Wednesday, September 16, 2009

The American West

The local paper in Wichita, Kansas has a series entitled "To The Stars; The Story of Kansas". So much of the history of the Wild West has been romanticized, it's nice to see something spelling out the stark realities of the times.

This was how one of the articles begins:

Town marshal had law-breaking past

There was plenty about Henry Brown's past that could be considered unsavory:

He had ridden with Billy the Kid, stolen horses and fled New Mexico to avoid murder charges.

But Brown didn't disclose his past to residents of Caldwell. They were looking for a lawman in June 1882 and were most impressed with the way he handled a gun.

He was known throughout the Southwest as one of the quickest men on the trigger.

And those were credentials enough for a rowdy Kansas cowtown that had seen four of its lawmen murdered shortly before his arrival.

He was hired as an assistant marshal, then promoted to marshal. Town residents gave him a Winchester rifle on New Year's Day 1883.

And this is how it ends

But in late April 1884, Brown left Caldwell with his assistant marshal and two cowboys, telling townsfolk he was headed to Oklahoma.

He instead rode to Medicine Lodge. On April 30, 1884, he and his gang stormed into the Medicine Valley Bank and demanded cash.

click here for complete story

It's worth the read


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