|Chalkley Beeson - from Wikipedia
Chalkley McArtor "Chalk" Beeson (April 24, 1848 – August
9, 1912) was a well-known businessman, lawman, cattleman and musician but
was best known for his ownership of the famous Long Branch Saloon in Dodge
Originally from Salem, Ohio, Beeson was the seventh-born
child of Samuel and Martha Beeson. The family moved to Marshalltown, Iowa
shortly after his birth. In 1866 the 18-year-old Beeson left Marshalltown
and headed west to Texas, where he found employment as a cowboy. Years
later, Charles Goodnight would say of Beeson: "He was the best cowboy on
the trail ... could stampede or quiet a herd quicker than any rustler I
ever met." During 1872 the 24-year-old Beeson was living in Colorado. He
worked, for a time, as a guide to buffalo hunters, with his clients including
Grand Duke Alexei Alexandrovich of Russia, Phil Sheridan, and George Custer.
Life in Colorado
When the hunt ended, Beeson returned to Pueblo, Colorado
where he participated in many civic activities. He was a member of the
volunteer fire department and also Pueblo's baseball team. For employment,
he drove a stagecoach between Denver and Colorado Springs. By 1875 Beeson
grew bored with Pueblo and relocated to the three-year-old town of Dodge
In 1876, Chalk Beeson returned home to Marshalltown, Iowa,
where he married 22-year-old Ida Gause on July 17, 1876. The newlyweds
intended to locate in Kansas City, Missouri. Before they could do so, Chalk
had to return to Dodge City to collect money owed him by A.J. Peacock,
the owner of the Billiard Hall Saloon. Peacock was unable to pay Beeson
in cash and handed him the deed to the establishment as payment.
Dodge City Saloon owner
Ida Beeson had to adjust to the fact that her husband
was a Dodge City saloon owner. She was able to take some comfort in the
fact that her husband provided an alternative to "entertainment" usually
provided by frontier saloons – namely prostitutes. What Beeson provided
may not have been as exciting to a Texas cowboy just arriving from a long
drive, but it was certainly more cultural. Chalk Beeson offered a full
orchestra. Beeson changed the name of his business to the Saratoga Saloon.
According to a local paper: "It is a rare treat to drop in at the Saratoga
upon Mr. Beeson, and listen to his last and best musical combination. Mr.
Beeson is a thorough lover of good music, and by his skillful selection
of good performers ... draws crowds of attentive listeners."
Long Branch Saloon
Encouraged by his success with the Saratoga, Beeson decided
to take a chance on another saloon. The Long Branch Saloon had been founded
early in 1873 by Charles E. Bassett and A.J. Peacock. The saloon changed
hands several times. On March 1, 1878, Beeson purchased the Long Branch
from the firm of Dexter D. Colley and James M. Manion. Soon after purchasing
the Long Branch, Beeson took William H. Harris as his partner. Also with
Harris, Beeson established the COD Cattle Ranch, south of Dodge City. During
the next several years, the firm of Beeson & Harris became a minor
conglomerate whose holdings were located in such far-flung locations as
Las Animas, Colorado and Tombstone, Arizona. After owning it for five years,
Beeson grew bored with the Long Branch and sold his share of the business
to Luke Short on February 6, 1883. In 1884 Beeson purchased a farm some
two miles from Dodge City and moved his family there.
Dodge City Cowboy Band
In 1884 Beeson formed the "Dodge City Cowboy Band. The
group was well received wherever it played. The band members cut dashing
figures in full "cowboy" regalia – enormous white stetsons, blue flannel
shirts and boots festooned with ornamental spurs. Their fame finally spread
far enough that they were featured performers in the March 4, 1889, inaugural
parade of President Benjamin Harrison. The parade marked the Dodge City
Band's finest hour, and also their final hour. Soon after their return
to Dodge City, Beeson sold the ownership of the band to a man from Colorado.
The transaction included most of the musical instruments and the right
to use the name – all for a purchase price of $750.
Sheriff of Ford County, Kansas
In November 1891, 43-year-old Chalk Beeson was elected
sheriff of Ford County, Kansas. On November 1, 1892, Oliver Yantis and
two accomplices robbed a Speareville, Kansas bank of $1,697. After Yantis
was identified as being in Oklahoma, Sheriff Beeson journeyed there and
secured a warrant for him. On November 30, 1892, Beeson, accompanied by
three Oklahoma lawmen, tracked Yantis to the residence where he was hiding.
A gunfight with the posse followed in which Yantis was mortally wounded.
Beeson served two terms as sheriff with distinction and left office in
1896. For the remainder of his life, Beeson concentrated on his cattle
ranching. He was occasionally called upon for public service and served
four separate terms in the Kansas State legislature between 1903 and 1908.
Death and legacy
On the morning of Tuesday, August 6, 1912, with routine
ranch chores to attend to, Chalk mounted a horse that was unusually skittish.
When he attempted to dismount, the horse bucked and sent Beeson flying.
On Friday, August 9, 1912 Chalk Beeson died. His family managed to keep
his memory alive for decades after his death. In 1915 his sons, Merritt
and Otero, opened the Beeson Theater on First Avenue in Dodge City. His
widow, Ida Beeson, remained a prominent member of Dodge City society until
her death on June 15, 1928. In 1932, Merritt Beeson opened the Beeson Museum,
which became a popular tourist attraction. After Merritt Beeson died on
January 28, 1956 his widow managed the museum until 1964, when its large
collection of historic documents, photos and artifacts were sold to Dodge
City's Boot Hill Museum, Inc.
|Antonine Barada- from Wikipedia
Antonine Barada (August 22, 1807 – March 30, 1885), alternatively
spelled Antoine Barada, was an American folk hero in the state of Nebraska;
son of an Omaha mother, he was also called Mo shi-no pazhi in the tribal
language. While Barada was an historic man, contemporary accounts of his
prodigious strength helped establish him as a regional legend, in the mold
of Paul Bunyan and Febold Feboldson. Barada's exploits have been counted
as fakelore by historians.
Antoine Barada was born in 1807 at St. Marys, Iowa, which
was once located across the Missouri River from Nemaha County, Nebraska.
His parents were Michel Barada, a French-American fur trapper and interpreter,
and Ta-ing-the-hae, or "Laughing Buffalo", a full-blood Omaha and sister
to the chief. His namesake grandfather, Antoine Barada, Sr. (1739–1782),
was born in Gascony, France, and was one of the first settlers of St. Louis,
In 1813 Antoine was abducted by the Lakota while the family
lived near Fort Lisa (Nebraska). Six months later he was returned, after
Michel Barada paid the ransom of two ponies. His father immediately sent
the boy to live with an aunt in St. Louis. At the age of nine, Antoine
returned to the Plains with an Indian hunting party.
As a young man, Antoine Barada married Marcellite Vient,
a French woman from St. Louis. In 1856 they returned to Nebraska to settle
on the Nemaha Half-Breed Reservation; because of his half-Omaha ancestry,
Barada was eligible for a land patent from the US government. He set up
a trading post at the reservation, from which the town of Barada grew.
He and his wife settled 15 miles (24 km) northeast of Falls City, Nebraska
Antoine Barada and wife, Elizabeth Robidoux;
Mary Kihega, Lena Kihega
Barada's myth is widely known in Nebraska. In Love Song
to the Plains, the early 20th-century Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Mari
Sandoz stated, "'Toine Barada stories were told as far as the upper Yellowstone."
In the 1930s, Louise Pound of the Federal Writer's Project of the Works
Progress Administration collected dozens of stories about Barada, many
of which are repeated today. One tale reported, "He was once matched to
wrestle with Jean Palos, a Greek wrestling champion... The mighty Palos
was notorious for his rough treatment of an opponent. Antonine won the
match by pinching his opponent with his toes while he slapped him into
unconsciousness with one blow on his ear.
Barada was known as a huge man, commonly thought to be
almost seven feet tall and widely regarded as a giant. His strength was
well known as well, and he was always asked to assist with barn raising,
as he would single-handedly hold heavy beams in place while they were fastened
down. When local farmers needed assistance loading hogs for market, they
would also call on Barada. Rather than use a loading chute, Barada simply
picked the hogs up and set them in the wagon. Every time townsfolk needed
someone's strength, Barada took the call.
In 1832 Barada was in St. Louis when he was challenged
to prove his strength. He lifted a stone weighing 1,700 pounds, after which
point the date of the feat and the weight were inscribed on the stone for
future generations. The stone is purported to still stand there. Barada
was also widely regarded for his marksmanship. Lore recorded his ability
to shoot prairie chickens on the fly from horseback, as well as the ability
to shoot two quail from every covey. He was known as a fair hunter, one
who never shot a bird on the ground.
One tale of Barada recounted that while working with a
lazy railroad crew in Nebraska, Barada became upset. He grabbed the drop
hammer and threw it across the Missouri River, at which point the earth
where the hammer fell buckled. The hammer fall created Nebraska's Missouri
River breaks. Barada was still angry and slammed his fist down on a pile.
It was driven so far into the soil that it pierced a water table. Legend
says that all of Nebraska would have flooded from this bung hole if Antoine
Barada hadn't plugged it by sitting over it. Antonine was also purportedly
involved in the Underground Railroad. Known as the "Lifeguard of the Missouri",
Barada supposedly saved many slaves from drowning by personally carrying
them across the Missouri River from the state of Missouri into Nebraska.
Barada received a patent on 320 acres (1.3 km2) of land
in 1856 on the Nemaha Half-Breed Reservation. The town of Barada was
established in that tract soon after Barada's claim. Barada ran a fur-trading
post there for at least 20 years, during which time the town grew around
Barada died in 1885 and is buried alongside his wife in
the Catholic cemetery just east of Barada, the village that bears his name.
In 1951 several of Barada's descendants were members of
a lawsuit brought against the Government of the United States for recognition
of their descent from a full tribal member of the Omaha nation, and their
entitlement to compensation related to land allotments and financial benefits
received by tribal members. According to the suit, in the 1870s Barada
applied to the tribe for membership based on his maternal ancestry. He
was rejected due to discriminatory practices by tribal elders and Indian
agents. Unlike many Native American tribes, the Omaha have a patrilineal
system of descent, so may have rejected Barada because of his French-American
father. They considered children with European/white fathers to be "white"
and did not accept them into the tribe unless they were officially adopted.
In the 1951 case, the Indian Claims Commission acknowledged
there might have been discrimination by the tribe against certain mixed-blood
descendants such as Barada; however, the court dismissed the case on the
grounds that the Indian Claims Commission did not have jurisdiction over
a group claim of individual members; rather, its responsibilities were
to adjudicate claims of tribes against the government. The federal government
has continued to defer to the federally recognized tribes' sovereignty
to determine their own rules for membership and eligibility for voting
|Elfego Baca - from Wikipedia
Elfego Baca (February 10, 1865 – August 27, 1945)
was a gunman, lawman, lawyer, and politician in the later years of the
American wild west. Baca was born in Socorro, New Mexico, to Francisco
and Juana Maria Baca. His family moved to Topeka, Kansas, when he was a
young child. Upon his mother’s death in 1880, Baca returned with his father
to Belen, New Mexico, where his father became a marshal.
In 1884, at age 19, Baca acquired some guns and became
a deputy sheriff (whether through purchasing a badge or by being appointed
is unclear) in Socorro County, New Mexico.
His goal in life was to be a peace officer. He wanted,
he said, “the outlaws to hear my steps a block away.” Southwestern New
Mexico at the time was still relatively sparsely settled cattle ranching
country. Cowboys roamed the land and did as they pleased. They might come
into a town, drink at the saloon, harass the locals, and then shoot up
the town out of boredom. Baca meant to put an end to that.
In October 1884, in the town of Middle San Francisco Plaza
(now Reserve, New Mexico), Elfego Baca arrested a drunk cowboy named Charlie
McCarty. Baca flashed his badge at McCarty and took Charlie's gun. McCarty's
fellow cowboys tried to take him by force, but Baca resisted and opened
fire on the cowboys, killing the horse of John Slaughter's foreman, which
fell on him and killed him. Baca shot another cowboy in the knee. Subsequently,
Justice of the Peace Ted White granted Charlie's freedom and summoned Bert
Hearne, a rancher from Spur Lake Ranch, to bring Baca back to the Justice
for questioning relating to what the Justice considered murder. After Baca
refused to come out of the adobe jail, Hearne broke down the door and ordered
Baca to come out with his hands up. Soon after that, shots volleyed from
the jail and hit Hearne in the stomach, resulting in his death.
A standoff with the cowboys ensued. The number of cowboys
that gathered has been disputed, with villagers at the scene reporting
about forty present while Elfego himself later claimed there had been at
least eighty. Allegedly, the cowboys fired more than 4,000 shots into the
house, until the adobe building was full of holes. Incredibly, not one
of the bullets struck Baca. (The floor of the home is said to have been
slightly lower than ground level; thus Baca was able to escape injury.)
During the siege, Baca shot and killed four of his attackers
and wounded eight others. After about 33 hours and roughly 4,000 rounds
of open fire, the battle ended when Francisquito Naranjo persuaded Baca
to surrender. In May 1885, Baca was charged with murder for the death of
John Slaughter's foreman and Bert Hearne and was jailed awaiting trial.
In August 1885, Baca was acquitted after the door of Armijo’s house was
entered as evidence. It had more than 400 bullet holes in it. The incident
became known as the Frisco Shootout. Purportedly, Baca's defense attorney
had false documentation to prove Baca's legal deputization because Baca's
biography suggests he deputized himself just before the arrest of Charlie
Law and order
Baca officially became the sheriff of Socorro County and
secured indictments for the arrest of the area's lawbreakers. Instead of
ordering his deputies to pursue the wanted men, he sent each of the accused
a letter. It said, "I have a warrant here for your arrest. Please come
in by March 15 and give yourself up. If you don’t, I’ll know you intend
to resist arrest, and I will feel justified in shooting you on sight when
I come after you." Most of the offenders turned themselves in voluntarily.
In 1888, Baca became a U.S. Marshal. He served for two
years and then began studying law. In December 1894, he was admitted to
the bar by Judge A.A. Freeman and briefly joined Freeman's Socorro law
firm in February 1895. He practiced law on San Antonio Street in El Paso
between 1902 and 1904.
Baca held a succession of public offices, including county
clerk, mayor and school superintendent of Socorro County and district attorney
for Socorro and Sierra counties. In his book The Shooters, historian Leon
Metz writes that “most reports say he was the best peace officer Socorro
From 1913 to 1916, Baca served as the official U.S. representative
of Victoriano Huerta's government during the Mexican Revolution. In April
1915, Baca was charged with criminal conspiracy for allegedly masterminding
the November 1914 escape of Mexican general José Inés Salazar
from the Albuquerque jail. Successfully defended by the New Mexican lawyer
and politician Octaviano Larrazolo, Baca's reputation grew among Southwestern
When New Mexico became a state in 1912, Baca unsuccessfully
ran for Congress as a Republican. Nevertheless, he remained a valued political
figure because of his ability to turn out the vote among the Hispanic population.
Working at times as a private detective, Baca also took a job as a bouncer
in a casino across the border in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico.
Baca worked closely with New Mexico’s longtime Senator
Bronson Cutting as a political investigator and wrote a weekly column in
Spanish praising Cutting’s work on behalf of local Hispanics. Baca considered
running for governor despite his declining health, but he failed to secure
the Democratic Party’s nomination for district attorney in 1944.
Metz, his biographer, wrote: “Elfego was, and is, controversial.
He drank too much; talked too much ... he had a weakness for wild women.
He was often arrogant and, of course, he showed no compunction about killing
people.” On his 75th birthday, Baca told the Albuquerque Tribune that as
a lawyer he had defended 30 people charged with murder and that only one
went to the penitentiary.
In July 1936, several years before his death, Janet Smith
conducted an interview with Elfego Baca. Her notes can be found in the
Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, WPA Federal Writers’ Project
Collection. Baca told Smith, “I never wanted to kill anybody, but if a
man had it in his mind to kill me, I made it my business to get him first.”
Another legend says that Baca stole a pistol from Pancho
Villa and the angry Villa put a price of $30,000 on Baca’s head.
One often-told story says that once when he was practicing
law in Albuquerque, Baca received a telegram from a client in El Paso,
Texas. "Need you at once," it said. "Have just been charged with murder,"
to which Baca is supposed to have responded with a telegram saying, "Leaving
at once with three eyewitnesses."
Portrayal in popular media
In the late 1950s, Walt Disney turned Baca into the first
Hispanic popular culture hero in the United States, on television miniseries,
in six comic books, in a feature film, and in related merchandising. However,
Disney deliberately avoided ethnic tension by presenting Baca as a generalized
Western hero, portraying a standard hero similar to Davy Crockett, in Hispanic
dress. In 1958, Walt Disney Studios released a 10-part television miniseries
entitled The Nine Lives of Elfego Baca starring Robert Loggia in the title
role. Significant is the care Disney took to depict the famous siege in
as authentic a manner as possible, given the known details. Among those
who appeared in the series were Skip Homeier, Raymond Bailey, and I. Stanford
Jolley. Episodes of the series were later edited into a 1962 movie titled
Elfego Baca: Six Gun Law. The theme song's tag line was, "And the legend
was that / Like el gato, "the cat" / Nine lives had Elfego Baca."
In 1966, the film Elfego Baca: Six Gun Law was released.
It was directed by Christian Nyby and starred Robert Loggia as Elfego Baca.
The film premiered in theaters in West Germany on May 20, 1966 and was
later broadcast on American television with the title Elfego Baca: Attorney
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