|Edward Kern - from Wikipedia
Edward Meyer Kern (born 26 Oct 1822 or 1823 – 25 Nov 1863)
was an American artist, topographer, and explorer of California, the Southwest,
and East Asia.
Kern was born in Philadelphia, the son of John Kern III
and Mary Elizabeth Bignell. He was trained as an artist.
His brother Richard Kern (1821–1853) was also an accomplished
artist, and his brother Benjamin Kern (1818–1849) was a doctor. They joined
him on several expeditions.
In 1845/46 Edward Kern accompanied the famous explorer
Captain John C. Frémont on his Third Expedition into Mexican Alta
California. Kern received a daily salary of $3.00. He served as cartographer
as well as documentation artist, and collected botanical and animal specimens
on this journey. Each night of the trip Kern would draw a field map of
the day's route with longitudes and latitudes and sketches of landmarks.
En route in Nevada, Kern's drawing documented the Frémont
party's killing of over 30 Northern Paiute Indians who were camped at the
Just before they reached Klamath Lake, Klamath tribesmen
attacked the expedition and several members were killed. A brutal counterattack
by Frémont and his group upon a native village resulted in many
Klamaths' deaths. Kern recorded the counterattack in an engraving, that
was later published with Fremont's report.
While in command there, news of the stranded Donner Party
reached Kern, Sutter's Fort had been their destination. Kern vaguely promised
the federal government would do something for a rescue party across the
Sierra, but had no authority to pay anyone. He was later criticized for
his mismanagement delaying the search.
|Frémont then ordered his main party – which included
Kern and Joseph Walker – to travel the southern Sierra route over the pass
Walker had discovered a decade earlier, while Frémont and a few
others left were to cross the northern Sierra at Donner Pass. Frémont
named the pass that Walker led his party through Walker Pass. Accompanying
Walker southward was Edward Kern, who as the cartographer mapped the (at
that time "Rio de San Felipe" as named by the Spanish) Kern River. Later,
Frémont named the river after his artist. Kern’s Campsite in the
Kern River Valley – at the junction of the South and North Forks of the
Kern River – now lies submerged below Lake Isabella reservoir. However
a historical monument for Kern’s site was placed above the reservoir near
its east shore on Highway 178.
During the 1846 Bear Flag Revolt against Mexico, 23 year
old Kern was placed in command of Sutter's Fort and its company of dragoons
in the Sacramento Valley by Frémont. That left John Sutter the assignment
as lieutenant of the dragoons, and second in command of his own fort until
In February 1847 Kern's forces were requested by several
settlers who wished to intimidate Indians who had been involved in raids.
Kern brought in 20 men, joined by 30 more led by John Sutter, and then
proceeded on a series of attacks that killed 20 California Indians (see
Kern and Sutter massacres).
In 1848?1849 Edward Kern and his brothers Richard and
Benjamin joined Frémont's Fourth Expedition, to the Rocky Mountains
in present-day southern Colorado and northern New Mexico. By the time the
last surviving member of the expedition made it to Taos on February 12,
1849, 10 of the party had died. In order to move more quickly to safety,
it had been necessary for the brothers hide their goods (including sketches)
in a cave. After arriving in New Mexico Territory, Benjamin Kern and Frémont's
guide Old Bill Williams returned for the hidden goods but were killed by
a band of Utes.
In August 1849 Edward and Richard Kern joined the John
M. Washington military reconnaissance expedition to the Navajos in 1849,
to punish the Navajos for raids on the New Mexico settlements and to secure
a treaty with them, in addition to surveying the country. The expedition
brought both brothers back to New Mexico. Richard's role, as second assistant
and artist, was to make portraits of Indian chiefs, costume, scenery, geological
formations, ruins, and to copy ancient writings found on the sides of stone.
Edward's role was as first assistant and topographer.
Edward and Richard stayed and lived in New Mexico for
two years, working for the Corps of Topographical Engineers. The Kern brothers
gave the American public some of its earliest authentic graphic images
of the people and landscape of Arizona, New Mexico, and southern Colorado;
with views of Canyon de Chelly, Chaco Canyon, and El Morro (Inscription
In 1853 Edward joined Lieutenant John Pope, who was looking
for a better route between Santa Fe and Fort Leavenworth. His brother Richard
Kern was killed in 1853, while on the Gunnison-Beckwith Expedition to survey
a railroad route that would pass through the Rocky Mountains.
From 1853 to 1855, Edward Kern served on the ship USS
Vincennes (1826) on an expedition to East Asia. The captain, Cadwalader
Ringgold, was declared insane when they reached Hong Kong. Kern used both
photography and drawing during this trip. The expedition landed on the
eastern shores of Siberia, where Kern spent several weeks. They returned
home via Tahiti and San Francisco.
In 1858 Edward joined Lieutenant John Mercer Brooke on
a survey of the sea lanes between California and China, returning in 1860.
During the Civil War, Edward served under Frémont,
who had command of the Army of the West, but when Frémont was relieved
of command, Edward was as well.
Kern suffered from epilepsy, beginning at a young age.
Late in life Kern established a studio in Philadelphia.
Edward Kern died in November 1863 of an epileptic seizure,
at his home on 1305 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia. He was buried in Glenwood
Cemetery, and later re-interred in New Glenwood Cemetery.
Kern's diaries were discovered under the floorboards in
an old hotel in Delaware Water Gap, Pennsylvania, and provided source material
for David Weber's book on Richard Kern (brother of Edward). The diary and
papers are now in the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale
The Boston Museum of Fine Arts has over eighty of Kern's
The Kern River and Kern County, both in California, were
named for him.
|Little Britches (outlaw) from
Little Britches (born Jennie Stevenson in 1879; date and
place of death unknown) was an outlaw in the American Old West associated
with Cattle Annie. Their exploits are fictionalized in the 1981 film Cattle
Annie and Little Britches, directed by Lamont Johnson and starring Diane
Lane as Little Britches.
Born Jennie Stevens in Barton County in southwestern Missouri,
to a farm couple, Daniel and Lucy Steve Her one known sister was Victoria
Estella Stevenson. Apparently she dropped the "son" from her maiden name;
her second husband was apparently named "Stephens", not "Stevens." For
a time, therefore, she was Jennie Stevenson Stephens. The Stevenson family
lived during part of the 1880s in Seneca in Newton County, also in southwestern
Missouri on the eastern border of Oklahoma, then Indian Territory. The
Stevensons then moved into the Creek Nation at Sinnett in Pawnee County
in the northern Indian Territory. Little Britches followed stories of the
Bill Doolin gang written by such dime novelists as Ned Buntline, like her
friend Cattle Annie (born Anna Emmaline McDoulet).
Enchantment with crime
Little Britches joined the Doolin gang but lost her horse
and returned home to the stern rebuke of her father. She was determined
nevertheless to pursue a life of crime, and she married a deaf-mute horse
dealer, Benjamin Midkiff, in March 1895. They established housekeeping
in a hotel in Perry in Noble County in northern Oklahoma. Midkiff found
her unfaithful, however, and he returned the teenager to her father after
the two had been together for only six weeks. Within a day of returning
home, she began riding along the Arkansas River in search of outlaw adventure.
Soon she apparently married Robert Stephens, but the union
lasted only six months. At a community dance Jennie and Annie met the Doolin
gang, later called the Wild Bunch (not the Butch Cassidy gang of the same
name). These outlaws, all eleven of whom met violent deaths, maintained
a hideaway in the Creek Nation Cave, located on the Cimarron River in Payne
County near Ingalls east of Stillwater, Oklahoma. At a shootout in Ingalls
in 1893, three marshals were killed.
Little Britches and Cattle Annie were excellent horsewomen
and markswomen who dressed in men's clothing. The two women evaded law
enforcement and became known for their daring pursuits throughout the region.
The pair sold whisky to the Osage and Pawnee tribes and engaged in horse
theft, operating either together or alone. They alerted other outlaws about
the location of law enforcement officers.
In mid-August 1895, Little Britches was captured, but
she soon escaped from a restaurant in Pawnee, Oklahoma Territory, while
she was in the custody of Sheriff Frank Lake. Journalist accounts maintain
that she left through the back door of the establishment despite the presence
of a guard. She tore off her dress, grabbed the horse of a deputy marshal,
and galloped away into the night. U.S. Marshals Bill Tilghman and his deputy
Steve Burke quickly tracked down Annie and Little Britches. Burke caught
Cattle Annie as she was climbing from a window, but Tilghman had more difficulty
apprehending Little Britches, who fired a Winchester rifle at both lawmen.
Tilghman then shot Little Britches' horse. As the animal fell to the ground,
Little Britches was taken into custody and jailed, but only after she had
tried to shoot Tilghman with a pistol and then to attack him physically.
The Oklahoma Journal of History and Culture contends that
Tilghman likely had nothing to do with the apprehension of Little Britches.
Newspapers credited both captures to Lake, Burke, and Frank Canton, another
deputy marshal. The publication further contends that neither girl had
been involved with the Doolins or any other outlaw gang.
The two young women were tried for horse theft and the
sale of alcohol to the Indians before U.S. District Judge Andrew Gregg
Curtin Bierer, Sr. (1862-1951) at his court in Guthrie in Logan County,
capital of the Oklahoma Territory. Little Britches was incarcerated for
two months in the Guthrie jail (under the name Jennie Midkiff, from her
first husband of six weeks) as a material witness in a murder trial. She
had witnessed a shooting while working as a domestic. Little Britches'
two-year prison sentence for horse theft and selling whisky to the Indians
began in 1895 at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution in Framingham.
She was released in October 1896, under terms of good behavior, and returned
to her parents. Her final years are unknown, though some stories circulated
that she married for a third time, reared a family, and led an exemplary
life thereafter in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Cattle Annie received a one-year sentence and was also
sent to Framingham in 1895. Because of poor health, she was paroled, but
remained in Framingham for some time.
Little Britches and Cattle Annie had thwarted the law
for only two years in the Indian and Oklahoma territories, but their escapades
proved a challenge to law enforcement and the judicial system. It is unknown
if Little Britches was "rehabilitated" through her confinement in Framingham,
one of the few prisons then available for female inmates.
In popular culture
In the film Cattle Annie and Little Britches (1981), directed
by Lamont Johnson, Diane Lane portrays Little Britches, Amanda Plummer
makes her film debut as Cattle Annie, Burt Lancaster is an historically
inaccurate and much older Bill Doolin, Rod Steiger is Marshal Tilghman,
Scott Glenn is Bill Dalton, and Buck Taylor (known as the young gunsmith-turned-part-time-deputy
and apprentice medical doctor on CBS's Gunsmoke) plays Dynamite Dick, a
fictionalized character conflating elements of several real people. Bill
Doolin was shot to death at the age of 38 by Marshal Heck Thomas; Lancaster
was 67 when he played Doolin in the film.
Novelist Robert Ward, a native of Baltimore, Maryland,
wrote Cattle Annie and Little Britches (1977), his personal interpretation
of the romantic legends of the Doolin-Dalton gang.
Actress Gloria Winters (of the Sky King aviation adventure
television series) portrayed Little Britches in a 1954 episode of the syndicated
Stories of the Century, a western anthology series starring and narrated
by Jim Davis. In this story, Little Britches became smitten with an outlaw
named Dave Ridley, played by James Best, rather than Bill Doolin. Little
Britches is shown at the conclusion of the episode leaving the Framingham
reformatory and anonymously working in a soup kitchen in a slum section
of New York City.
|Biddy Mason from Wikapedia
Bridget "Biddy" Mason (August 15, 1818 – January 15, 1891)
was an African-American nurse and a Californian real estate entrepreneur
and philanthropist. She is the founder of the First African Methodist Episcopal
Church in Los Angeles, California. She was born in Georgia.
of 1850, California was admitted as a free state and any
slave who resided in the state or was born in the state was free. Bridget
had lived in California for four years and some of the other slaves had
been born in California, so they were covered by the law. Bridget wanted
to be free, but was under the control of Robert Smith and ignorant of the
laws and her rights.
Biddy Mason was born a slave on August 15, 1818, in Georgia
She was given the name of "Bridget" with no surname[was later given the
nickname Biddy] and was given to Robert Smith and his bride as a wedding
present. After the marriage, Smith took his new wife and slaves to Mississippi.
Missionaries from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day
Saints (Mormon) proselytized in Mississippi. They taught Smith and his
wealthy family and they converted. Slaves were not baptized in the church
as a matter of policy. Members were encouraged to free their slaves, but
Smith chose not to do so.
The Smith household joined a group of other church members
from Mississippi to meet the Mormon exodus from Nauvoo, Illinois, in 1847.
The group traveled to Pueblo, Colorado, and joined up with the sick detachment
from the Mormon Battalion. They later joined the main body of Mormons crossing
the plains and settled in the Salt Lake Valley, Utah Territory.
Church leader Brigham Young sent a group of Mormons to
Southern California in 1851. Robert Smith, his family, and his slaves joined
them in San Bernardino, California, sometime later. Bridget was among a
large group of slaves in the San Bernardino settlement. As part of the
In 1856, Smith decided to move to the slave state of Texas
and sell his slaves there. He told his slaves that they would be free in
Texas, but Bridget did not believe him. She did not want to go to Texas
and was worried she would be separated from her children like she was from
Bridget, helped by friends, attempted to escape from Smith.
She and a group of Smith's other slaves traveled towards Los Angeles before
Smith caught up with them. He took her and the other slaves and camped
in canyon near Santa Monica. One of his slaves, Hannah, was having a baby
which made it difficult to travel. Lizzy Flake Rowan, who had also been
kept in slavery with Biddy in San Bernardino but had since been set free,
told Frank Dewitt, the sheriff of Los Angeles county, of Smith's plans
(David W. Alexander was actually the sheriff of Los Angeles). He issued
a writ of habeas corpus and sent a local posse, who caught up with Smith
and took the slaves into protective custody.
Bridget petitioned a Los Angeles court for her freedom.
Smith claimed that Bridget was her family and she wanted to go to Texas.
He then bribed her lawyer to not show up. She was not allowed to testify
in court, since California law prohibited black people from testifying
against white people. The judge presiding over the case, Benjamin Ignatius
Hayes, interviewed Bridget and found she did not want to go to Texas and
granted her freedom as a resident of a free state, as well as the freedom
of the other slaves held captive by Smith (Bridget's three daughters—Ellen,
Ann, and Harriet—and ten other African-American women and children). In
1860, Mason received a certified copy of the document that guaranteed her
Bridget had no legal last name as a slave. After emancipation,
she chose to be known as Bridget Biddy Mason. Bridget's
surname, Mason, came from the middle name of Amasa Lyman, who was the mayor
of San Bernadino and a Mormon Apostle; the Lyman household being one with
which Bridget had spent a considerable amount of time.
After becoming free, she worked in Los Angeles as a nurse
and midwife. One of her employers was the noted physician John Strother
Griffin. Saving carefully, she was one of the first African Americans to
purchase land in the city. As a businesswoman, she amassed a relatively
large fortune of nearly $300,000, which she shared generously with charities.
Mason also fed and sheltered the poor, and visited prisoners. She was instrumental
in founding a traveler's aid center, and an elementary school for black
children. Because of her kind and giving spirit, many called her "Auntie
Mason" or "Grandma Mason."
In 1872, Mason was a founding member of First African
Methodist Episcopal Church of Los Angeles, the city's first black church.
The organizing meetings were held in her home on Spring Street. She donated
the land on which the church was built. This land is now the site of Biddy
Mason Park, a Los Angeles city park and site of an art installation describing
Mason spoke fluent Spanish and was a well-known figure
in the city. She dined on occasion at the home of Pio Pico, the last governor
of Alta California and a wealthy Los Angeles land owner.
Death and posthumous honors
After Mason's death on January 15, 1891, she was buried
in an unmarked grave in Evergreen Cemetery in the neighborhood now known
as Boyle Heights. On March 27, 1988, in a ceremony attended by the mayor
of Los Angeles and members of the church she founded, the grave was marked
with a tombstone.
Mason is an honoree in the California Social Work Hall
of Distinction. She was also celebrated on Biddy Mason Day on November
One of artist Sheila Levrant de Bretteville's best-known
pieces is "Biddy Mason's Place: A Passage of Time,” an 82-foot concrete
wall with embedded objects in downtown Los Angeles (near where Mason lived)
that tells the story of Mason's life.
|Libby Thompson from Wikapedia
Elizabeth "Libby" Thompson (1855-1953) was a prostitute
and dance hall girl who worked in Dodge City, Kansas and other frontier
cattle towns during the 1870s. She later became famous as Squirrel Tooth
Alice, madam of a brothel in Sweetwater, Texas.
Born Mary Elizabeth Haley, Libby had a difficult childhood.
The family lost its fortune during the Civil War, and in 1864 Comanche
Indians raided the Haley farm in Texas and took young Libby captive. Libby
remained a captive until 1867 when her parents paid a ransom for her release.
From this point forward, Libby was a marked woman. Even though she was
only thirteen, many people assumed that she had sexually submitted to the
Indians during her captivity. Libby found herself shunned and ostracized
from society. Libby soon took up with an older man who didn't care about
her past, but James Haley found the idea of an older man taking advantage
of his daughter so objectionable that he shot and killed the suitor. Libby’s
reputation was soiled even further.
Life as a prostitute in the Old West
At the age of fourteen, Libby ran away from home in search
of a fresh start. She wound up in Abilene, Kansas, but a young woman alone
had few options so Libby became a dance hall girl and prostitute. In Abilene
she hooked up with a gambler and part-time cowboy named Billy Thompson,
brother of the notorious Ben Thompson. In 1870, the couple left Kansas
for Texas and for the next couple of years Billy punched cows along the
Chisholm Trail while Libby continued working as a dance hall girl in various
towns across the southern prairie.
In 1872, at the age of seventeen, Libby was plying her
trade in the cattle town of Ellsworth, Kansas, while Billy worked the gambling
halls. By the spring of 1873, however, the couple was back out on the prairie
with a spring cattle drive. Libby bore her first child on the open prairie
and, to make the child legitimate, she and Billy got married that year.
In the summer of 1873, Billy Thompson, in a state of drunkenness,
shot and killed Ellsworth town sheriff Chauncey Whitney. He was arrested
but got the cattle company he worked for to bail him out. Because he was
fearful of being shot himself by vengeful family members, Billy and Libby
ran. The couple wound up in Dodge City, where Billy gambled and Libby worked
as a dancer and prostitute. It was here that the Thompsons made the acquaintance
of Wyatt Earp and his paramour, Mattie Blaylock.
After Dodge City, the Thompsons drifted to Colorado but
by 1876 they had moved to Sweetwater, Texas, which became their permanent
home. In Sweetwater the couple purchased a ranch outside of town and a
dance hall in town. Libby ran the dance hall which was a front for a brothel.
Libby was not embarrassed by her profession, and it was as a madam in Sweetwater
that she became known for keeping her pet prairie dogs. These, along with
a gap in her teeth, gave her the sobriquet, "Squirrel Tooth Alice."
In 1897, after twenty-four years of marriage and nine
children, Billy Thompson died of consumption. Libby Thompson continued
running her Sweetwater brothel until she retired in 1921 at the age of
sixty-six. Although most of her sons had turned to crime and her daughters
followed her into prostitution, Libby spent her elderly years living in
Palmdale, California, among her various children’s homes. On April 13,
1953, Libby Thompson died at the Sunbeam Rest Home in Los Angeles, California,
at the age of ninety-eight.
|All articles submitted to the "Brimstone
Gazette" are the property of the author, used with their expressed permission.
The Brimstone Pistoleros are not
responsible for any accidents which may occur from use of loading
data, firearms information, or recommendations published on the Brimstone
Pistoleros web site.