Recollections of a Western Deputy (1871 -1897)
A Flash in the Pan, or, the Rear view of Politics
The Old West. There are some folks that brag about gun play, and all the hoop and a holler adventures they had; most of which never happened, or, didn’t quite happen the way they told it. I can tell you that. I served as a deputy United States Marshall for 26 years. And, I have seen more true to life adventures than that fella Sam who goes by Mark, Mark something or other, in one of his books. Take for example, this here entry in my unofficial US Deputy Marshall Diary I kept to pass down to posterity.
On July 6, 1876, I recorded this entry regarding the events of the 4th and the 5th.
The United States of America is now 100 years old. Just 11 years ago and 2 months to this day, I left the Cavalry after 4 long hard years, years that are so bitter at times, I don't rightly wish to remember they were real. For a few hours today, I actually was able to forget the Great War
Kenneth “Butcher's boy” Beavers. that little 9 year old rascal, played some more of his pranks. On Remembrance night, July 4, he slipped out of his bedroom window at 42 Chestnut and sneaked down through the alley and around the corner of Chestnut and Main to do some mischief. Butch decided that he was going to try to switch up as many horses as were on Main Street to make this Remembrance Day, 1876, more memorable. We had only 3 coal oil porch lanterns on the whole of Main Street, so unless you had your own lamp, because of it also being a cloudy night, the streets was all but pitch dark.
Kenneth untied some 15 horses in front of Maywood’s Saloon, and tied them at different locations up and down the street. I caught the little rascal when he had untied number 17, and escorted him home. His pa was gone off to buy some cattle for a poke, but his ma still made use of her husband’s belt. Upon reflection, the boy seemed to try to tell me about the 15 horses he moved about up and down Main Street, but between the crying and his ma’s screaming, I couldn’t tell for certain. She slammed the door, and chased him off to bed. I wish he would have come clean as I was walking him home.
When I returned to my patrol of Main Street, I quickly found out about the horse switch, and used Mr. McFahy's lantern to sort out horse to owner. This emptied out half of Maywood's Saloon, causing Mr. Maywood no small ants in the pants. One horse was missing, Wild Thunder, a yet unbroken Indian Horse that was captured by one of the visiting trappers. Wild Thunder was taken round back of Maywood's Saloon, and strategically placed between the shallow hole the patrons used as a cowboy outhouse and the back door of Maywood's saloon. Wild Thunder's hind legs were probably within 4-5 feet to Maywood's back door, as best as I can reckon.
Unfortunately, round about closing time, or midnight, the last of the pedestrian customers included his honor, the mayor: Jack O’Riley. With him, one of our "upstanding" citizens (who will fine me a month's pay if he should find I dared write his name down) were engaged in a deep discussion about the Great American War when they went out to alleviate themselves at the same time. The brilliant New Orleans whale-oil lamp inside the Saloon by its back door did not project much, if at all, past the door. I know this from a previous experience. So the horse was clearly waiting in the shadows.
From our investigation (Sheriff Bond, Marshall Jackson, and myself; conducted the following morning) of what happened next, we discovered that it was the upstanding citizen who was well known for his peeing exploits, who let loose first. He, if habit serves correct, was letting loose even before he was fully through the door.
Some men are distance spitters, but our anonymous upstanding citizen had the unusual knack of being a distance pee man with the record of 16 feet 8 inches with last New Year's, and that with no wind...although he did pass gas twice, and was disqualified for 17 and 18 feet. It was so bad, that on both occasions, even the mountain men and fur-trappers found themselves vacating the event. No small feat for those who take baths only once or twice a year by falling accidental like into a river or something.
So you can just imagine what happened next when, full of beer and sour whiskey, he sprayed forth like a New York boiler engine fire hose, “tinkle, tinkle”, into the back parts of that bronc, Wild Thunder. Wild Thunder let loose with a flurry of kicks that lay both his honors out against the back wall of Maywood’s saloon. When the mayor and his other honor hit the wall, the witness statement from Mr. Maywood was that they sounded like they slipped. Having run out of straw and saw-dust to catch up the mud and the other, Maywood closed the back door, and thought nothing else of it. About 10 minutes later, according to Mr. Maywood, he had locked up and sent everybody else home.
There being no gun play, it wasn't until just before dawn early next morning, that Me and the Marshall made our rounds before heading out of town. As usual, the Sheriff was home sleeping it off. Marshall Jackson was the first to find both these “gents” – and I use the word “gents” quite loosely -- all laid out next to the back wall of Maywood’s in an awful state. The mayor was laid out, sunny side up, just as dawn was breaking; his pants down about his knees, and he bore a perfect horseshoe bruise impression on his right buttock. The details of a horse-shoe impression I haven’t seen outside one of them fancy New York bar paintings back in 1868.
Marshall Jackson first sent me to fetch the county doctor on the other end of town, and then to wake the Sheriff. The doc had gone on a maternity call. That horseshoe bruise left so good an artistic impression, that Sheriff Bond went two doors over to wake and fetch the famous portrait photographer, Eugene Banks. In two shakes of a lamb's tail, Sheriff Bond was back, dragging a poor half-asleep Mr. Banks, camera and gear flung hastily over the photographer's shoulder.
Now, I don’t know about you…but I would have much preferred to take and look at an unmarried female backside over a man’s any day. This made me think that maybe Sheriff Bond, despite his still being a wee bit drunk, was maybe just a little bit peculiar, even if he did have a wife and three kids.
So, there we were; ankle deep in cowboy droppings from both sides, with all the mud and who knows what else, at the back of Maywood’s Saloon. Mr. Banks flashed his first picture with the lens about 5 feet away from the mayor's still unconscious landscape. This one, Mr. Banks was able to later save and develop. The noise of the gunpowder flash going off from that first picture seemed to stir the mayor just a little bit. Meanwhile, the Sheriff, the Marshall, and me began arguing about whether or not to destroy the picture, and stop all this nonsense.
While we was busy arguing, paying little mind to gawking, Mr. Banks then made a mistake. He stated that he wanted to make sure he had a gotten a clear shot, because the flash wasn't bright enough, and the dawn’s early light really hadn’t cast a whole lot of light yet there behind the saloon. So this kinda famous photographer, Mr. Banks, gave us a demonstration why people knew his name near and far. He added lots more powder for flash. I mean, he must have taken out a four pound gunny sack and laid a mound higher than a pair of boots on that flash pan. That powder ran all over, and grains of black powder were sprinkling down on the ground like he was spreading out a mound of feed for Mrs. Kolmar’s chickens.
Moving in for a closer shot, Mr. Banks put the camera’s legs over the mayor’s legs and went to take a picture of the horseshoe bruise impression from about two feet from lens to buttock. . And wouldn’t you know it, just as Mr. Banks lit the flash pan, the mayor kicked out with his legs into the camera and the photographer's legs, and about half that black flash powder landed on and between the mayor’s back cheeks, and all lit up with the smell of burning flesh and acrid sulfur smoke.
The explosion was so powerful, that half of the back yard of Maywood's seemed to go up in smoke. Both the Marshall and me were putting out fires on our pant legs, while the gust from the explosion blew Sheriff Bond's hat from off his head. All three of us suffered what looked and felt like sunburn.
That poor mayor, Jack O'Riley, he jumped up clean out of his shoes and out of his pants that landed him from a prone position directly up and onto both feet at a run, with a howl that awoke almost half the town. The Sheriff tried to follow while I and the Marshall were putting our own fires out, and getting what looked like tobacco burns. About 8 or 10 seconds later, in the time it took for the Marshall and me to sprint the 75 feet from the back of Maywood’s Saloon to Main Street (out to the store front), the mayor had already sprinted another block and a half down Main and deposited himself in the water trough. What looked like over 100 people, were gathered around Mayor Jack O'Riley. In a queer form of human nature, they barely moved an inch among but a one of them, staring at him for over two hours as he lay wallowing in agony in the water trough at Main and Holdren. That is, until Doc Olaf arrived back from delivering twins out at the edge of the Prairie.
Doc Olaf spent all morning and most of the afternoon with Mayor O'Riley, but the pain was too much. Mayor O'Riley died of complications. Before the town could hang him, the photographer as he posted the picture he took of the mayor up at the telegraph office, even before he could have heard the news, is alleged to have gone out back, and to have shot himself with two broken arms, a bloodied nose, and other yet to be determined injuries, committing suicide.
The Marshall confiscated what appears to be a 12 inch by 12 inch picture of the Mayor’s buttock, the same one that the photographer displayed down at the telegraph. It is in the Marshall's safe as evidence. Beneath it, Mr. Banks added the caption in his own writing, stating:
“For quality and detail in your portrait, Eugene Banks, photographer extraordinaire. Reasonable rates. This week only."
The money this town could have made by his public trial and hanging is a real missed opportunity...if you were to ask me.
- Deputy B. July 6, 1876.
August 19, 1876 --
A New Definition Of Bad Medicine
On the 6th of July, after more than 2 weeks without a Wells and Fargo stage, without a single overdue freighter, and without anyone else coming from the outside world for that matter, I was dispatched by Marshal Jackson to investigate in one direction, while three other deputy marshals did the same, so that we was a coverin’ all 4 main points of the Compass. In the direction I was a goin’, at over 20 miles out, I arrived at the first Wells and Fargo stage and freight relay station from the town where we was headquartered. The town itself was all out in mournin’ after the mornin’ chores, and at about the same time they was puttin’ the town mayor to rest, at about 7 in the mornin’ I arrived at that first Wells and Fargo relay station out from town, lookin’ for word. There was none. I then put up my horse, got me a fresh one saddled up, and trotted out to the next relay station some 20 miles further on.
At or about 11 in the mornin’, with a tired horse, I arrived just as the Wells and Fargo stage with a group of 26 armed riders, with the fear of death and wet britches smellin’ off of near every one of them, came walkin’ their horses. They was all movin’ very slow, it seemed to me, movin’ at the same pace as a dead weary Wells and Fargo coach driver was a goin’ while fast asleep at the reins. I saw more than just a a few obvious bullet holes through the side of stage I was lookin’ at, but the Station Master had an even more incredible view on his side. The Relay Station Master demanded to know what was goin’ on, as he counted no less than 37 bullet holes and 17 Indian arrows through the side of the stage he was a lookin’ at. And when I came round, I noticed that he was almost right. It was 39 bullet holes, 17 whole arrows and 9 broke off embedded arrow heads on his side he was a lookin’ at.
One of the men announced that anywhere from 2000 to 5000 Cheyenne and other Indians from all over the Great Plains had come together and wiped out General Custer’s command.
“600 men?” I asked.
“No.” came back the reply, but least’n over 200. After we fought off near 150 of two other tribes, we caught and tortured a Cheyenne scout who bragged before he died that a Buffalo calf’s woman in the road had jumped Woman’s Hair off his horse after he had killed near’n 30 warriors single handed, and then two braves of the near 13 or 15 that was rushin’ him shot at near the same time, one with a repeatin’ rifle through the head and another gettin’ him through the heart, both claimin’ they’d done it alone.”
“Woman’s Hair?” I asked. “You mean General Custer? Old puffy lip?”
“Yup.” Came the reply.
I saw this General Custer once. He was a skinny almost runt of a man almost without an ounce of fat, who puffed his upper lip and bushy over-lappin’ mustache when he talked, as some drunks among the Irish who have a tendency for bad liquor acquire, and somehow almost paralyze the upper lip from bad drink, so that it flaps like a fish when they talk and blow air out the mouth. He was a foul tempered hard faced skinny s.o.b. cuss, who thought that by actin’ as if he had a ramrod up his back he could get one in his men, too. He was both highly respected and feared, both hated and loved by his men and many of his enemies, all at the same time. No one could take away from his brave determination in battle or away from it. He was also very brutally honest, and told you what he thunk, and didn't care if you could take it or not. That's the man that I saw. Some of them like Keough took it in stride and saw his temperament as if it was a contest, and never lost his sense of humor, from the brief encounter of what I saw anyways. Others shoved their feelin's and words down inside, and went through all the motions of the standin’ erect, and mountin’ and doin’ their horse maneuvers and jumpin’ when they was told to jump alright, and gettin' the whoops that they was like weak sisters from men at saloons behind or away from their backs...and indeed, quite a few of them broke and ran from Custer when the goin' got tough, as if they was a goin’ over the hill, but Keough and alot of the men with him surely didn't. Too bad that girly haired Custer didn't keep his whole 600 intact, and have more like Keough with him to whip those Indians or at least break out of there and form up with general Hood or whoever of the others that was supposed to be a comin' to link up with Custer.
As my mind mulled over that and other like things, I heard a couple fellas walkin' and talkin' towrads where I was. Before most of them 26 armed riders retired to the corral and unsaddled their horses, one spoke to the Station Master how they killed 56 Indians and prevented the rest from followin’ by makin’ sure they shot the eyes out and the peckers off the dead, so that the Indians turned tail at such bad medicine, as those who were so mutilated would be blind and without their privates in the after-life according to the Indian religion, and “no Injun in his right mind” wants that. Not one of them would even be buried by their own, because of how they believed. It was like killin’ them twice. For Indian fightin’, I made sure I would remember this and if I had to, I would try this "no pecker and no eyes bad medicine to the Indians" out on the Indians for myself.
The Wells and Fargo was carryin’ no passengers, but in the coach, tied down was the 400 lb. new town bell that we had been a waitin’ on. We had wanted to dedicate our own Liberty Bell on Remembrance of July 4, 1776 Day, but considerin’ the goin’s on, I couldn’t blame Wells and Fargo for bein’ delayed as they was. I hurried ly checked the bell, to make sure it wasn’t shot up. It had one chip crease on a top rim design, but other than that, it looked to be untouched. I was relieved. One of the men then asked wouldn’t I like to know they lost 18 fellas to the Indians, and I told him I would put it in my report, as wars with the Indians are Army jurisdiction unless against regular civilians or by order of the Court and the like. He hopped off his horse to pull me out of the coach, and I landed on my feet and gave him an uppercut under the soft part of his chin and knocked him out, with him fallin’ back into a two foot pile of horse manure and sleepin’ it off for near’n the next six hours until the dinner triangle rung…and then for obvious reasons, took his dinner plate and mug of coffee and drinkin’ bucket outside.
The next day, I escorted the Wells and Fargo and 13 of the men to the next relay station, as half of the group was too sick and tired to push on, and would rest 2 days and then head to the next relay station, and see me in town 4 days from hence. We reached the first relay station about 10 in the mornin’, and then had to shoe and re-shoe most of the horses, and got a late second start because of it.
As the sun was settin’, we moseyed on into town, to a crowd of about 400 who came out to get the latest word. Fear and panic began to sweep through town, but Marshall Jackson and Sheriff Bond restored order with a couple gunshots in the air and a few harsh words. Then they put a few matters of how best to handle it to the town, and all the men voted by a show of hands of what they was or was not willin’ to do themselves, rather than just leavin’ it to a few men of the law.
It was decided by a show of hands vote that sentries of 4 men apiece would stand watch in 4 hour shifts at the 4 corners of town, and that a roving patrol of 6 men would also simultaneously make rounds on horseback as well. Marshall Jackson and Sheriff Bond would be appointed as leaders of the militia, to be made of only able-bodied men able to muster up their own guns and ammunition, and shoot straight, and be able to see far enough to know they wasn’t shootin’ one of their own by mistake. We had a dozen children between 10 and 14 who would be assigned to late mornin’ and afternoon sentry watch with their fathers or uncles or grandfathers of age. We also had more than two score men over 70, all who preferred to sleep durin’ the day, and who usually was up all night (for one reason or the other) anyways. These we gave a couple extra squatters boxes, so that while two was a goin’, at least two more would be on sentry watchin’ and listenin’ for Indians.
Come July 11th, after we got more word from a lone Texas Ranger comin’ through with an extradited prisoner he was escortin’ back to Texas. He also brought a courier letter that only Marshal Jackson read. About half an hour after havin’ read the letter, and havin’ private time in the outhouse to clear hisself out, , Marshall Jackson decided to take me and two other deputy marshals along on an extended trip that none of us thought we would ever come back from. I loaded up 600 rounds per rifle and 200 extra 6-gun rounds per man in separate saddle bags, and loaded them on one pack horse, and loaded two separate pack horses with grub and normal supplies for a fortnight’s journey.
The U.S. Army was on the ash heaps of morale followin’ the demise of General Custer and over 200 men, some sayin’ 210 or 211. General Hood and some other general was doin’ somethin’ I didn’t hear quite what, and the Sioux had decided to go north. We was to pursue and arrest a white man named Red Harrigan, a rogue Irish national wanted for 8 counts of murder in Ireland who escaped and after killin’ several men in the Union in 1873, had taken up with the savages in ’74 or ’75 and spurred them on to killin’ raids and strategies off of some books he stole from a West Point historian or other somewhere in ’73 or somethin’. That part wasn’t made clear. We was authorized to take him prisoner or kill him wherever he was, and if we crossed over into Canada or trailed him down to Mexico, authorization would be sent as soon as we wired any one of a list of 5 names and locations that was provided Marshal Jackson, and the Army didn’t care which we brung him back, whether dead or alive, as General Hood was a blamin’ Red Harrigan personal like for trappin’ Custer and getting’ him killed, even though some Indian Chief was a takin’ the credit off of what this white man had advised him or his medicine man to do, or words to this effect. We was to stay over for the night, study the maps showed us and leave in the mornin’. I slept apart from everyone on top of the ammunition and food supply bags in an empty saddlin’ corral next to our horses. But come mornin’, the other two deputy marshals had left, leavin’ their badges behind, and it was now just me and Marshal Jackson. I think when we left at daybreak, we was feelin’ so low, it was like our horses was walkin’ all over us almost every step of the way for the first mile or more out of thar’.
It took us 18 days of trailin’, and a lot of what some folks call luck, but we found Red Harrigan with more than 20 braves about 9 miles from the Red Fork of the Powder River of Wyoming, where the Cheyenne had a large encampment. Marshall Jackson took to one side of the open trail the Indians was a usin’ and I took the other, and we bushwhacked them all with a lot of fast shootin’. In about 15 seconds they was all dead or a dyin’ Marshal Jackson and I reloaded and executed anyone moanin’ alive. I then stripped the Indians of their loin cloths and the like, and laid them out and practiced shootin’ off their privates. It took me 15 shots on the first 3 to figure out how to do it right with just one. And then I was 12 for 13. I then went back and shot their eyes out as the smoke went up in the distance to tell all the Indian nations we was here. Red Harrigan was wearin’ a Yankee saber, so I took that up, chopped his head off, threw it in a sack, and shot off his privates too, and me and the Marshal sunk spur and rode out of thar’. About 4 miles out we saw the dust clouds of what looked like more than 200 ride up on Harrigan and those who rode with him. Like the fella said back at the one Wells and Fargo relay, they called it bad medicine, and it looked to me and the Marshal as if most all of them then turned back and headed slowly for home. We reported to one of the names on Marshal Jackson’s list, and about 10 days later we was home.
I was so happy, I even took two baths. One when I got back, and one the next mornin’. I spent all day with the wife and kids, and we all did a lot of huggin’. Wives and especially little ones need a lot of huggin’ and genuine sweet and joyous family feelin’s. It makes them happy and it make them grow in ways I can’t rightly explain. It creates an anchor of stability, which those of us who have been around the Ocean and ships would readily identify with. I’ll leave it at that.
Then, I made a mistake. I let the wife convince me to take her to buy a new dress, and to not take my guns. I left both my six guns in my holster at home, and we let her sister Eunice watch the children as we walked to town. The wife went and immediately picked the most expensive and fanciest dress in the window, which unfortunately for me, was a perfect size for her. I handed over the money in gold and silver and she went in. As they were getting’ it out of the window, a huge Yankee corporal standin’ 6’7” and near 320 lbs. comes over and asks if I was Deputy B. I says, “Yes.” And then he tries to take the back of my head off with a swing of his left fist. The man had more than 7 inches on me in height and a greater reach, and he was strong as a bull. It was all I could do to keep close in on him and hope to out wrestle him.
At one point we was swing and twistin’ around and I broke loose, and he grabs me by the upper left arm and swings me round and through the dress-maker’s window where the wife was at. He then see’s my Mrs. And calls her a couple of filthy names that I won’t ever repeat, and I come through the broken window the other way, and kick my boot heel into his chest and deliver about 30 or more blows to his face and neck before we go back to wrastlin’ about again. He throws me in the horse trough, and I get up and use the wrong edge to spring me into him and through the horse rail, spillin’ the water into the street and makin’ a slippery clay and mud mess. He lands a couple of dozen hard and very heavy blows that almost suck out my wind as I land twice as many back, with a dozen to his short ribs, one of which I felt and heard go crunch. As we whirl and move about, the wife, havin’ been insulted, tries to help. First she breaks a brick over the top of my head, and then apologizes. Then she swings a wooden bucket and hits both of us in the side of the face. Then she jumps off a buck-board from behind me, and this Yankee swings me about and ducks, and sure as shootin’, the wife hits me with a flyin’ straight right fist that breaks my nose and sends me flyin' back unconscious. Folks later said that I fell back over the now squattin’ Yankee, and then all agreed that I straightened out like a stiff and slid so smoothly out into Main Street, it was like I floated the whole 36 feet that the water spill from the horse trough went out into the street. They also laughed on how that I was so laid out to rest, a little girl threw a fistful of dandelions on my chest thinkin’ I was dead.
Marshal Jackson then came up on that Yankee corporal from behind, pistol whipped that giant Yank in the back of the head three times, and took him into custody, while 6 of the towns folk pall bearered my sorry carcass to home.
Hearin' that I was laid up and could hardly see, the next day a professional gun slinger came to the street out in front of my house, and called me out, with two strange lookin' almost princin' fellas at his side. I could barely see out the slits of my closed up black eyes. Even after re-alignin’ my nose back into joint, I also had trouble breathin’ and stayin’ awake, and I was floppy dog eared tired.
Even so, I put on my holster with the 2 .45 six guns, and went out anyway, first orderin’ the wife and kids out the back of the house, and over 3 properties to the mother-in-law…which they did. I stalled the gunfighter for a few moments askin’ what he wanted, and he said somethin' I had to make him repeat twice, as it was so sick, it took a third tellin' before I could believe my ears. In the distance, I could hear even neighbors watchin' gasp and react in horror, before hearin' doors slammin' as they sent their children in the houses. The gunslinger three times said he wanted to kill me and then have relations with my dead body. For a moment I was stunned, and if he had a drawed, I'd have been dead while still reelin' in shock at what he had said. In a few seconds, which was all I needed, I recovered my wits, and I told him sodomy was against the Law, even with a corpse; but if he and his two perversions to humanity wanted to commit suicide, and go to hell, I saw no problem helpin’ him move there right quick. His face then quickly changed from one of confidence to one of hate.
He then made a move for his draw, and I fast draw plugged him with the right pistol through the apple of his throat, and then through the heart. I then fast draw left hand shot the two fellas with him through the heart, and afore their bodies fell, I alternated on both 6 guns shootin' all three with a shot through the noses, and a third set of shots then removin’ all their privates. Exceptin' the one on the left seemed a little squishy, so it took an extra 2 shots to finish the job, as all their essentials slipped out the pant legs and off their boots onto the road before their bodies hit the ground. I reloaded, and then point blank shot all their eyes out, and ordered one of the two fellow deputy marshals ridin' hard around the corner to git me a buckboard. I loaded their sorry carcasses and as Sheriff Bond came up the street one way yellin' after me, I left by the other way, and took them no good now peckerless skunks 6 miles out of town and put them in the branches of a 14' dead and isolated pine tree and lit it up, and threw all the deadwood I could find on it. After it burned mostly out in 3 hours, not spreadin’ or doin’ harm, I threw a lot of wet sod on it, makin' sure the fire was out and returned.
Once I got back to the edge of town, I was promptly arrested by the Marshall and three of my fellow deputies and a posse of more than 20 men. I was taken disarmed and chained up like a runaway slave at the blacksmith's, and then taken before the Judge and put on trial without jury for killin’ the 3 Sodomite skunks. All that remained of the corpus delictii was their privates they found in the road, and these they place on a table opposite me, and the trial commenced, even without any lawyer to represent me. 6 witnesses gave testimony, and I was not allowed to take the stand.
In about 40 minutes the prosecution rested, and the Judge gave sentence that there was sufficient evidence I acted in full accordance with the law except for the disposin’ of the bodies. I cost the Court and those involved $43 in damages, the Mortician $12 in damages and the cost of three coffins at a purchase price of $1.60 a piece. I was herewith restored to serve as Deputy Marshal upon payment, which was already taken out of the reward money Marshal Jackson got for Red Harrigan, which he never told me about, and had never split with me as yet. I was also to be beaten with a switch by my wife from between the blacksmith's to the house as many times as the wife wanted to hit me, as long as it was above the waist and below the neck. If I could outrun her, it was permitted, and good luck. Case dismissed.
And with that, the Judge took up the privates that were shot off them dead Sodomites, put them in a small tore up wicker fishin’ basket he stopped usin’, and told his clerk to take it out an hour’s ride from town, bury it, and never to ever mention where and to make it untraceable to ever find again.
Marshall Jackson gave my Mrs. a switch, and kept my guns. And all the way back from the blacksmith's, a crowd of more than 600 had gathered and visually obstructed my being able to see a way to run and escape. The marshall and the crowd stood back just far enough not to git hit by a wild swing by the wife, and gleefully watched the whole 1/2 mile back to home. She didn't disappoint. She laid on me 188 times with that switch until she broke it above the fist just as we got to the house, and I was warned she was given leave to do that. Even with a thick leather vest, I was welted up on the upper arms and shoulders like I went through a patch of thorn bushes. And she still missed a couple of times and got me in the neck and 5 times on the backside of my britches.
When professional gunslingers heard about what happened to the professional gunslinger they had previously to that respected and his two fellow Sodomites, after that, they either stopped comin’ round, or made sure to pass through town real quick, stoppin’ only long enough to buy supplies before movin’ on. No gunslinger wants even the reputation after him to ever be as dyin’ a peckerless s.o.b., as everything else he ever done won’t count anymore, and the only remembrance would be that his name was added to the roster of dead laughin’ stock gunslingers killed and dismembered by Deputy B. or some other of the Law in the town we was based out of. Both Marshall Jackson and Sheriff Bond told me as it regards what I did to those Sodomites, for as long as I live, they won't forget what I've done...and if I ever do it again, they will take it as an intentional act, and it will probably mean my badge at the very least.
But out of all this, I did learn something. One thing fer sure, anyway; that apart from takin’ a bath, crossin’ a deep river, goin’ to bed, relaxin’ in the parlor of the house where I could hang them next to my restin’ chair in short reach, I would never be without my 6 guns again if I could help it. I was determined that would be the last time I took a whoopin’ for my own bein’ without my six-guns, as the whoopin' was what I think led to the killin' and all the sufferin' I just been through.
Second thing. I would no longer let the wife do all the wood choppin’ as I let her do in these past 8 months…she builds up too many muscles and packs too dang hard a wallop with either the fist or the switch.
-- Deputy B.
Entry of October 10, 1876
For 3 weeks now the Marshal and I have been inundated with more than 400 writs and subpoenas and other paperwork because of two ex-carpetbag lawyers, comin' in at the behest of the bank run by Ward Redmond and his business partner Stephen McFahy. A New Judge has come to run the Court for a while, and I suspect that he may be McFahy's wife's cousin from what little I have been able to learn. Marshal Jackson has made inquiries into Judge Cork's credentials, but even if the mail gets where it needs to right fast enough, it don't mean some wick will burn bright between the ears, and answer it right quick. We should have received an answer 10 days ago by the mail that comes by the Wells and Fargo stage, and Marshal Jackson was considerin' spendin' another $7 with a follow up letter to emphasize a need for speed. Instead, as of this mornin', he dispatched Deputy Marshal Burns to hand deliver the records request, and to act accordingly.
Meanwhile, leans and tax notices and delinquent loan notes have now been delivered by me to more than 80 folk round hereabouts, and on the sly, I have paid for about half a dozen family and close friends $106.53 for what they owed. These carpetbaggers are so tight-fisted, that the very first notice of delinquency and sale of property, was served by me with the two side-windin' attorneys in tow only one day after the new Judge came, on a 62 year old widow woman leanin' on a dark laquered Scottish walkin' stick, all alone and without any kin, who was bein' made homeless by some no-goods just for 74 cents owed to somebody else. Her property consisted of 40 acres with a 3 room house, a 6 stall barn, two wells of water, and an empty carriage and 6 saddles which these sidewinders was a tryin' to steal, all for a measly 74 cents. I made them side-winders stay outside while I helped Widow Rose search on and around furniture in the house. And behold, while she was in the bedroom, under a throw rug I found $10.84. Not only did she have a $10 gold eagle for groceries and expenses, she had another 10 cents besides the 74 cents in taxes.
I stood behind the widow Rose all quiet like, with both hands on my revolvers (which I sneakily unlashed) as she offered her hand with the money out to the carpetbaggers, and they both refused to accept payment, which was her right to give and demand receipt for. One of them advanced, and I cocked the hammers in both holsters intendin' to quick draw and shoot, as the first looked like he had both hands out with the intent to choke her when he reached her, but as he took his first step, suddenly she jumped into my line of fire.
I've never seen an old woman as pepped up from weak with almost no energy smilin' with hope and joy at bein' saved by some lost found money into a a roarin' mean soundin' peep of a voice spring chicken, and her movin' as fast as she did for as old as she was. Had I not known better, she moved like a 14 year old for a bit thar'. She dropped the money, and afore it hit the ground, she took up a Scottish walking stick near 3 inches thick, and knocked one of the carpet-baggers out with an axe stroke to the top of the head just as the coins hit dirt. She then quick galloped sideways a bit and then leaped and swung her club of a walkin' stick at the other carpet-bagger like she was trying to knock his head off across the yard. He ducked, and he made a fist so as to hit this old woman, but she swung so hard she came about full circle in a downward arc and broke his shin afore he could complete his swinging his fist at the old gal, rather than just gettin' out of her way.
I arrested both carpet-baggers for assault, and hog-tied them both onto a couple large roofin' shingles, and dragged them behind their two horses I led back to town. The widow Rose was never arrested, but i did tell her she would have to appear in court if these snakes pressed charges...which they did, and I would testify as to what I saw . I later testified in her behalf that she gave them the money, and they refused to pick it up and accept legal payment, and then when they charged this little old defenseless woman, she merely defended herself against men two and three times her size, whose mere battery by tacklin' would have potentially been enough to kill this frail little woman of 95 lbs now before the Court. By that time, we also learned that both these skunks lost their licenses to practice law, and all 400 writs and subpoenas and other paperwork because of two ex-carpetbag lawyers, comin' in at the behest of the bank run by Ward Redmond and his business partner Stephen McFahy, would have to be rescinded and cancelled. This infuriated Judge Cork, who immediately threw up in one of the spittoons to the right of his Saloon chair, from where he held Court.
Judge Cork was a nasty smellin' good fer nuthin', who reeked like he bathed in his own vomit and whiskey, and who always held Court while pullin' the cork all day long in Maywood's Saloon, sometimes usin' the spittoon to the left of his chair to spit in; and sometimes usin' any one of 5 spittoons to the right of his chair to throw up in. Personally, I think the only time he was ever sober while here, was the first 4 hours after he arrived. I looked forward to the day we got a "Wanted: Dead or Alive" on him, so I could just shoot him, all legal and proper. When the judgment was in favor of the widow Rose, banker Redmond moved toward her and lifted up his fancy ridin' crop as if to strike her down. Folks say I bowled over 8 men chargin' him -- I don't recall that part -- but I do recall givin' him a swift runnin' upper cut right under the chin that knocked his 6 foot and 180 lb frame back 8 or 9 feet, and that his boot heels was at or about shoulder height afore he went down on the back of his head, and that he bounced, because I snatched him up by shirt and belt on his one foot bounce off the floor, and sent him on a 270 degree spinnin' toss headlong through Maywood's front window into the post by the hitchin' rail outside, breakin' his collarbone and dislocatin' his shoulder. I then put a loop of hemp rope around his left foot and tied that rope to the horm of my saddle, and dragged him down Main Street in the wrong direction about a stone's throw, before sayin"
"Ooops. Wrong way!"
and then as I began to drag his sorry state back the other way near 40 rods (400 feet) to the Sheriff and Marshal's Jail, I called out to McFahy that I was comin' back for him in just a couple moments next.
McFahy hopped a horse, and rode fast out of town the other way toward Rustler's pass, and no one has yet seen hide nor hair of him since. His horse and saddle returned to the bank that next mornin' with blood all over the saddle, and because I was on watch with two others in the jail from the time I took Redmond there to the time the horse and saddle showed up, folks joked that someone beat me to gettin' that skunk. We had 400 suspects, all with motives, and perhaps more than 1,000 than that who'd have done it for a family member or friend. I rode out to look for traces, but I guess I was too captivated with how lovely the trees and the clouds of the sky looked together, so I returned and reported truthfully that I didn't find anything. Then it started to rain such a downpour, that even had there been anything, there wouldn't be again by the time it lets up. Oh well, another soul died and gone to hell. Good riddance.
After I dragged banker Redmond off to jail, some of the town's women got together and gave Widow Rose some barterin' bargains in exchange for her 3 of her saddles, so that she was able to have half a dozen hens, a rooster, and feed, as well as 8 cords of firewood and a new blanket for the comin' winter. A few men of the town also spent the rest of the day fixin' up any drafts and cleanin' out her chimney, and preparin' the place...and one was able to even give her a 9 year old Pinto in fine condition, who would be just right for her to hook up to her small carriage and save her a young woman's 15 minute walk into town. All this happened even before the sun was beginnin' to set. I was certainly glad to hear it on the by and by down at the jail.
The women of the town, I hear from the wife, are also organizin' to meet once or twice a week for afternoon socials, and in less than two hours it has grown from just a few to more than 30 women almost up in arms already, so if they grows any bigger, they'll probably have their men at gunpoint to build them somethin' or air themselves out in a barn. Come to think of it...I'm one of those sorry husbands, and the wife is about to go into another moon ragin' cycle on the warpath like some Indian! Good gracious! Yikes!
Rememberin' How I First Met Marshal Jackson
Warpath... Indians. Which reminds me of when I met Marshal Jackson back in '71. I had just finished a 60 mile all day runnin' battle with a tribe of Crow Indians, tryin' to escape a wagon train massacre that left me and 4 fellow ex-soldiers and 6 Wagon Train survivors, all of them women (4 widows: 3 in their early 20s, 1 old one near 32; and two young girls ages 11 and 12). Me and the boys merely meant to tag along a wagon train of 10 wagons and 30 folk, and mosey on up to somewhere north to find work, if we could get it. But that didn't happen. Hundreds of miles into nowhere, we got attacked without signal fire warnin's or any notable sign, the Crows poppin' up out of tall grass under sod they had cut with the knife and covered their bodies with as a blanket, with only their noses out from under the landscape to breathe. More than 150 of them poppin' up all of a sudden like overheated corn kernels poppin' out of hot oil in a pan on an open fire. Me and the boys did what we could, and saved who we could, but they was too fast and too many. We left on horses with 14 from the Wagon Train, but 4 never made it past the first half mile, a 5th died of his wounds 2 miles later, and then we lost the other 3 after the next 30 to 50 miles evadin' the 3 scouts and then a smaller war party of 10 braves that the Crow sent on ahead with whom we were in quick skirmishes of a minute or less until they was all dead. And after runnin' on horseback all day, stoppin' only long enough for gettin' some water for us and the horses, and rubbin' the horses down to help them get that extra mile or two more, there we was, finally on elevated ground in a wood on a moonlit night, with near 40 Indians (as far as we last could see) still on our trail.
I took note of what our situation was. Two of our horses rid by the women had gone lame, and three horses were all wore out and maybe would recover enough to travel in another day or two of rest. There was maybe 20 rounds per man and 6 rounds per woman or girl left between us. I took the boys I had served with aside, away from the women, and informed the men what I was goin' to do, and what they was to do, and then I did it. I double backed on my trail, and about half a mile out I began coverin' up the tracks with a large branch I cut of a giant dead shrub, and a giant live and leafy shrub. The first, the dead many branched shrub piece I carefully dragged that behind my horse. At about a mile or more out, I saw that the Crow looked to be about 2 miles back based on the light of the eyes from their horses in the moon-light, and then I made a heavily beat and leafy shed false trail southwest and away from the boys and the other Wagon Train survivors, discarded my broken dead shrub in a gopher hole, ran the leafy shrub trail into a rock face that left no clear horse trail in the moonlight, and because my horse suddenly had extra out the back end to supply, he left enough behind me to make the Crows think we had at least 5 or more horses leavin' trace, and perhaps mostly because of that, I successfully led the Crow war party off for 5 hours and 40 more miles completely away in the moonlight, leaving intentional other bits and traces for them Crow Indians to follow, but in such a way to make it look sloppy and accidental like.
At near 100 miles, my horse died. I then jogged off and ran for near half a mile, and realized I no longer had the strength to run any further. I was pooped. (That means I was tired.)
And in a creek gully out on a prairie, after runnin' once again to fresh runnin' water, I took stock and noticed that the day began to break across the night sky and recede the darkness back further and further west. I resolved here I would likely die, and that I would run no more. I could only buy those who I was tryin' to help an extra few more minutes or seconds, whatever it was to be, and hoped it would be enough for them to git to safety. I looked out carefully made sure the Crows were back far enough, then I filled my canteen while on watch, drunk the canteen, filled it, checked my pistols, holstered them, watched and waited. I thought I had seen them not near 3 miles back on their horses, but then nothin'.
It was about 2 hours later, as I was dozin' off and half-dreamin', that they came. I awoke fully alert and killed the first 6 in 6 shots, and after one of them I shot hittin' me in the side of the head with he threw, somethin' solid, I dizzily shot another 2 in 8 shots. At this point, they changed tactics. They was divin' every couple of steps into the high prairie grass for cover. I then reloaded, and remembered I put some bullets in my vest pocket, 6 lake in the middle of the lead noses ( I carved out) bullets. So with these, I now had 12 rounds left. I loaded these, and wounded one Crow Indian in the left thigh that blew out his left buttock with a loud rip, and as that shot rang out, in the distance behind me heard a rumble, rumble, rumble. First I felt it...then I heard it. It was Buffalo...Buffalo over a mile wide and as far as the eye could see comin' straight at us. All the remainin' Indians took up their dead and wounded, hopped their horses and left headin' due north towards the way we had come.
They took most all the horses, but not all of them. I spotted me an Indian pony about 8 rods out that got stuck in a deadwood entanglement of some kind in the grass, and ran up, freed it, hopped that bareback grabbin' a hunk of mane, and followed the Creek due east. I was near able to ride at almost a full gallop about 50 to 60 rods west of the stampedin' Buffalo before they reached the creek's edge, and then I cautiously trotted that Indian pony at a leisurely pace for about 5 miles before havin' to rest and water him, and let him graze a bit after I hobbled his hind legs with a 4 foot leather strip I cut from the edge of my vest. I then slept to what I reckon was about 3 or 4 in the afternoon, and rode the pony another 12 miles before comin' to a tradin' outpost where I sought to spend the night after I bought me another 200 cartridges and two meals of grub.
The one runnin' the tradin' post hated Indians and even the sight of an Indian pony pained him. Even though there was a spare room inside, I was denied bein' able to pay a my last dollar (not countin' the last needs $3.03 I kept hidden in my left boot) to sleep on a skin bed inside. So I slept with the Indian pony in an open barn, one with just a roof and a second story hayloft, but no walls upon it. I used hay for my bed and my blanket, and had to roll up my vest around a pinch of hay for a pillow. Just as I was about to bed down, 5 men came a walkin' over from around the other side of the post, 4 of them white men who was chained with shackles and a foot length of chains between those shackles at both hands and feet. The hands were shackled to the front.
There in the moonlight of an open barn, as the temperature began to cool a bit with just a light wind from the southwest, it was in that place out on the prairie that I met Marshall Jackson who was single-handedly bringin' back 4 prisoners that traded whiskey and guns with the Crows, perhaps even some of the same Crows I was runnin' from. We talked a spell, and then I slept. At about midnight, I heard a wrong kind of noise, and sprung to my feet, and in the moonlight I shot 3 of the prisoners dead...one swingin' an axe toward the Marshall, one with a metal spike runnin' straight at me at 15 feet away, when I shot him, and a third I shot in the shadows not knowin' if he was armed or not, but who I later found to be holdin' a scythe.
Marshall Jackson hisself pulled his 6 gun and finally shot the man who was stranglin' him by pressin' his thumbs into his Adam's apple without any speedy success. And then and thar', I found myself bein' deputized, and enlisted into service, with the choice that if I didn't, I would be charged with the unlawful killin' of prisoners in Federal Custody, and so charged, with a minimum of 5 years hard labor per man I shot. My only question was how much was this Deputy Marshal's pay, and how much extra could I negotiate for. I admit the terms of my pay is often better than what most other deputy marshals probably ever make, but with me it had to do with time and place and opportunity and gratefulness on the part of the one offerin' me the job, and hisself bein' able to deliver on that promise because his word meant everything to him. For Marshall Jackson, hate his guts or get along with him, everyone who came across him and had any kind of dealin's with him at least knew that his word was his bond. In this country, that really says and means a whole lot more than any monument to a man ever could.
Two days later, we came across the boys and the survivors of the massacre, in shifts walkin' and ridin' the horses they had left. We all ended up followin' the Marshall to a new town that was bein' built near 7 days ridin' and walkin' away, and there with the first 200 to 300 folk that settled the town, with more a comin', we stayed and settled. My first assignment as Deputy Marshal, thanks to the boys boastin' of my skills with timber, was to build the town a jail for both the Marshal and whatever Sheriff was to someday be appointed or elected to share. Even so, that wasn't the first thing I built. The first was two outhouses. One for where we was to build the jail, and one for the woods. I had the boys dig the holes, as they got me glued to this jail buildin'. Even though at the age of 17 I entered the Great War, and it was now just two lustrums later, I was still a man who both likes his privacy, and does his do-dooin' in such a way that it keeps away all them flies (and mosquitoes) from bitin' where you sit afore you can finish passin' what you need to pass through. Unfortunately, the outhouse I built at the jail was took over by Marshall Jackson as his...and he made me dig and build another if I was to have my own, which I did...bigger, taller, deeper, and better. In fact, the first day after I built it, we lost two of the town midgets down the hole, and I didn't realize it until I let out the first squat...and then I really lost it. For whatever reason, they decided to move on after that, and we never did hear from them again.
After that, I put in an adjustable ring seat that I rope hinged so smaller folks and children wouldn't fall again into the hole. I guess I just got carried away and thought if the Marshall used my outhouse again, what happened to the midgets would have happened to him, as I made the hole 4 feet by 4 feet of open space for squattin' inside a 8 foot cube outhouse with a 5 foot wide door near 7 foot high, that was sign posted "Deputy B's"; the which had a 12' deep hole in it. That 4' by 4' squattin' hole was so big, you could have backed either a cow or an elephant to pass through in it. I guess that was buildin' the wrong kind of buildin' too big, though. But at least everyone in town knew that I gave a squat for that town. Even the midgets would say at least that was somethin'!
-- Deputy B.