CowboySpirit.TV - We've got a variety of births and deaths in this week's installment of Old West history, with heroes and villains aplenty!
1853: The well-known old west gambler, lawman, and gun fighter Bat Masterson was born today in Ontario, Canada. His reputation is more fearsome than the reality: he probably only killed six men during his gunslinger days. In fact, he lived out his retirement years as a newspaper columnist and sportswriter.
1917: Hey kids, what time is it? It's "Buffalo" Bob Smith's birthday! This singer and puppeteer created an enduring western icon in Howdy Doody, the friendly co-star of the beloved variety program and changed the face of children's television forever.
1869: A minor old west marauder named Samuel Hassells (AKA "Bob Hays") met his untimely end today. Following a robbery of a New Mexico post office by a local gang that included Hassells, a posse hunted them down to the Diamond A Ranch, killing Hassells in the resulting shootout.
1872: The famous American newspaper man Horace Greeley died on this day. Greeley is best remembered for issuing the advice "Go west, young man!" in 1865. (Spoilsport historians believe the original quote was much less catchy: "If any young man is about to commence the world, we say to him, publicly and privately, Go to the West.")
1879, 1881: Oddly, today marks both a beginning and an end in the saga of the OK Corral Shootout. On this day in 1879, Wyatt Earp arrived in Tombstone to serve as Marshall. Exactly two years later, the murder trial resulting from the shootout concluded, clearing the Earps and Doc Holliday on all charges.
1880: Deputy James Carlyle was shot to death on this day in mysterious circumstances as he led a posse in search of Billy the Kid. The posse publicly blamed The Kid for the killing, destroying his chances at a governor's pardon for his crimes. However, later investigation and historical research makes it very likely Carlyle was actually killed by his own posse, with The Kid unfairly given blame/credit.
1873: An old-west bank robber named Henry Starr was born today. The nephew of Sam Starr (husband of "Bandit Queen" Belle Starr), Henry Starr bragged on his deathbed that he'd robbed more banks than any other man to date. The veracity of this continues to be questioned.
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