Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Jack Slade On Western Wdnesday...!

When you think of the name of Jack Slade, you probably remember him as a gunfighter and trouble maker. Not good in Montana in the late 1800s'!

Like many men of the times with bad reputations, Jack's drinking and bullying is mainly what led to his untimely end. Sometimes it pays to keep a low profile, I reckon!

Mar 10, 1864:
Montana vigilantes hang Jack Slade

Local hell-raiser Jack Slade is hanged in one of the more troubling incidents of frontier vigilantism.

Slade stood out even among the many rabble-rousers who inhabited the wild frontier-mining town of Virginia City, Montana. When he was sober, townspeople liked and respected Slade, though there were unconfirmed rumors he had once been a thief and murderer. When drunk, however, Slade had a habit of firing his guns in bars and making idle threats. Though Slade's rowdiness did not injure anyone, Virginia City leaders anxious to create a more peaceable community began to lose patience. They began giving more weight to the claims that he was a potentially dangerous man.

The year before, many of Virginia City's leading citizens had formed a semisecret "vigilance committee" to combat the depredations of a road agent named Henry Plummer. Plummer and his gang had robbed and killed in the area, confident that the meager law enforcement in the region could not stop them. Determined to reassert order, the Virginia City vigilantes began capturing and hanging the men in Plummer's gang. As a warning to other criminals, the vigilantes left a scrap of paper on the hanged corpses with the cryptic numbers "3-7-77." The meaning of the numbers is unclear, though some claim it referred to the dimensions of a grave: 3 feet wide, 7 feet long, 77 inches deep.

In the first two months of 1864, the Montana vigilantes hanged 24 men, including Plummer. Most historians agree that these hangings, while technically illegal, punished only genuinely guilty men. However, the vigilantes' decision to hang Jack Slade seems less justified. Finally fed up with his drunken rampages and wild threats, on this day in 1864 a group of vigilantes took Slade into custody and told him he would be hanged. Slade, who had committed no serious crime in Virginia City, pleaded for his life, or at least a chance to say goodbye to his beloved wife. Before Slade's wife arrived, the vigilantes hanged him.

Not long after the questionable execution of Slade, legitimate courts and prisons began to function in Virginia City. Though sporadic vigilante "justice" continued until 1867, it increasingly attracted public concern. In March 1867, miners in one Montana mining district posted a notice in the local newspaper that they would hang five vigilantes for every one man hanged by vigilantes. Thereafter, vigilante action faded away.

Sounds to me like ol' Jack should have hung out in a different location for a while. Just my opinion, but I value my neck too much to have it stretched by someone, ya know?

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Still chilly outside!


Linda said...

Those were rough times. I am glad I did not live then. Besides, they had no ac. In the South a person could be hanged for being with someone else or for sticking up for the wrong person. So, I wonder if these vigilantes in your account really did hang only criminals.

Chickenmom said...

Push people too far and that is what happened. I'll bring a big box of Dunkin Donuts for everyone! Heat wave here at 19 degrees!

linda m said...

Drinking, in my opinion, is best done in ones own home and not out in public. A little warmer here this AM 10 degrees. Thanks for the donuts Chickenmom; I bring a Danish to go with them.

Sixbears said...

Sounds like "justice" got a bit out of hand.

JO said...

Makes you wonder sometimes who the really bad ones were. They were the truly evil I think.

Coffee in the kitchen and all those goodies this morning sounds way to good to pass up.

Dizzy-Dick said...

You said he should have hung out in a different location. I agree, his neck was not a good place to hang out, or should I say stretch out.

Mamahen said...

It seems not everything was good in the good old days! You have to wonder if everyone guilty was punished and vice versa. Nice sunshine here but still in the 20's so kitchen it is :))

HermitJim said...

Hey Linda...
That's the thing about vigilante groups. They make up all the rules of engagement.

Thanks for coming over today!

Hey Phyllis...
Doesn't take much sometimes for the mob mentality to take over!

Donuts are always good!

Thanks for the visit today!

Hey Linda M...
I have to agree with you on that!

I do like the idea of danish this morning!

Thanks for coming by today!

Hey Sixbears...
Yeah, it does! Bet that happened a lot back then!

Thanks for coming by today!

Hey Jo...
It would be a shame to pass all this good stuff up!

Thanks, sweetie, for dropping by today!

Hey Dizzy...
Guess that "hang out" was a pretty bad choice of words, huh?

Thanks for the visit this morning!

Hey Mamahen...
There is always that question with things like this, I reckon!

Glad you are warming up just a tad. Sure is better than the negative numbers!

Thanks for coming by today!