April 2011 ~~~~ Editor:  Cliff Hanger ~~~~
John Chisum  from Wikipedia

John Simpson Chisum (August 15, 1824 December 23, 1884) was a wealthy cattle baron in the American West in the mid-to-late 19th century. Born in Hardeman County, Tennessee, Chisum's family moved to Texas in 1837, with Chisum finding work as a building contractor. He also served as county clerk in Lamar County.

John Chisum got involved in the cattle business in 1854 and became one of the first to send his herds to New Mexico. He obtained land along the Pecos River by right of occupancy and eventually became the owner of a large ranch in the Bosque Grande, about forty miles south of Fort Sumner, with over 100,000 head of cattle. In 1866-67, Chisum formed a partnership with cattlemen Charles Goodnight and Oliver Loving to assemble and drive herds of cattle for sale to the Army in Fort Sumner and Santa Fe, New Mexico, to provide cattle to miners in Colorado as well as provide cattle to the Bell Ranch.

When Chisum died in Eureka Springs on December 23, 1884, he was unmarried and left his estate worth $500,000 to his brothers Pitzer and James. While living in Bolivar, Texas, he lived with a young slave girl named Jensie and had two daughters with her. The relationship is described in the book, "Three Ranches West." Chisum had an extended family living with him at the South Springs ranch in Roswell, and this family, along with hired help, often numbered two dozen at the main ranch headquarters. Chisum's niece Sallie Chisum, the daughter of his brother James, became a beloved figure in the area where she lived until 1934. Both she and her uncle John are honored by statues to their memory at Roswell and Artesia.

Chisum depicted in bronze with Ruidoso,
his lead steer.
Lincoln County War...

Chisum was a business associate of Alexander McSween, a principal figure in the Lincoln County War with money, advice, and influence behind the scenes, he played a role in the dispute between the opposing factions of cattle farmers and business owners. When Lewis Wallace took office as Governor of New Mexico on October 1, 1878, he proclaimed an amnesty for all those involved in the bitter feud. However, after Billy the Kid surrendered to the authorities, he was told he would be charged with the killing of Sheriff William J. Brady.

Billy the Kid escaped from custody and went to see Chisum. Billy believed he was owed $500, but Chisum refused to pay, claiming that he had given Billy horses, supplies, and protection over the years in lieu of payment. Billy the Kid responded by promising to steal enough cattle to make up this sum. Billy's gang also stole from other cattlemen and became a serious problem in Lincoln County. His gang included Dave Rudabaugh, Billy Wilson, Tom O'Folliard and Charlie Bowdre.

 In 1880, Chisum was involved in getting Pat Garrett elected as sheriff of Lincoln County.

Garrett immediately attempted to deal with the problems being caused by Billy the Kid. In December 1880, Garrett shot dead two of the Kid's gang, Tom O'Folliard and Charles Bowdre. Soon afterwards Billy the Kid, Dave Rudabaugh and Billy Wilson were captured by Garrett.

Chisum Ranch near Roswell, NM
Who is Bruce Gleason? a short bio.

A long and winding road lead Bruce Gleason to become an engraver. He started out in his adult life by installing cabinets with his father, and then on his own. After doing this for a few years, he decided to go to college, and earned a BS in Health Science, and became licensed in California as a respiratory therapist. After working in the health care field for twelve years, he got sick and tired of being around the sick and tired, and launched a second career as a gunsmith and engraver.

In 2004, he learned about the classes being put on by GRS in Kansas. He attended basic engraving, then being taught by Berry Lee Hands, followed the next year by the intermediate course taught by Lee Griffiths. In 2006, he attended the Layout and Design course by Lee Griffiths, and in 2007, he was taught Flare and Bright cut engraving by Diane Scalese and Ron Smith.

Between his learning experiences with these Firearms Engravers Guild of America (FEGA) master engravers, Bruce engraved guns for his friends and acquaintances in cowboy action shooting, having as of this writing engraved approximately 44 guns and five knives, along with a few belt buckles and key fobs, etc

Bruce is an active member of several organizations, including Patron member of the NRA, life member of the Double R Bar Regulators, Annual member for 13 years of SASS, and regular member of FEGA.

In 2011, he was recognized by FEGA as a master engraver, by attending the Reno show with three of his engraved guns and a practice plate of engraving which the master engravers in attendance judged. He is grateful to be numbered with this group of talented individuals, of which there are only 44, and has dedicated his future engraving to be the best possible, so as never to let these artists be embarrassed by anything he has worked on.

You can see more of his work on his web site. Ed Westerly - Engraver
Still don't know who Bruce Gleason is. Well those of us who frequent RRBar's Chimney Rock monthly matches, know him as

"Ed Westerly" - Gunfighter
Lincoln County War from Wikipedia

The Lincoln County War was a 19th century range war between two factions in America's western frontier. The "war" was notable for the large number of semi mythical figures from 19th century America, including legendary outlaw Billy the Kid, county Sheriffs William J. Brady and Pat Garrett, cattle rancher John Chisum, lawyer and businessman Alexander McSween, and general store owner L.G. Murphy.

The conflict pitted two factions against each other, over the control of dry goods trade in the county. The older, established faction was led by Murphy and his business partner James Dolan who had a dry goods monopoly run through Murphy's general store. Young newcomers to the county, English-born John Tunstall and his business partner Alexander McSween, with backing from established cattleman John Chisum, opened a competing store in 1876. The two sides gathered lawmen, businessmen, and criminal gangs to their sides. The Murphy-Dolan faction were allied with the Lincoln County Sheriff, William J. Brady, and supported by the Jessie Evans Gang. The Tunstall-McSween faction organized their own posse of armed men, known as the Lincoln County Regulators, to defend their position, and had their own lawman, town constable Dick Brewer.

The "war" was marked by back-and-forth revenge killings, starting with the killing of Tunstall by members of the Jessie Evans Gang. In revenge for this and other killings, Sheriff Brady was killed by the Regulators. Further killings continued unabated for several months, climaxing in the Battle of Lincoln, a four day gunfight and siege which resulted in the death of McSween and the scattering of the Regulators. It would finally be brought to an end when Pat Garrett was named County Sheriff in 1880. Garrett would hunt down the remaining Regulators, including Billy the Kid, whom historians agree was killed by Garrett in July, 1881.

The Lincoln County War begins

In November 1876, a wealthy Englishman named John Tunstall arrived in Lincoln County, New Mexico hoping to set up a profitable cattle ranch, store, and bank in partnership with young attorney Alexander McSween and cattleman John Chisum. However, he soon discovered that Lincoln County was controlled both economically and politically by Lawrence Murphy and James Dolan, the proprietors of LG Murphy and Co., the only store in the county. LG Murphy and Co. was loaning thousands of dollars to the Territorial Governor, and the Territorial Attorney General would eventually hold the mortgage on the firm. Tunstall would also soon learn that Murphy and Dolan, who bought much of their cattle from rustlers, also had beef contracts from the United States government. These government contracts and contacts, along with their monopoly on merchandise and financing for farms and ranches, allowed Murphy, Dolan and their partner Riley to run Lincoln County as their own personal fiefdom.

Murphy and Dolan chose not to give up their monopoly lightly. In February 1878 in a sham court case that was eventually dismissed, they obtained a court order to seize all of McSween's assets but mistakenly included all of Tunstall's assets as McSween's. The county sheriff, William J. Brady, formed a posse to attach Tunstall's remaining assets at his ranch some 70 miles from Lincoln. Since very few local citizens would join Brady's posse, the posse contained many members of a gang of outlaws known as the Jessie Evans Gang. Murphy-Dolan also enlisted the John Kinney Gang.

On February 18, 1878, members of the Sheriff's posse caught up to Tunstall, who was herding his last 9 horses back to Lincoln. It was later determined by Frank Warner Angel, a special investigator for the Secretary of the Interior, that Tunstall was shot in "cold blood" by Jesse Evans, William Morton, and Tom Hill. Tunstall's murder was witnessed from a distance by several of his men, including Richard Brewer and William Henry McCarty (Billy the Kid). Tunstall's murder is considered the event that officially marked the beginning of the Lincoln County War.

Tunstall's cowhands and other local citizens formed a group known as the Regulators to avenge his murder since the entire criminal justice system in the Territory was controlled by allies of Murphy, Dolan & Co. While the Regulators at various times consisted of dozens of American and Mexican cowboys, the main dozen or so members were known as the "iron clad." They included William Henry McCarty (Billy the Kid), Richard Brewer, Frank McNab, Doc Scurlock, Jim French, John Middleton, George Coe and Frank Coe, Jose Chavez y Chavez, Charlie Bowdre, Tom O'Folliard, Fred Waite, and Henry Brown.

The Regulators immediately set out to apprehend the Sheriff's posse members who had murdered Tunstall. However after the "Regulators" were deputized and along with Constable Martinez attempted to serve the legally issued warrant on Tunstall's murderers, Martinez and his deputies were illegally arrested, disarmed, and jailed by Sheriff Brady. After being finally released from jail the Regulators then went looking for Tunstall's murderers. They found Buck Morton, Dick Lloyd, and Frank Baker near the Rio Peñasco. Morton surrendered after a five mile (8 km) running gunfight on the condition that Morton and his fellow deputy sheriff, Frank Baker (who, though he had no part in the Tunstall slaying, had been captured with Morton) would be returned alive to Lincoln. Although Regulator captain Richard Brewer admitted he would have preferred to kill the men, he gave the two his assurance they would be safely transported to Lincoln. However, other members of the Regulators insisted on doing away with their prisoners. Their efforts were resisted, however, by one of their own, William McCloskey, who was a friend of Morton.

On March 9, 1878, the third day of the journey back to Lincoln, in the Capitan foothills along the Blackwater Creek, McCloskey, Morton, and Baker were all killed. The Regulators claimed that Morton had murdered McCloskey, then tried to escape with Baker, forcing them to kill their two prisoners. Few believed the story, finding the idea that Morton would have killed his only friend in the group implausible. Additionally, the fact that the bodies of Morton and Baker each bore eleven bullet holes, one for each Regulator, reaffirmed suspicions that they had been deliberately murdered by their captors, and that McCloskey had lost his life for opposing it. However, other evidence seems to directly contradict Utley's assertion and says that there were ten bullets in Morton and five in Baker. Coincidentally, on that same day Tunstall's other two killers, Tom Hill and Jesse Evans, were also brought to justice while trying to rob a sheep drover near Tularosa, New Mexico. In the gun battle that ensued when they were discovered, Hill was killed and Evans severely wounded. While Evans was in Fort Stanton for medical treatment, he was arrested on an old federal warrant for stealing stock from an Indian reservation.

Killing of Sheriff Brady, Gunfight of Blazer's Mill

Sheriff Brady requested assistance from the Territorial Attorney General, Thomas Benton Catron, to put down this "anarchy". Catron in turn passed the buck to Territorial Governor Samuel B. Axtell, who issued a decree of flimsy legality. He decreed that Justice of the Peace John Wilson had been illegally appointed by the Lincoln County Commissioners. Wilson was also the legal authority who had deputized the Regulators and issued the warrants for Tunstall's murderers. This decree issued by Axtell, which indicated conclusively which side he was on, also caused all of the Regulators prior legal actions to now be illegal.

On April 1, 1878 Regulators Jim French, Frank McNab, John Middleton, Fred Waite, Henry Brown and William Henry McCarty ambushed Sheriff William J. Brady and his deputies on the main street of Lincoln. Brady died of at least a dozen gunshot wounds, and Deputy George W. Hindman was also fatally wounded. Once the shooting ended, William Henry McCarty and Jim French broke cover and dashed to Sheriff Brady's body, possibly to get his arrest warrant for Alexander McSween or to recover McCarty's rifle Brady had kept from a previous arrest. A surviving deputy, Billy Matthews, wounded both men with a rifle bullet that passed through each of them. French's wound was so severe that he could not ride and had to be temporarily harbored by Sam Corbet in a crawlspace in Corbet's house.

Just three days after the murders of Brady and Hindman, the Regulators headed southwest from the immediate area around Lincoln, ending up at Blazer's Mills, a sawmill and trading post that supplied beef to the Mescalero Indians. Here, they blundered into rancher Buckshot Roberts, whose name was on their arrest warrant as one of Tunstall's murderers. In the ensuing gunfight, known as the Gunfight of Blazer's Mills, Roberts was mortally wounded, but not before killing Regulator captain Dick Brewer and wounding John Middleton, Doc Scurlock, and George Coe, along with shooting Charlie Bowdre in the gunbelt, and grazing William Henry McCarty, the bullet not even breaking the skin.

Killing of Frank McNab, Regulator reaction

After Brewer's death, Frank McNab was elected captain of the Regulators. On April 29, 1878, a posse including the Jesse Evans Gang and the Seven Rivers Warriors, under the direction of Sheriff Peppin, engaged Regulators Frank McNab, Ab Saunders, and Frank Coe in a shootout at the Fritz Ranch. McNab was killed in a hail of gunfire, with Saunders being badly wounded, and Frank Coe captured. On April 30, 1878, Seven Rivers members Tom Green, Charles Marshall, Jim Patterson and John Galvin were killed in Lincoln, and although the Regulators were blamed, that was never proven, and there were feuds going on inside the Seven Rivers Warriors at that time. Frank Coe escaped custody some time after his capture, although it is not clear exactly when, allegedly with the assistance of Deputy Sheriff Wallace Olinger, who also gave him a pistol.

What is known about the morning following McNab's death is that the Regulator "iron clad" took up defensive positions in the town of Lincoln, trading shots with Dolan men as well as U.S. cavalrymen. The only casualty was Dutch Charley Kruling, a Dolan man wounded by a rifle slug fired by George Coe at a distance of 440 yards (400 m). By shooting at government troops, the Regulators gained their animosity and a whole new set of enemies. On May 15, the Regulators tracked down and captured Seven Rivers gang member Manuel Segovia, who is believed to have shot McNab. Segovia was shot while allegedly trying to escape. Around the time of Segovia's death, the Regulator "iron clad" gained a new member, a young Texas cowpoke named Tom O'Folliard, who would become William Henry McCarty's best friend and constant sidekick.

The Battle of Lincoln

Into the summer, the large confrontation between the two forces materialized on the afternoon of July 15, 1878, when the Regulators were surrounded in Lincoln in two different positions; the McSween house and the Ellis store. Facing them were the Dolan/Murphy/Seven Rivers cowboys. In the Ellis store were Doc Scurlock, Charlie Bowdre, John Middleton, Frank Coe, and several others. About twenty Mexican Regulators, led by Josefita Chavez, were also positioned around town. In the McSween house were Alex McSween and his wife Susan, William Henry McCarty, Henry Brown, Jim French, Tom O'Folliard, Jose Chavez y Chavez, George Coe, and a dozen Mexican cowboys.

Over the next three days, shots and shouts were exchanged but nothing approached an all-out fight. One fatality was one of the McSween defenders, Tom Cullens, killed by a stray bullet. Another was Dolan cowboy Charlie Crawford, shot at a distance of 500 yards (460 m) by Doc Scurlock's father-in-law, Fernando Herrera. Around this time, Henry Brown, George Coe, and Joe Smith slipped out of the McSween house to the Tunstall store, where they chased two Dolan men into an outhouse with rifle fire and forced them to dive into the bottom to escape.

The impasse remained until the arrival of U.S. troops under the command of Colonel Nathan Dudley. When these troops pointed cannons at the Ellis store and other positions, Doc Scurlock and his men broke from their positions, as did Josefita Chavez's cowboys, leaving those left in the McSween house to their fate.

On the afternoon of July 19, the house was set afire. As the flames spread and night fell, Susan McSween and the other woman and five children were granted safe passage out of the house while the men inside continued to fight the fire. By 9 o'clock, those left inside got set to break out the back door of the burning house. Jim French went out first, followed by William Henry McCarty, Tom O'Folliard, and Jose Chavez y Chavez. The Dolan men saw the running men and opened fire, killing Carson Morris, McSween's law partner. Some troopers moved into the back yard to take those left into custody when a close-order gunfight erupted. Alex McSween was killed, as was Seven Rivers cowboy Bob Beckwith. Francisco Zamora and Vicente Romero were killed as well, and Yginio Salazar was shot in the back, while three other Mexican Regulators got away in the confusion, to rendezvous with the iron clad members yards away.


Ultimately, the Lincoln County War accomplished little other than to foster distrust and animosity in the area and to make fugitives out of the surviving Regulators, most notably William Henry McCarty. Gradually, his fellow gunmen scattered to their various fates, and he was left with Charlie Bowdre, Tom O'Folliard, Dave Rudabaugh, and a few other friends with whom he rustled cattle and committed other crimes.

Eventually Pat Garrett and his posse tracked down and killed Tom O'Folliard, Charlie Bowdre, and later William Henry McCarty himself in July 1881. All three were buried in Fort Sumner, New Mexico.

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