4039 Chapters
Medium 9781574412604

Chapter 4: A Gunfight Between Two Guardians of the Law

Harold J. Weiss Jr. University of North Texas Press PDF

Chapter 4



It was strange, indeed, that McDonald did not “happen to get killed” in those busy days of the early nineties. One of the favorite vows of tough

“pan-handlers” was to shoot Bill McDonald on sight.1

In his investigation of criminal activities in the first half of the 1890s in the Texas Panhandle, Captain McDonald took part in a bloody gun battle. No outlaw ambushed him in cowardly fashion. No desperado had the nerve to face him in a fast-draw gunfight. Instead,

McDonald found himself in the streets of Quanah in December

1893 shooting it out with a county sheriff. When the gunfire ended,

Captain Bill had near-fatal wounds and the other lawman was headed for his grave.

Through the years the reasons for such clashes in the American West have been varied and complex. In the hurried atmosphere involving split-second gunplay, accidents did occur. In addition, gun-wielding peace officers held grudges, became mean, and showed violent natures, especially after drinking and carousing in saloons and houses of prostitution. The police in western

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23. Myth, Mistake, and Muddle

Jeffrey Burton University of North Texas Press PDF

+ 23 ∂


(I) One Dead Mexican

Among the drolleries beloved of “western” hacks whose tiresome penchant was to array historical personalities in the garb of fiction, is the story of how Tom Ketchum, keen to try out his new rifle, and bent on settling a wager with another of the gang as to which way a man would fall from his horse after being shot, wantonly picked off a Mexican who was riding some distance away.

This jolly little tale, with painstakingly “recreated” conversation, was first committed to cold print in Albert Thompson’s book They Were Open Range Days.1

Thompson says that the shooting took place in “the Big Hatchet Mountains, southwestern New Mexico,” and that Ketchum admitted it to Jerry Leahy.2

Is it not strange that Ketchum should choose as his confidant a man who felt fully at ease with the role of putting a rope around his neck? And must we accept the authority Thompson confers upon himself on the strength of statements he attributes to others? Thompson says that he first interviewed Ketchum through the good offices of his friend, Sheriff Salome Garcia, just before Tom went to trial.

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six: “Remember how I lived my life, Rose”

William and Rosalie Schiff and Craig Hanley University of North Texas Press PDF

chapter six

“Remember how I lived my life, Rose”

It’s four in the morning at Camp Skarzysko. Rosalie sleeps with two other women on a bottom bunk shelf. During the winter of 1944 shared body warmth has been a lifesaver in the drafty barrack. Mania sleeps on one side of Rosalie and their friend sleeps on the other. Lately a bad case of dysentery has kept this girl running to the latrine.

At four in the morning Rosalie wakes up and senses something real wrong. Both she and the sick girl sleep on their right sides and as usual she can feel knees against the back of her thighs. But the body behind her isn’t making breathing noises. Not wanting to acknowledge this, she does nothing.

There’s no point in rushing the inevitable. The two hours will fly by before they must carry their friend out and set her in the dirt by the door where strangers will strip off her clothes.

In the bunk for those two hours at least the dead woman will retain a little dignity.

When the wake-up bell sounds Rosalie helps move the body through the door while Mania falls to pieces. She tries not to look at the gaping mouth and unblinking eyes. During months of loading her body cart she has seen hundreds of

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Medium 9781574411362

The Campaign Trail

Mary Faulk Koock University of North Texas Press ePub


Politics in Texas has always been colorful and interesting. I can well remember before precinct meetings became fashionable Mama, and Daddy, the Sheltons and the Canions were about the only ones to show up at Crawford Feed Store where the meetings were held. Bales of hay served as seats. What was lacking in numbers was made up for in noise; there was always a great deal of arguing and shouting. But even so, these were somewhat an improvement over the politicking that had gone on before. I remember Daddy telling about a certain judge who was remarkably gifted as a stump speaker and well known for his quick humor. He once was opposed by a doctor who tried to make political gain with the charge that the judge had killed two men in duels. The judge replied, “On two occasions under dire circumstances I have been forced to kill a man.” Then turning to his accuser, “But my dear Doctor, tell us, how many men have you killed in the practice of medicine?”

Texas has had some pretty barnstorming campaigns including that of W. Lee O’Daniels, a popular traveling flour salesman, who advertised his product on the radio with the accompaniment of a hillbilly band. He received so much fan mail he decided to run for governor and won the election. “Pappy Pass the Biscuits” became a popular slogan throughout the state.

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Part 5: Journey’s End

Edited and Annotated by Charles M. Robinson III University of North Texas Press PDF



s noted in earlier volumes of this series, Bourke held many prejudices. He was contemptuous of blacks, and his comments on Jews sound chillingly like the dire predictions of

Joseph Goebbels in the twentieth century.1 In short, despite his

Irish heritage and Roman Catholicism, he was typical of mainstream white, Anglo-Saxon prejudices of his era. Some of his greatest vitriol was reserved for the Mormons. During a stopover in Salt Lake City in 1875, he went so far as to call Brigham Young’s wives “harlots” and “concubines,” and to question Young’s own faith. Believing that Mormonism could only exist in isolation and ignorance, he predicted that the Transcontinental Railroad would ultimately bring its downfall.2

Bourke’s route from the Hopi pueblos to Fort Apache carried him through Mormon settlements, where he and his party found it necessary to avail themselves of the hospitality of the Latter-day

Saints. In view of his earlier comments, his observations on these communities are remarkably mellow.

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