Harry Young.

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One of the closest calls I ever had was in Dodge
City. I was in "Handsome Harry's" saloon one day
and had some difficulty with a cook who worked in the
restaurant next door, when a few blows were ex-
changed. He went away, and I supposed the trouble
was over. A little later on, I was standing at the
bar with my back toward the entrance of the saloon
when he entered, and without any warning took two
shots at me ; neither one taking effect. I being -un-
armed, one of the crowd caught and held him until
I could get my gun, which happened to be behind the
bar. We then agreed to go out on the prairie and
settle the matter. We were to place pur backs to-
gether, walk ten paces in opposite directions, turn and
fire. We went out, but before either of us could do
any damage, our friends interef ered and the proceed-
ings stopped. It is probable that neither of us re-
gretted the interference very much, for later we be-
came warm friends. He and another man went south
a few weeks later to sell whiskey to the Kiwa Indians.
Unfortunately, arriving in their country while they
were on the war path, it resulted in the cook and
his partner being killed by this tribe and all their
whiskey being confiscated.

The town of Dodge City soon afterward became
so tough that the saloon men and merchants formed
themselves into a vigilance committee and appointed
Fancy Pat as their leader. They were determined


to rid the town of all undesirable characters. Equip-
ping themselves with revolvers, rifles and shot-guns,
they made ready for the slaughter. Selecting all the
tough men whom they wished to exterminate, at a
given signal they swooped on all three dance-halls
and began shooting and what a slaughter. Fourteen
men were killed and were left lying in the street all
night where they fell. I recollect the name of only
one of the victims, "Tex Williams." Tex was shot
completely to pieces, as he ran out of the front door
of the dance-hall. He was a ghastly sight, being
riddled from head to foot. I was told later that even
small screws were picked out of his body. I do not
doubt the truth of this assertion, as many of the
men used small screws as ammunition for their shot-
guns. * At the time of the killing, I was standing in
a saloon, when two or three of the men, whom the
Regulators were after, ran through the room and
secreted themselves in the coal cellar. The Regulators
came in shortly and asked Frank Pedrie, the bar-
keeper, if any of the gang were hidden thereabouts.
Pedrie replied "No," when they took a drink all round,
and left for Sherman's dance-hall. They then collected
all the dance-hall girls, who had run away screaming
when the shooting took place. One of the dead men
lay in front of the entrance to the hall, where he had
dropped when shot.

It was a cold, in fact, freezing night, and as he
lay there with wide open mouth, his eyes set in death,
and his body entirely covered with blood, he was a
sight to sicken the strongest. One of the dance-hall
girls tied her handkerchief around his head to keep
his- mouth closed, when one of the Regulators, who
witnessed this humane act, struck her on the head
with his six-shooter, wounding her severely. The
dead body of the victim lay there until daylight, while
the Regulators enjoyed themselves dancing and drink-
ing. It was an awful night of murder and carnage.

The great female character of Wyoming from 1875 to 1906


I say murder, for most all the Regulators were them-
selves gun-fighters as well as businessmen, and many
of them were equally as bad as their victims.

The morning after the killing they employed six
carpenters, who made seven boxes out of rough lum-
ber, putting two victims in each box, then loading
them onto two-horse wagons. The procession then
started for Boot Hill cemetery and such a sight!
I shall never forget it. Most everyone in town turned
out, the greatest part of whom were the Regulators,
who had done the killing. They had caroused all night,
some shooting as they proceeded up the hill; others
laughing, and others swearing. Each man linked arms
with a dance-hall girl. Finally arriving at the pre-
pared graves, they lowered each box and made all
kinds of gestures and remarks.

While the earth was shoveled onto the boxes, they
circled around, dancing like a lot of wild Indians.
One of them, I recollect, remarked, "Let us give
them each a flask of whiskey, to use on their way to
hell." Work was stopped until the seven flasks of
whiskey were procured and deposited in the graves,
when all returned to town, yelling and laughing. This
ended the night of horror in Dodge City, Kansas.

Shortly after this occurrence took place, complaint
was made by the buffalo hide merchants that someone
was stealing their hides, which were piled up in the
streets in front of their stores. Five hundred dollars
reward was finally offered for the capture of the
thieves. I was asked by the Hicks Brothers to assist
them in capturing the guilty parties. While on watch
one moonlight night, we saw a man getting away
with two hides on his shoulder. We called on him to
halt, but instead of obeying us, he dropped the hides
and ran. We took a shot at him but missed and he
continued running toward the Arkansas river, and we
following him. When he had run into the water up to


his waist, he threw up his hands and promised to
come out if we would not shoot. On his return to the
bank we discovered that it was Darcey, one of the
town's old drunks. He begged to be allowed to go, as
he was only trying to get a little money with which
to buy whiskey. I favored letting him go and saying
nothing of the occurrence. But the Hicks Brothers
wanted that five hundred dollars blood money, and in-
sisted that he be summarily dealt with. We took him
to the railroad station and reported the capture to
the merchants. When they saw who it was, they
decided to release him. Dog Kelly, however, saw an
opportunity for a practical joke, and had poor old
Darcey brought up to his saloon and tried for the
offense. Of course, he was found guilty ; the verdict
was that he should be hanged to a telegraph pole.
The old man begged and prayed for mercy, but with-
out avail. He was taken up the railroad track and
while one of the men was climbing the pole to arrange
the rope, Kelly, according to a prearranged plan,
whispered to Darcey, "Now is your chance; run for
your life." The old fellow taking advantage of the
opportunity began to run as he had never run before.
Suddenly we began shooting in the air and yelling
"Stop Darcey! Stop!" we running after him. Of
course, we stopped after a little and allowed him to
escape. He probably considered it the closest call of
his life; and I think, if alive, he is running yet, as he
was never again seen in that vicinity.

I wish to make special mention of the class of
dance-hall girls that were brought to Dodge City in
early days. In many instances they were girls who
had been well raised, but who were inveigled into
that tough town by misrepresentation on the part of
whom we would term today "Whiteslavers." After
getting them to Dodge, they would put them in dance-
halls, turning them over to gun-men who became their
lovers and by whom they were treated in nearly all


cases most cruelly. Nellie Rivers, of whom I have
spoken, was well educated and very handsome, and
evidently came from a good family. Realizing the
unavoidable position in which she was placed and the
hopelessness of ever getting back to her former home,
she became a great hater of men and seemed pos-
sessed of a mania for having them killed for trivial
reasons. After succeeding in being the cause of
having five killed, she was considered so dangerous
that it was decided to hang her. Her life was saved,
however, through the intervention of Fancy Pat and
Dog Kelly. She was allowed to leave town with the
understanding that she was not to return. She was
never again seen in her old haunts.

Many of these dance-hall girls had rough exteriors,
which covered warm hearts. One would be surprised
at the sacrifices and attentions they would devote to
the sick and wounded. I have known many cases
where they would quit their work and sit up with
them, devoting tender care, and not asking or expect-
ing anything in return. I shall always have a warm
spot in my heart for the poor unfortunate dance-hall

It is not generally known at this date that the
dance hall girl was the true pioneer woman of the
West. Few of them in the seventies, if they stood
the stormy days, married good men cattle men,
merchandising men, miners, etc., and made noble
wives and mothers. I could name one who bore two
sons and one daughter. One of the sons later repre-
sented a Middle Western state in the U. S. Congress.
After the dance hall girl came the farmer and his wife.
Then the dance hall girl disappeared, her occupation
being a thing of the past.

It is a true saying that "music hath charms to
soothe the savage." I distinctly remember one night
in Tom Sherman's dance-hall, when revelry was at its


height; with all its drinking, cursing and swearing.
The revellers were at the bar, each accompanied by
his girl, when suddenly a character named "Sims"
the violinist of the dance-hall, stringing his instru-
ment to a high key, commenced playing in a masterly
style, the old familiar tune "Home, Sweet Home." In
a moment all was still, many holding their liquor
glasses in their hands, their heads bowed and tears
trickling down their cheeks. This was a very un-
usual scene, and one never to be forgotten. Suddenly,
in a loud tone of voice, the dance-hall manager or
more commonly known as the "Bouncer," shouted,
"Get your partners for the next quadrille." All was
forgotten; the music started up and the wild revelry
again resumed. Such was life in the west in early
days. A few words of explanation regarding gun-
fighters of Dodge City and other frontier towns.
Take such men as Bat Masterson : he was the soul of
honor and only killed when it was necessary to pro-
tect himself. Luke Short, who had a great reputation
as a gun-man, followed the occupation of a gambler
and killed many men. Luke was a fine man, with
gentlemanly instincts, but quick tempered. He was
considered square and much respected; also Wyat
Erap, who had considerable 'trouble in Arizona in
early days, and killed with his brothers many men
in that country. I met Wyat in Nome, Alaska, in
1900 and found him a perfect gentleman. This class
of men didn't kill for gain. Another class of gun-
men who were desperadoes, horse thieves and road
agents, who killed for gain. This class were entirely
different from Masterson, Short and Earp.




A OTHER tough character at Dodge City, was
"Kelly the Rake." While I was herding
cattle for Toole Brothers, Kelly and another
tough denizen named Red Johnson, whom I
had met in Wichita, entered the employ of a
man named Jack (I do not recollect his other name) ;
they camped at our upper dug-out. These three men,
Kelly, Johnson and Jack, were going southward for
the purpose of hunting buffalo, forming a partnership
for that purpose. Sometime later Johnson and Kelly
returned to the town of Sergeant, on the Colorado-
Kansas state line, and at that time the terminus
of the A. T. & S. F. Ry. They returned with a big
load of buffalo hides and the information that they
had bought out the third man, Jack. The hides were
sold to Chris Gillson, after which Johnson and Kelly
became gloriously drunk. While in this condition they
met Clark and McClellan, two buffalo skinners who
were in town and to whom they imparted the infor-
mation that they, Kelly and Johnson, had killed Jack
and buried him in the sand hills. On sobering up
the next day, they became alarmed lest Clark and
McClellan should divulge what had been told them.
Determined to put these men out of the way, if
possible, Kelly and Johnson went to Chris Gillson and
told him that Clark and McClellan were planning to
kill and rob him that night. Gillson, who had just
received a large sum of money from the sale of a lot
of hides, was very much alarmed and spent the night


in a box car instead of in his tent. The next morning
Chris and I were standing outside his tent, talking,
when Clark and McClellan came along, with no
thought of danger. Chris, who had a doubled-barreled
shotgun in his hands, emptied one barrel of the
weapon into Clark, killing him instantly. He then
pursued McClellan, who was by this time attempting
to get away, and shot him down, the poor fellow
begging all the time for mercy.

The reader will possibly question the source of
my information regarding this affair. I did not come
into possession of the facts in the case until several
years later, when I was employed as traveling pas-
senger agent for the Oregon Railroad & Navigation
Company, and on one occasion had to go to St. Paul,
Minn., stopping off en route at every coupon ticket
office on the line of the Northern Pacific Railway.
Shortly after leaving Miles City, Montana, I went into
the smoking car. There I noticed a pock-marked man
sitting in front of me and whose face seemed familiar.
Presently, I realized who he was. "How are you
Chris?" I asked, turning to him.

"You have the best of me/' was his reply. "What
is your name ?" On being told who I was, he showed
great delight, and together we spent some time talk-
ing over the old days on the A. T. & S. F.

"Have you ever seen 'Kelly the Rake' in your
travels?" he asked. I told him no.

"Well," he continued, "if I ever meet him, he will
be a dead man." After which he told me the story
narrated above. He also told me he had found out
in the intervening time that McClellan and Clark were
innocent of any intention to injure him, and that
Kelly had maliciously told him this story for his own
protection, with the thought in mind that "dead men
tell no tales."


Chris was on his way to Washington, D. C., to
collect some Government money due him for two
years' surveying work done in Alaska. I have not
seen him since we met that day.

A few days after this occurred at Sergeant, four
of us went down river to a ranch kept by a man
named "Prairie Dog Dave," for the purpose of catch-
ing buffalo calves, our intention being to ship them
east by rail. Insofar as our catching the calves was
concerned, we were very successful. They were
caught in the following manner:

Mounted on our horses, we got as near the herd
as possible, unseen, then suddenly riding after them.
The cows and young calves, when the herd was
stampeded would naturally drop to the rear and the
cows would remain with the calves until closely
pressed, when they would desert them. We would
then jump from our horses, throw the calves down
and tie their legs.

At ths season of the year, the calves were about
two months old. We succeeded in catching twenty
head, and finally hauled them to the ranch by wagon.
However, we soon discovered that we could not tame
them, nor could we get them to eat, so out of pity
we let them go. Before doing so, however, two were
drowned in a spring near the ranch. We had picketed
them out, taking the ends of a lariat and fastening
it around their necks, then taking the middle of the
lariat and attaching it to a picket pin, which we drove
into the ground, but the poor little fellows became
entangled in it and fell into the spring, where they
were drowned. Two others escaped with a sixty foot
lariat, which we never recovered, and I shall always
believe that someone stole the lariat and allowed the
calves to get away. Our venture was not a success.
We became discouraged and gave up the business.


Had I known as much in those days as I do at the
present time, I could have made a fortune buying
buffalo robes, trading with the Indians, who had
thousands of them and which would not have cost
to exceed five dollars each in trade. A buffalo robe
today is worth from one hundred to five hundred

I left this section of the country in the fall
of 1871, going to Pueblo, Colorado, from which place
I went to Denver, Colorado. Here I worked for a
short time and then went to Cheyenne, Wyoming,
situated on the Union Pacific railroad. There I re-
sumed my old occupation as a "six-mule skinner"
for the Government, driving out of Camp Carlin,
which was then the Government supply station for
all northern posts. It was located between Cheyenne
and Fort D. A. Russell, on the Union Pacific railroad.
I remained there for about a year.

One night in Cheyenne I strolled into McDaniels'
variety show. On entering the door I spied my old
friend "Wild Bill" standing with his back to the
wall, looking on at a faro game. He did not look very
prosperous, and I was quite sure that the world had
been treating him badly since I had last seen him,
or he certainly would have been one of the players.
I also noticed that when he sat down, he kept the
cases. This gave him an opportunity to pick up any
sleepers that might be left on any dead card by an
inexperienced player.

On seeing me, Bill remarked in a pleased tone:
"Hello, Kid! I am glad to see you. Where have you
been for the last few years, and how is the world
treating you? '

I told him what I had been doing and also what
I was doing at that time. He finally told me that he
was broke.


This particular night, a man named Ed O'Malley
was playing the game, and leaving a bet on the jack,
which had become dead, Bill naturally reached over
and took the checks. Later, O'Malley, missing his
checks, inquired of the dealer what became of his
bet on the jack. The dealer did not answer him, but
some man among the players whispered to him that
Wild Bill took it, whereupon O'Malley rushed up to
Bill, and with a string of expletives, demanded that
Bill replace the checks on the table. Bill looked up
at him, saying, "What would you do if I did not
replace them?"

O'Malley replied, "I wouk} cut your heart out."

Bill smiled and then said, "Then I had better
replace them;" which he did. This O'Malley, whose
occupation was that of a camp cook, was a fighting
Irishman and had killed a man several months prior
by stabbing him with a carving knife.

There are many persons who entertain the idea
that Wild Bill was noisy and quarrelsome, but this
impression is not at all correct. During the years of
my acquaintance with him, I never knew him to pick
a quarrel, but have known him to stop many that
might have ended seriously.

At this time a man named Jeff Carr was marshal
of Cheyenne, and when Bill arrived there Carr went
to him, saying : "You can remain in this town as long
as you wish by giving me your word of honor that
you will not carry your gun on your person, nor get
into any trouble that you can possibly avoid." Bill
agreed to these terms, with one proviso namely, that
he be allowed to put his gun within easy reach in any
house that he might be. As an illustration, when he
came into McDaniels* theatre, he put his gun behind
the bar.

While in Cheyenne, Bill had won the affections of a
girl whoes lover was a man named "Fighting Tom"


and who was the night marshal of the town. Tom
recognized in Bill a dangerous rival and to get him out
of the way, assumed the responsibility of ordering
Bill to leave town within twenty-four hours.

"Why should I leave town?" Bill asked. "Further-
more, by whose orders are you attempting to run me

"By order of Jeff Carr," was Tom's reply. With-
out further to do, Bill went up to Carr's house and
asked him why he had ordered him out of town.
Carr was much surprised at the question, and said
he knew nothing about the matter. Bill then told Carr
what Fighting Tom had said. To this Carr replied:
"You may remain in this town as long as you please,
so long as you keep your word given to me." Upon
this Bill returned to the variety show and calling
Tom aside, said to him: "Tom you have lied to me.
Jeff Carr says so and I say so. Now if you ever look
my way while I am in Cheyenne, there will be a
vacancy in this town for a night marshal." Tom made
no reply, but walked away, and thus ended the matter.

Cheyenne in those days was a very lively town.
The Union Pacific had their railroad shop there. Fort
D. A. Russell was a very large post, having a great
many soldiers in it. Camp Carlin was also a large
place, and a great many teamsters were employed
there. All the freighting to northern posts, Fort
Laramie, Fort Fetterman and others, originated from
Cheyenne. The reader can imagine what pay day
meant at Fort D. A. Russell, where at least one thou-
sand soldiers were paid on the same day ; one hundred
teamsters would also be paid at Camp Carlin. In
addition to this was the railroad employees' pay day.
This naturally circulated a great deal of money. The
town had many saloons, gambling houses and dance-
halls, with its quota of gamblers and dance-hall girls,
and I assure you it was a very live town. Many of the


merchants and business men were ex-government
teamsters or soldiers, who had been discharged from
the army. For instance, Mr. H. E. Post was formerly
a teamster, but at this time postmatser, and later
represented Cheyenne in United States congress.

One of the largest saloons in Cheyenne was kept
by a character named Red Pat, so dubbed because
of the color of his hair. This fellow was an ex-
teamster and his saloon was the great resort for
the mule-skinners. While in his place we would spend
our money like drunken sailors, and when we were
broke, he would give us a few dollars and tell us
to go hunt another job. Pat was a good old soul,
but a bad man in a rough and tumble fight. I learned
recently that he is still alive and doing business at
the same old location.

To give the reader some idea of Cheyenne on
Government pay-day, the citizens would send all kinds
of vehicles out to the Fort and Camp Carlin, taking
us into town free of charge. Jeff Carr, the marshal,
would deputize twenty-five extra men to keep some
semblance of order. They were not severe, how-
ever, and I have seen them when a couple of soldiers
were fighting, keep the crowd back by forming a
ring, letting the contestants fight it out. Just as long
as the soldiers or mule-skinners had money to spend,
they tolerated them, but as soon as their money was
gone, they then began to drive them out of town, and
in some cases, clubbed them unmercifully. We went
back to our jobs, swearing that next pay-day we
would not go into Cheyenne, but we would invariably
land there the following pay-day. At the time I drove
a team at Camp Carlin. Our superintendent was a
man named Botsford, of whom I will write later on.




IN the summer of 1872, I quit my job as teamster
and went to the ranch of Jack Hunton, located on
a stream called the Chugwater, where I worked
with his brother Jim, getting out fence posts,
about two miles from the river, at a place called
Goshen Hole. Some two years after this the Sioux
Indians killed and scalped Jim while he was hunting
for stock. After quitting Hunton, I went to Fort Lar-
amie. There I applied for a position as teamster, but
as there was no vacancy, I could not get employment.

1 1 wish the reader to understand that I had not as
yet met any bad wild Indians. However, this experi-
ence came to me before I had been in Laramie many
days. Hearing that Cuney & Coffee wanted a team-
ster at their ranch, four miles up the Laramie river,
I went there that evening and applied for the job.
Cuney informed me that he did want a teamster. He
then asked me to have a drink, and after talking a
while, he said: "We pay forty dollars a month and
board to drivers of our four-mule teams, and you may
go to work tomorrow morning. Now enjoy yourself."
I informed him that I could not afford to blow myself,
as my money was limited. "Drink all you want ;" was
his reply, "there are no charges to a new-comer."
I looked upon his open-heartedness with suspicion, but

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Online LibraryHarry YoungHard knocks : a life story of the vanishing West → online text (page 5 of 17)