1859- New Mexico Territory (present day Arizona)- barely a week old, Camp Colorado becomes Fort Mojave.
1867- Fort Dodge, Kansas- the 7th Cavalry reports six Indians killed in a fight near the fort.
1875- Montana Territory- the territorial capital moves from Virginia City to Helena.
1876- Wichita, Kansas– the city council votes 2 to 6 against reinstating Wyatt Earp to the police force.
1878- Texas- Indians continue raids, killing two settlers at Quijotes Gordes and Charco Escondido.
1881- Dave Rudabaugh was sentenced to death for killing jailer Valdez. He later escaped from jail December 3rd by tunneling out.
1889- Fort Smith, Arkansas– gunman Malachi Allen was hung on this date. Allen shot and killed Shadrach Peters and Cy Love in the Chickasaw Nation on July 15, 1888 after quarreling over the ownership of a saddle. Allen engaged in a vicious gunfight with Deputy Marshal McAlester and the posse which had been organized to bring the desperado back to Fort Smith (Ark.). In the heat of the battle, Allen sustained a serious wound in his shooting arm. He was taken back to Fort Smith where the arm was amputated shortly before the hangman affixed the noose to his neck on this date.
1909- Ada, Oklahoma- Joseph Allen, Jesse West, Jim Miller, and Berry Burrell were broken out of jail and lynched in a livery stable for the murder of cattle baron A.A. Bobbitt. Miller, considered the most dangerous killer in Texas, Oklahoma, and New Mexico Territory and claimed to have killed 51 men, asked to be hung with his hat on.
1885- Calgary Alberta – Thomas Bland Strange (1831-1925) leads 600-man Alberta Field Force from Calgary towards Fort Edmonton.
1836- Battle of San Jacinto- crack Mexican troops under General Santa Anna were defeated by rag tag army of Texans led by General Sam Houston. 7 Texans died while over 600 Mexican soldiers died. Texas wins independence from Mexico.
1856 – The first rail train to pass over the mighty Mississippi River between Davenport, Iowa and Rock Island, IL made its journey across a newly completed bridge between the two rail centers.
1871- Laramie, Wyoming Territory- John Boyer, a double murderer, is executed and becomes the first legal hanging in the territory.
1875- Wichita, Kansas- Wyatt Earp hired on with to the Wichita Police Force at $60-a-month.
1876- Fort Smith, Arkansas- William Leach, along with four other men, was hung. Leach was hired by John Wadkins, a traveling minstrel, to guide him through the Cherokee Nation. The minstrel show performer never arrived at his destination. A month later, a hunter found the charred bones of Wadkins in an abandoned campsite on the frontier. Deputy marshals identified several fragments of clothing and a knife and screwdriver that had belonged to the dead man. When Leach tried to sell Wadkins’ boots in town, he was arrested and brought to Fort Smith on murder charges. William Leach was found Guilty of the crime and was sentenced to death by Judge Isaac Parker.
1877- New Mexico Territory– U.S. Troops and forty San Carlos Apache scouts led by John Clum cross from Arizona Territory to the Hot Springs Reservation, where they raid a Chiricahua Indian camp that is believed responsible for recent trouble. About 427 warriors and 17 leaders are marched back to the San Carlos reservation.
1878- Point of Rocks, Texas- three settlers are killed in Indian raids.
1883- Denver, Colorado- electric lights are introduced.
1884- Arizona Territory- the Black Canyon stage is robbed near Soap Springs.
1897- Castle Grande, Utah- Butch Cassidy, with Elzy Lay and Joe Walker, rode to a large mining camp where Butch had once worked as a miner. He knew when payrolls were received and paid and he and his fellow bandits arrived just in time to scoop up $8,000. Before the outlaws fled, Cassidy had Walker cut the telegraph wire so that the local lawmen could not be warned. Cassidy then rode to a New Mexico Territory ranch with Lay where the two of them took jobs as cowboys. This was part of Butch’s plans. He no longer drew attention to himself by freely spending the money he had robbed. He would put up a good “front” by pretending to work while posses were searching for shiftless thieves.
1898- The Spanish-American War begins
1906- Washington DC – Britain and US sign convention fixing the Canada-Alaska boundary at the 141st meridian.
1868- Fort McPherson, Nebraska- cowboys and a herd of cattle near the fort are attacked by Indians. Six cowboys are killed.
1885- Battleford, Saskatchewan – Northwest Mounted Police Inspector Francis Jeffrey Dickens (1844-1886) reached Battleford after abandoning Fort Pitt when white settlers decide to surrender to Big Bear during the North West Rebellion; he is the third son of novelist Charles Dickens.
1877- New Mexico Territory- Following the Civil War, Confederate Captain William Johnson moved west to New Mexico Territory and married the daughter of prominent rancher and fellow
southerner Henry Beckwith, and became co-owner of a cattle ranch. In 1876 he was drawn into the Lincoln County War, he and his partner Wallace Olinger joining the Murphy-Dolan faction. During the feud he was made a deputy to Sheriff William Brady. On Apr. 22, 1877, at Seven Rivers, Johnson defended his father-in-law’s ranch from a raid led by John Chisum, who was convinced that Beckwith was stealing his herd. Johnson returned to ranching, but his relationship with his father-in-law became uncomfortable. On Aug. 16, 1878, after arguing with his father-in-law, Beckwith, the old man fatally shot Johnson in the neck and chest with a double-barreled shotgun. Johnson’s partner, Olinger, returned the fire, hitting Beckwith in the face, but the old man survived.
1880- New Mexico Territory– railroad tracks reach Albuquerque.
1889- Oklahoma Territory- the first Oklahoma Land Run takes place. With the shot of a pistol at high noon the Oklahoma Land Rush began as 10,000 prospective land-grabbers rushed forward to get their 160-acre claim for a $15 filing fee. The U.S. Federal government had purchased almost two million acres of land in Central Oklahoma from the Crete and Seminole Indians. Some folks snuck in earlier and are known as “Sooners”, those that followed the rules were known as “Boomers”. (In case you ever wondered where the tern “Boomer Sooner” in college football came from.)
1856- Westport, Kansas -Free Stater J.N. Mace shoots pro-slavery sheriff Samuel Jones in the back.
1865- Kansas- a day of fasting and prayer for President Lincoln, assassinated on the 14th takes place on this date by order of the governor.
1872- Coffeyville, Kansas- a major tornado hits the town.
1874- Kansas City– after being engaged for nine years, Jesse James & Miss Zee Mimms were married at the house of a friend.
1875- Kansas- in northwestern Kansas Little Bull and his seventy-five Cheyennes, on their way back to home in the Black Hills, are nearly wiped out by buffalo hunters and a cavalry company out of Fort Wallace.
1885- Denver, Colorado- the town receives its greatest snowfall to date, 23 inches in 24 hours. Just to the west, Idaho Springs received 32 inches.
1907- Littleton, Colorado- Alferd Packer, the cannibal of the ill-fated 1874 mining expedition died.
1851- Marian County, Iowa – Morgan Earp was born.
1878- Texas- Henry Underwood, a member of Sam Bass’s gang, leaves the state and is never heard from again.
1885 -Fish Creek Saskatchewan – Frederick Dobson Middleton (1825-1898) engages the Metis troops of Gabriel Dumont (1838-1906) at Fish Creek; the battle is a stalemate; Middleton is badly mauled and his advance to Batoche slowed; loses 11 killed and 48 wounded.
1898- Spain declared war on the United States after rejecting America’s ultimatum to withdraw from Cuba.
1889- Ventura, California- Jim McCarthy robbed the Collins and Sons Bank. Jim leaves the bank with the money, only to discover that his horse, tied to a wagon wheel, has taken some steps and wedged its reins under the wheel. McCarthy is unable to free the reins as Sheriff John Snodgrass approached him. With a sign McCarthy said, “I give up”.
1890- Blackfoot Crossing Alberta – Indian leader Crowfoot dies on the Blackfoot reserve; head Chief during signing of Treaty Seven.
1898- Ben Kilpatrick AKA The Tall Texan stood six feet, two inches was slow to use his gun and had an amiable nature. Kilpatrick was one of Cassidy’s top lieutenants and was present during almost all of the major train and bank robberies committed by Cassidy and his Wild Bunch gang, proving himself to be nerveless and dependable. Kilpatrick was reportedly with Cassidy, Harvey “Kid Curry” Logan, William Ellsworth “Elza” Lay, and George “Flat Nose” Curry when the gang stopped and robbed the Union Pacific’s Overland flyer on this date. The gang blew up the express car with dynamite and made off with more than $30,000.
1901- Clayton, New Mexico– Thomas Ketchum (1866-1901), AKA Black Jack, was hung. Black Jack became a notorious outlaw in the late 1890s, after putting together a band of outlaws from the 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 unimaginative 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, New Mexico, Black Jack Ketchum was identified and several posses began searching for him as the Ketchum gang split up.
Black Jack Ketchum stopped a Colorado & Southern train near Folsom, Arizona Territory, on August 16, 1899. After taking a few hundred dollars in cash from the baggage car safe he then leaped from the car and began to run toward his horse when conductor Frank Harrington jumped down from a passenger car, firing at him with a shotgun. Ketchum turned and faced Harrington and both men advanced upon each other, blazing away. Ketchum shot Harrington as the conductor unloaded a blast of buckshot into Ketchum who escaped under the cover of darkness.
He was found the next day propped against a tree, picking the buckshot out of his chest. Taken to Santa Fe, Ketchum was tried and convicted of train robbery and was sentenced to death as train robbery was a capitol offense in western states.
On the day of his execution, April 25, 1901, Ketchum said to the witnesses standing at the foot of the gallows: “I’ll be in hell before you start breakfast, boys!” The noose was affixed around Ketchum’s neck and a black hood was placed over his head and face. Ketchum’s last words were “Let her rip!” The executioner pulled the lever and Ketchum dropped to his death. His last words were prophetic. The hangman had improperly fixed the rope around the outlaw’s neck and the weights on his legs so that the outlaw went through the trap at terrific speed and was decapitated. The gore from the headless torso soaked the front ranks of the visitors at the foot of the scaffold.
Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2017 Southern Arizona News-Examiner