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Old 08-19-2012, 06:16 PM   #301
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More great posts everyone. I'm virtually riding to, and receiving mini-history lessons all over the place.
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Old 08-21-2012, 03:17 PM   #302
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Ellsworth Kansas.

http://www.legendsofamerica.com/ks-ellsworth.html

Once called "The Wickedest Cattletown in Kansas", the city is named for Fort Ellsworth, which was built in 1864. Due to speculation on imminent railroad construction, the population of Ellsworth boomed to over two thousand by the time it was incorporated in 1867. It has since been said, ""Abilene, the first, Dodge City, the last, but Ellsworth the wickedest".




Ellsworth was a bustling cattle town for a time during the late 1860s but its cattle trade had dwindled down by the mid-1880s. During this period it was known for being one of the wildest cattle towns, the scene of numerous killings following shootouts between drunken cowboy's, and the town sported numerous saloons, brothelss and gambling halls, with prostitution being rampant. Wild Bill Hickoc ran for Sheriff of Ellsworth in 1868, but was defeated by former soldier E.W. Kingsbury. Kingsbury was an extremely effective lawman, but had to have the help of the local police to control Ellsworth itself, as he also had the county to deal with. Violence inside Ellsworth was commonplace. Ellsworth Marshal Will semans was shot and killed on September 26, 1869, while attempting to disarm a rowdy man in a dance hall.




For a time during this period, two small-time outlaws known only as Craig and Johnson began bullying people around the community, often committing armed robbery openly and without fear of arrest due to Marshal Semans having been killed. Before long, though, citizens formed a vigilance squad and overwhelmed both men, hanging them near the Smoky Hill River. Sheriff, Chauncy whitney a deputy to Kingsbury, took over following Sheriff Kingsbury's departure, and Whitney quickly gained a reputation as being both tough and respectable, resulting in his being well liked. In 1868 at Abilene Ks the Drovers Cottage was built by Joseph McCoy,
Joseph McCoy's approach to marketing cattle on the Kansas plains in Abilene, as opposed to marketing in the urban center of St. Louis, transformed a fragmented cattle business into the national industry that it is today. 1837-1915. McCoy is buried in Wichita. He had the Hat and the Cattle.

Joseph McCoy on left with his brother, James.



The Drovers Cottage when first built in Abilene.






Ellsworth businessmen, anticipating the shift in the cattle trade from Abilene, moved the Drovers Cottage, once owned by Joseph McCoy, to Ellsworth in 1872. which could accommodate 175 guests, and stable 50 carriages and 100 horses.



Lawman Wyatt Earp served in Ellsworth for a short time, achieving nothing notable. He would later claim that he'd arrested gunmen Ben Thomson there, however that was a false claim. In actuality, professional gunman and gambler Ben Thompson was arrested by Deputy Ed Hogue after his brother Billy Thomson accidentally shot and killed Ellsworth County Sheriff Chauncey Whitney in 1873. Billy Thompson fled despite the shooting being accidental, fearing that he would be lynched. Thompson was eventually captured and put on trial, but was acquitted in the shooting, as Sheriff Whitney himself, a friend to both Thompson's, stated prior to his death it was an accident. At the time of being shot, Whitney was standing with the two brothers, who were having a dispute with local Ellsworth police officer John "Happy Jack" Morco and gambler John Sterling over a gambling debt Sterling owed Ben Thompson. Although rumors about that shooting have circulated over the decades into Billy Thompson cold bloodily shooting Sheriff Whitney down, that never happened. The shooting of Whitney happened across the street from and to the left of the depot.



The Plaza now, all the saloons pretty much ran along both sides of the tracks. Most of it has burned over the years. Whitney was shot by Thompson across the street, left of the large tree about center of the pic, the tree stands where the depot stood.



Following the accidental Thompson killing of Sheriff Whitney, violence against visiting Texas cowboys passing through on cattle drives increased. Ellsworth Chief of Police Ed Crawford beat Texan cowboy Cad Pierce to death with his pistol, after first shooting him in the side, while crowds of drunken vigilantes roamed the streets threatening Texas cowboys and ordering them out of town. "Happy Jack" Morco swore out a warrant for assault against Ben Thompson, and shortly thereafter Ed Hogue arrested Thompson



Ellsworth police officer John "Happy Jack" Morco was fired due to his involvement in the incident leading up to Whitney's death, and a short time later the entire force was dismissed, replaced by new personnel. Morco was shot and killed shortly thereafter by newly appointed Ellsworth police officer J. C. "Charlie" Brown in front of the Lizzie Palmer Dancehall. Former officer Ed Crawford was shot and killed shortly after this, in a brothel in Nauchville, more or less a suburb of Ellsworth, being located about a half a mile out of the city. No arrests were made, and it was suspected that cowboy friends to Cad Pierce had committed the killing. Former officer Ed Hogue fled. Nauchville was where most of the whore houses, and cribs were located.



By the late 1870s the crime rate had dropped dramatically, but the community was beginning to suffer due to cattle drives taking their cattle further west to Dodge City. Ellsworth maintained its wicked reputation until the shipping pens were finally closed in 1875. In its peak year of 1873, approximately 220,000 head of longhorn cattle were driven through the town. During its turbulent heydays, some of the colorful Old West characters who found their way to Ellsworth include George Armstrong Custer, Buffalo Bill Cody, Wild Bill Hickok, Indian Annie, Batt Masterson, Wayatt Earp and Ben and Billy Thompson, to name but a few of a long list.



The old livery stables.



Ellsworth doesn't look it now but it was a bit of a Rattle Snake in it's day!


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Old 08-22-2012, 04:52 PM   #303
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Ellsworth Hoosegow.

This old building is a true relic of the Wild West, an honest to god old cowtown jail like you see in the movies, only real. I have posted pics before of Medicine Lodge's jail, which was a one piece manufactured unit that was droped into the basement of the courthouse when it was built. The Ellsworth jail is free standing, for now.

By the summer of 1873, the town leaders realized they had more problems that could be handled as they had been. Ellsworth had growing numbers of prostitutes and twenty saloons and gambling houses. There were growing problems between cattlemen and farmers of the county.




In August of 1873, the town s sheriff, C. B. Whitney, was gunned down. This incident became the catalyst for people of Ellsworth County to decide that law and order had to be maintained. Col. Henry Inman designed a new jail and Kinear and Kendall built it at a price of $4,600. A dance was held for the dedication on March 5, 1874. The lower floor designated as the jail and the upper floor to be used as court rooms. The structure was of limestone construction, 36 by 50 feet. Efforts have been made to restore this structure, but money has just not been forthcoming for such a major project. It has been in a derelict state for many years.



An effort was made by an investor in Harrisburg PA to buy it and move it stone by stone and restore it, I believe it was to go to the Civil War Museum in Harrisburg. The museum wanted a real old west jail, and this one is about as real as they get, as I remember they offered $10,000 for the jail. The city turned them down, it is now in the hands of the Ellsworth Historical Society and their hope is to restore to its original state sometime in the future. It is part of our heritage and very much a part of the history of Ellsworth and Kansas.

Ben Thompson.



Records show Ben joined the Second Cavalry in San Antonio when the Civil War broke out. At Fort Clark he got into a brawl with a lieutenant and a sergeant and killed both. He was jailed but escaped to sign up with another cavalry outfit and took part in several engagements, including the disastrous Battle of LaFourche Crossing in 1863 when his regiment was decimated during a frontal attack under heavy fire. While on leave Ben returned to Austin and married Catherine Moore, daughter of a local farmer. He returned to duty as a lieutenant assigned to Colonel John (Old Rip) Ford's regiment patroling the Rio Grande. Trouble and Ben Thompson were never far apart. In Laredo he killed two Mexicans in a gambling hall dispute and outrode a posse to return to Austin. A short time later he was imprisoned for killing a man named John Coombs, again over cards.



Herds of Texas longhorn were now moving up the Chisholm Trail to the railheads of Kansas; by 1871 more than 600,000 steer were in the pens of Abilene. Returning drovers reported to Ben the town was wide open and a gambler's mecca. In June Thompson arrived in Abilene with only enough money to buy a night's lodging and breakfast. Gambling houses, saloons, and brothels were open day and night, poker and monte games went on continuously with fortunes sliding across the tables. Ben pawned his six-shooter and sat in the first poker game he could find; when it ended several hours later he had won $2,583.



Ben and Billy Thompson arrived in Ellsworth in June 1873, and opened a gambling house in the rear of a saloon. Ben was popular with the cowhands and his "gambler's roost," as the town's newspaper called it, was a success. For all its boasting Ellsworth was not as wild as Abilene. Cowhands fresh from the trail would ride in shooting at signs and shattering windows and streetlamps but there were few gunfights. A force of deputies under Sheriff Chauncey B. Whitney, veteran of the Indian Wars, allowed the hands to blow off steam, then made them pay the damages and usually bought them a drink. More than once Ben helped Whitney disarm a drunken, would-be gunfighter and he and the sheriff became close friends.



This is pretty much the same story from above but with a little more detail. From James Horan's, The Authentic Wild West.

On the afternoon of August 15, 1873, the famous Battle of Ellsworth took place. It began in a saloon when Ben asked Jack Sterling, another gambler, to pay off a debt. Sterling, who knew Ben was unarmed, struck him in the face. Ben went for Sterling but Deputy Sheriffs Happy Jack Morco and Edward Hogue held him off with six-shooters.

Sheriff Chauncey Whitney.



Later Ben and Billy went looking for Sterling and Morco. By Billy Thompson's own admission, he had been drinking heavily all afternoon and was drunk when he joined his brother. They met near the railroad depot with Ben offering Sterling and Morco a chance to fight. Sheriff Whitney, who had been summoned, tried to act as peacemaker. The trio walked back up Main Street to Brennan's saloon, a popular meeting place for cowhands and drovers. Billy and Whitney walked in but as Ben was about to follow someone shouted: "Look out, Ben, here they come with guns!" Ben whirled about to see Sterling and Morco, guns drawn, advancing toward him. As he pulled his six-shooter, Sterling and Morco jumped into a store entrance and Ben's shot splintered the wood where they had been standing. Billy stumbled and killed Whitney when firing at Happy Jack.



Friends helped Billy leave town, after which he dismounted, stretched out on the prairie sod, and slept off his drunk. That night he wandered back into Ellsworth and saw Ben secretly, then after hiding in the vicinity for four or five days, he made his way to Buena Vista, Colorado, where the local outlaw element elected him mayor of the community. The governor of Kansas offered five hundred dollars for Billy's arrest, but it was three years before he was apprehended, after having returned to Texas. Captured by Texas Rangers, he was extradited to Kansas and eventually acquitted of Sheriff Whitney's murder. and it is rumored that he was killed in Laredo about 1888.

Billy Thompson.



In California, John Morco ("Happy Jack"), semiliterate and a drunken brawler, killed four unarmed men and fled the state. He wandered into Kansas, appearing in Ellsworth during its heyday as a railhead. Claiming to have killed a total of twelve men, the four unarmed men were the real total. Morco wangled an appointment to the police force. He participated in a quarrel with Ben Thompson which led to the death of Sheriff C. B. Whitney, and he was discharged, although not before he had run Texan Neil Cain (a participant in the card game which initiated the Whitney killing) out of town by threatening to shoot him. Soon thereafter Morco was killed in a gun duel with Ellsworth Policeman J. C. Brown.



Ed Crawford's major notoriety came while he was a member of the Ellsworth police force. Temporarily off the force the day Sheriff C. B. Whitney was shot by Billy Thompson, he was reappointed after Mayor Jim Miller angrily fired all of the officers. While wearing a badge, he killed Texan Cad Pierce (who had been a participant in the monte game which precipitated Whitney's death) and then again was fired a week later. Within three months he was shot and killed in an Ellsworth whorehouse, supposedly in revenge for killing Pierce.



Sheriff Chauncey Belden Whitney ("Cap") was one of the earliest settlers of Ellsworth, arriving in 1867, the year it was established by the railroad. He was the town's first constable, he built the first jail, and at various times he served as city marshal, deputy sheriff, and county sheriff. Twice he left Ellsworth on expeditions against Indians. In 1868, along with fifty other "Kansas scouts," Whitney fought at the celebrated Battle of Beecher Island; the following year he was elected first lieutenant of a militia company which manned a blockhouse near Ellsworth to guard against Indian depredations. Sheriff Whitney was killed in his thirty-first year by Billy Thompson in the streets of Ellsworth.



Indian Annie and Hickok are mentioned on the Historical Marker above, there is a marker on the Ellsworth golf course, Behind the #7 t box that reads "Indian Annie lies on the knoll above, companion of Wild Bill Hickok in Ellsworth, Kansas, Died 1883". .



Below from Drovers Mercantile, they help keep this history alive.

http://www.droversmercantile.com/diary.cfm?blog=82

Wild Bill Hickok has a reputation as a ladies man. Quite a number of women have been named as having had intimate relations with the great gunfighter. One that doesn't seem to get recognized very much was Indian Annie or Anna Wilson. Wild Bill brought her to Ellsworth when he first arrived during the Indian campaign beginning in 1867. She was referred to as his wife and followed him to Hays City and Abilene where he abandoned her. She returned to Ellsworth and lived with their son and a daughter born of another relationship. We brought out many details of her life a couple of years ago in the Kansas Cowboy. A well known Hickok historian considers her a fiction, but my family and many other Ellsworth families knew her and the truth that she was the mother of Wild Bill’s son. Anna Wilson still holds secrets as to her origin. Her son died at a young age but descendents of her daughter are hoping to unveil her enigmatic past.

Wild Bill.






A portrait of William L. (Billy) Brooks, a stage coach driver, marshal of Newton, Kansas, policeman in Ellsworth, Kansas, and criminal. Brooks was marshal of Newton and policeman in Ellsworth in 1872. In several incidents, Brooks was reported to have shot and killed men. According to several newspaper articles, Brooks was killed stealing horses and interferring with the transportation of U.S. Mail.




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Old 08-24-2012, 03:03 PM   #304
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A few more old Ellsworth photos.

If you found this history interesting buy a copy of Desperate Seed by Jim Gray, The History of Ellsworth, From Drovers Mercantile in Ellsworth the Author of the book ranches and lives there, so he knows a lot more stories of Ellsworth than I do.

http://www.droversmercantile.com/index.cfm

A little bit about Alexander Gardner since I use a lot of his photographers photo's in these posts. These three photos are Gardner photos from 1867.

The Plaza 1867.



On March 9, 1869 a joint resolution of Congress authorized the changing of the Union Pacific Railway Company, Eastern Division's name to the Kansas Pacific Railway Company.; Although all of the photographs published in Across the Continent on the Kansas Pacific Railroad (Route of the 35th Parallel) are attributed to Gardner, some of the images may have been taken by one of the other photographers Gardner supervised on the expedition.

Crossing the Smoky at Ellsworth 1867.



"As official photographer for the expedition, Gardner was allowed to published all the expedition photographs under his name. In 1867 he stated in a deposition that although a photograph was identified on the mount as a 'Photograph by A. Gardner,' it simply meant that it was printed or copied in his gallery; he was not necessarily the photographer. The other photographers on the expedition were Dr. William A. Bell, William R. Pywell, and Gardner's son, Lawrence, who apprenticed on the expedition." [Katz, D. Mark (1991). Witness to an era: the life and photographs of Alexander Gardner: the Civil War, Lincoln, and the West. Nashville, Tennessee: Rutledge Hill. Page 220]; Images most likely published in 1869. "Along with images made by photographers under his [Alexander Gardner's] supervision, his photographs were published in an album titled Across the Continent on the Kansas Pacific Railyway (Route of the 35th Parallel), offered for sale on April, 1869.

Douglas street 1867.



Post card, not sure of date.



Dougalas Street now.



post card, not sure on date.



The above pics of Douglas are looking north the one below is looking south back towards the plaza and river. Not sure of date.

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Old 08-24-2012, 03:40 PM   #305
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Sod Buster:

I've long had an interest in the "Old West" and appreciate your efforts. I believe we all realize that the violence that took place in those times is overstated in movies and on TV but your stories also show that "an armed society is a polite society" is a bit of an overstatement as well.

It's difficult to have an interest in the history of the era and not have an interest in the firearms used. Any idea what revolver Mr. Brooks is carrying in the photo? Looks to have pearl or ivory grips and seems to be a long barreled piece!

Again, thank you for the time and effort you put into these posts.

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Old 08-24-2012, 05:39 PM   #306
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Lewis and Clark over the Lolo Trail :(Twice)

By far the worst of the worst of the L & C Expedition was their route east and then west back over the Bitterroot Mountains (west of Missoula, Montana). Rivers were too fast and rugged so the only route was over the crest of the rugged Bitterroot mountains. Approaching the mountain as heavy snows were already beginning they had no alternative. No food supplies, game sightings were rare, etc.





The Captains knew what lay ahead and had sort of planned for the worst. Starvation! Days into the trail over the Lolo Trail the bottom hit and Clark gave the order to butcher their smallest horse. A suckling colt was butcher as it's mother stood by hauling a wooden crate over the steep ridges.

Site of Colt Kill Creek where the colt was taken. (Located at Powell Ranger Station, just off Hwy 12).



An artistic interpretation of what the Lolo Trail experience looked like, both west and east. Two to six feet of snow going west and coming back east.



During their trip cross country they shot and killed a number of black and grizzly bears and they often boiled down the fat of the bear and elk to make "lard" (grease) for future cooking and also to make candles.

Down to no food of any kind, Lewis rationed bear oil (lard), candles and roots Sacajawea (their lady travelers) had taught them how to identify and find. They hated the taste, that's were the name Bitterroot came from, but they were editable. The above marker notes the site of the Bear Oil and Root campsite.

In desperation for food, Lewis and Clark decided that Clark and four of their best hunters (always including Shields and Drouillard (a French civilian) to scout ahead for anything to kill and eat. Clark's gang ran into a most unlucky stray Indian horse coming down the trail and shot and butchered the lost animal, ate a portion, and hung most of it from a tree for Lewis' main party to find as they following behind 2 or 3 days.

What the Lolo Trail (aka Lolo Motoring Hwy) looks like today. One-hundred & fifty yrs after L & C, the CCC Camp workers during the Roosevelt Great Depression of the 1930's hand dug the 122 mile original Lolo Motoring Hwy. In the 1940's, Japanese POW's (American citizens) were imprisoned at Missoula and did additional road work on the Lolo during WWII. L & C traveled up and down the below ridges to reach the plains of Weippe, Idaho. You can see a small section of the Motoring Hwy below which winds around the mountains fairly close to the original campsites but is not the actual route L & C Trail of campsites. They did it the hard way after getting lost in the snow.

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Old 08-24-2012, 05:40 PM   #307
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Thanks EdM, I don't know what shooter Billy used, but i will take a guess just for fun. I'm going with an 1872 S&W 44 single action.


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Old 08-24-2012, 08:52 PM   #308
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sod Buster View Post
Thanks EdM, I don't know what shooter Billy used, but i will take a guess just for fun. I'm going with an 1872 S&W 44 single action.


If it wasn't for the cartridges on the belt I would go with a black powder colt like the 1851 Navy, 1860 Army, or 1861 Navy although it still could be a cartridge conversion of any one of those. Looks like a nice set of Ivory grips, but hard to tell.

I spent a few ours is Ellsworth awhile back. I didn't realize how rich the history was for that town,. I'm gong to have to go back now :)

And LnC, Lolo pass is on my bucket list. Hardy men to make that trek let alone with snow on the ground.
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Old 08-25-2012, 08:06 AM   #309
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Riding the Lolo Trail

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Originally Posted by JWhitmore44 View Post
And LnC, Lolo pass is on my bucket list. Hardy men to make that trek let alone with snow on the ground.
If you travel the Lolo Motoring Hwy in the right weather it is an OK road, but some sections will have some surprises (bowling ball size rocks at the peak of a hill that surprise you). As far as I know there are only 3 trails that let you off the Lolo, if you miss one you might be doing another 50-60 miles to get off. I missed one exit road at dusk and barely made it off in the dark.

After rain the road can be very rutted and can be quite rough. Snow in the high area is common as late as June.
Game includes moose, bear, lots of deer and I also saw a badger.

I helped a fellow AdvRider from Calif route a trip over the Lolo and he got stranded on top of the mountain at night, solo. (Thanks but no thanks).

But I highly recommend the road/trail, but the $10 Forest Road map at the Lolo visitor's center can literally be a lifesaver, Don't ask me why I know.
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Old 08-25-2012, 03:02 PM   #310
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Old 08-25-2012, 03:52 PM   #311
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The tragic loss of 2 competitors and 2 race officials when a Ferrari spun out of control in the inaugural Cannon Ball Run in Central Australia. Needless to say it was the last run as well.

The race took place when we had open speed limits (no limit at all), now we are restricted to 130kph.

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Old 08-26-2012, 08:31 AM   #312
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Interesting sign... found in the middle of nowhere, up road FS 39 from Forks of Salmon to Eddy Gulch Lookout (California).




Notice the smoke from the forest fires (Summer 2012).

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Old 08-27-2012, 05:42 PM   #313
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Old 08-27-2012, 05:54 PM   #314
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Old 08-30-2012, 06:32 PM   #315
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Madonna of The Trail, Council Grove, Ks.













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