February 2019 ~~~~ Editor:  Cliff Hanger ~~~~
Mollie Johnson (not to be consfused with Molly Johnson) - from Wikipedia

Mollie Johnson was a 19th-century madam in Deadwood, South Dakota. Johnson was born in Alabama, and migrated west due to the demand for working prostitutes. Indications are that she began working that trade in her early teens, around the age of 15 or 16 by some reports. However, definite information on her early life is unconfirmed.

She was known in Deadwood, South Dakota, as the "Queen of the Blondes". Her nickname came from the fact that she had three blonde protégés who worked for her: Ida Clark, Ida Cheplan and Jennie Duchesneau. The twenty-ish foursome, Mollie Johnson and her girls, were often embroiled in personal and physical altercations with each other.

She first appeared in Deadwood shortly after the gold rush, and was first mentioned in public writing in February, 1878, when she married Lew Spencer, an African American comedian who was performing at the time in the Bella Union Theater. Although married, Johnson continued to work in her chosen profession, both as prostitute and madam. Spencer eventually left Deadwood and was later arrested in Denver, Colorado for shooting his other wife. Evidently Spencer had been married to both a woman in Denver, and Johnson. There are no indications that Johnson and Spencer ever saw one another afterwards.

Reportedly a widow before her arrival in Deadwood, and in her early to mid-20s, Johnson was described as being a pretty woman, and a very good businesswoman. She was also a known supporter of Irish Famine Relief. The competition for brothel owners in Deadwood was light, as there were very few girls to choose from, but plenty of men. Her main competition during most of her time in Deadwood was Madam Dora DuFran, but there is no indication that the two madams did not get along.

The brothel houses were described in the papers as being a resort for naughty men. Mollie Johnson was also noted to be of a kind heart, caring for the dead body of one of her girls, before trying to save her possessions in the "Big Deadwood Fire" of September 26, 1879. After the destruction of the brothel, which stood on the corner of Sherman and Lee Streets, she immediately opened another brothel, and suffered two more fires over the course of the years. She reportedly left Deadwood, as business dropped off, in January, 1883. Where she went or what happened to her following her departure of Deadwood is unknown.

Red Cloud - from Wikidedia
Red Cloud (Lakota: Ma?píya Lúta) (1822 – December 10, 1909) was one of the most important leaders of the Oglala Lakota from 1868 to 1909. He was one of the most capable American Indian opponents that the United States Army faced in its mission to settle the western territories, leading a successful campaign in 1866–68 known as Red Cloud's War over control of the Powder River Country in northeastern Wyoming and southern Montana. The largest action of the war was the Fetterman Fight, with 81 Army soldiers killed, and was the worst military defeat suffered by the Army on the Great Plains until the Battle of the Little Bighorn ten years later.

After signing the Treaty of Fort Laramie (1868), Red Cloud led his people in the important transition to reservation life. Some of his opponents mistakenly thought of him as overall leader of the Sioux groups (Dakota, Lakota, and Nakota), but the large tribe had several major divisions and was highly decentralized. Bands among the Oglala and other divisions operated independently, even though some individual leaders were renowned as warriors and highly respected as leaders, such as Red Cloud. 

Early life

Red Cloud was born close to the forks of the Platte River, near the modern-day city of North Platte, Nebraska. His mother, Walks As She Thinks, was an Oglala Lakota and his father, Lone Man, was a Brulé Lakota leader. They came from two of the seven major Lakota divisions.

As was traditional among the matrilineal Lakota, in which the children belonged to the mother's clan and people, Red Cloud was mentored as a boy by his maternal uncle, Old Chief Smoke (1774–1864). Old Chief Smoke played a major role in the boy's childhood. He brought Red Cloud into the Smoke household when the boy's parents died around 1825. At a young age, Red Cloud fought against neighboring Pawnee and Crow bands, gaining much war experience.

Red Cloud in 1880
Red Cloud's War

Red Cloud's War was the name the U.S. Army gave to a series of conflicts fought with Native American Plains tribes in the Wyoming and Montana territories. The battles were waged between the Northern Cheyenne, allied with Lakota and Arapaho bands, against the United States Army between 1866 and 1868. In December 1866, the Native American allies attacked and defeated a United States unit in what the whites would call the Fetterman Massacre (or the Battle of the Hundred Slain), which resulted in the most U.S. casualties of any Plains battle up to that point.

Captain William J. Fetterman was sent from Fort Phil Kearny with two civilians and 79 cavalry and infantrymen to chase away a small Native American war party that had attacked a wood-gathering party days before. Captain Frederick Brown accompanied Fetterman; the two were confident in their troops and anxious to go to battle with the Native Americans. They disobeyed orders to stay behind the Lodge Trail Ridge and pursued a small decoy band of warriors, led by a Native American on an apparently injured horse. The decoy was the prominent warrior Crazy Horse. Fetterman and his troops followed the decoy into an ambush by more than 2,000 Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho. Combined Native American forces suffered only 14 casualties, while they killed the entire 81-man U.S. detachment.

Following this battle, a U.S. peace commission toured the Plains in 1867 to gather information to help bring about peace among the tribes and with the US. Finding that the Native Americans had been provoked by white encroachment and competition for resources, the commission recommended assigning definite territories to the Plains tribes. The Lakota, Northern Cheyenne, Arapaho, and other bands settled for peace with the U.S. under the Treaty of Fort Laramie. The U.S. agreed to abandon its forts and withdraw completely from Lakota territory.

Treaty of 1868

The treaty established the Great Sioux Reservation, covering the territory of West River, west of the Missouri River in present-day Nebraska (which had been admitted as a state in 1867), and including parts of South Dakota. Uneasy relations between the expanding United States and the natives continued. In 1870, Red Cloud visited Washington D.C., and met with Commissioner of Indian Affairs Ely S. Parker (a Seneca and U.S. Army General), and President Ulysses S. Grant.

In 1871, the government established the Red Cloud Agency on the Platte River, downstream from Fort Laramie. As outlined in the 1868 Treaty, the agency staff were responsible for issuing weekly rations to the Oglala, as well as providing the annually distributed supply of cash and annuity goods. The agent and Washington officials would determine how much of the annuity was to be paid in cash or goods, and sometimes the supplies were late, in poor condition, inadequate in amount, or never arrived at all. Red Cloud took his band to the agency (a predecessor of the Native American reservation) and tried to help them in the transition to a different way of life. In the fall of 1873, the agency was removed to the upper White River in northwestern Nebraska. 

According to Charles A. Eastman (Ohiyesa) Red Cloud was the last to sign "..having refused to do so until all of the forts within their territory should be vacated. All of his demands were acceded to, the new road abandoned, the garrisons withdrawn, and in the new treaty it was distinctly stated that the Black Hills and the Big Horn were Indian country, set apart for their perpetual occupancy, and that no white man should enter that region without the consent of the Sioux. ... Scarcely was this treaty signed, however, when gold was discovered in the Black Hills, and the popular cry was: "Remove the Indians!"... The government, at first, entered some small protest, just enough to "save its face"... but there was no serious attempt to prevent the wholesale violation of the treaty." 

Great Sioux War of 1876–1877

Red Cloud settled at the agency with his band by the fall of 1873. He soon became embroiled in a controversy with the new Indian agent, Dr. John J. Saville.

In 1874, Lieutenant Colonel George Custer led a reconnaissance mission into Sioux territory that reported gold in the Black Hills, an area held sacred by the local Native Americans. Previously the Army had unsuccessfully tried to keep miners out of the region, and the threat of violence grew. In May 1875, Lakota delegations headed by Red Cloud, Spotted Tail, and Lone Horn traveled to Washington in an attempt to persuade President Grant to honor existing treaties and stem the flow of miners into their lands. The Native Americans met on various occasion with Grant, Secretary of the Interior Delano, and Commissioner of Indian Affairs Smith. He told them on May 27 that Congress was ready to resolve the matter by paying the tribes $25,000 for their land and resettling them into Indian Territory. The delegates refused to sign such a treaty, with Spotted Tail saying about the proposal:

    When I was here before, the President gave me my country, and I put my stake down in a good place, and there I want to stay. ... You 
    speak of another country, but it is not my country; it does not concern me, and I want nothing to do with it. I was not born there. ... If it is
    such a good country, you ought to send the white men now in our country there and let us alone.

Although Red Cloud was unsuccessful in finding a peaceful solution, he did not take part in the Lakota war of 1876-1877, which was led by T?ašú?ke Witkó (Crazy Horse) and T?at?á?ka Íyotake (Sitting Bull).

In the fall of 1877, the Red Cloud Agency was removed to the upper Missouri River. The following year it was removed to the forks of the White River, in present-day South Dakota, where it was renamed the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation.

His last days

Red Cloud became an important leader of the Lakota as they transitioned from the freedom of the plains to the confinement of the reservation system. His trip to Washington, DC had convinced him of the number and power of European Americans, and he believed the Oglala had to seek peace.

In 1884, he and his family, along with five other leaders, converted and were baptized as Catholics by Father Joseph Bushman.

Red Cloud continued fighting for his people, even after being forced onto the reservation. In 1887 Red Cloud opposed the Dawes Act, which broke up communal tribal holdings, and allocated 160-acre plots of land to heads of families on tribal rolls for subsistence farming. The U.S. declared additional communal tribal lands as excess, and sold it to immigrant settlers. In 1889 Red Cloud opposed a treaty to sell more of the Lakota land. Due to his steadfastness and that of Sitting Bull, government agents obtained the necessary signatures for approval through subterfuge, such as using the signatures of children. He negotiated strongly with Indian Agents such as Dr. Valentine McGillycuddy.

Outliving all the other major Lakota leaders of the Indian Wars, Red Cloud died on Pine Ridge Reservation in 1909 at the age of 87, and was buried there in the cemetery now bearing his name. In old age, he is quoted as having said, "They made us many promises, more than I can remember. But they kept but one -- They promised to take our land ... and they took it."

Legacy and honors

Announcements of Red Cloud's death and recognition of his achievements were printed in major newspapers across the country. As had been typical of the U.S. perception during Red Cloud's prominence in war, The New York Times' article on his death mistakenly described him as leader of all the Sioux bands and tribes, but noted his abilities as a leader and diplomat. While he was a prominent leader, the Lakota were highly decentralized and never had one overall leader, especially of the major divisions, such as Oglala and Brulé.

Red Cloud was the most photographed American Indian of the nineteenth century. He was first photographed in 1872 in Washington D.C. by Mathew Brady, just before meeting with President Grant. He was among the Indians photographed by Edward S. Curtis. In 2000, he was posthumously selected for induction into the Nebraska Hall of Fame. There are 128 known photographs picturing Red Cloud. He has been honored by the United States Postal Service with a 10¢ Great Americans series postage stamp.

In 1871, the town of Red Cloud, Nebraska was named in his honor.

Theodore Sorensen wrote in Kennedy that President John F. Kennedy considered naming one of the 41 for Freedom ballistic missile submarines after Red Cloud, but apparently bowed to Pentagon concerns that the name could be misinterpreted as being pro-Communist. 

Joseph Lowe - from Wikipedia

Joseph Lowe (1845-1899), aka "Rowdy Joe" Lowe, was a gambler and saloon keeper/owner of the Old West. Although sometimes described as a gunfighter, he did not historically fit into that category.

Originally from Illinois, Lowe and his wife Katherine, aka "Rowdy Kate", moved to Kansas following the Civil War. In 1871, the couple moved to Newton, Kansas where they set up a saloon and brothel. In 1872, Kate snuck off with a gunman to visit a competing brothel. Joe found out and shot the man. The controversy forced the pair to relocate to the Wichita area where they bought another saloon in Delano, Kansas. This business venture that at first was extremely profitable. On October 27, 1873, Lowe shot and killed fellow saloon owner Edward "Red" Beard after Beard stormed into his saloon shooting at one of Lowe's "girls". Beard hit another girl with one shot, and a patron with another before Lowe shot him.

However, after numerous complaints of cheating and under-handed card deals, Lowe's business began to suffer. The couple moved to Texas, where they rode, on occasion, with the Sam Bass gang. The couple began drifting, gambling and occasionally working in saloons in numerous towns of the Old West. On February 11, 1899, Lowe was drunk in the Walrus Saloon in Denver, Colorado. He began insulting a man named E.A. Kimmel due to his disapproval of Kimmel being a policeman. Kimmel, knowing Lowe had a reputation as a gunman, drew his pistol shooting and killing Lowe, who turned out to be unarmed.

The Wichita City Eagle tells the story of Rowdy Joe Lowes death being in October 1874. The newspaper reported that Rowdy Joe was attacked by Indians en route to the Black Hills. He was shot by three bullets and instantly died.

Oliver Loving - from Wikipedia
Oliver Loving (December 4, 1812 – September 25, 1867) was a rancher and cattle driver. Together with Charles Goodnight, he developed the Goodnight-Loving Trail. He was mortally wounded by Native Americans while on a cattle drive.

Loving County, Texas, the second least-populous county in the United States in population, is named in his honor.

Early life

Oliver Loving was born on December 4, 1812 in Hopkins County, Kentucky. His father was Joseph Loving and his mother, Susannah Mary Bourland.


In 1833, he became a farmer in Muhlenberg County, Kentucky. Ten years later, with his brother and his brother-in-law, he moved to the Republic of Texas with their families. In Texas, Loving received 640 acres (2.6 km²) of land in three patents spread through three counties Collin, Dallas, and Parker. He farmed and, to feed his growing family, hauled freight in his early years as a Texan.

By 1855, he moved with his family to the future Palo Pinto County, Texas, where he ran a country store and ranched on Keechi Creek. By 1857, he owned a thousand acres (4 km²) of land. To market his large herd, Loving drove them out of Texas and in that same year he entrusted his nineteen-year-old son, Joseph, to drive his and his neighbors' cattle to Illinois up the Shawnee Trail. The drive made a profit of $36 head and encouraged Loving to repeat the trek successfully the next year with John Durkee.

On August 29, 1860, together with John Dawson, he started a herd of 1,500 toward Denver, Colorado to feed miners in the area. They crossed the Red River, traveled to the Arkansas River, and followed it to Pueblo, Colorado, where the cattle wintered. In the spring, Loving sold his cattle for gold and tried to leave for Texas. However, the American Civil War had broken out and the Union authorities prevented him from returning to the South until Kit Carson and others interceded for him. During the war, he was commissioned to provide beef to the Confederate States Army and drive cattle along the Mississippi River. When the war ended, the Confederate government reportedly owed him between $100,000 and $250,000. To make matters worse, the usual cattle markets were inadequate for the available supply.

In 1866, having heard about the probable need for cattle at Fort Sumner, New Mexico, where some eight thousand Native American Indians had been settled on a reservation, he gathered a herd, combined it with that of Charles Goodnight, and began a long drive to the fort. Their route later became known as the Goodnight-Loving Trail. The two cattlemen sold beef to the army for $12,000 in gold, and then Loving drove the stock cattle on to Colorado and sold them near Denver, while Goodnight returned to Weatherford, the seat of Parker County, Texas, with the gold and also for a second herd. The two men were reunited in southern New Mexico, where they went into partnership with John Chisum at his ranch in the Bosque Grande, about forty miles south of Fort Sumner. (Chisum's sister Nancy was married to Loving's cousin, B.F. Bourland and had known Chisum for many years) They spent the winter of 1866-67 there and supplied cattle from the ranch to Fort Sumner and Santa Fe.

Personal life

He married Susan Doggett Morgan in 1833. They had nine children.


In the spring of 1867, Loving and Goodnight returned to Texas, ready to start a new drive. This third drive was slowed by heavy rains and Native American threats. Loving went ahead of the herd for contract bidding, taking only Bill Wilson, a trusted scout, with him. Although he told Goodnight that he should travel at night through Native American Indian country, he pushed ahead during the day. In a Comanche attack, he was seriously wounded at Loving Bend on the Pecos River. The weakened Loving sent Wilson back to the herd, eluded the Indians, and, with the aid of Mexican traders, reached Fort Sumner, only to die there of gangrene. Before he died on September 25, 1867, Goodnight assured him that his wish to be buried in Texas would be carried out. After a temporary burial at Fort Sumner, while Goodnight drove the herd on to Colorado, Goodnight had Loving's body exhumed and returned to Texas. Stories differ as to who accompanied the body back to Weatherford, but he was reburied there in Greenwood Cemetery on March 4, 1868. As a member of Phoenix Lodge No. 275 at Weatherford, Loving was buried with Masonic honors.


Loving County, Texas is named in his honor, as is the town of Loving, New Mexico. Additionally, Loving Bend on the Pecos River is also named for him. He has been inducted into the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Also, his death was borrowed by novelist Larry McMurtry for his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel Lonesome Dove. In the book, Augustus "Gus" McCrae is injured by Indian arrows and sends his companion Pea Eye Parker to retrieve Woodrow F. Call. McCrae makes it to Miles City, but dies of blood poisoning, despite having one of his legs amputated. Call, like Goodnight, brings him back to Texas to bury him.

Kitty Leroy - from Wikipedia
Kitty Leroy (1850 – December 6, 1877) was a dancer, gambler, saloon owner, prostitute, madam, and trick shooter of the American Old West.

Leroy was born in Michigan and by the age of 10 she was dancing professionally. By the time she was fourteen she was performing in dance halls and saloons. She also had developed shooting skills that few could match, including the ability to shoot apples off people's heads. She married for the first time by 15, but the marriage was short-lived. She ventured west seeking her fortune, settling for a time in Dallas, Texas. By the age of 20, she had married a second time and was one of the most popular dancing attractions in town. She soon gave up dancing to work as a faro dealer and became known for dressing in men's clothing, and at times like a Romani. By this time, Leroy had developed into a skilled gambler.

She and her second husband headed to California, where they hoped to open their own saloon. Somewhere along the line, she left him for another man, marrying for a third time. However, this marriage was extremely short-lived. According to an unconfirmed legend, the two became involved in an argument, during which she challenged him to a gunfight. When he refused to fight her because she was a woman, she changed into men's clothing and challenged him again. When she drew her gun, he did not, and she shot him. As he did not die right away, she called for a preacher and the two were married. He died within a few days.

Leroy made her way to Deadwood, Dakota Territory, in 1876, traveling in the same wagon train as Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickok. There, she worked as a prostitute in the brothel managed by Mollie Johnson. She opened the Mint Gambling Saloon and married for a fourth time to a Prussian prospector. However, when his money ran out, they began to argue often. She hit him over the head with a bottle one night and threw him out, ending the relationship.

Her saloon was successful. In addition to the gambling income, Leroy occasionally worked as a prostitute but mostly managed her own women. On June 11, 1877, Leroy married for the fifth and final time, this time to prospector and gambler Samuel R. Curley. This marriage, as her others, was volatile. Curley was alleged to have been extremely jealous and Leroy continued to have affairs, one of which was with her latest ex-husband, and another, according to rumor, with Wild Bill Hickok. On the night of December 6, 1877, Curley shot and killed Leroy in the Lone Star Saloon, then turned the gun on himself and committed suicide. The pair were laid in state in front of the saloon the next day, then buried together. The January 7, 1878 issue of the Black Hills Daily Times of Deadwood, under "City and Vicinity", reported:

    The estate of Kitty Curley upon appraisment, amounted to $650. More than one-half of which is c[l]aimed by and allowed to 
    Kitty Donally, and the ezpenses have doubtless consumed the balance. P.H. Earley has been appointed trustee or guardian for the

She is mentioned in the HBO series Deadwood, portrayed as a beautiful murder victim.

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