Posts Tagged ‘Montana’

Till the Air with Smoke is Blue

September 18, 2012

Image from mt.gov — More about: Montana Governor William Elmer Holt

POEM FOR GOVERNOR IS WRITTEN BY ‘POKE

Governor Elmer Holt has been asked to be godfather to a baby to be born in Germany in May, has been asked to find a wife for a California soldier with a bonus, and now he has invoked the poetic genius of a Colorado cowboy who wants to dedicate a poem to him.

The governor received a letter yesterday from Victor Rylatt of Maybell, Colorado, who some years ago “spent a happy summer” in Montana.

Enclosed in the letter was a bit of western verse which the poet wondered “could be dedicated to you?”

Here it is:

Let a broke, but handsome cowboy on the trail
Meet a rancher’s daughter going for the mail.
Let her tell him how some bad men
Plan to rob and kill her dad, when
He takes his herd of cattle down for sale.
Let the cowboy saddle up at early dawn,
And salute the rising sun with saddle horn.
Then behind a butte take shelter,
For some hours to smoke and swelter
Till the air with smoke is blue, travel worn.

When the wildly riding rustlers all attack,
And the bullets all around him go ‘kersmack,’
Let him wipe out all the crew
Til the air with smoke is blue.
Then gather up their weapons in a sack.
Let us finish with a chapter that encharms
‘Twill be pleasing change from war’s alarm;
As beneath his huge sombrero,
Our deadly shooting hero
Takes the shy, but willing maiden in his arms.

The Helena Independent (Helena, Montana) Mar 3, 1936

Note: Victor Rylatt was born in 1884, England. He migrated first to Canada (not sure when) then came to the United States by way of Michigan in 1913.  His planned destination on his border crossing document was Milwaukee, WI. In 1920 he was on a farm in Nebraska, and in 1930 Colorado. It doesn’t appear he ever found his “rancher’s daughter,”  as he is listed as single on the census records as well as his naturalization record.

Liberty Fetes Constitution

September 17, 2012

The Constitution — America’s Gibraltar

Fresno Bee Republican (Fresno, California) Sep 17, 1937

Constitution Adopted September 17, 1787

A Rock Foundation

Hamilton Daily News Journal (Hamilton, Ohio) Sep 17, 1937

Have you ever seen the Statue of Liberty’s torch ablaze before? Then just look how the smoke pours from it above. The occasion was the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the signing of the United States Constitution. Army and Navy color guards join to present the colors on the parapet of the statue’s pedestal, Bedloe’s Island, New York harbor.

The Helena Independent (Helena, Montana) Se[ 17, 1937

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Taking as his theme the history of the Constitution, the attacks which have been made upon it and the security it provides the American people, Associate Justice John A. Matthews, principal speaker at yesterday’s Kiwanis meeting said that while the communist party boasts of 500,00 members in this country, an even greater threat to liberty is being made by “intelligent demagogues.”

He cited as an example of the latter, Jay Franklin, author of several “leftist” books and regarded in some circles as a leader in socialistic government tendencies. He referred in particular to a statement attributed to Franklin that the Constitution had been framed by a group of “old farmers.”

Greatest of Time

“As a matter of fact,” the speaker said, “the Constitution was written by the greatest students of government ever gathered together at one time.” In the group were college presidents, ambassadors, governors, members of the Continental congress and others who had proved themselves the most brilliant men of their times.

The average age of this group, he said, was 42 years refuting the implication and “doddering old timers” were responsible for the document.

Swinging into a brief discussion of the Supreme court, over which wide spread discussion has rested because of the president’s plan to pack it, Judge Matthews asserted that unfavorable comment about fire-to-four decisions of the court was unfounded.

Two Favorable

“Actually,” he said, “until the time for the Supreme court furor last winter only three of nine New Deal decisions were by a five-to-four decision. And of these three, two were favorable to the government.”

Generally, Kiwanis voted his talk one of the most interesting of the year.

The speaker was introduced by Warren Batch, program chairman. Musical entertainment included two vocal solos by Mrs. Dorothy Statler, accompanied at the piano by Mrs. Pearl Johnson.

The Helena Independent (Helena, Montana) Sep 14, 1937

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Lower the Net?

Abilene Morning News (Abilene, Texas) Feb 17, 1937

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Previous Constitution Day posts:

What You Should Know About Our Constitution

Preserving Our Constitution

Constitution Day 1922 – Study the Constitution

Across the Path of Popular Impatience

Constitution Proclamation

The New Deal and the Constitution

Progressive Economics: Dealt from a Pack Thumbed by Kings, Despots and Tyrants

The U.S. Constitution: Wet or Dry

A Constitution Day Thought

Herbert Hoover’s Poignant Duty

*     *     *     *     *

 For the Portsmouth Times.

NOTA BENE.

A KING once said, “I am the State;”
Did his assertion make it true?
Another heard the words, “Too late!”
As from his land and throne he flew.

One ruler, in our own fair land,
Sets up his will as all in all;
A greater issues his command,
Liberty’s Goddess to enthral.

When “Constitution” is prefixed “Un-”
And ended by a small “A.L.,”
Are laws illegal, all but one?
And that the law which would compel?

What follows, then? Have we no laws?
No Constitution to uphold?
Judge for yourselves, ye who can draw
Prophetic truth from histories old.

X. ENTRIC.
PORTSMOUTH, O., Nov. 27th, 1862.

The Portsmouth Times (Portsmouth, Ohio) Dec 6, 1862

Angus Mac Donald

July 9, 2012

Image from the University of Montana

I don’t know if this is the same Angus  Mac Donald in the following poem, but the Angus Mac Donald pictured above  also lived an interesting life.

ANGUS MAC DONALD

(By. J. HAMPTON MILES.)

When Arctic was a wilderness,
E’er foot of Pioneer
Had trod upon the velvet moss
That draped her golden lair;
When forest monarch reigned supreme
O’er mountain, lea, and dale,
E’er winter’s crested, crystal sheen
Was streaked with silver trail.

A white-winged sloop approached the coast,
Then fringed with gorse and teak,
Old Angus Mac., with miner’s pack,
Mushed up her glacier’d peak;
The red man’s snarling, wolfish cur —
The bear, and antler’d king,
With growl and wail, near camp and trail
Did nightly anthems sing.

In manhood’s prime, with giant’s frame,
Herculean bone and brawn,
Piercing the sylvan God’s domain
Into the frigid zone.
Thewed was he like the polar bear,
Living in glacier’d cave,
For fortune’s weal, with heart of steel,
He fought the Arctic wave.

Through forest wild, and herbage dense,
He moved and moved and moved,
With silent care toward the star
His spirit sought and loved;
Through endless waste, o’er mountain dome,
From surging ocean brine —
From Ketchikan to plot of Nome
He mushed and builded shrine.

Among the first to pierce the hue
Of Arctic circle’s ray,
The first to ride a bark canoe
O’er Yukon’s surging spray.
His camp-fires were the first to glow
In valley, dale and glen,
He broke the first trail through the snow
With white man’s moccasin.

When savage sought to take the life
Of wives and children dear,
He fought the red man knife to knife
And drove him to the rear;
In Wrangel camp, through winter’s cold,
Defended he the white,
When demon’s yell brave hearts did quell,
He ever fought the fight.

Through blinding mist of sleet and snow,
He paced from dark till dawn,
Each weary hour along the shore,
Protecting white man’s spawn;
Thus night by night, and day by day,
Did he the vigil keep,
Through rain and snows, without repose,
While others slept sweet sleep.

Beneath two flags he fortunes sought,
And fortunes whiled away;
Like other men he sold and bought
The pleasures of the day;
And be it said that never man
On whom the cruel fate
Had filled with dirt the golden pan
Turned hungry from his gate.

But sun of life moves on his course,
And Angus, old and gray,
With broken health and empty purse,
Is treading in its ray;
The days that’re gone and days that dawn
Are memories and care,
With broken health and vanished wealth,
He moves toward his star.

But not the star of which he dreamed
In cycles past and gone,
When golden sun rays on him streamed
From dawn till balmy dawn.
But will our flag — the Stripes and Stars —
Forsake his silver head?
Forsake the son who forged her crown,
And weaved her silken thread?

Fairbanks Daily Times (Failbanks, Alaska) Dec 24, 1912

Image from the Hudson Bay CompanyLearning Center

*****

From Scots in the American Northwest:

Angus MacDonald from the Isle of Skye entered the service of the HBC in 1838 and proved so skillful in obtaining Indian furs that in 1852 he was appointed head of the extensive Colville district, including all traditional posts north of Walla Walla, Washington, far into British Columbia. MacDonald held this position until 1871, when the HBC finally gave up its last posts in the United States, and lived the rest of his life as an American in Montana Territory.

At HistoryLink, an essay about Christina McDonald, Angus’ daughter, includes some fascinating recollections:

Angus MacDonald from the Isle of Skye entered the service of the HBC in 1838 and proved so skillful in obtaining Indian furs that in 1852 he was appointed head of the extensive Colville district, including all traditional posts north of Walla Walla, Washington, far into British Columbia. MacDonald held this position until 1871, when the HBC finally gave up its last posts in the United States, and lived the rest of his life as an American in Montana Territory.

…..

Christina McDonald, the second child of Angus McDonald  and his wife, Catherine Baptiste (1826-1902), was born on September 20, 1847, near the Hudson’s Bay Company’s Fort Hall (present-day Idaho), where her father was employed as a clerk. A native of Scotland, Angus McDonald had immigrated to Canada in 1838 to work in the fur trade and had served his apprenticeship in the Snake River country, where he met Catherine. Christina later wrote: “My mother was of mixed blood. Her father was an Iroquois Frenchman, long in the employ of the Hudson’s Bay Company. Mother was a cousin of  Eagle-of-the-Light the Nez Perce chief” (Williams, Daughter, 107).

…..

Looking back on her relationship with her father, Christina explained that “as I grew older, I became his special companion and acted as interpreter for him most of the time” (Williams, Daughter, 109). Fluent in at least four languages, she became a valuable asset in his business dealings throughout the Northwest. She kept the books for him, and would accompany him and the company brigade to Kamloops each year to deliver furpacks, carrying the records in a buckskin sack. The first part of the journey was along a trail up the Kettle River (present-day Ferry County), and at one point the horses had to be swum across and a raft built to carry the goods.

…..

Read the complete essay at the link above.

Evidently, the Museum of Northern Idaho has a book for sale about Angus McDonald  [review excerpt]:

Quirky exploits, life and death challenges, his wide-ranging celebrity status, intimate victories and continental-sized disappointments were all enjoyed by this frontiersman from Ross-shire, Scotland. Included in this was a marriage to Catherine, a young Métis girl of royal Nez Perce lineage, and McDonald’s rotation through Hudson’s Bay Company’s York Factory, Fort Colvile, Fort Hall and Fort Connah. Throughout the book, author Steve A. Anderson “has allowed the unique and sympathetic voice that emerges from McDonald’s narratives, poetry and native stories, to throw light on the unheralded richness of the time” notes Bruce M. Watson, Canadian biographer and author.

In this description, it does sound like it could be the same Angus MacDonald as in the poem, however, in  a Google review, I found the following:

McDonald has been confused with others of the same name for a century. Anderson has clearly separated this Angus form the others in very scholarly fashion.

Bloody Accident in Butte

November 22, 2011

Image from the fOREST iNFO website

SHOCKING ACCIDENT.

August Fisher Seriously and Probably Fatally Injured.

Yesterday afternoon about four o’clock, as Messrs. Chastine Humphreys and Charles Swan were returning to Butte from the scene of the new gold find on the Boulder, and when about three or four hundred yards above Davis’s arastra, on the Park Canon road, their attention was attracted by some one’s calling to them, saying that a man was lying near by, all smashed and bleeding. Mr. Humphrey immediately started for the spot indicated, leaving Mr. Swan in charge of the team they were driving, and upon reaching the scene of the accident, which was about one hundred yards to the left of the Park road, he came upon a horrible sight indeed.

The injured man was found to be Mr. August Fisher, employed as a teamster by Messrs. Schmidt & Gamer. The unfortunate man was conscious, but terribly mangled, being scarcely able to speak from the loss of blood and the extent of the injuries sustained. He was lying near the wagon from which he had been thrown, surrounded by portions of the cord wood with which the wagon was loaded. None of the wood was upon him when found, and the persons finding him were unable to tell just how the accident happened. The wagon was upright and the rough-lock in place and perfectly secure, but the rack was partially on the ground. It is supposed some portion of the harness must have given way, letting the pole of the wagon drop down, when of course the driver lost all control over the team and wagon, and in some manner was thrown off and the wood or wood rack falling upon him. The horses were found a few hundred rods farther down the road.

Other assistance coming up, preparations were at once made for getting the injured man into town, and Mr. Humphrey fortunately having blankets with him, a litter was quickly constructed and the man conveyed to Mr. H’s. wagon, and hurried into town and to Dr. Whitford’s hospital. At the time of the writer’s visit the physician and attendants were preparing to dress the wounds, the full extent of which had hardly yet been determined. The left leg was broken and badly mashed below the knee, the head severely cut and bruised, and the left ear gone. Besides this it was evident that he had received a serious contusion about the head, as he was quite deaf, and the doctor feared his skull had been fractured. The injured leg will most likely have to come off should he survive his other injuries.

The Daily Miner (Butte, Montana) Oct 26, 1879

Death of August Fischer.

Mr. August Fischer, an account of whose injuries was given in the MINER of Sunday, died at Dr. Whitford’s hospital at ten minutes to two o’clock a.m. He remained perfectly conscious up to the time of his death, which was very sudden, after he commenced to show signs of dissolution. About midnight Mr. Fischer asked his attendants what the hour was, if it was not most two o’clock? On being told that it was only twelve, and in answer to the question why he wished to know the hour, he said that he should die at two o’clock. He was then asked if he had any communications to make, and he said he had not, and, at just ten minutes to the hour named, his spirit took its flight to the unknown world.

Mr. Fischer was a native of Streson, Germany, and was born on the 8th of October, 1842. He had been married and has a daughter living in Ashforth, Wisconsin.

The Daily Miner (Butte, Montana) Oct 28, 1879

KIYUS Saloon: “Only One Price – One Bit!”

August 24, 2010

Helena, Montana 1870s

Image from the Helena As She Was website, which has tons of historical pictures of Helena, Montana and other information as well. Theodore Shed, the Col. mentioned in this first KIYUS advertisement, is the same man who shot John Hugle and was subsequently tried for murder. See prior post.

Kiyus Saloon.

Those who delight in pure liquors and fine wines at reasonable prices should give the old established “Kiyus”, on Main street a call. Col. Shed, the proprietor, is known throughout the West for the superiority of his brands, and the remarkable fact that none but pure liquors are dispensed at this bar. It will also be seen by reference to his advertisement in another column that he has reduced his price to the hard times standard, of twelve and a half cents a drink. The “Kiyus” is therefore the place to obtain elegant beverages at reasonable rates.

“Kiyus” — Reduction.

HELENA, M.T., May 15, 1876.

To keep pace with the times, we have this day reduced the price of drinks and cigars to 12 1/2 cents. The quality of the goods will remain unchanged.

“KIYUS” SALOON,

One door below St. Louis Hotel

The Helena Independent — 16 May 1876

“Rag Baby” Again.

Speaking of that much-abused “rag baby,” everything goes at the “Kiyus.” We will take one-eighth of a dollar “rag baby” for a drink; or, in other words, one price, one bit! a drink at the celebrated “Kiyus.”

The Helena Independent — 25 May 1876

Hot drinks in cold weather! Cold drinks in hot weather! Fragrant cigars in all weathers, at the “Kiyus.” Only one price — one bit!

The Helena Independent — 03 Jun 1876

Col. Shed, of the famous “Kiyus,” returned yesterday from a visit to Brewer’s Springs, visibly improved in health and appearance.

The Helena Independent — 30 Jul 1876

Gay Christmas at the “Kiyus.” Egg nog, tom and jerry and a nice lunch at 12 o’clock. Oysters throughout the day and evening; also drinks and cigars day and evening.

“Kiyus,” one door below St. Louis Hotel.

The Helena Independent — 24 Dec 1876

Mr. Theodore Shed arrived here yesterday and has again taken charge of the Kiyus. There will be opened next Saturday an oyster department in connection with this establishment.

The Helena Independent — 22 Nov 1877

The Kiyus saloon is undergoing extensive repairs and will soon re-open “enlarged and improved.”

The Helena Independent — 30 Jun 1878

Do not fail to try at the celebrated “Kiyus” some of A. Booth’s oysters, served in all styles. Just flap your lip over one of those fancy roasts — Yum! yum! yum!

The Helena Independent — 24 Dec 1878

Winchester Rifle Lost.

On Thursday morning, March 27th, between Helena and the Half-way House, on the Bozeman road.

“KIYUS,”
61 Main Street, Helena.

The Helena Independent — 03 Apr 1879

NOTE: It must have moved sometime between Apr 1879 and  Aug 1880.

Messrs. Potter & Brett serve all the delicacies of the season, day and night. Call at the Kiyus.
The Kiyus on Wood street is the resort of epicures. Give it a call.

The Helena Independent — 15 Aug 1880

Shot Outside the Cosmopolitan Hotel Just as the Bozeman Coach Arrived

August 23, 2010

Main St. - Helena, Montana 1872

A BLOODY ENCOUNTER.

John Hugle Shot Down in Front of the Cosmopolitan by Theo. Shed.

Particulars of the Tragedy.

Last evening about half past nine o’clock the sharp crack of a pistol in front of the Cosmopolitan Hotel was distinctly heard along Main street and was followed by the rush of the crowd to the place from which it came. Two hundred people gathered in front of the hotel a moment after the shooting, when Mr. John Hugle, traveling salesman of Greenhood, Bohn & Co., was found lying upon the sidewalk, weltering in blood, while his assailant, Mr. Theo. Shed, book-keeper of the same house, was also seen slowly rising, pistol in hand, from the sidewalk, on which he had fallen — knocked down, it is said, by Hugle, the moment the pistol was fired. By the side of the fallen men were seen the rearing and plunging horses attached to the Bozeman coach, which had just been driven up at the time of the shooting and were frightened to madness by the affray, while the driver — Charley Brown — with his foot upon the brake, was shouting to the running and excited crowd to keep away from the horses.

The wounded man was at once removed to the office of Dr. W.L. Steele, above Webster’s store, and Mr. Shed at the same moment was arrested by the night policeman Mr. Witten and taken to the county jail. A reporter of the INDEPENDENT on entering the office of Dr. Steele found the wounded man lying upon a reclining chair and bleeding profusely. He complained of strangulation from the blood accumulating in his throat. The bullet had struck him in the face about an inch below the left eye and passing through the nasal cavity to the right, came out just at the external orifice of the ear. Doctors Leiser and Steele were in attendance upon him, and considered the wound dangerous and serious, with chances in favor of recovery. The greatest danger is that inflammation will set in, which will reach the brain.

The pistol was so close at the time of the shooting that powder stains could be seen upon the face of the wounded man, and the smell of powder was upon his breath. After remaining about an hour upon the chair, he was assisted by his friends to a carriage and taken to the hospital, where, at lastest accounts, he was resting easily.

THE ENCOUNTER

From the many conflicting accounts of the fight we regard the following as the most reliable: Mr. Shed was standing upon the street in front of the Cosmopolitan Hotel, when suddenly Mr. Hugle was seen to advance towards him and seemed to have come from the hotel. Shed stepped back as his assailant advanced and was in front of Webster’s store when he raised his pistol. At the same instant Hugle dealt him a powerful blow. The report of the pistol and the blow were simultaneous and both men fell together.

Hugle evidently regarded his wound as mortal, and murmured as he was lifted from the sidewalk:

“My name is Hugle, and Theo Shed shot me.”

Shed was perfectly calm when arrested. When questioned by the bystanders as to what was the matter, he simply answered “Oh nothing; that man — pointing to Hugle — struck me and I shot him.” He declined to make any explanation as to the cause of the difficulty to the officer who arrested him, and maintained the same reserve at the jail when our reporter and others sought to interview him upon the subject.

ANOTHER ACCOUNT.

After the above was in type, another account of the difficulty, given by two or more parties who claim to have been spectators, was to the effect that Hugle walked up to Shed while standing on the street and tapping him on the shoulder, asked, “Are you hunting for me?” “Yes, damn you,” answered the latter, and fired at the same instant.

THE BULLET

Was a 38-calibre ball, and the pistol used is said to have been of the kind known as the “English bull-dog.” The ball, after passing through the head of Hugle, ranged across the street and struck the granite corner of the Dunphy Block, seventy-five yards distant, by the entrance of Levine’s tailor shop, knocking out a large piece of granite, and falling upon the sidewalk. It passed between J.F. Blattner and John Barless, who were standing in front of the shop at the time, narrowly missing them.

THE ORIGIN OF THE DIFFICULTY

dates back to some two years ago. Both of the gentlemen were employed then as now by Messrs. Greenhood, Bohm & Co., and we understand that the first trouble arose from Mr. Hugle inadvertently putting on a buffalo overcoat owned by Mr. Shed. The coat in wet or cold weather had been frequently used by employees of the store, and Hugle, who had but recently entered the employ of the house, having observed this, started to use the coat on a certain occasion, when Shed objected. Hugle at once pulled off the coat and apologized for putting it on. shed then stated that he could use it, but said he liked to be asked when such privileges were taken of his property. Hugle declined the proffer of the coat, and ever afterwards the two young men were enemies — never speaking, although employed in the same house. Both were what is known as “high strung;” but Hugle, who is a young man of fine physique and courteous and agreeable manners, never carried a pistol and was evidently not expecting a mortal difficulty at the time of the affray.

We were unable to learn the immediate cause of the tragedy last evening. Both Mr. Greenhood and the employees of his house, are ignorant of any recent trouble between the parties.

Helena Independent, The (Helena, Montana) Jun 24, 1882

The Cosmopolitan Hotel

Cosmopolitan Hotel image can be found at the Helena As She Was website, along with tons of other great photos.

CORONER’S INQUEST.

Substance of the Testimony of Witnesses Before the Coroner’s Jury in the Matter of the Death of John Hugle.

An inquest was held last evening over the body of John Hugle, the unfortunate victim of last Friday’s shooting, he having died during the afternoon. Nine witnesses were examined. At the request of the coroner, to whom we are indebted for the testimony, the names of the witnesses are not given.

The evidence was substantially as follows:

The first witness testified that at the time of the shooting he was standing in Webster’s store and saw the flash of the pistol. On running out he saw three men helping Shed onto his feet. Shed kept crying “He struck me first!” Someone standing by said: “Here is a man in the gutter!” Hugle was lying on his face. He was helped up and asked his name and replied, “I am John Hugle and that man shot me!” pointing to the spot where Shed was when he fell. He kept saying “The Shed shot me!” Witness, with the assistance of others, helped Hugle up to Dr. Steele’s office. When questioned Hugle said he was standing looking at the coach with his back turned toward Shed, and heard a voice say: “There is the S– — – b—-!” He turned and asked Shed if he meant him, when Shed fired.

Two physicians were examined, who both testified that, to the best of their belief, Hugle’s death was caused by the wound inflicted.

A Chinaman testified to having seen Shed with a pistol in his hand, after the shot was fired. He saw Hugle strike Shed, and then heard the report of the pistol.

Another witness testified that he was standing in the Cosmopolitan hotel when the coach drove up, and heard a pistol shot. Running out, he saw a man lying in the gutter, and with others helped him up. Hugle kept saying “The Shed shot me!” or “The Shed did it!” With others he assisted Hugle up into the doctor’s office.

The next witness said he was standing in the door of Webster’s store. He heard quick steps and supposed them to be those of passengers from the coach. Saw a flash and heard the report of a pistol. Saw one man fall on the walk and another in the gutter. After wards recognized the one who fell on the walk as Theodore Shed and the other as John Hugle.

The seventh witness testified to the facts stated by the preceding witness, and in addition said he saw the pistol in the hand of Theodore Shed while still smoking. He arrested Shed and lodged him in jail.

Another witness said he was in front of Webster’s, when the coach drove up. He continued: “I was walking down immediately behind Theodore Shed, a little to the right. John Hugle was standing looking into the coach, and when Shed was within about four feet of Hugle, the latter saw him and jumped toward him and struck him. Shed fired almost immediately after Hugle struck him. Hugle then staggered and fell into the gutter, bleeding badly from the head.” He did not see Shed fall, but heard him complain that his breast hurt him.

The last witness examined said he was in front of the Cosmopolitan when the coach stopped. Saw Hugle and Shed together. Hugle seemed to be going toward Shed, and Shed was backing. Was nearly behind Hugle. Saw pistol in Shed’s hand, heard the report, and was Hugle fall in the gutter and Shed fall on the walk. At first he thought Shed had shot himself, but on helping Hugle up saw he was bleeding from a wound near his nose.

The evidence being all taken, the jury, after deliberation, handed in the following verdict:

Helena Independent, The (Helena, Montana) Jun 28, 1882

Theo. Shed is said to be quite ill at the county jail. He has had an attack of hemorrhage, bleeding at the nose profusely, a complaint to which he has been subject for several years, it is understood.

Helena Independent, The (Helena, Montana) Jul 1, 1882

Theo. Shed’s Preliminary Hearing.

The preliminary hearing in the case of Theo. Shed for the killing of John Hugle began before the Probate Judge at the court house yesterday morning. Messrs. E.W. Toole and W.E. Cullen appeared for the defense, while District Attorney Lowry appeared for the prosecution, assisted by Hon. I.D. McCutcheon. Three witnesses were examined, but no new facts were elicited. Two or three important witnesses for the prosecution were yet to be brought into the court. One of these is a traveling man named Oberfelder, who was expected to be in Dillon last evening. Deputy sheriff Witten was sent after him early yesterday morning, and it will be two or three days before he will return. In view of this examination was adjourned over until Monday, the 10th inst., at 11 o’clock a.m. No evidence was introduced by the defense. Mr. Shed’s attorneys made an effort to have him admitted to bail pending examination, urging in that behalf the defendant’s poor health and the crowded condition of the jail, but Judge Davis held that under the circumstances such action would not be proper and so Shed was returned to jail to await the conclusion of the examination.

Helena Independent, The (Helena, Montana) Jul 8, 1882

SHED’S EXAMINATION.

It Was Concluded Yesterday Afternoon in the Probate Court.

The examination of Theodore Shed for shooting John Hugl was concluded in the Probate Court yesterday afternoon at 4:30. The evidence for the prosecution was concluded on Tuesday, and as it was the same in substance as that brought out at the inquest over Hugl’s body, we do not deem it worth while to publish it.

At convening of court yesterday morning evidence for the defense was introduced and was in substance as follows:

R.O. Hickman testified that he was a partner in the firm of Greenhood, Bohm & Co., and that he made his home in Virginia City. He said he generally came to Helena about four times each year, sometimes remaining here two months at a time. Witness said he had known the accused — Theodore Shed — as book-keeper in the employ of his firm for about three years. Said Shed’s character for sobriety, integrity and quietness was good. Did not know anything derogatory to the accused’s character as a peaceable man. Said Hugl had been in the firm’s employ for about five years. Had never heard anything against him except that he went on a spree occasionally. Mr. Greenhood had been requested last fall to discharge Hugl but did not do so.

C.P. Van Wart testified that on the evening of the 23d of June he walked up Main street about 9 o’clock in company with Shed. Their conversation was in regard to witness borrowing Shed’s horse to ride out to Tarleton & Breck’s ranch the next day. They stopped at Kessler’s and had some beer. Shed said he had an engagement to meet a friend at the Cosmopolitan and they walked down that way. Shed went into the hotel and witness stood looking at the Bozeman coach which had just arrived. While looking at the coach he heard a blow and then a shot. Turning around he saw Shed lying on the sidewalk and breathing hard. Witness asked Shed if he was shot and Shed answered, “My breast hurts me; I have been struck.” At first he thought it was Shed who was shot. He had known Shed several years and had always found him a peaceable, quiet gentleman.

William Simms testified that he had lived in Helena 13 years and had known Shed that long. He never knew anything derogatory to Shed’s character, but knew him as a peaceable, law-abiding citizen.

P.M. Atwood testified that on the night of the shooting he was standing in front of the Cosmopolitan hotel shortly after 9 o’clock, at the time the Bozeman coach came in. Hugl stood about four feet to the right of witness and Shed about three feet to his left. As soon as Hugl saw Shed he ran at him and struck him a hard blow on the breast. Shed staggered and immediately shot Hugl. Saw Hugl fall and witness first turned his attention to him. Then looked and saw Shed brushing the dust from his pants. Shed complained that his breast hurt him. Witness believed Hugl was the aggressor.

Samuel Schwab testified that on the evening in question he was in the office of the Cosmopolitan, sitting at the desk writing. Shed walked in and inquired for Max Oberfelder, a guest of the house. Told Shed that Oberfelder had gone away. Did not know whether Shed saw Oberfelder or not. When Oberfelder came in he told him Shed had called to see him, and Mr. O. then went to look for Shed. Pretty soon the Bozeman coach drew up in front and witness went to the door, when he heard some one remark: “Theo. Shed had shot somebody.”

J.W. Thompson testified that he had been book-keeper in the employ of Greenhood, Bohm & Co. for 18 months. Had known defendant as head book keeper for that firm. A revolver was kept in the cash drawer at Shed’s desk and Shed always put it in his pocket when he started home at night and would return it to the cash drawer in the morning.

Shed usually left the store at about half past nine o’clock, sometimes going straight home and sometimes taking a walk first. On the evening of the 23d of June Shed left the store shortly after nine o’clock. Said he was going to the Cosmopolitan to see Mr. Oberfelder. Shed then turned around to the cash drawer, took the pistol and put it into his pocket, and then left the store. The pistol belonged to Shed. It was a Colt’s six-shooter, 3-inch barrel, and was longer than a “bull-dog” pistol. Shed had carried the pistol about a year.

Tong Ling (Chinaman) testified that on the evening of the 23d of June he saw Hugl strike Shed after the coach came in. Hugl and Shed met again when Hugl hit Shed again.

Shed shot Hugl and Shed was taken off by a policeman. Saw Shed carry a pistol in his hand after the shot. Saw Hugl fall in the gutter and Shed fall on the sidewalk.

This closed the testimony for the defense.

There being no question as to Shed shooting Hugl, counsel then submitted argument on the question of admitting Shed to bail. Judge Davis decided that as no conclusive evidence had been produced as to Shed’s act being premeditated and with malice, he would therefore admit him to bail in the sum of $6,000 to appear at the next term of the district court for this county. Court then adjourned.

Shed had no difficulty in securing the required bond.

Helena Independent, The (Helena, Montana) Jul 13, 1882

Territory vs. Theodore Shed; defendant arraigned upon indictment for murder in the first degree; defendant to plead on November 18.

Helena Independent, The (Helena, Montana) Nov 17, 1882

Court Proceedings.

In the case of the Territory vs. Theodore Shed, it was ordered that the defendant be admitted to bail in the sum of $8,000.

The Helena Independent (Helena, Montana) Nov 18, 1882

THE SHED TRIAL.

The Evidence All In — Nine O’Clock Monday Set for Hearing the Argument of Counsel.

The evidence in the Shed case (the accused being on trial for the killing of John Hugl) was all taken yesterday. The jury, as selected, is constituted as follows, to wit: Benjamin Benson, J.J. Ferrell, T.L. Hodge, O.C. Bundy, M.L. Geary, R.E. Sherry, A.F. Burns, David Blacker, N.A. Mattice, Robert Barnes, S.P. Kinna, and John Morris.

The evidence introduced by the prosecution contained no new features, although ten witnesses were examined, namely: Wm. Schollar, P.W. Atwood, N.H. Webster, W.L. Steele, Milt Witten, Geo. Jones, C.P. Van Wart, Romeo Reneuer, Herman Gans, and Mr. Blatner. The whole testimony of these witnesses may be summed up in a few words:

That Theodore Shed shot John Hugl, and that the affray took place on Main street almost in front of the Cosmopolitan Hotel. One of them testified that at the time the shot was fired Shed had his left arm raised as if to ward off a blow; another, that he heard a blow, and then the report of a pistol; and all, that after firing, Shed fell back upon the walk, while Hugl also fell.

Fourteen witnesses were called for the defense. T.J. Lowry testified that he had known the defendant for about seventeen years — in fact, ever since he (Shed) was quite a boy. He had always had the reputation of being a quiet and peaceable man, and also a very courteous one.

W.A. Chessman, W.K. Roberts, C.K. Wells, A.G. Clark, Major Davenport, Mr. Hartwell, L.F. Evans, R.C. Wallace, and Mr. Stanly testified substantially the same as Mr. Lowry, having known Shed from twelve to seventeen years, and always as a quiet and peaceable man.

Mrs. James McEvily had been acquainted with Mr. Shed for six years, having lived near him. He was not a strong man, and his health was not very good. While living neighbor to her he had had several attacks of hemorrhage of the lungs. Did  not know how violent these attacks were, but remembered having sent her boy for a doctor when Shed was taken with hemorrhage.

Michael Kelly testified to having been on Main street at the time of the difficulty between Shed and Hugl. Was within twenty or thirty feet of them, standing upon the sidewalk, He heard a shot and saw Shed fall. He ran to pick him up, but another gentleman got there first. Judged, from Shed’s appearance, that he was stunned. Asked Shed if he was hurt, and he replied, “He hit me.” A policeman then came up and took charge of Shed. Witness knew Mr. Hugl in his life time. He was about twenty-five years old, and probably five feet ten and a half inches high. He weighed probably 155 or 156 pounds. He was a strong man, there was no question about that. On cross examination Kelly stated that Shed fell at the instant the pistol flashed, and perhaps slightly before.

Dr. Steele testified to having known Shed for ten years, and that his reputation was good, he having never heard anything against him. Was acquainted with Shed’s physical condition. It was not very good. His chest was weak, and he had been addicted to hemorrhage of the lungs. After the difficulty with Hugl, Shed was coughing and spitting up blood. A stout muscular man, by striking him, would do him great bodily injury.

Mrs. Shed, (wife of the accused) testified that her husband’s physical condition had not been good for the past four or five years. In reference to the pistol spoken of, her husband always brought that home from the store with him. When he got home he would place it in the drawer, and in the morning would return it to his pocket. At night he always came home from the store after nine o’clock, and sometimes it was past ten o’clock.

This closed the testimony, and, as it was almost 4 o’clock in the afternoon the judge decided to postpone further proceeding in the case until Monday (to-morrow) at 9 o’clock, a.m., and court adjourned till that hour.

Helena Independent, The (Helena, Montana)Nov 18, 1883

NOT GUILTY.

The Jury in the Shed Case Acquit the Defendant of the Charge of Murder.

All of yesterday’s session of the district court was occupied in hearing the argument of counsel in the Shed case. The proceedings were opened at half past nine o’clock by I.D. McCutcheon, for the prosecution. Mr. McCutcheon spoke for half an hour, and was followed by E.W. Toole, for the defense, who spoke for an hour and twenty minutes, and he, in turn, was followed by Col. Sanders for the defense in an address of over an hour. An adjournment was then taken until two o’clock p.m., at which time Col. Johnston closed for the prosecution, and the case went to the jury at about half-past four o’clock.

The plea of the defense was that in shooting Hugl the accused acted entirely in self-defense. Ordinarily an assault without some deadly weapon is not held to be sufficient cause for killing an assailant, as in order to establish the plea of self-defense it is necessary to show that the accused was in danger of great bodily harm; but in this case, although Hugl displayed no weapon, it was asserted by the defense (and the testimony introduced by them established it as a fact) that Shed’s physical condition was such that a blow from a strong man (as Hugh proved to be) might prove fatal, and would at any rate probably result in great bodily harm. The testimony of the defense went to prove that Shed was weak about the chest, and was afflicted at times with hemorrhage of the lungs; also that Hugl was large, active, and powerful. It was proven also that Hugl was in the act of striking Shed (had probably already struck him) and that he and Shed both fell when the fatal {SHOT} was fired. After the affray Shed was troubled with his chest and with spitting blood, which went to prove that Hugl, although unarmed, actually was able to do Shed great bodily injury, and in fact had already done so — and at the time the shot was fired he was following Shed up in an aggressive manner. These facts once proven, any measure for defense became justifiable.

Judge Wade, in his charge to the jury, made this point clear, and instructed that if the jury found that the deceased was the aggressor and that the defendant had good reason for believing himself to be in danger of great bodily harm, and if the jury believed that he did think so, then they should acquit. This same point was covered by several separate charges in the Court’s instructions.

The jury retired at about half-past four o’clock, and court took a recess until a verdict should be arrived at — which was within about three hours, when the jury brought in a verdict of not guilty.

The Helena Independent (Helena, Montana) Nov 20, 1883

Main St. Looking South - Helena Montana

Theodore Shed before the shooting:

Kiyus Saloon.

Those who delight in pure liquors and fine wines at reasonable prices should give the old established “Kiyus”, on Main street a call. Col. Shed, the proprietor, is known throughout the West for the superiority of his brands, and the remarkable fact that none but pure liquors are dispensed at this bar. It will also be seen by reference to his advertisement in another column that he has reduced his price to the hard times standard, of twelve and a half cents a drink. The “Kiyus” is therefore the place to obtain elegant beverages at reasonable rates.

The Helena Independent — 16 May 1876

Col. Shed, of the famous “Kiyus,” returned yesterday from a visit to Brewer’s Springs, visibly improved in health and appearance.

The Helena Independent — 30 Jul 1876

Theo. Shed has sold his interest in the trader’s store at the Missoula post to D.J. Welch of Williams & Co.

Helena Independent, The (Helena, Montana) Nov 4, 1877

Theo. Shed sold out his interest in the sutler’s store yesterday to Williams & Co. It is Theo.’s intention to return to Helena.

Helena Independent, The (Helena, Montana) Nov 6, 1877

Mr. Theodore Shed arrived here yesterday and has again taken charge of the Kiyus. There will be opened next Saturday an oyster department in connection with this establishment.

The Helena Independent — 22 Nov 1877

The head of the monster bear recently slaughtered by Theo. Shed while out hunting on Beaver Creek was on exhibition in Greenhood, Bohm & Co.’s counting room last evening. It was a formidable looking affair.

Helena Independent, The (Helena, Montana) Oct 20, 1881

A handsome nugget pin was won in a raffle at White Sulphur Springs last Monday by Theo. Shed.

Helena Independent, The (Helena, Montana) Feb 12, 1882

Sol Star – A Picturesque Pioneer

August 7, 2010

Sol Star (Image from Wikepedia)

Sol Star was a friend and business partner of Seth Bullock’s. These two men had a lot in common.  Both were foreign born. Both lived in Montana during the 1870s, and both caught the Black Hills fever and headed for Deadwood. And both men had a hand in civilizing and bringing about the statehood of South Dakota.

The Deadwood S.D. Revealed website has a Sol Star biography written in 1901. NOTE: They give his place of burial as Mt. Moriah Cemetery, Lawrence Co., South Dakota, but he was actually buried in the New Mount Sinai Cemetery in St Louis, Missouri.

The Daily Independent - May 30, 1874

*****

The Daily Independent - Jun 21, 1874

It is fashionable to angle for trout in the Little Blackfoot, and Sol Star, who was out with Gen. Smith and party reports the fish as hungry as Crow Indians — they will bite at anything except a crowbar.

The Daily Independent (Helena, Montana) Aug 11, 1874

The Daily Independent - Jan 16, 1875

Personal.

Auditor Sol Star arrived last evening at the Capital of Montana with bag and baggage, also the archives of the Auditor’s office. See his notice in to-day’s INDEPENDENT.

The Daily Independent (Helena, Montana) Mar 2, 1875

The Daily Independent - Mar 5, 1875

Receiver’s Office.

The business of the Helena Land Office has been retarded for some time, owing to the resignation of Mr. Sol Star, and the non-appearance of his successor, Mr. Sheridan. But the office runs smoothly again. Commissioner Burdett has modified the acceptance of Mr. Star’s resignation, and Mr. Star, as ordered, will resume the duties of the office until the arrival and qualification of his successor. We understand it will not interfere with his duties as Auditor. The following is the dispatch:

WASHINGTON, March 25, 1875.

To Sol Star, Esq., Helena, M.T.:

“The acceptance of your resignation has been modified so far as to take effect upon the appointment and qualification of your successor. You will, therefore, continue to act as Receiver until that event.”

S.S. BURDETT, Commissioner

The Daily Independent (Helena, Montana) Mar 27, 1875

Short Stops.

Mr. Sol Star has ordered from the East a large stock of queensware, glassware, wire and willoware, lamps and chandeliers, which he expects to open to the trade about the 1st of June.

The Helena Independent (Helena, Montana) Apr 4, 1876

Sol Star and Seth Bullock, on their way to Benton, narrowly escaped drowning in the Little Prickly Pear.

The Helena Independent (Helena, Montana) Jun 24, 1876

Sol Star & Seth Bullock (Image from http://picasaweb.google.com/John.Auw)

THE TERRITORY.

Mr. Sol. Star, who had shipped a large invoice of queensware to Helena and designed opening a store, has taken the Black Hills fever, shipped his goods back from Benton to Bismarck, and designed starting to-day for Deadwood City. Sorry you are going, Sol., but good luck to you.
North-West.

Butte Miner (Butte, Montana) Jul 8, 1876

Personal.

Sol Star has gone East by way of the river.

Seth Bullock left yesterday for Dakota Territory. He will be absent several weeks.

The Helena Independent (Helena, Montana) Jul 8, 1876

You can read about Sol and Seth’s arrival at Deadwood (Google book link)  in the 1899  book,  The Black Hills, by Annie D. Tallent.

Lincoln Territory.

Delegates representing all the interests and localities in the Black Hills, assembled in convention at Deadwood on the 21st ult. and adopted a memorial to Congress setting forth the wants and necessities of the people. We notice that our former townsman, Sol Star, was appointed one of the Committee on Organization, and W.H. Claggett, late of Deer Lodge, one of the Committee on Resolution.

The Helena Independent (Helena, Montana) May 8, 1877

Implicated in Star Route Frauds.

WASHINGTON, September 28. — President Arthur to-day directed the removal of Sol Star, postmaster at Deadwood, D.T., for confessed complicity with the Star route contractors in defrauding the Postoffice Department.

The Helena Independent (Helena, Montana) Sep 30, 1881

Sol. Star.

Sol. Star denounces through the columns of the Black Hills Pioneer, the statement emanating, as he supposed, from one Pursy, to the effect that he had confessed complicity in the Star route frauds. He says that such statements are unqualifiedly false in every particulas and are malicious slanders and fabrications; that no such confessions were ever made, and that no facts existed on which the alleged confession could be made. Mr. Star was for many years a resident of Helena, and has many friends here who would be glad to learn of his complete vindication.

The Helena Independent (Helena, Montana) Oct 11, 1881

Sol Star and the Star Routes.

Mr. Sol Star has been removed from the postmastership at Deadwood on the charge of being complicated in some of the Star Route frauds in Dakota. As Mr. Star is well-known in this territory, being at one time Territorial Auditor, the following, which we clip from the Black Hills Times, concerning his removal, and his letter of explanation, may be fo some interest to our readers. We therefore produce them:

WASHINGTON, Oct. 1. — Star, postmaster at Deadwood, removed yesterday, has confessed that for several years past he has made false certificates of star route service between Sidney and Deadwood. His confession exposes the rascality of the star route ring in the northwest.

WASHINGTON, Oct. 1. — The action of the president in removing Postmaster Star, of Deadwood, was caused by his revelations concerning the star route in the northwest. For some months past one of the most efficient inspectors of the postoffice department has been secretly investigating the management of the Deadwood postoffice, and when he confronted the postmaster with his proofs the latter confessed.

The telegraph lines have been weighted with reports concerning star-route frauds, in which postmaster Sol Star of this city is proclaimed as being implicated, and as having made a confession to that effect. To those who know the facts it is scarcely necessary to state the report is an unmitigated lie from first to last. He has made no confession of fraud for the best of all reasons — there is no fraud to confess on his part. The confession, so called, we here publish. As will be seen, nothing short of entire malice could constitute this report of facts as a confession of crooked dealing. It is about as much of a confession as an almanac is a confession of the state of the weather:

DEADWOOD, D.T. Sept. 1, 1881.

John B. Furay, Special Agent Postoffice Department:

In reply to your verbal request in relation to the arrival of mails on route 34,156, I beg to state that the record of arrivals as reported by my mail bills was based upon the schedule time given by the contractor, and not the actual time of arrival. The report thus made was not made with any expectation or promise to receive a reward from the contractor, but was done and reported, first, because I believed that if the public was satisfied the government would also be with the arrival of the mails; and second, having so reported for two years last past without hearing any complaint from the department I took it for granted that my view of it was correct. I am now informed that such a report was detrimental to the interest of the government, and that the actual time of arrival, and not the schedule time or near the schedule time, is what was wanted. I desire to state that in my belief arrivals of mails will vary from two to four hours later than as reported, as follows: From July, 1879, to September, 1881, for ten months in the time mentioned, the time of actual arrival will vary from two to four hours per day, and for two months in each year named, say for March and April, 1880, and March and April, 1881, the time from that reported will vary from one to three days too early.

Yours truly,

SOL STAR, Postmaster.

The Daily Miner (Butte, Montana) Oct 11, 1881

The elation of the star route people over a verdict of acquittal from Judge Dundy’s court in Omaha will, it is stated, not avail them in other cases. These cases originated in the confession of the postmaster at Deadwood that he had been giving false certificates of the arrival and departure of mails in order to enable the contractors to draw their full pay, though they had not fulfilled their contract. This confession was obtained by Postoffice Inspector Furay, in an investigation set on foot by himself. There were strong local influences of mail contractors in that region. Monroe Saulsbury, one of the largest mail contractors who lives at Deadwood, prevented an indictment of guilty persons once, but it was finally had. On the trial, however, the Deadwood postmaster refused to testify on the ground that he would criminate himself. The confession in these cases was made last summer by Sol Star, a former resident of this Territory, and led to his removal from the position of postmaster of Deadwood.

The Daily Minor (Butte, Montana) Feb 25, 1882

JUSTICE TO AN OLD MONTANIAN.

The Inter Mountain professes to be indignant because the Black Hills Plains says some kind words about Mr. Sol. Star, one of the newly elected aldermen of Deadwood City, and thinks that “such perversity in press and people cannot help the application of Dakota for Statehood.” It is quite likely the thought never entered the head of the Times writer that he was jeopardizing the interests of his Territory when he penned the favorable notice of his townsman, the genial, clever Sol. He may take it all back after seeing the Inter Mountain of the 16th inst., but we don’t believe he will. Now we propose to say a few kind words about Mr. Star even if by so doing we imperil Montana’s prospects of Statehood. But we will state in the outset our firm belief that Mr. Sol. Star is no more a star route thief than the Inter Mountain editor is an angel.

Mr. Star lived many years in Montana and while here he occupied responsible positions both public and private and earned a reputation for intelligence, capability and integrity of character which we are yet to learn he has lost. He served a term as auditor of this Territory and faithfully performed its duties and when he retired from the office he carried with him the confidence and respect of a host of friends. It will be news to those friends and to Mr. Star, himself to learn that he confessed “to the commission of a felony.”

Mr. Star did nothing of the kind. He simply certified as postmaster to the arrival and departure of the mails. Sometimes the mail did not arrive or leave exactly on schedule time, but as is generally usual among nearly all postmasters, where there was not too long a continuance of diversion from schedule time, he made no exceptions in his certification. These, as we understand them, are the simple facts of the case, but the officious, and as the sequel has proved, not over scrupulous Furay preferred charges against him in the interest, it is said, of one of his (Furay) friends. Mr. Star resigned, stood his trial and was acquitted.

If Mr. Star is as guilty as the Inter Mountain would have its readers believe the citizens of Deadwood are certainly a bad lot, for in the face of all this Star route business they have elected him as an Alderman of the city. Our word for it he will make a good one. If he is not the Sol Star of old it is because he has too closely followed the precepts and practices of the Republican party of which, while here, he was an honored and leading member.

The Daily Miner (Butte, Montana) May 18, 1882

If the Inter Mountain has not completely exhausted itself in its endeavor to injure the reputation of an old, well-known and much-esteemed ex-resident of Montana and now a respected citizen of Deadwood, could it not dispose of a portion of its time and space in noticing the Dorseys, Bradys, Howgates and a score of other worthies of the party to which it seems to owe allegiance? It appears to ignore the fact that two of these distinguished Republican luminaries are on trial for swindling the government and that the other is a fugitive from justice. Just for a change from diatribes against Governor Potts, slanderous accusations against Mr. Sol Star and stale editorials from the New York Herald, give us a live article about something else its knows nothing about — for instance the effect which a “dishonest coinage law” and “fraudlent dollars” have upon the business of the country.

The Daily Minor (Butte, Montana) May 19, 1882

DAKOTA CONVENTIONS.

Republicans and Democrats Hold Powwows In Their Respective Burgs.

HUDSON, S.D., August 29. — The republican state convention reassembled at 10 o’clock this morning and heard reports of the committee on credentials and organization. Permanent organization was effected by the election of Sol Star as permanent chairman and E.W. Caldwell as secretary with two assistants. Mr. Star made a brief address, and Judge Moody took the platform amid deafening cheers. On behalf of the delegation of Lawrence county he presented the chairman with a tin gavel made from tin taken from the Etta mine in that county. Judge Moody’s speech was very eloquent and was frequently applauded. The convention then adjourned till 2 o’clock this afternoon.

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) Aug 30, 1889

The Convention Meets.

MITCHELL, Aug. 27. — Convention called to order by C.T. McCoy, chairman, at 2:15….

Sage of Faulk nominated Sol. Star of Deadwood for temporary chairman. He was unanimously elected.

Mr. Star was introduced by the committee and addressed the convention as follows:

Gentlemen of the Convention: On behalf of the Black Hills country, and particularly those residents of Deadwood here, I can but return to you my thanks personally for your grateful acknowledgment of services I have rendered you at a convention of a similar nature and character at the city of Huron a year ago, and to the pledges I have made and services I have rendered. I can only add in addition, that I will endeavor to discharge these duties which devolve upon me as temporary chairman of this orginization without fear or favor…

Daily Huronite (Huron, South Dakota) Aug 28, 1890

A bill has been introduced at Pierre by Sol Star of the Black Hills, providing for the resubmission of the question of prohibition. It is safe to say it will not pass.

Mitchell Daily Republican (Mitchell, South Dakota) Jan 17, 1890

Mitchell Daily Republican - Jan 28, 1890

The Black Hills Journal website has some interesting tidbits in regards to the history of prohibition in South Dakota,  and mentions Deadwood, specifically.

THE NEWS.
Miscellaneous.

Sol Star is elected mayor of Deadwood for the eight time.

Daily Huronite (Huron, South Dakota) May 6, 1891

Gossip among the Republican delegates in town this afternoon en route to the Aberdeen convention was to the effect that Sol Star of Deadwood was to be pushed to the front on the anti-prohibition issue, and that Judge Moody would be at the head of the Lawrence county delegation. Minnehaha county was claimed for Star, while French of Yankton was thought to be the second choice of the Star men.

Mitchell Daily Republican (Mitchell, South Dakota) Sep 28, 1891

The Hills on Jolley.

Sol Star in the Sioux City Journal: We saw that there was no show, ans so we went for the best man, and that man is Col. Jolley, of Vermillion. He is the very best man that the party could have nominated. He is a worker, thoroughly posted in the needs of the state, an able man and one who will do the state credit at Washington. I think, too, that he will be broad enough to look out for our interests as well as those of his own part of the state. We are satisfied with the nomination and Jolley will get the support of the Hills Republicans.

Mitchell Daily Republican ( Mitchell, South Dakota) Oct 4, 1891

Sol Star was re-elected for the ninth time mayor of Deadwood, by 37 majority. Another republican victory.

Daily Huronite (Huron, South Dakota) May 9, 1892

Dec 16, 1892

*****

Mar 6, 1896

*****

Gravestone image posted by afraydknot,  on Find-A-Grave, along with a biography.

PICTURESQUE PIONEER WHO FOUGHT INDIANS ON BISMARCK — BLACK HILLS TRAIL IN ’76 DIES AT DEADWOOD

Deadwood, S.D., Oct. 19 — Sol Star, picturesque pioneer of the Black Hills, and who, with his partner, Seth Bullock, was among the first to take the Old Black Hills trail from Bismarck to Deadwood, has left on his last, lone, prospecting tour. “If the streets up there are paved with gold, Sol will be right at home,” said one of his old pals.

Sol Star, several times mayor of Deadwood, and one of the best liked of all the old timers, was born in Bavaria in 1840, coming to America at the age of 10, and to Helena, Mont., in 1865. He remained at Helena and Virginia City until 1876, serving as register of the United States land office from 1872 to 1874, and for one year as territorial auditor of Montana. He arrived in Deadwood on Aug. 1, 1876, with Capt. Seth Bullock, who years ago gained fame as a personal friend of Theodore Roosevelt. The Partners picked Deadwood as a good camp. They had a large consignment of goods en route to Helena for them, and upon Bullock’s suggestion this shipment was headed off at Bismarck and brought to Deadwood over the old Black Hills trail.

The trail from Bismarck to the Black Hills was beset with hostile Sioux, angry with the whites because of ignored treaties, and when Bullock and Star reached old Crook City they were compelled to fight a pitched battle with the redskins. Again they encountered the enemy on Big Bottom, but they finally reached Deadwood with their skins and their goods intact. Upon their arrival here they opened a general store, and their partnership in this business continued until 1894. Star was mayor of Deadwood from 1884 to 1893 and from 1895 to 1899. For 19 years he served as clerk of court, and in 1889 he attended the first state convention at Huron, where the enabling act was ratified, and he nominated the first set of officers for the new state of South Dakota. Later he served in both branches of the state legislature.

The Bismarck Tribune (Bismarck, North Dakota) Oct 19, 1917

Seth Bullock – Before Deadwood

August 4, 2010

Main St. - Helena, MT - 1872 (Image from http://www.cardcow.com)

While I was researching Robert V. Carr, the official poet of Seth Bullock’s Cowboy Brigade, I decided to search “Seth Bullock” to see if  I could find any Carr references. That didn’t turn out to be fruitful in regards to Carr, but I did run across quite a bit more on Seth Bullock. Since I found so many news articles, I typed them up, and  have decided to break them up into at least two separate posts. This first one covers Seth’s time in Montana – before he went to Deadwood. (Updated: 8/11/10)

Attempt to Break Jail.

A well conceived attempt to break jail was frustrated yesterday morning by the vigilance of Sheriff Bullock. It has been known to the Sheriff and his deputy that for several days past the prisoners were preparing to escape, but the keen eye of Bullock had watched their maneuvres, and he and the Under Sheriff have been standing guard, armed with double-barreled shot guns to prevent their escape. The prisoners had succeeded in cutting the iron of the inner door — not quite through, but leaving just sufficient uncut for the door to swing without falling down — and knowing that the outer door is not closed until about 9 o’clock at night, it was their intention to wrench the inner door from its hinges between the hours of 7 and 9 p.m. and effect their escape. Their plans were well laid and their failure is due to the strict guard kept over them.

The master spirit in the attempt was Samuel O. Duster. N.B. Larabee and Wm. Brooks (colored), also inmates, are not supposed to have been very active in the work. It was one of these latter names that informed the Sheriff of what was going on. The Sheriff has decorated the prisoners with his strongest and most approved style of jewelry; and now his slumbers are peaceful. We understand that it is the intention of District Attorney Toole to try this case mutilating or injuring county property to test the validity of the law inflicting punishment in such cases.

The Daily Independent (Helena, Montana) Apr 15, 1874

1870 Census - Helena - Seth Bullock

A SURE THING.

Saturday, May 30, at 10 o’clock.

You will find at the auction sale of Jno. E. McDonald, on Spruce and Dearborn streets, household goods, consisting of parlor, dining-room and kitchen furniture, a handsome marble top bed-room set, with English Brussels and three-ply carpets, cooking and heating stoves, a spring mattrass, a magnificent French clock, a perfect time-keeper, strikes the hours and half-hours, a water-fall, a gold finch taking his regular drinks, and music attached that will soothe a cross baby to sleep; books, magazines, chromos, etc., a Grover & Baker sewing machine, also a top buggy, with a set of gold mounted harness. Sale positive.

SETH BULLOCK.
dtd-my26     Auctioneer.

The Daily Independent (Helena, Montana) May 26, 1874

1874

Helena Engine Company No. 1.

A special meeting of the above Company will be held in the Engine House on Saturday evening at 8 o’clock to make arrangements for an appropriate celebration of the 4th of July. A full attendance is requested.

By order     SETH BULLOCK,

W.J. AUERBACH, Secy.     Foreman.

The Daily Independent (Helena, Montana) May 29, 1974

Sheriff Bullock started yesterday for Deer Lodge with three prisoners for the penitentiary — Lackland Frazier, Harry Clifford, and Samuel O. Duston, sentenced for one year each.

The Daily Independent (Helena, Montana) Jun 7, 1874

BOLD ROBBERY.

Sheriff Bullock, yesterday afternoon, sent a prisoner by the name of Jimmy Phillips, now confined in jail on the charge of petit larceny, after a bucket of water. Noticing that he was gone longer than was necessary, he stepped out of the jail to see what had become of the prisoner. He, however, made his appearance in a moment or two.

Jesse Armitage’s store was near by, and he soon missed some money out of the drawer. He communicated the fact to Sheriff Bullock, who proceeded to search the prisoner, and found it upon him. This may be considered one of the sharpest tricks ever played by a prisoner in this country. While the bucket was being filled he had stepped into the store and robbed the drawer of its contents so quietly and quickly that he was not detected in the act. He then got his bucket of water and returned to the jail. Young Phillips is evidently a hard case, and nothing but iron bars will ever be able to restrain him from taking other people’s property.

The Daily Independent ( Helena, Montana) Jul 3, 1874

Helena Library - not the original (Image from http://www.cardcow.com)

Here is a link with the history of the Lewis & Clark Library.

Library Festival.

The Helena Library Association will have a festival this evening in the Herald building on Broadway. No pains have been spared by the Committees to make it a pleasant affair. A noble object we trust that it will be well attended.

Committee on Arrangements —
Mrs. W.C. Child, Mrs. J.R. Gilbert, Mrs. E.W. Knight, Mrs. ?.W. Cannon, Mrs. D.A.G. Flowe??ee, Mrs. Dr. L.W. Frary, Mrs. Sam I. Neel, Mrs. Wm Sims, Mrs. A.J. Davidson, Mrs. Jon. McCormick, Mrs. A.J. Smith, Mrs. R.L. McCulloch, Mrs. T.O. Groshon, Mrs. Nick Kessler, Miss Clara Guthrie, Mr. Benj. Stickney, Wm. Nowlan, W.?. Chessman, A.H. Beattie and S.C. Ashby.

Ice Cream Committee —
Miss Lou Gutherie, Miss Mary Pope, Miss Mather, Miss Bailey, Miss Hattie Rumley, Miss Jennie Totten, Miss D. Anchel, Miss Marabel, Julia Coates, Mrs. Mae Bromley, Mr. C.G. Reynolds, Jno. Heldt, Aaron Hershfield, H. Wyttenbach, and Seth Bullock.

NOTE: I am trying to picture Seth Bullock serving ice cream!

I didn’t type all the names listed for the following committees:

Committee on Strawberries — …
Committee on Tables — …
Lemonade Committee — …
Reception Committee — …
Floor Managers — …

The Daily Independent (Helena, Montana) Jul 8, 1874

Helena - Main St. Looking South (Image from http://www.cardcow.com)

Mardi Gras Hop.

For the benefit of the Helena Library Association, will begin at International Hall, on Broadway, on Tuesday evening, February 9th, 1875.

General Managing Committee —
C. Hedges, D.S. Wade, W.F. Sanders, S. Koenigsberger, Wm Roe, John Kinna, S.H. Crounse, D.C. Corbin, W.C. Child.

Committee on Reception —
A. Sands, T.H. Kleinschmidt, A.M. Holter, R.E. Fisk, Seth Bullock, H.M. Parchen, C.A. Broadwater, W.F. Chadwick, A.J. Simmons.

Committee on Invitation — …
Committee on Music — …
Committee on Supper — …
Committee on Tickets — …
Floor Managers — …

Music will be furnished by Prof. Hewin’s band, and no pains will be spared by the Professor to make the music lively.

The hall will be kept comfortable by a stove at each end.

Tickets will be sold at the door at $2.50 each.

Supper will be served at the St. Louis Hotel, and will be separate and apart from the tickets for the hop.

The Committee on Invitations hereby extend a general invitation to all.

Dancing will commence precisely at 8 1/2 o’clock. Supper will be announced at 11 1/2 o’clock.

The Daily Independent (Helena, Montana) Feb 5, 1875

Helena Volunteer Firemen - Seth Bullock (3rd from left)

Image from Deadwood S.D. Revealed

FIREMAN’S BALL.

Washington’s Birthday, February 22d, 1875.

For the Benefit of the Fire Department.

Committee of Arrangements —
Seth Bullock, M.M. Chase, Wm. Sims, Henry Klein, A.R. Wright, Ted Sweeney, Joseph Davis, J.P. Woolman.

Committee on Supper and Soliciting — …
Committee on Music — …
Committee on Decoration — …
Committee of Reception — …
Floor Managers — …
Committee on Selling Tickets — …

The Daily Independent (Helena, Montana) Feb 20, 1875

1875

Sheriff Bullock, whose absence from town has been observed more than a week, has been heard from at San Francisco. It is surmised that his visit has some connection with a gentleman who operated here a few years ago as “our wealthy banker,” but whose last days in Helena were passed in the company of a deputy sheriff. It is rumored that the sum of $7,000 has been offered to compromise the case in suit.

The Daily Independent (Helena, Montana) Mar 18, 1875

Fred. Shaffer Captured.

Below will be found the dispatches received by Sheriff Bullock yesterday relative to the capture of Shaffer and his companions at Bismarck. These dispatches were sent by mail from Corinne, hence the delay in receiving them. We learn that a requisition will be at once issued, and an officer promptly dispatched to bring the prisoner back, and he will probably be placed upon his trial at the present term of our District Court:

BISMARCK, May 24, 1875. — To Sheriff Bullock: Fred. Shaffer and company were captured here, for the murder of Franz Warl, and lodged, by the Police Court, in the County Jail, as suspicious persons. Send instructions and requisition. Answer at once.

P.M. DAVIS, Police Justice.

BISMARCK, May 25, 1875. — To Sheriff Bullock: Fred. Shaffer is in jail here. Send requisition immediately.

WM. PIERCE.

The Daily Independent (Helena, Montana) Jun 3, 1875

A Visit to the County Jail.

Yesterday afternoon the reporter availed himself of the invitation of Sheriff Bullock to take an inside look at the county jail, and found six prisoners incarcerated there, viz: Jeff. Perkins, of Benton, convicted for assault with intent to murder, and sentenced to five years in the penitentiary; Wm. Flynn and John Stout, both for grand larceny, and sentenced to two years each in the penitentiary; an insane Chinaman, awaiting the order from the Governor for admission to the Asylum. The chief object in view  was to see W.W. Wheatley and W.H. Sterres, convicted of the murder of Franz Warl, and awaiting sentence. They are kept closely locked in their cells and are very comfortable. Wheatley still protests his innocence of the blood of Warl. He claims that Sterres’ testimony, which was so damaging to him, was made in execution of the threat that both Shaffer and Sterres had made to him in case he did not leave town and should inform on them. Wheatley is certainly a weak-minded youth, and entirely devoid of principle. The reporter failed to discover the least redeeming trait in his character. It is said that the divine spark is never extinguished in man, but in his case it is very difficult to imagine it in him. He asked for the news, and as to the popular feeling regarding him, evidently indulging the hope that some degree of evidence might be given to his statement of innocence, strengthened, doubtless, by the recommendation to mercy, attached to the verdict of the jury, who found him guilty of willful and premeditated murder. He is not afraid to die; is only 25 years old; the world has many claims for him. He has a brother in Bismarck. Rev. Mr. Shippen has called twice to see him. He clings tenaciously to the hope that the sentence of death may not be executed upon him; but if he must die he has the consolation of knowing and feeling that he is guiltless of the terrible crime of murder.

William H. Sterres is entirely penitent, and has no hope that he will not be sentenced, and that it may not be carried into execution. He expects to die, and is anxious that his execution may not be long delayed. Shortly after his arrest he sent for Rev. Father Palladino, who visits him almost every day, and has supplied him with religious works to prepare him for baptism, which is to be conferred on him next Monday. Sterres has a wife and child in Sioux City. Conscious of the enormity of the crime for which he is to suffer, he is resigned to offer on the altar of justice the sacrifice of his life as the penalty of the law. The reporter left the jail a sadder man than when he entered it, impressed with the feeling that the sufferings of ta conscience burdened with such a terrible crime must be more acute than a thousand deaths.

The Daily Independent (Helena, Montana) Jun 20, 1875

Prickly Pear Creek - Photo by mmerrick

Larger photo and a map can be found on Panoramio.

On the afternoon of the 21st, while Sol Star and Seth Bullock were en route for Benton by private conveyance, and while attempting to ford the Prickly Pear, they met with an accident which nearly resulted in the loss of their lives.

It appears that when their team had reached the middle of the stream, the horses became frightened at some floating brush, and bolted down stream. Below the ford the water was deep and the current swift.

After strenuous efforts they succeeded in getting the horses and buggy out all right, but on the same side of the stream they started in from. The parties and their effects were thoroughly drenched, they retraced their way to Firgus’ ranch for repairs, and proposed to make another attempt next day.

–Herald.

Butte Miner (Butte, Montana) Jun 27, 1876

FOURTH OF JULY, 1876.

The One Hundredth National Anniversary.

Names of Officers and Order of Procession.

Officials.
William F. Wheeler, Chief Marshal of the Day in charge of the procession; Henry Wyttenbach and Charles J.D. Curtis, aids and assistants; Seth Bullock, James M. Ryan, E. Frank, L.P. Sterling, Ben R. Dittes, John O’Meara and E.T. Johnson, Assistant Marshals.

Order of Procession.

1ST DIVISION.
In charge of Henry Wyttenbach, Assistant Marshal:
Helena Silver Cornet Band.
Minute Men of 1776.

2D DIVISION.
In charge of Seth Bullock, Assistant Marshal, and the several officers of the Helena fire Department:
The several Fire Engine, Hose and Hook and Ladder companies.
Car of State, in charge of C.M. Travis and is two assistants.

3D DIVISION.
In charge of L.P. Sterling, Assistant Marshal:
Carriages for President of the Day, Chaplain, Orator, Historian, invited guests from abroad; also for Governor and other United States, Territorial and county officials.

4TH DIVISION.
In charge of James M. Ryan, Assistant Marshal:
Catholic Benevolent and Total Abstinence Society, and other societies of Irish citizens, under their society officers.

5TH DIVISION.
In charge of Dr. E. Frank, Assistant Marshal:
Helena Gesang Verein Harmonia and German citizens,
Montana Lodge No. 1 I.O.O.F., in charge of its officers.

6TH DIVISION.
In charge of Capt. John O’Meara, Assistant Marshal:
Base Ball clubs according to seniority of organization, under their respective Captains.
Boys from the schools, under charge of teachers or men appointed by the Principal of the Schools.
Mining delegations and citizens from abroad.
Citizens on foot, in carriages and on horseback.

7TH DIVISION.
In charge of E.T. Johnson, Assistant Marshal:
Colored citizens of Montana.

8TH DIVISION.
In charge of Ben R. Dittes, Assistant Marshal:
Ancient and Honorable Artillery.
Helena Commandery of Knights Templar, commanded by the Eminent Commander, T.H. Kleinschmidt.

All organizations desiring to join the procession are requested to meet at their several halls or places of rendezvous at 9 o’clock a.m., and to be on the most convenient side street, near the head of main, at precisely half past nine, ready to take their proper place in the procession as the head commences to move down Main street.

All who are not so ready will fall into the rear of the procession as it passes them.

Assistant Marshals will each be held responsible for bringing their respective divisions promptly into line.

The line of march and subsequent proceedings will take place in the published programme. The whole procession will move at 10 o’clock precisely.

W.F. WHEELER,
Chief Marshal.

The Helena Independent (Helena, Montana) Jul 2, 1876

CENTENTIAL FOURTH.

The Celebration in Helena.

The Centennial Fourth was ushered in amid the roar of artillery and the merry ringing of bells. The entire population seems to have arisen at an earlier hour than usual, in order to partake to the fullest extent in the ceremonies and rejoicings of the day.

The long procession in its march through the streets was received everywhere with waving flags and encouraging smiles.

The Helena Fire Department was very fully represented and made a very creditable appearance. The two very handsome banners which they used on this occasion for the first time, was the gift of Mrs. L.B. Wells, and the fireman may well be proud of them.

The Car of State was very handsomely decorated.

The Little Continentals attracted general admiration.

The Knights Templar formed one of the most attractive features of the procession.

The members of the Catholic Benevolent and Total Abstinence Society presented a very fine appearance in the parade.

The Continentals were greatly admired and were one of the finest features of the procession.

The colored citizens under the Marshalship of Col. E.T. Johnson, were a prominent feature.

The Gesang Verein Society was a noticeable feature, the members all wearing “chips.”

The Irish citizens turned out in large numbers and the green flag of Erin was universally complimented.

About 12 o’clock the procession reached the Court House where the reading of the Declaration of Independence, the delivery of the Oration and the reading of an address by the Historian of the Day and singing by the Gesang Verein took place.

After dark a torch-light procession moved through all the principal streets and fire-works enlivened Tower Hill.

The celebration was a perfect success and reflected credit on the Committee of Arrangements and the citizens who so generously seconded their efforts to make memorable the celebration of the Centennial birthday of the Great American Republic.

Marshal Wheeler and his efficient aids deserve great credit for the successful manner in which the parade was conducted. Many persons made the remark that Col. Charles J.D. Curtis excelled himself in his splendid horsemanship and graceful carriage.

The Helena Independent (Helena, Montana) Jul 6, 1876

Attention, Firemen.

All members of the Fire Department are requested to be at the Clore street Engine House at 2:30 p.m. to-day to attend the funeral of Thos. Ewing.

SETH BULLOCK, Chief Engineer.

The Helena Independent (Helena, Montana) Jul 6, 1876

These last two are later articles, but they refer to Seth’s time in Montana:

A Boom Town in Montana.

Helena Journal.

I call to mind the time when there was a big boom in Billings, and everybody thought they had struck the spot for a second Chicago. Before the railroad reached Billings men came from the Black Hills, where all you could hear was the great boom Billings was having, and what a lively place it was. Seth Bullock, a merchant of the Hills, sent a stock of good to Billings. In a month or two he thought he would ride over and see how his store at Billings was progressing. It was between 300 and 400 miles, and Seth went on horseback. He rode along and was pretty well tired out when he got into the Yellowstone Valley, and about 9 o’clock one night, when he thought he must have gone far enough, he met a man.

“Can you tell me where Billings is?” asked Seth.

“You’re in Billings now,” replied the stranger.

“Am, eh?” said Seth, rather puzzled.

“Well, if that’s the case can you tell me where I can find Seth Bullock’s store.”

“It’s on this street about fifteen miles from here; just keep right straight ahead.”

Seth was about the worst surprised man you ever saw, but he found it pretty near as the stranger had said.

Fort Worth Daily Gazette (Fort Worth, Texas) Jun 12, 1890

GLAD HER HUSBAND WAS HANGED.

Experience of a Montana Sheriff with the Widow.

Ex-Sheriff Seth Bullock of Lawrence county, South Dakota, one of the early Indian fighters of Montana and the Dakotas, was in a reminiscent mood and among other things he told how he was thanked for hanging a man, says the New York Sun. A murder was committed just after he had been elected sheriff, and, as no murderer had even been brought to justice up to that time in the territory Bullock became famous for having captured the first two men charged with such a crime. Said Mr. Bullock:

“I rounded up a white man and a negro who had red hair and a bad reputation. The negro was a barber from Sioux City, and he came to Montana hunting trouble.

“I had the country so well organized at that time that the courts had a chance to try these men. They were convicted and sentenced to be hanged. Taking life by order of the court was a novelty in Helena, and the people gathered by thousands to see see the hanging.

“Shortly before the hour set for the execution the marshal brought me an order from the court granting a stay of execution for thirty days in the case of the negro. I saw that the crowd would probably be disappointed, and might take exceptions to the order of the court, and I swore in a lot of deputies to stand off the trouble I expected. One of my deputies on that occasion was Sam Hauser, who was afterward elected governor of Montana.

“The white man was duly hanged, and when the crowd saw that a man hanged on a scaffold was just as dead as one lynched on a tree they demanded the negro. I had erected a high board fence around the jail and placed my deputies on the inside, and when the crowd began to scale the fence they were met by the deputies with clubs.

“There was a hot time for several minutes, but when the leaders had been clubbed into docility they concluded to let me hang the negro in my own way. There was not a shot fired, and thirty days later the negro followed his white companion on the gallows.

“Some time later I had business in Minneapolis. A good-looking, well-dressed colored woman called on me at the hotel.

“‘Be you Seth Bullock?’ she inquired. I told her I was. ‘You hanged my husband last year, and I want to thank you.’ She had been married to the man in Sioux City and he had treated her brutally.”

Omaha Daily Bee (Omaha, Nebraska) Apr 20, 1898

“Flopping Bill,” Unusual Character, Drove Out Montana Desperadoes

March 5, 2009

flopping-bill-map1

‘Flopping Bill’ Led In War on Lawless

Unusual Character, Who Won His Name as a Woodchopper, Was Chieftain of Men Who Drove Out Montana Desperadoes.

The settlement of Clarks Fork valley and this section of the Yellowstone is an interesting chapter of the claiming of the northwest to civilization, according to accounts of the early happening, as told by pioneers of this region.

Within a scant two years after the founding of Billings in 1882, it was found necessary as in the case of Virginia City to organize the vigilantes for dealing in summary manner with horse thieves, operating along the Musselshell and in the country as far north as the Missouri.

In this movement, “Flopping Bill,” a character now all but forgotten, was in the forefront.

Where “Flopping Bill” came from none can say; probably he was one of many attracted to Montana from the middle west during the gold excitement. It has been written that his real name was “Quantrell” and that he participated with the famous “Quantrell” guerrillas in war times. But this is probably a yarn, and his true name is believed to have been William Cantrell.

How He Got His Name.

The nickname “Flopping Bill” was given to him when he was a woodchopper on the Missouri river. Bill was a hard worker and chopped and piled many hundreds of cords of wood for the river boats. When asked how he succeeded in getting out so much wood he once replied, “The trees is froze and I just strike ’em once and they flop open.” So he was named “Flopping Bill.”

Bill lived along the Missouri river for many years and knew every one of the desperate characters who crossed and recrossed the river with stolen horses and made its banks their rendezvous. He lived down there as long as it was considered healthful for one, not a member of the gang and after that he went to Maiden and became a cowboy with the “D.H.S.” outfit. He was chosen leader and guide of the fearless men who undertook to rid this country of some of the worst thieves and desperadoes who ever drove off a bunch of stock.

Two Rustlers Killed.

The first appearance of the vigilantes was at Claggett, now Judith, on the Missouri, June 28, 1884. There one breed was shot and another hanged. The name of the breed who was captured and hanged was Narcisse Laverdure; his uncle was wounded but got away. A man by the name of William T. Thompson came upon this pair with 60 head of stolen horses. He was taking Laverdure to Claggett when over taken by a posse, who relieved him of his prisoner, and after securing the breed’s confession, hanged him to a convenient tree.

Here are transcriptions of two news articles for the incident above:

A horsethief named Narcisse Laverdure was lynched at Judith Landing on the Missouri on the night of the 26th of June.

Helena Independent, The (Helena, Montana) Jul 10, 1884

Near Judith Landing, on the Missouri river, on the 26th of June last, two half-breeds stole five head of horses from A.J. Wells’s band. As they were driving them off they were met by William Thompson, who knew the horses and ordered them to stop. This they refused to do, but separated and started off at full speed. Thompson gave chase to one of them and captured his man. He was brought back to Judith Landing, and the same night, fourteen hours after the horses were stolen, was hanged to a cottonwood tree and placarded “Horsethief.” His name was Narcisse Laverdure, and his companion who escaped was his uncle.

Helena Independent, The (Helena, Montana) Jul 13, 1884

Back to the original article:

July 3 another breed, Sam McKenzie, was taken on the Fort Maginnis reservation and hanged, his body being left suspended with a placard attached reading “Horse Thief.” The soldiers cut down the body and interred the remains.

Organization of the vigilantes had not then been fully perfected, but a start had been made.

Fourth of July Battle.

On July 4 a party of men passed through Maiden en route to Spring creek in quest of Charles Owens and Charles Fallon, much desired had men. Arriving at Lewistown that night they found that the good people of the new town had already taken good care of these two, for both had been killed the same afternoon in a pitched battle with the citizens.

It was then arranged that one party should leave the following morning for the mouth of the Musselshell, where they were to be joined by another party, which, taking a different route, was to meet them at the rendezvous across the Musselshell, but on this side of the Missouri. The main party stalked their game to the cabin of one, Downs, which had been looked upon as a meeting place of the horse thieves, and, taking Downs by surprise, secured information from him which greatly assisted them in locating some of the characters most desired and incidentally ascertaining where there were cached a bunch of horses which had recently been stolen from stockmen of the basin. One story is to the effect that Downs was anchored to a grindstone in the river, but be that as it may, he was disposed of and at the same time a fellow known as California Ed met his just deserts.

But the smaller party had failed to make a junction with the rest of the vigilantes and to ascertain their whereabouts a wait occurred. Two days later the parties were united and a start was made down the river. Crossing 12 miles below the mouth of the Musselshell, the men continued down the river, traveling light and only at night, in order not to flush their game.

Fight Around Blockhouse.

Late in the evening of July 19 they came upon old man James and his gang. The thieves had guards out to note the approach of intruders, but the vigilantes succeeded in creeping in and not until about sun-up were they discovered. Here there was a blockhouse, or log cabin provided with port holes, an improvised tent made of a wagon sheet hung, over a pole, a corral and stables. One of the guards, abandoning his mount, when he saw the vigilantes had the camp surrounded, succeeded in creeping in through the brush and reaching the tent, where a part of the 13 of the gang were sleeping. Some made a dash for the blockhouse, 300 feet distant, while others took to the brush. Of the latter was Dixie Burroughs, a nephew of Granville Stuart, but one of the worst of the rustlers. He received a shot which crippled him, but he found a cottonwood well which gave him shelter and he afterward escaped to meet his fate within a month later. Old man James attempted to reach the blockhouse, but hit being made too hot for him he was forced to let down the bars of the corral and turn loose six head of fine horses, nearly all of which had been stolen from the mounted police of Canada. The old man, however, succeeded in reaching the house and participated in the battle, which lasted from soon after sunrise to 11 o’clock. In this fight two of the James boys were killed, also a fellow known as “Dutch,” and four were crippled, including Burroughs and old man James whose given name was never known.

Stolen Horses Recovered.

Hundreds of shots were exchanged between the vigilantes, protected by the brush, and the men in the house. The stable and corral, were fired but the house did not catch fire, as some stories of this fight have stated. Seeing that they were baffled and that the situation was such that some of their own men might be injured or killed, it was decided to withdraw and wait a better opportunity to deal out justice to the remnants of the gang.

In this fight there were 16 vigilantes engaged and there were supposed to be 13 of the gang of thieves. Seventy head of horses were captured, sent back to Fort Maginnis and restored to their owners as far as possible.

The party then went down the Missouri to the mouth of Hell creek, crossing the Big Muddy at the same point chosen by Chief Joseph when at the head of his Nez Perce warriors he crossed to the north side to meet General Miles in battle. On the ride up Hell creek to its head two more bad half-breeds were overtaken, but both were turned loose, after being relieved of some information and the horses they were riding.

Cattle Turned Back to Range.

From Walter & Donovan’s point 120 head of cattle were driven out and turned back toward their range. These had been stolen from stockmen on the Musselshell and driven in there for butchering.

This completed the biggest job of that summer and the vigilantes returned to their ordinary vocations.

About the middle of August word was received at Fort Maginnis that soldiers from Fort Shaw, camped on Poplar river, had captured five of the desperadoes who had successfully stood off the vigilantes at the James stockade and the authorities were advised that if a United States marshal was sent the captives would be turned over to him.

Prisoners Taken From Posse.

Sam Fishel, a deputy then stationed at Fort Maginnis, was started accompanied by a posse. He received the prisoners on Poplar river and turned back, but about 3 a.m. of August 20 he was relieved of his charges by four men who had their plans well laid, and had secured a leave of absence of two or three days from the Judith round-up and the next morning five bodies, including that of Dixie Burroughs, were laid in a shallow trench alongside the waters of the Missouri — and there weren’t any nooses left dangling from the trees either, for these five were suspended from a single rope, thrown over a branch, with a sufficient force at one end to lift the burden tied to the other end for the brief time required. These five went across the great divide in one, two, three order.

Float Down to St. Louis.

This was the last of the vigilantes in this part of Montana, for during the six or eight weeks preceding this last episode raft building had been popular and many a man had saved his neck by floating away toward St. Louis.

“Flopping Bill” afterwards acted as a guide for a party of stockmen which made a similar clean-up on the lower Yellowstone and crossing its mouth, followed up Mouse creek to the Canadian line, having occasion to dig several long and narrow graves while en route. It was reported that 60 were summarily disposed of on this expedition.

Cantrell continued to be identified with the stockmen of this section for a number of years. Leaving Fergus county he located in the southwestern part of the state and upon an expedition to Kansas City several years later he was run over by a train, his feet catching in the rails as he attempted to cross the track ahead of a locomotive.

The Billings Gazette (Montana) Saturday, July 9, 1927

For more, see previous post, “Flopping Bill” Cleans the Ranges of Desperados.

“Flopping Bill” Cleans the Ranges of Desperados

February 26, 2009

2flopping-bill

Thirty Horse Thieves and Cattle Rustlers, in Two Months, Were Hanged and Shot by the Determined Vigilantes of the Northern Montana Plains. Prominent Men Were Involved in the Raid That Cleaned the Ranges of Desperados. Death Was Quick and Sure. Prisoners Were Taken From United States Troops and Lynched. The Story Told for the First Time. The Law Called a Halt.

It is a story of which little has been told. Most of those who rode with “Flopping Bill’s” vigilantes have left the state or crossed the Great Divide. Those who have remained are reticent. As to the 30 or more desperate horse thieves and cattle rustlers who operated in Northern Montana in the early eighties — well, bleaching bones on wind-swept prairies tell no tales.

In 1885 the cattle and horse business in Northern Montana was becoming more and more unprofitable, for the reason that there were organized bands of horse thieves who had stopping places from the Canadian line to Mexico, and who made more money in the business of stealing horses and live stock than the real owners could in raising them. Of course more horses than cattle were stolen, because they were easier to get away with, and in those days were worth a great deal more money.

The stealing became so serious that the cattlemen of Northern Montana were forced to do something, and in the fall of 1885 they did it. When the cattlemen start to do anything they do it up brown, and it was so in this case.

The tale of the hanging of the road agents of 1863-4 by the vigilantes of Alder gulch has been told so often that it became known from one end of the world to the other, and it is looked upon as the biggest thing of its kind which was ever pulled off in Montana. This is a mistake and the cowboys of Northern Montana during the year of 1885, from September to November, hanged and shot more men than the vigilantes of Alder gulch ever dreamed of. This may seem like a fairy tale at this time, but it is a fact, and there are men in Northern Montana at the present day who have the papers to prove the assertion.

During the fall round-up of the Judith in the fall of 1885 it was decided to do some hanging. Who proposed the matter, or by whom meetings were held, it is not necessary to state, as on of the leaders of the cowboy vigilantes in now a prosperous stockman within a few miles of old Fort Maginnis, another is a prosperous sheepman living near Ubet, and another lives in Butte, after having spent a number of years abroad. And there are others, but the matter of the real extermination of the rustler was carried on under the direction of “Flopping Bill” Cantrell.

“Flopping Bill” was a desperate character himself and worked against the rustlers because it paid better than to work with them. From September, 1885 until the weather became too cold to ride, “Flopping Bill” and his band of cowboy exterminators worked, and when they had finished there was no count of the men whose candles had been snuffed, but there are men in Great Falls today who can name at least 26 of them, and it has always been estimated that about 30 people were hanged or shot by “Flopping Bill’s” band during that fall.

The first performer in the bloody drama of extermination as carried on by “Flopping Bill” was a half-breed near Fort Maginnis. Some one believed that he had stolen a steer and butchered it, and one night during August, 1885, he was taken near the ranch of Reese Anderson and strung up to a cottonwood tree without a chance to say his prayers, if he knew any.

That was the beginning, and shortly after “Flopping Bill” called for volunteers to search for horses which had been stolen from the herds of several well known stockmen. The requisition was made upon the round-up, which was camped on the Musselshell about 60 miles above the mouth, and reckless riders and desperate men only were chosen.

The posse made a hard ride that day, and by night they came to the cabin of a man named Downs, near the mouth of the Musselshell. Downs kept a sort of trading post, and was suspected of being in league with the thieves. It was early daylight when the posse arrived and they at once surrounded the cabin, and when Downs came out it was “hands up.”

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A search of the corral and vicinity discovered 22 D.H.S. horses, and Downs was asked to explain. He saw that he was up against it, and gave a full list of all the men connected with the “rustling” business, and indicated where they had their rendezvous. The Missouri runs swift and deep where the waters of the Musselshell enter it, and the banks are high and steep. A rope was placed about the neck of Downs, and a convenient tree was looked for. Some one spied a large grindstone which stood alongside of the cabin.

“Tie it to his neck and drop him in the river,” was the suggestion, and it was carried out literally. To-day the big round grindstone, with the hole in the center, lies in the bottom of the Missouri near the mouth of the Musselshell, and if time and water have not proven too much for the hempen rope the neck bones, at least, of Jim Downs are the grindstone’s companion.

Armed with the information derived from Downs the posse rode south to the mouth of Lodge Pole creek, where there were several “rustlers” located, and in the early morning light three of them were captured and strung up on some cottonwood trees which surrounded the cabin where they had lived. One of the hempen ropes with which the hanging was done swung in the breeze for many years, and perhaps is there yet — it was up to five years ago.

Some of the cowboys in the posse began to get more than they had bargained for, and wanted to quit the business, but “Flopping Bill” pointed out to them that they would be hanged by the civil law if their share in the impromptu hanging was known, and that together with other cogent reasons prompted them to remain.

The next bunch of rustlers was located along the Missouri. They passed as woodchoppers, and a large number of them had rendezvous at Long John’s Bottom on the Missouri, a short ways below the mouth of the Musselshell.

“Flopping Bill’s” posse came upon the camp early one morning, and was discovered by the horse herder, whom they promptly shot, and charged upon the camp. There was a block house with a stable attached, belonging to the rustlers, but most of them were sleeping in tents, and when they shooting began one of them was shot while getting to the block house. Once there they defied the posse, and it was only by strategy that they were dislodged. While the posse kept a hail of bullets against the house, one of the cowboys sneaked up there through the grass and set fire to the stable, and it in turn fired the block house. Just how many rustlers were killed will never be known, but there were at least 11 in the house and six were taken prisoners, while one escaped.

The one who got away was Dixey Burroughs, a half breed, and well known in Northern Montana. Burroughs managed to get away from the house, and was stopped by one of the outer guards, bu dropped behind a log and at the fourth shot managed to get his man, and escaped. Who the cowboy was that was shot has never been divulged. He was buried where he fill and a hint given that nothing was to be said about it.

That night “Flopping Bill” went away and during the night a number of men rode up to the camp of the cowboys, and after a sham battle, took six prisoners, and in the morning their bodies were decorating the Cottonwoods, on the east end of Long John’s Bottom. “Flopping Bill” came back and said the men who had taken the prisoners were a posse from Miles City — and nobody inquired further.

When Dixey Burroughs escaped he crossed the Missouri on a raft, and met old man James and his two sons, Dick and Jim, together with two others. This part of the gang had not been home when the cowboys called, and when Dixey told his story they saw that there was death in the air, and started down the river on a raft. They knew the cowboys were after them and that they would be shown no mercy, and so when near Poplar, they surrendered to a sergeant and a detail of seven United States soldiers, and asked to be taken to Fort Maginnis for trial. The sergeant and his detail started with the prisoners for Maginnis, and early the third morning they awoke to find themselves in the hands of a dozen masked men.

“Hitch up your outfit and drive straight on,” said the leader of the party, “and we will not injure you at all; refuse and we will kill you all. The prisoners are ours.”

The sergeant, whose name is not recalled — the whole affair appears in the records of the post during this year — hitched up and drove on as requested, and the dozen masked were left behind. The prisoners were never seen again, except that a couple of years ago an old-timer told a story of meeting Dixey Burroughs over the Canadian line, and he said he had been spared his life by promising to leave the country.

After these the hangings were desultory, but the aggregate for the two months of September and October is believed to have amounted to about 30. The cowboys would be riding the round-up, and some night word would go around and in the morning 20 of them would be gone for a day or a week, and no questions asked.

That winter, it is related, a crowd of men rode up to the place where the cowboy vigilante crew were quartered, and served notice that everyone of them must leave the country or die. The majority of them left, and have met death in one way or another, but there are still two or three of the posse remaining in Northern Montana, but they do not boast of having belonged to “Flopping Bill’s avengers” in ’85. “Flopping Bill” also found it advisable to leave the country many years ago, and less than two months ago his death was recorded in old Missouri — for Bill was a Missourian and had ridden with Quantrell.

The 1885 episode of the rope and gun has not been written about very much, but the advertising it got was such as to discourage “rustling” in Northern Montana for many years, so that it is only the pilgrim of recent years who has been reviving the business — the real old-times of the bad lands would not take any one’s stock as a gift — but “Flopping Bill,” the man of nerve, without human feeling, has gone over the divide, and perhaps the stock inspectors may be given more work in consequence.

The Anaconda Standard: Sunday Morning, Aug 11, 1901.

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AS IT WAS In Billing 45 YEARS Ago Today
(From the Billings Gazette, May 28, 1885)

William Cantrell, one of the stock inspectors of the territorial association, and known in the Maiden country as “Flopping Bill,” is attending court, as a witness. (Cantrell was an important figure in the cleaning out of the rustlers along the Musselshell by Granville Stuart and his cowboys in 1884.)

Billings Gazette (Billings, Montana) May 28, 1930