I appreciated your October 2018 issue, with particular attention to “Gunfights Far From the O.K. Corral” [by Ron Soodalter]. You can imagine my delight in seeing the first of those gunfights featured an ancestor, Dallas Stoudenmire. My research on Dallas yields five or six different versions of the gunfight. However, I think the general consensus lies with the account you have reported, as described by Leon Metz. My hat is tipped to Soodalter.
I greatly enjoyed Ron Soodalter’s article “Gunfights Far From the O.K. Corral.” I am sure there were many to choose from, but I was disappointed to see he had not included the shootout at Ehrenberg, Arizona Territory, on May 17, 1877. Joseph Wiley Evans, the one-armed superintendent of a stage line, and George “Crete” Bryan stood nearly toe to toe with Thomas Brophy and exchanged shots—Bryan and Evans with six-shooters, and Bryan with a borrowed shotgun loaded with small shot. Bryan started the affair with a faster draw, wounding Evans with a grazing wound to his head. Bryan then fired the shotgun, but Brophy continued the fight until he ran out of ammunition and could not reload. The lawmen then escaped injury from a hail of bullets from a Winchester repeater fired by Brophy’s partner, John Sutton, before arresting the two road agents.
I also wanted to mention that Captain Charles Meinhold, the investigator mentioned in the Indian Life article “Whistler’s Murder,” by Matt Vincent, had investigated the Wickenberg massacre 13 months earlier and done a bang-up job of it. Matt’s description shows the captain was again thorough and methodical.
Ron Soodalter’s gunfights feature was most interesting. But I was surprised he left out what author John Boessenecker called “the single most extraordinary feat of self-defense by an American civilian in the annals of the frontier.” This feat of arms also is consistently omitted from all the supposedly definitive books on gunfights in the West, even though the defender inflicted a KIA rate of nearly 80 percent of his opponents.
On Dec. 19, 1854, former Mexican War Army officer Jonathan Davis survived a robbery-ambush by 14 Gold Rush–era outlaws near Placerville, Calif., in what became known as the Rock Canyon gunfight. After his two companions (fellow prospectors) were murdered in cold blood, Davis went to work. Killing seven bandits with his Colt revolver, he ran out of ammo and dispatched four more with his bowie knife. Seventeen bullets passed through his clothing, yet Davis suffered only two minor flesh wounds. All of his actions were later legally verified and reported. Of some 30 civilian shootouts in U.S. history involving seven or more deaths, only half had a body count of 11 or more. Compared to his epic one-man standoff, the O.K. Corral was mere child’s play.
There are so many fascinating events in the history of the West that receive virtually no coverage, so it is nice to see Wild West offering stories that have not been told over and over again.
MILES TO GO
In the December 2018 Wild West I so enjoyed the letter about General Nelson A. Miles that said, “He should have been hanged for his crimes, not rated as anything but the rich politician who bought his way to the top.” My ancestors are Apaches and Comanches. I pray God forgives him for what he did to my people. I don’t think he did much to shape the West (only for himself).
In the February 2018 Letters you ran a letter with a photograph, and the letter writer wondered if it showed the Chiricahua Apache woman Huera at an earlier age. It does not. The photo [shown again at left] was not taken in 1875. The man next to her wears an Apache policeman’s badge, which were issued in 1885. The photo is of the Apache Palier [sp?] and possibly his wife.
Kansas City, Mo.
Your Go West page on the Hubbell Trading Post in the June 2018 issue brings back many memories. I was born in Gallup, N.M., in 1931 and started kindergarten in Ganado, Ariz., where Hubbell was located. In those days it was very primitive on the Navajo Nation. My grandfather, who ran the irrigation for the Navajos, lived a few miles out of Ganado, and his living conditions were also primitive by today’s standards. His water was supplied by a windmill, lighting was by oil lamps, his telephone was on the wall—with three longs and two shorts—and the privy was an outhouse. From Ganado we moved to Fort Defiance, Ariz., where my brother was born, then to Window Rock, Ariz., until World War II.
John H. Thorne
Rogue River, Ore.
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