A Story About Wyatt Earp

Between the years 1917 through 1928 Wyatt Earp (shown) and his wife Josephine took residence in a home in Vidal, California. It was here that the Earp’s would spend their winters in a cottage Mrs. Earp called her dream home. The home was located on Highway 62 east of Palm Springs and was situated near Wyatt Earp’s mining claims. Vidal was just a tiny dot on the map but there were railroad tracks a short distance from the front of the Earp home. The Southern Pacific Railroad had a station there and a passenger service between Phoenix and Los Angeles. On the other side of the tracks in view from the Earp’s home was the town’s general store. The store was owned by Charles Bunnell where residents could find their needed provisions. It was also a place where Wyatt could find an occasional card game to pass his time. It was a happy and peaceful time where the aging Earp’s would enjoy their golden years.

One day in 1922, a male subject traveling from Arizona departed the Southern Pacific train when it made a scheduled stop in Vidal to board and discharge passengers. This passenger was armed and headed for the Vidal General Store. The proprietor of the store, Charles Bunnell, was working in the store as usual. We do not know the identity of the holdup man. This person’s identity is lost to history and was only referred to in the local newspaper as “the bad man.” Upon arrival at the store “the bad man” drew his gun and started waving it around in different directions. The man was there to commit a robbery and Mr. Bunnell saw the man with his gun and without delay made his escape from the store. The perpetrator was left alone in the store. As soon as Charles Bunnell retreated from his store, he contacted Constable Jim Wilson for help. Constable Wilson, a man in his seventies was the sole officer in the town and under the circumstances he desperately needed back-up. Ordinarily, back up would be provided by the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. However, it would be several hours before the closest deputy could respond. This fact was due to the enormity of the size of San Bernardino County and how widespread the Sheriff’s deputies were spread out.

While these events were unfolding Wyatt Earp now a man well into his seventies, was standing nearby when, a desperate Constable Wilson requested his assistance. Without hesitation Wyatt came to the aid of this officer and both men proceeded to the store. Constable Wilson had worked out a plan in which Wyatt Earp would enter through the front door; he would enter from the rear. The plan was that Wyatt would flush out the robber causing him to run towards the rear door to make his escape. Then the waiting Constable Wilson would stop the robber and place him under arrest. Constable Wilson was armed and would use deadly physical force if necessary to affect the arrest. Upon entering the store, Wyatt Earp found the armed subject and walked up to him. In a strong commanding voice Wyatt Earp announced “My name is Wyatt Earp, hand over that gun!” The perpetrator was stunned to be facing the Wyatt Earp and immediately turned his gun over without incident. Could it be that this young perpetrator recognized Wyatt Earp and thought he may forfeit his life if he wasn’t cooperative? This is certainly plausible. Unknown to this holdup man, Wyatt Earp was unarmed when he confronted him and had no badge to distinguish himself as a police officer. It is important to note that Wyatt Earp did not say he was a lawman or even that he was assisting the law. With the perpetrator’s gun in one hand he used his other hand to grab him by the collar and marched him out of the store. Once outside he yelled for the Constable and turned the prisoner over to him.

After this arrest the word got back to the sheriff’s office and Constable Wilson did take some kidding from the men. However, in response to Wyatt Earp’s act of bravery in assisting Constable Jim Wilson the San Bernardino County Sheriff John Shay contacted Wyatt Earp. The Sheriff invited him to please come to his office at his convenience. A grateful Sheriff Shay would present Wyatt with a Deputy Sheriff badge. On the day that Wyatt Earp arrived at the Sheriff’s office, he was out of town. Because the Sheriff was not available, the Under Sheriff had the privilege of presenting Wyatt with his badge. Wyatt Earp became a non-salaried deputy sheriff. By doing this Sheriff Shay was thanking Wyatt Earp and gave him peace officer status in his county.


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Sullivan County, New York

I wanted to share some information I received about the county in which I grew up, Sullivan County, New York…my hometown was Livingston Manor, named after Edward Livingston, relative of Richard Livingston who helped draft the Constitution…the county seat is Monticello, and there is also a small town named Jeffersonville…it just occurred to me (after 60 years), that this was an interesting coincidence…that there was a town named for Thomas Jefferson, and another town name for his plantation…I asked a friend of mine, the local historian, and this is what he said:

“The naming of Monticello and Jeffersonville are related only in the sense that they were both named…nearly fifty years apart…by great admirers of Thomas Jefferson for his role in crafting the Declaration of Independence and as President. When the Jones brothers founded Monticello in 1804, Jefferson was President and very popular…as born out by the fact that he defeated Charles Pinckney in the Presidential election of 1804 by some 45 percentage points in the popular vote. When Charles Langhorn named his hotel the Jefferson House around 1840, the country had changed considerably, but the Jeffersonian ideals were still revered by some, and Langhorn was one. Jeffersonville took its name from his hotel. And Livingston Manor was named for Edward Livingston, a relative of Robert (Robert was a member, along with Jefferson, of the Committee of Five which drafted the Declaration of Independence and the man who administered the Presidential oath of office to George Washington) who lived in the area then known as Purvis and was so highly regarded by his neighbors that they renamed their community for him after his death. I hope this helps clarify things.”

As an aside, the county is named for General John Sullivan, a hero of the Revolutionary war

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The House Where Ann Bassett Died

I am so excited, and have to get this out, somewhere…since no one in the world really cares, but…

Anyway, Butch Cassidy’s long time friend and lover was Ann Bassett, the “Queen of the Rustlers…she moved to Leeds, Utah, and died there in 1956. Part of the reason I went to Utah last week was to find her house, but no one there would give me a clue. Very frustrating, really, but they really don’t seem to like outsiders…

Anyway, I got a book from interlibrary loan discussing whether the Etta Place who went to South America with Butch Cassidy was actually Ann Bassett (a fascinating book with lots of stories, if anyone wants a copy), and, to make a long story short, it says that when Ann moved to Leeds, UT, she lived with the McMullins…and, as it turns out, if one Googles “McMullin house” one can get a picture of the house as it looked in the 1950’s and how it looks now….AND, using Goolge Maps, I found the house! Here is how it looks today. This is how I get my kicks, historical detective work…

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Who Was Etta Place

From Geni.com, this is the best discussion of the mystery of Harry Longabaugh (“the Sundance Kid”)’s girlfriend, Etta Place.

About Etta Place (wife of the “Sundance Kid”)


Etta Place (born c. 1878, date of death unknown) was a companion of the American outlaws Butch Cassidy (real name Robert LeRoy Parker) and the Sundance Kid (Harry Alonzo Longabaugh), both members of the outlaw gang known as the Wild Bunch. Principally the companion of Longabaugh, little is known about her; both her origins and her fate remain mysterious. Despite Longabaugh and Parker’s fame, by the mid-20th century it was the mysterious vanishing of Place that sparked the most interest, which continues to the present day.

Life with the Sundance Kid According to a Pinkerton Detective Agency memorandum dated July 29, 1902, she was “said…..to be from Texas,” and in another Pinkerton document dated 1906, she is described as being “27 to 28 years old”, placing her birth around 1878. This is confirmed by a hospital staff record from Denver, where she received treatment in May 1902, which reports her age as “23 or 24,” (therefore again, c.1878), although both records may transpire to be from the same original source, the hospital staff.

Even her real name is a mystery; Place was the maiden surname of Longabaugh’s mother (Annie Place) and she is recorded in various sources as Mrs. Harry Longabaugh or Mrs. Harry A. Place. The one instance where she is known to have signed her name, she recorded it as “Mrs. Ethel Place.” It is possible that she met Parker and/or Longabaugh in Fort Worth or in the brothel of Madame Fannie Porter in San Antonio, which was frequented by members of the Wild Bunch gang and which resulted in several gang members meeting girlfriends that later traveled with them, to include Kid Curry’s meeting of prostitute Della Moore. Gang member Will Carver also began a relationship with one of Porter’s “girls,” Lillie Davis, and Wild Bunch female gang member Laura Bullion is believed to have worked at the brothel from time to time.

Continue reading

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The Lost Tomb of King Arthur


Having spent many years reading all that I can find on the historic Arthur, I have to say that Graham Phillips has the best, possibly provable, theory on who was the historic Arthur, and where he might be buried. This site, gives his ideas, along with some wonderful photos

The story of King Arthur is known throughout the world. The fabled Camelot, Sir Bedivere casting Excalibur into the lake and Arthur’s secret burial at the isle of Avalon: these are just a few of the enchanting themes in the ancient saga that historians have long considered to be pure fantasy. Now, in The Lost Tomb of King Arthur, Graham Phillips presents compelling evidence that such legends were actually based on real events. During a quest lasting over twenty-five years, he has followed a fascinating trail of historical clues showing Arthur to have been a living warrior who led the Britons around the year 500. He has discovered that the legendary Camelot, Excalibur and Avalon were based on a real city, a real sword and a real island. And, most astonishing of all, Graham has found what he claims to be the location where Arthur was finally buried. An ancient manuscript still persevered at Oxford University, Graham believes, reveals the whereabouts of King Arthur’s long-lost tomb. Not in the South West town of Glastonbury, as the popular myth maintains, but at an ancient site in the isolated countryside of central England. With the help of archaeologists employing the very the latest scientific equipment, Graham now has what he is certain is the final proof that this disregarded Dark Age text really does reveal

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Rosa May

I often tell people that most of my friends are dead, and this is what I mean…I love this woman. Don’t ask me why, except she was a good woman and had a wonderful life, but I have read everything I can about her and she has a place in my heart.

This chapter is excepted from “the Story of Bodie,” by Ella M. Cain…Rosa May was a prostitute in the town of Bodie, which is now a ghost town protected by the State of California…her story is charming, and I think it would be of interest to anyone interested in the life of the Old American West. Visit my photo gallery of the ghost town of Bodie, CA here

rosa may2

Story of Rosa May

Virgin Alley had a new sign, “The Highgrade.” It swung back and forth in the breeze over the latest house of ill repute on that long street inhabited by the demi­monde of the camp.

The newly arrived occupant of the Highgrade was a dark-eyed, curly headed, petite French girl by the name of Rosa May. She had lived at 18 D Street in Virginia City, and later at No. 1 Ormsby Street in Carson City, Nevada. Then Bodie beckoned with its golden, and what turned out to be, its diamond-studded hand, and Rosa answered the call.

In a short time she became the idol and toast of all the men who frequented the sporting district of the town, and they were many.

One miner was heard to remark, ” She was a gal who had a smile you’d go to hell for, and never regret it.” Yes, Rosa was the undisputed queen of Bodie’s under­world !

It was most natural that Ernest Marks, owner and proprietor of the Laurel Palace Saloon, should fall head over heels in love with her. That was no surprise to anyone; but the surprise and disappointment was that Rosa seemed to have a “hankerin” after Ernest.

Ernest wasn’t bad looking. He was tall and dark, with a slight mustache, and, true to the Hebrew blood in his veins, had inherited the traditional trait of making money. He lavished plenty of it on Rosa, in diamonds and furs. He allowed the other girls from the Red Light to frequent his place at night, and dance to the tunes that the old fiddler played, but Rosa was never there. A shade of jealousy and rage would pass over his face if her name was mentioned lightly by any of his drinking customers. One evening a Cornishman named Billy Owens, who had come into some money on the death of his mother, called “Fire in the Head !” and the whole house rose up for a drink. “Make it champagne, Ernest,” he ordered; then, mounting a chair, with his glass raised in his hand, he shouted : “Here’s to Rosa May, the darlingest, sweetest little bunch of loveliness that ever came into this camp. She’s mine!” Ernest turned as white as a sheet, and, reaching down behind the bar. He grabbed the pistol that he had kept there for emergencies. He pointed it straight at, Billy, and coolly and deliberately said, “Don’t drink to that toast, Billy—or I’ll fill you full of lead. No other man but me can toast Rosa at this bar, or any other bar in this whole damn camp.” Billy was raising his glass to drink, when suddenly pistol shots sounded from behind him—and the lights went out, for some level headed customer knew Ernest meant what he said. From that time on bad blood was known to exist between Ernest and Billy.  Continue reading

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The Oldest Cowboy

Born on February 12, 1898, in Waxahachie, Texas, Tom Blasingame was made for a life on the range. As a child, the restrictions of school and family life soured his temper; for every whipping he received at school, he’d get two more at home, but the belt only made him grow tougher (and, he claimed, cuss louder). The sole cure for Blasingame’s unrest seemed to be working from the saddle, and at age 7, he began hiring out to help drive cattle to market for two bits a day. When he turned 18, he spent the $125 he’d earned on a tall iron-grey gelding, and together they rode off.In 1916, Blasingame signed on with JA Ranch, originally founded by Charlie Goodnight and John Adair and now known as the oldest cattle company in the Texas Panhandle. With 1,335,000 open acres, the JA was Blasingame’s paradise. In addition to working cows, Blasingame discovered he had a knack for training horses and every spring was a part of breaking 40 wild and woolly 4-year-old colts each year.

After two years, Blasingame moved on from the JA and spent the 1920s working his way across the West, seeing the country by hiring on with every cattle company that would have him. He moved through Arizona and New Mexico all the way to California, making up to $50 per month for his work in the rougher territories. Like most cowboys, Blasingame frequented the local saloons whenever he had time off, but not to drink or gamble (both of which he felt distracted men from their work). Instead, the music of the saloons drew him to town, and he claimed to have seen some of the greatest talents in the United States singing in small frontier bars. After seeing most of the Western territory, Blasingame returned to the JA, where he worked the remainder of his life. After a day in the saddle, he would return home to a camp house without electricity or a telephone. On weekends, Blasingame would visit his wife Eleanor and their two children in Claude, a town north of the ranch. Eleanor once said of Blasingame: “His life was a better life than what you and I live. He doesn’t worry about more than one thing at a time, and that’s what he is doing right then.”

Two days after Christmas, in 1989, Blasingame stepped off his horse, stretched out in the Texas grass, crossed both arms over his chest, and died in perfect peace. He was buried in the JA Ranch cemetery where Eleanor now lays beside him. At the time of his death he was considered the oldest cowboy in Texas, having committed 73 of his 91 years to ranching. –

See more at:http://www.americancowboy.com/article/cowboy-deluxe…

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