The United States of America known as the United States or America, is a country composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, various possessions. At 3.8 million square miles, the United States is the world's third or fourth largest country by total area and is smaller than the entire continent of Europe's 3.9 million square miles. With a population of over 327 million people, the U. S. is the third most populous country. The capital is Washington, D. C. and the largest city by population is New York City. Forty-eight states and the capital's federal district are contiguous in North America between Canada and Mexico; the State of Alaska is in the northwest corner of North America, bordered by Canada to the east and across the Bering Strait from Russia to the west. The State of Hawaii is an archipelago in the mid-Pacific Ocean; the U. S. territories are scattered about the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, stretching across nine official time zones. The diverse geography and wildlife of the United States make it one of the world's 17 megadiverse countries.
Paleo-Indians migrated from Siberia to the North American mainland at least 12,000 years ago. European colonization began in the 16th century; the United States emerged from the thirteen British colonies established along the East Coast. Numerous disputes between Great Britain and the colonies following the French and Indian War led to the American Revolution, which began in 1775, the subsequent Declaration of Independence in 1776; the war ended in 1783 with the United States becoming the first country to gain independence from a European power. The current constitution was adopted in 1788, with the first ten amendments, collectively named the Bill of Rights, being ratified in 1791 to guarantee many fundamental civil liberties; the United States embarked on a vigorous expansion across North America throughout the 19th century, acquiring new territories, displacing Native American tribes, admitting new states until it spanned the continent by 1848. During the second half of the 19th century, the Civil War led to the abolition of slavery.
By the end of the century, the United States had extended into the Pacific Ocean, its economy, driven in large part by the Industrial Revolution, began to soar. The Spanish–American War and World War I confirmed the country's status as a global military power; the United States emerged from World War II as a global superpower, the first country to develop nuclear weapons, the only country to use them in warfare, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. Sweeping civil rights legislation, notably the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fair Housing Act of 1968, outlawed discrimination based on race or color. During the Cold War, the United States and the Soviet Union competed in the Space Race, culminating with the 1969 U. S. Moon landing; the end of the Cold War and the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 left the United States as the world's sole superpower. The United States is the world's oldest surviving federation, it is a representative democracy.
The United States is a founding member of the United Nations, World Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organization of American States, other international organizations. The United States is a developed country, with the world's largest economy by nominal GDP and second-largest economy by PPP, accounting for a quarter of global GDP; the U. S. economy is post-industrial, characterized by the dominance of services and knowledge-based activities, although the manufacturing sector remains the second-largest in the world. The United States is the world's largest importer and the second largest exporter of goods, by value. Although its population is only 4.3% of the world total, the U. S. holds 31% of the total wealth in the world, the largest share of global wealth concentrated in a single country. Despite wide income and wealth disparities, the United States continues to rank high in measures of socioeconomic performance, including average wage, human development, per capita GDP, worker productivity.
The United States is the foremost military power in the world, making up a third of global military spending, is a leading political and scientific force internationally. In 1507, the German cartographer Martin Waldseemüller produced a world map on which he named the lands of the Western Hemisphere America in honor of the Italian explorer and cartographer Amerigo Vespucci; the first documentary evidence of the phrase "United States of America" is from a letter dated January 2, 1776, written by Stephen Moylan, Esq. to George Washington's aide-de-camp and Muster-Master General of the Continental Army, Lt. Col. Joseph Reed. Moylan expressed his wish to go "with full and ample powers from the United States of America to Spain" to seek assistance in the revolutionary war effort; the first known publication of the phrase "United States of America" was in an anonymous essay in The Virginia Gazette newspaper in Williamsburg, Virginia, on April 6, 1776. The second draft of the Articles of Confederation, prepared by John Dickinson and completed by June 17, 1776, at the latest, declared "The name of this Confederation shall be the'United States of America'".
The final version of the Articles sent to the states for ratification in late 1777 contains the sentence "The Stile of this Confederacy shall be'The United States of America'". In June 1776, Thomas Jefferson wrote the phrase "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" in all capitalized letters in the headline of his "original Rough draught" of the Declaration of Independence; this draft of the document did not surface unti
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
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
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
Harry C. Wheeler
Harry Cornwall Wheeler was an Arizona lawman, the third captain of the Arizona Rangers, as well as the sheriff of Cochise County, serving from 1912 into 1918. He is known as the lead figure in the illegal mass kidnapping and deportation of some 1200 miners and family members, many of them immigrants, from Bisbee, Arizona to New Mexico in 1917. Beginning on July 12, 1917, he took total control of the town of Bisbee, controlling access and running kangaroo courts that deported numerous people, he was born and raised in Florida and was a veteran of the Spanish–American War and World War I. He served in the Arizona Rangers from 1903 to its disbanding in 1909. Harry Wheeler, the son of Colonel William B. Wheeler of the United States Army and his wife, was born in 1875 in Jacksonville, Florida. After some local schooling, in 1897, the 22-year-old Wheeler enlisted in the 1st Cavalry and fought in the Spanish–American War, he was given a medical discharge at the rank of sergeant in 1902. A crack shot with a rifle or pistol, Wheeler joined the Arizona Rangers in 1903 and was promoted to sergeant four months later.
In October 1904, Wheeler killed an outlaw at the Palace Saloon in Tucson. He was involved in a shootout in Benson, where he killed a second man. In 1907, Wheeler replaced Thomas H. Rynning as captain of the Arizona Rangers, served as the agency's leader until its disbanding in 1909. In 1911, Wheeler was elected as Sheriff of Cochise County. During his tenure in office, Arizona adopted a statewide prohibition on the sale and manufacture of alcohol. Though exceptions were made for liquor, for personal use only, Arizona was a dry state from 1915 until the end of nationwide prohibition in 1933. Wheeler spent much of his second and third terms in office enforcing Arizona's prohibition laws and combatting bootlegging and smuggling. In March 1917, Wheeler and Constable Lafe Gibson engaged a party of Mexican smugglers in what would be Wheeler's final shootout as a border lawman. Armed with a Winchester rifle, Wheeler is believed to have killed at least one of the bootleggers, before the gang of outlaws retreated into the mountains.
Wheeler remained a stalwart enforcer of prohibition throughout his final years as the Sheriff of Cochise County. This period was tumultuous in labor relations for mine workers. In June 1917, IWW Local 800, a union of miners in Bisbee, began a strike against the Phelps Dodge Corporation. Wheeler deputized 2,200 men from Douglas to act as a posse. On July 12, they arrested 2,000 people in Bisbee. Nearly 1,300 of the strikers and their supporters were deported in 23 cattle cars to Hermanas, New Mexico, without supplies, in what became known as the Bisbee Deportation. Prior to the deportation, Sheriff Wheeler established guards at all entrances to Douglas. Any citizen seeking to exit or enter the town over the next several months had to have a "passport" issued by Wheeler. Any adult male in town, not known to the sheriff's men was brought before a secret sheriff's kangaroo court. Hundreds of citizens were tried, most of them deported and threatened with lynching if they returned. Long-time citizens of Bisbee were deported by this "court".
A commission appointed by President Woodrow Wilson investigated labor disputes in Arizona and concluded in its final report, issued November 6, 1917, that "The deportation was wholly illegal and without authority in law, either State or Federal." Wheeler resigned as sheriff of Cochise County in March 1918 to enlist in the army at the rank of captain after the United States entered World War I. He was given an honorable discharge in December 1918, after being called back to Arizona for further court action based on the Bisbee Deportation. On May 15, 1918, the U. S. Department of Justice ordered the arrest of 21 Phelps Dodge executives and Arizona Co. executives, several Bisbee and Cochise County elected leaders and law enforcement officers. The arrestees included Walter Douglas, would have included Sheriff Wheeler if he had not been serving in France with the American Expeditionary Force during World War I. A pre-trial motion by the defense resulted in a federal district court releasing the 21 men on the grounds that no federal laws had been violated.
The Justice Department appealed. But in United States v. Wheeler, 254 U. S. 281, Chief Justice Edward Douglass White ruled for an 8-to-1 majority that no federal law protected the freedom of movement for individuals. Protecting citizens' right to movement was a state function, White argued, had to be enforced in state court. Wheeler was defeated in the Democratic primary, he settled in the Bisbee area. There he died from pneumonia in December 1925. Gleeson Gunfight
Colt Single Action Army
The Colt Single Action Army known as the Single Action Army, SAA, Model P, Peacemaker, M1873, Colt.45 is a single-action revolver with a revolving cylinder holding six metallic cartridges. It was designed for the U. S. government service revolver trials of 1872 by Colt's Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company—today's Colt's Manufacturing Company—and was adopted as the standard military service revolver until 1892. The Colt SAA has been offered in over various barrel lengths, its overall appearance has remained consistent since 1873. Colt brought it back due to popular demand; the revolver was popular with ranchers and outlaws alike, but as of the early 21st century, models are bought by collectors and re-enactors. Its design has influenced the production of numerous other models from other companies; the Colt SAA "Peacemaker" revolver is a famous piece of Americana. The original length of the barrel, issued to the U. S. Cavalry, was 7 1⁄2 inches. Bound by the Rollin White patent and not wanting to pay a royalty fee to Smith & Wesson, Colt could not begin development of bored-through revolver cylinders for metallic cartridge use until April 4, 1869.
For the design, Colt turned to two of its best engineers: William Mason and Charles Brinckerhoff Richards who had developed a number of revolvers and black powder conversions for the company. Their effort was designed for the United States government service revolver trials of 1872 by Colt's Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company and adopted as the standard military service revolver. Production began in 1873 with the Single Action Army model 1873 referred to as the "New Model Army Metallic Cartridge Revolving Pistol"; the first production Single Action Army, serial number 1, thought lost for many years after its production, was found in a barn in Nashua, New Hampshire in the early 1900s. This gun was chambered in.45 Colt, a centerfire design containing charges of up to 40 grains of fine-grained black powder and a 255-grain blunt roundnosed bullet. Relative to period cartridges and most handgun rounds, it was quite powerful in its full loading; the Colt Single Action Army revolver, along with the 1870 and 1875 Smith & Wesson Model 3 "Schofield" revolver, replaced the Colt 1860 Army Percussion revolver.
The Colt gained favor over the S&W and remained the primary U. S. military sidearm until 1892 when it was replaced by the.38 Long Colt caliber Colt Model 1892, a double-action revolver with swing-out cylinder. By the end of 1874, serial no. 16,000 was reached. The Single Action Army became available in standard barrel lengths of 4 3⁄4 inch, 5 1⁄2 inch, as well as the Cavalry standard, original 7 1⁄2 inch; the shorter barrelled revolvers are sometimes called the "Civilian" or "Gunfighter" model and the Artillery Model. There was a variant with a sub-4-inch barrel, without an ejector rod, unofficially called the "Sheriff's Model", "Banker's Special", or "Storekeeper". From 1875 until 1880 Colt marketed a single-action revolver in.44 rimfire Henry caliber in a separate number range from no. 1 to 1,863. A "Flattop Target Model" was listed in Colt's catalogs from 1890 to 1898. Colt manufactured 914 of these revolvers with a frame, flat on top and fitted with an adjustable leaf rear sight; the front sight consisted of a base with an interchangeable blade.
In 1896, at serial number 164,100, a spring-loaded base pin latch replaced the cylinder pin retaining screw and by 1900, at serial number 192,000, the Colt Single Action was certified for use with smokeless powder. In 1920, larger visible sights replaced the original thin blade and notch; the revolvers remained unchanged from that point until cessation of manufacture at the beginning of World War II. From 1873 through 1940, production of the Colt Single Action Army reached 357,859; this is identified as the "Pre War" or "First Generation" of the model. Calibers, at least thirty in all, ranged from.22 rimfire through.476 Eley, with half, or 158,884, chambered for.45 Colt. The next most prevalent were the.44-40 Winchester Center fire at 71,392. All original, good condition, U. S. Cavalry and Artillery Single Action Armies are among the most valuable to collectors. Valuable going for well over $10,000, are the OWA and the rare Henry Nettleton inspected Single Action Army Colts; the OWA Colt refers to the earliest issued Single Action Army guns, which were inspected by Orville W. Ainsworth.
Ainsworth was the ordnance sub-inspector at the Colt factory for the first 13 months of the Single Action Army's production. It was Ainsworth who inspected the Colts used by Col. G. A. Custer's 7th Cavalry at the Battle of the Little Bighorn; the number range of possible Little Bighorn Colts is 4500–7527. Henry Nettleton was the U. S. Principal Sub-inspector in 1878 at the Springfield Armory. Second only to the OWA Colts, Nettleton Colts are prized by serious collectors. Both the Nettleton and OWA Colts have the cartouche on the left side of the wood grip. By the mid-1870s, the Army had purchased a significant number of Smith & Wesson Schofield revolvers chambering a shorter.45 round. Logistical problems arose because the ammu
Mussel Slough Tragedy
The Mussel Slough Tragedy was a dispute over land titles between settlers and the Southern Pacific Railroad that took place on May 11, 1880, on a farm located 5.6 miles northwest of Hanford, California, in the central San Joaquin Valley, leaving seven people dead. Frank Norris' 1901 novel, The Octopus: A Story of California, was inspired by this incident, as was W. C. Morrow's 1882 novel Blood-Money. May Merrill Miller's novel, First the Blade, includes a fictionalized account of the conflict; the exact history of the incident has been the source of some disagreement because popular anti-railroad sentiment in the 1880s made the incident to be a clear example of corrupt and cold-blooded corporate greed. Muckraking journalists and anti-railroad activists glorified the settlers and used the events as evidence and justification for their anti-corporate crusades; the site of the episode is now registered as California Historical Landmark #245. A historical marker on the east side of 14th Avenue, 350 yards north of Elder Avenue, memorializes the site.
The region known in the late 19th century as the Mussel Slough country was in what was Tulare County, with a small portion in what was Fresno County. The Mussel Slough country took its name from a slough which went from the Kings River to Tulare Lake; this area had remained unsettled. However, in 1866 Congress authorized the railroad companies to build a line through the area, created numbered lots of one square mile each; the Southern Pacific Railroad received the odd-numbered sections of land, totaling about 25,000 acres worth. The even-numbered sections were given to homesteaders by the government and were not subject to the events which followed. Given SP's history of encouraging settlement and development along its lines, land prices were expected to appreciate considerably. Settlers, who had spent a great deal of money and time in building their houses and farms, had begun to file for homesteads in the area on the railroad lands starting in 1869, in anticipation of the completion of the line.
In 1872, the Central Pacific Railroad completed work to Goshen from the north and the Southern Pacific was to construct the southern portion. The SP's brochures had stated the price of the land would be "$2.50 per acre and upwards", leading many people to mistakenly believe that $2.50/acre was a set price. Furthermore, other brochures indicated that any improvements the settlers made to the land would not be counted when the prices were fixed. However, when the settlers attempted to acquire their land, the asking price was greater than that, which SP attributed to rising property values because of the laying of the railroad, although many settlers believed it was due to their own improvements such as irrigation, housing and barns. Settlers protested to no avail. A bill in the United States Congress that would have fixed the price at $2.50/acre failed to pass. The Southern Pacific filed and won a lawsuit in 1878 against the settlers, amidst allegations of court bias. While the issue was still pending in court, the SP decided to change the course of the route, claiming, its prerogative, despite the Department of the Interior having granted homestead rights.
Those, building homes along the previous course were distraught. Settlers argued in court that by not building the line where the federal government had deeded the land, SP forfeited the title. On the other hand, the SP was convinced of its legal ownership of the land and felt it should have the freedom to set whatever prices it deemed fit for its property. Others took the opportunity to move onto the SP's parcels, anticipating that the courts would rule against the company, thus allowing them to get the land for free; the Supreme Court ruled in Schulenberg v. Harriman 21 Wall. 44 that SP still owned the lands and as such, the SP was justified to reclaim the land without compensation unless the settlers were willing to pay their asking price, now up to $35/acre. Still, the Settler's League, formed in 1878 in opposition to the SP's Mussel Slough actions attempted to appeal directly to President Rutherford B. Hayes during his visit to San Francisco in 1880, presenting him a petition which read, Through sheer energy and perseverance by the investment of our means... and relying upon the rights we had acquired as American citizens, upon the pledges of the Southern Pacific Railroad Company, we converted a desert into one of the garden spots of the State.
Besides the 1874 Supreme Court ruling, a critical moment came on December 15, 1879, when Judge Lorenzo Sawyer of the Ninth Circuit Court ruled in Orton, 32 F. 457, that the federal government controlled the railroad land grants, more the state could not control ultra vires acts of corporations. Given the legal system's affirmation of its position, the SP began to forcibly remove some of the settlers, their agents would attempt to serve eviction notices, but would not find anyone at home, as homeowners knew they were coming. In these cases, the agents tried removing the furniture from the homes, but the Settler's League would just put the furniture back after the agents' departure, it escalated to the point at which the agents would disassemble the house