The Battleground Gunfight known as the Battleground Shootout, was a gunfight between a posse of American lawmen and the Smith Gang. It was fought on October 9, 1901, within Arizona's Fort Apache Indian Reservation, at a clearing in the forest known today as the "Battleground". Nine Arizona Rangers and deputies caught up with his gang. During a long exchange of gunfire that followed, the ranger Carlos Tofolla and Deputy Bill Maxwell were killed and one or two of the outlaws may have been wounded. In the end, the Smith Gang fled into Mexico; the Arizona Rangers was established in 1901 and the Battleground Gunfight became the first major shootout to involve the new police force. The Smith Gang was one of the first targets for the rangers. In northeastern Graham County, Bill Smith owned a ranch on the Blue River, where he lived with his mother and his younger brothers and sisters; the ranch house served as a base for rustling cattle from nearby settlers, such as Henry Barrett, a former Rough Rider.
In 1898, the Smith brothers were arrested for stealing unbranded calves from Barrett and Bill Phelps. Bill Smith assumed full responsibility; because of this, Bill was said to have developed a grudge against Henry Barrett. During the first week of October 1901, the Smith Gang was spotted at Pat Knoll, near Springerville, heading south with a herd of fifteen or twenty stolen horses. Police informants said. A few days Bill and his brother Al came across Henry Barrett and another cowboy in the Big Cienega range. During the confrontation, Bill threatened to kill Barrett so the latter informed the sheriff of Apache County, who organized a posse; the posse was led by the sheriff's deputy, Hank Sharp, included Henry Barett and two other locals named Pete Peterson and Elijah Holgate. Meanwhile, the Arizona Rangers Carlos Tofolla and Duane Hamblin were assigned to search for the Smith Gang. At Greer, the rangers and the posse met and they decided to work together in tracking and capturing the outlaws; the rangers deputized Barrett and Holgate and they picked up and began following the outlaws' trail to the Little Colorado River, where they forded it at a place known as Sheep's Crossing.
From there the posse went to the ranch of Lorenzo Crosby to enlist his services and that of the brothers Arch and William "Bill" Maxwell, both of whom were described as being excellent scouts. These three men were deputized as well. After that, the posse continued along the trail south to Big Lake and to Dead Man's Crossing on the Black River. On October 7, at a ranch belonging to Pete Slaughter, the posse found an abandoned camp, believed to have been occupied by the outlaws; the rangers decided to camp at the same location for the night and proceed down the west side of the river bank on the following morning. On the morning of Tuesday, October 8, the posse awoke, had breakfeast, saddled to continue down the river. Along the way they passed the Pair-O'Dice Ranch; the area is part of the White Mountains and thus forested and difficult to traverse. It was very cold and snow covered the ground; that day the Smith Gang was camped at Reservation Creek, just inside the western border of the Fort Apache reservation, in a canyon 200 yards wide and 100 feet deep, near the source of the Black River.
Today the location is near the shoreline of Reservation Lake. The Smith gang was in need of food so that afternoon they killed a bear and the shots were heard by the posse a half a mile away; the Maxwell brothers found the location of the bear shooting and blood trails in the snow led back to the Smiths' camp, six miles from where the posse camped. By it was night; as the posse approached the canyon, the Smiths' guard dog began barking. This alerted Bill. There he saw the posse coming towards the camp. Bill's gang included his brothers Al, George and Floyd, a brother in law named Adam Slagger, two other unidentified men. Of the nine man posse, only Henry Barrett had any combat experience, having fought with Theodore Roosevelt at the Battle of San Juan Hill in 1898. At a place 300 yards away from camp, the posse dismounted their horses and tied them up to some trees in order to confront the outlaws on foot; the posse headed to the camp from the west, which meant that the lawmen would have to fire into the sunlight if a firefight began.
The deep canyon was shadowed and it provided a good defensive position for the Smith Gang. When the posse reached the camp, Tofolla and Bill Maxwell continued forward into a clearing to demand the outlaws' surrender while Barrett and the five others remained behind the cover or a ridge. After Bill Maxwell called out the demand, Bill Smith replied: "All right, which way do you want us to come out?" Maxwell responded: "Come right out this way." About this time, who could see what was going on from the ridge, yelled out for Tofolla and the two others to lie down for cover, but only Hamblin took the advice. A moment Bill Smith appeared with a Savage Model 1895.30 caliber rifle concealed behind his back. He revealed his weapon and began firing it, it was at this time Bill Maxwell died instantly. Tofolla was shot twice through the torso and fell to the ground, he did, manage to pull out his revolver and returned the fire, followed by the others on both sides. The skirmish lasted for at least a couple of hours and it was dark when it ended.
During the fighting, Ranger Hamblin maneuvered around the canyon w
The Goingsnake Massacre was a shootout that occurred during a trial in the Cherokee court system on April 15, 1872, in the Goingsnake District of the Cherokee Nation. Ezekial "Zeke" Proctor was being tried for killing Polly Beck and wounding Jim Kesterson in a shooting incident; the trial was charged due to the strong family ties of the accused and victims and because of a jurisdictional dispute between the Cherokee and United States courts. A federal posse consisting of two Deputy US Marshals, two of their regular posse members, six white men from Fort Smith, five Cherokee was sent to attend the trial and to arrest Proctor on federal charges if he was acquitted. However, shooting broke out in the crowded courtroom during the proceedings, killing eight of the Marshals posse and three Cherokee citizens; the incident has been called the Goingsnake Tragedy, the Cherokee Courthouse Shootout and the Proctor-Beck Fight. During the Civil War, Ezekiel "Zeke" Proctor, a Cherokee from Georgia, fought for the Union Army, while all of the Beck family Cherokee, fought for the Confederate Army.
Following the war, tensions between the Becks and the Proctors were high. Proctor was a member of the Keetoowah Nighthawk Society, which believed in the preservation of traditional ways, including a growing dislike of the European-American encroachment; this belief included disapproval of Cherokee women being involved romantically with white men. Thus, Proctor thought Polly should not be in a relationship with a white man, despite Proctor's and Polly Beck's fathers both having been white. Proctor was the son of a known murderer and was drunk, he once forced his way into a house. He was involved in several saloon brawls in the small town of Cincinnati, but was known for his trait of always returning afterward to pay for damages, he had previously killed two Cherokee brothers from the Jaybird family. Polly was said to have been an attractive woman of mixed race, she was the widow of a Cherokee man, Steven Hilderbrand, killed during the Civil War. She remarried several times, Jim Kesterson or Chesterson, another white man, was either her fourth or fifth husband.
Polly had two first cousins who were with the Deputy US Marshals. The United States Marshals have one version of what led up to the incident, whereas the Cherokee nation another. Over time, various versions of the initial incident have surfaced, but all tend to indicate three particular facts: 1; the murder suspect, Zeke Proctor did object to a Cherokee woman being involved with a white man, 2. The victim Jim Kesterson had once been married to Proctor's sister, 3; the victim Polly Beck was a love interest to Proctor. Aside from these fact, the versions of the story are quite different; some versions state that Jim Kesterson had been involved with Proctor's sister and had left her for Polly, leaving Susan and the children destitute. Another version indicates Kesterson intended to prosecute, yet another version claims Proctor had been involved romantically with Polly, known locally to be promiscuous, that he was in love with her. Another version indicates Proctor had never been involved with Polly, but was jealous about a native woman having married or being involved with a white man.
Whatever the reason, Proctor confronted Polly and Jim at Polly's dead husband's mill in the Oklahoma Territory, on February 27. The incident developed into an argument. Proctor turned to Polly and fired, killing her. Zeke maintained. Stories diverge here, but one version says Proctor surrendered himself after the murder of Polly to the sheriff of the Goingsnake District of the Cherokee Nation. Cherokee judge Blackhawk Sixkiller was appointed to the case. Chesterson, believing Proctor would not be convicted in a Cherokee court, appealed to the local federal court, asking that an arrest warrant be issued to ensure that Proctor received a trial in a non-Cherokee court in Fort Smith, Arkansas. Treaties with the United States federal government said that Cherokee Nation courts would have jurisdiction over Cherokee people, so the involvement of non-tribal law officers was seen as a threat to tribal sovereignty and was resented by the Cherokee people; the federal court dispatched a ten-member posse led by two Deputy US Marshals to secure the arrest of Proctor at the court house in Tahlequah.
Five members of the Beck clan traveled with this posse. Several Cherokees were prepared to protect their treaty rights, so the Cherokee court's trial of Proctor was moved to the schoolhouse, since it was seen as being easier to defend than the courthouse. All participants of the trial were armed. Without issuing a warning, members of the group with the Deputy US Marshals attacked the schoolhouse. In the ensuing melee, eight of the posse members were killed or mortally wounded and nine Cherokee, including Proctor and the judge, were wounded, several mortally; the Cherokee authorities removed the trial to acquitted Proctor. In Fort Smith, District Attorney James Huckleberry dispatched a large posse under the command of Deputy US Marshal Charles Robinson, they took with them two doctors. The second posse arrested several men believed to have been i
Big Fight at the Jenkins Saloon
The Big Fight at the Jenkins Saloon known as the Tascosa Gunfight or the Big Fight, was an incident that took place in the Old West town of Tascosa, Texas, on March 21, 1886, between members of two Texas Panhandle ranch factions: the LS Ranch's Home Rangers and a group of small ranchers and cattle rustlers known as "The System". In the spring of 1884, Pat Garrett came to the Texas Panhandle as newly appointed captain of the Texas Ranger Division. A range war had been brewing in the state, he was tasked by the Texas State government and by the big ranchers of the Canadian River with organizing a company of Texas Rangers to put a stop to the rampant rustling and re-branding of cattle. He set up his headquarters at the LS Ranch and petitioned the government for official papers so that he could go to work. In the following months, he and his men, known locally as the'LS Rangers' were successful in policing the area and preventing the same kind of feud that resulted in New Mexico's Lincoln County War just eight years earlier.
In the spring of 1885, the rangers were disbanded and Garrett returned to New Mexico. The rest of Garrett's men continued to work for the LS Ranch as rangers, but since they were no longer Texas Rangers, their hard-drinking and arrogant ways began to stir local resentment. Ex- Texas Ranger Ed King was troublesome, as he was known to be arrogant, quarrelsome when drunk and quick to draw his gun at any excuse. In Tascosa, the rangers became known as'barroom gladiators'; the final straw came when Sally Emory, who worked at the Jenkins Saloon, dumped her boyfriend, bartender Lamar Albert Woodruff, took up with Ed King. In the days preceding the fight, a drunken Ed King would taunt Woodruff, calling him'Pretty Lem' and endeavoring to humiliate him by forcing him to call King, "Daddy." On the evening of 20 March 1886, Ed King, his friend John Gottlieb Lang, two other LS ranch hands, Frank Valley and Fred Chilton, rode into Tascosa to participate in a local dance. In the early hours of the 21st, the four men left the dance and headed into town, where Ed King was hoping to meet Sally Emory.
Valley and Chilton entered the Equity Bar. Meanwhile, Ed King and Sally met outside the Jenkins Saloon at the corner of Spring and Main Streets. There, King was hailed by someone in the shadow of the saloon. Stepping up onto the porch, King was shot in the face. Lem Woodruff shot King in the neck. King died immediately. Sally Emory ran away down Spring Street. Seeing his friend shot down, John Lang rushed down Main Street to the Equity Bar. Finding his friends there, he demanded extra weapons from the bartender; the three remaining LS ranch hands rushed out towards the Jenkins Saloon. They went around the back, just as Lem Woodruff, Louis Bousman and Tom Emory — under the now-identified aliases of "Squirrel-Eye Charley", "Poker Tom", "The Catfish Kid" — exited the back door of the saloon. Gunfire erupted immediately. Woodruff and Charley Emory were shot first; as Frank Valley ran towards the door of an adobe shack behind the saloon from which gunfire had erupted, he was shot in the head as soon he opened the door to enter.
Chilton shot Jesse Sheets, a local restaurant owner, in the face, he fell dead. Chilton was shot in the chest by someone shooting from a woodpile outside the saloon. Dying, he handed his gun to Lang. John Lang found himself alone and being fired at in a crossfire from the saloon and from gunmen shooting from behind the woodpile, he retreated up Spring Street, firing as he went, while bullets tore into the ground and through the air around him. His fight ended as he was joined by friends from the Equity Bar; the men made their way back to the western part of Main Street. Soon afterwards, Sherriff Jim East and his deputy arrived on the scene. Lang offered his services as a deputy and the men went back towards the Jenkins Saloon; when they got there, the Catfish Kid was shot at. He fell and choking, but it was a ruse: as soon as he was left unattended, he ran off, unhurt. The fight had without a scratch, his three friends lay dead or dying. Lem Woodruff survived though he had been badly wounded in the abdomen.
Charley Emory survived. Murder charges were filed against Woodruff, Emory and the Catfish Kid; the first trial ended in a hung jury. In the second, all the defendants were acquitted; the Catfish Kid died in prison in 1890 after killing an unarmed man in another incident in Tascosa. Charley Emory died in 1897. Lem Woodruff moved to Hot Springs, where he died in 1902. Tom Emory died in 1914. Louis Bousman died in Oklahoma in January 1942. According to the Lang family, John Lang went on to become Amarillo Town Sheriff for a short time before rejoining his family in Oregon. In 1897 he took part in the Klondike Gold Rush. In 1898 he joined the Oregon Volunteers and served in the Philippines during the Spanish–American War. After the war, he returned to Oregon. A long-time Democrat, Lang represented his district in the Oregon state legislature, he served as mayor of Haines, Oregon. From the 1900s until the 1930s, he tried his hand as a gold prospector, he died in April 1942. The gunfight at Tascosa is little-known today, but at the time it was more famous than the gunfight at the O.
K. Corral, having similar causes and involving more fatalities than the shootout at Tombstone, Arizona; the LS Brand Maverick Town: The Story of Old Tascosa Tascosa: its life and gaudy times LS Ranch Old Tascosa, Texas'Big Fight' map with O
The American frontier comprises the geography, history and cultural expression of life in the forward wave of American expansion that began with English colonial settlements in the early 17th century and ended with the admission of the last mainland territories as states in 1912. A "frontier" is a zone of contact at the edge of a line of settlement; the leading theorist Frederick Jackson Turner went deeper, arguing that the frontier was the defining process of American civilization: "The frontier," he asserted, "promoted the formation of a composite nationality for the American people." He theorized it was a process of development: "This perennial rebirth, this fluidity of American life, this expansion westward...furnish the forces dominating American character." Turner's ideas since 1893 have inspired generations of historians to explore multiple individual American frontiers, but the popular folk frontier concentrates on the conquest and settlement of Native American lands west of the Mississippi River, in what is now the Midwest, the Great Plains, the Rocky Mountains, the Southwest, the West Coast.
In 19th- and early 20th-century media, enormous popular attention was focused on the Western United States in the second half of the 19th century, a period sometimes called the "Old West" or the "Wild West". Such media exaggerated the romance and chaotic violence of the period for greater dramatic effect; this inspired the Western genre of film, which spilled over into television shows and comic books, as well as children's toys and costumes. This era of massive migration and settlement was encouraged by President Thomas Jefferson following the Louisiana Purchase, giving rise to the expansionist philosophy known as "Manifest destiny"; as defined by Hine and Faragher, "frontier history tells the story of the creation and defense of communities, the use of the land, the development of markets, the formation of states." They explain, "It is a tale of conquest, but one of survival and the merging of peoples and cultures that gave birth and continuing life to America." Through treaties with foreign nations and native tribes, political compromise, military conquest, establishment of law and order, the building of farms and towns, the marking of trails and digging of mines, the pulling in of great migrations of foreigners, the United States expanded from coast to coast, fulfilling the dreams of Manifest Destiny.
Turner, in his "Frontier Thesis", theorized that the frontier was a process that transformed Europeans into a new people, the Americans, whose values focused on equality and optimism, as well as individualism, self-reliance, violence. As the American frontier passed into history, the myths of the West in fiction and film took a firm hold in the imagination of Americans and foreigners alike. In David Murdoch's view, America is exceptional in choosing its iconic self-image: "No other nation has taken a time and place from its past and produced a construct of the imagination equal to America's creation of the West." The frontier line was the outer line of European-American settlement. It moved westward from the 1630s to the 1880s. Turner favored the Census Bureau definition of the "frontier line" as a settlement density of two people per square mile; the "West" was the settled area near that boundary. Thus, parts of the Midwest and American South, though no longer considered "western", have a frontier heritage along with the modern western states.
In the 21st century, the term "American West" is most used for the area west of the Great Plains. In the colonial era, before 1776, the west was of high priority for politicians; the American frontier began when Jamestown, Virginia was settled by the English in 1607. In the earliest days of European settlement of the Atlantic coast, until about 1680, the frontier was any part of the interior of the continent beyond the fringe of existing settlements along the Atlantic coast. English, French and Dutch patterns of expansion and settlement were quite different. Only a few thousand French migrated to Canada. Although French fur traders ranged through the Great Lakes and mid-west region they settled down. French settlement was limited to a few small villages such as Kaskaskia, Illinois as well as a larger settlement around New Orleans; the Dutch set up fur trading posts in the Hudson River valley, followed by large grants of land to rich landowning patroons who brought in tenant farmers who created compact, permanent villages.
They created a dense rural settlement in upstate New York. Areas in the north that were in the frontier stage by 1700 had poor transportation facilities, so the opportunity for commercial agriculture was low; these areas remained in subsistence agriculture, as a result by the 1760s these societies were egalitarian, as explained by historian Jackson Turner Main: The typical frontier society therefore was one in which class distinctions were minimized. The wealthy speculator, if one was involved remained at home, so that ordinarily no one of wealth was a resident; the class of landless poor was small. The great majority were landowners, most of whom were poor because they were starting with little property and had not yet cleared much land nor had they acquired the farm tools and animals which would one day ma
Battle of Cimarron
The Battle of Cimarron was a famous gunfight that occurred on January 12, 1889, during the Gray County War, between the people of Cimarron, a group of lawmen led by Bill Tilghman. The gunfight, which lasted several hours and resulted in the death of at least one man and the wounding of seven others, began when Tilghman and his raiders attempted to take the county records from the Old Gray County Courthouse back to Ingalls. In the late 1880s, Cimarron and its neighbor to the west, were locked in a contest to decide which town would become the new county seat; because towns in the 19th century relied on their county seat status to survive, the county seat contests resulted in violence. After an election to decide the contest ended with accusations of fraud and protests from both sides, the matter was sent to the Kansas Supreme Court. Meanwhile, a man from Ingalls named Newt Watson became the new county clerk, he demanded that the county records in Cimarron be taken from the courthouse and brought to him.
When the citizens of Cimarron refused to turn over the records, the Ingalls faction organized a group of raiders to go into town and take them by force. The raiding party, led by Bill Tilghman included Jim Masterson, brother of the famous Bat Masterson, Ben Daniels, "Neal" Brown, Fred Singer, who were all former Dodge City peace officers, in addition to some "cowtown mercenaries," George Bolds, Ed Brooks, Billy Allensworth. To give them "semi-official status," all of the men in the group were deputized by Tilghman, appointed temporary Gray County Sheriff by Watson after the current sheriff, Joe Reynolds, was put in a hospital with a gunshot wound to the stomach; the raid was set to take place on January 12, 1889. That day and the others arrived in Cimarron with a wagon to carry the records. After pulling up to the courthouse, Masterson and Allensworth entered the building to begin loading the documents into the back of the wagon, while the rest of the men waited outside. In the meantime, some armed Cimarron men were moving into position to attack.
The Cimarron men opened fire on the raiders waiting by the wagon. Tilghman was hit in one of his legs, Brooks "doubled over" with a gunshot, Bolds was struck three times, once in the leg and twice in the abdomen; the wagon driver, a man by the name of Charlie Reicheldeffer, was hit, but somehow they all managed to climb back onto the wagon and drive it out of town without being killed. Masterson and the others were left inside the courthouse, so they took up positions on the second floor to return fire; the Cimarron men attempted to storm the building by rushing the front door, but were beaten back by "deadly shots" from the remaining raiders. After that failed, the Cimarron men attempted to breach the building by raising a ladder up to a window in the back of the building; this plan was thwarted when Masterson found out and kicked down the ladder. The townsfolk made it into the first floor of the building and from there they fired up through the ceiling and into the second floor; the raiders, climbed on top of the filing cabinets, a steel safe to protect themselves.
The battle lasted for about six hours and came to an end when the Cimarron faction received a telegraph from Bat Masterson in Dodge City warning that unless his brother and his friends were allowed to leave town, he would "hire a train and come in with enough men to blow Cimarron off the face of Kansas." After that, the raiders put down their guns and were taken prisoner. According to Richard M. Patterson's Historical Atlas of the Outlaw West, only one man - a Cimarron resident named J. W. English - was killed in the entire shootout, although other sources say that as many as three men died as result. Patterson says that in total one man was killed and three wounded on the Cimarron side, that four men were wounded on the Ingalls side; the raiders were tried for the killing of English, but they were acquitted. The dispute over the new county seat did not end either, it was settled in February 1893, when Cimarron became the permanent seat of Gray County. The Old Gray County Courthouse, replaced in 1927, is now open to the public and serves as a meeting hall.
It has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 2009 for its association with the Kansas County Seat Wars. List of Old West gunfights County seat war
Family feuds in the United States
Feuds in the United States deals with the phenomena of historic blood feuding in America. These feuds have been numerous and some became quite vicious. A conflict which may have started out as a rivalry between two individuals or families became further escalated into a clan-wide feud or a range war, involving dozens—or hundreds—of participants. Below are listed some of the most notable blood feuds in United States history, most of which occurred in the Old West. Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton were two noted founding fathers as famous for their feud-ending duel as their politics; the trouble began in 1791 when the Democratic-Republican Burr was elected senator for New York, replacing the Federalist, Hamilton's father-in-law, Philip Schuyler. This began the political feud between the two which culminated in the July 1804 duel. Hamilton had been fighting against Burr’s campaign for governor of New York. Burr took this personally. After several months marked by heated personal correspondence, published accusations, verbal sparring between the two, he challenged Hamilton to a duel.
As dueling had been outlawed in the state of New York, the two, along with their seconds, traveled to Weehawken, New Jersey for their final confrontation. Mortally wounded in the abdomen by Burr, Hamilton died the next day. A family feud that took place following the American Civil War, in Bell County, Texas from 1865 to 1869. John Early, a supporter of the federal officials occupying Texas, was an early member of the Texas Home Guard, he was having repeated run-ins with Drew Hasley, an older local citizen, a staunch Confederacy backer. When Hasley’s son, returned from service in the war, he became active in the conflict with Early, escalating the feud; when the younger Hasley brought a local outlaw, Jim McRae, into the fight, Early sought federal troop intervention, granted. On July 30, 1869, McRae was killed. Dr. Calvin Clark, an Early ally, was gunned down shortly afterward in Arkansas; the Hasley supporters soon disbanded and the feud faded. The most infamous feud in the history of the U. S. the Hatfield–McCoy conflict is now an icon of American folklore.
The Hatfields, of West Virginia, were led by William Anderson "Devil Anse" Hatfield. The McCoys, of Kentucky, were under the leadership of Randolph "Ole Ran’l" McCoy; the feud began after the killing of Asa Harmon McCoy, an ex-Union soldier, gunned down on January 7, 1865, while hiding in a cave. McCoy died at the hands of a group of Hatfield allies, Confederate irregulars, who had tracked him to his hiding place; the conflict was renewed thirteen years when two McCoy family members killed a witness and who had testified against them in a court case involving ownership of a stray pig. The simmering feud escalated soon afterward, when Roseanna McCoy began a courtship with Johnson "Johnse" Hatfield, Devil Anse’s son. Roseanna left her family to live with the Hatfields in West Virginia. In 1881, when Johnse abandoned the pregnant Roseanna, marrying her cousin instead, the bitterness between the two families grew. In 1882, Ellison Hatfield, brother of Devil Anse Hatfield, was killed in an election-day dispute by three of Roseanna’s brothers, who themselves were killed by a Hatfield-led mob while in the custody of the law.
Between 1880 and 1891, the feud claimed more than a dozen members of the two families, becoming headline news around the country. The feud reached its peak during the so-called 1888 New Years Night Massacre. Several of the Hatfield gang opened fire on the sleeping family; the cabin was set on fire in an effort to drive Randolph McCoy into the open. He escaped by making a break, but two of his children were murdered, his wife was beaten and left for dead. In 1888, Wall Hatfield and eight others were arrested and ordered to stand trial for the New Years Night murders. Seven received life imprisonment, while the eighth, Ellison "Cottontop" Mounts, was executed by hanging. Fighting between the families eased following the hanging of Mounts. Trials, continued for several years, with the trial of Johnse Hatfield the last, in 1901; the Lee–Peacock feud took place in the four-corners area of the Texas counties of Fannin, Grayson and Hunt. It became a local, four-year extension of the American Civil War - lasting from 1867 to 1871 - in which an estimated 50 men lost their lives.
When the war broke out, a resident of the area, Bob Lee joined the Confederate Army, leaving his wife, three children, his home in the care of his father Daniel. Near the end of the war, word reached Lee that a Union sympathizer, Lewis Peacock, had set up an organization in his home, working for the protection of blacks and Union sympathizers; this was "The Union League", in Pilot Grove, less than seven miles from Lee’s home. By the time that Lee and other ex-Confederate soldiers of the area returned to their homes in northeast Texas, the region was roiling in conflict, as most area residents resented the intrusion of the Reconstruction soldiers stationed throughout the state. One night in late 1866, Peacock and several of his followers "arrested" Lee, but instead kidnapped him, robbed him, forced him to sign a $2,000 promissory note to secure his release; the Lee clan subsequently refused to honor the note. Shortly thereafter, in February 1867, an assassination attempt on Lee took place was perpetrated by Peacock ally Jim Maddox.
A few days as he lay convalescing in the next room, Lee’s doctor was mur
Four Dead in Five Seconds Gunfight
The Four Dead in Five Seconds Gunfight was a famous gun fight that occurred on April 14, 1881, on El Paso Street, in El Paso, Texas. Witnesses agreed that the incident lasted no more than five seconds after the first gunshot, though a few would insist it was at least ten seconds. Marshal Dallas Stoudenmire accounted for three of the four fatalities with his twin.44 caliber Smith & Wesson revolvers. On April 14, 1881, a group of about 75 armed Mexicans moved into El Paso, Texas looking for two missing vaqueros named Sanchez and Juarique, searching for 30 head of cattle stolen from Mexico. Solomon Schutz, mayor of El Paso, made an exception for the Mexicans, allowing them to enter the city limits with their firearms. Gus Krempkau, an El Paso County constable, accompanied the posse to the ranch of Johnny Hale, a local ranch owner and suspected cattle rustler, who lived some 13 miles northwest of El Paso in the Upper Valley; the corpses of the two missing men were carried back to El Paso. A court in El Paso held an inquest into the deaths, with Constable Krempkau, fluent in Spanish, acting as an interpreter.
The verdict was that Sanchez and Juarique had been in the vicinity of Hale's ranch looking for the stolen cattle. The court determined that the American cattle rustlers, among them Hale, had feared the men would discover the cattle and return with a larger, armed Mexican force. Two American cattle rustlers and Fredericks, were accused of the murders of Sanchez and Juarique after they were overheard bragging about killing two cowboys when they found them trailing the herd to Hale's ranch during the night of April 13 or in the early morning of the 14th. Meanwhile, a large crowd had gathered in El Paso, including John Hale and his friend, former town Marshal George Campbell. There was tension among some of the Americans, who were concerned that the Mexicans, with a combination of anger and being armed, would become violent while demanding justice for their two murdered comrades. At the inquest and Fredericks were formally charged with the murders and arrested. Court was adjourned and the crowd dispersed.
The arrestees were scheduled for trial at a date. With the tense situation defused, the Mexicans returned to Mexico with the two corpses for proper burial. Marshal Dallas Stoudenmire, a noted gunfighter who had only started as town marshal on April 11, was present in the court room. After the court adjourned, he walked across the street for dinner. Constable Krempkau went to a saloon next door to retrieve his pistol. There, a confrontation took place with George Campbell over remarks he made about Krempkau’s translations, his apparent friendship with the Mexicans. John Hale, unarmed, was intoxicated and was upset with Krempkau’s involvement in the matter. Hale grabbed one of Campbell's two pistols and yelled, "George, I've got you covered!" He shot Krempkau, who reeled backward. Slumping against a saloon door, Krempkau drew his own pistol. Marshal Stoudenmire heard the shot, jumped up from his dining chair at the Globe Restaurant, pulled out his pistols, ran out into the street. While running, Stoudenmire fired wildly, killing Ochoa, an innocent Mexican bystander, running for cover.
As the first shot was heard, John Hale sobered up and jumped behind a thick adobe pillar. When he peered out from behind the pillar, Stoudenmire fired and struck Hale between the eyes, killing him instantly. Campbell stepped from cover with his pistol drawn, saw Hale lying dead, yelled to Stoudenmire that this was not his fight. However, Constable Krempkau, mistakenly believing that Campbell had shot him fired his pistol twice at Campbell before losing consciousness from loss of blood. Krempkau's first bullet struck Campbell's gun and broke his right wrist, while the second hit him in the foot. Campbell scooped up his gun from the ground with his left hand. Stoudenmire whirled away from Hale and fired at Campbell, who dropped his gun again, grabbed his stomach and collapsed onto the ground. Stoudenmire walked toward Campbell and glared at him. In agony, Campbell yelled, "You big son of a bitch! You murdered me!" Stoudenmire said nothing. Both Campbell and Krempkau died within minutes. After just a few seconds, four men lay dead or dying.
Three Texas Rangers were standing nearby, but did not take part, saying that they felt Stoudenmire had the situation well in hand. Three days after the gunfight, on April 17, 1881, James Manning, a friend of Hale and Campbell, convinced former deputy Bill Johnson to assassinate Stoudenmire. Stoudenmire had publicly humiliated Johnson days before. Late at night of April 17, an intoxicated Johnson was hiding behind a pillar of bricks, but his wobbly legs gave in and he fell backward, squeezing the double triggers of his double barreled shotgun into the air and narrowly missing Stoudenmire. Stoudenmire fired his pistols and sent a volley of eight bullets at Johnson, shooting off his testicles. Johnson bled to death quickly; this began a feud between his brothers. Stoudenmire's brother-in-law Stanley "Doc" Cummings and Stoudenmire himself died at the hands of the Mannings, who were acquitted in two trials where the juries were packed with their friends. List of Old West gunfights Leon Claire. 1979.
Dallas Stoudenmire: El Paso Marshal. Norman, OK: University of Oklahoma Press. 162 p. El Paso Times article documenting the event Borderlands, El Paso Community College border history project site http://www.elpasotexas.gov/police/history_stoudenmire.asp Marshall Dallas Stoudenmire terrorized town http://www.darkcanyon.net/gunmen_of_el_paso.h