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LETTER FROM E. F. COLBORN.

GUNNISON, COL., May 20.
EDITOR GLOBE:

. Wyatt and Warren Earp arrived here some days ago and will remain
awhile. Wyatt is more robust than when a resident of Dodge, but in other
respects is unchanged. His story of the long contest with the cow boys of
Arizona is of absorbing interest. Of the five brothers four yet live, and in
return for the assassination of Morgan Earp they have handed seven cow boys
"over to the majority."

Of the six who actually participated in the assassination they have killed
three among them, Curly Bill, whom Wyatt believes killed Mike Mayer
[Meagher], at Caldwell, last summer. Stillwell, Curly Bill and party am-
buscaded the Earp party and poured a deadly fire into them, Wyatt receiving
a charge of buckshot through his overcoat on each side of his body and having
the horn of his saddle shot off. Wyatt says after the first shock he could
distinguish David Rudebaugh and Curly Bill, the latter's body showing well
among the bushes. Wyatt lost no time in taking him in, and will receive
the reward of $1,000 offered. From what I could learn, the Earps have killed
all, or nearly all of the leaders of the element of cow boys, who number in all

223741



330 KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY

about 150, and the troubles in Arizona will, so far as they are concerned,
be over.

Wyatt expects to become a candidate for sheriff of Cochise county this fall,
and as he stands very near to the Governor and all the good citizens of
1'ombstone and other camps in Cochise county he will without doubt be
elected. The office is said to be worth $25,000 per annum and will not be
bad to take. . . .

Late in April, 1883, trouble broke out in Dodge City. Luke Short,
part owner of the Long Branch saloon, and several other gamblers
were run out of town by city authorities. At his request, some of
Short's old friends came back to Dodge to help him regain his
property and position. Wyatt Earp was one of these. He arrived
in Dodge City on May 31, 1883, and the Ford County Globe, in
reporting his coming, said nothing about the purpose of the visit:
"Wyatt Earp, a former city marshal of Dodge City arrived in the
city from the west, last Thursday. Wyatt is looking well and glad
to get back to his old haunts, where he is well and favorably
known." 18

For the next ten days Earp was in and out of Dodge City. Finally
the trouble was settled; seven friends of Short gathered for a group
photograph and Dodge fell back into its normal ways. (A full
account of the "Dodge City War" will be included in the section
on Luke Short.)

Earp visited Dodge City again during its cowtown days. In
November, 1883, it was recorded:

W. B. Masterson, formerly sheriff and ex-city marshal, and Wyat Earp,
ex-city marshal of this city quietly and unostentatiously dropped in onto our
inhabitants early last Tuesday morning, and their presence about the polls
on that day had a moral effect on our would-be moral element, that was truly
surprising. It is needless to say every thing passed off quietly at the city
precinct on election day. 19

1. "Proceedings of the Governing Body," Records of the City of Wichita, Journal B,
pp. 44, 53; Wichita Weekly Beacon, April 28, 1875. 2. "Proceedings of the Governing
Body," Records of the City of Wichita, Journal B, pp. 55, 62, 66, 71, 75, 77, 78, 81, 85,
90, 96, 100. 3. See, also, the Wichita Weekly Beacon, May 26, 1875. 4. "Proceedings
of the Governing Body," Records of the City of Wichita, Journal B, pp. 66, 67, 71.
5. Ibid., p. 103. 6. Ibid., p. 107. 7. Ibid., p. 112. 8. Wichita Evening Eagle, January
20, 1953. 9. "Proceedings of the Governing Body," Records of the City of Wichita, Journal
B, p. 115. 10. Dodge City Times, June 8, July 6, August 10, September 7, October 5,
December 7, 1878. 11. July 27, 1878; see, also, the Ford County Globe, July 30, 1878.
12. See, also, the Dodge City Times, August 24, 1878. 13. Dodge City Times, Decem-
ber 7, 1878. 14. September 9, 1879. 15. Ford County Globe, March 30, 1880. 16.
November 1, 1881. 17. See, also, the Ford County Globe, January 3, 1882. 18. June
5, 1883. 19. Ford County Globe, November 13, 1883.



COWTOWN POLICE OFFICERS AND GUN FIGHTERS 331
FLATT, GEORGE W.

(1853P-1880)

Though "old" by frontier standards, Caldwell was not yet in-
corporated and consequently had no police force of its own when
the Caldwell Post printed this exciting news story on July 10, 1879:

A TERRIBLE TRAGEDY!
A LAWLESS MOB MAKES AN ATTACK UPON THE OFFICERS

Two OF THE MOB KILLED OUTRIGHT!

ONE OFFICER TWICE WOUNDED AND STILL VICTORIOUS

INQUEST AND BURIAL.

Last Monday evening [July 7] our usual quiet little city was thrown into
intense excitement by an attack upon our officers of the law by a couple of
desperadoes from the Chickasaw Nation, who came into town during the after-
noon of the day above mentioned, and commenced spreading themselves over
a sufficient quantity of "rot-gut" whiskey to become very troublesome. Agged
on by one H. F. Harris, a sneak-thief ruffian, who has been a terrible bore to
the citizens of the town for the past few weeks, they concluded to "take the
town," and began to fire their six-shooters promiscuously on the streets, en-
dangering the lives of our citizens. They finally went back into the Occidental
Saloon where they had been, threatening and bragging about the poor victims
who had heretofore fallen before the muzzles of their pistols. Dave Spear,
who was in the saloon at the time started out, when one of the men cocked
his pistol and sprang at him exclaiming at the same time, "that boy is going
to give me away," James Moreland caught him and prevented his shooting.
About this time Constable W. C. Kelly, and Deputy Constable John Wilson
who had summoned a posse, among whom was the brave and daring George
Flatt, to go and suppress them in their lawlessness, came up; Wilson entered
the front door and past to the back part of the room near the middle door,
Flatt followed stopping at the bar, in front of the room where the men were
standing. They dropped on the object of Wilson and Flatt, and cocking their
pistols, which was distinctly heard by the officers and holding them down
by their sides at the same time making for the door, but Flatt seeing their
object was to get between him and the door backed out right in front of them,
on reaching the door they both leveled their six-shooters on him demanding
his arms; Flatt replied: "I'll die first;" and at that instant one of the fellows
fired; the ball passing close by Flatt's head and grazed the temple of W. H.
Kiser, who stood a little in the rear. Flatt then drew both of his pistols which
he had kept concealed behind him, and fired with the one in his right hand
at the man who had got farthest out the door, the ball taking effect on the right
hand, taking off the end of the fore-finger, and also the trigger the finger was
on and penetrating the body in the upper part of the right breast ranging
downward passing through both lungs and coming out a little below the left
shoulder blade, which caused him to drop heavily to the sidewalk and rolling
off in the street died almost instantly.

The man who stood in the door and shot first, received a ball in the right
side, which passed straight through his body, from the pistol held in Flatt's



332 KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY

left hand; the man returned the fire at Flatt, and then turned and fired at
Wilson, who was closing in the rear, the ball glazed Wilson's wrist, making
a slight flesh wound, Wilson returned the fire so rapidly that the man failed to
get his work in, although he is said to have been an expert with a six-shooter.
Wilson's first shot took effect in the right hand of the fellow, and the second
in the abdomen just below the short-ribs, from which he fell, shooting Wilson
in the thigh as he went down. After the excitement subsided somewhat,
Esq. Thomas acting as coroner summoned a jury of six men and held an in-
quest over the dead bodies of the two men. From what testimony could be
gathered their names were supposed to be George Wood and Jack Adams.
They had just arrived from the Chickasaw Nation with Johny Nicholson with
a herd of cattle, had been discharged and came in for a spree. The jury, after
a partial examination adjourned until nine o'clock the next day, at which time
quite a number of witnesses were examined. The jury returned the following
verdict: "That said men came to their death by pistol shots fired from the
hands of the officers of the law and their deputies, while in the act of per-
forming their duties." Their bodies were properly interred.

LATER. Coroner J. H. Folks arrived about forty-eight hours after the fatal
shooting; summoned a jury; raised the bodies, which had been buried, and
held another inquest, with about the same result that the killing was done
by officers in the discharge of their duties, and in self-defense.

Rumor and legend being at least half of a gun fighter's reputation,
little time was lost in adding to Flatt's prowess with a six shooter.
The Post, July 24, 1879, squelched the attempt with this paragraph,
ending in a commercial:

The rumor of "George Flatt killing another man," as was reported in the
Vidette of last week is a false report. A more peaceable and quiet citizen can-
not be scared up in Caldwell or any other place than George. But when it
comes down to the work and our citizens lives are in danger he is always
there, ready to uphold law and order. And we will take occasion to state
right here that Flatt & Horseman have just opened an elegant saloon south
of the City Hotel one door, where they would be pleased to see their friends
at any time, and where you can always find that "that's good for shore."

On July 22, 1879, Caldwell was incorporated under order of
W. P. Campbell, judge of the Sumner county district court, and an
election for city officers was ordered held on August 7. The first
mayor and the first city council, who were elected at that time,
adopted, on August 14, an ordinance which created the office of
city marshal. The Post, August 21, 1879, printed the ordinance
which also defined the duties of the officer and established his
rate of remuneration:

ORDINANCE No. 3.

An Ordinance providing for the appointment of City Marshal, and relating
to his duties and compensation.

Be it ordained by the Mayor and Councilmen of the city of Caldwell:

Sec. 1. The Mayor shall, by and with the consent of the Council, appoint
some suitable person to the office of City Marshal.



COWTOWN POLICE OFFICERS AND GUN FIGHTERS 333

Sec. 2. The Marshal shall, in addition to the powers, duties, privileges and
liabilities prescribed by the laws of the State, file complaints for any and all
violations of the city ordinances; provided, however, that he shall not be liable
for costs in any action so instituted by him.

Sec. 3. He shall have charge of the city prison, and any person arrested
for the violation of state or city laws may be given into his custody for safe
keeping.

Sec. 4. He may appoint any number of assistants, or deputies, for whose
official acts he shall be liable, but they shall have no claim against the city for
services.

Sec. 5. The Marshal, or any assistant, or deputy, or other officer of the
city empowered to make arrests, is hereby authorized to call upon any male
inhabitant of the city to assist him in making an arrest, or in quelling a dis*
turbance of the public peace. Whoever neglects or refuses in said case, when
called upon to assist said officer, shall be liable to a fine of not less than five
dollars and not exceeding ten dollars.

Sec. 6. Whoever commits an assault upon, or resists, an officer in the
discharge of his duty, or attempts to rescue a person lawfully arrested, shall
be liable to a fine of not less than twenty-five dollars and not exceeding one
hundred dollars.

Sec. 7. The Marshal shall receive for his services, $33& dollars per month,
and in addition thereto, the following fees, viz: For making an arrest authorized
by law, two dollars; for serving legal process, the same fee as Sheriffs in like
cases; provided, however, that in no case shall the city be liable for said fees.

Sec. 8. Before entering upon the duties of his office, the Marshal shall
execute, to the city of Caldwell, a bond, with sufficient surety to be approved
by the Mayor, in the penal sum of two hundred dollars, conditioned to faith-
fully discharge the duties of his office, and file the same with the City Clerk.

Sec. 9. This ordinance shall take effect from and after the date of its first
publication in The Caldwell POST.

Approved August 14th, 1879,

Attest: N. J. DIXON, Mayor.

J. D. Kelly, Jr.,

City Clerk.

[L. S.]

Published August 21st.

The man named to the position created by this ordinance was
George W. Flatt.

The first arrest recorded in the Caldwell police court docket,
September 6, 1879, was made by Marshal Flatt. "J. H. Wendels was
arraigned and plead guilty to the charge of fast driving . . .,"
wrote the police judge, James D. Kelly. Wendels was fined $3 and
cost but the fine was remitted on October 13.

On October 30, 1879, the Caldwell Post printed this story of a
successful getaway:

John Dean came into town yesterday afternoon and after getting a little
full concluded that he was a second Henion, swore he would not be arrested
in Caldwell. Some one discovering fire-arms on his person, informed the



334 KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY

marshal of the fact, he at once, accompanied by his deputy Wm. Jones, better
known as "Red Bill" proceeded to hunt him up and inform him of the fact
that it was against the city ordinance to carry fire-arms in the city limits. Mr.
Dean getting wind of their intentions and determined not to be disarmed,
mounted his horse and started out of town firing his revolver promisquously.
The marshal started in pursuit and commanded him under arrest, he answered
their summons with a shot from his six-shooter. At the crack of his pistol
the marshal and deputy turned loose with their six-shooters. Dean being
mounted and moving pretty lively, the distance between the parties became
so great, the marshal and deputy being pretty well out of wind, they did no
very accurate shooting, although they emptied their revolvers at him before
he got out of the corporation. The papers are in the constable's hands for his
arrest, for assaulting the officers with a deadly weapon.

Flatt served as marshal probably until the city election of April
5, 1880. The last arrest credited to him in the police court docket
was dated March 23. On April 5, Mike Meagher, ex-city marshal
of Wichita, was elected mayor and he, with the city council, named
William Horseman to Flatt's post. 1

The United States census of 1880, enumerated in Caldwell on
June 5, listed both George Flatt and his wife, Fanny. Flatt, then
27, was born in Tennessee and was a detective, according to the
record. Fanny was just 18 and had married Flatt within the 1879-
1880 census year.

On June 19, 1880, George Flatt was gunned down on a Caldwell
street by apparently unknown assailants. The Post, June 24, 1880,
reported:

THE BULLET DOES ITS WORK.

GEORGE W. FLATT ASSASSINATED

A DELIBERATELY PLANNED AND EXECUTED MURDER.

This city has for months been exceedingly free from any serious disturb-
ances and the citizens of Caldwell began to flatter themselves with the idea
that the day of the shot-gun and the revolver had forever departed from its
limits, but last Saturday morning between twelve and one o'clock this notion
was suddenly and forcibly dispelled. The saloons were all closed and the
quiet of the night was unbroken, when all of a sudden there rang out upon
the air the reports of several firearms fired in quick succession. The people
rushed out of their houses towards the place from which the shooting seemed
to come, and found George W. Flatt weltering in his blood. The police force
was immediately upon the ground and shortly after Justice Kelly and Dr.
Noble arrived upon the scene. Upon the examination of the body by Dr.
Noble, it was found that life was entirely extinguished, and the remains were,
upon the direction of Justice Kelly, removed to Mr. Hohler's new barber shop
adjoining the Caldwell POST building. The coroner, Mr. Folks, came down
on the construction train Saturday morning and an inquest was commenced
shortly after his arrival. An extract of the inquest up to Monday evening will
give our readers some information of the assassination of George Flatt. From



COWTOWN POLICE OFFICERS AND GUN FIGHTERS 335

Tuesday morning the examination was held in secret. The following gentle-
men were summoned as a coroner's jury:

John Hinchcliffe, T. A. Mills, C. T. Avery, C. B. Dixon, James Roberts and
T. A. Cooksey.

The jury after being sworn proceeded to view the body, and Drs. Noble
and MacMillan exhibited and explained the wounds. The coroner and jury
then adjourned to the room in the rear of Meagher & Shea's saloon where the
examination of witnesses took place. Doctor Noble testified that he was
called to examine the body of George W. Flatt about half past one that morning.
When he arrived the body was lying on the sidewalk in front of Bailey's
harness shop on Main street. Flatt was lying on his back with his head lying
to the southwest, but he had evidently fallen forward. On examination he
found that one ball entered at the base of the skull almost in the center; he
also found a wound just under the right shoulder and that morning he found
two more wounds which he did not detect when he examined the body on
the sidewalk. He did not find any ball or leaden missel of any kind. He
did probe the wound and struck either a bone or bullet of some kind but could
not tell which. The ball which entered the base of the skull proved fatal,
that which entered the neck might also prove fatal but not necessarily so. He
could not say what killed Flatt, whether it was buckshot or pistol balls. He
could of course give closer and more correct opinion by more minute examina-
tion. The coroner then issued an order to Drs. Noble and MacMillan to make
a post mortem examination of the body of George W. Flatt.

Samuel H. Rogers was the next witness who was called. He testified in
substance that he is a member of the city police force, was acquainted with
Flatt in his lifetime. The last time he saw him alive, was when he was walk-
ing with him about one o'clock that morning Saturday in front of Bailey's
harness shop, on south side of Main street. He was walking south in company
with Flatt and C. L. Spear. Spear was nearest the buildings and a little
ahead of Flatt, then came Flatt, and he, the witness, was on the outside
and about a step behind Flatt. When about one hundred feet from the north-
west corner of Main and Fifth streets, heard a report of a firearm, and Flatt
fell forward and a little in front of the witness, several shots were then fired
in rapid succession, the balls striking the buildings all around him. The
witness immediately backed out. He thought about a dozen shots were
fired. The first shot was fired so close to his left ear that it deafened him,
should say it was fired a little above, as if coming from the awning. The
other shots came from across the street, from about the scales or well. He
backed off about thirty feet and hallooed, "Let up, you have killed that man."
At the first report he saw sparks fall off Flatt's head, the blaze of the fire
arms seemed to be all around them. He, the witness, had no knowledge
that shots would be fired. Had seen Flatt off and on during the preceding
evening, he went to the dance hall to get him away. The witness had heard
that Flatt had had trouble with Frank Hunt and others and he went to get
him to go home, fearing that he might cause trouble, went with Flatt and
others from the dance hall to the Kentucky Saloon, and then went over to
the I. X. L. Saloon. Flatt was accustomed to sleep in rear of that saloon,
tried to get Flatt to bed, he said, "I want to go and take a lunch first," or
words to that effect. Flatt, Spear and the witness then started for Louis
Segerman's restaurant to get some lunch, did not see any one on the street,



336 KANSAS HISTORICAL QUARTERLY

nor heard any noise as if persons were walking, the first witness, saw after the
shots were fired and Flatt fell, were the city marshal, the mayor, Dan Rogers,
Dan Jones and Spear, who came back. The first man he spoke to was Dan
Jones. The marshal, mayor and Spear came from the south. This was the
last witness examined before the noon hour.

Upon the reassembling of the jury after dinner, the coroner informed the
jury that his business and sickness in his family did not permit him to remain
any longer that day, and would therefore adjourn the inquest till Monday,
the 21st inst, at one o'clock p. m.

The first witness examined on Monday afternoon was C. L. Spear, one of
the persons who were with Flatt at the time he was shot.

Mr. Spear testified substantially that he had been acquainted with Geo. W.
Flatt for about one year and a half, saw Flatt last alive in front of the barber
shop on Main street about seventy-five feet from the corner of Fifth street,
between twelve and one o'clock last Saturday morning. Flatt was walking south
on Main street between Sam Rogers and witness, witness was on the inside
on the sidewalk, Flatt was on his right and a little behind, and Rogers to
the right of Flatt and about a step behind him. They were all coming from
the I. X. L. Saloon and were going to Louis Segerman's for a lunch. The
first that happened was the firing, and he, Flatt, fell, and the shot was so close
that the light shone on him. The shot came from the rear of us. Flatt fell
forward on his face and right side. Witness stopped at once, but somebody
commenced firing from the opposite side of the street and he ran around
Meagher & Shea's saloon building. Didn't see Flatt move after he fell, be-
lieve he died at once. The witness testified further: There might have been
two shots fired from a double barreled shot gun, both barrels going off at the
same time; then came a moment's lull and then commenced the other firing,
which seemed to come from near some salt barrels by Smith & Ross' grocery
store. There were between six and a dozen shots fired. When the bullets
commenced to strike the building, he ran away to escape being hit, saw
flashes around the hay scales and stairway between Smith & Ross' and Thrail-
kill's stores, met Mike Meagher and the city marshal and some third person,
whom the witness believed was Frank Hunt. When the witness turned the
corner of Meagher & Shea's saloon, those persons were coming from the other
side of the building. They asked "what shooting that was," and he replied
that some one had shot Flatt. Mike was the first he saw, the others came
after him, then all walked to where Flatt lay. It was not more than a minute
from the time he left Flatt till he returned. Dan W. Jones, Sam Rogers and
some other persons were at the body, when they came up, Flatt had two
pistols on his body, and witness had one, don't know whether Rogers had any
pistol or not. The witness then testified regarding his habit of carrying a
weapon at night when he went from his saloon to his home.

Question by Mr. Cooksey Did you see any persons with shot guns in their
hands?

Answer Those parties I met when I came around the corner had guns,
also Dan Jones had a gun, I don't know whether they were shot guns or rifles.

Doctors Nobles and MacMillen testified similarly in regard to the post
mortem examination of the body of George Flatt. They found that the bullet
which entered at the base of the brain had severed the spinal cord, and striking
the spheroid bone, glanced off, passing either out of the neck or down the



COWTOWN POLICE OFFICERS AND GUN FIGHTERS 337

spinal column. The wounds were not made by anything larger than No. 1
buckshot. The tendency of the balls were very slightly upwards, and were
evidently made by the same sized balls. The wounds might have been made
by No. 2 buckshots. The course of the balls for the four wounds were the
same. Flatt was killed instantly by the shot which severed the spinal cord,
and was the only shot which brought him down. Both doctors were of the
opinion that he received the four wounds at one fire.

James Johnson testified that he was on duty as policeman at the time of
the firing, and was then sitting at a front window in Reily's new building, saw
and heard the firing on the street down by Canida's barber shop, there were
between six and a dozen shots fired, heard Flatt talking down the street im-



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