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per month for marshal and $75 for the assistant marshall, they allow them
each two months' increase salary as prescribed by the new ordinance.

The Nickerson Argosy noticed the salary hike and mentioned
some fringe benefits in this item which the Globe copied on July
24, 1883: "Dodge City pays her marshal $150 per month and the
assistant marshal $125 per month. Besides this each of them is
entitled to kill a cow boy or two each season."

The Dodge City Times, October 4, 1883, reported that "On
Monday a lot of drunken cowboys had another hurrah at Coolidge,
shooting through doors, windows, etc., and making things lively
generally. [Under Sheriff] Fred Singer and Jack Bridges arrested
one of the leaders and placed him in jail Tuesday morning."

Frontier judges could also huff and puff as this article from the
Ford County Globe, October 23, 1883, clearly shows:

The case of the State of Kansas vs. Charley Heinz was continued on account
of the absence of Jack Bridges, witness for the State, who left for Pueblo the
day before the day of trial was set. The court was very indignant and or-
dered Marshal Bridges to be arrested and brought before His Honor if he re-
turned before court adjourned; and if he made his appearance after court
adjourned he was to be arrested and incarcerated in the jail of Ford county
and held there until next term of court, and further stated that no writ of habeas


corpus would let him out. He wanted it distinctly understood that there
was one court in Ford county that could not be trifled with. Bridges is
back, but as yet not under arrest. Ed.

Later. We learn that the court revoked the order before leaving.

Apparently Marshal Bridges' salary was reduced to its former
level in the fall of 1883. In reporting the November 9 meeting of
the city council, the Dodge City Times, November 15, 1883, listed
his salary as $100 per month.

No further mention of Jack Bridges was found.

1. Topeka Daily Capital, May 17, 1883.


(1836?- )

Bill Brooks, marshal of Newton in 1872, was wounded by cow-
boys in a June melee. On June 14, 1872, the Wichita City Eagle
reported the fracas:

Bill Brooks, marshal of Newton, formerly a stage driver between that point
and Wichita, was shot three times, on Sunday night last, in an attempt to
arrest a couple of Texas men. As near as we can get at the facts, the Texas
men were on a spree, and, as a consequence, making it hot for pedestrians.
Brooks had run them out of the town, when they turned and fired three shots
into him, with what effect may be judged, from the fact that he continued his
pursuit for ten miles before he returned to have his wounds dressed. One
shot passed through his right breast, and the other two were in his limbs. We
learn from a driver here that he will recover. Bill has sand enough to beat
the hour-glass that tries to run him out.

The Kansas Daily Commonwealth of Topeka, June 15, 1872, said
that a "party of Texans, fresh from the trail, had corralled the
proprietor of a dance-house with their six-shooters, and were carry-
ing things on a high hand, when Marshall Brooks, being sent for,
endeavored to preserve the peace. While thus employed, one of
the party by the name of Joe Miller, fired at him, the ball striking
the collar bone, but inflicting merely a trifling wound. . . "

No further mention of Brooks as a police officer has been found.
However, the Wichita City Eagle, on March 20, 1873, recorded
that "Billy Brooks, the whilom Wichita stage driver, is not dead,
as was reported, but is on duty in Dodge City." Whether the
Eagle meant employment as a police officer or stage driver has not
been determined.



The Caldwell Commercial of November 3, 1881, reported that
George Brown, as well as Mike Meagher and Dan Jones, had been


offered the position of Caldwell city marshal. Each declined so
John Wilson was finally appointed.

Mike Meagher was killed on December 17, 1881. At the cor-
orner's inquest George Brown was one of the witnesses. The pro-
ceedings of this inquest, which the Caldwell Post reported on
December 22, will be found in the section on Meagher.

By March, 1882, Brown had apparently accepted the marshal-
ship of Caldwell. The Commercial on March 9, 1882, stated that
"Since Geo. Brown has been acting as City Marshall, $216 in cash
have been collected for fines by the Police Court."

According to the Caldwell police docket, which for 1882 begins
with April, Marshal Brown was required to perform his duties
mostly upon drunks, gamblers, madams, and prostitutes. In his
brief tour of duty no record was found that he encountered more
serious crimes until he was shot and killed by cowboys on June 22
in a most gruesome manner. The Caldwell Commercial of June
29 carried the details:



About half past nine o'clock on Thursday morning of last week, the city
was alarmed by the report that Geo. Brown, our city Marshal had been shot
dead at the Red Light. Proceeding up street, we learned that the killing
had occurred but a few moments before and that the parties engaged in it had
barely rode past the COMMERCIAL office which is located on the lower part
of Main street, on their way to the Territory, the refuge for every fiend who
perpetrates a crime upon the southern border of Kansas.

On going to the Red Light, we found the body of George Brown at the
head of the stairs, his face covered with a clot of blood and his brains spattered
on the wall and floor of the building, while the gore dripped through the
floor to the rooms below. Dr. Hume had been called in and was engaged in
washing off the blood in order to ascertain the nature of the wound which had
caused Brown's death.

It is useless to give the various stories told as to how the murder occurred,
and we shall only state the facts as made up from the statements of different

Shortly after 8 o'clock in the morning, three men, two of them brothers
going by the name of Steve and Jess. Green, and another whose name has not
been ascertained so far, went to the Red Light. Brown at the time was on
Main street, engaged in obtaining signatures to a couple of petitions in reference
to voting bonds. Some one informed him (as near as can be ascertained)
that a man had gone down there armed, and Brown requested Constable
[Willis] Metcalf to go down with him, as he (Brown) did not want to go
alone. Arriving at the Red Light Brown and Metcalf proceeded up stairs,
the former in the lead. On reaching the top of the stairs they found three men,


one of whom had a pistol in his hand. Brown laid his hand on the man with
the pistol and told him to give it up. The latter replied "let go of me," when
Brown grasped hold of the fellow's arm and pressed it against the wall. Mean-
time another man grasped Metcalf by the throat and backed him up into
the corner, at the same time telling him to hold up his hands, the order being
enforced by another who held a pistol at his head.

Just then another man jumped out of a room across the stairway and to
the right of where Brown and the man he was holding stood, and called out
"Turn him loose." This seems to have attracted Brown's attention momentar-
ily, but that moment was most fatal to him, for the man whom he held turned
his wrist and fired, the ball from the weapon crashing through the Marshal's
head, and he fell to the floor dead, without a struggle or a groan.

The man who shot Brown and the other who held Metcalf then ran down
stairs, while the fellow who had drawn on Metcalf guarded the retreat. The
two former proceeded on up Fifth street to the alley in the rear of the Opera
House, followed the alley to a passage between the buildings fronting on
Main street, went through the passage, down Main street to the front of the
Hardesty corner, where they mounted their horses and rode on down the
street toward the Territory.

Fully ten minutes transpired before it was known that Brown had been
shot, but as soon as the fact was ascertained and that his murderer had es-
caped, several citizens mounted their horses and started in pursuit.

It is needless to detail the operations of the pursuing parties. Suffice it to
say that J. W. Dobson, who was among them ascertained that on reaching
Bluff creek the murderers turned down the stream, crossed over Wm. Mor-
ris' farm, thence north across the creek and through E. H. Seal's place thence
down the line to a point east of Cozad's place, where they turned into the
bottoms of Bluff creek and probably remained there until towards evening.

When the pursuing party started out nothing was known or could be as-
certained as to who the two men were, or whose herd they belonged to, al-
though, as subsequent investigation showed, one or more persons knew all
about them, but refused to give any information, fearing, perhaps, they might
loose six bits worth of trade if they "gave away" a cowboy, no matter what
crime he might commit. But it was learned before noon that the men belonged
to Ellison's outfit, camped on Deer creek, and that of the others who were
with them at the time of the murder, one was McGee, the boss of the herd,
and the other two were herders. No effort seems to have been made to take
in the Greens in case they went to camp, which they did about 6 o'clock,
obtained fresh horses and ammunition, and then started off in a southeasterly
direction. Up to the present writing the men have not been captured, and
if any efforts have been put forth in that direction, the fact is kept a profound

Geo. Brown, the murdered officer, was a young man about 28 years of
age. He has resided in this city about two years, and has borne a good charac-
ter. There was nothing of the bully or the braggart about him, but in the
discharge of his duties he was quiet and courageous. It is not known that he


had an enemy, therefore his murder would seem to be an act of pure fiend-
ishness, perpetrated solely from a desire to take human life.

Of the Greens, Steve and Jess., we are informed that they are brothers,
French Canadians by birth, and came originally from the vicinity of Colling-
wood, Ontario. They have been employed as herders for several years, and
have visited Caldwell every season for the last three years. McGee, Ellison's
foreman, says they came to the herd, and were employed by him, on the trail
south of Red River; that they were desperate men, who did not seem to care
for danger, but rather coveted it, but that they were good hands, doing their
work faithfully and well. It is probable that they are outlaws, all the time
fearing arrest, and constantly on the alert to prevent being taken alive. If not
taken or killed for their last crime, it is only a question of time when they
will yield up their lives in much the same manner in which they have taken
the lives of others besides George Brown.

George Brown was a single man, resided on Fifth street, east of Main, his
sister, Miss Fannie Brown, keeping house for him. When the terrible news
was brought to her that her brother, her supporter and protector, had been
cruelly shot down within a stone throw of his own door, the poor girl could
not realize it at first, but when the truth forced itself upon her mind, she gave
way to the most heart rending screams. Kind and sympathetic friends did
everything in their power to solace her, but notwithstanding all their efforts
it was feared at one time that she would not be able to survive the terrible
blow. But nature, ever kind, came to her relief, and by Friday the intensity
of her grief had given way to a calm resignation. Word was telegraphed to
their father at Junction City, but owing to railroad connections he did not
arrive until Saturday. George was buried on Friday afternoon, the funeral
being largely attended by our citizens. All the business houses in the city
closing out of respect for the deceased during the funeral.

A coroner's jury was summoned by J. D. Kelly, Esq., and an inquest began
on Thursday afternoon. The inquest was not concluded until Monday after-
noon, when a verdict was rendered that the deceased came to his death from
a gun shot wound at the hands of J. D. Green.


J. D. or Jess Green as he is called, is a man about five feet ten inches in
height, strong built, weighed about 180 pounds; full, broad face, dark com-
plexion; hair black, coarse and straight, mustache and imperial colored black,
but naturally of a sunburnt color. Had on dark clothes, leggings, and new
white felt hat with a leather band around the crown.

Steve Green is about five feet six or eight inches high, heavy built, coarse
black hair, mustache and imperial dyed, broad face, very dark; dressed about
the same as his brother, save that his hat was not new. As stated above, the
men are brothers, and from their appearance would be taken for Mexicans.
When last heard from they were traveling west, evidently intending to make
for New Mexico.


Shortly after Brown's death the sheriff of Sumner county, in
which Caldwell is situated, wrote the governor of Kansas and asked
that he offer a reward for the capture of the Greens.
Office of
J. M. Thralls
Sheriff Sumner County.


On the 22" day of March [June] 1882 the City Marshal at Caldwell George
Brown was killed by one of two men giving their names as Jeff and Steve
Green "Cow boys" The circumstances are about these Brown went up to one
of them & asked him for his revolver he said he did not have any When
Brown and an assistant took hold of him he jerked loose and shot Brown
through the head killing him instantly Now are you not authorized to offer
a reward of $500 apiece for their arrest and delivery to the Sheriff of Sumner
Co We are having so much of this kind of work it does seem as tho the
State should offer a good reward for some of these "Texas killers" and outlaws
This is the fourth murder within the last year at Caldwell and Hunnewell and
no reward offered by State for any of them

Yours truly J M THRALLS

Please answer 1

Within days Gov. John P. St. John responded with this proclama-

$1000 REWARD!



WHEREAS, "JEFF. GREEN AND STEVE. GREEN" stand charged with the murder
of George Brown, City Marshal of the City of Caldwell, in Sumner County,
Kansas, on or about the 22nd day of March [June], 1882, and are now at
large and fugitives from justice:

Now THEREFORE, I, JOHN P. ST. JOHN, Governor of the State of Kansas,
by virtue of the authority vested in me by law, do hereby offer a reward of
FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS each, for the arrest and conviction of the said
Jeff. Green and Steve. Green of the crime above stated.

In Testimony Whereof, I have hereunto subscribed my name, and
[L. S.] affixed the Great Seal of the State, at Topeka, the day and year first
above written.

By the Governor:

Secretary of State. 2

The shooting of George Brown prompted at least one out of town
newspaper to censure Caldwell's city officers. Wellington's Sumner
County Press, June 29, 1882, claimed that all of CaldwelFs troubles


were caused by men who had been "fired to evil by bad whiskey
and prostitute women, both of which were placed within their
reach only by means of flagrant violations of the laws of the state,
through and by the sanction of the city governments of Caldwell
and Hunnewell. . . ."

These charges were not taken lightly by the Caldwell Post which
answered in its issue of July 6, 1882:


Under the above caption the Sumner County Press, of last week, proceeds
to read the citizens of Sumner county, and officers of Caldwell and Hunnewell
a lecture on morality and immorality. The editor states what he is pleased
to call facts, what in reality is a string of falsehoods or mistakes. In the first
place, he says there has been forty murders committed in Sumner county in the
last ten years, all traceable to whisky and lewd women, and that only three
of the murdreers have been brought to justice, namely, Jackson, Chastain and

In the three cases above, the city of Caldwell had nothing whatever, to do.
Jackson killed his man for money was tried, convicted and allowed by his
guards to escape them while they were playing cards. The guards were leading
citizens of Wellington, and were not drinking whisky at the time.

If we remember right, the citizens of Wellington murdered three or four
men in an early day, that was not decidedly traceable to mean whisky. A
murder was committed in London township, and the murderer was tried and
not convicted. The murder was not committed while either of the men was
under the influence of whisky nor prostitutes.

The murder of two men in the early days of Caldwell was not traceable to
either whisky or prostitution. One was hanged by the citizens for his cursedness,
and the other was committed by an outlaw just for the fun of the thing, who
was chased by the citizens and killed.

George Flat was killed to satisfy a grudge. Frank Hunt was killed for the
same reason and not on account of either women or whisky.

George Spear was shot by citizens or officers while assisting the Talbot gang
to escape.

Talbot shot Mike Meagher in a riot, not caused by whisky or women, but
from a supposed insult. He was an outlaw, and the officers nor citizens were
not responsible for his actions no more than the city of Wellington. He was
killed in Texas about two weeks ago.

George Brown was shot in the discharge of his duties. The men who did
the killing were not under the influence of whisky or lewd women. One of them
had taken two drinks and the other had not taken any. They were outlaws
and would have made the same play had they been anywhere else in the State.
They would give up their arms only after they were past using them.

The Press* fine-spun theory in the above named cases is decidedly at varia-
tion with the truth.

George Woods was killed by a man who had not touched whisky in two
years, and was the outgrowth of a feud and supposed insult, but was, we are
willing to admit, brought about through prostitutes.


Rare cussedness has been the cause of nine-tenths of the murders committed
in the county, and not whisky and public sentiment, as the Press would have
one believe. The city authorities are no more responsible for the murders that
are committed in Caldwell, than is the President of the United States, and it is
a base slander for any one to make such a statement.

Sheriff Joseph Thralls, who was instrumental in having a state
reward offered for Jesse and Steve Green, added $400 to the
amount, according to the Commercial of July 13, 1882.

Out-of-town newspapers were still taking pot shots at Caldwell
in November. Again the Post defended the town's honor in its
issue of November 9, 1882:


The cowboys have removed five city marshals of Caldwell in five years.
Dodge City Times.

We most emphatically deny the charge made by the Times that the cowboys
removed five city marshals. The fact is, the cowboys have "removed" but
one city marshal, and that one was George Brown. His murd[er]ers were
escaped convicts from the Texas penitentiary, and were only making the pro-
fession of herding cattle a cover to their outlawry and cattle and horse-stealing
operations. Jim Talbot killed Mike Meagher, assisted by cowboys, some of
them being in a row of that class for the first time. Mr. Meagher was not a
city marshal at the time of his death, nor was his murderer a cowboy at that
time. The other marshals spoken of by the Times were not killed by cowboys,
but by male prostitutes, to put it mildly.

It looks to us as though the charge contained in the item quoted from the
Times comes with very bad grace from a man whose entire support bread
and butter, as it were comes from men whose chief patrons are cowmen.
The cowboys of our acquaintance are not the class of men that commit mur-
ders and raise riots simply because they can. They are, as a majority, well-
educated, peaceable and gentlemanly fellows. The day of the wild and woolly
cowboy is past, in this section, at least, if it is not in such ungodly towns as
Dodge City. If the Dodge City editors would visit us once, and see what
kind of people live here, we think they would not be so rash in their asser-

On November 7, 1882, Sheriff Thralls reported the deaths of the

Office of

J. M. Thralls

Sheriff Sumner County.

WELLINGTON, KAN., Nov 7" 1882

You doubtless remember having offered a reward about July 1st for the
arrest and conviction of the murderers of City Marshal George Brown of
Caldwell I had issued cards describing them as minutely as possible and
sent them to every P. O. in the I. T. N. M. Colorado and the western
half of Texas besides getting them into the hands of all Officers possible


The result was the Officials of Wise County Texas got after them had a
fight with them on Monday Oct 9*782 when they whiped the constables'
posse and escaped with one of them carrying a Winchester ball in his right
side which disabled him from traveling much. They were again overtaken
on the following Wednesday morning When asked to surrender they replied
with a Shot gun and Revolver The posse replied killing one instantly
and hitting the other 12 times 2 Winchester balls and 10 Buck Shot en-
tered his body but did not disable him so badly but what we could bring
him to this County, his right side was paralyzed so he could not handle him-
self We have had him in our Jail since until today last Saturday he
was taken suddenly ill and became unconscious all at once and died Sunday
morning The Post mortem examination showed that our Buck Shot, of
small size, entered his forehead and passed through the lower part of his
brain and stoped near the back part of head Then had puss formed along
the course of the ball which caused his death. That ends the course of
the two murderers of George Brown Now what is necessary for us to do
to get the State reward which goes to their captors in Texas We can give
you several affidavits of his own admission to killing Brown The one that
died in our Jail is the one who fired the fatal shot while the other, his bro
was present and assisted by keeping off Brown's Deputy and came near
shooting him He told the boys in Jail (5 of them) the circumstance of
their flight after the murder

If you will indicate in what way we can get the State reward I think
we can fully satisfy you as to their identity and guilt If you will appoint
some attorney in this section of the country we will furnish him the wit-
nesses as to Identity and guilt, or any attorney from any where so it is not
too Expensive to us We are asking this for the Texas Officers who have
done good work in the case And what was dangerous work, in good faith,
and at some expense, now I would like to see them rewarded to make our
part of the contract good

Hoping to hear from you soon I remain

Yours Respectfully,


1. "Governors* Correspondence," archives division, Kansas State Historical Society.
2. Ibid. 3. Ibid.

(To Be Continued in the Summer, I960, Issue.)


Cotton Whigs in Kansas


A LARGE part of the eternal fascination of history is derived
from the strange paradoxes which are to be found in its
pages. There are few stranger paradoxes in the ante-bellum period
of American history than the sight of old Boston's staid gentle-
men of property and standing suddenly converted to rabble-rousing
fire-eaters over the slavery issue, spending half their time and for-
tunes sending free-soilers westward to save Kansas. "We went
to bed one night, old-fashioned, conservative, compromise, Union
Whigs/* related Amos Adams Lawrence, one of the most prominent
financiers in the North, "and waked up stark mad Abolitionists." *

Whatever could have caused such a startling metamorphosis?
That such a change did take place is frequently mentioned in
most studies of the ante-bellum decades. The story of the Emi-
grant Aid Company has often been told, its techniques studied

Online LibraryKansas State Historical SocietyThe Kansas historical quarterly (Volume 26) → online text (page 4 of 59)