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Chapter 5: A Plain Statement and Shots from Short

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The Notorious Luke Short

City was in the hands of a mob, and that the persons and property of peaceable citizens were in constant jeopardy from destruction. In reality the Dodge City citizens continued to pursue “the even tenor of their way” and perhaps the town was more peaceable than it had been for years. The violence being done to persons and property was “all being done in Kansas City and Topeka through the press” while Dodge City itself was “quiet orderly and peaceable.”1

“A Plain Statement” stressed that what was happening was necessary about every two years, in other words, “a clearing out of an element composed of bold, daring men of illegal profession who, from toleration by the respectable portion of the community, are allowed to gain a prestige found difficult to unseat.”2 But what of the group that was ordered out of town? That element was one which “has to be banished, or else the respectable people have to be bulldozed and browbeat by a class of men without any vested interest or visible means of support, who should be allowed to remain in a decent community by toleration, but who, instead, after gaining prestige, they undertake to dictate the government of the better class.”

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Chapter 10: Mrs. Luke Short

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Chapter 10

Mrs. Luke Short

“Luke Short came there, to the hotel where I was staying, with his wife, the beautiful and accomplished daughter of an Emporia banker, whom he married under romantic circumstances.”

—A.G. Arkwright in the New York Sun, July 25, 1897.

She was indeed a beautiful woman. It was also true that her family resided in Emporia, Kansas, although her father was not a banker. From

March 15, 1887, until his death on September 8, 1893, she was Luke

Short’s wife. Her full name was Harriet Beatrice Buck but she was always called “Hattie.” Her father was Oscar Buck, who was born in Illinois on January 16, 1836. Her mother, Cynthia Allen, was born in Texas on

March 26, 1839. They married in Coles County, Illinois, on July 23, 1857.1

Cynthia and Oscar had eight children, the first five of whom were born in Coles County: Mary Alice on July 7, 1858; Harvey Joseph on March

27, 1860; Eva K. on September 20, 1862; Harriet Beatrice on October 5,

1863; and Nora E. on September 29, 1866.

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Chapter 8: Sporting Men of Fort Worth

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fight. Sam McConnell was the “first available timber” and the pair went at it in front of the Horsehead Saloon. Both had received bruises before friends separated them. Later that evening Hensley “ran up against” Tom

Stephens at the corner of Second and Main. Another fight ensued but this time the police interfered and arrested both parties.1

Luke Short of course would rarely be accused of fighting with his fists, but he did appear in court alongside several who did. On the fifteenth of

September in Tarrant County Court, Charles Dixon, Dixie Lyons, Sam

McConnell, G.H. Day, and Short were together, charged with the offense of exhibiting a faro bank. All pled guilty and paid a fine of $25.00 for what amounted to a license fee to gamble.2

Luke made another appearance at the Tarrant County District Court on November 3 and entered a guilty plea for assault. Others on the court docket, including Cheese Hensley, elected for a trial by jury. The Dallas newspaper, which seemingly took great interest in the happenings in the neighboring Tarrant County courts, reported that the jury found

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Chapter 16: Last Gunfight

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also considered it miraculous that no one was killed since the shooting was at such close quarters.

Louis de Mouche, a saloon owner who happened to be in the crowd when the shooting erupted, was an eye witness who had the nerve to remain and see the deadly exchange. He explained what he saw and heard. Gambler de Mouche heard a big noise out on the street and ran out to see what [was] the matter. Everybody was running down stairs from the gambling place. I asked what was the matter, and they told me that Luke

Short was up there and there was going to be some shooting.

Everybody was down stairs at that time and I ran in. At the head of the stairs I met Luke Short with his revolver in his hand. I put my arm around him and tried to pull him out.

De Mouche said, “Come on away, Luke, or you will get hurt.” Luke said nothing, just stood still. At that moment de Mouche saw a door about six feet away pulled open “and a hand thrust out with a revolver in it.”

I pulled Luke around quick and the revolver went off. But Luke was as quick as the stranger, for he fired about the same time. That bullet entered the wrist of the stranger. That’s all the shooting that was done.

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Chapter 6: The Dodge City Peace Commission

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On the same date that Luke arrived in Caldwell, a train carrying Bat

Masterson stopped at Dodge, before going on to Colorado. Nicholas B.

Klaine of the Dodge City Times noted his presence at the stopover, merely saying that Masterson passed through on “the cannon ball train.” Some citizens of Dodge went to the train but they could not gain access to the sleeping car, which contained “the redoubtable Bat.” The unexpected statement was that “No one in Dodge wants to offer Bat any harm as long as Bat offers no harm himself.” Why would there be a concern? Bat was a good friend of Luke Short, and, according to Klaine, the country “has been anticipating some fearful things judging from the promulgation of the proposed movement of a notorious gang.” The people of Dodge had anticipated such a denouement; few people, Klaine noted, “believed the statements in the Kansas City papers about the proposed action of the gang.”2

Things remained quiet until May 31, when Wyatt Earp returned to

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