1885 – Geronimo leaves San Carlos Reservation

Apache Chief Geronimo

By SoAzNewsX

May 17
1853-Fort Riley, Kansas Territory- the fort was established by Captain Charles S. Lovell, 6th U.S. Infantry, on a site recommended by Colonel Thomas T. Flauntleroy, 1st U. S. Dragoons.

1868- Montana Territory- Camp Cooke, on the Judith River, is attacked by 2,500 Sioux.

1870- Kit Carson, Colorado Territory- the Union Pacific water tower is torn down by Indians.

Tucson, Arizona Territory

1871- Tucson, Arizona Territory– town lots go on sale.

1872- Colorado Territory- the Denver and Rio Grande’s tracks are 20 miles from Pueblo as the workers run out of iron.

1876- George Armstrong Custer begins his expedition against the Indians…

1883- Omaha, Nebraska- Buffalo Bill’s first touring outdoor show, “The Wild West, Hon. W.F. Carver’s Rocky Mountain and Prairie Exhibition,” debuts.

1885- San Carlos Reservation, Arizona Territory– Geronimo and Nana lead 134 Apaches off the reservation and begin a series of raids. They kill 73 civilians and soldiers on their way to Mexico.

1891- Truckee, California- cash and other relics left behind by the Donner Party are found.


May 18
1868- Colorado Territory- Fort Morgan is abandoned and its troops are moved to Fort Laramie in the Dakota Territory.

1871- Salt Creek, Texas- the “Warren Massacre” takes place when a mixed band of 150 Kiowa and Comanche lead by Satanta attacked a ten-unit wagon train that was freighting grain from Weatherford to Fort Griffin. The wagon master, Nathan Long corralled the wagon that offered enough resistance to allow five of his men to escape, Long and six of his teamsters were killed and mutilated. Two Indians were known to have been killed in the fight.


May 19
1858- Pleasanton , Kansas- the Marais Des Cygnes River at in Linn County is the site of a confrontation between pro slavery (“Border Ruffians”) and abolition (free-state) forces. The five victims of the massacre were immortalized as martyrs in the cause for freedom. This massacre was the last significant display of mob rule in Kansas.

1859- Fort Garry, Manitoba – the steamboat Pioneer arrives at Fort Garry from St. Paul, Minnesota; first steamboat on the Red River.

1869- Fort Bent founder, William Bent dies. He was also an Indian trader and agent for the Cheyennes and Arapahos.

1887- Idaho- Halley’s electric lights begin operating.


May 20
1862-the Homestead Act which allows citizens or intended citizens over 21 to claim 160 surveyed government acres after living on them for five years is signed by President Lincoln. An impatient homesteader could pay $1.25/acre after 6 months.

1869- Fort McPherson, Nebraska- the 5th Cavalry, including William F. Cody, return after fighting Tall Bull.

1874-Levi Strauss begins marketing blue jeans with copper rivets.

1894- The Doolin gang robbed the bank in Southwest City, Missouri. With guns blazing, Clifton, Doolin, and Bill Dalton fought their way out of town. They shot and killed former Missouri state auditor J.C. Seaborn as he seized a gun and tried to stop the bandits. Doolin was seriously wounded in the head when the outlaws rode from the town.

1972- Washington- 21,000 acres of tribal lands are returned to the Yakima Indians.


May 21
1874- Arizona Territory- the 5th Cavalry begins an operation against Indians that will conclude on June 6th near Diamond Butte.

1886- Tucson, Arizona Territory- the city demands that Governor Zulich provide protection from Geronimo, whose band has reportedly claimed 100 lives.

1887- Montana- the steamboat Rose of Helena completes a run from Gates of the Mountains to Great Falls, traveling 112 miles at 12 miles per hour.

1906- The United States and Mexico agree to share water equally from the Rio Grande River.


May 22
1861-Texas- during the Cortina War Santos Benavides and a force of about 40 volunteers attack the Cortinistas near Laredo. Seven bandits are killed, 15 are wounded, and 11 are captured and executed on the spot. Governor Clark later rewards Benavides with an engraved pistol.

1867- Richmond, Missouri- the James-Younger gang ride into town shooting their weapons and whooping like drunken cowboys as they rob the Hughes and Wasson Bank. Pedestrians ran in all directions while six men –Jesse and Frank James, Cole, Jim, and Bob Younger, and James White-broke down the locked front door of the bank. The bandits stuffed $4,000 into a wheat sack and then raced to the street to their horses.

Re-enactment of the Great Train Robbery in 1868

1868- Marshfield, Indiana– the Great Train Robbery- The Reno gang boarded a train when it stopped to take on water at a whistle stop. They rode away with $96,000 in their saddle bags.

1872- William Cody was awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery for saving a troop of soldiers he was guiding. An act of Congress rescinds the honor “on ground that at the of the act of gallantry he was neither an officer nor an enlisted man, being at that time a civilian.”

1873- California- the Modocs surrendered, offering to lead the soldiers to the hideout of Captain Jack, which they did. Captain Jack was tried for the murders of General Canby and Thomas and, with five others, was found Guilty and sentenced to death. Two of these Indians were reprieved and sent to Alcatraz for life. Captain Jack, Schonchin John, Black Jim, and Bogus Charley were hanged on Oct. 3, 1873.

1882- Tombstone, Arizona Territory- another saloon fire sets ablaze a major portion of the business district.


May 23
1867- Richmond, Missouri- James Gang robs the Hughs and Mason Bank of $4,000 in gold. The towns mayor was killed in the process as well as the jailer and his son as rebel guerrillas were broke out of jail.

1868- Fort Lyon, Colorado Territory- Kit Carson died at age 59. He was under Doctor Tilton’s care for a thoratic aneurysm and was under going chloroform treatment at the time.

1872- Ste. Genevieve, Missouri- James-Younger gang rob local bank, taking $4,000.

1873 – The Establishment of the North West Mounted Police

1873 Ottawa Ontario – Parliament passes a bill creating the North-West Mounted Police; a military police like Royal Irish Constabulary, to patrol border and keep peace between Indians and traders; merged with the Dominion Police in 1920 to form the RCMP.

1882- Texas- convicted murderer Jesse Evans of Lincoln County War fame escapes while on a prison work exchange program and is never heard from again.

1886 Vancouver BC – Canadian Pacific Railway Engine 374, hauling the first transcontinental passenger train, steams into the new West Coast terminal at Vancouver harbor; Vancouver had been destroyed by fire in June 1885, and the railway would help the city grow and recover.






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