telegraph in the next town, and that's how we heard about Jesse James. Maywood's was the first saloon to get the beer and Maywood bought the whole Circus wagon it came on, which was driven by a whiskey drummer who was now selling beer in huge barrels. They were the only barrels I have ever seen that needed 6 men to unload them with block and tackle, and at almost 280 gallons apiece made of the finest oak I have ever seen, and that thar' was so mighty high falootin' for a rain barrel, I was determined to git me 1 or 2 for my own family's rainwater collection. 14 barrels of beer were delivered to Maywood's Saloon, and in two days nuthin', it was all drunk up.
Maywood made sure that I got not only one, but two of those barrels, all soaped out and clean, and even set it on two large slabs of slate at both ends at the front of the house, ready to collect and drink out of right from reach of the front porch I had just built for the missus. We had just married on Pilgrim's Thanks Day, late last fall, and were expecting our first of what would eventually be 8 young uns'. By the time we had 5 of these, we was the only family to have four outhouses with walking stones to where they was 30 feet back of the house. Yes sirree. You know you are really comin' up in the world as something special when you can boast that you and yours have more outhouses out back than any one else in town, and good looking white-washed clean ones at that. For real country folk, we calls THAT as lux-ur-ree!
April 7-9, 1882 The Imposter Pretendin' to be Jesse James
Kills Marshall Jackson's Niece,
and Events Of What Happened Next
Marshall Jackson's sister was more than 20 years younger than him, and about a year before what was about to happen, she moved here with her husband and three children. Josiah age 6, Uriah age 5, and Sarah June age 3. Sarah June was the delight of the town. She just had to make an appearance on any street, and horses and gun-slingers alike pulled a hard rein being genteel like around her. The child was a beautiful blond-haired blue eyed sparkle of sun and fizzle, and no matter how you was feelin', folks just naturally felt better and smiled. There were some who hadn't smiled in years, who I never woulda known were missing so many teeth or had rotten gums. No wonder they drank so much corn liquor, whiskey, and rye for breakfast as at any other time. Even Marshall Jackson hisself gave up chawing tobacco just to be around Sarah June, which were most of the only times I ever seen him smile.
Round about late December 1881, a carnie sharp shooter took up with a group of busted prospectors. The Carnie was pretendin' to be Jesse James in search of his brother Frank and hidin' from the Law. He eventually got about 60 together and started raiding farms and lone homesteads for food and supplies, rustling cattle and horses, sometimes doing dastardly things that one would figure more from savage tribes than from white men to their own kind. In early February 1882, they crossed paths with Horseshot Harry and decided to shoot him down where he stood. Even the Siouxs, the Commanche, and the Blackfeet are not so bold as to take on Horseshot Harry when he was mean and sober. After that, then they was about 40 taking flight as if the Army gave them all yellow streaks down the back, and they was a living up to it. But even with 40 out of the 60 gettin' away, Horseshot Harry got 3 of those 40 so shot up in the back parts with rock salt from his Injun Special (as I heard Marshall Jackson once call his 4 barreled double over and under shotgun), that they never rode a saddle again, and it would be years before any of these, from what I hears, would ever even sit again. They was lucky, if you could call it that, as they would be the only survivors of the Carnie Raiders.
At about 3 pm, Marshall Jackson's little sister and niece was returning home on an afternoon walk next to Harned's Harness shoppe, when Zeke Blunt, pretendin' to be Jesse James rode in at a gallop up main street at a high gallop, shootin' and a poppin'. Even though bullets would be fired by the Carnie Raiders just about every which way and where, it was in the first two shots fired by Zeke Blunt that Sarah June was struck in the back and chest. The first bullet in the back spun her around out of her mothers hand, and the second bullet struck her straight through the heart, and knocked off her feet almost 10 feet back into a horse hitching post.
Not one of the 36 riders with Blunt took notice. Not a one of them no good skunks! Six of them raiders jumped off their horses, kicked open the doors of the town bank, while another 4 charged across the street one door over and shot everyone in the Wells and Fargo.
The raiders blew the safe at Wells and Fargo, and blew the safe at the bank almost at the same time. They used so much dynamite at the bank, they knocked down 23 feet of the east wall, the adjoining corner with the whole 30 feet of the north wall, and that adjoining corner with about 19 feet of the west wall. We had more of the bank blowed out into the street, alley, and vacant lot next door than was left to the first story of the bank when it blowed. As the raiders went to get their loot out of the bank, the 14" by 10" upper support beams and roof collapsed under its own weight, I reckon: killing 3 Carnie Raiders, and trapping 1 more (who I was later told had died when those trying to chop him out accidental like missed a couple times with their axes. It happens.). The two carnie raiders at doing the stick up left with only about 1700 dollars in gold, silver, and paper. Most of the rest of the remaining 6,000 dollars lay mixed in with all the rubble, and there wasn't much time to get off the horses and scoop it all up.
At the Wells and Fargo, those 4 Carnie Raiders, two who was Jay-hawkers, knew how to blow the safe and got just 580 dollars in gold. They was so busy going after the safe, they left a strong box just sittin' right thar' in the far corner, with just a lock they could have shot open, with almost $24,000 waiting for the morning stage that never showed.
When all this began to happen, the Sheriff and me was out west of town about half a mile stopping two neighbors from killin' each other with pitch-forks when we heard the shootin.' We was just about 40 rods short of Main Street at a high gallop when the dynamite exploded. Marshall Jackson tendin' his horse in the Livery, out on Chestnut 22 rods past the Beavers place. When he heard the shootin' he saddled and scidattled, and came at a high gallop about 4 lengths behind me and the Sheriff. As we rode down main Street, it was like the whole world was slow and time was thick like molasses. Seconds that felt like minutes, it was if we was back at East Calvary Field for Marshall Jackson, and as if I was back in the war at Trevelian making charge after charge. I pulled and fired 14 rounds from my 1873 Winchester .44-.40, pulled and fired all 12 from both Colt .45s, before my horse was shot dead and pinned me down, resting on both legs at the boots. I reloaded both pistols quickly, and kept firing until after getting several pistol grazes, and my dead horse taking more than 90 shots, a Carnie Raider rifle shot grazed me near the heart and knocked the wind out of me for a moment as I struggled to breathe and reload once again, but couldn't. Both the Sheriff and Marshall Jackson also lost their horses, but was firing back as quick as they could from behind an anvil and water trough at Lars's Blacksmithy.
Having got their loot, the raiders left town, 9 of them laying dead in the street, 3 in the bank, with 1 more trapped there. At least 13 more of them were shot, and they lost 11 horses, but took the ones already tied up to the rails and hitchin' posts that didn't break free and run away from all the shootin'. 4 townsfolk horses lay dead or wounded at the rails on either side of the street wher the raiders was, and another 7 down the street from where we rode were down had to be put down.
Round about as the last reload and the last two or three score of shots were being fired, a travelin' Methodist circuit preacher pulled me out from under my horse, and out of my boots. When the shootin' stopped, he helped boot up my soaked with black horse's blood soaked stinkin' feet, threw a hat full of water from the water trough Marshall Jackson had fired from, and then me and the Sheriff and Marshall Jackson all high-tailed it to the stalls, and rustled 3 Kentucky horses Wells and Fargo was supposed to take to a breeder somewheres, and we used these thoroughbreds shod for battle, and snortin' and rarin' to go to run them Carnie Raiders down to the ground.
All three of us, me and the Sheriff and the Marshall could only see and hear only what we was directly lookin' at, as if the whole rest of the world was like the rustlin' of the leaves, the flowing waters over the rocks of a running brook, or somethin'. The whole town lay a cowering behind shot out windows and closed doors, and it was a quiet like I hadn't heard since before the fightin' stopped in 1865. Having got my boots on, I stomped a couple of times, and spied the Blacksmith's livery.
Even tho' I beat Marshall Jackson's time saddlin' a horse, I still had to gallop up the street a few buildings past Marshall Jackson's sister, who was caressing Sarah June and wailing. I dismounted and went over to see if there was anything I could do, as I called out to Marshall Jackson for him to come quick, but he already had heard and recognized his little sister grieving and was thar' immediately.
Harned came out of his Harness store in a bee-line to Marshall Jackson, carrying his brand new made double sawed off shotgun overlay, a leather flap that mounts over the saddle's horn and gullet. It held 2 sawed off double barrel shotguns and 6 rounds of 00 buck like a Mexican bandolier besides. Harned handed the entire and outfitted rigging to Marshall Jackson and quickly told us what happened. All Marshall Jackson could say in response was, "They shot my niece. Them no good skunks killed my niece!!!" And in a quiet rage, before I could even mount, Marshall Jackson jump straight up over the rear end of the horse, into the saddle, and was at a full gallop down Main in the direction the raiders had fled before I could even turn around, leap a few steps into a running jump and even place one foot in the stirrup. But once in the saddle, I hesitated.
The whole town must have heard the Marshall, as they now were a peekin' through their windows and coming out their doors like they was dreamin' and tryin' to wake up. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the General Store's owner, my cousin Beth who was known as the Widow Bennett, despite bein' in her 40s now, at a full run. She must have read my mind, as she -- running briskly-- came out with 6 boxes of bullets, 3 of the right kinds in each hand. From her right hand I took one for my repeatin' rifle and two for my Colt .45s, as the sheriff, already mounted, reached down and grabbed his 3 boxes from gently her left hand, nodded a "thank you Ma'am", and sunk spur. I quickly followed,. Even tho' I quickly caught up to and sided Sheriff Bond as we rode at a gallop, me and him never got closer than what must have been 100 rods, near 333 yards I reckon, to that lead Marshall Jackson had on us until the Marshall pulled up.
The raiders had just enough time to dismount and begin running into the woods at Rustler's pass, where the road narrows briefly to only a wagon wide about a stone's throw, with steep wooded hills on both sides about 300 feet high. The road then widens out enough for 4 or 5 wagons to ride side by side for about a mile before narrowing again and winding this way and that like a snake on a downhill slope that drops about 120 feet, and is about a wagon and a horse rider wide for about 350 rods or more, and comes out into an open plain at the base on the other side.
The raiders having just jumped their britches off them high ponies upon reaching the narrows of Rustler's Pass, trying to ready themselves to bush-whack any who followed. With his horse a foamin', Marshall Jackson comes at a high gallop and pulls up just in time, a blastin' with both sawed offs blazin' out of both hands into their backs, his reins in his teeth. Marshall Jackson and them varmits went smoke for smoke for almost half a minute before Sheriff Bond and I could reach him. By then he hisself had been shot 6 times not counting the 18 holes he had in his hat: 2 deep grazes in the left leg, one through the muscle in the back of his lower right leg, one lodged in the hip and one lodged in the shoulder on the left side, and a through shot to his upper right arm. For another 4 or 5 minutes, me and the Sheriff and the Marshall went smoke for smoke with those raiders, and all the while that no good Carnie was always way out to the rear of the action tightly behind a tree or a rock somewheres. After that, some 30 or more of the townsfolk, enraged at the death of Sarah June, rode in and in less than another 2 minutes more, went smoke for smoke and with us, snuffed out almost half of the Carnie Raiders.
Of those varmits, what was left of them at Rustler's Pass, 15 lay dead and 3 wounded, and the remaining 6 (one of which was Zeke) lit out down Tombstone Canyon to what lay on the other side.
Later me and the Sheriff found out from that Posse that was sent by the on the street insistence of Judge Hollister , that in fact, all 18 raiders died. The last 3 he later said was shot right between the eyes with big black powder burns, all of them corpses being cross-eyed, the court ruling their deaths as self-inflicted and suicides.
Sheriff Bond and Marshall Jackson then argued back and forth for a couple minutes, and it ended with Sheriff Bond giving the Posse instructions to follow what Marshall Jackson tells them to do. Marshall Jackson then deputized me and Sheriff Bond as Deputy U.S. Marshalls for the purpose of avenging his niece and bringing in Zeke Blunt and those who escaped with him as dead, rather than alive. We could hear thunder rollin' in on the other side of Tombstone Canyon, as me and the Sheriff mounted, were given another two boxes of bullets sent from Cousin Beth, and a pack that had jerky, beans, a small pan, a small coffee pot with two cups, and a small bag of coffee. Durn that woman, if she didn't knows my mind since we was kids. Sometimes she reads me like a dang book and peeks at the next chapter before I even get thar'.
For 2 days through wind and constant rain and mud and dark skies, we chased those raiders as best we could. It was nearly 40 miles over to Fudrow's woods, and there we found some hard ground above the trail that gave us the edge we was needin'. By the time we caught up to them, it was 5 or 6 miles further on, about 2 miles past the Carnack & Carnack saw mill at Potato Crick. Potato Crick flows North west to East by Southeast just south of Carnack, more of a village than a town, population around 260, which lay about 20 rods north of the Crick.
Luckily for us, and bad for the Carnie and his raiders, Carnack was where Horseshot Harry was staying a spell, having slept about 10 rods north of the river by an open fire.
The raiders had now been reduced to riding jack-asses stolen by them at gunpoint from the Carnack & Carnack saw mill 2 miles south of Potato Crick, and did not recognize Horseshot Harry, who was buried under buffalo hides for blankets and coats, looked just like some fat half-breed Injun warming hisself by a real nice and invitin' camp fire at the first. The 6 also freezing but surviving raiders also saw that it wasn't just the invitin' camp fire, but it also must have been the smell of the hot coffee he was having, which me and the Sheriff could also soon smell twice or more as we also forded the Crick moments after the raiders did, and as the wind blew this way and that.
Likely as not, the Carnie and his 5 raiders with him probably only noticed the one leaning single shot .50 caliber Buffalo Rifle, and figured Horseshot, who theys figured was probably some half-breed, to be easy pickins. Being too dadburned cold to think straight, these 6 dumb jack-asses got those jack-asses they was ridin' to ford a near ice cold Crick some 16 foot or more deep to get to Horseshot's side, but not yet being able to recognize him. We was about 20 rods through the trees and about 80 rods by trail to Potato Crick when the Raiders plunged into the waters. Had we a clear shot, we woulda took it then as those varmits were first crossin.'
Horseshot Harry, being the man he was, immediately recognized those varmits and as soon as all 6 made it across the Crick (which was now about two stone's throw) onto his side, Horseshot suddenly jumped up a blastin.' Me and the Sheriff was not quite half way across, watching them all, when Horseshot, going smoke for smoke with these varmits, in four blasts from his four 40 inch barreled Shotgun "Injun Special" shot the 4 behind Zeke the Carnie, then dropped his own just for hisself special made 4 40 inch barrel shotgun and pulled a Colt dragoon and shot the rider in front of the Carnie deader than a coon-skin cap.
Meanwhile, Sheriff Bond and me was fording a current that was so strong, and it was all we could do to hold on to our horses and get across. We eventually came out of the current about pistol shot downstream from Horseshot about a minute after it was all over.
As Horseshot shot the hired help, the Carnie shot Horseshot six times. Even so, Horseshot didn't go down. 6 times at the heart, and Horseshot didn't go down!
Having spent a cold night, Horseshot had cloaked himself in more than 6 layers of Buffalo hides, and as it happened, during the hoppin' and a poppin' the left side folded over on itself and covered Horseshot's heart with a thickness of more than 12 Buffalo hides. He never felt a one of them. The Carnie's fingers numb from the cold, fumbled for his bullets and never had a chance to reload. Horseshot reached over to his leaning .50 caliber Buffalo Rifle, laying against a large fallen tree log he was settin' on, and blew a hole through the Carnie's head where his nose used to be.
After Sheriff Bond and me reached Horseshot, and found out who he was, and he found out what happened to his friend the Marshall.... Well...Horseshot being well deserving of his reputation, then disarmed me and the Sheriff at gun-point, tied us up to a tree, face first into the bark, and shot our horses for not keeping up with his friend Marshall Jackson or catching the varmits sooner. He then lynched all 6 jackasses used by the raiders on 4 century old or older trees with the aid of the ropes me and the Sheriff had on our saddles, and the aid of a block and tackle he got out of the village. Horseshot then threatened that if Marshall Jackson died, he would avenge his death by killin' us. He then left.
For the next 7 hours those stupid townsfolk, mostly women and old men and children (as the working men of the village were away at the saw mill), watched us -- the Sheriff and me -- tightly tied face first into either side of that huge old acorn tree and rope pinned into the bark . And it was for more than 47 times that stupid squirrel that lived in that tree ran up and down my back and sides, even hiding his acorns in my holster and in other places I don't reckon I have a mind to mention. Only when I asked to be released by saying I had "to go pee", did one of the children come up with a hatchet and cut us loose. I should have said "I had to go" sooner, as I was holding it the whole 7 hours!