Home History The 10 Most Interesting Wild West Characters … Some May Surprise You

The 10 Most Interesting Wild West Characters … Some May Surprise You

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Davy Crockett

No, not that Davy Crockett. A reputed bully in Cimarron, this Davy — both a grandson or grand-
nephew of the Alamo legend — gained infamy for having murdered three U.S. ninth Cavalry buffalo troopers on the bar
of the St. James Resort in 1876. Acquitted, however fined $50 for having carried a gun on the town, he rampaged via Cimarron, usually using his horse into saloons and firing into the ceiling. Townspeople quickly uninterested in his antics. On Sept. 30, 1876, Sheriff Isaiah Rinehart and posse shot and killed Crockett after the bully refused to give up.

Billy the Child

Orphaned at 13, William Henry McCarty struggled to stay within the grownup world. Slight in stature,
he compensated together with his pleasing character, charming wit and, when pushed, his gun. A pure chief, he hung round Lincoln and have become a Regulator. The Child’s quick life ended on July 14, 1881, when shot by Lincoln County Sheriff Pat Garrett.


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Recognized for excessive violence, and implicated in lots of vigilante jail break-ins and lynchings,
the infamous gunman reportedly as soon as rode via Mobeetie, Texas, sporting nothing however his six-shooter and gun belt. Allison homesteaded close to Cimarron, the place on Nov. 1, 1875, he prevailed in a shootout on the St. James Resort, killing Francisco “Pancho” Griego.

Outlaw Tom “Black Jack” Ketchum partnered with older brother Sam, robbing companies and trains. The brothers later joined the infamous Gap-in-the-Wall Gang. In 1899 Tom foolishly tried to rob the identical prepare on the identical spot brother Sam had held it up weeks earlier (to Sam’s demise). This time the engineer acknowledged Tom and shot him from his horse. Captured and convicted, Black Jack went to the gallows on April 26, 1901, in Clayton, which had by no means hanged anybody earlier than. The rope proved too lengthy, and as Ketchum had gained weight in jail, his head snapped off when his physique dropped via the lure. All of him is buried in Clayton’s cemetery.

Greatest referred to as the Lincoln County sheriff who killed Billy the Child, Garrett was additionally a buffalo hunter, bartender, Texas Ranger captain, promoter of irrigation schemes close to Roswell and U.S. customs inspector. Appointed Doña Ana County sheriff in 1896, he was tasked with monitoring down the murderers of Colonel Albert Jennings Fountain and his 8-year-old son, who’d gone lacking earlier that yr. He by no means did — formally, anyway. Garrett himself was murdered en path to Las Cruces on Feb. 29, 1908. His killer(s) have been by no means delivered to justice.

Writer of the bestselling 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Story of the Christ, Wallace was additionally the governor of New Mexico Territory (1878–81) who promised Billy the Child a pardon after which reneged. Wallace then served (1881–
85) as U.S. minister to the Ottoman empire. The one fond recollections he had of New Mexico, he admitted, was the time he dedicated to portray landscapes in an alley behind the Palace of the Governors when not busy writing. 

Doña Tules

A girl of refinement and style, María Gertrudis Barceló was a distinguished saloon proprietor {and professional} gambler in Santa Fe. Often called Madame La Tules, she was charming with a pointy enterprise acumen and have become an influential member of society in the course of the Santa Fe Path heyday. Tules reportedly contributed freely to households in want, the Catholic Church, charities and the federal government. She nonetheless died with a fortune on Jan. 17, 1852.

An legal professional in Mesilla, Fountain was maybe greatest identified for having rep-
resented Billy the Child in 1881 — although he misplaced, and the Child was convicted of homicide. Following a stint within the Union Military in the course of the Civil Conflict, Fountain settled in Texas the place he served within the state Senate and as lieutenant governor. In 1873 he moved to Mesilla, the place he served as a lawyer, probate choose and court docket clerk. He based the Mesilla Valley Unbiased newspaper and the Mesilla Valley Opera Home, identified right now because the Fountain Theater. On Feb. 1, 1896, he and son Henry disappeared close to White Sands. They’d been ambushed, however their our bodies have been by no means discovered, and nobody ever paid for the crime.

Juan Maria (Giovanni) Agostini-Justiniani

This eccentric son of Italian the Aristocracy left residence in his late teenagers to wander France and Spain and later trekked throughout South, Central and North America. At age 62 he walked with a wagon prepare from Kansas to Las Vegas, New Mexico Territory, after which south to Mesilla. Thought of a mystic by many, El Ermitaño (“The Hermit”) reportedly healed folks and prophesied. Dwelling in a cave within the close by Organ Mountains, he promised Mesilla residents he would gentle a hearth each Friday night to sign he was tremendous. On April 17, 1869, not seeing the fireplace, investigating villagers found he’d been killed. His homicide additionally stays unsolved.

Sturdy-willed Sarah Jane “Sadie” Creech Orchard (1859–1943) wore many hats within the gold and silver mining camp of Kingston within the Eighteen Eighties. Flamboyant Sadie established a brothel on mockingly named Advantage Avenue, owned and drove a stagecoach line, ran a lodge and restaurant, and rode horses in addition to any man. A philanthropist, she helped construct a church and aided these stricken throughout a smallpox epidemic.

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