A next installment of the fictional narrative of Recollections of a Western Deputy (1871 -1897). What can I say? News, Government corruption and betrayal is really bad, and I figured the diversion was a better alternative to post at present while I still have a First Amendment right to. Hope you enjoy the humor and creativity. -- Brianroy
May 12, 1883 Events Precedin' and Event Of Where I Was Run Over By A Runaway Wells Fargo Team
Doc Olaf, who left town soon after the death of Mayor O'Riley back in '76, returned to town to practice medicine hereabouts once again, as with the coming of the whores to the silver mines East of town late February, there was more than enough business for not only a second but a third doc even if he did nothin' but sticking hot wires up in the privates of men folks from over yonder. About 28 miners from February to mid March had died from the Syphillis, and the women of the town had taken up some kind of women's lip suffrage movement. Eventually later in March, the whores decided to follow after the railroad as the railroad gangs laid track and passed up the town. But as for Women's lip! Sink a raft in that old Swanee River and wrestle an alligator! You try to tell them to hush, there they was, a givin' you lip. In fact, some of them would never shut up, and I had me 17 arrests at $2 an arrest, not counting the wife. I lost money bailin' her sorry backside out of jail after havin' to arrest her too. And the second time I had to arrest her, it was takin' an axe out of her hand before she took out a full beer barrel, the last beer barrel at Maywoods before I even had me a first glass in two weeks. You're darn tootin' that I took the switch to her for 6 good whacks on 5 dresses layered her rump roast right in front of the children, and then bent her over my knee and hand whacked her 6 more for good measure, and felt like I was sprainin' my hand whackin' a thin pillow she had back thar' or somethin'!
About the only time I could guarantee she wouldn't be bringin' the women's this and the women's that up, was in Church. Service was two hours long, and I made sure I reminded her what the Bible said, "Let your women be silent in Church." But that didn't stop her from a quick pinchin' me with a twist , or givin' me a sharp elbowin' to the side every now and then until I got wise and got her number. I put her on one end of the pew, the children in the middle and I took the other end. Ha, ha. I got her number!
Her gettin' saved last year helped, and our arguin' time never seemed to have any intensity so much anymore, and Hallelujah, they was a whole lot shorter. Usually minutes to no more than an hour, rather than how it used to be, when it was a draggin' on for days when she had that moon cycle women go through. When she wasn't carryin', goodness gracious, even the wildcats had sense enough not to come to our 11 acre property in town after she kicked the livin' do-do out of that one 80lb. wildcat thinking it was a dog while in one of her mean moon-cycle rages. It whimpered away about a quarter of a mile and died from busted ribs. How she never got tore up, nobody knows. After that, even Marshall Jackson (who helped me track the dang thing down), whenever he was within hittin' or kickin' distance from her, took off his hat, which he never does otherwise, except for a haircut, and politely greets her with a respectful, "How do, ma'am. Hope you are feelin' well this fine day. My you look lovely." Good gravy! Knowin' the Marshall as I do, I still can't help do a double take, especially after how he usually would see the Mrs. before I do, and escape some other way. Before my Mrs. got saved, if I saw the Marshall suddenly get up and git, you can bet your bottom dollar, my Mrs. was a comin'. But after she got saved, he hung around more often, and didn't seem a feared as much...but I knew better.
Since about February, the silver was peterin' out, and there was a lot of claim jumpin' goin' on. From November to February alone, the Miners Courts hung some 4 jumpers out in Rustler's Pass, as the town had no jurisdiction in the pass itself and Marshall Jackson was of a mind that they needed to kill each other off anyway, as so many of these scalawags were Yankee bullies gettin' what they deserved in accordance with the Law, anyway. But on February 25th, about 3 in the afternoon, 5 of them skunks came to town and started shootin' up the front of Keough's Saloon because he wouldn't serve liquor on credit. I walked up and they spread out 5 wide across the street and challenged me to a quick draw. Folks hereabouts knows I am the fastest draw for a hundred miles, maybe one of the fastest guns alive, but what they didn't know was I am three shot man with the right hand, and a one shot dead on accurate with the left. With the right hand alone, my quick draw first shot was 5 for 6 dead on accurate enough to take out a candle wick at 20 feet, my next two shots could usually then take out the candle top and bottom. But for what ever reason, my shots always go nervous on shots 4 and 5 when I quick draw. Though my 4th and 5th quick draw shots could hit a man at 60 feet, I couldn't always control where they hit. If I had a feelin' I wanted to destroy somethin', my mind would aim dead center of the chest, but the gun and the bullets would just wander a bit to where I had earlier wanted it to go. Usually I could get off 5 quick draw shots faster than most men who ain't gunslingers can clear a holster. And what's more, I think some of the locals must have knowed all that as well. But not these 5 skunks facing me down wanting to kill me for just bein' the Law hereabouts, tellin' them to pull up and move along.
So they loaded and holstered their guns, the streets cleared, and we stood thar' about 65 feet apart for about 20 seconds. I controlled my breathin', looked at the man in the center at the neck, while still usin' all my vision to watch all at the same time, and the one to the far left yelled "Draw!" as he began to reach. Quicker than most men can blow out a candle, I right hand drew and fired 5 quick shots. The first 3 hit all three center men each in the part of the face at or within an inch of the bridge of the nose. The other two shots, for lack of a better way of sayin' it, "went wild," and dismembered the privates of the two on each end. They both went down howlin' and screamin' like banshees for about two minutes each before they bled into shock and died about 5 and 7 minutes later. Doc Philipps declared the shots from the .45 was so perfect, everything was severed off both men at the base: one at about a 1/4" stump, one at just over 5/8" of a stump, and he let the whole town know it.
Afterwards, I never could convince Sheriff Bond or Marshall Jackson those shots weren't on purpose. Especially after that rock-salt ruckus I gave them road squatters from the shotgun last year. Me and the Mrs. was dis-invited to Sheriff Bond's youngest daughter's wedding the following Saturday because no other folks would come if we did. The wife took it hard, but she understood. I was real sorry, and tried hard every day to make it up for her. It was about a month before quite a few...well, I would have to say, most folks in town outside the Sheriff and the Marshall and my own wife and kids would say a word of greetin' or not run away or hush and become as if statues when I was around. It took a sermon by the Pastor and more than just a few good folks standin' up for me against the town council a couple days after Hallie Bond's wedding to Charles Stout (who owned the Lunch and Dinner Buffet over on Market Street) when they wanted to fire me against the wishes of the Sheriff and against the advice they asked of the Marshall that kept me my job.
Just as that storm was passed, for a few days, I got to spend time playin' and learnin' with the kids, and seein' things more from their eyes and the eyes of what the Mrs. now goes through to help them along. Some of them new things I never knowed about now that our town is growing and really gettin' into learnin' like I never thought possible until maybe the grandkids we'd eventually have many years later on. Things are always a growin' and a changin' around here. Sometimes it looks like finally it settles down and folks leave us alone, and there is time to extra time to spend with the children enjoyin' time, or a couple of beers down at the saloon with mostly winnin' hands at the cards with someone else dealin', and for a while, life is good. Yet, it never lasts. I'll tell you, sometimes wanting things bein' the same and stayin' the same for a long spell is like rakin' over cold coals and just doin' nuthin' but a stirrin' the ash, rememberin' how it was and still knowin' even as you refuse to quit rakin' over those cold coals, that life will never be exactly the same as you just enjoyed it again by sittin' there doin' nuthin' and rakin' something over that is over with.
Indeed, from miles around, new folks was a comin' from back east and new towns to the south and the north sprung up in less than two months from the time they set foot 5 miles to the north and about 7 miles to the southeast of us. In March, the Railroad erected a depot and water tower about 1/2 mile west of Main Street, and bought a right of way to run a road from the depot to Main Street itself. All this was put up and graded in about 5 days. The railroad tracks itself was laid out at a pace of almost a mile to that of a mile and a half of track a day, at a pace no one round hereabouts has ever seen or knowed about afore. One day they was over a mile away to the North west, then they was here, and then they was almost two miles southwest of town, and by the third day, after that, you'd never knows how long ago that was unless you was here first and knew beforehand.
About 5 days after that, on March 23rd, the railroad dumped off over 200 folks, mostly families, and there was no place to put them. Quite a few tried to be nesters, illegally squatting on other people's land and then havin' to be evicted forcible like by me and the Sheriff, when he wasn't a home sick, gettin' sick from fever and food poisonin' and all sorts of ailments. After some vigilantes mysteriously lynched a couple of them squatters durin' a hard rain, and there bein' no witnesses to these 40 or 50 masked and hooded torch bearers on horses (if they even exist as was alleged) and no signs to track, many of these nesters all of a sudden got supplies and went 5 miles north to the next creek. They settled lands they should have settled in the first place, lands 12 miles southeast of the mountains where there was good water flowin' down from thar', and they called the town Batlersville. In less than two months, it was like theys now have instant towns growin' out of thin air. Over 350 homes and 18 town businesses and even a bank are now either built or almost built, with another 140 families goin' in thar' and what looks like settlin' that town south towards us, and spread out like, as far as Rickett's Gully, about a mile north of our town, which is itself goes out thataways about three miles north of Main Street.
The whole country is feelin' crowded like, like the whole world is rushin' in and takin' away all the freedom to move about outside of town and enjoy anything quiet where you could just trail along and really think private-like. On or about March 30th a long Amish wagon train settled and founded a community some 7 miles to the southeast, and about the same time, the railroad dropped off about another 300 folks who followed what looked to be land speculators, and made their way west to Prairie Flats. Marshall Jackson was called upon one mornin' to go out thar' in mid-April, and came back the same evenin' sayin' "Everything was just peachy." He did have me pick up and load a 700 pound anvil that Lars was a holdin' for him. I pulled it straight from its tree stump mount into my hip, let it rest, and while pull holdin', walked it more than 28 feet out of stall where it was at to pack it onto a wagon for the Marshall to take with him the next day. I was still able to do it, but I felt like my tired was a death tired, some kind of tired like I never felt afore. And like when I was young and forgot about, my back got all tight.
On April 19th, a few days later, after a good rain, my jackass sister-in-law was in charge of my youngest daughter Lottie and out a walkin' around with the slippy mud still patchin' up the streets. The Mrs. was a home carryin' and havin' the sickness. As I came out of the Sheriff's office, I don't know where in the hell Eunice was, but there was Lottie, standin' thar' in the middle of the street, oblivious to anything but standin' up, bein' happy, and walkin'. Just then, there was screams of women and shouts as the Wells Fargo team of 6 Roans bolted down the street all harnessed and with no wagon. I immediately started to run, and fell in the slippy mud just outside the Sheriff's door. I got me up and slipped and stumbled again. The runaways was a fast gettin' to Lottie, and as my back suddenly went out, I was still barely able to grab Lottie by the dress and toss her to Old man Schriver holding his arms out about 12 feet in front of me, just out of the path of the runaway Roans, before the team ran me over as I slipped and fell back. I was dead center, and my leather vest and coat got all caught up in the riggin' as it tore up what would be 56 stitches of flesh on my stomach, chest and right arm. And there I was, bein' a drug down the road out toward the Railroad, helpless as if I was a child's doll, all tangled up and no knife on me to cut me loose with. Good Ole Boy got himself loose from the rail just to the side of the door at the Sheriff's Office and followed after.
The runaway team continued westward as they ran over the railroad tracks at the depot, and then suddenly veered off the road miles out into the fields to the southwest. Somewhere, about a mile and a half into the fields with grasses and flowers over a foot and a half high, we hit a soft dirt mound that was just high enough to both knock me unconscious and tear me loose from the riggin', and left me a layin' thar. Eventually, the team of those 6 runaway Roans made its way back northwest over to Prairie Flats, but Good Ole Boy trotting behind at a distance trailed and found me and stood thar' until a group of about 20 of the town citizens (includin' one ridin' out with a buckboard), themselves trailin' Good Ole Boy, came and found me in a pool of my own blood. Doc Olaf and one of Doc Phillips daughters fixed me up, and brought me home. They said I circled the drain for two days, but on the third day, I woke to see no good sister-in-law Eunice bringin' in some chicken broth, and yelled, "Eunice! You jackass!" and tore 8 stitches throwin' somethin' a small sissy pillow someone had propped me up with at her and hit the Pastor square in the face. The Pastor had just arrived thar' under the impression he was to give me Last Rites. I got to see his shocked open mouthed look just afore passin' out. At that point, I was later told, they knew I was goin' to be alright. And even the wife, when she found out only right then and thar' that Eunice was responsible for almost gettin' Lottie and then me killed, the Mrs. gave Eunice such a barefooted kick in her buttock, that Doc Olaf said it left a perfect black and blue impression of the outlines of the foot and a perfect impression of the toes especially. That was more than 3 weeks ago, and as yet Eunice still has a heavy limp since that day. Good! I always knew the wife could kick as hard as any horse or mule. It was about time some other human being was on the receivin' end of her kick to know what it felt like for a change.
July 11, 1883 How My Fool Stunt Created A New Local Tradition Of "Make A Wish"
The town is a growin' still. We is livin' in the age of always bein' ready to both tickle our ears and heed our lives over to speed and greed. The Saloons are gettin' into a competition with all the Church singin'. Two saloons have pianos and three others various music instruments like squeeze boxes and guitars and the like and different type singers. We are seein' the shippin' regular cattle herds 1500 at a time in the last 3 months and horse herds 500 at a time last month and this month by railroad. The herds are comin' in and then movin' out of acres of new corrals almost 2 miles southwest of town at a separate freight whistle stop for the new Train Tracks, as cowmen and herders bring them steer and horses up from points south and west of us to ship them to market. It has done wonders in helpin' local folks have real money, includin' new foldin' money for the first time in some of their lives. Even a handful of farmin' contracts have been signed to ship to cities and points back East by railroad for 4 or 5 of those from farms west of our town as far out as to just inside the boundaries of Prairie Flats. In our town itself, almost 60 more families have settled the last lots available along what the town is now callin' East Main Street, between what used to be that once skunked sign west of Old Town all the ways out to Rustler's Pass. Every silver mine in June but one closed up, and is now abandoned, most of those folks gone. And even that one silver mine still workin' only brings out not even $40 a month, and is owned by one family, Joshua Peters, his wife Elsie, and their 14 kids. Theys the only family I ever knowed where everyone has white hair.
On June 28th, in order to advertise festivities for the Fourth of July, we had ourselves a 10 man hangin' all at once, and I think we have as many as 3 or 4 thousand folks cluttering up Main Street comin' from 30 or 40 mile around. We even used different heights and length of rope, and made the mistake of making a fat man of over 400 lbs. drop 22 feet before snapping his neck. He decapitated and squirted blood 12 or 15 feet into the crowds a few times before I could throw a bucket over where his neck used to be. His fathead rolled about 25 or 30 feet in crowds and started gettin' kicked around by folks goin' this way and that before I lost where it probably was. The folks ran about as if they themselves were chickens with their heads cut off, a circular direction in which they run in a full circle 5 or 6 times like a headless chicken does if you let it loose to scare the kids, all in a panic, and how they was a kickin' and a hollerin'! They was worse than my young uns' ever was. That fathead was almost half a block away and half under a porch afore we found it over 15 minutes later. But people are queer creatures, as in just 10 minutes after that, they was all back in a mob, a pushin' up against each other, as if the tighter they's a pushin' up against each other, the happier they is, especially the men folks a rubbin' up against the front of them some of them top heavy women, whose arms were a pinned down so they'se couldn't even reach up to slap their face, but the menfolk had enough sense to keep one hand free, lift up the hat and smile back. Personally, I don't like city life and lots of bodies about until they is a breathin' your air. No sirree. Especially when half of these folks hadn't had a Saturday night bath in what smelt like months. If they ain't family or close friends, or someone you're playin' cards with, 6 feet back or more is just about right.
On this Remembrance Day of July 4, 1883, we had us a regular circus of trick riders on horses and contests and lots of eatin' and drinkin'. Everything went fine, and we only not one arrest the whole day. I even got to take and escort the wife and kids to the trick ridin' show, and those children old enough to ask, kept askin' if I could do this or that trick. Except for some of the rope tricks and one shootin' trick of ridin' on their head and shootin' a ball, I said yes. But I said yes to one too many. The one I regretted the moment I said it was the one where this jockey rider of about 135 lbs did a running jump of about 12 feet out diagonally and as he drops 15 feet off a platform, he lands on to the saddle of his horse, next to a horse rail, and then rides off. Old Doc Olaf overheard me tell the kids, "Yes, I can do that" and before I knew it, even as the wife gave me the iciest stare I've seen her give in months, bets of 7-2 were laid on me that I wouldn't even try. It got so honery, that if I didn't agree to try, we was about to have a riot. I was offered a double eagle if I tried, and 4 of the old troop from the war, drunk as ever, offered it up to 5 double eagles gold if I was successful. My frame was no longer the 165 to 170 lbs I had durin' the war, and it was now up to about 230 or just under. Before I knows it, the boys brought out my Palomino, "Good Ole Boy", all saddled and lined up parallel to the horse rail in front of the platform, all ready for the event.
Over a 2,000 folk from town and from all over the county waited on me as I made my way over to Good Ole Boy, but I knew something was amiss when he Good Ole Boy, standing where he was supposed to, looked back over at the platform, and right after I stood atop, 15 feet off the ground. Good Ole Boy then looked right up at me and his eyes went wide open like he suddenly knew what was a goin' on. I tell you, that dang horse gave me this look! And then, after a few seconds he looked forward again, fluttering his lips and showing teeth like he was a laughin'. Right thar', my heart sunk. So I called down to him, "Good Ole Boy, don't you dare move until I tell ya!" He must have heard me take the first step, because by the third runnin' step, Good Ole Boy was takin' off like a shot, and I was too committed in my runnin' to fully stop, so I tried to jump straight up and land directly back on the edge of the platform, . For some reason though I jumped up high, havin' taken a six and seventh step, I remember makin' a frightened frown with my mouth half open shoutin' a quick "Ahhhh!" as my momentum took me straight out and in an arc directly over the horse rail that Good Ole Boy had been next to. Folks said after the fact, that when I jumped, they was impressed, as that my feet was about 4 foot higher than the platform. That weren't good, as my legs was a wide open, and as I came dead center over the horse rail and plummeted straight down like a rock. In the distance, over the hushed silence of the crowd, I remember clearly that my eldest son screamed, "Daddy, make a wish!"
Legs wide open,with my chest leaning forward and my feet pulled back just a little too far, my 230 pound or a little less frame came a crashin' down like a shootin' star, and I snapped that 4 inch horse rail in two, and my boot tips slid back as I hit the dirt and my body leaned forward toward prostration as my left chest and shoulder snapped the horse rail yet again into a third piece, and I was instantly knocked unconscious. That was a week ago to this day. And it is so odd. Folks around town have been buying and cooking up chickens, and when they finish, they find this bow-legged bone they are a callin' a "wish bone", and then havin' two folk a pullin' on either side yellin' "make a wish" until one or the other snaps it, and the winner is the one with the bigger piece. I not only wince when I hears it, it irks me a bit as I ain't bow-legged like that chicken bone infers, and only walked like it that one time last year when I was recoverin' from the Mrs. kickin' me up the backside and gettin' her fool foot stuck!
That aside, Doc Olaf says I'll still be pullin' splinters out for a couple of weeks yet. How I can't wait for my body to be able to forget what I hope to be my last fool episode now that I am fast reachin' what most folks call middle age. The town council, havin' declared we made enough money from the events we had here abouts, has bought the lumber and nails so I can build me a new porch down at the jail so I don't slip in the mud goin' out the door thar' again. It will be a while before the lumber is delivered, but all in all, I'm lookin' forward to buildin' that new porch. For a while thar', I thought I was supposed to both pay for the lumber AND build it on my own if I was still a wantin' it. Town councils. Where's Horseshot Harry, the Marshall's friend, to get rid of such skunks for you while you look the other way when you need him?
-- Deputy B.