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I gave it a 'like' for interesting research. Researchers probably miss a lot of events that never made it into permanent records such as newspaper articles. The world will probably never know about events that didn't get recorded, such as the following account from my memoir. The facts are as my Father related them to me. I had heard the family history several times as I grew up. When he was terminal I had him tell me again and wrote them down, probably the only written record extant. I have changed the names of people & places because of possible descendants.

William Powers McCrory was murdered in 1911 at Anytown, Anystate at the age of 19 years. He was my uncle, the son of James B. McCrory. He had engaged in a friendly wrestling contest which was interfered with by a third party, Herman Blank. Some heated words and one or two blows were exchanged between McCrory and Blank. Blank, an older man, possibly 25, tendered an apology of a sort and suggested they forget about it.

Powers McCrory went to spend the night with friends. As he was sitting on the bed, having removed one shoe, Blank appeared at the door and shot him with a shotgun. The wound was on the inside of the left thigh. He bled to death by morning. The two friends were present and witnessed the shooting.

Blank escaped into a nearby wilderness area. Friends of the McCrory family combed the countryside for days without success.

The State had a statutory reward of $100 at the time for persons wanted for murder. The McCrory family also posted a $200 reward. It was rumored that Blank's friends were planning to turn him in for the reward which would be used for his defense. J.B.McCrory quietly rescinded the family reward. Some days later Blank either surrendered or was "captured" per the plan.

During the trial, surviving brothers planned to kill Blank in the courtroom, but were dissuaded by their father who expected a guilty verdict and sentence to hang.

He was tried and acquitted. The defense produced witnesses who stated that McCrory had cursed Blank for four hours prior to the killing. One might speculate on what was considered justifiable homicide at that time and place.

Blank fled the country and was not heard from for several months. Then rumor arose that he had been to Anytown to visit relatives several times. My grandfather and older sons began watching the railroad station. One day Blank was seen getting off the train and my grandfather shot him and he fell. He put the pistol to his head to finish him off but a bystander kicked the pistol aside and it fired into the station platform.

Blank got to his feet in the confusion and ran into the town pursued by my uncle, who was unarmed. He grabbed a single barrel shotgun and some shells from Hopper's store and emerged on the street just as Blank appeared, before he had loaded the gun. He followed him into Rosenbaum's store and shot him in the left chest at a distance of about 4 feet. Blank was said to have had a pistol in his right hip pocket, without a holster, it apparently hung in the pocket lining because he was never able to get it nto action.

The family felt, for the moment, that vengeance had been accomplished. Blank, however, recovered and made himself scarce for some years.

My father, Arthur, witnessed part of the Anytown shooting at the age of about 10 years My grandfather went to Texas for a time after the Blank shooting. When he returned no charges were brought. His brother waited at the scene of his shooting of Blank for several hours until the Sheriff arrived from the County Seat. He was arrested and jailed for several weeks, tried twice and finally released.

The first trial resulted in a hung jury, the second dismissed for the lack of evidence.

My Father said he went to there a number of times and stayed over night with his brother in jail. He would go to the Sheriff's office and be given the key. He and his brother would sit outside the jail until lockup time when the Sheriff would come by and lock them up. The next morning he would be let out. The McCrory family subsequently moved to another town about 15 miles from Anytown.

Herman Blank was killed in Anytown in 1919 when my father was 21 years old. He is certain in his mind that another of his brothers did it.

It is a fact that law enforcement in some rural areas of the South and West did not exist in an organized fashion in the early 1900's. Justice was effected, more or less on an eye-for-an-eye basis by the principals. Major transgressions of the law were dealt with in a rather leisurely manner, especially where individuals were settling scores between themselves. Crimes against property (theft, robbery, etc.) were considered shameful and generally more of interest to the law than violence stemming from personal disputes. The killing of a relative was to be avenged as a matter of honor. Other than overt acts which could not be ignored, the law interfered as little as possible in that traditional process.

When Blank was killed , the County Sheriff there had the Sheriff in the adjoining County check up on the whereabouts and activities of the McCrory clan on the day of the shooting. His investigation consisted of inquiring in the town, which consisted of about six businesses and a railroad station, and establishing that my grandfather and the one brother who still lived there had been in town on the day of the shooting. The other brothers by that time lived in other states.

Most travel at the time was by train or by horse. Few people thought in terms of the speed of an automobile. A distance of30 miles round trip between towns could easily be made in an hour or so. My uncle .had a Chevrolet car. Eyewitnesses to the shooting of Herman Blank disagreed as to the appearance of the killer. Some said he wore a hat, others said a cap. Some said bearded, others disagreed.

Some years later my uncle told my father, in a third-person description, how the shooting was accomplished. He said Blank was standing at the side entrance of Rosenbaum's store and the assailant came out of the store, wearing a cap and fired two shots into his belly and went back into the store. Inside the store the cap was exchanged for a hat and false beard from a pocket. Upon trying to exit from the corner entrance to the store, Rosenbaum's son tried to bar the way but was persuaded to stand aside by the firing of a shot over his head and a prod with the muzzle of the pistol.

No charges were brought and with the demise of Herman Blank, the affair which began years earlier was laid to rest.
 

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Quite interesting, not long ago I seen a program on the history channel that had similar facts and examples of fiction. However, I think the images seen in western movies for decades would be hard to erase.

Everyone wants/needs a hero in their lifetime. For some that lacked that person in their home life, chose a good guy in a white hat that lived on the silver screen.
 

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Thumbs Up on both posts.... I would think that there are many more stories (like rhmc's) that could be told about life in the "Wild West". Very few people would have written down the stories told to them from their fathers and grandfathers. Thanks for sharing rhmc....One thing amazes me,what are the chances of someone named "Anyone" living in a town called "Anytown"? ;)
 

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Robert, thanks for the story. Very interesting read. There used to be another member here with really interesting stories as well. Haven't heard from him in a while. I think he went by Texas Man. He used to own an original Colt Walker back in the 50s. I wonder if he is still around. Maybe I will send him a message.
 

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Although I read the article quickly, I saw no mention of the Cole Younger bunch. I do believe there was a bank robbery in Coffeeville, Kansas, but it pretty much went south right from the beginning. As the "boys" were exiting the bank building, Coffeeville "authorities" were on surrounding rooftops armed with rifles, who took a few of the gang before they could get out of town.

I believe that is a true story.

Bud

It seems as if so many people have formulated their idea of what the Old West was like by utilizing what a friend of mine calls the John Ford "Reference Library", i.e., BS Hollywood movies. Here's an eye opening example of such:


UnpopularTruth.com: Myths of the Old West


The Non-Existent Frontier Bank Robbery : The Freeman : Foundation for Economic Education
 

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Although I read the article quickly, I saw no mention of the Cole Younger bunch. I do believe there was a bank robbery in Coffeeville, Kansas, but it pretty much went south right from the beginning. As the "boys" were exiting the bank building, Coffeeville "authorities" were on surrounding rooftops armed with rifles, who took a few of the gang before they could get out of town.

I believe that is a true story.

Bud

Yes, I also take that to be a true story.

And, an event who's outcome was not lost on aspiring Bank Robbers everywhere.


I used to have an original copy of 'Life among the Modoc: Unwritten History', by Joachim Miller, I think printed 1872. Loaned to someone back in the 1980s, never got it back.

Anyway, it was his reminiscences about growing up in California prior to the Gold Rush, and, then being in on the Gold Rush, living in Mining Towns, occasional skirmishes with various bands of Indians ( he being sometimes on the Indian's side, fighting with them, sometimes on the settler's side, fighting with them, depending on his evaluation of the 'cause' de jur ).

Anyway, people took care of their own Justice, and bad characters tended to come to bad ends there-by, and, with the tacit or open approval of locals who knew the score.

Violence, murder ( and Alcohol related crimes ) were not rare, but, were hardly frequent. Such crimes offended the sensibilities of Miners and everyone else, and, once the culprits were known, such culprits were shunned or condemned or 'taken care of'.

And, for every crime, other areas of social Life, enjoyed gestures of largesse, genius, kindness, generosity, magnanimity, charity, keeping Life, as it were, more or less in a tolerable moral balance.


The phrase 'A Mexican Breakfast' in those days, and or in that part of the Country ( Gold Rush regions of the 1850s ), meant, you tightened your Belt another notch for want of food.

All in all, everything I have ever read about American frontiers of the 19th Century, social conditions and government presence/involvement, seem overall far more agreeable to me, than either do to-day ( in which, increasingly, people are forbidden to manage their own affairs in any area of Life, under pain of Jail or Prison or worse ).
 

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Although I read the article quickly, I saw no mention of the Cole Younger bunch. I do believe there was a bank robbery in Coffeeville, Kansas, but it pretty much went south right from the beginning. As the "boys" were exiting the bank building, Coffeeville "authorities" were on surrounding rooftops armed with rifles, who took a few of the gang before they could get out of town.

I believe that is a true story.



Bud
Bud, I believe you're talking about the Daltons. They tried to rob two banks at once in Coffeyville, KS on Oct 5 1892. They got shot to s**t for their troubles. Out of 5 robbers, only Emmett Dalton survived.

Similarly, the end of the James-Youngers came at Northfield, MN, Sept 7 1876. A failed robbery with the outlaws getting plugged full of holes.
 

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Bud, I believe you're talking about the Daltons. They tried to rob two banks at once in Coffeyville, KS on Oct 5 1892. They got shot to s**t for their troubles. Out of 5 robbers, only Emmett Dalton survived.

Similarly, the end of the James-Youngers came at Northfield, MN, Sept 7 1876. A failed robbery with the outlaws getting plugged full of holes.

And, as far as can be found out, such was a usual outcome!

As the Article relays, many men were Armed with Hand Guns, if usually in CCW mode, Store Keepers tended to have Arms or Long Arms handy...Neighbor Business owners, managers, employees and private people who were about on errands, would quickly rally to rebuke Armed Robbers, and, trying to pull a Bank Job or other Armed Robbery in a Business Section, would tend to go bad, and fast.

Afterall, it was the very local Businesses and Town's People, who's Money was in the Bank too! And, they felt they had every right to pitch in pronto, on several scores, if their Money - and their Town, and or a local Business of any sort - were being threatened by Armed Robbers.


'Hollywood' made a mess out of actual History, and of the character of people in the US in the 19th Century.
 

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I've read some interesting takes on the Hollywood West and the real West.
A quote from "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance" states the case. "When the legend becomes fact.... print the legend".

In the movie "High Noon" the marshal is abandoned by the town people to face outlaws alone.
In the real West the town would be outraged that outlaws were coming to kill THEIR marshal, and the marshal's only problem would have been getting in a shot or two of his own as the town shot the outlaws to a tatters.
It wouldn't have mattered if the lawman was not liked, he was THEIR lawman and it was THEIR town.

A popular theme of Hollywood is the town terrorized by outlaws.
Fact: most men in the West of the 1870's and 80's were Civil War veterans who'd seen horrible combat and were no longer frightened by mere outlaws. The very idea some outlaws could terrorize well armed combat vets would have been considered silly.
In one of Louis Lamour's westerns a group of outlaws ride into a small town. They try to pay for goods with Confederate money, which is now worthless. The store keep refuses to accept it.
One outlaw threatens the store keeper, "Maybe we'll just ride into your little town", meaning to shoot it up.
The store keeper responds: "Mister, the men in this town are all indian fighters and war veterans, and we're all well armed. You may ride into our town, and if you ride right smartly you might even be able to ride out again".

Another favorite of Hollywood is the extreme violence in Western towns with murders on an hourly basis.
I once read something that said the most violence recorded in the West was (I think) 1880 in El Paso Texas with something like 6 to 8 men killed that year.
The real violence and murder was in Eastern cities like New York City with many times more killed.
Fact: In Western towns violence was limited pretty much to saloons, and if you weren't a young man who drank, gambled, and frequented prostitutes, your chances of getting killed in town were very low.
A woman in New York or Boston was not safe on most streets after dark.
A woman was perfectly safe on the streets at any hour in even tough towns in the West. No one would dream of accosting her

On the other side of the Hollywood West was the "deconstruction" movies of the 60's through the 80's in which the main theme was to tear down the Western legend and heroes.
Among these was a Paul Newman movie that turned real life hero Bill Cody into nothing but a lying, cheesy, drunken fake.
In "Dirty Little Billy" Billy the kid becomes a filthy, smelly little homicidal creep.
In several movies, most notably "Little Big Man" George Custer is turned into a mentally ill simpering, homicidal lunatic.
In "Doc" Wyatt Earp and Doc Holiday are converted into Nixon-like politicians murdering political rivals in a more violent version of Watergate.

The real West was not like the Hollywood singing cowboy super heroes of the 30's through the 50's, but it wasn't like the deconstruction era movies in which everyone was sleazy fakes either.
There are some movies that come fairly close to the truth, movies like "Shane", "Monty Walsh", and "Ride The High Country" are the most even handed.
 

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I do believe there was a bank robbery in Coffeeville, Kansas, but it pretty much went south right from the beginning. As the "boys" were exiting the bank building, Coffeeville "authorities" were on surrounding rooftops armed with rifles, who took a few of the gang before they could get out of town.

Bud
You are correct in that the Dalton Gang attempted to rob two banks simultaneously in Coffeyville (as Chafee points out). But it was not "the authorities" in the windows, on the rooftops, and in the streets who stopped them; it was the local citizens, armed with their personal firearms or some gathered from Isham's Hardware store across the street. To this day, the town still celebrates the acts of these citizens with their "Dalton Defenders Day" (each October, I think).

IMHO, part of the reason that townspeople were more likely to intervene after a bank robbery was that in the pre-FDIC era, the stolen money -- THIER money -- would not be replaced by insurance. It was truly gone, and so there was additional incentive to "join the posse" to capture the criminal and recover the stolen cash.

One other point about the original article: the author's decision to draw the "Wild West" dividing line at the Kansas-Missouri border conveniently excludes the James Gang's exploits such as the robbery of the Liberty Bank (considered the first successful daylight bank robbery in America) and the Platte City bank. Both are well-documented but apparently not included in the statistics presented because they occured outside the author's "Wild West."
 

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'Hollywood' ( to my mind, and, also, to my actual research ) was pushing intentional, calculated, intertwined 'social engineering' agendas, especially by WWII and there-after.

It is no accident that in 'Westerns' particularly, the themes, and how themes were dealt with, were being presented in the way they were in the many Movies we all grew up with.

"Don't take the law into your own Hands!" was one such recurring theme.

Powerless citizens, having to reply on proficient 'good-guy' Gun-Toteing strangers or elderly local 'Marshals' to amble along or to 'take a stand' to defend and protect them other 'bad-guy' Gun Toteing strangers who were terrorizing them, another frequent theme.

On and on...

All of which was in fact, quite intentional psychological conditioning.


I happened to read part of a Book back in the 1970s, and it was a Library Book my Dad had checked out and set aside for a few days.

I wish I knew the Title so I could read it now.

Anyway, the Book was published in 1931 or 1932.

Whether it was a Novel or not, I do not remember, but, there were dialogue and characters discussing how Hollywood cleverly is and will continue to weave adroit, calculated psychological 'guidance' to the populace, to condition them for the future they will have imposed upon them.

One of the characters was an informed Movie Director, who was indulging in soliloquy about this, and, about his role in it, and about how some of it is done, and, how well it works.

Anyway, I was already hip to this naively, intuitively, and, to read it being discussed 40 years prior, was quite sobering.

Since then I have of course found many other corroborating testimonies dating back through the decades.

But, no such open discussions or disclosures from named insiders, since FDR...when all such open dialogue ceased on all fronts.

This is really very serious stuff...and entirely insidious.
 

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Another one from memory lane, with no editing, all a matter of history (at least if/when any record of it was kept) ----

Local Oklahoma History in My Time ----

I just finished the book "Bud Ballew, Legendary Oklahoma Lawman", who was deputy to Sheriff Buck Garrett, Ardmore, Carter Co., OK. That started me down memory lane. Some family history of the 1910-30 period is interesting.

My father Arthur (A.K.) McCrory came to Ardmore around 1918. His brothers had been here some years and were in the oil business, lease broking, etc. Brother Bob (R.F.) was 20 years older than my father who worked for Bob. The brothers had supported the Buck Garrett regime that ran Carter county but had fallen out with them - not a healthy thing. New in Ardmore, my Dad's job was driver and bodyguard. On country roads Bob would shoot at fence posts with his pistol as they drove along. On the street Dad would walk a few steps behind Bob with a hand on his pistol.

The book talks about the ouster of Buck Garrett and the unproven alleged corruption of his administration. Brother Bob had bought a new Buick that was promptly stolen. My father saw it for sale the next week in the used cars of the Buick dealer. He confirmed it checking out the car and found a place on the seat where he had sewed up a place with store string. Bob told him to lay off, insurance would pay for the car and it was too big & too hot for us to challenge.

I mentioned unhealthy, two attempts were made on Bob. In the heat of summer he left his pistol and jacket as he went downstairs to get something at the soda fount in Frame's Drugstore below. (NE corner B st. and Main here in Ardmore). On the landing he was attacked by two with brass knuckles. Not completely unprepared, Bob shot one of them in the leg which ended the fracas. He fired his double barrel derringer thru his pants pocket. The one shot was Raymond Garrett, son of the sheriff. The other attack was more serious.

Years later my father and I were driving down G st NE that then turned West on to 11th avenue and crossed the railroad track. Just before that turn he stopped and said this is where Bob got shot. He was driving, early 1920s, as we were and a car came across the tracks and sideswiped him. They both stopped and he found the other driver drunk as a skunk and jerked him out and was pushing up him into the back of his own car to take him to jail. The 'drunk' not drunk at all, then turned and fired into his belly and again sidewise as he fell. Not uncommon at the time for relatives to be in the operating room, he saw Doc Hardy take out Bobs 'entrails' wash them in a purple stuff, sew them up individually and sewed him up. He recovered and lived until 1950. I saw an old Ardmoreite writeup about this that gave the location of this as on Caddo street, obviously in error.

Years later yet, maybe early '50s I was here visiting when my Father said he could hardly believe who came to see him recently - Raymond Garrett. Back in the day they would have reached for their pistols on sight. Now, he and Raymond about the same age, visited for a couple hours as friends talking about old times and how time changes things. ---- RHM 2009 ----



Afternote - The Bud Ballew book is probably still in print, paperback, probably factual insofar as researchers believed at its time. I'm reminded of a book of maybe 15 years ago written by a local "historian" about our area history, with some good stuff, some the "other side of the story" as I had heard ---- also missing some info I could have supplied about events in my time or that were topics of family conversation not long after events. There is a saying 'it's the winners who write history'. There should be another saying 'history is only as accurate as the memory and truthfulness of those interviewed'.
 

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"Dirty LIttle Billy" - a filthy, smelly little homicidal creep.
"Little Big Man" - Custer as a mentally ill, simpering, homicidal maniac.

Those are pretty good descriptions of both except I never thought of Custer as "simpering".:)
 

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Hello and Best of Luck to All My Friends here. Its veen a while since I posted any stories with onje reasom beijg I have been on a job I contracted down in South Texas in the Egale FDord oil patch. What a hell hole.

I feel sometimes I was lucky to be born whie a few of the old timers were still alive and growing up in South Texas I had the chance to meet and trade guns with a number of Texas Rangers and men from the other side of the law as well. It was during those early years later 1940s thur ear;y 1970s that they shared theor person first hand experences with Me about gun firghts and the wild life in Texas and alone the Rio Grande and without a dought their teaching and experence they shared with Me would come in handy in the years just ahead of Me when I started to seek aventure along the Rio Granded on both sides. i was both lucky I lived at a time that was still wild and with My Mothers prayers and Gods hand on Me lived thur more than one experence when as We used to say "Hearts beat fast and bullets flew faster". To this day, I carry scares from three different three different gunfights where I took a serious hit and the scares of three different knifings I was in years ago. All three knifings were from Mexicans and I never once saw the knife before I was already cut and the feel of My own warm blood running out was the frist I knew I had been cut. Never once did I feel any pain after being cut or shot. The worst from taking bullets in the body was when the blood inside started to burn after the second day and in time it stop hurting.

As a younbg man seeking wild adventure I found penty in South Texas and Damn sure across the Border in Old Mexico back where lamps were used at night and no electricy or roads and no law at all.

Sometimes I see something that reminds Me of an experence I was witness to or part of many years ago and unless one has been there in Person nd seen themselves its hard to beleave the things that went on then and even today out in the wilds of Texas and Old Mexico. I will post a few experences some may enjoy reading about when I have time if anyone is interested.

Your Pard, Texas Man
 
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