Wednesday, October 31, 2012

One More Western Wednesday...!

What would our week be without a good ol' Western Wednesday?

A lot of the stories of the wild and wooly west were about the bad guys, but at times the good guys just stand out! This story is about one of the truly good guys of those times!

Nov 1, 1924:
Legendary western lawman is murdered

On this day, William Tilghman is murdered by a corrupt prohibition agent who resented Tilghman's refusal to ignore local bootlegging operations. Tilghman, one of the famous marshals who brought law and order to the Wild West, was 71 years old.

Known to both friends and enemies as "Uncle Billy," Tilghman was one of the most honest and effective lawmen of his day. Born in Fort Dodge, Iowa, in 1854, Tilghman moved west when he was only 16 years old. Once there, he flirted with a life of crime after falling in with a crowd of disreputable young men who stole horses from Indians. After several narrow escapes with angry Indians, Tilghman decided that rustling was too dangerous and settled in Dodge City, Kansas, where he briefly served as a deputy marshal before opening a saloon. He was arrested twice for alleged train robbery and rustling, but the charges did not stick.

Despite this shaky start, Tilghman gradually built a reputation as an honest and respectable young man in Dodge City. He became the deputy sheriff of Ford County, Kansas, and later, the marshal of Dodge City. Tilghman was one of the first men into the territory when Oklahoma opened to settlement in 1889, and he became a deputy U.S. marshal for the region in 1891. In the late 19th century, lawlessness still plagued Oklahoma, and Tilghman helped restore order by capturing some of the most notorious bandits of the day.

Over the years, Tilghman earned a well-deserved reputation for treating even the worst criminals fairly and protecting the rights of the unjustly accused. Any man in Tilghman's custody knew he was safe from angry vigilante mobs, because Tilghman had little tolerance for those who took the law into their own hands. In 1898, a wild mob lynched two young Indians who were falsely accused of raping and murdering a white woman. Tilghman arrested and secured prison terms for eight of the mob leaders and captured the real rapist-murderer.

In 1924, after serving a term as an Oklahoma state legislator, making a movie about his frontier days, and serving as the police chief of Oklahoma City, Tilghman might well have been expected to quietly retire. However, the old lawman was unable to hang up his gun, and he accepted a job as city marshal in Cromwell, Oklahoma. Tilghman was shot and killed while trying to arrest a drunken Prohibition agent.

My heart goes out to all those folks that had to suffer the storm and it's aftermath! Please keep all of the fine folks on the affected area in your prayers, OK? If you managed to dodge the bullet of the terrible storm, now would be a very good time to give thanks for that as well!

Coffee on the patio this morning, since summer type weather seems to be back for a few days!


Gorges Smythe said...

No good deed goes unpunished, I've always heard.

DavidandDarcy Cobb said...

Man I like your blog, It is part of my mornings now just like coffee. I have just stopped smoking so I need that little extra Caffeine

HermitJim said...

Hey Gorges...
Seems like I've heard that as well!

Thanks for dropping in today!

Hey David...
Glad that you enjoy the blog and I hope you will continue to come over for a cup!

Thanks for the visit this morning!

John said...

Great post. Enjoy your stories each day. I live a couple of hours north of Dodge city. There are a lot of good western tales from that area.

Dizzy-Dick said...

I wonder if Uncle Billy was the inspiration for the Marshal Dillon TV show? If not the inspiration maybe he had some influence.

JO said...

Now this was a piece of history I didn't know. Thank you for posting this.

So far all family members are safe on the east cost.
I know a lot of these families are not so lucky.
Pass the pot please.

HermitJim said...

Hey John...
Always good to hear that folks like the post! That's the whole reason I do entertain just a little!

That area is certainly rich in history, without a doubt!

Thanks for coming by today!

Hey Dizzy...
Ya know, he might just be at that! Seems to be the kind that would inspire a hero figure like Dillon!

Thanks, buddy, for coming by this morning!

Hey Jo...
I'm always happy to find a piece of history you don't know yet!

Thanks, sweetie, for coming by today!

Bob Mc said...

Seems like a lot of the old time lawmen started out with a foot on each side of the line.