OK, Rich gave me this forum because he knew I'm a blackpowder guy. I admit I've been neglecting the cowboys but that's only because I haven't really gone into reading Western Hystery yet. Sure I read about the Box Wagon Fight, Billy Dixon, Little Big Horn, Chief Joseph, but in comparison to what I've read about the French and Indian War, American Revolution, Civil War, it's nothing. When I visited Sedona, AZ last month I stopped by Fort Verde (a unit of the AZ State Park System). Nice place and what a nice library they have there. Three bookcases with filled with books and of them, maybe I have about a dozen. Seems like there's a lot of catching up to do.
But before I share a rambling anecdote, does anybody know the origin of "cowboy?" Don't tell me it's a translation of the Spanish "Vaquero" because "cowboy" goes back to the Revolutionary War. So, without further delay, here's the Rambling Anecdote you've dropped into read. Enjoy.
"William Barclay 'Bat' Masterson arrived in Dodge with the railroad.
He had contracted to grade the Sante Fe right-of-way on the mile extending west from the military reservation, the mile along which Front Street was being built. The subcontractor for whom he did the grading, however, was obliged to go east and neglected to pay Bat for his work.
Bat was little more than a boy then, barely nineteen years old, broke - and a long way from home. Tom Nixon hired him to drive team.
One day after the railroad had reached Coloroado somebody tipped Bat off that his debtor was at Granada. Said he, 'Bat, he's got two, three thousand dollars rolled up in his pocket, and he'll be through here on tomorrow's train.'
Now Bat had not been working on the railroad just to pass the time away.
Bat asked Josiah Wright Mooar to go with him. They met the train. Mooar waited on the platform. Bat boarded the train, found the fellow, and brought him right out onto the platform at the muzzle of his six-shooter.
Then Bat siad, 'You owe me $300, and dammit, if you don't pay, you're never going back into that car.'
The fellow protested, 'You're robbing me.'
Bat declared, 'No sir, I'm not robbing you. I'm just collecting an honest debt. You owe it, and you're going to pay it right now.'
So the fellow pulled out his roll tied with a buckskin thong, peeled off the right amount and paid Bat.
Bat thanked him, declared the debt settled, and the fellow was mighty glad to scramble back into that railroad car.
While they were having an argument a crowd had gathered to see the fun, and everybody hurrahed Bat about his method of collecting the debt. Bat set 'em up, and all the sporting men in Dodge rallied to him. Up until then he had not been much noticed there....
Guns were used to see fair play.
And that's our Rambling Anecdote for today.