Friday, July 30, 2010

Meet the Clantons -- II

Sorry I don’t have any photos today. Instead, we’ll have to make do with some newspaper articles about the Clantons.

From the Tucson Citizen in 1873

Another New Settlement
Newman H. Clanton and family settled on the Gila Valley, a few miles above old Camp Goodwin, August 3rd of this year. He at once laid claim to water, located a line, and now has a ditch two and a half miles in length which carries 1880 cubic feet. There is one body of fully 25,000 acres of very rich land and Mr. Clanton feels sure that with proper management he has water enough to irrigate the whole tract. This year he has cultivated 100 acres and is now preparing and will sow and plant at least 600. He was in Tucson early this week procuring utensils and supplies. He says the settlement now consists of three families . . . in all, fifteen persons, and that more are coming. He is very anxious to have families settle there so that a public school may be opened just as soon as possible. Families will be supplied with a water privilege at the actual pro-rata cost of the ditch, and accommodated with all the information and assistance Mr. Clanton can afford. We have passed over the land and know it to be rich as can be found anywhere. The water of the river is of first quality and the locality is very healthy as far as known. The settlement is near Camp Grant, not very far from Camp Apache and Bowie, and within reasonable distance of the important mining camp of Clifton. All these places must have much grain, vegetables and all sorts of farm and dairy products.

Jump to 1874
Again, the Tucson Citizen

All who live in the Gila Valley near old Camp Goodwin and at Pueblo Viejo are enthusiastic in their accounts of the richness of the soil and the ease with which a man may make a farm.
. . . About 12 months ago, he (Newman Clanton) moved to a point near old Camp Goodwin and about 160 miles northeast of Tucson and within Pima County. The place is now called Clantonville.

The paper goes on to invite one and all to move to Clantonville and obtain “land abundant at government price . . .”

Also in this time frame, Newman apparently ran the Clanton House Hotel at Fort Thomas.

Clantonville did not thrive. In 1877, Newman and sons Phin, Ike, and Billy moved to a ranch on the San Pedro River near Charleston, some fourteen miles from Tombstone.

Terry “Ike” Clanton standing by the single adobe wall left from the old ranch house, ca. 1998. See the Clanton Family website for details.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Meet the Clantons -- I

In the telling of the gunfight at OK Corral, the Clantons and the McLaurys are made out to be the baddies. From the files of the National Association for Outlaw and Lawman History, let’s meet the Clantons.

Newman Haynes Clanton, often known as Old Man Clanton, father of John Wesley, Phin, Ike, and Billy, was born in Davidson County, Tennessee, in 1816. His father, Henry Clanton, is said to have fought in the Battle of New Orleans.

Newman married Mariah P. Kelso on January 5, 1840, in Callaway County, Missouri. She was 16. Newman and Mariah settled down on a farm, where their first three children were born:

Newton "Old Man" Clanton

John Wesley in 1841, Phineas Fay in 1845, and Joseph Isaac in 1847.
The family later surfaces in Illinois, where daughter Mary Elsie was born in 1852, and then in Dallas, Texas, where they were farming again. Poll tax records of the time show Newman owning from six to thirty-eight cattle during his Dallas years. Two more children were born there, Hester in 1854 and Alonzo in 1859.

Two years later, the family moved to Hamilton County, Texas, a wild unsettled area with many hostile Indians. Then the Civil War broke out.

A company of company of Home Guards was organized under Captain W. H. Cotton. Records show Newman Clanton as a private and John Wesley Clanton, 19, a first corporal. John Wesley lasted only about six weeks. He then left Ellis Country and enlisted in the Twelfth Regiment of Texas Cavalry. Four months later, he left and went home to Hamilton County, a deserter. He was caught and court martialed, but not hanged. He lost his pay and gained a dishonourable discharge . . . but he also enlisted in various other places. Once in Waco, March 1862. Once again in Ft. Herbert in 1863 (he went AWOL three months later). And yet again in his home county of Hamilton, where he served 23 days at two dollars a day. He claimed he was never paid.

Newton was not idle during the war, as Mariah gave birth to their seventh and last child, William Harrison Clanton, in 1862.

After the end of the war, Newman, John Wesley and Phin went west, and showed up on a list of people at Fort Bowie, Arizona, on route to California, who formerly belonged to the Confederate States Army. The list also included physical descriptions. Newman Clanton: six feet one inch, fair complexion, light hair, and blue eyes. John Wesley Clanton: five feet eleven inches, fair complexion, light hair, and brown eyes. Phin Clanton: Five feet eight inches, fair complexion, brown hair, and blue eyes.

Joseph Isaac "Ike" Clanton

The family left Fort Bowie and headed for California, but Mariah died some time in 1866, leaving Newman with seven children ranging from four to twenty-five years of age. John Wesley got married in California to Nancy Rose Kelsey, 17, and his brother Phin lived with them. Their first child, Mary, was born in California in 1870.

Clanton daughter Mary Elsie also married in California to John Franklin Slinkard. They had five children.

The next we hear of the Clanton family, they are in Arizona, and we’ll take up that story in the next instalment.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Meeting of the Western Union

Fifty members of Western Union, an organization of Western fiction and movie buffs in Japan, met at the Chuck Wagon restaurant in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, on Saturday, July 10, 2010. It was the 10th meeting of the group, which was formed three years ago, in the wake of another organization (which I don't remember the name of). The "meeting" went on for three hours over TexMex food and pitchers of beer. Above is the commemorative picture of the bunch. I'm somewhere in the back in a brown straw hat.

Chuck Tyrell was a guest speaker. Black Horse Westerns in general and Guns of Ponderosa in particular received a rounding recommendation from Tyrell. Several of the members wanted specific information on how to purchase BHW, which I provided. I mentioned Amazon around the world and suggested The Book Depository.

Duke Hiroi is Western Union's gun expert. His amazing knowledge of guns of the west puts me to shame and would be a lesson to all writers of western fiction. I'll have more to say about Duke as we learn what kinds of model guns are available for the Western fan in Japan.

Remington New Model Army model gun

In Japan, people are not allowed to own or carry handguns (except the police and the gangsters, of course) so a model gun industry has grown up to serve the men and women who like the feel of a gun in their hands.

I was at a meeting of the Western Union (more to come later) on Saturday, where friend Duke Hiroi showed me an article he'd written in COMBAT magazine. It was a review of a new model from Craft Apple Works, a replica of the 1858 Remington New Model Army six shooter.

Duke had high praise for the authenticity of the model. This CAW Remington is of cast zinc alloy, except for the brass trigger guard and certain internal parts that are milled steel. As a result, the weight is somewhat lighter than the real thing. However, weights and special cylinders can be ordered to put the model's weight at about 2.2 pounds.

The Remington New Model Army was a popular gun in the cap-and-ball era. It had a top strap to the frame that held the barrel firmly. Cylinders could be pre-loaded with paper cartridges and minie-ball-like conical bullets and four or five carried on the person. After six shots, the cylinder could be quickly and easily changed for another six rounds. The Colt dragoon and 1861 army and navy pistols had no top strap, which made replacing the cylinders a time-consuming job. Colt's six-shooters didn't come with a top strap until the Colt SAA Frontier and Peacemaker models came out.

I'm sure we'll hear more from Duke as time goes on.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Woman marshal in the Gateway to the West

Saint Louis, Missouri, calls itself the Gateway to the West. In the late 1880s, the city was beset by a ring of counterfeiters. But an intrepid U.S. Marshal put an end to their activities -- U.S. Marshal Phoebe W. Couzins. And it was not the first time she had led her deputies in the pursuit and capture of criminals who broke federal law.

Phoebe was made a deputy marshal by her father, U.S. Marshal J.E.D. Couzins, in 1887. She was the first. Couzins was confident Phoebe could do the job because she'd already racked up a list of firsts. She was the first woman graduate of Washington University Law School in Saint Louis. She was the first woman to pass the Missouri bar exam. She was also the first professional woman lawyer in the United States. Becoming a U.S. Marshal by President Grover Cleveland merely added another first for Phoebe.

She was a well-known campaigner for women's rights, but died in 1913, seven years before the 19th amendment gave national suffrage to women. Rumor says she asked that her U.S. Marshal's badge be buried with her.

(From the files of the now-defunct National Association for Outlaw and Lawman History)
(Photo from

Saturday, July 3, 2010

How profitable was it to rob Wells Fargo?

In January 1885, J.B. Hume, chief of the Wells Fargo detective force filed a prepared statement on losses and casualties suffered by the company from 1870 to 1884.

The amount taken from Wells Fargo express shipments by stage robbers, train robbers, and burglars during those years totaled $415,312.

Rewards paid for the apprehension and arrest of the "bad guys", including a percentage of any money recovered, totaled $73,541.

Attorneys' fees paid for assisting in the prosecution of those apprehended came to $22,367.

Other "incidental" expenses incurred in connection with the robberies was $90,000.

Salaries of guards and special officers during these years totaled $326,517.

Thus, the total loss and costs for the fourteen years in question was slightly more than $927,700.

(From the files of the now-defunct National Association for Outlaw and Lawman History)

Friday, July 2, 2010

Little-known facts about outlaws

How did Ella Watson hit the front page of the newspapers?

Better known as Cattle Kate, Watson was hanged on the Sweetwater for supposedly disposing of stolen cattle.

What famous Indian scout, plainsman, Pinkerton man, and Rough Rider was handed in Cheyenne for murder?

Tom Horn. He was hanged November 20, 1903, for allegedly murdering William Nickell, a young boy.

Who was uncle to the Ford boys, guerrilla raider with the Jameses during the Civil War, and later a gang member?

Jim Cummings, also known as "Windy Jim," the last of the raiders to die, in 1929, at Higgensville, Missouri.

When and where was Nathan D. Champion, who was slain in Wyoming during the Johnson County War, born?

September 29, 1857, near Round Rock, Texas.

Who was the man known in Texas as Billy Leroy?

Billy Leroy was William Henry Harrison Bonney, Jr., otherwise known as Billy the Kid.

How did Pat Garrett, the man who shot Billy the Kid, die?

He was killed from ambush by Jim Miller, but Wayne Brazel took the blame. The dastardly deed took place February 28, 1908. Brazel was acquitted and dropped out of sight.

How many men did J. Pinckney "Pinky" Higgins kill and what happened to him?

Higgins led a faction in the Horrell-Higgins feud. He killed 19 men. He died of a heart attack in 1893.

A well-known bandit, sometimes known as Buck, was tried for train robbery in Missouri and for murder in Alabama, and was acquitted both times. What was his real name?

Alexander Franklin "Frank" James, brother to Jesse.

Who was the famous gunman who rode through Old Mobeetie, Texas, in his birthday suit?

Robert Clay Allison

(From the files of the now-defunct National Association for Outlaw and Lawman History)