04 January 2016

Next meeting of Six-Gun Justice...

...will be at 0930 on 30 January 2016.
To be discussed are upcoming events we should attend, plus all the outstanding issues like insurance, our gig fees, what firearms we can bring to recruiting events, etc.

02 April 2014

Planning our PR Video

Howdy all,
Rico and I took a trip to scout out Graeme Park in Horsham, PA as the possible site to film our PR Video for Six-Gun Justice. There was a small building that looked very promising. I have already emailed my contact on the park's BOD to get permission and info we need to move this along.

29 December 2013

Moving to our own place

We now own the domain sixgun-justice.com, and have web hosting space on 1and1.com. I will keep you posted as website progresses.
Vince aka Four-eyed Jack
Founder of Six-Gun Justice

07 September 2013

Good start, better to come

The September meeting was attended by fewer folks than we'd've liked (Jack, Rico, Gus, Bad Blake, and Li'l Annie), but went well regardless. Efforts will be made (primarily by Jack) to acquire a paying job soon, so as to attract more members. Anyone with suggestions, please email Jack here.

31 August 2013

Next meeting

The September meeting of Six-Gun Justice will be on Saturday, September 7th, 2013, 10am to 12 noon, at the Ludington Library Conference Room.

Ludington Library
5. S. Bryn Mawr Avenue
Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania 19010
(610) 525-1776

If you are interested in attending and learning about the group, please let me know.

27 June 2013

Six-Gun Justice Organizational Meeting

The July meeting of Six-Gun Justice is Saturday 10am to 12 Noon July 27th, 2013
at the Ludington Library Conference Room.

Ludington Library
5. S. Bryn Mawr Avenue
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010
(610) 525-1776

If you are interested in attending and learning about the group, please let me know.

28 January 2013

The Great Scout

buffalo_bill_cody476by F.P. Livingston

Across the rolling, trackless plains
    I see a vision as of old.

Aye, like a knight in armor girt,
    As noble, free and quite as bold;

His flowing locks and massive brow
    Proclaimed the gallant life he

While tolling to prepare the way
    For those who built an empire vast.
          They called him Bill--
          Just Buffalo Bill.

What were the thoughts that filled
    his brain
While waiting for the final call?
Methinks he saw the blood-stained
  The rifles flash, the red man’s fall.
The war-whoop and the massacre.
    Ah God! His life was one great

To master man and elements,
   To force the erring mortal right.
        They called him Bill--
        Just Buffalo Bill.

He loved the fellowship of man,
   But on the veldt his fame was
On silent plain, on lonesome trail
   Where drifting sand in summer
And winter chilled unto the bone,
   By night, by day, he saw the star
That lifted him beyond his peers;
   That made him first in peace or
        They called him Bill--
        Just Buffalo Bill.

The last of all the famous scouts
   That blazed the way across the
He led the van thru lands unknown,
   Where now a hundred cities stand.
His princely mien, his kindly deeds,
   Will long resound from hearth to

Strange tales they’ll tell by fireside
   Of mighty deeds and of his worth.
        They called him Bill--
        Just Buffalo Bill.

Excerpted from Buffalo Bill’s autobiography, Life and Adventures of Buffalo Bill
Published by John R. Stanton & Co., Chicago 1917

14 November 2012

Wyatt Earp Part 1


Early Life

Wyatt was named after his father's commanding officer in the Mexican-American War, Captain Wyatt Berry Stapp, of the 2nd Company Illinois Mounted Volunteers.

Wyatt Earp was born in Monmouth, Illinois, on March 19, 1848, to widower Nicholas Porter Earp and Virginia Ann Cooksey[1]. From his father's first marriage, Wyatt had an elder half-brother, Newton, and a half-sister Mariah Ann, who died at the age of ten months. Wyatt was named after his father's commanding officer in the Mexican-American War, Captain Wyatt Berry Stapp, of the 2nd Company Illinois Mounted Volunteers. In March 1849, the Earps left Monmouth for California but settled in Iowa[2]. Their new farm consisted of 160 acres (0.65 km2), 7 miles (11 km) northeast of Pella, Iowa[3].

On March 4, 1856, Earp's father Nicholas sold his farm and returned to Turtle, Illinois, where he was elected the municipal constable, serving at this post for about three years. He was caught and convicted in 1859 for bootlegging. Nicholas was unable to pay the fines, and a lien was put against the Earp's property. It was sold at auction in November 1859, and the family left again for Pella, Iowa. After their move, Nicholas returned to Monmouth throughout 1860 to sell his other properties and resolve several lawsuits for debt and accusations of tax evasion[4].

During the family's second stay in Pella, the American Civil War began. Newton, James, and Virgil joined the Union Army on November 11, 1861. While his father was busy recruiting and drilling local companies, Wyatt, along with his two younger brothers, Morgan and Warren, were left in charge of tending 80-acre (32 ha) corn crop. Only 13 years old, Wyatt was too young to enlist, but he tried on several occasions to run away and join the army. Each time his father found him and brought him home. James was severely wounded in Fredericktown, Missouri, and returned home in the summer of 1863. Newton and Virgil fought several battles in the east and later returned. On May 12, 1864, the Earp family joined a wagon train heading to California[5].



By late summer 1865, Virgil found work as a driver for Phineas Banning's Stage Coach Line in California's Imperial Valley, and 16 year old Wyatt assisted. In the spring of 1866, Wyatt Earp became a teamster, transporting cargo for Chris Taylor. His assigned trail for 1866–1868 was from Wilmington, through San Bernardino and Las Vegas, Nevada, to Salt Lake City, Utah Territory.

In the spring of 1868, Earp was hired by Charles Chrisman to transport supplies for the construction of the Union Pacific Railroad. He learned gambling and boxing while working on the railhead in Wyoming,[6] and refereed a fight between John Shanssey and Mike Donovan.



In the spring of 1868, the Earps moved east again to Lamar, Missouri, where Wyatt's father Nicholas became the local constable. Wyatt rejoined the family the next year. When Nicholas resigned on November 17, 1869 as constable to become the justice of the peace, Wyatt was appointed constable in his place. On November 26, in return for his appointment, Earp filed a bond of $1,000. His sureties for this bond were his father, Nicholas Porter Earp; his paternal uncle, Jonathan Douglas Earp (April 28, 1824–October 20, 1900); and James Maupin.


[1] Jane Eppinga (2010). Tombstone. Arcadia Publishing. p. 41.

[2] Where was Nicholas Earp in 1849-50?

[3] Urban, William. "Nicholas Earp".

[4] Woog, Adam (February 28, 2010). Wyatt Earp. Chelsea House Publications. p. 110. ISBN 1604135972.

[5] Wyatt Earp: Timeline - Child hood to Wichita.

[6] WGBH American Experience: Wyatt Earp, Complete Program Transcript. January 25, 2010.

28 August 2012

The Dalton Gang's Last Raid, 1892

Emmett Dalton had managed to escape unhurt up to this time. He kept under shelter after he reached the alley until he attempted to mount his horse. A half-dozen rifles sent their contents in the direction of his person as he undertook to get into the saddle. Emmett succeeded in getting into the saddle, but not until he had received a shot through the right arm and one through the left hip and groin. During all this time he had clung to the sack containing the money they had taken from the First National Bank. Instead of riding off, as he might have done, Emmett boldly rode back to where Bob Dalton was lying, and reaching down his hand, attempted to lift his dying brother on the horse with him. 'Its no use,' faintly whispered the fallen bandit, and just then Carey Seamen fired the contents of both barrels of his shot-gun into Emmett's back. He dropped from his horse, carrying the sack containing over twenty thousand dollars with him, and both fell near the feet of Bob, who expired a moment thereafter."

Around 9:30 the morning of October 5, 1892 five members of the Dalton Gang (Grat Dalton, Emmett Dalton, Bob Dalton, Bill Power and Dick Broadwell) rode into the small town of Coffeyville, Kansas. Their objective was to achieve financial security and make outlaw history by simultaneously robbing two banks. From the beginning, their audacious plan went astray. The hitching post where they intended to tie their horses had been torn down due to road repairs. This forced the gang to hitch their horses in a near-by alley - a fateful decision.

To disguise their identity, (Coffeyville was the Dalton's hometown) two of the Daltons wore false beards and wigs. Despite this, the gang was recognized as they crossed the town's wide plaza, split up and entered the two banks. Suspicious townspeople watched through the banks' wide front windows as the robbers pulled their guns. Someone on the street shouted, "The bank is being robbed!" and the citizens quickly armed themselves - taking up firing positions around the banks.

The ensuing firefight lasted less than fifteen minutes. A brief moment in time in which four townspeople lost their lives, four members of the Dalton Gang were gunned down and a small Kansas town became part of history.

Anatomy of a Gun Battle

David Elliott was editor of the local newspaper and published a detailed account soon after the gun battle. We pick up his story as the desperadoes dismount and head towards their targets:

"...After crossing the pavement the men quickened their pace, and the three in the front file went into C.M. Condon & Co.'s bank at the southwest door, while the two in the rear ran directly across the street to the First National Bank and entered the front door of that institution. The gentleman [the observer] was almost transfixed with horror. He had an uninterrupted view of the inside of Condon and Co.'s bank, and the first thing that greeted his vision was a Winchester in the hands of one of the men, pointed towards the cashier's counter in the bank. He quickly recovered his lost wits, and realizing the truth of the situation, he called out to the men in the store that 'The bank is being robbed!' Persons at different points on the Plaza heard the cry and it was taken up and quickly passed around the square.

At the same time several gentlemen saw the two men enter the First National Bank, suspecting their motive, followed close at their heels and witnessed them 'holding up' the men in this institution. They gave the alarm on the east side of the Plaza. A 'call to arms' came simultaneously with the alarm and in less time than it takes to relate the fact a dozen men with Winchesters and revolvers in their hands were ready to resist the escape of the unwelcome visitors."

Inside the C.M. Condon Bank

As the townspeople arm themselves, the desperados enter the two banks - Bill Powers, Dick Broadwell and Grat Dalton the C.M. Condon bank, Bob and Emmett Dalton the First National. Inside the Condon Bank, three employees are forced at gunpoint to fill a sack with money. One brave teller declares to the robbers that the vault has a time lock and can't be opened for another 10 minutes (this was untrue.) The robbers decide to wait, however their plan is interrupted as the townspeople open fire:

"...Just at this critical juncture the citizens opened fire from the outside [of the Condon Bank] and the shots from their Winchesters and shot-guns pierced the plate-glass windows and rattled around the bank. Bill Powers and Dick Broadwell replied from the inside, and each fired from four to six shots at citizens on the outside. The battle then began in earnest. Evidently recognizing that the fight was on, Grat Dalton asked whether there was a back door through which they could get to the street. He was told that there was none. He then ordered Mr. Ball and Mr. Carpenter [two bank employees] to carry the sack of money to the front door. Reaching the hall on the outside of the counter, the firing of the citizens through the windows became so terrific and the bullets whistled so close around their heads that the robbers and both bankers retreated to the back room again. Just then one at the southwest door was heard to exclaim: ' I am shot; I can't use my arm; it is no use, I can't shoot any more.' "

Meanwhile, inside the First National Bank

A similar scene played out at the First National where Bob and Emmett Dalton forced the bank's employees to fill their sack with money. Using the employees as shields, the robbers attempted to escape the bank, only to be driven back inside by heavy gunfire:

"...He [Bob Dalton] then ordered the three bankers to walk out from behind the counter in front of him, and they put the whole party out at the front door. Before they reached the door, Emmett called to Bob to 'Look out there at the left.' Just as the bankers and their customers had reached the pavement, and as Bob and Emmett appeared at the door, two shots were fired at them from the doorway of the drug store. Neither one of them was hit. They were driven back into the bank. Bob stepped to the door a second time, and raising his Winchester to his shoulder, took deliberate aim and fired in a southerly direction. Emmett held his Winchester under his arm while he tied a string around the mouth of the sack containing the money. They then ordered the young men to open the back door and let them out. Mr. Shepard complied and went with them to the rear of the building, when they passed out into the alley. It was then that the bloody work of the dread desperadoes began."

Alley of Death

Many of the townspeople gathered in Isham's Hardware Store near the banks. Not only did the unarmed citizens get rifles, shotguns, and ammunition, but the store also provided an excellent view of the two banks and the alley where the gang had tied their horses:

"...The moment that Grat Dalton and his companions, Dick Broadwell and Bill Power, left the bank [the C.M. Condon Bank] that they had just looted, they came under the guns of the men in Isham's store. Grat Dalton and Bill Powers each received mortal wounds before they had retreated twenty steps. The dust was seen to fly from their clothes, and Powers in his desperation attempted to take refuge in the rear doorway of an adjoining store, but the door was locked and no one answered his request to be let in. He kept his feet and clung to his Winchester until he reached his horse, when another ball struck him in the back and he fell dead at the feet of the animal that had carried him on his errand of robbery.

Grat Dalton, getting under cover of the oil tank, managed to reach the side of a barn that stands on the south side of the alley... [At this point, Marshal Connelly ran across a vacant lot into "Death Alley" from the south to the spot where the bandits had tied their horses.] The marshal sprang into the alley with his face towards the point where the horses were hitched. This movement brought him with his back to the murderous Dalton, who was seen to raise his Winchester to his side and without taking aim fire a shot into the back of the brave officer. Marshal Connelly fell forward on his face within twenty feet of where his murderer stood.

Dick Broadwell in the meantime had reached cover in the Long-Bell Lumber Company's yards, where he laid down for a few moments. He was wounded in the back. A lull occurred in the firing after Grat Dalton and Bill Power had fallen. Broadwell took advantage of this and crawled out of his hiding-place and mounted his horse and rode away. A ball from Kloehr's [John Kloehr, a townsman] rifle and a load of shot from a gun in the hands of Carey Seaman overtook him before he had ridden twenty feet. Bleeding and dying he clung to his horse and passed out of the city. His dead body was subsequently found alongside of the road a half-mile west of the city.

[As Marshal Connelly fell, Bob and Emmett Dalton - successfully escaping the First National Bank - ran down a side alley and into 'Death Alley' from the north.] When the two Daltons reached the junction of the alleys they discovered F.D. Benson in the act of climbing through a rear window with a gun in his hand. Divining his object, Bob fired at him point blank at a distance of not over thirty feet. The shot missed Mr. Benson, but struck a window and demolished the glass. Bob then stepped into the alley and glanced up towards the tops of the buildings as if he suspected that the shots that were being fired at the time were coming from that direction. As he did so, the men at Isham's took deliberate aim at him from their position in the store and fired. The notorious leader of the Dalton gang evidently received a severe if not fatal wound at this moment. He staggered across the alley and sat down on a pile of dressed curbstones near the city jail. True to his desperate nature he kept his rifle in action and fired several shots from where he was seated. His aim was unsteady and the bullets went wild. He arose to his feet and sought refuge alongside of an old barn west of the city jail, and leaning against the southwest corner, brought his rifle into action again and fired two shots in the direction of his pursuers. A ball from Mr. Kloehr's rifle struck the bandit full in the breast and he fell upon his back among the stones that covered the ground where he was standing.

After shooting Marshal Connelly, Grat Dalton made another attempt to reach his horse. He passed by his fallen victim and had advanced probably twenty feet from where he was standing when he fired the fatal shot. Turning his face to his pursuers, he again attempted to use his Winchester. John Kloehr's rifle spoke in unmistakable tones another time, and the oldest member of the band dropped with a bullet in his throat and a broken neck.

Emmett Dalton had managed to escape unhurt up to this time. He kept under shelter after he reached the alley until he attempted to mount his horse. A half-dozen rifles sent their contents in the direction of his person as he undertook to get into the saddle. Emmett succeeded in getting into the saddle, but not until he had received a shot through the right arm and one through the left hip and groin. During all this time he had clung to the sack containing the money they had taken from the First National Bank. Instead of riding off, as he might have done, Emmett boldly rode back to where Bob Dalton was lying, and reaching down his hand, attempted to lift his dying brother on the horse with him. 'Its no use,' faintly whispered the fallen bandit, and just then Carey Seamen fired the contents of both barrels of his shot-gun into Emmett's back. He dropped from his horse, carrying the sack containing over twenty thousand dollars with him, and both fell near the feet of Bob, who expired a moment thereafter."

Elliott, David Stewart, Last Raid of the Daltons and Battle With the Bandits (1892), Horan, James D. and Paul Sann, Pictorial History of the Wild West (1954).

"The Dalton Gang's Last Raid, 1892" EyeWitness to History, www.eyewitnesstohistory.com (2001).

22 July 2012

Maybe not what we were expecting, but…

...as Rico stated in his post, other than the two of us, we did have two more attendees.
Even though this was a dismal turnout, it was the middle of summer at high noon on a Saturday, so I guess we should be grateful we got two. Anyway, it seems we do have other interested persons, who just couldn’t make it to this meeting. So I am staying optimistic that we can grow this organization.

21 July 2012

Well, that was pathetic...

...but at least it's a start.
Rico says the long-planned organizational meeting was attended by a whopping four potential members (including Four-Eyed Jack and Rico, so really only two), but at least it didn't rain.
We did discuss what we need to do to move forward, and in what manner.
We will be investigating forming Six-Gun Justice, LLC, in order to protect the membership, and determining what our fees will be (per performer) for performing and what percentage of that will be retained by the organization (for promotion and blank procurement) and what percentage will be passed on to the participants.
We all agreed that blanks will not be made by individuals, but bought by the organization and handed out to the performers at each event. This will improve our insurance coverage (through both the RGA and the manufacturer of the blanks) and ensure safety of both the performers and our clients.
All interested parties are invited to contact Four-Eyed Jack at foureyedjack@hotmail.com or Rico at henry_fardan@boxbe.com to join the group.

29 June 2012

Planning Meeting for Six-Gun Justice

We will be having an organizational meeting of a new cowboy reenactor group, Six-Gun Justice, in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania at noontime on 21 July 2012. Bring lunch if you want it, a notebook and pen, but no firearms. (The locals get nervous.)
Email me to get directions. Don't forget to park across Lancaster Avenue in the grocery store parking lot; cross (carefully) at the light, and look for the big American flag in the back of the manor house.
Hope to see you there and as many people as you can bring with you!

Four Eyed Jack
Director, Six-Gun Justice

23 May 2012

A Cowboy in Dodge City, 1882

 For over twenty years after the Civil War, cowboys coaxed herds of cattle along arduous trails from the Texas grasslands north to the railheads in Kansas. At the end of the trail lay the infamous cow towns, the "Sodoms of the plains", places such as Abilene, Hays City, Wichita, Ellsworth, and Dodge City. After following a slow moving herd of cattle along a dusty trail for as long as three months, these towns offered the cowboy a place to take a bath, gamble, find a woman, eat some good food, and let off some steam. The towns accommodated their visitors with a liberal attitude towards their boisterous behavior. There were limits, however, and the towns hired enforcers to maintain a semblance of law and order. Law officers such as Wyatt Earp, Wild Bill Hickok, Luke Short, and Bat Masterson became legends.
The prosperity of these towns continued only as long as the railroad provided a railhead. As the railroad moved farther west the towns fizzled while another took its place. Some, like Newton, Kansas, lasted only one season. Dodge City lasted much longer, but when the railroads pushed their tracks into Texas and closer to the grazing land, Dodge's days as a cattle town ended.

Entering Dodge City

Andy Adams' family moved from Georgia to Texas soon after the Civil War. He always wanted to take part in one of the great cattle drives north. In 1882, the dream of the twenty-three year old became reality when he was hired as a drover on a drive from the Rio Grande River to Northwestern Montana. The journey began on 1 April and lasted five months. Andy kept a journal of his adventure that was published in book form in 1903. We join Andy as the herd arrives at Dodge City, Kansas three months after the beginning of the drive:
"On reaching Dodge, we rode up to the Wright House [a general store, hotel and restaurant], where Flood [the trial boss] met us and directed our cavalcade across the railroad to a livery stable, the proprietor of which was a friend of Lovell's [the owner of the cattle]. We unsaddled and turned our horses into a large coral and while we were in the office of the livery, surrendering our artillery, Flood came in and handed each of us twenty-five dollars in gold, warning us that when that was gone no more would be advanced. On receipt of the money we scattered like partridges before a gunner. Within an hour or two, we began to return to the stable by ones and twos, and were stowing into our saddle pockets our purchases which ran from needles and thread to .45 cartridges, every mother's son reflecting the art of the barber, while John Officer has his blond mustache blackened, waxed, and curled like a French dancing master. 'If some of you boys will hold him,' said Moss Strayborn, commenting on Officer's appearance, 'I'd like to take a god smell of him, just to see if he took oil up there where the end of hs neck's haired over.' As Officer already had several drinks comfortably stowed away under his belt, and stood up strong six feet two, none of us volunteered.
After packing away our plunder, we sauntered around town, drinking moderately, and visiting the various saloons and gambling houses. I clung to my Bunkie, The Rebel, during the rounds, for I had learned to like him, and had confidence he would lead me into no indiscretions. At the Long Branch, we found Quince Forest and Wyatt Roundtree playing the faro bank, the former keeping cases. They never recognized us, but were answering a great many questions, asked by the dealer and lookout, regarding the possible volume of the cattle drive that year. Down at another gambling house, The Rebel met Ben Thompson, a faro dealer not on duty and an old cavalry comrade, and the two cronied around for over an hour like long lost brothers, pledging anew their friendship over social glasses, in which I was always included. There was no telling how long this reunion would have lasted, but happily for my sake Lovell- who had been asleep all the morning- started out to round us up for dinner with him at the Wright House, which was at that day a famous hostelry, patronized almost exclusively by the Texas cowmen and cattle buyers."

Gun Fire at the Lone Star Dance Hall

The Texans made the rounds of the gambling houses, stopped at the Long Branch Saloon, and then back to the Wright House for dinner. They filled their afternoon with much of the same. When night fell, they congregated at the Lone Star dance hall, where months on the trail and a day of drinking led to confrontation: "Quince Forrest was spending his winnings as well as drinking freely, and at the end of a quadrille gave vent to his hilarity in an old fashioned Comanche yell. The bouncer of the dance hall of course had his eye on our crowd, and at the end of a change, took Quince to task. He was a surly brute, and instead of couching his request in appropriate language, threatened to throw him out of the house. Forrest stood like one absent-minded and took the abuse, for physically he was no match for the bouncer, who was armed, moreover, and wore an officer's star. I was dancing in the same set with a red-headed, freckled-faced girl, who clutched my arm and wished to know if my friend was armed. I assured her that he was not, or we would have noticed of it before the bouncer's invective was ended. At the conclusion of the dance, Quince and The Rebel passed out, [left the dance hall] giving the rest of us the word to remain as though nothing was wrong. In the course of half an hour, Priest returned and asked us to take our leave one at a time without attracting any attention, and meet at the stable.
I remained until the last and noticed The Rebel and the bouncer taking a drink together at the bar, the former in a most amiable mood. We passed out together shortly afterward, and found the other boys mounted and awaiting our return, it being now about midnight. It took but a moment to secure our guns, and once in the saddle, we rode through the town in the direction of the herd. On the outskirts of the town, we halted. 'I'm going back to that dance hall,' said Forrest, 'and have one round at least with that whore-herder. No man who walks this old earth can insult me, as he did, not if he has a hundred stars on him. If any of you don't want to go along, ride right on to camp, but I'd like to have you all go. And when I take his measure, it will be the signal to the rest of you to put out the lights. All that's going come on.'
There were no dissenters to the program. I saw at a glance that my Bunkie was heart and soul in the play, and took my cue and kept my mouth shut. We circled round the town to a vacant lot within a block of the rear of the dance hall. Honeyman was left to hold the horses; then, taking off our belts and hanging them on the pommels of our saddles, we secreted our six-shooters inside the waistbands of our trousers. The hall was still crowded with the revelers when we entered, a few at a time, Forrest and Priest being the last to arrive. Forrest had changed hats with The Rebel, who always wore a black one, and as the bouncer circulated around, Quince stopped squarely in front of him. There was no waste of words, but a gun-barrel flashed in the lamplight, and the bouncer, struck with the six-shooter, fell like a beef. Before the bewildered spectators could raise a hand, five six-shooters were turned into the ceiling. The lights went out at the first fire, and amidst the rush of men and the screaming of women, we reached the outside, and within a minute were in our saddles. All would have gone well had we returned by the same route and avoided the town; but after crossing the railroad track, anger and pride having not been properly satisfied, we must ride through the town.
On entering the main street, leading north and opposite the bridge on the river, somebody of our party in the rear turned his gun loose into the air. The Rebel and I were riding in the lead, and at the clattering of hoofs and shooting behind us, our horses started on the run, the shooting by this time having become general. At the second street crossing, I noticed a rope of fire belching from a Winchester in the doorway of a store building. There was no doubt in my mind but we were the object of the manipulator of that carbine, and as we reached the next cross street, a man kneeling in the shadow of a building opened fire on s with a six-shooter. Priest reined in his horse, and not having wasted cartridges in the open-air shooting, returned the compliment until he emptied his gun. By this time every officer in the town was throwing lead after us, some of which cried a little too close for comfort. When there was no longer any shooting on our flanks, we turned into a cross street and soon left the lead behind us. At the outskirts of the town we slowed up our horses and took it leisurely for a mile or so, when Quince Forrest halted us and said: "I'm going to drop out here and see if any one follows us. I want to be alone, so that if any officers try to follow us up, I can have it out with them."
As there was no time to lose in parleying, and as he had a good horse, we rode away and left him. On reaching camp, we secured a few hours' sleep, but the next morning, to our surprise, Forrest failed to appear. We explained the situation to Flood, who said if he did not show up by noon, he would go back and look for him. We all felt positive that he would not dare to go back to town; and if he was lost, as soon as the sun arose he would be able to get his bearings. While we were nooning about seven miles north of the Saw Log, some one noticed a buggy coming up the trail. As it came nearer we saw that there were two other occupants of the rig besides the driver. When it drew up old Quince, still wearing The Rebel's hat, stepped out of the rig, dragged out his saddle from under the seat, and invited his companions to dinner. They both declined, when Forrest, taking out his purse, handed a twenty-dollar gold piece to the driver with an oath. He then asked the other man what he owed him, but the later very haughtily declined any recompense, and the conveyance drove away.
'I suppose you fellows don't know what all this means,' said Quince, as he filled a plate and sat down in the shade of the wagon. 'Well, that horse of mine got a bullet plugged into him last night as we were leaving town, and before I could get him to Duck Creek, he died on me. I carried my saddle and blankets until daylight, when I hid in a draw and waited for something to turn up. I thought some of you would come back and look for me sometime, for I knew you wouldn't understand it, when all of a sudden here comes this livery rig along with that drummer- going out to Jetmore, I believe he said. I explained what I wanted, but he decided that his business was more important than mine, and refused me. I referred the matter to Judge Colt, and the judge decided that it was more important that I overtake this herd. I'd have made him take pay, too only he acted so mean about it.'"
Adams, Andy, The Log of a Cowboy: A Narrative of the Old Trail Days (1903); Brown, Mark and W.R. Felton, Before Barbed Wire (1956).
A Cowboy in Dodge City, 1882, EyeWitness to History, www.eyewitnesstohistory.com (2000).

30 April 2012

Wild Bill Hickok, 1869

clip_image001[4]The exploits of Wild Bill Hickok, spread by word-of-mouth and embellished by dime novels, would shape the popular image of America's frontier. Tall, lean, muscular, with long blond hair falling to his shoulders and two pistols shoved into his belt, wearing a law man's badge on his chest, he personified the image of the Western hero for both his and later generations.
One incident in particular had a major impact on the birth of an icon of the Old West: the gunfight in which two lone gunman face off in the middle of a dusty street. There is no evidence that these shootouts occurred with any frequency in the West; after all, who in their right mind would participate in such a dangerous enterprise? However, an incident in Springfield, Missouri, soon after the close of the Civil War, did much to inspire the myth.
There was no love lost between Hickok and Dave Tutt. During the Civil War, Hickok fought for the Union and Tutt for the Confederacy. Their enmity only increased when both became interested in the same woman. The matter came to a head when Tutt stole Hickok's pocket watch during a poker game, and bragged he would parade through Springfield's town square wearing his rival's prized possession. At the announced time, Hickok stood in the square and warned Tutt not to proceed. Unfazed, Tutt boldly strode towards his enemy and pulled his pistol. Hickok simultaneously drew his pistol and fired. Tutt fell dead. Hickok quickly turned and leveled his gun towards a crowd of Tutt's supporters who had gathered nearby, warning them not to interfere. They took the hint.
Later, when Hickok became the law in such wide-open towns as Abilene and Hays City, both in Kansas, his reputation alone was often sufficient to persuade dusty cowhands to think twice about disrupting the peace.
However, his fame was a double-edged sword; to some, killing a man of such repute was a trophy worth having. During the afternoon of 2 August 1876, Hickok sat playing poker in the Number Ten saloon in Deadwood, Dakota Territory. Abandoning his usual precaution of always sitting with his back to a wall and engrossed in the game, he failed to notice Jack McCall sneaking in through a back door. McCall calmly approached Hickok from behind, raised his pistol and shot him dead, for reasons still not fully understood.

In 1869, thirty-two-year-old Hickok was marshal of Hays City, Kansas. Miguel Otero witnessed one of the exploits that would make Hickok a legend:
I was an eye-witness to Wild Bill Hickok's encounter with Bill Mulvey, and shall relate the details as they linger in my mind:
I was standing near Hickok on Main Street, when someone began 'shooting up the town' at the eastern end of the street. It was Bill Mulvey, a notorious murderer from Missouri, known as a handy man with a gun. He had just enough red liquor in him to be mean, and he seemed to derive great amusement from shooting holes into the mirrors, as well as the bottles of liquor behind the bars, of the saloons in that section of the street. As was usually the case with such fellows, he was looking for trouble, and when someone told him that Hickok was the town marshal and therefore it behooved him to behave himself, Mulvey swore that he would find Hickok and shoot him on sight. He further averred that the marshal was the very man he was looking for, and that he had come to the 'damn'd town' for the express purpose of killing him.
The tenor of these remarks was somehow made known to Hickok. But hardly had the news reached him than Mulvey appeared on the scene, tearing toward us on his iron-grey horse, rifle in hand, full cocked. When Hickok saw Mulvey he walked out to meet him, apparently waving his hand to some fellows behind Mulvey and calling to them: 'Don't shoot him in the back; he is drunk.'
Mulvey stopped his horse and, wheeling the animal about, drew a bead on his rifle in the direction of the imaginary man he thought Hickok was addressing. But, before he realized the ruse that had been played upon him, Hickok had aimed his six-shooter and fired, just once. Mulvey dropped from his horse dead, the bullet having penetrated his temple and then passed through his head."
Miguel Otero's account appears in Otero, Miguel, My Life on the Frontier 1864-1882 (1936).

15 April 2012

Testimony of Sheriff Behan on the shootings at the OK Corral

Tombstone Daily Epitaph, October 1881

Investigation into the Cause of the Recent Killing
Following is a verbatim copy of the testimony given before the Coroner's Jury in relation to the shooting of the McLowry brothers and the Clantons, up to the time of adjournment, last evening. At the rate of progress made yesterday, the investigation is liable to last for a week.
The Coroner's Jury was composed of the following: T.P. Hudson, D. Calisher, M. Garrett, S.B. Comstock, J.C. Davis, Thomas Moses, C.D. Reppy, F. Hafford, George H. Haskell, M. S. Goodrich.
The Testimony
"John H. Behan, being sworn says; I am Sheriff, and reside in Tombstone, Cochise County, Arizona; I know the defendants Wyatt Earp and John H. Holliday; I know Virgil and Morgan Earp; I knew Thomas McLaury, Frank McLaury, and William Clanton; I was in Tombstone on 26 October, when a difficulty, or shooting affray, took place between the parties named. The first I knew that there was likely to be any trouble, I was sitting in a chair getting shaved in a barber shop; it was about half past one or two, it may have been later, but not much; saw a crowd gathering on the corner of Fourth and Allen Streets; someone in the shop said there was liable to be trouble between the Clantons and the Earps; there was considerable said about it in the shop and I asked the barber to hurry up and get through, as I intended to go out and disarm and arrest the parties; after I had finished in the barber shop I crossed over to Hafford's Corner; saw Marshal Earp standing there and asked what was the excitement; Marshal Earp is Virgil Earp; he said there were a lot of sonss of bitches in town looking for a fight; he did not mention any names; I said to Earp, you had better disarm the crowd; he said he would not, he would give them a chance to make the fight. I said to him: It is your duty as a Peace Officer to disarm them rather than encourage the fight; I don't remember what reply he gave me, but I said I was going down to disarm the boys.
"I meant any parties connected with the cowboys who had arms; Marshal Earp, at that time, was standing in Hafford's door; several people were around him; I don't know who; Morgan Earp and Doc Holliday were then standing out near the middle of the street, at or near the intersection of Allen and Fourth Streets; I saw none other of the defendants there; Virgil Earp had a shotgun; with the muzzle touching the door-sill, down at his side; I did not see arms on the others at the time; I then went down Fourth Street to the corner of Fremont, and there met Frank McLaury holding a horse and talking to somebody; I greeted him; I said to him... (defendants here objected to any conversation between witness and Frank McLaury, court overruled the objection at this time) I told McLaury that I would have to disarm him, as there was likely to be trouble in town and I propose to disarm everybody in town that had arms. He said he would not give up his arms as he did not intend to have trouble; I told him that he would have to give up his pistol, all the same; I may have said gun, as gun and pistol are synonymous terms; about that time I saw Ike Clanton and Tom McLaury down the street below Fly's Photography Gallery; I said to Frank, 'Come with me;' we went down to where Ike Clanton and Tom were standing; I said to the boys: 'You must give up your arms!' Billy Clanton and Will Claiborne; I said to them: 'Boys you have got to give up your arms.' Frank McLaury demurred; I don't know exact language; he did not seem inclined, at first, to give up his arms. Ike told me he did not have any arms.
"I put my arm around his waist to see if he was armed, and found he was not; Tom McLaury showed me by pulling his coat open, that he was not armed, I saw five standing there and asked them how many there were of them; they said four of us; this young man, Claiborne said he was not one of the party; he wanted them to leave town; I said boys you must go up to the Sheriff's office and take off your arms and stay there until I get back; I told them I was going to disarm the other party; at that time I saw the Earps and Holliday coming down the sidewalk, on the south side of Fremont Street; they were a little below the post office; Virgil, Morgan, and Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday were the ones; I said to the Clantons, wait there for awhile, I see them coming down, I will go and stop them; I walked up the street twenty-two or twenty-three steps and met them at Bauer's Butcher Shop, under the awning in front, and told them not to go any farther, that I was down there for the purpose of arresting and disarming the McLaury's and the Clantons; they did not heed me and I threw up my hands and said: go back, I'm the Sheriff of this county and am not going to allow any trouble if I can help it; they brushed past me and I turned and went with them, or followed them two steps or so in the rear as they went down the street, expostulating with them all the time; when they arrived within a very few feet of the Clantons and the McLaurys I heard one of them say, I think it was Wyatt Earp: "You sons of bitches, you have been looking for a fight and now you can have it,' about that time I heard a voice say 'Throw up your hands;' during this time I saw a nickel-plated pistol pointed at one of the Clanton party, I think Billy, My impression at the time was that Doc Holliday had a nickel-plated pistol; I will not say for certain that Holliday had it; these pistols I speak of were in the hands of the Earp party; when the order was given, 'Throw up your hands,' I heard Billy Clanton say: 'Don't shoot me, I don't want to fight,' Tom McLaury at the same time threw open his coat and said, 'I have nothing,' or 'I am not armed;' he made the same remark and the same gesture that he made to me when he first told me he was not armed; I can't tell the position of Billy Clanton's hands at the time he said, ' I don't want to fight,' my attention was directed just at that moment to the nickel-plated pistol; the nickel-plated pistol was the first to fire, and another followed instantly; these two shots were not from the same pistol, they were too nearly instantaneous to be fired from the same pistol; the nickel-plated pistol was fired by the second man from the right; the second shot came from the third man from the right. The fight became general.
"Two of the three fired shots were very rapid after the first shop; by whom I do not know; the first two shots fired by the Earp party; I could not say by whom; the next three shots I thought at the time came from the Earp party; this was my impression at the time from being on the ground and seeing them; after the party said, 'Throw up your hands;' the nickel-plated pistol went off immediately; I think V.W. Earp said, 'Throw up your hands;' there was a good deal of fighting and shouting going on. I saw Frank McLaury staggering on the street with one hand on his belly and his pistol in his right; I saw him shoot at Morgan Earp, and from the direction of his pistol should judge that the shot went in the ground; he shot twice there in towards Fly's Building at Morgan Earp, and he started across the street; heard a couple of shots from that direction; did not see him after he got about half way across the street; then heard a couple of shots from his direction; looked and saw McLaury running and a shot was fired and he fell on his head; heard Morgan say, 'I got him;' there might have been a couple of shots afterwards; but that was about the end of the fight; I can't say I knew the effect of the first two shots; the only parties I saw fall were Morgan Earp and Frank McLaury. My impression was that the nickel-plated pistol was pointed at Billy Clanton; the first man that I was certain that was hit was Frank McLaury, as I saw him staggering and bewildered and knew he was hit; this shortly after the first five shots; I never saw any arms in the hands of any of the McLaury party except Frank McLaury and Billy Clanton; I saw Frank McLaury on the sidewalk, within a very few feet of the inside line of the street; did not see a pistol in the hands of any of the McLaury party until eight or ten shots had been fired; Frank was the first of the party in whose hands I saw a pistol; Ike Clanton broke and ran after the first few shots were fired; Ike, I think, went through Fly's; the last I saw of him he was running through the back of Fly's towards Allen Street."
At the conclusion of the above testimony the court adjourned until 9 o'clock the following morning.

03 April 2012

Transcript of Wyatt Earp’s testimony about the OK Corral shooting

From the Tombstone Daily Epitaph, the statement of Wyatt Earp on 17 November 1881

Q. What is your name and age?
A. Wyatt S. Earp; 32 last March.
Q Where were you born?
A. Monmouth, Warren County, Illinois.
Q. Where do you reside and how long have you resided there?
A. Tombstone; since 1 December 1879.
Q. What is your business or profession?
A. Saloon keeper; have also been employed as a deputy sheriff, and also as a detective.
Q. Give any explanation you may think proper of the circumstances appearing in the testimony against you, and state any facts which you think will tend to your exculpation.
A. The difficulty between the deceased and myself originated first when I followed Tom McLowry and Frank McLowry, with Virgil and Morgan Earp and Captain Hearst and four soldiers to look for six government mules which were stolen. A man named Estes told us at Charleston that we would find the mules at McLowry's ranch, that the McLowry’s were branding D. S. over the U. S. We tracked the mules to McLowry's ranch, where we also found the brand. Afterwards some of those mules were found with the same brand. After we arrived at McLowry's ranch there was a man named Frank Patterson who made some kind of a compromise with Captain Hearst. Captain Hearst came to us boys and told us he had made this compromise and by so doing he would get the mules back. We insisted on following them up. Hearst prevailed upon us to go back to Tombstone, and so we came back. Hearst told us two or three weeks afterwards that they would not give up the mules to him after we left, saying they only wanted to get us away: that they could stand the soldiers off. Captain Hearst cautioned me and Virgil and Morgan to look out for those men; that they had made some threats against our lives. About one month after that, after those mules had been taken, I met Frank and Tom McLowry in Charleston. They tried to pick a fuss out of me, and told me that if I ever followed them up again as close as I did before that they would kill me.
Shortly after the time Budd Philpot was killed by those men who tried to rob the Benson stage, as a detective I helped trace the matter up, and I was satisfied that three men, named Billy Leonard, Harry Head, and Jim Crane were in that robbery. I know that Leonard, Head, and Crane were friends and associates of the Clantons and McLowrys and often stopped at their ranches.
It was generally understood among officers, and those who have information about criminals, that Ike Clanton was a sort of chief among the cowboys; that the Clantons and McLowrys were cattle thieves, and generally in the secrets of the stage robbers; and that the Clanton and McLowry ranches were the meeting place, and place of shelter, for the gang.
I had an ambition to be sheriff of this county next election, and I thought it would be a great help to me with the people and the business men if I could capture the men who killed Philpot. There were rewards offered of about $1,200 each for the robbers. Altogether there was about $3,600 offered for their capture. I thought that this amount might tempt Ike Clanton and Frank McLowry to give away Leonard, Head, and Crane; so I went to Ike Clanton and Frank McLowry, when they came to town. I had an interview with them in the back yard of the Oriental saloon. I told them what I wanted. I told them I wanted the glory of capturing LeonardHead, and Crane; if I could do so, it would help me make the race for sheriff next election. I told them if they would put me on the track of LeonardHead, and Crane, tell me where those men were hid, I would give them all the reward, and would never let anybody know where I got the information. Ike Clanton said that he would be glad to have Leonard captured, that Leonard claimed a ranch that he claimed, and if he could get him out of the way he would have no opposition about the ranch.
Ike Clanton said that LeonardHead, and Crane would make a fight, that they would never be taken alive, and that I must first find out if the reward would be paid for the capture of the robbers dead or alive. I then went to Marshal Williams, the agent of Wells, Fargo & Co. in this town, and at my request he telegraphed to the agent of Wells, Fargo & Co. at San Francisco to find out if the reward would be paid for the robbers dead or alive. He received in June of 1881 a telegram which he gave me, promising that the reward should be paid dead or alive. I showed this telegram soon after I got it to Ike Clanton in front of the Alhambra.
I told them that the dispatch has come. I went to Marshal Williams and told him I wanted to see the dispatch for a few minutes. He went to look for it and could not find it, but went over to the telegraph office and got a copy of it, and he came back and gave it to me. I went and showed it to Ike Clanton and Joe Hill and returned it to Marshal Williams, and afterwards told Frank McLaury of it's contents.
It was then agreed between us that they should have all the $3,600 reward, outside of necessary expenses for horses in going after them, and Joe Hill should go to where LeonardHead, and Crane were hid, over near Eureka, in New Mexico, and lure them in near Frank and Tom McLowry's ranch near Soldier Holes, thirty miles from here, and I would be on hand with a posse and capture them. I asked Joe Hill, Ike Clanton, and Frank McLowry what tale they would make to them to get them over here. They said they had agreed upon a plan to tell them that there would be a paymaster going from Tombstone to Bisbee shortly to pay off the miners, and that they wanted them to come in and take them; Ike Clanton then sent Joe Hill to bring them in; before starting, Joe Hill took on his watch and chain and between two and three hundred dollars in money, and gave it to Virgil Earp to keep for him until he got back. He was gone about ten days and returned with the word that he had got there a day too late; that Leonard and Head had been killed the day before he got there by horse thieves. I learned afterward that the thieves had been killed subsequently by members of the Clanton and McLowry gang.
Ike Clanton and Frank McLowry said I had given them away to Marshal Williams and Doc Holliday, and when they came in town they shunned us, and Morgan and Virgil Earp and Doc Holliday and myself began to hear of their threats against us.
I am a friend of Doc Holliday because, when I was city marshal of Dodge City, Kansas, he came to my rescue and saved my life, when I was surrounded by desperadoes. A month or so ago, Morgan and I assisted in the arrest of Stillwell and Spence on the charge of robbing the Bisbee stage. The McLowrys and Clantons have always been friendly with Spence and Stillwell, and they laid the whole blame of their arrest on us, though the fact is, we only went as a sheriff's posse. After we got in town with Spence and Stillwell, Ike Clanton and Frank McLowry came in. Frank McLowry took Morgan into the middle of the street where John Ringgold, Ike Clanton, and the Hicks boys were standing, and commenced to abuse Morgan for going after Spence and Stillwell. Frank McLowry said he would never speak to Spence again for being arrested by us. He said to Morgan: "If ever you come after me, you will never take me." Morgan replied that if he ever had occasion to go after him he would arrest him. Frank McLowry then said to him: "I have threatened you boys' lives, and a few days ago I had taken it back, but since this arrest it now goes." Morgan made no reply, and walked off.
Before this and after this, Marshal Williams, Farmer Daly, Ed Burns, and three or four others, told us at different times of threats made to kill us by Ike Clanton, Frank McLowry, Tom McLowry, Joe Hill, and John Ringgold. I knew that all these men were desperate and dangerous cattle thieves, robbers, and murderers. I knew of the Clantons and McLowrys stealing six government mules. I heard of Ringgold shooting a man down in cold blood near Camp Thomas. I was satisfied that Frank and Tom McLowry killed and robbed Mexicans in the Skeleton Canyon two or three months ago, and I naturally keep my eyes open, and I did not intend that any of the gang should get the drop on me if I could help it.
Three or four weeks ago, Ike Clanton met me at the Alhambra and told me that I had told Holliday about this transaction, concerning the capture of Head and Leonard. I told him I'd never told Holliday anything. I told him when Holliday came up from Tucson I would prove it. Ike Clanton said that Holliday had told him so; when Holliday came I asked him and he said no; I told him that Ike Clanton had said so.
On the 25th of October, Holliday met Ike Clanton in the Alhambra saloon and asked him about it. Clanton denied it, and they quarreled for three or four minutes. Holliday told Ike Clanton he was a damned liar, if he said so. I was sitting eating lunch at the time. They got up and walked out on the street. I got through and walked out, and they were still talking about it. I then went to Holliday, who was pretty tight, and took him away. Then I came back alone and met Ike Clanton. He called me outside and said his gun was on the other side of the street at the hotel. I told him to leave it there. He said he would make a fight with Holliday anytime he wanted to. I told him Holliday did not want to fight, but only to satisfy him this talk had not been made.
I then went away and went to the Oriental, and in a few minutes Ike Clanton came over with his six-shooter on. He said he was not fixed right; that, in the morning, he would have man for man that this fighting talk had been going on for a long time, and it was about time to fetch it to a close. I told him that I wouldn't fight no one if I could get away from it. He walked off and left me, saying: "I will be ready for all of you in the morning." He followed me into the Oriental, having his six-shooter in plain sight. He said: "You musn't think I won't be after you all in the morning." Myself and Holliday walked away and went to our rooms.
I got up the next day, 26 October, about noon. Before I got up, Ned Boyle came to me and told me that he met Ike Clanton on Allen Street, near the telegraph office, that morning; that Ike was armed; that he said: "As soon as those damned Earps make their appearance on the street today, the battle will open," That Ike said,"We are here to make a fight, we are looking for the sons of bitches." Jones came to me after I got up and went to the saloon, and said: "What does all this mean?" I asked what he meant. He says: "Ike Clanton is hunting you Earp boys with a Winchester rifle and a six-shooter." I said: "I will go down and find him and see what he wants." I went out and, on the corner of Fourth and Allen Streets, I met Virgil Earp, the marshal. He told me how he had heard that Ike Clanton was hunting us. I went up Allen Street, and Virgil went down Fifth Street and then Fremont Street. Virgil found Ike Clanton on Fourth Street in an alley. He walked up to him and said, "I hear you are hunting for some of us." Ike Clanton then threw his Winchester rifle around towards Virgil.
Virgil grabbed it and hit Clanton with his six-shooter and knocked him down. Clanton had his rifle, and his six-shooter was exposed in his pants. By that time I came up, and Virgil and Morgan took his rifle and six-shooter away and took them to the Grand Hotel after the examination, and took Ike Clanton before Justice Wallace. Before the investigation, Morgan had Ike Clanton in charge, as Virgil was out. A short time after I went into Wallace's court and sat down on a bench.
Ike Clanton looked over to me and said: "I will get even with all of you for this. If I had a six-shooter I would make a fight with all of you." Morgan then said to him: "If you want to make a fight right bad I will give you this one", at the same time offering Ike Clanton his own six-shooter. Ike Clanton started to get up to take it, when Campbell, the deputy sheriff, pushed him back on his seat, saying he wouldn't allow any fuss. I never had Ike Clanton's arms at any time, as he has stated.
I would like to describe the position we occupied in the courtroom at that time. Ike Clanton sat down on a bench, with his face fronting to the north wall of the building. I myself sat down on a bench that was against the north wall right in front of Ike. Morgan stood up against the north wall with his back against the north wall, two or three feet to my right. Morgan had Ike Clanton's Winchester in his left hand and his six-shooter in his right hand; one end of the rifle was on the floor. Virgil was not in the court room any of the time, and Virgil came there after I walked out. I was tired of being threatened by Ike Clanton and his gang.
I believed from what they had said to others, and to me, and from their movements, that they intended to assassinate me the first chance they had, and I thought if I had to fight for my life against them, I had better make them face me in an open fight. So I said to Ike Clanton, who was then sitting about eight feet away from me, "you damned dirty cur thief, you have been threatening our lives, and I know it. I think I should be justified shooting you down any place I should meet you, but if you are anxious to make a fight, I will go anywhere on earth to make a fight with you, even over to the San Simon among your own crowd." He replied, "all right, I will see you after I get through here. I only want four feet of ground to fight on." I walked out and just then outside the court room, near the justice's office, I met Tom McLowry. He came up to me and said: "If you want to make a fight, I will make a fight with you anywhere." I supposed at the time he had heard what had first transpired between Ike Clanton and me. I knew of his having threatened me and I felt just as I did about Ike Clanton, that, if the fight had to come, I had better have it come when I had an even show to defend myself, so I said to him all right "make a fight right here", and at the same time I slapped him in the face with my left hand, and drew my pistol with my right. He had a pistol in plain sight on his right hip, but made no move to draw it. I said to him: "Jerk your gun and use it." He made no reply, and I hit him on the head with my six-shooter and walked away down to Hafford's. I went into Hafford's and got a cigar, and came out and stood by the door. Pretty soon after, I saw Tom McLowry, Frank McLowry, and William Clanton. They passed me and went down Fourth Street to the gunsmith shop. I followed down to see what they were going to do. When I got there, Frank McLowry's horse was standing on the sidewalk with his head in the door of the gunshop. I took the horse by the bit, as I was deputy city marshal, and commenced to back him off the sidewalk. Frank and Tom McLowry and Billy Clanton came to the door. Billy Clanton had his hand on his six-shooter. Frank McLowry took hold of the horse's bridle. I said: "You will have to get this horse off the sidewalk." He backed him off on the street. Ike Clanton came up about that time and they all walked into the gunsmith's shop. I saw them in the shop changing cartridges into their belts. They came out of the shop and walked along Fourth Street to the corner of Allen Street. I followed them as far as the corner of Fourth and Allen Streets, and then they went down Allen Street and over to Dunbar's corral. Virgil was then city marshal; Morgan was a special policeman for six weeks, wore a badge, and drew pay. I had been sworn in Virgil's place to act for him while Virgil was gone to Tucson about Stillwell and Spence on the charge of robbing the Bisbee stage. Virgil had been back several days, but I was still acting. I know it was Virgil's duty to disarm those men. He suspected he would have trouble in doing so; and I followed up to give assistance if necessary, especially as they had been threatening us, as I have already stated. About ten minutes afterwards, while Virgil, Morgan, Doc Holliday and myself were standing in the center of Fourth and Allen Streets, several persons said: "There is going to be trouble with those fellows", and one man named Coleman said to Virgil: "They mean trouble. They have just gone from Dunbar's corral into the O.K. Corral, all armed. I think you had better go and disarm them." Virgil turned around to Doc Holliday, Morgan, and myself and told us to come and assist him in disarming them. Morgan said to me: "They have horses; had we not better get some horses ourselves, so that if they make a running fight we can catch them?" I said: "No, if they try to make a running fight we can kill their horses, and then capture them." We four then started through Fourth to Fremont Street. When we turned the corner of Fourth and Fremont Streets, we could see them standing near or about the vacant space between Fly's photograph gallery and the next building west. I first saw Frank McLowry, Tom McLowry, Billy Clanton, and Sheriff Behan standing there. We went down the left hand side of Fremont Street. When I got within about a hundred and fifty feet of them I saw Ike Clanton, Billy Claiborne, and another party. We had walked a few steps further when I saw Behan leave the party and come towards us; every few steps he would look back, as if he apprehended danger. I heard Behan say to Virgil: "For God's sake, don't go down there or you will get murdered." Virgil replied: "I am going to disarm them", he, Virgil, being in the lead. When Morgan and I came up to Behan, he said: "I have disarmed them." When he said this I took my pistol, which I had in my hand, under my coat, and put it in my overcoat pocket. Behan then passed up the street, and we walked on down. We came up on them close, Frank McLowry, Tom McLowry, and Billy Clanton standing all in a row against the east side of the building on the opposite side of the vacant space west of Fly's photography gallery. Ike Clanton and Billy Claiborne and a man I did not know were standing in the vacant space about halfway between the photograph gallery and the next building west. I saw that Billy Clanton and Frank McLowry and Tom McLowry had their hands by their sides and Frank McLowry's and Billy Clanton's six-shooters were in plain sight. Virgil said: "Throw up your hands. I have come to disarm you." Billy Clanton and Frank McLowry had their hands on their six-shooters. Virgil said: "Hold! I don't mean that; I have come to disarm you." They, Billy Clanton and Frank McLowry, commenced to draw their pistols, at the same time Tom McLowry threw his hand to his right hip and jumped behind a horse.
I had my pistol in my overcoat pocket where I had put it when Behan told us he had disarmed the other party. When I saw Billy and Frank draw their pistols, I drew my pistol. Billy Clanton leveled his pistol at me, but I did not aim at him. I knew that Frank McLowry had the reputation of being a good shot and a dangerous man, and I aimed at Frank McLowry. The two first shots which were fired were fired by Billy Clanton and myself; he shot at me, and I shot at Frank McLowry. I do not know which shot was first; we fired almost together. The fight then became general. After about four shots were fired Ike Clanton ran up and grabbed my arm. I could see no weapon in his hand and thought at the time he had none, and so I said to him: "The fight has now commenced; go to fighting or get away." At the same time I pushed him off with my left hand. He started and ran down the side of the building and disappeared between the lodging house and the photograph gallery. My first shot struck Frank McLowry in the belly. He staggered off on the sidewalk but first fired one shot at me. When we told them to throw up their hands, Claiborne held up his left hand, and then broke and ran. I never saw him afterwards until later in the afternoon, after the fight. I never drew my pistol or made a motion to shoot until after Billy Clanton and Frank McLowry drew their pistols. If Tom McLowry was unarmed, I did not know it. I believe he was armed and that he fired two shots at our party before Holliday, who had the shotgun, fired at and killed him. If he was unarmed there was nothing to the circumstances or in what had been communicated to me, or in his acts or threats, that would have led me even to suspect his being unarmed.
I never fired at Ike Clanton, even after the shooting commenced, because I thought he was unarmed and I believed then, and believe now, from the acts I have stated, and the threats I have related, and other threats communicated to me by different persons, as having been made by Tom McLowry, Frank McLowry, and Isaac Clanton, that these men, last named, had formed a conspiracy to murder my brothers Morgan and Virgil and Doc Holliday and myself. I believe I would have been legally and morally justified in shooting any of them on sight, but I did not do so or attempt to do so; I sought no advantage. When I went as deputy marshal to help disarm them and arrest them, I went as a part of my duty and under the direction of my brother the marshal.
I did not intend to fight unless it became necessary in self defense, and in the performance of official duty. When Billy Clanton and Frank McLowry drew their pistols, I knew it was a fight for life, and I drew and fired in defense of my own life and the lives of my brothers and Doc Holliday.
I have been in Tombstone since 1 December 1879. I came here from Dodge City, Kansas, where, against the protest of business men and officials, I resigned the office of City Marshal, which I had held from 1876. I came to Dodge City from Wichita, Kansas. I was on the police force in Wichita from 1874 until I went to Dodge City.
The testimony of Isaac Clanton that I had anything to do with any stage robbery, or any criminal enterprise, is a tissue of lies from beginning to end. Sheriff Behan made me an offer in his office on Allen Street, and in the back room of the cigar store, that if I would withdraw and not try to get appointed sheriff of Cochise county, that we would hire a clerk and divide the profits. I done so; and he never said another word to me afterward in regard to it. The reasons given by him here for not complying with his contract, are false.
I give here as a part of this statement, a document sent me from Dodge City since my arrest, and marked Exhibit A, and another document sent me from Wichita, since this arrest, which I wish attached to this statement. and marked Exhibit B.
Myself and Doc Holliday happened to go to Charleston the night that Behan happened to go down to subpoena Ike Clanton. We went there for the purpose of getting a horse that had been stolen from us a few days after I came to Tombstone. I had heard several times that the Clantons had him. When I got there that night, I was told by a friend of mine that the man that carried the dispatch from Charleston to Ike Clanton's ranch had my horse. At this time I did not know where Ike Clanton's ranch was. A short time afterward I was in the Huachucas, locating some water rights. I had started home to Tombstone, and had got within twelve or fifteen miles of Charleston, when I met a man named McMasters. He told me that, if I would hurry up, I would find my horse in Charleston. I drove to Charleston, and saw my horse going through the streets toward the corral. I put up for the night at another corral. I went to Barnett's office, to get out papers to recover the horse. He was not at home, having gone to Sonora to see some coal fields that had been discovered. I telegraphed to Tombstone, to James Earp, and papers were made out and sent to Charleston that night. While I was in town, waiting for the papers, Billy Clanton found out I was there. He went and tried to take the horse out of the corral. I told him that he could not take him out, that it was my horse. After the papers came he gave the horse up without the papers being served, and asked me "if I had any more horses to lose". I told him I would keep them in the stable after this, and not give him a chance to steal them.
In one of the conversations I had with Ike Clanton about giving away Leonard, Head, and Crane, I told him one reason why I wanted to catch them was to prove to the citizens of Tombstone that Doc Holliday had nothing to do with it, as there were some false statements circulated to that effect. In following the trail of LeonardHead, and Crane we struck it at the scene of the attempted robbery, and never lost the trail or hardly a footprint from the time that we started from Drew's ranch on the San Pedro, until we got to Helm's ranch, in the Dragoons. After following about eight miles down the San Pedro river and capturing one of the men, named King, that was supposed to be in with them, we then crossed the Catalina mountains within fifteen miles of Tucson, following their trail around the front of the mountain after they had crossed over to Tres Alamos, on the San Pedro river. We then started out from Helm's ranch and got on their trail. They had stolen fifteen or twenty head of stock so as to cover their trail. Morgan, R.H. Paul, Breckenridge, Johnny Behan, and myself and one or two others still followed the trail up into New Mexico. Their trail never led south from Helm's ranch, as Ike Clanton has stated. We used every effort we could to capture these men. I was out ten days. Virgil and Morgan were out sixteen days, and we done all we could to capture these men, and I safely say if it had not been for myself and Morgan, they would not have got King, as he started to run when we rode up to his hiding place, and was making for a big patch of brush on the river, and would have got in it if it had not been for us.

Defense Exhibit A
To All Whom It May Concern, Greetings:
We, the undersigned citizens of Dodge City in Ford County, Kansas, and vicinity do by these presents certify that we are personally acquainted with Wyatt Earp, late of this city; that he came here in the year 1876; that, during the years of 1877, 1878, and 1879 he was Marshal of our city; that he left our place in the fall of 1879; that during his whole stay here he occupied a place of high social position and was regarded and looked upon as a high-minded, honorable citizen; that, as Marshal of our city, he was ever vigilant in the discharge of his duties, and, while kind and courteous to all, he was brave, unflinching, and on all occasions proved himself the right man in the right place.
Hearing that he is now under arrest, charged with complicity in the killing of those men termed "Cow Boys". From our knowledge of him, we do not believe that he would wantonly take the life of his fellow man, and that if he was implicated, he only took life in the discharge of his sacred trust to the people; and earnestly appeal to the citizens of Tombstone, Arizona, to use all means to secure him a fair and impartial trial, fully confident that when tried he will be fully vindicated and exonerated of any crime.
R.M. WrightLloyd ShinnM.W. SuttonGeorge F. HinkleJ.W. LiellowF.C. ZimmermanG.W. PotterThomas S. JonesA.B. WeberC.M. BeesonGeo. EmersonA.H. BoydJ.H. PhilipsR.G. CookWright, Beverly & Co.Herman F. FringeyO.W. WrightMarch and SonW.W. RobinsH.P. WeissFred T. M. WenirR.C. BurnsH.M. BellT.L. McCartyD.E. FrostBeeson and HarrisRepresentative, Ford CountyProbate Judge, Ford County, KansasCounty Attorney, Ford County, KansasSheriff, Ford County, KansasFord County CommissionerFord County Treasurer and Tax CollectorClerk of Ford CountyPolice Judge and Attorney at LawMayor of Dodge City, KansasCity Council of Dodge City, KansasDeputy County Treasurer of Ford CountyU.S. CommissionerDodge City MerchantsPostmaster of Dodge City, KansasPastor of the Presbyterian ChurchMerchantsGrocersShoemakerNotary Public and Insurance AgentAttorneyDeputy United States MarshalM.D.Ex-Police JudgeLiquor Dealers, and 35 other citizens signed the paper.

27 March 2012

Six-Gun Justice & RGA safety regulations

Tintype, circa 1870's, courtesy of Thomas Wiederhold; a graphic example of what not to do!

As a performer, you are ultimately responsible for the safety of the viewing audience, the safety of your fellow cast members, and your own safety. The event managers and their crew are responsible for creating and maintaining safe conditions in the environment in which you will be performing, but it is your right and your responsibility to insure the safest of conditions and to double check the setup and guarantee the safety of all involved!
It is each individuals' responsibility to be familiar with, and adhere to, all federal, state, and local laws established in areas you perform or choose to wear a weapon, whether in wardrobe or not. This includes the usage and handling thereof, and the transportation of any and all weapons.
Absolutely no live ammunition will be allowed at any performance location, whether private or sanctioned, or on the person of any performer during the entirety of an event, or while in wardrobe.
Nothing is done without the clearance and approval of the assigned event Safety Officer (SO) at each and every performance. Each team should have a designated SO for all performances as well.
Pyrotechnics will be conducted by licensed and insured experts only, with the approval of event location and assigned event SOs. This includes fireworks, exploding squibs & gerbils, and home-made improvised explosives or fireworks. If you need to make an explosion, a double-barreled shotgun with full loads is the simplest and safest way to go. Once again all federal, state, and local ordinances must be adhered to.
No performer should handle, wear, or use a weapon unless they are familiar with the weapon and know how to load, unload, and/or clean said weapon. Nobody is going to be asked to field-strip the weapon, but, upon request, they must display the capabilities of insuring the weapon is not loaded to the satisfaction of the SO. No one under the age of sixteen can be shot in a show.
Individuals who are between the ages of sixteen and eighteen can enter the Junior Reenactor membership program. This program will help introduce sixteen to eighteen year olds to weapons training for gunfight reenactments. The following requirements are necessary for certification:
* Must always be accompanied by parent or legal guardian (proof required), until the age of eighteen, and parent or guardian must be a member of the RGA in good standing.
* Must be an RGA child member in good standing.
* Must have age verified by documentation (birth certificate, drivers license, etc.).
* Must pay the balance of adult membership for the permit.
* Must attend two competitions and perform a minimum of four shows.
* Must be approved/certified by SO at each competition (four shows), and display their proficiency with the weapon they will be allowed to carry at the two consecutive competitions "during performances only" without a failure rating by SO. Junior performers may be asked questions on gun safety and RGA safety rules orally at any time during the events.
* Must be recommended by three non-related members. Permit is available for download on the website.
Once all above requirements are fulfilled, the certified individual will be allowed to carry a gun until the age of eighteen (when he or she will be eligible for regular membership), while accompanied by their parent or legal guardian at all private shows, events, and competitions. State and federal laws take precedence when the Junior Reenactor is carrying a gun, and it is the responsibility of the guardian to guaranty said laws are followed (see Rule Number Two). Failure to do so will result in dismissal from the RGA. A regular membership card will be issued upon completion when the permit is submitted to the Director.
Blanks and dummy loads with live primers are not to be carried or worn casually by any performer, either in their pockets or in the loops of a cartridge belt. All loaded blanks and performance ammunition will be carried in an ammo box, preferably metal, for the entire team by a designated team SO or armorer. These containers should always be available for event SO inspection. The containers should only be opened during test fire or splatter tests in the designated loading/unloading area with permission of the SO, or during that teams performance window.
Note: Performance window is ten minutes before showtime and/or until released from the performance or loading area by SO.
All blanks used should adhere to the established safety distances of fifteen feet for pistol and twenty-five feet for shotguns. No crimped brass will be allowed in performances. All dropped guns that make contact during a fall, or guns that come to rest on the ground when someone takes a shot reaction, are to be considered “dead" guns. All guns that may come into play off a dead player must stay in holster, and that person should fall to the opposite side of the holster. Or if the gun is drawn, the gun must come to rest, un-cocked, on the chest or belly of the wounded person.
Dead guns cannot be used for the remainder of the event until they can be cleared for use by the event SO.
*While firing blanks at a fellow performer, the weapon should be pointed towards, but not directly at, a performer and off towards backstage.
* No loaded weapon should ever be pointed at another performer within five feet.
* When firing from sets towards another player who is located toward the audience, thirty feet must be between the viewing audience and the weapon being fired.
Note: If any performer is careless in the use of a weapon, especially firing towards the audience for a laugh, or any intentional purpose to draw attention to his or herself, the judges have the right and obligation to stop the show immediately and discuss disqualification of said performer/team for safety purposes from the competition.
* Safety distances are fifteen feet for pistols and twenty-five feet for shotguns, 180 degrees from the end of the barrel. No firing next to individuals standing, kneeling or lying on the ground within the approved safety distances.
Note: the splatter from a gun can cover a large area depending on the type of blank being fired, so a little more room is better than not enough.

Rule Number Ten: At no time should a gun be handled by any audience member. Explain it as a safety rule and an insurance matter. They will have to understand.
* You may pull a weapon out to show those who may be curious. You may display your weapon by holding it against your chest, pointing upwards, or holding it up out to the side, pointing towards the sky, for a photo.
* Never cock your weapon for a photo and, if you point a gun towards a camera, it should be a minimum of twenty feet away. Never hold a gun on an audience member for a photo.

Note: All re-enactors should use a leather hammer thong or string of leather over the hammer of pistols in a holster. We understand that this is not considered authentic, but this is a safety issue when dealing with the public. There are too many stupid people and curious kids out there.

Rule Number Eleven: A safety perimeter should be established for any and all performances. A stage, dance floor, streets on a parade route, or an arena can all be designated and used as a perimeter. When large crowds, and especially small children, are present, ropes and/or safety tape should be used. All performers should be conscious of the audience and their location to insure the safety of all. Stopping a show to correct a safety issue can be done by a SO, a judge, or a performer by yelling out an established word like “safety”. This will let everyone know that something is not right, and all actors should freeze until the situation can be rectified. Also, a disclaimer should be used to start any and all performances.
As an example: "Ladies and gentlemen, the blanks our performers are using can be quite loud, and are filled with a powerful powder charge that can burn, maim, and/or even kill at close range. This is why we ask that you remain in your present location until the show has been declared over and all guns have been picked up. All of you with children present, please insure that they are under your control at all times. We only ask this to insure their safety and the safety of our performers." A simple disclaimer like this can protect us against lawsuits and will help make audience members aware of our safety consciousness.

Rule Number Twelve Any and all weapons & equipment (whips, knives, swords, breakable bottles, boards, etc.) should be serviceable and safe in all manners. Whipsnappers should be changed regularly, and any knife used in a fight scene or worn by anyone falling down should have a safe, rounded edge. Knives that are considered tools may have an edge, but should never be used in a show where falls may occur for that character.

Rule Number Thirteen Fires are subject to all federal, state, and local ordinances. Fires are allowed only with permits, (if required), owner/manager permission, and the approval of event manager/coordinator and SO. You must have a 5 gal bucket of water at hand and a small fire extinguisher for emergencies. You must return the area to its original condition when breaking down. Fires must be completely extinguished before leaving the area. All fire pits will be covered and/or buried, and please save the sod so it can be replaced. Fires should be attended at all times. Large audiences or high traffic areas should use a rope as a perimeter around areas with fires, to keep folks from knocking something over or getting burned.

Rule Number Fourteen This should already be an accepted practice of each and every group, but here it is in writing so there will be no misunderstandings: at no time during any performance (private functions, events, or competitions) should any performer be under the influence of any drug, illegal or legal, including alcohol. After you have completed your performance and all guns have been secured for the evening, then and only then should adults of legal age decide to imbibe in accordance with local laws and regulations. Individuals who are carrying weapons and appear to be inebriated will be asked to leave the area immediately. Upon the review of the board, individuals who have a problem abiding by the safety rules related to alcohol and drugs can lose the right to membership permanently, and will only be considered for re-application after presenting documentation of rehabilitation. This is serious, folks!

Rules & guidelines for all animals & livestock: The owners are ultimately responsible for all animals brought to an RGA event.
*Horses must have a current negative Coggins test; dogs must have current state-regulated vaccinations, etc. The SO may ask for papers proving both/either at his or her discretion. Failure to provide documentation may result in the removal of the animal(s) in question.
*All animals, whether ridden, led, or driven, must not be skittish around gunfire during any and all performances. Animals must be cleared by the SO prior to the event, and the intended use of the animal must be clearly detailed. Safety checks for animals can be accomplished during splatter tests to prove that the animal is conditioned to gunfire and thereby not a safety threat.
*Unattended animals shall be tied, secured, or enclosed to protect visitors. The SO has the final say on a case-by-case basis. Their requests are to be adhered to or removal of animal and/or owner may be requested for non-compliance.

Note: The Safety Officer, State Rep, and/or Event Manager each have authority to request the removal of any animal brought on location, if the animal’s behavior is deemed as disruptive or dangerous in any way to the general public and/or performers/performances (ie. biting, kicking, barking, growling, etc.). They also have the authority to request an owner to modify their own behavior with said animal in terms of abuse or dangerous activity; cruelty to animals, dangerous use of animals, or being in an unauthorized location will not be tolerated! Failure to comply could result in the removal of animal and/or owner if requested.

Final note:
These rules have been established to reduce the level of possibility of an accident. As professionals, we must adhere to maintaining a safe environment for all reenactors and any and all of the viewing audience. If your individual groups feel it necessary to expand these rules, or implement rules that are more stringent for your own performances, please feel free to do so. If a safety concern is discovered that you feel needs to be reviewed or considered, provide an example in writing and submit it to your state director. The RGA board will give it thorough consideration and, if it is something that they feel is necessary, it will be added to the RGA safety rules and guidelines for all groups and individual members to adhere to.
Any violation of the safety rules in a competition will result in point deductions, and a verbal reprimand will be issued to the performing group or individual involved. Any obvious neglect of the RGA safety rules and guidelines, or obvious continued violations by the same group or individual, will result in a review by the RGA board and membership may be in jeopardy. A continued lack of responsibility will not be tolerated, and an individual and/or group can be removed from the role upon the board's request. If asked for a reference from RGA, any and all groups who have shown to have an unsafe performance record will be designated a danger to the public.
It is important that all groups and individual members be able to and have prepared a safety demonstration that can be done at any place and at any time. Safety is and should be our main concern above anything else, and never must 'the show go on' if safety could be a concern, period! Once any necessary corrections have been put into place to ensure the safety of all participants and the general public, then, by all means, let the show go on!

Play safe and have fun!