1878 – Siege at McSween’s home ends; Billy the Kid kills two

By SoAzNewsX

July 19

1867- Dakota Territory (present day Wyoming)- construction began on Fort Fetterman near the North Platte River.

1878- New Mexico Territory- John Selman arrived in the Pecos Valley. His gang called the “Selman Scouts” are cattle rustlers. In 1895 Selman kills John Wesley Hardin.

1878- Lincoln, New Mexico Territory– the siege at Alexander McSween’s home ends after 5 days. After Billy the Kid killed two men who came close to the house he shouted to his comrades: “Come on!” With that, Billy, two guns blazing in his hands, followed by his friends, as they made their mass escape, hundreds of bullets smashing into the building around them. The Kid miraculously fought his way through the lines of besiegers, wounding several, and made it to the nearby river, plunging in and getting to the other side where he was covered by high reeds. His friends, including Tom O’Folliard, followed and most were wounded. McSween refused to desert his home. He stepped into the yard to surrender and was shot to death, nine bullets entering his body. Murphy faction member Robert Beckworth was credited with killing McSween. Beckworth was killed later that day by Billy the Kid.

1879- Las Vegas, New Mexico Territory- Doc Holliday was part owner of a saloon, his partner and financial backer was one-time lawman from Dodge City, John Joshua Webb. Webb and Holliday were seated at a card table in the saloon when Mike Gordon, a former army scout, began an argument at the bar, He stormed from the saloon, standing in the street and shouting obscenities at Holliday. Gordon then drew his gun and began firing bullets into the front of the building. Doc stepped outside and a bullet from Gordon’s pistol missed him. He drew his gun slowly, then fired a single shot that sent Gordon crashing into the dirt. Gordon died the following day, cursing Holliday with his last breath.

1881- Fort Buford, Dakota Territory- Sitting Bull and 187 Sioux surrender after four years of exile in Canada.

Pat Garrett

1881- Santa Fe, New Mexico Territory– Pat Garrett arrives in town and announces that he is going to resign as sheriff of Lincoln County.

1881- Arena Blanca, New Mexico Territory- three citizens are reported killed in an Indian raid.

1884 -Canada- a crowd of about 500 turned out in Prince Albert, N.W.T., to hear Louis Riel speak. The Metis leader had returned earlier that month from political exile in the United States.



July 20
1862- Fort Benton, Montana Territory- the steamboat Emily departs and arrives twelve days later in St. Louis. This is the fastest trip steamboat trip from Montana to St. Louis ever.

1862- Tubac, New Mexico Territory (present day Arizona)- the First and Second U.S. Cavalry establish temporary posts.

1865- Springfield, Missouri- James Butler Hickok, aka Wild Bill Hickok, quarreled with former Union soldier Dave Tutt over a poker game.

1871 – British Columbia joined Confederation as a Canadian province making it the sixth province to enter Confederation. Gold rushes of 1858 and 1860 had brought thousands of settlers to B.C., but the colony was always on the verge of bankruptcy. One condition for joining Canada was the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway within 10 years. Canadian government takes over telegraph lines in the province, including the Collins Overland Stage Line.

1877- New Mexico Territory- members of the Seven Rivers gang raid an Indian camp and steal thirteen horses.

1881- Sioux Indian leader Sitting Bull, a fugitive since the Battle of the Little Big Horn, surrendered to federal troops.

1885- Regina Saskatchewan N.W.T.- Metis leader Louis Riel, the founder of Manitoba, went on trial. Riel was charged with treason for his role in two Metis rebellions. Riel wished to plead not guilty but, over his objections, his lawyers entered an insanity plea and was convicted. He was hanged on Nov. 16, 1885.

Cattle Kate

1889- Sand Creek Gulch, Wyoming – Ella Watson, AKA Cattle Kate was hung with her lover, James Avrill, from a cottonwood tree. Ella was born in Canada in 1861 and moved to Kansas in the mid-1860s. She married a man named Maxwell in 1879 but dumped him and started selling her services in Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming. By 1883 she took up with James Avrill near Rawlins, Wyoming. In 1888 James Avrill filed a claim near Sweetwater. It was rumored that Ella would accept cattle for her favors and that cowhands would pay from the company herds for such pleasures than to spend their own money, thus she became known as Cattle Kate. Apparently some of the ranchers didn’t like losing cattle this way. So eager were the cattlemen to lynch the pair that they had forgotten to tie the hands of their victims and both Averill and Watson clawed at the nooses that slowly strangled them. According to a report appearing in the Casper Mail, “the kicking and writhing of those people was awful to witness.” as their eyes bulged hideously and bloody foam dripped from their mouths. The cattlemen left them dangling from the cottonwood tree and slowly rode away. Some of the members of this posse later regretted the double lynching, saying that they only meant “to frighten” Averill and Watson but the charade went too far.



July 21
1851- Indiana- Sam Bass was born.

1861- Cook’s Canyon, New Mexico Territory (present day Arizona)- 300 Indians under Cochise and Mangus Coloradas attacked a Tucson bound mail coach. The seven guards held out for three days before being killed. Cochise later admits he lost 175 warriors in the battle.

1865- Springfield, Missouri- gambler and gunman Dave Tutt loses the first recorded Western “showdown” with Wild Bill Hickok. The shooting was over a girl and a watch. Dave had taken Bills watch the day before as security for a debt owed in a poker game. Bill told Dave that if he (Dave) wore the watch in public he (Bill) would kill him. They walked towards each other and stopped about seventy-five yards apart, Dave fired first and missed, Bill took his time and the only thing on Dave still ticking was the watch as he had been drilled through the heart.

1867- Dakota Territory- the town of Cheyenne is established by General Grenville Dodge of the Union Pacific Railroad.

1873- Iowa- James-Younger Gang derail a Chicago & Rock Island express near Adair, Iowa. They took $3,000.

1878- Round Rock , Texas- Sam Bass, Frank Jackson, AKA Blockey , and Seaborn Burns, arrived at Round Rock with the intention of robbing the town bank the next day. Lawmen were waiting for them, having been tipped off by Jim Murphy, a remaining gang member. In a store next to the bank, the gang killed Deputy Ellis Grimes and wounded Morris Moore. As they left the store, outlaw Seaborn Barnes was shot to death . Bass and Jackson shot their way out of town. Sam Bass was hit in the back. Later that day a company of Texas Rangers found him under a tree dying. He died without revealing Jackson’s destination, and the final member of the Bass gang was never found. If, in the end Bass revealed the location of the loot he acquired over a lifetime of crime, Jackson may have retired as a prosperous man.

1881- New Mexico Territory- Pat Garrett claims the $500 reward on Billy the Kid but payment is delayed.

Depiction of a stagecoach robbery

1883- Arizona Territory– the Black Canyon stage robbers are caught; one is the blacksmith in Gillett.

1883- Colson, Montana Territory- “Liver Eating” Johnson is appointed deputy. Colson later is renamed Billings.

1884- Dodge City, Kansas- Mysterious Dave Mather shoots and kills Tom Nixon, who had fired at him a few days before.

1890- Calgary, Alberta- a civic holiday was declared so the town’s 2,500 residents could attend the sod-turning ceremony for the Calgary and Edmonton railway line. The line was constructed in record time and on July 27, 1891, the last spike was driven at Strathcona, south of Edmonton. Residents of both communities rejoiced: a five-day stagecoach journey was replaced by one that took only a few hours.



July 22
1875- Edmonton Alberta- Prior to the development of the railroads, one depended on Canada’s rivers to take them to the inland territories of the Canadian West via canoe. In 1873, the Hudson’s Bay Company commissioned the Northcote, the pride of its fleet in her time. She measured 150 feet from bow to stern, was 28.5 feet in breadth and 4.5 feet deep. People throughout the west gathered on riverbanks to watch in wonder as she steamed by or docked at one of the settlements. On July 22, 1875, Edmontonians enthusiastically welcomed the advent of modern transportation as the Northcote became the first steamer to ascend the North Saskatchewan River as far as Fort Edmonton.

1880- California- Black Bart holds up a stage containing the Wells Fargo shipment from Point Arena to Duncan’s Mill.

1883- Miles City, Montana- arson destroys much of the town.

Single lightning bolt

1892- Washington DC – US and Britain sign Boundary Convention on Alaska and Passamaquoddy Bay, Maine.

1918- Wasatch National Forest, Utah– a single lightening bolt kills 504 sheep.

1947- Actor Danny Glover was born. Lonesome Dove, Buffalo Soldiers, Maverick, Silverado etc.



July 23
1861- El Paso, Texas- Confederate Captain John Baylor begins his invasion of New Mexico Territory. Major Lynde orders an evacuation of Fort Fillmore when he learns that is one of Baylor’s objectives. Baylor captures Lynde’s entire force.

1861- New Mexico Territory (present day Arizona) Fort Buchanan is torched and abandoned.

1863- Renick, Missouri- Bloody Bill Anderson and his Confederate Bushwhackers gut the railway station.

1874- Dakota Territory- George Custer’s Black Hills “Scientific” Expedition is under way. Seeking a location for a new fort.

1878- Fort Stanton, New Mexico Territory- Charles Crawford dies at the forts hospital from wounds he received on July 17th in the McSween battle.

1886- Blue Duck was a half-breed lover of Belle Starr’s who was under a sentence of death for having murdered a farmer in the Indian Nations in 1886. Scheduled to die on July 23, 1886, at Fort Smith, Blue Duck was saved through the actions of his common-law wife, Belle Starr, who hired a lawyer. The lawyer managed to get Blue Duck several reprieves and later a commutation to life imprisonment at the federal penitentiary in Menard, Ill. Blue Duck was later paroled, but by then Belle Starr, a horse thief, had been shot and killed.

Gene Autry

1890- Berlin, Germany- Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show opens for a month long engagement.

1950– The Gene Autry Show was first aired on TV. Gene Autry, the Singing Cowboy and his sidekick, Pat Buttram, maintained law and order in the U.S. Southwest for six years. Gene sang, Champion would do horse tricks, and Pat Buttram would invariably get into silly situations. The Gene Autry Show ended in August 1956. Autry went on to become a Country Music Association Hall of Famer, own Golden West Broadcasting and the California Angels baseball team. And he is the only person to have five Hollywood Walk of Fame stars (film, radio, TV, stage, records). He passed away October 2, 1998.




July 24
1858- Santa Fe, New Mexico Territory- the first weekly mail from back East arrives.

1865- present day Wyoming- near Fort Casper after a three day march, Red Cloud, Crazy Horse, Young Man Afraid, Roman Nose and their warrior’s camp near the fort to plan their next battle.

1869- Fort McPhearson, Nebraska- William F. Cody is officially “discovered” by Ned Buntline, the highest paid writer in America.

1881- Tombstone, Arizona Territory- heavy rains cause flooding.

1884- Gilt Edge, Montana- an anti-rustler outfit known as Stuart’s Stranglers is organized at Granville Stuart’s DHS ranch.

1885- Regina Saskatchewan – William Henry Jackson found not guilty of treason by reason of insanity for involvement in North West Rebellion; he was sent to a lunatic asylum in Manitoba.

1886- Lawrence, Kansas- the city has not seen any rain since June 26. Crops are drying up in Kansas.

1886- Fort Smith, Arkansas- Calvin James was found guilty of murder and was hanged on this date. Calvin James commanded a gang of three liquor runners who operated with impunity in the Chickasaw Nation. James and his confederates, Henry Robey, Albert Kemp, and Tony Love, were passing through Texas on Aug. 1, 1885. The four rumrunners were drunk and ready for action after purchasing four gallons of whiskey apiece. Without warning James suddenly turned on Love and shot him in the head to gain control of the man’s whiskey. Kemp and Robey were riding on ahead and did not witness the shooting. James attempted to cover the crime by hiding the body in the brush off the road. The dead man’s horse was then turned loose. Calvin James threatened the other two members of the gang with death if they were to ever breathe a word of the crime to anyone. The authorities eventually arrested all three for murder, but in order to save their lives, Robey and Kemp testified against James in return for leniency.

1895- Fort Constantine Yukon – NWMP constable Charles Constantine builds Fort Constantine at junction of Forty-mile Creek and Yukon River.

1897- Missoula, Montana- a unit of black infantrymen set out on a grueling expedition to demonstrate a unique means of military transport–the bicycle. Black soldiers of the 25th Infantry Bicycle Corps will arrive in St. Louis, Missouri, after completing a 40-day bike ride from.

Thomas Ketchum

1899-New Mexico– Thomas Ketchum (1866-1901), AKA Black Jack, became a notorious outlaw in the late 1890s, after putting together a tough band of outlaws gathered from the celebrated Hole-in-the-Wall area in Wyoming. His brother Sam was also called Black Jack at times. Although Ketchum was a feared gunman, he was an uninspired robber who was easily tracked by lawmen when they realized that Ketchum would rob the same train or stagecoach over and over again and in the same location. In 1899, Ketchum, his brother Sam, Lay, and Franks stopped three Santa Fe Railroad trains at the Twin Mountain curve near Folsom, N.M. The gang took only a few hundred dollars with each robbery, but Black Jack Ketchum was identified and several posses began searching for him in earnest. After robbing the Sante Fe for the third time, the Ketchum gang split up, with Tom Ketchum going his own way and Sam Ketchum, Franks, and Lay riding to a hideout in Turkey Canyon, New Mexico. A large posse tracked them to this area on July 12, 1899, and surrounded the campsite, waiting for the outlaws to go to sleep around their smoldering campfire. Just before dawn the next day, the lawmen ordered the outlaws to surrender. The bandits replied with intense gunfire and scurried behind some rocks. Sam Ketchum shot and killed Sheriff Edward Farr of Colorado and a deputy, W.H. Love. Another lawman named Tom Smith was also killed by one of the outlaws. Ketchum was wounded in the shoulder and Lay was struck by two bullets, but the three outlaws managed to get to their horses and escape. The wounded Ketchum, however, limped off to a ranch owned by Henry Lambert near Ute Park. Here he took refuge in a barn but the bullet in his arm caused gangrene to set in. Lambert and a ranch hand realized that only amputation would save Sam’s life. They cut off his arm in a crudely performed operation. A few days later, lawmen tracked Ketchum to the Lambert ranch and arrested him, taking him to Santa Fe Prison. Here officers questioned Sam Ketchum incessantly, seeking to know the whereabouts of his brother, Tom. Sam refused to say anything. He finally blurted: “Black Jack, my brother, is dead and buried.” Sam Ketchum’s condition worsened and, because of the amputation, he went into shock and died on July 24, 1899

1950-Ignacio, Colorado- the Utes and Comanches settle a 200-year-old squabble over hunting rights.



July 25
1850- Oregon Territory- Gold is discovered in the Rogue River.

1865- near Fort Casper in present day Wyoming- the Fight at Platte Bridge begins. Troops fail to fall for Crazy Horse’s decoy party of Sioux. Instead of being lead to an ambush the troops return to the fort, just ahead of 3,000 warriors. The battle ends the next day with a disappointed Crazy Horse and his 3,000 warriors only manage to take eight scalps.

1868- Wyoming Territory is created from portions of Dakota and Utah Territories as Congress passed the Organic act.

1878- California- Black Bart robs the Quincy-Oroville stage a mile from Berry Creek.

1880- Arizona Territory- Lieutenant Hurst enlists Wyatt, Morgan, and Virgil Earp to accompany him and his soldiers to the McLaury Ranch to inform the McLaurys of the theft of six government mules.

1882- San Antonio, Texas- Roy Bean mails a local newspaper a postcard announcing the first saloon west of the Pecos River.

Walter Brennan

1894 – Walter (Andrew) Brennan was born. Academy Award-winning actor: The Real McCoy’s, The Guns of Will Sonnett; The Over-the-Hill Gang,; The Over-the-Hill Gang Rides Again; The Young Country; Support Your Local Sheriff!; How the West Was Won; Shoot Out at Big Sag; Rio Bravo; Drums Across the River; The Toughest Man in Arizona; Return of the Texan; The Showdown; Singing Guns; Curtain Call at Cactus Creek ;Red River ;Driftwood; My Darling Clementine; Dakota; Hangmen Also Die; The Westerner; The Texans; The Cowboy and the Lady; Banjo on My Knee; Helldorado; Law Beyond the Range (1935) ;Northern Frontier (1935) ;The Prescott Kid (1934);Rustler’s Roundup (1933) ;Two-Fisted Law (1932) ;Law and Order (1932);Texas Cyclone (1932);Long, Long Trail, The (1929) ;Lariat Kid, The (1929); Smilin’ Guns (1929);Ballyhoo Buster, The (1928) ;Ridin’ Rowdy, The (1927) and others. Walter Brennan died Sep 21, 1974.

1895- Wyoming- Bannock Indians surround 250 settlers near Jackson Hole until they are dispersed by the 9th Cavalry.

1901- Montana- Harvey Logan, AKA Kid Curry, avenges the 1896 death of his brother Johnny Curry. Logan waited in Jim Wither’s coral all night, and then shot Wither when he stepped out to brush his teeth.



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