Disaster Comes When Men Go To the Wrong House
January 26, 2011

pinkerton_eye

Pinkerton Logo Coined the Term "Private Eye"

On This Date in History: A few years ago, Snow White and I were walking from Papa Johns Stadium and some event,,,probably a football game. We were walking back to the car and crossed the railroad tracks. Well, we were supposed to do that but I decided it would be faster walking the tracks. I started walking down the tracks and Snow White stopped, telling me to come back that it was against the law. Out of the darkness came a figure. It was a Pinkerton Man! Pinkerton Security provides the security for the railroad and he wrote me up. Snow White was right again.

Jesse and Frank James

Jesse and Frank James

Well, on this date in 1875 the Pinkertons got it wrong. The Pinkerton Detective Agency had been on the trail of Frank and Jesse James when it was hired by the railroads to catch the train and bank robbers. It was not an easy task. See, the James gang also had members of the Younger family and both the James’ and the Youngers had lots of friends and family in Missouri. Many of their relatives and friends had been partial to the Confederacy during the Civil War and considered the big railroads to be nothing but a bunch of Yankees. They thought the same of the Pinkerton Agency.

Allen Pinkerton Provided Security For Abraham Lincoln

Allen Pinkerton (left) Provided Security For Abraham Lincoln

Now, the men of the Pinkerton Agency were not too fond of the James Gang. Seems that one of their men, John W. Witcher, was found with a bullet hole in his stomach and much of his face eaten off by hogs. They thought for sure the culprits were members of the James Gang. The Pinkerton Agency must have let their animosity for the James’ get to them because, even though they weren’t entirely positive that it was the James Gang who killed Witcher, they went after them anyway. They had heard that Jesse and Frank often returned to their family farm. So, the Pinkertons waited until the sun went down and surrounded the James home. They threw some smoke bombs or flares into the home. To there surprise, there was a huge explosion. Jesse and Frank’s young half-brother was killed and their mother had her arm blown off. When the smoke had cleared, the Pinkertons found that Jesse and Frank were never there. Guess they should have knocked first.

Jesse's Mom Missing an Arm

Jesse's Mom Missing an Arm

After their keystone cops episode, the Pinkertons backed off a bit but they kept up the pursuit. They never got Frank and Jesse. Instead, Jesse was shot in the back of the head in 1882 by one of his own men, Bob Ford, who collected the reward money. Frank turned himself in shortly thereafter but no jury would ever convict him. He remained a law-abiding citizen until his death in 1915. As for his mother…she had quite the cottage business. Tourists could come by her house and for a small fee, they could hear of how the nasty railroad men and their disgusting Pinkertons persecuted her poor, innocent boys. Bet that performance was worth the price of admission.

Is This Floodwater?

Is This Floodwater?

On This Date in History:

On This Date in 1962, Jeffery Gordon Riley came into the world. Since that time he has come to be known as Flood Water, F-Water, Floods, F-Ditch, F-Dip, effrey and just plain F. Jeff Riley is a lot of things…and one of those things is a good friend to all who are fortunate enough to be able to call him a friend. Happy Birthday F.

Worst Outlaw in the History of the American West Inspired Others
November 13, 2010

Al Jennings-Worst Outlaw in the West

Al Jennings-Worst Outlaw in the West

On This Date in History: Al Jennings was born in 1863 Virginia. His father was aTemple Houston-the one in the middle judge and Al began practicing law in the Oklahoma Territory in 1889. Al’s law-partner, brother Ed Jennings, was shot to death in October 1895 by another lawyer named Temple Houston, who was the son of famous Texan General Sam Houston. When Houston was acquitted, Al and another brother Frank vowed vengeance. They took off after Houston but never caught up to him. So, what does any good lawyer who fails at a vengeance killing do? Join a gang. He and Frank robbed a Santa Fe train with their new found friends in 1897. Well, they tried to rob a train. This may be where the scene in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid comes from because these guys tried to get the guy in charge of the mail car to open it up but he refused, just like Woodcock did with Butch. But, instead of blowing up the rail car, these desperados got chased away by the conductor.

Temple Houston

Temple Houston

They tried again. This time they piled up railroad ties across the tracks. instead of stopping, the engineer opened up the locomotive at full throttle and simply plowed through the obstruction. They then tried to rob an express office but a simple phone call from the office brought the town sheriff and a bunch of armed men. The would be robbers fled with nothing. Then they tried a bank but someone must have blabbed because when they arrived, the bank was surrounded by numerous armed men. The bumbling robbers left empty handed. So, they gang decided to return to what they knew best…train robbing!

CabinetSaloon

Cabinet Saloon Where Temple Shot Ed

In another probable Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid inspiration, they tried a 3rd time when they flagged down a Rock Island passenger train and tried to blow up the two safes on board in a box car. The safes did not open but they did manage to blow up the box car. They did get $300 from the passengers though. But, they got no more chances. They were caught and sentenced to 5 years in prison…except for Al, who got a life sentence for robbery with intent to kill.

Jennings Mugshot 1902

Jennings Mugshot 1902

Al goes to prison and who does he share a cell with but a guy named William Sidney Porter. After spending time listening to the tales of Jennings, Porter was released and took up the profession of a scribe, taking the pen name, O. Henry. O. Henry is considered one of the finest American short story writers of his time. Through his short stories, Henry managed to rehabilitate the image of Jennings and, On This Date in 1902, Al Jennings was released from prison after his sentence was commuted to 5 years by none other than President William McKinley. Jennings returned to Oklahoma to practice law. So, what does a lawyer who was a terrible train robber do? Why run for office. Not just any office…why not county attorney! In 1912, he ran on the promise that “when was a train robber, I was a good train robber. And if you choose me, I will be a good prosecuting attorney.” Obviously, Al had developed a politicians ability to stretch the truth and it helped because he won the nomination but lost the election. He ran for Governor in 1914 but opposition by newspapers left his campaign in third place when the votes were counted. So, where does a failed train robber and failed politician go? Why to Hollywood!

Jennings with Fatty Arbuckle's Cousin Andrew In Hollywood

Jennings with Fatty Arbuckle's Cousin Andrew

O. Henry had encouraged him to write so he went out west and ghost wrote several movies, several of which were supposedly based on his life. The westerns portrayed him as being more treacherous than Billy the Kid, robbed more men than Jesse James and was a participant in nearly 25 face to face shootouts. I would say that there wasn’t much mystery in who the ghost was behind those scripts. Al continued this sort of thing the rest of his life as he was behind many of the B-movie westerns through the 1950’s with the lame scripts that were as phony as the image Jennings created for himself. To perhaps illustrate the level of Al’s position in Hollywood, the photo to the left is not of Al with star Fatty Arbuckle, but instead Fatty’s cousin, Andrew. Nevertheless, it was an interesting and certainly long life for Al, who did not pass away, for real, until 1961. He lived through Reconstruction, the Indian Wars, the closing of the frontier, two world wars and the dawn of the space age. So much to write about yet he chose to write about…himself…and most of that was not true, except his name, Al Jennings. Here is a biography, which is really funny.

Black Bart Was Not As Ferocious As Ralphie Made Him Out To Be
July 23, 2010

Ralphie on the prowl for Black Bart with his Daisy Red Ryder BB Gun

On This Date in Criminal History: Do you remember the movie A Christmas Story in which Ralphie wants a BB gun and has visions of shooting Black Bart? It leads one to believe that Bart was some desperado. Well, in the 1870’s there was a dime novel that was loosely based on a true story. The writer called his main character Bartholomew Graham who took the name of “Black Bart” because he wore black clothes, had black long curly hair and a dense black beard. In real life, there was a man named Charles Bowles  who was born in England in 1829 who immigrated to New York in the United States a few years later with his family.

Dapper Black Bart

Dapper Black Bart

As a young man, the real Charles Bowles changed his name to Charles Boles and, in 1849, he and his cousin went to California to seek their fortune in gold. They failed and, a few years later, came back. Charley Boles tried again with his cousin and his brother. Not only did they fail again, but the brother and cousin both died from an illness. Charley eventually returned and got married. After spending time in the Union Army and serving with distinction, Charley again went out west, this time to Montana where he set up a mining site that depended on water. Some men from Wells Fargo offered to buy his claim and he refused. The men reacted by cutting off his water and Charley had to abandon his mine but said in a letter to his wife,”I am going to take steps.” No one knew what he meant.  For quite some time, the last letter his wife received from him was in 1871.

Bart Often Left a Nasty Poem Behind For the Wells Fargo Boys

On this date in 1878 a Wells Fargo stagecoach was robbed of $400. It wasn’t the first time that a stagecoach from Wells Fargo had been robbed. It is believed that the culprit first began robbing stagecoaches in 1875 because, each time, a poem that intimated the perpetrator was going to strike again. It was signed “Black Bart”. Bart robbed Wells Fargo stage coaches numerous times throughout the late 1870’s and early 1880’s. He wore a flour sack on his head and never fired a shot, though on a few occasions, shots were fired at him. There was never any mayhem or extreme violence. On November 3 1883, Bart made a mistake when he left behind a handkerchief as he made his escape following what would be his last stagecoach robbery. The Pinkerton Detective Agency was able to track the hanky from a laundry mark to an elderly man in San Francisco named Charles Bolton. Bolton admitted that he indeed was Black Bart, but he disputed his reputation as being an outlaw by telling the Pinkertons. “I am a gentleman.” It was also learned that Bolton was really Charles Boles, who years before vowed to “take steps” against the company who forced him to abandon his mining claim. His wife, who had thought he was long since dead, found out that Boles was alive when she learned of his arrest.

Wanted Poster Promises $1000 in Gold For Bart

Just 18 days after his arrest, Black Bart found himself in California’s San Quentin Prison to begin serving his 6 year sentence.  His prison number was 11046.  But, he denied being Charles E. Boles or Black Bart.  Instead, he insisted his name was Charles E. Bolton.  The prevailing thought was that he was trying to protect the family that he had long since abandoned.  However, he wrote letters to his wife.  There is no record of his having received any visitors while he was in prison though rumors ran about, supposedly arising from a letter he wrote to his wife, that a wealthy man had become interested in his condition.  Speculation is that this mystery man, if he did exist, may have helped secure his early release.  Officially, he was released after 4 years and 2 months for good behavior which was a relatively new procedure.  Reporters came calling at his release and again he insisted his name was Charles Bolton and his life of crime was behind him, though reporters tried to get him to say something different.  I guess 19th century reporters did the same thing as today’s journalists when a subject doesn’t say what they want him to say. 

By This Time, Black Bart Insisted He Was Charles Bolton

Bart returned to San Francisco where officials of Wells Fargo kept close tabs on him. He wrote his wife that he was tired of being shadowed by the boys from the bank and felt demoralized.  He wanted to get away from everyone.  He never returned to his wife but in 1888 a man answering Bart’s description checked into a hotel in Visalia and then vanished.  In his room was found a can of tongue, a can of corned beef, coffee, crackers, sugar and a jar of jelly.  There were also two neckties and a set of cuffs that had a laundry mark that read F.X.O.7.   Speculation is that he was trying to throw up a smokescreen for the boys at Wells Fargo.  If he did, it worked.  The last time anyone saw him was February 28, 1888.  The 1892 city directory listed Mary Boles as the widow of Charles E. Boles, which may indicate that she knew something. Or maybe she just gave up.  If the 1917 obituary in a New York newspaper regarding Civil War Veteran Charles E. Boles was indeed that of Black Bart, he would have been 88 years old.  Either way he lives on each Christmas with Ralphie.

Bonnie Spaghetti Model Track 18Z 7.23.10

Bonnie Spaghetti Model Track 18Z 7.23.10

Weather Bottom Line:  Tropical Storm Bonnie (See satellite loop below)  is stirring up more in the media than it is in the Gulf or South Florida.  I got an email from my cousin’s husband in Fort Lauderdale, Fred Flintstone, who said they had about a half inch of rain…they get more than that in a run of the mill thunderstorm.  The problem for Bonnie is that there is a huge upper level low in the center of the Gulf and that is serving to just beat the crap out of the upper wind flow…its disrupting or shearing the winds aloft such that Bonnie cannot get any upper support and without that, you do not get a hurricane.  Centered over the northern part of the Dixie states is a big ridge.  It has expanded north and is why the Ohio Valley is so h0t today and will be in the upper 90’s with dewpoints in the low 70’s again on Saturday. 

Bonnie Spaghetti Intensity Model 18Z 7.23.10

Between the upper low with its counter clockwise flow and the clockwise flow of the area of high pressure will be the track of Bonnie.  It will be shot out like a cannon with the help of both of the other systems flow.  That is another reason why Bonnie will not be much of a storm.  It’s moving so fast, even if the upper conditions were good (they’re awful), it would not have time to develop. In fact, I bet it gets downgraded  to a depression as it comes off of Florida and then there is a fair chance that it will not reach tropical storm status again.   And with that speed, its not likely to produce any crippling rain when it does make landfall late Saturday night or early Sunday morning in the north central coast of the Gulf of Mexico.  Now, the flow around the high will break down with the advance of a cold front into the Ohio Valley.  That will raise the prosects for rain and t’storms in our area.  The moisture from Bonnie will then wrap around and move up the Mississippi and Ohio Valley and continue to bring us rain.  I suspect that the biggest threat for Bonnie will be the rainfall that it brings in, say the Tennessee Valley or perhaps the Ohio Valley early next week.  Our temperatures will be reduceds somewhat starting Sunday….so we only have to deal with a heat index of 105 to 110 for today and tomorrow.

Click image for Western Atlantic 2 day satellite loop

Did Billy The Kid Die in 1881 or 1950? Another Folklore Mystery!
July 14, 2010

Billy the Kid: Note the left hand on the rifle

Famous Billy The Kid Photo with Rifle in Right Hand

Famous Billy The Kid Photo

On This Date In History:  Though it was not Friday the 13th, the 14th of July was not too lucky for  William Henry McCarty .  He is thought to have been born around 1860 in New York. It is unknown who is father was. His mother, Catherine McCarty moved to Indiana in the 1860’s and to Wichita Kansas in 1870 where she was diagnosed with Tuberculosis. She moved to the warmer and drier climate of Santa Fe where she married William Antrim. Since there were two people named Billy in the house, she called her son Henry. His mother died in 1874 and his step-father wanted nothing to do with him so he sent him to a foster home where he had to earn his own keep. He wasn’t too keen on washing dishes, so he turned to the dark side.   McCarty  fell in with horse thieves and such and eventually got into a fight with Frank “Windy” Cahill, whom he shot dead. Rather than face murder charges he fled. He teamed up with a man named Jesse Evans and went to Lincoln County, New Mexico and took up with forces pitted against John Henry Tunstall. He changed his name to William H. Bonney and, in an odd turn, Tunstall ended up taking in “the kid” as he thought he was just the product of a troubled life.  Perhaps he gained his most famous moniker from a combination of his first name and an early nickname, “Kid Antrim.”  Billy the Kid ended up killing  Lincoln County, NM Sheriff William Brady and Deputy George Hindman  and became a notorious outlaw.  Some histories say that he killed 21 men during his 21 year life, but no one really knows for certain.   Pat Garrett became sheriff of Lincoln County and at one time was friends with Billy the Kid.  It is known “the kid” was shot in the dark on this date in 1881 by Pat Garrett.    But,  it is said he was shot in the back by Garrett, whom by then I suppose was a former friend. That event didn’t prove too lucky for Garrett either.

The Dapper Pat Garrett

The Dapper Pat Garrett

Garrett wrote a semi-successful book on his nabbing the notorious young outlaw but then failed at just about everything else he did. The public didn’t really embrace his celebrity too much as it was accepted he had shot “the kid” in the back. He ran for office several times for the Senate and various places for sheriff but lost every time. He had become friends with Teddy Roosevelt and in 1901 the President appointed Garrett as customs collector in El Paso. Roosevelt found out that Garrett had associated with some unsavory fellows and did not re-appoint him. Garrett became financially destitute and while working on a real estate deal of sorts, was shot to death…in the back of the head.   The investigation into the death of Pat Garrett has become one of interest to historians because the confessed murderer was not convicted by a jury!

Tracing of Brushy Bill's Features When Compared to the Kid Lend Credence to Bill's Claim

Billy the Kid continues to fascinate not just the American public but also the world.  Numerous movies have been made about him and none seem to be the same.  That’s partly artistic license from Hollywood and also because no one knows the true story.   In most of the movies, they say the kid was “a left hander.”  If you look at the photo on the top left, he has his right hand on the rifle.  Yet,   if you notice the photo of the kid at the top, he has the rifle in his right hand. Most photos have it in reverse which led people to believe that he was left handed.  But, some scholars now say that the more popular photo of him with the gun in his left hand was the negative and that he really was right handed. 

Somehow This Man is Known as Ollie P "Bill" Roberts; Regardless, He Was Known as Brushy Bill

Then there is the conspiracy theory that says the kid wasn’t really killed in 1881; that Pat Garrett, who was known to stretch a tale for self promotion, shot someone else.  The folklore is that a guy named Brushy Bill was really Billy the Kid.  He went by the name of William Henry Roberts and he died in Hico, TX in 1950, though this account of the Billy the Kid conspiracy theory says Brushy Bill went by Ollie P. “Bill” Roberts even though the grave marker says William Henry Roberts.   At least one person has gone to the trouble of doing a careful facial analysis of both Billy the Kid and Brushy Bill and he concludes that the similarities are so great that Brushy Bill’s claim could indeed be true.   So prevalent was the rumor that efforts were made to exhume the body of Brushy Bill to do a DNA test.  In 2007, the exhumation of Brushy Bill  was cancelled with the newspaper folks refering to Brushy Bill as Ollie Roberts.  So, now no one knows a thing for certain except its not wise to follow in the footsteps of Pat Garrett: add avoiding shooting an outlaw in the dark (especially not in the back)  to your list of things to avoid for the day.

Weather Bottom Line:  As we’ve been talking about, a cold front was approaching our area.  I had mentioned that Monday’s big rain chances were off the board and I meant to imply that it was greater for Tuesday…though in looking at the verbiage I fell short.  Anyway, we did get a shortwave wandering through the first part of Tuesday with a relatively small corridor of 1-2 inch rain stretching into northern Jefferson County (KY) which just happened to be over my house and so the sunflowers are happy.  The front may have even moved through a bit as we have a lovely afternoon.   Regardless of whether it did or we simply got the subsidence behind the short for Tuesday afternoon, it ain’t gonna last.  The front goes on the retreat and we will be pretty warm and humid on Wednesday; probably fog in the morning in places that got a goodly amount of rain.  The Thursday gets down right hot and humid in advance of another front.  Between the southerly flow ahead of the front and compressional warming we’ll probably be in the upper 90’s.  That sets the stage for a return to rain chances Friday and Saturday and possibly Sunday, depending on if the front is still in the region.

Death Alley Is A Dead End For All But One
March 8, 2010

These Guys Were in For the Big Sleep In Kansas

These Guys Were in For the Big Sleep In Kansas

Youthful Emmet

Youthful Emmet

On This Date in History:

Reformed Emmet

Reformed Emmet

In 1871, Emmet Dalton entered the world in the Oklahoma Territory. I’ve seen his name spelled with two “t’s” in some sources. He had two older brothers. In 1889, brothers Bob and Grat went to California to seek their fortune. The determined the best line of work that they could find was to rob trains. Emmet wanted to come along but they said he was too young. So, while the brothers ran around California looking for trains to rob, Emmet met a girl named Julia Johnson and fell in love. The older brothers returned a few years later and decided Emmet had the maturity to ride with them. Emmet left his girl behind, thinking he had nothing to offer her. He also delivered the tough guy line that sounds like something Pee Wee Herman once said, ” I rode away, an outlaw has no business having a girl, no business thinking about marriage.”

Bob and Grat Don't Look So Good

Bob and Grat Don't Look So Good

So, the three brothers proceeded to wander around Oklahoma and Kansas with some other thugs and they became known as the Dalton Gang. But, their reign of terror really didn’t last too long. On October 5, 1892 the gang got a little greedy and perhaps a little cocky. One bank wasn’t enough. No…they tried to rob two banks at once in the middle of the day in Coffeyville, Kansas. But, like the James Gang in Northfield, Minnesota the Daltons didn’t count on the folks of Coffeyville getting word of the daring raid. They were ready. When Bob and Emmet were gathering $21,000 in booty from one bank in their grain sacks, the people of Coffeyville surrounded the building. When the pair emerged, they found a hail of bullets. They escaped out the back door…so much for being surrounded…and they hooked up with Grat and the others, who had similarly been ambused at the other bank.

Coffeyville The End For Dalton Gang

Coffeyville The End For Dalton Gang

The gang ended up getting herded into what the citizens of the town came to call “death alley.” With no where to go, the desperados were easy targets as the lead was flying. Emmet had gotten on his horse and reached down to try and rescue the wounded Bob. But, Emmet got hit by a shot to the hip and then buckshot to the back. Four of the gangmembers, including Bob and Gath, died but Emmet survived. He was later tried and convicted and was given a life sentence on this date in 1893. But, in the penal system, life does not necessarily mean life. Emmet served 14 years and was released on pardon as a reformed man!

Em Dalton with Tom Mix 1935

Em Dalton with Tom Mix 1935

He got out of prison, married Julia Johnson, whom I figure must not have been much of a catch or her love for Emmet was true because she waited all of that time. I guess robbing banks must be a qualification for business on a resume because Emmet became successful as a real estate agent. Los Angeles was booming in the early part of the 20th century so he and Julia moved there. He picked up extra money as a consultant for Hollywood movies, much like Wyatt Earp had done. Emmet Dalton died in Los Angeles in 1937 at the age of 66.

Pardoned Murderer Receives Justice
February 16, 2010

Famous Photo of John Wesley Hardin

On this date in History:  These days, there are many who are upset with the criminal justice system in that violent offenders get released early or paroled for heinous crimes.  One young man was known to have killed several people.  He had a couple of arrests warrants for murder following him around as he went from state to state before he was apprehended.  However, he escaped from jail.  On his 21st birthday, he got into an altercation with another man who fired a shot at him.  The gunman missed but the birthday boy did not as he shot the man dead.  Afraid of being arrested again, the man fled.  A few years later, the fugitive was finally caught in Florida and brought to trial.  In this case, there was an argument for self defense so when he was sentenced he only received a life term instead of the death penalty.  15 years later, the man was given a pardon.  But, this is not a tale from the 21st Century or even the 20th Century.  No, the criminal justice system has had it’s flaws for a long time because the suspected multiple killer was pardoned on this date in 1894! 

"Gentleman" wanted for killing at least 40 men

John Wesley Hardin has been described by many as the “meanest man in the west.”   It is also said that Hardin was the “archetype of the shootist.” It all began when he was just 15 years old in 1868.  He killed a former slave and became a fugitive from the law.   A couple of years later, he was in Waco Texas when he was arrested for murder.  But, in this case, Hardin didn’t do the deed.  But, he didn’t like his chances with the jury so he escaped.  Of all places, he fled to Abilene, Kansas which was under the charge of the famous lawman Wild Bill Hickok.  As it turns out, Hickok was rather taken in by Hardin so he left him alone.  But, in one of the more famous incidents of the old west, Hardin became so agitated with snoring coming from the hotel room adjacent to his that he fired two shots through the wall.  Yup…he killed a man for snoring.  Well, old John Wesley knew that friendship only went so far and he figured that Wild Bill couldn’t stand for that so he fled before Hickok had a chance to confront him. 

Don't Mess with the Texas Rangers

It was on May 26, 1874 that Hardin celebrated his 21st birthday in Comanche, Texas and shot the man in self defense.  But, it wasn’t just any man.  It was the Brown County deputy sherrif.  And it wasn’t just some flatfoot who tracked him down in Florida.  It was the Texas Rangers who caught him in Pensacola in 1877.  During his 3 year flight, it is thought that Hardin was responsible for the death of 5 other men.  In a very ironic twist, after John Wesley Hardin received his pardon, he turned to the law instead  of running from it.  He became a lawyer.  Perhaps he finally grew up by the age of 41 and decided to follow the lead of his father, who had been a Methodist minister and an attorney.  But a man who is suspected of killing at least 40 men no doubt has a long list of enemies.  Someone finally caught old John Wesley Hardin when he was shot in the back and killed, most likely as revenge for someone he had killed in his short but eventful life.  This account claims that he was shot in the back of the head by a constable who’s son had gotten into an argument with Hardin over a game of dice.

John Wesley Hardin's Life Ended Like His 40 Victims

The tale of John Wesley Hardin now lives in the annals of history but he is not remembered for how he died.  Instead, he is known for those he killed.  It’s not a tall tale but a confusing one.  The outline of the story that I’ve provided is true but the order may be wrong.  This story says that he killed the man for snoring in El Paso, not Abilene, and has other different stories.   This one has many discrepencies though it tells of his killing the former slave but says he was a policeman, Hardin was 18 at the time and that his peace with Hickok was after he drew down on the fast draw marshal.   There are many other stories about Hardin but all of them are the narrative of a serial killer and at the end he gets legally released  from prison.  Perhaps the illustration of John Wesley Hardin is not his list of victims, but instead paints a picture of a criminal justice system that has been flawed for a very long time.

40 Foot Crocodile Was Real; Moby Dick Was Real; Tom Horn Was Real
November 20, 2009

Sereno Compares Dogcroc with Supercroc

Alligators and Crocodiles strike fear in people.  Can you imagine a 40 foot “SuperCroc?”    The Supercroc still holds the title as the largest known crocodile to roam the earth but who knows if there was a bigger one?   After all, University of Chicago palaeontologist Paul Sereno announced the discovery of the fossil remains of 5 “new” species of crocodile that measure anywhere from 3 feet to 20 feet.  Today, crocodiles can reach as large as 20 feet but that still is but half of the size of the supercroc.  Some of these species are thought to have been able to eat other dinosaurs.    Another example of how mankind does not know everything and has a lot to learn and discover.  Remember that next time you hear of some scientific report that says something is “settled science” or there is a “consensus.”  That does not make it true.  One thing that is true is that at 9pm on Saturday November 21 the National Geographic Channel will be airing When Crocs Ate Dinosaurs as part of their Expedition Week.

On This Date in History: In 1820, the US whaling ship Essex got attacked by an 80 ton sperm whale 2000 miles west of South America. The 238 ton vessel sunk and all died except for 5 men who survived in an open boats for 83 days before rescue….thing is….originally there were 20 survivors….as the 15 died off from exposure and such, the remaining men had a little meal at their comrades expense, if you know what I mean. Not sure that if someone died, someone rang the dinner bell.

A White Humpback Whale

Anyway, this story inspired the tale written by Herman Melville called Moby Dick. Melville’s work was written in 1851 but Hermie didn’t do too well at the book stores. After some early success as a writer, he died in 1891 relatively unknown and not very wealthy. It wasn’t until the 20th century that Melville’s genius and talent came to be known. Nowadays, many academics consider Moby Dick to be one of America’s greatest novels. Melville lived near Nathaniel Hawthorne and dedicated his whale tale to his friend and famous writer. But the book only sold 3000 copies.

Dano In The Right Stuff

The photo above is of course from the famous 1956 movie with Gregory Peck starring as Captain Ahab. It also has Richard Basehart and a cameo by Orson Welles as Father Maple. Another guy who shows up is Royal Dano who plays “Elijah” who was a drifter kinda guy who is pretty scary and prophesies to Basehart the the ship would be doomed by a great white whale. Later, Dano in the early 1980’s is the preacher in The Right Stuff who seems to represent death as he shows up at all of the funerals, test flights and space shots. One other interesting aspect of the movie: the screen play was written by Ray Bradbury and John Huston. Huston also directed.

Greenpeace in Battle

On a related note…on this day at this very moment, a small fleet of ships in a Japanese whaling expedition is on its way to the Arctic regions to hunt whales. They want to get 90 sperm whales among other specimens. I say specimens because whaling is banned world wide under an international treaty. But they can be hunted for research. The official mission of the fleet is for research. Yet, when they left port they left to great fanfare and people of small villages in northern Japan claiming they need to whaling so that they may carry on their thousands of years old culture. Greenpeace isn’t buying the scientific aspect and will attempt to thwart the harpooning of the great mammals. Perhaps Moby Dick will resurface and get a bit of revenge.

Tom Horn

Tom Horn

On This Date in History: Tom Horn had worked as a US Army scout, deputy sherrif, and Pinkerton

Horn Looks A Little Heavier and Younger Here

Horn Looks A Little Heavier and Younger Here

Detective in the 19th Century. When General Nelson Miles had need of a “super-scout” to help track down Geronimo, he called on Tom Horn. It has been suggested that Horn even arranged for Geronimo’s surrender. Horn was no shrinking violet. While working for the Pinkerton Agency, he reported killed 17 men. His reputation was such that on one occasion he reportedly simply walked up to an accused robber and killer and announced that he had come for him. The man quietly surrendered rather than face Tom Horn. But, the detective business wasn’t exciting enough and Horn quit, saying, “It was too tame for me.”

In 1894 he was hired by the cattleman’s association in Wyoming to supposedly combat cattle rustlers but in reality was used as an enforcer against small ranchers and homesteaders who got in the way of the cattle barons. In effect, he was the law for the big shots and served as judge, jury and executioner receiving $300 to $600 for each man he took down. See, Horn didn’t see himself as murderer but instead believed that when men in authority, or even the law, hired him, he would be protected. It usually worked out that way. Horn said, “Killing is my specialty. I look at it as a business proposition and I think I have a corner on the market.” He usually lay in wait for his victim and then made his mark by placing a rock under the victim’s head.

Horn Making The Rope For His Own Gallows

Horn Making The Rope For His Own Gallows

But, the law caught up with Horn who was arrested in 1902 for the killing of a 14-year-old son of a settler the year before. In Cheyenne, the cattle barons paid for his defense and a sensational trial ensued with everyone thinking that he would be found not guilty. That was not to be the case. The prosecution had a legal reporter along with federal officer Joe LeFors and a deputy sheriff got a drunken Horn to supposedly confess to the killing. The “confession” was allowed in court and heard by a jury that was stacked with opponents of the cattlemen. Horn was convicted and on this date in 1903, Tom Horn went to the gallows after making the rope that was used in the hanging.

Steve McQueen’s 2nd to last movie was a biopic called Tom Horn with

McQueen Was a Great Tom Horn

McQueen Was a Great Tom Horn

Linda Evans, Slim Pickens and Richard Farnsworth. I guess the moral to the story is that no one is above the law and even if you get convicted of something you didn’t do, perhaps it is a justice of nature for all of the things that you did do but for which you were never caught. You may think that this held true for a certain Heismann Trophy, NFL Hall of Famer who is now in prison in Nevada.

A long bio of Horn. A shorter bio of Horn.

Weather Bottom Line:  Weekend looks great, but seasonably cool.

4th Coldest October In US History, Worst Outlaw in US History
November 13, 2009

denversnow

Biggest Denver October Snow in 12 years

statewidetrank_200910

Oct 2009 Avg Temp rank by State

While Global Warming cannot be determined by any one set of data from any one country, I’m sure Global Warming enthusiasts will find a tougher time in the states arguing their point. That is because October  2009 was the 4th coldest October in recorded US history, which dates back to 1895. It was also the absolute wettest October in US history. Only Florida was decidedly hotter than averge with its October 2009 coming in as the 105th coolest month, or the 11th hottest. Oklahoma checked in with the coldest October on record. As I mentioned, by itself this data is irrelevant to climate trends. But, if this had been the 4th hottest October on record, don’t you think that it would make headlines? I wonder if the media doesn’t think that cold temperatures are just as newsworthy as hot temperatures.

Al Jennings-Worst Outlaw in the West

Al Jennings-Worst Outlaw in the West

Crime Pays Or the Worst Outlaw in the West? Al Jennings was born in 1863 Virginia. His father was aTemple Houston-the one in the middle judge and Al began practicing law in the Oklahoma Territory in 1889. Al’s law-partner, brother Ed Jennings, was shot to death in October 1895 by another lawyer named Temple Houston, who was the son of famous Texan General Sam Houston. When Houston was acquitted, Al and another brother Frank vowed vengeance. They took off after Houston but never caught up to him. So, what does any good lawyer who fails at a vengeance killing do? Join a gang. He and Frank robbed a Santa Fe train with their new found friends in 1897. Well, they tried to rob a train. This may be where the scene in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid comes from because these guys tried to get the guy in charge of the mail car to open it up but he refused, just like Woodcock did with Butch. But, instead of blowing up the rail car, these desperados got chased away by the conductor.

Temple Houston

Temple Houston

They tried again. This time they piled up railroad ties across the tracks. instead of stopping, the engineer opened up the locomotive at full throttle and simply plowed through the obstruction. They then tried to rob an express office but a simple phone call from the office brought the town sheriff and a bunch of armed men. The would be robbers fled with nothing. Then they tried a bank but someone must have blabbed because when they arrived, the bank was surrounded by numerous armed men. The bumbling robbers left empty handed. So, they gang decided to return to what they knew best…train robbing!

CabinetSaloon

Cabinet Saloon Where Temple Shot Ed

In another probable Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid inspiration, they tried a 3rd time when they flagged down a Rock Island passenger train and tried to blow up the two safes on board in a box car. The safes did not open but they did manage to blow up the box car. They did get $300 from the passengers though. But, they got no more chances. They were caught and sentenced to 5 years in prison…except for Al, who got a life sentence for robbery with intent to kill.

Jennings Mugshot 1902

Jennings Mugshot 1902

Al goes to prison and who does he share a cell with but a guy named William Sidney Porter. After spending time listening to the tales of Jennings, Porter was released and took up the profession of a scribe, taking the pen name, O. Henry. O. Henry is considered one of the finest American short story writers of his time. Through his short stories, Henry managed to rehabilitate the image of Jennings and, On This Date in 1902, Al Jennings was released from prison after his sentence was commuted to 5 years by none other than President William McKinley. Jennings returned to Oklahoma to practice law. So, what does a lawyer who was a terrible train robber do? Why run for office. Not just any office…why not county attorney! In 1912, he ran on the promise that “when was a train robber, I was a good train robber. And if you choose me, I will be a good prosecuting attorney.” Obviously, Al had developed a politicians ability to stretch the truth and it helped because he won the nomination but lost the election. He ran for Governor in 1914 but opposition by newspapers left his campaign in third place when the votes were counted. So, where does a failed train robber and failed politician go? Why to Hollywood!

Jennings with Fatty Arbuckle's Cousin Andrew In Hollywood

Jennings with Fatty Arbuckle's Cousin Andrew

O. Henry had encouraged him to write so he went out west and ghost wrote several movies, several of which were supposedly based on his life. The westerns portrayed him as being more treacherous than Billy the Kid, robbed more men than Jesse James and was a participant in nearly 25 face to face shootouts. I would say that there wasn’t much mystery in who the ghost was behind those scripts. Al continued this sort of thing the rest of his life as he was behind many of the B-movie westerns through the 1950’s with the lame scripts that were as phony as the image Jennings created for himself. To perhaps illustrate the level of Al’s position in Hollywood, the photo to the left is not of Al with star Fatty Arbuckle, but instead Fatty’s cousin, Andrew. Nevertheless, it was an interesting and certainly long life for Al, who did not pass away, for real, until 1961. He lived through Reconstruction, the Indian Wars, the closing of the frontier, two world wars and the dawn of the space age. So much to write about yet he chose to write about…himself…and most of that was not true, except his name, Al Jennings. Here is a biography, which is really funny.

Weather Bottom Line:  Still looks good for the rest of the week and really, I think, the majority of the weekend.  Look for highs Friday with lots of sunshine creeping to the low to mid 60’s after a cool start.  Then Saturday we mayget to 70 or so ahead of a very deep low pressure area.  I don’t think that we get rain until Sunday evening but clouds will be increasing during the day on Sunday.  Now, this low tends to get cut off in the Southern Plains.  After several days in that region, it is progged to move north-northeast and stay to the west of our area.  I’m skeptical of this solution.  We’ll see.  Either way, we wil be in the 50’s for next week so get out and enjoy the next few days.

Bastille Day Celebration? Bankrupt Businesses Up 240% Since ’06
July 14, 2009

market_bankruptcyAs we amble into the second half of 2009, we hear stories of how the economy may be recovering.  However, consider that business bankruptcies are up 240% since 2006.  This recession didn’t get started overnight, it was a long time coming.  When you think about it, oil prices really began to spike in 2006, reaching over $140 a barrell in 2008.  Oil is the key to everything as it is the commodity that affects every person and every business.  Costs for business grew rapidly but, consumers felt the pinch and with a gradual decline in buy power by consumers businesses didn’t have much pricing power.  So, business profits declined.  Some major brand names are in bankruptcy, including the president’s maker of his suits.  All of this does not lead one to believe that there will be a quick turnaround.

Bastille Storming May Not Have Been This Dramatic

Bastille Storming May Not Have Been This Dramatic

 

Louis XVI lost his head

Louis XVI lost his head

In late 18th century France, The Estates-General was a political body made up of the nobility, the clergy and the commoners.  The commoners were the 3rd Estate.  The commoners petitioned in June 1789 for a new constitution in France and the other estates soon joined in.  Louis XVI went and fired the Finance Minister and the people were afraid that they would be attacked by the military.  So, the stormed the Bastille, which was a fortress that also served as a prison for many political prisoners. It was symbolic of the tyrannical power of the crown. When they got to the gate, the guy in charge let them in, fearing a blood bath, so I don’t think that the paintins, like the one above, of great mayhem associated with the storming are entirely accurate.    There were only 7 prisoners in the Bastille and there really weren’t all that many armaments but the occasion has stood as a symbol of French Rebellion that eventually led to Louis and Marie Antoinette losing their heads and eventually to a French Republic. which was promptly usurped by Napoleon Bonaparte, which was good for the US since he sold us much of the United States in the Louisiana Purchase.  The day is known in France as Fête Nationale or La Fête de la Bastille or La Fête Nationale.  In English it is commonly referred to as Bastille Day.

It’s not foot, its Fête and Fête Nationale means “national holiday” in french. I know many Americans think “national holiday” and France are synonymous but try to get beyond that and think of your high school English class and Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. If you were paying attention in class and still remember, Dickens’ classic was set in the time of the French Revolution and the storming of the Bastille. On this date in 1789, when the French peasants stormed the notorious French they had been partially inspired by the new Americans who had gained independence from England just 8 years earlier with the essential help of the French. Remember, it was the French Navy that bottled up Cornwallis’ army at Yorktown while George Washington, with the assistance of Lafayette, locked up the Redcoats by land.

Marie Antoinette's Final Moments

Marie Antoinette's Final Moments

So, it took the French a few years but eventually they got fired up. One of an assortment of grievances was a taxation system that really stuck it to the third estate…the peasants which made up about 98% of the French citizenry. The fact that first estate of the clergy and the second estate of the nobles made up but two percent collectively held more power than the majority of the people made it a system that was ripe for revolution, especially when you consider that ultimate power was held by the King.  Just about every time that such a huge majority of the people are suppressed, a revolt eventually will result.   Anyway, they stormed the Bastille, Marie Antoinette and the King lost their heads and the first French Republic eventually came into being. Didn’t last too long because Napoleon named himself emperor not too far down the road so it took them awhile before Democracy really took hold. In this country we declared independence in 1776 and won it in 1781 but never got a good Constitution until 1787 and not a President until 1789.  Even then, the British didn’t respect it too much as exhibited by the war of 1812, which lasted through 1814.  So it takes time. Remember that next time you watch the news. Democracies don’t spring up instantly.

Napoleon Took Advantage of the Fledgling Democracy

Napoleon Took Advantage of the Fledgling Democracy

Besides, if the French had gotten their act together sooner, the US may not have ever stretched from sea to shining sea. If you recall, that big old land acquisition by Thomas Jefferson, which by the way he admitted may not have been Constitutional, was called the Louisiana purchase and was done by slipping Napoleon a few greenbacks. Talk about selfishness. Napoleon needed the money to fund his latest war so he gave up what became the breadbasket of the world and the bulk of what would be the greatest nation the world has ever seen for $15 million. He ended up exiled and the US went to superpowerdom. Anyway, if you see a Frenchman today, wish him happy Bastille Day, or Fête Nationale as it is officially, although less commonly, known today. By the way, its interesting, is it not, that our media is referred to as the “third estate”. I suppose its because the press is supposed to be the voice of the people. However, I know that the press doesn’t always speak for me. I mean, think about it….do you really want me speaking for you?

Johnny Ringo

Johnny Ringo

On This Date in History: Outlaw Johnny Ringo had already gained his independence before the French on this date in 1882. He was a member of the infamous “cowboys” of Arizona. He was found in Turkey Creek Canyon near Tombstone, AZ with a fatal gunshot wound to the head. It was thought that he killed himself or was killed by “Buckskin” Leslie or “Johnny behind the Deuce.” Then Wyatt Earp claimed to have killed him when he was writing about his life as a lawman. I guess since Wyatt Earp spent much of his later years in Hollywood and because the story was better cinema than perhaps the truth, Hollywood chose Earp’s account and in all the films about Earp, Ringo meets his demise at the hands of Earp…except in Tombstone in which Val Kilmer does the deed instead of Kurt Russell.

The Real Home Run King

The Real Home Run King

In baseball history, Hank Aaron hit his 500th homerun in 1968 exactly one year after Eddie Matthews hit his 500th. In 2004, the Houston Astros fired manager Jimy Williams not long after Williams was booed roundly at the All-Star game which was played in Houston. The Astros, under Phil Garner, staged a big come back in the second half of the season and ended up in the playoffs then made the World Series the following year for the first time in club history. Perhaps the day should be known as Astros Independence from Jimy Williams Day!

 

 

 

 

Weather Bottom Line:  We’re still looking good for today.  Warm temps…upper 80’s…relatively low humidity.  Someone may get to the low 90’s.  Stage is set for a fairly significant cold front Wednesday.  That will probably bring rain with the potential for some strong storms, particularly if the boundary comes through in the afternoon and evening.  Markedly cooler conditions will follow…another few days of below average temperatures and a chance to rest the AC..especially at night.

SPC Convective Outlook July 15 - July 16

SPC Convective Outlook July 15 - July 16

 

 

DAY 2 CONVECTIVE OUTLOOK 
   NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
   1230 PM CDT TUE JUL 14 2009
  
   VALID 151200Z – 161200Z
  
   …THERE IS A SLGT RISK OF SVR TSTMS OVER PORTIONS OF THE MID MS AND
   OH VALLEYS…
  
   …THERE IS A SLGT RISK OF SVR TSTMS OVER A PORTION OF THE SRN HIGH
   PLAINS AND SRN PLAINS…
  
   …SYNOPSIS…
  
   BELT OF PROGRESSIVE UPPER FLOW WILL PERSIST ACROSS THE NRN HALF OF
   THE COUNTRY WEDNESDAY. VORT MAX NOW MOVING THROUGH THE NRN PLAINS
   WILL CONTINUE ENEWD THROUGH THE GREAT LAKES AND SRN ONTARIO. ANOTHER
   UPSTREAM IMPULSE IS FORECAST TO DROP SEWD INTO BASE OF UPPER TROUGH
   AND INTO THE NRN PLAINS BY WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON/EVENING. UPPER RIDGE
   WILL REMAIN SUPPRESSED ACROSS SRN THIRD OF THE COUNTRY. PRIMARY
   SURFACE LOW ASSOCIATED WITH LEAD VORT MAX WILL REMAIN OVER ONTARIO.
   HOWEVER…TRAILING COLD FRONT WILL ADVANCE SEWD AND EXTEND FROM THE
   GREAT LAKES SWWD TO NEAR THE KS/OK BORDER AND INTO SERN CO BY
   WEDNESDAY EVENING.
  
  
   …MID MS THROUGH OH VALLEY…
  
   CLUSTER OR TWO OF STORMS WILL LIKELY BE IN PROGRESS EARLY WEDNESDAY
   OVER THE MID MS AND OH VALLEYS WITHIN ZONE OF WARM ADVECTION AND
   LIFT ON NOSE OF SWLY LOW LEVEL JET. SOME OF THIS ACTIVITY COULD
   PERSIST INTO THE AFTERNOON AS IT ADVANCES EAST. CONVECTIVE DEBRIS
   FROM ONGOING STORMS WILL LIKELY LIMIT INSTABILITY OVER PORTIONS OF
   THIS REGION. THIS IN CONJUNCTION WITH TENDENCY FOR LOW LEVEL JET TO
   GRADUALLY VEER AND WEAKEN IN WAKE OF SHORTWAVE TROUGH EJECTING
   THROUGH THE GREAT LAKES AND ONTARIO INCREASES UNCERTAINTY REGARDING
   EXTENT OF SEVERE THREAT IN THIS AREA.
  
   SOME POTENTIAL WILL EXIST FOR DESTABILIZATION AHEAD OF THE FRONT
   FROM THE MID MS VALLEY INTO WRN PARTS OF THE OH VALLEY WHERE REMNANT
   EML WILL LIKELY ADVECT EWD ABOVE AXIS OF MOIST ADVECTION. ADDITIONAL
   STORMS MAY DEVELOP ALONG THE FRONT AS ATMOSPHERE DESTABILIZES…BUT
   VEERING AND WEAKENING OF THE LOW LEVEL WINDS AND POTENTIAL FOR SOME
   CAP ASSOCIATED WITH ERN EXTENTION OF THE EML COULD POSE A PROBLEM
   FOR STORM INITIATION/COVERAGE ALONG FRONT. WHERE STORMS
   DEVELOP…SUFFICIENT WNWLY UNIDIRECTIONAL BULK SHEAR WILL EXIST TO
   SUPPORT ORGANIZED STORM STRUCTURES WITH ISOLATED DAMAGING WIND AND
   LARGE HAIL THE MAIN THREATS.
  
   …CNTRL HIGH PLAINS THROUGH SRN KS/NRN OK AREA…
  
   COLD FRONT WILL SETTLE SWD INTO SERN CO THROUGH SRN KS OR NRN OK
   WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON. A MOIST ELY UPSLOPE COMPONENT WILL LIKELY
   DEVELOP ACROSS ERN CO IN POST FRONTAL ZONE. DIABATIC HEATING AND
   STEEP MID LEVEL LAPSE RATES WILL RESULT IN FURTHER DESTABILIZATION
   WITH 1500-2000 J/KG MLCAPE LIKELY FROM ERN CO EWD ALONG FRONTAL
   BOUNDARY ACROSS SRN KS. THESE AREAS WILL REMAIN ALONG SRN PERIPHERY
   OF BELT OF 25-35 KT MID LEVEL WINDS ABOVE ELY LOW LEVEL FLOW
   RESULTING IN 35-45 KT BULK SHEAR. PRESENCE OF EML AND WEAK LARGE
   SCALE FORCING COULD LIMIT STORM COVERAGE. HOWEVER…A FEW STORMS
   COULD DEVELOP OVER THE HIGHER TERRAIN OF CO AND SPREAD SEWD DURING
   THE EVENING. OTHER STORMS MAY DEVELOP ALONG AXIS OF FRONTAL
   CONVERGENCE OVER SRN KS AS PEAK HEATING WEAKENS CAP. LARGE HAIL AND
   ISOLATED DAMAGING WIND WILL BE THE MAIN THREATS WITH ANY STORMS THAT
   DEVELOP.
  
   ..DIAL.. 07/14/2009

Crime Doesn’t Pay For Horn; Temps Don’t Warm For Us
November 20, 2008

1120 00Z NAM 850 mb 6Z Fri-Note the Moisture Content and Temps-a few flurries may get squeezed out

1120 00Z NAM 850 mb 6Z Fri-Note the Moisture Content and Temps-a few flurries may get squeezed out

The Cold Weather Just Won’t Go Away: Another cold front Thursday morning will lead in another parade of cold air. Wednesday’s high was 48 after morning lows in the teens and low 20’s. All of the leaves fell off at once on my tree “Horton.” For real. Tuesday leaves. Wednesday morning, none. Horton is now a 9 foot stick rising from the ground. I think “Kelsaroo” the hydrangia is done is going to bed for the winter as well. Good thing because we only get to the upper 30’s and low 40’s on Thursday with clouds increasing. Perhaps some meaningless flurries late Thursday or Friday morning when temperatures fall to the low to mid 20’s. Some sunshine Friday afternoon won’t get us out of the upper 30’s and Saturday looks lousy too. Mostly cloudy. Morning start in the mid-teens to low 20’s and highs again in the 30’s. Sunday we should get back to the upper 40’s.

Tom Horn

Tom Horn

On This Date in History: Tom Horn had worked as a US Army scout, deputy sherrif, and Pinkerton

Horn Looks A Little Heavier and Younger Here

Horn Looks A Little Heavier and Younger Here

Detective in the 19th Century. When General Nelson Miles had need of a “super-scout” to help track down Geronimo, he called on Tom Horn. It has been suggested that Horn even arranged for Geronimo’s surrender. Horn was no shrinking violet. While working for the Pinkerton Agency, he reported killed 17 men. His reputation was such that on one occasion he reportedly simply walked up to an accused robber and killer and announced that he had come for him. The man quietly surrendered rather than face Tom Horn. But, the detective business wasn’t exciting enough and Horn quit, saying, “It was too tame for me.”

In 1894 he was hired by the cattleman’s association in Wyoming to supposedly combat cattle rustlers but in reality was used as an enforcer against small ranchers and homesteaders who got in the way of the cattle barons. In effect, he was the law for the big shots and served as judge, jury and executioner receiving $300 to $600 for each man he took down. See, Horn didn’t see himself as murderer but instead believed that when men in authority, or even the law, hired him, he would be protected. It usually worked out that way. Horn said, “Killing is my specialty. I look at it as a business proposition and I think I have a corner on the market.” He usually lay in wait for his victim and then made his mark by placing a rock under the victim’s head.

Horn Making The Rope For His Own Gallows

Horn Making The Rope For His Own Gallows

But, the law caught up with Horn who was arrested in 1902 for the killing of a 14-year-old son of a settler the year before. In Cheyenne, the cattle barons paid for his defense and a sensational trial ensued with everyone thinking that he would be found not guilty. That was not to be the case. The prosecution had a legal reporter along with federal officer Joe LeFors and a deputy sheriff got a drunken Horn to supposedly confess to the killing. The “confession” was allowed in court and heard by a jury that was stacked with opponents of the cattlemen. Horn was convicted and on this date in 1903, Tom Horn went to the gallows after making the rope that was used in the hanging.

Steve McQueen’s 2nd to last movie was a biopic called Tom Horn with

McQueen Was a Great Tom Horn

McQueen Was a Great Tom Horn

Linda Evans, Slim Pickens and Richard Farnsworth. I guess the moral to the story is that no one is above the law and even if you get convicted of something you didn’t do, perhaps it is a justice of nature for all of the things that you did do but for which you were never caught. You may think that this held true for a certain Heismann Trophy, NFL Hall of Famer who is now in prison in Nevada.

A long bio of Horn. A shorter bio of Horn.