~ February 21, 1894 • Queen City Mail ~

Couldn’t Bluff Buffalo Bill.

Fred May Tried it at Washington a Few Days Ago and Got It Where the Chicken Got the Ax.

    A Washington special to the Omaha Bee of the 17th inst says: Col. William F. Cody, of Nebraska, who is here to secure permission from the secretary of the interior to take with his show this season a number of Indians from the northwest reservations, had a lively fistic encounter at Chamberlain’s last night. With George Beck of Wyoming and a number of other friends Col. Cody was entering a private dining room to take supper, when Fred May, the well known New York athlete and club man, who a dozen years or so ago fought a duel with James Gordon Bennett, approached the Nebraskan and gruffly demanded an apology for an alleged offence a decade since in New York. Col. Cody said that he was not aware that he ever had offended May, but that if he had he apologized, for he did not mean to wantonly offend any man. May was drinking and was somewhat under the influence of liquor. Then Col. Cody entered the dining room.

    After support he and his friends were leaving Chamberlain’s, when May, accompanied by three or four companions, approached him and demanded further apology. May declared that the apology made was “no apology at all.”

    “Yes,” said one of May’s companions, “make the d—d long-haired western ranger apologize,” and he applied an offensive epithet.

    Up to this moment Col. Cody had been apologetical and good-natured, but now he struck out from the shoulder. May’s companion, a burly fellow, got Bill’s fist just under the left ear and went sprawling into the hat rack some distance away.

    “Now you will apologize to me,” exclaimed May, approaching Col. Cody, and assuming a fistic attitude. “All right,” replied Buffalo Bill, and he let May have it in the neck.

    No sooner had May “went to grass” than Bill’s first victim drew a revolver. Mr. Beck caught this and wrenched it from the stranger’s hand just as Bill hit the latter a right-hander in the eye and knocked him out. By this time May, who is a powerfully built man and a slugger from way back, was on his feet and coming at the Nebraskan. This was the climax. The Wild West showman hit May a blow on the chin, which actually knocked him ten feet under the table. This ended the fight. Neither assailant renewed the battle. Buffalo Bill had whipped two men, either of whom was his equal, if not his superior, in physical strength and size.

    Col. Cody is much humiliated over the affair. He is not a quarrelsome man and after due apologies for fancied wrongs actually begged May and his friends not to make a row. The affair was kept a secret until today, and efforts have been made to have no publication made of it. Everybody says Cody was right. May and his friends are yet in bad blood, but the end has probably been reached.

~ February 21, 1894 • Queen City Mail ~

Has “Lame Johnny” A Double?

The Incident Connected with the Lynching of “Lame Johnny” In Early Days Recalled by the Arrest of a Man Who It Is Claimed Is the Original and Only “Lame Johnny.”

    Most people of the Hills are familiar with the history of a notorious outlaw and horse thief who was a terror to the Southern Hills, only a few years ago, and who was captured and hung by a party who were searching for him. He was known by the name of “Lame Johnny,” but what his real name was perhaps no one in this country ever knew. The capture and hanging, which was after the style of Judge Lynch, occurred on the banks of a small creek about a dozen miles northeast from what now is the flourishing city of Hot Springs. The party came up to him unannounced, “got the drop on him,” and when he summed up the situation and saw that it was only a choice between being shot down on the spot or being hanged to the limb of a tree, and perhaps thinking there might be a possibility of escape or at least a few minutes more of mortal existence, he chose to surrender. At all events his captors made short work of it and in a few moments Lame Johnny was dangling from the limb of a convenient tree. He was buried under the tree where he expiated his many crimes. The creek where this tragedy occurred has ever since been called Lame Johnny Creek.

    Some three years ago James Davis of this city was coming up with his family from Hot Springs, and chanced to arrive at the creek simultaneously with a party who were about to resurrect the remains for the purpose of proving, first, whether any person was actually buried there; and secondly, whether or not that person was actually Lame Johnny. Mr. Davis, who was an early settler here and claimed to have known Johnny is his palmist days, waited and witnessed the exhuming of what remained of the once noted outlaw. At a depth of less than three feet the remains were found, with the rope still about the neck of the victim. Enough was there found to satisfy the party, including Mr. Davis, that the remains were none other than those of Lame Johnny the horse thief.

    Last night a rumor was current in this city that a person had been arrested and is now in jail at Deadwood who bore unmistakable evidence of being the original Lame Johnny, and suggesting the probability that Judge Lynch had made a slight mistake and had executed the wrong man. Opinions are wide apart on this question, some claiming that it was not Lame Johnny that was hanged, and others, equally positive, that it was “the right man in the right place,” and if any one has been arrested bearing a strong resemblance to Johnny, it is but the case of another man with a double.

~ April 11, 1894 • Queen City Mail ~

The Storm’s Victims

The Dead Body of a Young Man Found Near the Forked Lightning Horse Ranch.

Supposed To Be One of the Jolley Boys, Who Reside Near the Devil’s Tower.

The Body of George Dorsett, the Lost Mail Carrier. Not Yet Found.

    The following extracts from a letter just received by J. P. Gammon from E. E. Height, foreman at the Forked Lightning horse ranch, seventy-five miles northwest from this city, are self-explanatory. The writer says:

    On Friday, March 30, we found a boy frozen to death, hanging to the wire fence about thirty yards north of the big gate on east side of the big pasture. He is about seventeen or eighteen years old, and very thinly clad. He has on a pair of brown, striped pants on the outside, and pair of grey pants underneath, and a brown plaid coat. He had nothing in his pockets to identify him by. He had a pocketknife with about half of the big blade broken off. He had on a pair of heavy gaiter shoes that had just been half-soled; had no hat on. Tom Hill first saw him. It is hard to tell how long he has been there, as it has been impossible to travel down through there, but he evidently got lost in a blizzard. His hands were badly cut up by the wire by trying to follow the fence, and he still clung to the top wire with one hand, and was nearly snowed under. Some of the boys thought he resembled one of the Jolley boys. He was about the size of the one that went east with us, but his face was bloated and changed in color so I could not tell. The following were present and saw him before he was touched, and were also at the funeral: Tom Hill, Sam Bunker, George H. Whitney, Devere E. Carr, A. J. Groesbeck and wife, and myself.

    Mr. Height says the storm which begun there on Monday evening, March 19, was the worst blizzard he ever saw. He thinks the losses of stock will be heavy, though he says he has not yet found any horses that perished by the storm.

    It is learned from another source that one of the Jolley boys started from his home near the Devil’s Tower to cross the county to the Mitten ranch, and has not been heard from since, unless it turns out that he is the one found as above related.

George Dorsett.

    A telephone dispatch was received here Sunday night stating that George Dorsett, the lost mail boy, was found near the head of Indian Creek, and the body returned to his home. The horse had made his way home before the finding of the boy. The place where he was found is nearly on a straight line from Minnesela to Short Pine Hills, the point he was endeavoring to make.

    There is every reason now for the belief that the telephone message sent here last Saturday night from Belle Fourche, that the Dorsett boy had been found, was a base, cruel falsehood on part of somebody. After the visit here of Samuel Sandusky, an account of which was published Monday, Mr. Daggett called up the Belle Fourche operator and made diligent inquiry, but could not learn who brought the report to that place or who telephoned it here. Parties in from that neighborhood today have no knowledge of the finding of the boy, and do not think he has been found. The country where he was lost is cut up with deep washouts, now filled with snow. One gentleman from Hay Creek said: “If he has dropped into one of those washouts, he may not be found before May or June.”

    Today Samuel Sandusky, who was one of the searching party that left David Dorsett’s ranch on Redwater last Wednesday morning, came into town for fresh supplies of provisions and horse feed. From him a reporter gathered much valuable information regarding the lost boy, and settling some disputed points in relation thereto.

    David Dorsett and Samuel Sandusky started Wednesday morning, April 4, in search of the missing boy. On the way they were joined by others, making the total number fourteen. They proceeded to the Hash Knife ranch, where they learned that the boy left that place at 7 a.m. on Tuesday, April 3. From that point they tracked him to Beaver Dam creek, eighteen miles. From the creek he followed the old Hash Knife road to Dead Horse Creek. Here they found the cart and harness, which had been abandoned. The tracks indicated that he put the mail sack on the horse and started in a southeast direction, going with the wind, leading the horse. His tracks were found for a distance of about 600 yards, when all further traces were lost. The party made a thorough search along South Indian creek, Owl creek and Dead Horse creek. Sunday at 3 p.m. Mrs. Dorsett and Sandusky left the party and came to town for supplies. They had found no trace of the boy, except as about stated. Mr. Sandusky thinks, if the telephone report is correct, that there must have been another party of whom he knew nothing; that they were a little further up the creek that his party had been, but thinks the report is probably correct.

    George Dorsett was between seventeen and eighteen years of age, a bright, intelligent boy, of good habit, and was the only support of a widowed mother. He was engaged in carrying the mail from Minnesela to Alzada, Mont., via Nashville and Camp Crook. He had been on the route for a considerable time and was perfectly familiar with the roads and the country generally. The location of the cart and harness when found seems to indicate that he had become confused and had lost his bearing in the storm, as he appeared to be going with the wind, when his right course was within a point or two of straight against the wind at the time he must have been there.


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