Today in Old West History

October 1
1849- Texas- the first prisoner, a convicted horse thief from Fayette County, entered the partially completed Texas State Penitentiary at Huntsville. The facility held only three prisoners in 1849, but by 1855 it housed seventy-five convicts, and by 1860, 182. In 1998 there were six prison units in Huntsville, and the Texas Department of Criminal Justice was responsible for more than 146,000 adult inmates at units throughout the state. October 2 On this day in 1862, a vigilante court opened proceedings in the incident that came to be known as the Great Hanging at Gainesville. Forty suspected Unionists were hanged that month, and two others were shot as they tried to escape. Although the affair reached its climax in Cooke County, men were killed in neighboring Grayson, Wise, and Denton counties. Most were accused of treason or insurrection, but evidently few had actually conspired against the Confederacy. Many were even innocent of the abolitionist sentiments for which they were tried.

1858- Arizona Territory- the first Butterfield Overland stagecoach reaches Arizona through Steins's Pass.
1858- Jacob Hall gets the mail contract to take the mail monthly from Kansas City and Stockton, California. His mule teams take about 60 days for the trip.

1859- Kansas- U.S. Commissioner Greenwood signs a treaty with the Sak and Fox Indians at the Sak and Fox Agency.

1863- Nevada Territory- 12 Chiefs of the Western Shoshone Tribe sign a peace treaty with the U.S. at Ruby Valley in Elko County.

1871- Laramie, Wyoming- of 28 gravestones, 19 read "killed".
1872- Arizona Territory- Cochise and the U.S. enter peace talks near Dragoon Springs.

1876- Texas- Texas Ranger John Barclay Armstrong and a company of rangers cornered a band of rustlers and outlaws near Espinoza Lake. Several outlaws escaped but four of them elected to shoot it out and all were killed by Armstrong and his men. Of the four, three are killed and the other is shot four times. Another two rustlers were later shot by a small contingent of Armstrong's command. Armstrong later trailed and arrested John Wesley Harden.

1877- Montana Territory- as snow is falling Colonel Nelson Miles, under a white flag, sends word to Chief Joseph, asking him to surrender and save his people. Chief Joseph says he will consider it, while he hopes a blizzard will cover him in an attempt to make a run for the Canadian border. Chief Joseph accompanies two of Miles's Sioux scouts to talk with Miles but is taken prisoner.

1878- New Mexico Territory- General Lew Wallace is sworn in as governor of New Mexico Territory. He went on to deal with the Lincoln County War, Billy the Kid and write Ben-Hur. His Civil War heroics earned him the moniker “Savior of Cincinnati.

1878- Texas- Billy the Kid and his gang raid the Grzelachowski ranch and latter sell the livestock in Tascosa, Texas.

1894- Al & Frank Jennings Robbed the Rock Island train getting $300 and a turnip-sized pocket watch. The brothers were caught shortly afterwards and got 5 & 7 years respectively. Al & Frank were lawyers and the sons of a judge. After release from prison Al was readmitted to the bar and was a respected lawyer in Oklahoma City. In later life Al moved to California and became an author and film producer. Al died 26 Dec 1961.

1910- Rowena, Texas- the outlaw Bonnie Parker is born.

October 2
1835- the first battle of the Texas Revolution took place as American settlers defeated Mexican cavalry near the Guadeloupe River.

1858- New Mexico Territory- Navajos kill a soldier at Launa Chusca, near Ft. Defiance.

1858- Arizona Territory- the first Butterfield Overland stagecoach reaches Tucson.

1874- Dakota Territory- civilian prospectors with the Custer expedition into the Dakota's Black Hills discover gold on French Creek. Custer sends word to Ft. Laramie with scout Lonesome Charley Reynolds.

1874- Wyoming Territory- President Grant visits Cheyenne.

1877- Montana Territory- Chief Joseph refuses to surrender while being held prisoner and Colonel Miles attacks the Nez Perces. Meanwhile the Nez Perces capture an Army officer and threaten to kill him if Chief Joseph is not released. Nelson releases Chief Joseph. General Howard arrives with reinforcements.

1878- California- Black Bart holds up a Wells Fargo stagecoach 12 miles outside of Ukiah.

1882- Kansas- Fort Dodge was abandoned.

1918- Missoula, Montana- Granville Stuart died. A prospector and cattleman, in 1858 Stuart was one of the first white men to discover gold in the deer Lodge Valley of Oregon country. He later was an active member of the vigilante organization that put an end to Henry Plummer and his band of "Innocents". In the 1870s and 1880s he became a rancher of prominence. In 1884 he formed a band of vigilantes called the "Stranglers" and cleared the eastern ranges of Montana of rustlers and stock thieves.

1983- TV show The Yellow Rose, starring Sam Elliott as Chance McKenzie and Cybil Shepherd as Colleen Champion, premiered on NBC.

October 3
1860- New Mexico Territory- Captain Nelson and a company of the 10th Infantry battle with Navahos in a fight in the Tunicha Mountains.

1860- New Mexico Territory- the 8th Infantry led by Captain Holloway battles 50 Comanches at Chaparita, killing two and "wounding many".

1865- Washington, D.C.- Chief Little Hill addresses the U.S. Senate on the condition of the Winnebagos in Nebraska.

1866- Arizona Territorial Governor McCormick reports bad news at the 3rd territorial legislature at Prescott. The territory has a population of 5,526 and no stagecoach line, the Apaches are on the warpath, and the last year the territory collected only $355 in taxes.

1873- U.S. Army hangs four Modoc Indians on this date for the murder of a Civil War hero General Edward R.S. Canby. On Apr. 11, 1873, as Canby approached a Modoc leader under a flag of truce, Captain Jack raised his rifle and shot Canby to death. Other Modocs opened fire on two others with Canby, one of which managed to get to his horse and escaped, wounded. The murder of General Canby, the only general ever killed by Indians, caused the U.S. Army to launch full-scale attacks against the Modocs, soundly defeating the Indians at Dry Lake a short time later. On May 22, 1873, the Modocs surrendered, offering to lead the soldiers to the hideout of Captain Jack, which they did. Captain Jack was tried for the murders of General Canby and Thomas and, with five others, was found Guilty and sentenced to death. Two of these Indians were reprieved and sent to Alcatraz for life. Captain Jack, Schonchin John, Black Jim, and Bogus Charley were hanged.

1877- Montana Territory- Colonel Nelson Miles delivers another ultimatum to the Nez Perces.

1878- California- Black Bart holds up another Wells Fargo stagecoach, this time 10 miles outside of Potter Valley.

1879- Colorado Territory- troops at Milk Creek are relieved by a regiment of black cavalrymen led by Captain Francis Dodge.

1879- Tombstone, Arizona Territory- the Nugget begins publication.

1880- Maricopa, Arizona Territory- President Hayes meets with Indian Chief.

1900- Wyoming- A black cowboy, Isom Dart, who, with a gang of five other black cowboys, had been rustling cows, was found at his Routt County hideout by Tom Horn. Horn hid behind a large rock and, after Dart and his companions had their breakfast and left their cabin to inspect the cattle pens that held their rustled cattle, Horn fired two shots from a .30-.30 rifle. Both bullets struck Dart's head, shattering his skull and killing him instantly. His five companions raced back to the cabin while Horn mounted his horse and rode away.

October 4
1856- California- a posse led by Judge Belt and Robert Price overcame the outlaw Tom Bell on the trail and decided not to turn him over to officials but to hang him vigilante style. Bell, a brilliant Alabama-born surgeon who had served in the U.S. Army during the Mexican -American War, turned bandit in 1855 and terrorized the California, accepted his fate laconically but asked if he could write two letters, one to his mother, the other to a Mrs. Hood who had harbored him at the Western Exchange Hotel. To his mother the outlaw wrote touchingly: " Dear Mother: I am about to make my exit to another country. I take this opportunity to write you a few lines. Probably you may never hear from me again. If not, I hope we may meet where parting is no prodigal career in this country, I have always recollected your fond admonitions, and if I had lived up to them, I would not have been in my present position; but, dear Mother, though my fate has been a cruel one, yet I have no one to blame but myself. Give my respects to all my old and youthful friends. Tell them to beware of bad associations, and never to enter into any gambling saloons, for that has been my ruin. If my old grandmother is living, remember me to her. With these remarks, I bid you farewell forever. Your only boy, Tom". Possemen came forward with a bottle of whiskey, offering the condemned man a drink. He accepted gratefully, lifting the bottle to his executioners, thanking them for their thoughtfulness. "I have no bitterness toward any one of you," he said. He showed not a bit of nervousness as his hands were tied behind his head and a rope was placed over the limb of a sycamore tree, the other end looped around his neck. He was given a few minutes to pray and this Bell did, lowering his head and quietly saying words only he could hear. He lifted his head and nodded to the possemen as a signal that he was ready. His horse was whipped forward and Tom Bell, California's most dangerous outlaw, swung into space.

1860- Confederates sign treaties with the Seneca, Shawnee, and Cherokee tribes that allowed those Indians to join rebel forces in battle.

1861- Canton, New York- Frederick Remington is born.

1874- Darlington, Texas- Kiowa leader Satanta, known as "the Orator of the Plains," surrenders.

1877- Montana Territory- the Nez Perces negotiate their surrender at Bear Paw Mountains.

1878- John Chisum notes that 10 to 12 of his horses have been stolen by Wrestlers.

1882- Kansas- Frederick Remington returns to the West, this time to a farm where he will be a cowboy by day and a painter by night.

1883- Arizona Territory- Sheriff Bob Paul organized a posse and hunted the Red Jack gang, led by Jack Almer, down one by one for the August 10 stage robbery and murder of the Wells-Fargo guard- Paul and his men unearthed Almer hiding near Wilcox, Ariz., on this date, and shot Almer to pieces when he tried to battle his way to freedom.

October 5
1858- California- the first Butterfield Overland stagecoach crosses the Colorado River into California.

1859- Kansas- U.S. Commissioner Greenwood signs a treaty with the Kansa Indians at the Kansa Agency in Council Grove.

1868- William F. Cody, "Buffalo Bill", joins the 5th Cavalry as chief of scouts.

1871- Abilene Kansas Phil Coe was mortally wounded (and died 3 days later) outside the Alamo Saloon when he fired at Marshal Hickok and missed. Wild Bill didn't miss. He also didn't miss Deputy Marshal Mike Williams (due to poor eye-sight) who accidentally got in the line of fire.

1877- Chief Joseph, whose fighting force was down to 90, surrendered to Generals Nelson Miles and Howard. It was here he made his famous surrender speech ending in "I will fight no more".

1878- Some of Chisums horses and cattle are recovered in a two-day running fight in the Seven Rivers area by a posse engaging the Wrestlers.

1878- Texas- At Johnson's Fork on the Guadeloupe River, four settlers are reported killed in an Indian raid.

1882- Jefferson City, Missouri- Frank James surrenders to Governor T.T. Crittenden. Frank was put on trial but was acquitted.

1892- Coffeyville, Kansas - trying to out do their cousins from the James Gang, the Dalton Gang try to rob two banks at the same time, the Condon Bank and the First National Bank, the gang is decimated in the process. A shootout followed which claimed the lives of eight men: Bill Powers, Bob & Gratton Dalton & Dick Broadwell died in the attempt. Only Emmett Dalton survived and spent 15 years in prison.

October 6
1863- Baxter Springs, Kansas- Quantrill's Raiders defeat Union Cavalry.

1866- Indiana- the Reno gang committed the first train robbery in North America by robbing an Ohio & Mississippi train gaining $10,000. Six months later they robbed the Daviess County treasurer's office at Gallatin, Missouri of $22,000.

1874- Texas- Jim Reed, the husband of Belle Starr is ambushed and killed near Paris.

October 7
1858- Los Angeles, California- 20 days after leaving Tipton (St. Louis), Missouri the Butterfield Overland Mail's Concord stagecoach arrives in Los Angeles. It ran nonstop, day and night over 2,600 miles. The route was Tipton, Missouri to Ft. Smith to Sherman, Texas, to El Paso, to Yuma, New Mexico Territory (?) to Los Angeles. The last leg to San Francisco starts today. A ticket from St. Louis to San Francisco is $150 or 10 cents a mile for any distance along the way.

1868- Boston, Texas- Freedmen's Bureau agent William G. Kirkman was shot dead, most likely by notorious Reconstruction-era outlaw Cullen Baker. Baker became notorious in the Southwest as a violent opponent of Reconstruction. He received the nickname "Swamp Fox of the Sulphur" because of the area where he grew to manhood. Although he was not the legendary quick-draw artist some have maintained, some writers made much of his prowess with a six-gun, his harassment of the United States Army, and his defense of "Southern honor" during and after the Civil War. Others saw him as a mean, spiteful, alcoholic murderer. Baker himself was killed three months after Kirkman was assassinated.

1870- Elizabethtown, New Mexico Territory- a lynch mob led by Clay Allison hands accused murderer Charles Kennedy. Allison decapitates the body and sticks the head on a pole and displays it in a saloon. Clay Allison had once been a cowhand for Oliver Loving and Charles Goodnight.

1877- Canada- a small band of Nez Perces with White Bird meets Sitting Bull's tribe in Canada and is taken in.

1876- Deadwood, Dakota Territory- the Deadwood Pioneer reports “the town is now quiter than ever before; nobody killed for over three weeks.”

1878- New Mexico Territory- President Hayes declares New Mexico Territory to be in a state of insurrection and authorizes the use of Federal troops.

1887-Oklahoma Territory- outlaw Seaborn Kalijah was taken into custody on January 17, 1887, for selling whiskey to Creek Indians in defiance of local laws. Deputy Marshal Phillips turned the prisoner over to three of his possemen, Henry Smith, Mark Kuykendall, and William Kelly, to take the prisoner to Fort Smith for trial while he attended to another matter in Eufaula. During the night Kalijah broke free from his shackles and grabbed an ax and chopped up Smith and Kuykendall as they slept by the fire. The third man, Kelly, was shot to death and his body mutilated. When Phillips returned the next day he found the bloody remains at the campsite. He followed Kalijah's trail back to the family home where he was promptly arrested. Seaborn Kalijah was taken to Fort Smith where he was hanged for murder on October 7, 1887.

October 8
1864- Kansas- W.G. Coffin, Superintendent of India Affairs signs a treaty with Sauk and Fox and 13 other tribes at Quenemo.

1874- Mohave County, Arizona- Jackson McCracken discovers a silver deposit that will yield $800,000 over 30 years.

1877- New Mexico Territory- a group of rustlers in the Burro Mountains steals horses belonging to Colonel Ledbetter.

1878- Dodge City Kansas- Dora Hand, a saloon singer, was shot and killed as a result of a feud, possibly over Dora between Dodge City mayor James Kelly and a cowboy named James Kennedy. At 4 a.m. a juiced up Kennedy rode up and fired two .45 slugs in the direction of where he thought Kelly was sleeping. The mayor was actually in the post hospital at Ft. Dodge while Dora and friend Fannie Garretson were sleeping in the mayors bed. A posse made up of Sheriff Bat Masterson, Wyatt Earp, Charlie Bassett, Neal Brown, and Bill Tilghman caught Kennedy who was later acquitted, partly due to his remorse. Dora had one of the grandest funerals Dodge ever saw.

1878- Arizona Territory grants the Southern Pacific Railroad a charter allowing its rails to cross the Yuma military reservation.

1879- Missouri- after a 3-year break the James gang hold up the Chicago and Alton train at Glendale, Missouri. The got between $10,000 & $35,000.

1881- Arizona- The "Sandy Bob" stage is robbed by two bandits between Tombstone and Bisbee. The stage was named for the driver, Charles "Sandy Bob" Crouch.

October 9
1858- St. Louis, Missouri- After 23 days and 4 hours the first Butterfield stagecoach from the Pacific coast (San Francisco) reaches St. Louis.

1868- Arizona Territory- Major Alexander reports 13 Indians killed in a fight with U.S. infantry, cavalry, and scouts at Salt River and Cherry Creek.

1868- Ft. Hayes Kansas- General Sheridan calls on the governor to provide an Indian-fighting regiment.

1868- Colorado Territory- Cheyennes and Arapahos on the Arkansas River below Ft. Lyon capture Clara Blinn and her 2 year old son. Clara managed to send word out that said in part: "Whoever you may be, if you will only buy us from the Indians with ponies or anything, and let me come and stay with you until I can get words to my friends, they will pay you well; and I will work for you also, and do all I can for you".

1869- Montana Territory- gold is discovered on Cedar Creek, near Superior.

1869- Arizona Territory- 25 miles from Apache Pass, Apaches attack a mail train and the army detachment protecting it, killing 6 of the group.

1871- New Mexico Territory- outlaw Coal Oil Jimmy and two men stop the Elizabethtown U.S. Mail and Express Coach and make off with $500 from the strong box.
1871- Texas- Governor Edmund J. Davis imposed martial law on Freestone County in response to reports of coercion and fraudulent voting in the county seat, Fairfield, during the election of October 3-6. Martial law was lifted a month later, on November 10. Freestone County was one of four Texas counties in which martial law was declared during Reconstruction.

1872 - The first mail order catalog was delivered. It was only one page but it worked. It was sent out by Mr. Aaron Montgomery of Montgomery Ward catalog and department stores.

1890- South Dakota- the Ghost Dance is performed for the first time in Sitting Bull's camp on the Standing Rock Agency. While Sitting Bull does not believe that warriors can be reborn he does not discourage it as it agitates the whites. Unfortunately Sitting Bull's nephew, Kicking Bear adds a deadly twist- specially decorated white muslin "ghost shirts" that supposedly made the Sioux bullet proof...

October 10
1857- Montana- James and Granville Stuart first enter the territory at Monida Pass. The later became prominent figures in the mining industry.

1858- After 23 days and 23 hours the first Butterfield stagecoach from Missouri reached San Francisco.

1863- The first telegraph line to Denver is completed.

1867- Texas outlaw Cullen Baker stopped a Union supply wagon escorted by a four-man patrol. The driver reached for his pistol but Baker shot him dead and drove off the other soldiers with withering gunfire. He then stole the supply wagon. Baker was now a much-wanted man with a $1,000 reward posted for his capture, dead or alive. More than 600 soldiers were assigned to track the outlaw down and these troopers fanned out in small contingents throughout the territory. One, led by Captain Kirkham, found Baker in Boston, Texas. Kirkham went for his pistol but Baker's lightning draw sent a single bullet into Kirkham's head. Before Kirkham's men could react, Baker jumped on his horse and raced out of town. Baker was later killed in a shootout on Jan. 6, 1869 by a school teacher he had once hung, but cut down too soon, leaving him for dead.

1868- Hays City, Kansas- Wild Bill Hickok prevents a lynching.

1877- The U.S. Army holds a West Point funeral with full military honors for Lieutenant-Colonel George Armstrong Custer. Killed the previous year in Montana by Sioux and Cheyenne Indians at the Battle of the Little Big Horn, Custer's body had been returned to the East for burial on the grounds of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York. Even though Custer graduated in 1861 at the bottom of his class he went on to win national fame as a bold-and some said foolhardy-Civil War commander who eventually became the youngest major general in the U.S. Army.

October 11
1865- Kansas- Fort Fletcher is established, southeast of present day Hays, to protect railroad construction and to guard the Smoky Hill Trail to Colorado.

1877- Bill Longley, outlaw, cowboy, gambler, teamster & saloon keeper was hung for murder of Wilson Anderson. Bill was reputed to have killed 32 men. He wrote before his own hanging "Hanging is my favorite way of dying". Good thing too! The rope slipped the first time the trapdoor opened and Longley's knees drug on the ground. He is successfully rehanged.

1877- Arizona-Clay Calhoun, AKA the Outlaw Exterminator, kills mass-murderer John Allman who was hiding in cliff dwellings. Calhoun turned in the body at Holbrook. The coroner noted that Allman has four aligned bullet holes in the mouth, chest, stomach, and groin.

1878- 70 year old Kiowa chief, Satanta, having been sentenced to the Texas State Penitentiary, killed himself by throwing himself from a second-story balcony. (note: one of his sons later served in the 7th Cavalry!)

1880- J. Frank Hunt was the deputy marshal of Caldwell, Kan., a frontier boomtown. On June 19, 1880, George Flatt, a drunken former lawman was shot to death as he neared a Caldwell restaurant. A man identified as Hunt was seen fleeing the murder scene. Flatt's death was avenged on Oct. 11, 1880, when an unidentified gunman fatally wounded Hunt as he sat near a window at the Red Light saloon and dance hall.

1880- Tombstone, Arizona- Doc Holliday quarrels with John Tyler at the Oriental Saloon. Friends disarm the two and Tyler leaves. Milt Joyce, the saloon owner, orders Doc Holliday to leave but does not return Doc's revolver to him. Holliday returns with another revolver and Joyce hits Doc over the head with a six-gun. In the resulting fight Joyce is shot in the hand and Doc is fined for assault and battery.

1881- California- Black Bart holds up the Lakeview-Redding stagecoach 2 miles from Round Mountain.

1882- San Antonio, Texas- Austin Marshal Ben Tompson settles an old gambling disagreement with Jack Harris, part owner of San Antonio's Vaudeville Theatre and Gambling Saloon. Harris was waiting in his office with a shotgun and Thompson fired through the venetian blinds wounding Harris, then stepped in and finished Harris off. Thompson later resigns as Marshal of Austin.

1884- North Dakota- Prairie fires rage.

October 12
1870- Greeley, Colorado- Horace Greeley visits the city named for him.

1870- Gen. Robert E. Lee died in Lexington, Va., at age 63. Lee spent much of his early military career out west. As a Colonel Lee served as commander of the Department of Texas as well as in temporary command of the Second Cavalry in west Texas.

1872- Arizona Territory- Cochise and General O.O. Howard sign a peace treaty.

1882- Arizona Territory- The Tombstone Epitaph reports that Johnny Ringo is drunk in Galeyville.

1940- Arizona- Cowboy actor Tom Mix dies in a car accident near his ranch in Florence. Driving his single-seat roadster along a straight desert road, Mix apparently ignored warnings that a bridge was out on a shallow gully and was fatally crushed by a heavy suitcase that flew off the rear shelf of his car. A black iron silhouette of a riderless bronco marks the site of Mix's death on the highway about 17 miles south of Florence, Arizona. The so-called "suitcase of death" is preserved at the Tom Mix Museum in Dewey, Oklahoma. Mix had been one of the biggest silent movies stars in Hollywood during the 1920s, appearing in more than 300 westerns and making as much as $10,000 a week. Unlike most of the actors appearing in westerns, Mix had actually worked as a cowboy, served as a soldier during the Spanish-American War, and been a Texas Ranger, so he brought a wealth of real experience to his fictional cowboy characters. In 1906, Mix joined a Wild West show, and that led him to begin acting in motion pictures four years later. Mix's real costar in his movies, "Tony the Wonder Horse," also became very popular. In 1933, he organized Tom Mix's Circus and Wild West Show and helped create The Tom Mix Show on radio.

October 13
1852- England- Lilly Langtry, future actress was born. Langtry, Texas was named in her honor by Judge Roy Bean who was smitten by her, even though he never met her.

1868- Kansas- 4 civilians are killed, 1 is wounded, and 2 women are carried away as captives in the Solomon Valley.

1879- Slocum's Ranch, New Mexico Territory- 11 civilians are reported slain in an Apache raid.

1882- California- Black Bart tries to hold up the LaPorte-Oroville stagecoach 9 miles outside of Strawberry Valley.

October 14
1865- Montana Territory- the first stagecoach to Helena is established.

1865- Kansas- Cheyennes and Arapahos sign a treaty with U.S. Commissioners at a camp on the Little Arkansas River. However, none of the parties to the treaty abide by it.

1869- Colorado Territory- the Denver Pacific's tracks cross Lone Tree Creek.

1877- Lincoln, New Mexico Territory- John Tunstall arrives.

1880- Mexico- Apache chief Victorio and seventy-eight of his men were killed by Mexican troops lead by Colonel Joaquin Terrazas when the troops bottled the Apaches in the Tres Castillo. Earlier in the summer Victorio and his band had been chased out of the Candelarias by two thousand U.S. troops along with a hundred Texas Rangers.

1882- Arizona Territory- Johnny Ringo is found dead in Turkey Creek Canyon. Some said it was a suicide. Billy "the Kid" Claiborne claimed that Buckskin Frank Leslie is the main suspect. Pony Deal said it was Johnny O'Rourke. Others have been blamed as well.

1889- Wyoming- a grand jury is dismissed after failing to indict anyone for the slaying of rustlers Jim Averill and Ella Watson, AKA Cattle Kate, due to lack of evidence.

1890- Denison, Texas- Dwight David Eisenhower was born. He was brought up in Abilene, Kansas. He received an appointment to West Point and later served under Generals John J. Pershing, Douglas MacArthur, and Walter Krueger. After Pearl Harbor, General George C. Marshall called him to Washington for a war plans assignment. He commanded the Allied Forces landing in North Africa in November 1942; on D-Day, 1944, he was Supreme Commander of the troops invading France. After the war, he became President of Columbia University, then took leave to assume supreme command over the new NATO forces being assembled in 1951. Republican emissaries to his headquarters near Paris persuaded him to run for President in 1952. In September 1955, Eisenhower suffered a heart attack in Denver, Colorado. After seven weeks he left the hospital, and in February 1956 doctors reported his recovery. In November he was elected for his second term. He died, after a long illness, on March 28, 1969.

1972- TV show Kung Fu, starring David Carradine as Kwai Chang Caine, premiered on ABC.

October 15
1879- New Mexico Territory- bandits rob an express train leaving Las Vegas and take $2,000 in bills and time checks.

1880- Chihuahua City, Mexico- the day after their victory over Victorio's Apaches, the Mexican militia are cheered in the streets as they waived 28 scalps, 17 of them from women and children.

October 16
1851- Texas- Psychopathic gunfighter "Wild Bill" Longley is born. He was hung 11 October 1877.

1875- "Prairie Prince, the Boy Outlaw; or trailed to His Doom," by Buffalo Bill is printed in the Saturday Evening Post.

1881- Phoenix, Arizona Territory- townspeople demand "Removal or Death for the Apache!".

1884- Dodge City, Kansas- armed with six-guns and a Winchester, marshal Bill Tilghman runs a group of drunken and disorderly cowboys out of town.

1890- South Dakota- Kicking Bear is escorted by the Army from the Standing Rock Agency.

1938- Chicago, Illinois- Billy the Kid, a ballet by Aaron Copland, opens.

October 17
1835- Texas- the Texas Rangers were established as an organization with an initial strength of 150 men. Their duty being the suppression of Indians and the routing of bands of Mexican marauders.

1858- Boulder, Colorado Territory- is founded by gold miners from Nebraska.

1862- Kansas- 13 buildings are burned and 3 residents killed as Quantrill's raiders strike Johnson County. They go on to still wagons from 2 teamsters a few miles south of Shawnee.

1864- Montana Territory- the Sisters of Providence open an Indian boarding school at ST. Ignatius Mission.

1865- Kansas- representatives for Apache, Kiowa, Cheyenne and Arapaho sign a treaty with the same U.S. Commissioners that signed a treaty on the 14th on the Little Arkansas.

1877- Canada- Brigadier General Alfred Terry meets with Sitting Bull in Canada to discuss the Indians' return to the United States.

1881- Gayleville, Arizona Territory- rustlers shoot up the town.

October 18
1861- Utah- the construction of the transcontinental telegraph from Missouri reaches Salt Lake City. Brigham Young sends a telegram to Abraham Lincoln.

1865- Kansas- U.S. Commissioners sign a treaty on the Little Arkansas with Kiowas and Comanches.

1867- The Alaska territory is formally transferred to the U.S. from Russian control.

1868- Kansas- 10th Cavalry kills 10 Indians in skirmish at Beaver Creek.

1868- Wyoming Territory- Vigilantes hang 4 and shoot 2 in Laramie.

1871- Wyoming Territory- 6 miles outside of Cheyenne a freight car for the Colorado Central RR with 600 kegs of gunpowder explodes. No one is injured.

1877- Nebraska- Sam Bass and his men rob a Union Pacific train at Big Springs making off with $60,000 in gold coin. They will be tracked by Charles Bassett and Bat Masterson.

1877- New Mexico Territory- Jesse Evans and sons steal horses belonging to John Tunstall, A.A. McSween, and Dick Brewer from the Brewer Ranch.

1884- Arizona Territory- the Black Canyon stage is robbed.

1886- Arizona Territory- 8 Apaches surrender to Capt. Cooper in the Black River Mountains.

October 19
1869- Virginia City, Nevada Territory- Construction begins on the Sutro Tunnel, a four-mile-long tunnel through the solid rock of the Comstock Lode mining district. One of the richest silver deposits in the world, the Comstock Lode had been discovered by prospectors in 1859, and it quickly became the focus of the most intensive mining activity in the West. The deeper the miners dug the more water they encountered. The purpose of this new tunnel was to drain the water without need for expensive pumps, and the mining companies would also be able to use the tunnel to move men and ore in and out of the mine, greatly reducing transportation costs.

1881- Tucson, Arizona Territory- citizens demand the U.S. Government remove all Apaches from Arizona to Indian Territory.

1882- Caldwell, Kansas- assistant marshal, Henry Brown assumes duties of city marshal while Ben Carr takes a leave of absence.

1890- Arizona Territory- robbers purportedly to be Mexicans rob the Bowie and Soloman stage.

1901- St. Paul, Minnesota- outlaw Jim Younger blew his brains out in a room. He had been paroled a short while before with Cole and failed at trying to sell tombstones and then insurance.

1928- Los Angeles, California- Charles Siringo died. Charles was a noted cowboy, Texas Ranger and Pinkerton Agent and author. He was born in 1855 in Texas.

October 20
1870- Arizona Territory - town site of Phoenix is established.

1871- New Mexico Territory- Coal Oil Jimmy and two others rob a stage near Vermeho.

1877- Las Cruces, New Mexico Territory- Dick Brewer, Charles Bowdre, and Doc Skurlock arrive in town with warrants to arrest Jesse Evans and his gang.

1880- California- Black Bart holds up the Redding, California-Roseburg, Oregon stage 1 mile from the Oregon line.

1889- Douglas, Wyoming- Oil is discovered.

1890- General Nelson Miles recommends that the U.S. government turn its abandoned forts and military posts into schools or reservations.

1903- -the Joint Commission, set up on January 24 by Great Britain and the United States to arbitrate the disputed Alaskan boundary, rules in favor of the United States. The deciding vote is Britain's, which embitters Canada. The United States gains ports on the panhandle coast of Alaska.

October 21
1860- Mississippi- William F. "Billy the Kid" Claiborne is born in Yazoo County. Note this is not "the" Billy the Kid.

1866- Wyoming Territory- Construction is completed on Ft. Phil Kearny.

1867- Kansas- the Medicine Lodge Talks take place. Many leaders of the Kiowa, Comanche and Kiowa-Apache sign the peace treaty. Comanche Chief Quanah Parker refused to accept the treaty terms.

1871- Colorado Territory- Coal Oil Jimmy and 2 pals rob a stage near Trinidad.

1872- Wyoming Territory- The penitentiary in Laramie opens.

1873- Dakota Territory- George A. Custer's command arrives in Lincoln.

1876- Montana Territory- Sitting Bull's camp on the Big Dry River is attack by Colonel Nelson Miles. 5 Indians are killed and 2 enlisted are wounded.

1878- New Mexico Territory- William Bonney and 4 accomplices steal 8 horses from the Grzelachowski ranch.

1889- Butte, Montana- a funeral processing gets lost in thick smelter smoke and ends up somehow at the Centennial Brewery.

1889- Ft. Smith, Arkansas- William Alexander, outlaw, was a Mexican-American who was convicted on this date of murdering his business partner, David C. Steadman. He was spared from the gallows of the "Hanging Judge," Isaac Parker.

1917- Texas- McClesky No. 1 came in. This oil well began the boom in Ranger, Texas. By June 1919 twenty-two wells were being drilled in the area and eight refineries were open or under construction. Ranger may have had 30,000 residents at one time. Pictures from the boom days show derricks sprouting up like trees throughout the town. The boom also brought the usual social accompaniments--gambling houses, brothels, and frequent killings in the oilfields. By 1921, however, the boom was over.

October 22
1836- Texas- Sam Houston was sworn in as the first president of the Republic of Texas.

1859- Kansas- "Camp on Pawnee Fork" and Camp Alert, as Fort Larned was first known, was established as a military post to protect travelers and commerce and mail on the Santa Fe Trail from Indians. It also provided a more centralized point for the distribution.

1876- Nebraska- troops arrive at the Red Cloud Agency to move Sioux to central camps. Near Camp Robinson Red Cloud is forced to surrender all ponies and weapons to the 4th Cavalry. 400 Indians return to the agency.

1877- New Mexico Territory- Charles Bowdrie and Doc Scurlock find the horses stolen from Brewer but due to the number of guards are not able to take them back.

1902- San Antonio, Texas- cowboy turned train robber Camillo Orlando Hanks, AKA Deaf Charley, was killed by lawman Pink Taylor after a saloon brawl. Hanks was one of the most notorious train robbers in the West during the late nineteenth century, often aligning himself with Butch Cassidy's Hole-in-the-Wall Gang. Despite his loss of hearing, Hanks was particularly adroit at covering an entire railroad car full of passengers, as associates stole their possessions.

October 23
1865- Laredo, Texas- Federal troops retake Fort McIntosh from Confederate forces.

1869- Arizona Territory - a mail route is established between Camp McDowell, Phoenix, Florence, Fort Grant, and Tucson.

1876- Indian Territory- Red Cloud and Spotted Tail tour possible reservation sites.

1877- New Mexico Territory- John Tunstall returns to his ranch to learn that his cattle have been stolen.

1881- Las Vegas, New Mexico Territory- Dave Rudabaugh escapes from jail and heads for Mexico.

1882- Tucson, Arizona Territory- 7 dangerous prisoners escape from the county jail.

1883- Texas- the new railroad town of Abilene became the Taylor county seat. Taylor County was organized in 1878 with Buffalo Gap as the original seat. When the Texas and Pacific Railway began to push westward in 1880, several ranchers and businessmen met with H. C. Whithers, the Texas and Pacific track and townsite locator, and arranged to have the railroad bypass Buffalo Gap. They agreed that the route would traverse the northern part of the county and consequently their own land, and that a new town would be established between Cedar and Big Elm creeks east of Catclaw Creek. C. W. Merchant apparently suggested the name Abilene, after the Kansas cattle town. By 1890 the city had a population of 3,194; in 2000 it had 115,930 residents.

October 24
1859- the Territory of Jefferson was created out of the Territory of Kansas and would become the Territory of Colorado in 1861 and a state in 1876.

1879- Captives released by Chief Douglas arrive at Chief Ouray's camp where they are tended by Chipeta, Ouray's wife.

1883- William F. Cody's 11 year old daughter, Orra Maude Cody, dies.

1888- Kansas- White Chief enrolls at the University of Kansas and becomes the first Indian to attend college in Kansas.

October 25
1853- Utah, Territory- Paiute Indians attack U.S. Army Captain John W. Gunnison and his party of 37 soldiers and transcontinental railroad surveyors near Sevier Lake, Utah. Gunnison and seven other men were killed, but the survey party continued with its work and eventually reported its findings to the United States Congress.

1860- Hartford, Connecticut- adventurer Frank Eaton, AKA Pistol Pete, was born.

1864-- Mine Creek, Kansas- Battle at Mine Creek: Although Kansas soldiers saw action in many important engagements of the Civil War, the only major battle fought in Kansas occurred at Mine Creek in Linn County. This battle involved some 25,000 men. The Union Army under Generals Curtis, Blunt, and Pleasanton defeated the Confederate Army under Generals Sterling Price and Marmaduke, ending the threat of a Confederate invasion in Kansas.

1873 - Texas- Lt. John B. Kerr and a detachment of Sixth Cavalry from the Indian Territory were on a scout near Little Cabin Creek, Texas, when they attacked a party of Indian raiders. The army recovered seventy horses and two hundred cattle.

1877- New Mexico Territory- Dick Brewer and posse catch up with Tunstall's stolen cattle 10 miles from the Texas line.

1878- Dull Knife's 150 Cheyennes reach Fort Robinson accompanied by 75 troops. The soldiers provide the Indians food, medicine, and blankets.

1881- Tombstone, Arizona Territory - just after midnight. Several gunmen, including Ike Clanton and Doc Holliday, had gathered for a predawn snack in the lunchroom of the Alhambra. The small-framed Holliday, armed with a six-gun despite the ordinance against carrying firearms (a law few in Tombstone obeyed), approached Clanton and said: "Ike, you threaten the Earps again and you'll have to face me, you and your rotten gang." Clanton sneered and swore at Holliday. "You s.o.b. of a cowboy!" Holliday roared back. "Go get your gun and go to work."

1886- Texas- the Texas State Fair opened on a section of John Cole's farm in north Dallas. A rival organization, the Dallas Exposition, opened its first fair the following day. Both fairs were successful and together drew over 35,000 people a day. Eventually, the two groups decided to merge and form the Texas State Fair and Dallas Exposition, which eventually became the State Fair of Texas.

1891- Arizona Territory- Jacob Walzer, of the "Lost Dutchman Mine" fame died, without revealing his secret.

1921- New York City, New York- buffalo hunter and lawman Bat Masterson diedat his desk while writing a column for the Morning Telegraph where he was sports editor.

October 26
1849- Texas- Camp Gates, the predecessor of Fort Gates, was established by Capt. William R. Montgomery as a stockaded United States cantonment on the north bank of the Leon River above Coryell Creek, about five miles east of the site of present Gatesville. The installation was named for Bvt. Maj. Collinson Reed Gates of New York, who won distinction in the Mexican War. The last of a cordon of posts established in 1849 to protect settlers on the frontier from Indians, the fort was also the first of the line of posts to be abandoned. It was closed in March 1852, once the Indian threat had been removed. Lt. George Pickett, later a Confederate general and leader of "Pickett's Charge" at Gettysburg, was stationed at Fort Gates in 1850-51.

1881- Tombstone Arizona Territory- shootout at the O.K. Corral. Virgil, Wyatt, and Morgan Earp & Doc Holiday kill Billy Clanton, Frank & Tom McLaury. Ike Clanton escaped.

1892- Oklahoma Territory- from the Watonga Republican: "A DESPERADO CAPTURED: Guthrie, O.T., Oct. 17 - United States Marshals Rufe Cannon and J.P. Hunter arrived here tonight with the noted Creek desperado, Captain John Wiley (sic). Wiley killed Deputy Marshal George Thornton a year ago besides several other men during his criminal career."

1909- Connecticut- 48 year old Frederick Remington died.

October 27
1858- New York City, New York- western enthusiast and future president Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt is born.

1864- Bloody Bill Anderson was shot and killed by Union troops.

1873- Joseph F. Glidden applied for patent for barbed wire after he attended a county fair in Illinois where he observed a demonstration of a wooden rail with sharp nails protruding along its sides, hanging inside a smooth wire fence. The advent of Glidden's successful invention set off a creative frenzy that eventually produced over 530 barbed wire patents. It also set the stage for a three-year legal battle over the rights to these patents. When the legal battles were over, Joseph Glidden was declared the winner and the Father of Barbed Wire. Earlier, in 1867, two inventors tried adding points to the smooth wire in an effort to make a more effective deterrent. One example was not practical to manufacture, the other experienced financial problems. In 1868, Michael Kelly invented a practical wire with points which was used in quantity until 1874.

1873- Wichita, Kansas- after rebuilding his dance hall that drunken soldiers had torched a few months before, Gunman Edward T. Beard was immediately at odds with the dreaded gunman Rowdy Joe Lowe, who had built a saloon next to Beard's (winning in a race to see who could build a dance hall first). On this day, Beard, drinking heavily, accused one of his prostitutes, Jo DeMerritt, of stealing from him. DeMerritt threw a bottle at him and fled next door to Lowe's saloon. The drunken Beard followed her, staggered into Lowe's, and in the smoke-filled place mistook another prostitute, Annie Franklin, as being DeMerritt. He fired a shot which struck the woman in the stomach. Lowe then grabbed a shotgun and exchanged shots with Beard. Lowe's shot missed but Beard's bullet grazed Lowe's neck. A stray bullet struck and wounded bystander Bill Anderson who was standing at the bar. Beard fled and Lowe, as drunk as his quarry, went after him. Both men, mounted on horses and racing out of town, had a running gunfight. Lowe caught up with Beard near the river bridge and emptied his shotgun into him, then rode back to town where he turned himself in to the sheriff. Beard was found critically wounded in the arm and thigh, loaded with buckshot. He clung to life for two weeks, but through loss of blood died on Nov. 11, 1873.

1875- Kansas- 5th Cavalry reports that 2 Indians were killed in a fight near Buffalo Station.

1879- California- Black Bart robs a stage coach that runs between Roseburg, Oregon and Redding, California, two miles from Bass Station.

1880- Tombstone, Arizona Territory- a drunken William Brocius Graham, AKA Curly Bill Brocius, killed Tombstone Marshal Fred White when White tried to arrest him. Wyatt Earp upon hearing the shot buffaloed Curly and his partner Pony Deal and put them both in jail.

1880- Ojo Caliente, Texas- 5 members of the 10th Cavalry are killed by Indians.

October 28
1835- Texas- Texans and Mexicans skirmished near San Antonio at the battle of Concepción, the opening engagement in the siege of Bexar. Some ninety Texans under the command of James Bowie and James W. Fannin, Jr., defeated a force of 275 Mexican soldiers and two cannons. Mexican losses included fourteen killed and thirty-nine wounded, some of whom died later. Texas losses included one killed and one wounded.

1866- San Antonio, Texas- Roy Bean married Virginia Chavez. Roy later gain fame as "the Judge" Roy Bean.

1869- Fort McPherson, Nebraska- William F. Cody, the chief scout for the 5th Cavalry returns to the unit for the winter. In the past year he has participated in seven expeditions and nine battles against the Indians.

1869- Texas- on the Fresh Water Fork of the Brazos River, Comanches and Kiowas attacked the camp of a 4th and 9th Cavalry expedition. Capt. John M. Bacon and a detachment of the 4th and 9th Cavalry pursued the Indians for 30 miles and attacked them. Eight Indians were killed, several more wounded, and one Indian girl taken prisoner.

1878- Fort Larned, Kansas- with less travel on the Sante Fe Trail due to the arrival of the railroad in 1870, the garrison is transferred to Fort Dodge.

1880- Texas- detachments of B and K, 10th Cavalry, were on a scout on the Rio Grand, when they were attacked in camp by Indians near Ojo Caliente. Two soldiers were killed.

1890- Strasborg, France- Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show concludes its European Tour.

1901- Kentucky- while traveling with Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show near Lexington, Annie Oakley is seriously injured in a train wreck.

October 29
1854- Texas- a petition for a permanent reservation for the Alabama Indians, signed by tribal leaders, was presented to the Texas legislature. This petition was approved, and the state of Texas purchased land in Polk County for a reservation the same year. The reservation was expanded in 1928, when the federal government purchased an additional 3,071 acres adjoining the original 1,110-acre plot. The deed for this additional land was issued to the Alabama and Coushatta tribes, and the name "Alabama-Coushatta" has been used since 1928 as the official title of the enlarged reservation.

1858- in what will eventually become Denver, Colorado Charles Blake and Andre Williams of Iowa open the first grocery store.

October 30

1857- Texas- Lt Cornelius Van Camp and a detachment of Company I, 2nd Cavalry, from Fort McIntosh pursued and attacked Comanches who had been raiding Laredo, Texas, and captured their horses and equipment.

1864- Montana Territory- Last Chance Gulch is renamed Helena. Eventually, Last Chance Gulch would prove to be the second biggest placer gold deposit in Montana, producing some $19 million worth of gold in just four years. Overnight, thousands of miners began to flood into the region, and the four original discoverers added to their fortunes by establishing the town of Helena to provide them with food, lodging, and supplies. But unlike many of the early Montana mining towns, Helena did not disappear once the gold gave out, which it inevitably did. Located on several major transportation routes, well supplied with agricultural products from an adjacent valley, and near to several other important mining towns, Helena was able to survive and grow by serving the wider Montana mining industry. In 1875, the city became the capital of Montana Territory, and in 1894, the capital of the new state of Montana.

1866- in Lexington, Missouri - the James-Younger gang rob the Alexander & Co Bank of $2,011.50.

1868- Topeka, Kansas- construction begins on the Atchison, Topeka, & Santa Fe Railroad.

1875- New Mexico Territory- the Reverend O.P. Mains persuaded Clay Allison to beat a confession out of Cruz Vega, who was suspected of helping waylay and murder the Reverend F.J. Tolby as the minister was riding the twenty-mile trip between Elizabeth and Cimarron New Mexico Territory. Cruz implicated Manuel Cardenas and then Cruz Vega was hung from a pole and while he slowly strangled to death the compassionate Clay Allison shot him in the back "to put the poor Mex out of his misery." The Allison then had the body taken down; he tied the end of the lynch rope to his saddle and rode through the streets, dragging the body outside of town, over rocks and heavy brush, until the face was unrecognizable. He left Vega's body to rot in the desert. . On November 10th masked men stormed a jail and shot Cardenas to death.

1881- Tombstone, Arizona Territory- hearings are held to determine if a grand jury should decide the fates of the Earps and Doc Holliday following the shootout at the O.K. Corral.

1882- New Orleans, Louisiana- George Ruby, black Reconstruction politician, died of malaria. Ruby was born and educated in the North. He moved to Galveston in 1866 and served with the Freedmen's Bureau. He was elected to the state Senate in 1869 and became one of the most influential men of the Twelfth and Thirteenth legislatures. As Reconstruction came to an end in Texas in 1872-73, Ruby moved to Louisiana. One historian has described Ruby as "the most important black politician in Texas during Reconstruction in terms of power and ability."

October 31
1862- New Mexico Territory- Fort Sumner is established at Bosque Redondo in the Pecos Valley.

1863- Texas- outlaw Tom “Black Jack” Ketchum is born in San Saba County.

1864- Nevada became the 36th state.

1869- Nebraska- William F. Cody is discharged as an army scout.

1871- New Mexico Territory- Bounty hunters kill stagecoach robbers Taylor and Burns near Fort Union.

1912- Uvalde, Texas- Frances Octavia Smith, AKA Dale Evans, is born. singer, songwriter: Happy Trails to You; actress: The Roy Rogers Show, Roy Rogers movies; wife of 'King of the Cowboys' Roy Rogers

Return to main Today in Old West History Menu.
Return to main Lonesome Dove .
If you don't see a menu on the left click here for my main web page.
For western movies, books and music click here.