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Dodge City boot Hill Cemetery, courtesy boot Hill Museum

The first man killed in evade City to be a big, tall, black color negro through the surname of Tex, and also who, despite a little fresh, was inoffensive. The was eliminated by a gambler named Denver. Mr. Kelly had a raised platform in prior of his house, and the darky to be standing in front and also below, in the street, throughout some excitement. There was a group gathered, and also some shots were fired over the top of the crowds when this gambler fired in ~ Texas and he dropped dead. No one knew that fired the shot and they all thought it to be an accident, but years climate the gambler bragged about it. Part say that was among the most unprovoked murders ever committed, and also that Denver had actually not the slightest reason to kill, yet did it the end of pure cussedness once no one to be looking. Others say the men had actually an altercation of part kind, and Denver shot that for are afraid Tex would obtain the fall on him. Anyhow, no one knew who killed him, until Denver bragged around it, a lengthy time afterward, and also a long method from evade City, and also said the shot that in the height of the head just to see him kick.

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The first big killing was down in Tom Sherman’s dance hall, part time afterward, in between gamblers and also soldiers native the fort, in i m sorry row, ns think, 3 or four were killed and also several wounded. One of the wounded crawled off right into the weeds where he was found next day, and, strange to say, he obtained well, return he was shot every to pieces. There to be not lot said around this fight, i think because a soldier through the surname of Hennessey to be killed. He was a bad man and also the bully that the company, and I expect they thought he to be a great riddance.

Before this fight, there was “a guy for breakfast,” to use a common expression, every as soon as in a while, and also this was kept up all through the winter that 1872. It was a typical occurrence; in fact, so many were the killings the it is impossible to remember lock all, and I candlestick only note some of them.

A guy by the name of Brooks, acting assistant-marshal, shot Browney, the yard-master, through the head-over a girl, that course, by the surname of Captain Drew. Browney was eliminated to an old deserted room at the dodge House, and his girl, Captain Drew, waited on him, and indeed she was a faithful nurse. The ball gotten in the back of his head, and also one can plainly see the brains and bloody matter oozing the end of the wound till it mattered over. One of the best surgeons in the united States army attended him. About the second day after the shooting, ns went through this surgeon to watch him.

He and his girl were both crying; he to be crying for something to eat; she was crying due to the fact that she might not give it to him. She said: “Doctor, he wants fat bacon and cabbage and also potatoes and fat greasy beef, and also says he’s starving.” The doctor said come her: “Oh, well, let that have everything he wants. That is just a concern of time, and short time, because that him ~ above earth, however it is astonishing how strong he keeps. Friend see, the ball is in his head, and if i probe for it, it will certainly kill the instantly.”

Now there to be no round in his head. The ball entered one next of his head and came the end the other, simply breaking among the brain or cabinet pans in ~ the back of his head, and this just was broken. The third day and also the fourth day he to be alive, and also the fifth day they take it him eastern to a hospital. As quickly as the old blood and also matter to be washed off, they saw what to be the matter, and he soon gained well and was back at his old task in a couple of months.

A hunter through the surname of Kirk Jordan and also Brooks had a shooting scrape ~ above the street. Kirk Jordan had actually his huge buffalo gun and also would have actually killed Brooks, but the last jumped behind a barrel of water. The ball, lock say, went with the barrel, water and also all, and also came out on the other side, however it had lost that is force. Us hid Brooks under a bed, in a livery stable, until night, when I took him come the fort, and also he do the ft siding following day and took the train because that the East. Ns think this lessons were sufficient for him, together he never came back. Great riddance for everybody.


Soiled Dove or Prostitute

These barrels of water were inserted along the major streets for protection from fire, however they were large protection in several shooting scrapes. This shooting scrapes, the an initial year, ended in the fatality of twenty-five, and also perhaps much more than double that number wounded. Every those killed passed away with their boots on and were buried on boot Hill, but few of the number in coffins, on account that the high price the lumber brought about by the high freight rates. Boot Hill is the greatest and around the most influential hill in evade City and is close to the center of the town. It acquired its surname from the reality that it to be the burying ground, in the beforehand days, the those who died with your boots on. There were about thirty persons buried there, all through their boots on and also without coffins. Now, to defend ourselves and property, we were compelled to organize a Vigilance Committee. Our really best citizens promptly enrolled themselves, and, for a while, the fulfilled the mission come the letter and acted choose a charm, and we to be congratulating ourselves on ours success. The committee only had to resort to extreme measures a couple of times and also gave the hard characters warning to leave town, which they timeless did. But what ns was fear would occur did happen. I had pleaded and argued versus the organization for this reason, namely: hard, negative men retained creeping in and joining till they surcharge the guys who had joined it because that the public great — until they substantially outnumbered the good members, and when lock felt us in power, lock proceeded to usage that power to avenge their grievances and for their own selfish purposes, until it was a farce as well as an outrage on common decency. They gained so notoriously bad and committed so many crimes, that the great members deserted them, and the people emerged in your might and also put a avoid to their doings. They had gone as well far and saw your mistake after it was too late.

The last straw to be the cold-blooded, brutal murder of a polite, inoffensive, laborious negro called Taylor, who drove a hack in between the fort and also Dodge City. Whilst Taylor was in a store, make purchases, a lot of drunken fellows obtained into his wagon and was driving it off. When Taylor ran out and tried to protect against them, they speak a man, by the surname of Scotty, shooting him, and, ~ Taylor fell, several of them preserved pumping lead right into him. This created a huge row, together the negro had been a servant for Colonel Richard I. Dodge, commander of the fort, that took up his cause and sent some of them come the penitentiary.

Scotty got away and was never ever heard of afterward.

When railroads and also other providers wanted fighting males (or gunmen, together they are currently called), to safeguard their interests, they involved Dodge City ~ them, and also here they could sure it is in found. Big sums the money were paid out to them, and also here lock came earlier to spend it.


Cowboys at water tank in dodge City, Kansas.

This all included to Dodge’s notoriety, and many a bunch the gunmen go from evade City. Besides these males being great shots, they did not know what fear was — they had been also well trained by experience and hardships. The buffalo hunters live on the prairie or out in the open, enduring every kinds that weather, and living ~ above wild game, often without bread, and also scarcely ever did they have vegetables of any type of description. Strong, black color coffee was their drink, together water was scarce and hardly ever before pure, and they were often out for six months without seeing within of a house. The cowboys were around as hardy and wild, as they, too, to be in the open up for months without comes in contact with civilization, and also when they got to Dodge City, they made Rome howl. The freighters were about the same kind of animals, perfect fearless. Most of these males were naturally brave, and also their path of life made them an ext so. Indeed, castle did not know fear or any type of such point as sickness-poorly fed and poorer clad; however they enjoyed an excellent pay because that the privations they endured, and when these three aspects got together, through a couple of drinks the red liquor under their belts, you could reckon there to be something doing. They feared neither God, man, nor the devil, and also so reckless they would certainly pit themselves, prefer Ajax, versus lightning, if lock ran right into it.

It had always been the cowboys’ boast and delight come intimidate the officers of every town on the trail, run the policemans out that town, and also run the town themselves, shoot up buildings, v doors and also windows, and even at chaste persons top top the street, simply for amusement, but not for this reason in Dodge. They just tried it a few times, and also they obtained such a dose, they never ever attempted the again. Friend see, here the cowboys to be up versus a tougher crowd 보다 themselves and equally together brave and reckless, and also they were the hunters, and freighters — “bull-whackers” and also “mule-skinners,” they were called. The good citizens of dodge were wise sufficient to choose officers who were same to the emergency. The high public official of the Santa Fe Railroad wrote me number of times not to pick such rough policemans — to gain nice, gentlemanly, young fellows to look after the welfare of Dodge and also enforce the laws.


Dodge City Gathering

I promptly answered them earlier that you have to fight the adversary with fire, and, if we placed in a tenderfoot because that marshal, they would run him the end of town. We had actually to put in men who were an excellent shots and also would sure go come the front as soon as they were referred to as on, and also these desperadoes knew it. The critical time the cowboys test to operation the town, they had chosen your time well. Follow me late in the afternoon was the quiet time in Dodge; the marshal took his remainder then, because that this reason. So the cowboys tanked increase pretty well, jumped your horses, and rode recklessly up and also down front Street shooting their guns and firing v doors and also windows, and also then do a dash because that camp. But prior to they obtained to the bridge, Jack Bridges, our marshal, to be out with a huge buffalo gun, and also he dropped one of them, his steed went on, and also so go the others. It to be a long shot and probably a possibility one, together Jack was numerous hundred yards distant.

There was huge excitement end this. Ns said: “Put me on the jury and I will certainly be chosen foreman and also settle this question forever.” I claimed to the jury: “We must bring in a verdict of justifiable homicide. We space bound to do this to defend our officers and save more killings. The is the best thing we have the right to do for both sides.” Some said that these men had stopped your lawlessness, were trying come get earlier to camp, were almost out of the town limits, and also the officer candlestick to have actually let them go; and also if we changed such a verdict, the stockmen would boycott me, and, rather of my store being headquarters because that the stockmen and selling them more than double the quantity of products that every the other stores offered together, they would certainly quit me entirely and I would sell them nothing.

I said: “I will threat all that. They may be angry at first, yet when castle reflect the if we had condemned the officer for shooting the cowboy, that would offer them encouragement, and they would certainly come over and shoot increase the town, nevertheless of consequences, and also in the end, there would be a dozen killed.” ns was satisfied the component we took would prevent it forever, and so it did. As quickly as the stockmen got over your anger, they came to me and congratulated me on the stand ns took and also said they can see it now in the light i presented it. There was no more shooting increase the town. Strictly orders were offered by the marshal, once cowboys talk in, to take their weapons out the the holsters, and also bring them throughout to light & Beverley’s store, whereby a receipt was offered for them. And, my! what piles there were of them. At time they to be piled increase by the hundred. This order was strictly obeyed and also proved to it is in a grand success because many of the cowboys would continue at when to tank up, and many would have actually been the killings if they could have gained their guns when they to be drunk, but they were never given ago unless the owners were perfect sober.

In the spring of 1878, there to be a huge fight between Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad and also the Denver & Rio Grande, to get possession of and also hold the cool Canyon the the Arkansas River where it comes the end of the mountains just above Canon City, Colorado. Of course, the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe folks concerned Dodge City because that fighters and gunmen. That was natural for castle to carry out so, for whereby in the whole universe were there to be uncovered bitter guys for a desperate encounter the this kind.

Dodge City bred together bold, reckless men, and also it was your pride and also delight come be dubbed upon to perform such work. They were quick and also accurate ~ above the trigger, and also these little encounters preserved them in an excellent training. They were dubbed to arms by the rail agent, Mr. J. H. Phillips. Twenty that the brave boys promptly responded, among whom might be numbered some of Dodge’s most completed sluggers and also bruisers and also dead shots, top by the gallant Captain Webb. They put down your names v a firm resolve to gain to the joint in credible style, in situation of danger. The evade City times remarks:

“Towering prefer a giant among smaller males was one of Erin’s bravest boy whose name is Kinch Riley. Jerry Converse, a Scotchman, descendant native a warlike clan, join the ranking of war. Over there were other braves who joined the ranks, yet we space unable to get a perform of your names. We will certainly bet a ten-cent keep in mind they clear the monitor of every obstruction.”

Which they did in creditable style. Shoot all follow me the line, and only one male hurt! This does it seems to be ~ marvelous, for the variety of shots fired, however the document is true that the story i am about to relate.

This was among the many daring and also dangerous shoot scrapes the Dodge City has ever before experienced, and God knows, she has actually had plenty of of them.


James Masterson

It appears that Peacock and also James Masterson, a 2nd brother that Bat, ran a dance hall together. For some reason, Masterson want to discharge their bar-keeper, Al Updegraph, a brother-in-law the Peacock, i m sorry Peacock refuse to do, over which they had actually serious difficulty; and James Masterson telegraphed his brother, Bat, come come and help him the end of his difficulties. I intend he make his story big, because that he was in good danger if the threats had actually been brought out. Bat thought so, at least, because that he came at once, with a friend.

Soon after ~ his arrival, he observed Peacock and also Updegraph going towards the depot. Bat holloed to them to stop, i beg your pardon I suppose they assumed a challenge, and also each made for the edge of the tiny calaboose across the street. Bat to reduce behind a railroad cut, and the ball opened; and also it to be hot and heavy, for about ten minutes, when parties from each side the the street took a hand. One side was firing across at the other, and also vice versa, the combatants gift in the center. When Updegraph was an alleged to it is in mortally wounded and also his ammunition exhausted, he turned and ran come his side of the street, and, ~ a little, therefore did Peacock, when Bat walked ago to the opposite side and gave himself as much as the officers.

The homes were riddled on every side that the street. Some had three or four balls in them; and also no one seemed to recognize who go the shooting, outside of the parties directly concerned. It caused good excitement, at first, yet the cooler heads thought discretion to be the better part of valor, and, together both parties to be to blame, they resolved the challenges amicably, and also Bat took his brothers away with him. Both parties displayed an excellent courage. They stood up and shot at each other until your ammunition was exhausted. Though every did not contribute directly come the population of boot Hill, over there were countless deeds of violence cursed in evade City’s an initial ten year of life, that paralleled any type of which included a subject for funeral in that primitive burying ground.

Such a instance was the shooting of Dora Hand, a commemorated actress. The death of Dora Hand was an accident; still, it was intended for a cold-blooded murder, so to be accidental only in the victim the suffered. It appears that mayor James Kelly and also a really rich cattleman’s son, who had actually marketed numerous thousand head of livestock in Dodge, during the summer, had a drunken altercation. It did no amount come much, in ~ the time, but, to execute the topic justice, castle say the Kelly did treat Kennedy badly. Anyhow, Kennedy obtained the worst that it. This aroused his half-breed nature. The quietly visited Kansas City, bought that the finest horse the money could secure, and also brought him earlier to Dodge. In the meantime, Mr. Kelly had left his place of abode, on account that sickness, and also Miss Dora Hand to be occupying his residence and also bed.

Kennedy, that course, to be not conscious of this. During the night the his return or around four o’clock following morning, that ordered his horse and went come Kelly’s residence and fired 2 shots v the door, there is no dismounting, and rode away. The round struck miss Hand in the appropriate side under the arm, killing she instantly. She never woke up.

Kennedy took a direction just opposite come his ranch.

The officers had actually reason to believe who go the killing yet did not begin in quest until the afternoon. The police officers in quest were Sheriff Masterson, Wyatt Earp, Charles Bassett, Duffy, and also William Tilghman, together intrepid a posse as ever pulled a trigger. They walk as much as Meade City, where they knew their quarry had to pass and went into camp in a very careless manner. In fact, they arranged so as to completely throw Kennedy off his guard, and also he talk right right into them once he was ordered 3 times to litter up his hands. Rather of law so, he struck his equine with his quirt, once several shots were fired through the officers, one shooting taking impact in his left shoulder, do a attention wound. 3 shots win the horse, killing him instantly. The horse fell partly top top Kennedy, and also Sheriff Masterson said, in pulling him out, he had hold that the injured arm and also could hear the skeleton crunch. No a groan did Kennedy let the end of him, although the ache must have actually been fearful. And all he claimed was, “You sons of b—-, I will certainly get even with you because that this.” Under the skillful operation of Drs. McCarty and also Tremaine, Kennedy recovered, ~ a long sickness. Lock took 4 inches of the bone out, close to the elbow. That course, the eight was useless, yet he offered the various other well enough to kill several people afterward, yet finally met his death by who a small quicker top top the create than himself. Miss out on Dora Hand was a commemorated actress and would have made her note should she have actually lived.

One Sunday night in October 1883, there to be a deadly encounter between two negroes, Henry Hilton and N***er Bill, 2 as brave and also desperate characters as ever belonged to the fancy race. Some said they to be both win on the same girl and this was the cause.

Henry was under bonds for murder, of i beg your pardon the adhering to is the circumstances. Black Henry to be the owner that a ranch and a little bunch of cattle. Comes in with a many white cowboys, they began joshing Henry, and one of lock attempted to litter a rope end him.

Henry warned castle he would certainly not stand any type of such rough therapy if he to be a n***er. He did this in a dignified and also determined manner. When one speak up and lassoed him, almost jerking that from his horse, Henry pulled his gun and also killed him. About half of the cowboys claimed he to be justifiable in killing his man; it was self-defense, for if he had not eliminated him, that would have actually jerked the from his horse and also probably eliminated Henry.

Negro invoice Smith to be equally brave and had been tried much more than once. They to be both found, locked in each other’s arms (you can say), the following morning, lying on the floor in prior of the bar, their empty six-shooters lie by the next of every one. The affair should have occurred sometime after ~ midnight, but no one was on hand to view the fight, and also they died without a witness.

T. C. Nixon, the assistant city marshal, was murdered through Dave Mather, known as “Mysterious Dave,” top top the evening of July 21st, 1884. The cause of the shooting was on account of one altercation in between the 2 on the Friday evening previous. In this instance, the is alleged, Nixon had fired on Mather, the shot taking no effect.

On the complying with Monday evening, Mather referred to as to Nixon, and also fired the deadly shot. This circumstance is mentioned as one of the cold-blooded deeds, generally taking ar in frontier days. And, together usual, to use the French proverb for the cause, “Search the woman.”

A wild story of the plains is an account the a terrible crime cursed in Nebraska, and the story seems almost incredible. A young Englishman, violating the confidence of his friend, a ranchman, is uncovered in bed through the latter’s wife. This proceeds for some months until, in the latter component of might 1884, one of the cowboys, who had actually a grievance against Burbank, surprised him and also Mrs. Wilson in a compromising situation and reported it to the woman’s husband, who jealousy had currently been aroused. In ~ night, Burbank was captured while sleep in bed, by Wilson and also three of his men, and also bound before he had any type of show to do resistance.

After mutilating him in a shocking manner, Burbank had been stripped of every bit of clothing and also bound ~ above the earlier of a wild bronco, i m sorry was started off by a vigorous lashing. Prior to morning, Burbank came to be unconscious, and also was, therefore, unable to phone call anything around his devastating trip.

He think the outrage to be committed top top the night of might 27th, and also he was rescued ~ above the morning the June 3rd, which would make seven days that he had been traveling about the levels on the horse’s back, there is no food or drink, and also exposed come the sun and also wind. Wilson’s ranch is two hundred miles from the spot where Burbank was found, however it is hardly probable that the bronco took a straight course, and, because of this must have actually covered many an ext miles in his wild journey. When fully restored to health, Burbank proposed to do a visit the retaliation top top Wilson, but it is unknown what took place.

The young male was unconscious once found, and also his recovery was slow. The details, in full, the the story, would certainly lend credence to the tale; but this contemporary Mazeppa suffered a greater ordeal 보다 the orthodox Mazeppa.

This story is vouched for as true, and it is published in this pages as an example of plains’ civilization.

“Odd characters” would hardly to express the an interpretation of the term, “bad men” — the pistol shooters of the frontier days; and also many of this men had actually a habitation in evade City. There to be Wild Bill, that was tenderness in manner; Buffalo Bill, who was a typical plains gentleman; Cherokee Bill, v too many Indian qualities to it is in designated otherwise; Prairie Dog Dave, uncompromising and also turbulent; secret Dave, that stealthily employed his time; Fat Jack, a jolly fellow and also wore an excellent clothes; Cock-Eyed Frank, credited with drown a male at evade City; netherlands Henry, a guy of passive nature, but a slick one in horses and also murders; and also many rather too plenty of to mention; and also many that them, no doubt, have paid the penalty of their crimes.

Several times, in these pages, the “dead line” is mentioned. The term had two meanings, in early Dodge phraseology. One was used in link with the cattle trade; the various other referred come the deeds of violence which to be so constant in the border town, and also was an imaginary line, running east and also west, southern of the railroad track in evade City, having certain reference to the danger of happen this line after nine o’clock of one evening, owing to the vicious personality of certain citizens who haunted the south side. If a tenderfoot overcome this “dead” heat after the hour named, the was most likely to become a “creature of circumstances”; and also yet, there were guys who did not heed the warning, and also took their stays in their own hands.

“Wicked Dodge” was generally done increase in prose and verse, and also its deeds atoned for in extenuating circumstances; however in every phase of betterment the fine being was provided newspaper mention, for it is stated: “Dodge City is not the city it used to be. That is, that is no so negative a location in the eyes of the world who carry out not ratify outlawry and also lewdness.” however Dodge City evolved in morality and goodness till it became a city of fantastic character.

Even the storage of the wild, wicked work will shortly be effaced, but, as yet, when one recounts your wild stories and also looks upon the scene of the wildness and wickedness, one can nearly fancy the shades that defunct bad men tho walking up and also down their old haunts and also glaring savagely in ~ the insipidity the their present civilized aspect. The “Denver Republican” expresses a similar thought in a specific short poem, thus:

The Two-Gun Man

The Two-Gun man walked with the town,And discovered the sidewalk clear;He looked around, v ugly frown,But not a spirit was near.

The roads were silent.Loud and also shrill,No cowboy raised a shout;Like panther bent upon the kill,

The Two-Gun man walked out.The Two-Gun male was small and quick;His eyes were small slits;He didn’t hail from bitterness Creek,

Nor shoot the town to bits;He drank, alone, deep draughts the sin,Then pushed away his glass

And silenced to be each dance hall’s din,

When by the door he’d pass.One day, rode forth this male of wrath,Upon the distant plain,And ne’er did he retrace his path,

Nor was he checked out again;The cowtown fell into decay;No spurred heels pressed its walks;But, v its grass-grown ways, lock say,

The Two-Gun man still stalks.

Compiled and also edited by Kathy Weiser/Legends that America, update February 2018.

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Author and Notes: The beginnings of dodge City was written by Robert M. Light in 1913. The write-up was Chapter seven of his book, evade City, The Cowboy Capital, and also the great Southwest: In The work Of The Wild Indian, The Buffalo, The Cowboy, run Halls, Gambling Halls, and Bad males (now in the public domain.) The short article is not 100% verbatim, together minor grammatical and also spelling corrections have been made. Wright come west from Maryland in ~ the period of 16, very first settling in Missouri. Later he operated as a freighter and became a trader at ft Dodge. He then cleared up in evade City, whereby he was recognized as a farmer, stockman, merchant, and also politician. He served as evade City’s postmaster, the city’s an initial mayor, and also later represented Ford county in the legislative for 4 terms.