Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Another Bad Guy For Western Wednesday...!

I reckon everybody likes the history of some of the bad guys of the old west!

One thing about it, there were plenty of them to go around! You might say that the old west was like a forging spot for many of the modern laws and ideas of justice. Maybe a little of the frontier justice would come in handy!

Nov 14, 1882:
Franklin Leslie kills Billy "The Kid" Claiborne

On this day, the gunslinger Franklin "Buckskin" Leslie shoots the Billy "The Kid" Claiborne dead in the streets of Tombstone, Arizona.

The town of Tombstone is best known today as the site of the infamous shootout at the O.K. Corral. In the 1880s, however, Tombstone was home to many gunmen who never achieved the enduring fame of Wyatt Earp or Doc Holliday. Franklin "Buckskin" Leslie was one of the most notorious of these largely forgotten outlaws.

There are few surviving details about Leslie's early life. At different times, he claimed to have been born in both Texas and Kentucky, to have studied medicine in Europe, and to have been an army scout in the war against the Apache Indians. No evidence has ever emerged to support or conclusively deny these claims. The first historical evidence of Leslie's life emerges in 1877, when he became a scout in Arizona. A few years later, Leslie was attracted to the moneymaking opportunities of the booming mining town of Tombstone, where he opened the Cosmopolitan Hotel in 1880. That same year he killed a man named Mike Killeen during a quarrel over Killeen's wife, and he married the woman shortly thereafter.

Leslie's reputation as a cold-blooded killer brought him trouble after his drinking companion and fellow gunman John Ringo was found dead in July 1882. Some Tombstone citizens, including a young friend of Ringo's named Billy "The Kid" Claiborne, were convinced that Leslie had murdered Ringo, though they could not prove it. Probably seeking vengeance and the notoriety that would come from shooting a famous gunslinger, Claiborne unwisely decided to publicly challenge Leslie, who shot him dead.

The remainder of Leslie's life was equally violent and senseless. After divorcing Killeen in 1887, he took up with a Tombstone prostitute, whom he murdered several years later during a drunken rage. Even by the loose standards of frontier law in Tombstone, the murder of an unarmed woman was unacceptable, and Leslie served nearly 10 years in prison before he was paroled in 1896. After his release, he married again and worked a variety of odd jobs around the West. He reportedly made a small fortune in the gold fields of the Klondike region before he disappeared forever from the historical record.

I guess that even the most celebrated bad guys can catch a break once in a while. Just goes to show that fame and fortune can be fleeting at best. Probably fading away was his idea and it may have been a good one!

Better have our coffee in the kitchen this morning. We have a little front moving in and that means rain!


Chickenmom said...

Wow - what a nasty man! He probably lived the rest of his life looking over his shoulder. 30 here and we need your rain. Today is a good day for jelly donuts - I'll bring a big box for all!

JO said...

Great story this morning. It always is a great way to start the day with a good western mystery.

We're at 49 this morning and a high in the low 70's.

Pass the pot please.

HermitJim said...

Hey Phyllis...
Jumping at shadows and fearing the dark might have been good punishment for him!

Bring on the jelly donuts! Thanks for coming over today!

Hey Jo...
Nothing like a good western tale!

That sounds like a reasonable temp to be at, certainly better than the 80s like here!

Thanks, sweetie, for coming by today!

Mamahen said...

Love a good western...may have to watch Tombstone now! I'll have a cup and a donut while I think about it...

Rob said...

Tombstone was a great place to visit! I spent the money on the Birdcage Theater tour & thought that was well worth it. Boothill was worth the visit too.
I would have stayed longer but it was getting cold & they were talking about snow when I was there... I'll be back for a longer visit!

Linda said...

I often wonder if these bandits deliberately disappeared to save their lives, and then when they died, no one knew who they were and the world sort of lost the rest of their history. Now, I sit and wonder if he died from an accident, disease, or got in one last anonymous scrape.