Archuleta County Uprising—Rope Secured To Hang Me—Running Down A Wells-fargo Robber In Old Mexico—We Capture The Noted Bassick Mine
Early in the spring of 1887 I was sent out on my first cowboy operation.
In the southwestern part of Colorado on the border of New Mexico, was situated the County of Archuleta, the county seat being Pagosa Springs, and the nearest railroad being Amargo, New Mexico.
What the Denver newspapers called anarchy, and a great uprising, had broken loose in this county which contained only about seventy-five voters. The residents of Archuleta county were mostly "Americans," but the Archuleta brothers of Amargo, New Mexico, ruled politically by flooding the county on election day with their New Mexican sheep herders who voted.
Finally the citizens rebelled and drove all the county officials with the exception of the sheriff and county clerk, who joined the insurgents, out of the country. They even burnt up some of their property and threatened death if they ever returned.
In order to retain their office by law, the five deported county commissioners, "Press" and "Don" Archuleta, Bendito Martinez, Mr. Scase and J. M. Archuleta, had to hold a county commissioners' meeting within sixty days; hence my being sent on ahead as a Texas outlaw, so as to be one of the revolutionists should a battle take place.
In Durango, Colorado, I bought a horse and saddle and rode sixty miles to Pagosa Springs. Enroute I stopped at the G. cattle ranch and made myself solid with Gordon G., who was one of the ringleaders of the uprising and known as a "bad" man from Texas.
While at the G. ranch I confided in Gordon by telling him of how I had killed three Mexicans in Texas and had to skip. He also told me of trouble he had in Texas.
On reaching Pagosa Springs, I headed straight for the residence of E. M. Taylor, the County clerk, who was the brains and the leader of the revolutionists.
I had made up my mind to establish myself at the Taylor residence if nerve and gall could accomplish the feat.
Riding up to the porch I tied my horse and knocked on the front door. Mrs. Taylor appeared and informed me that her husband had gone to his sheep ranch, and would not be back till dark. I asked if I couldn't wait there until his return. She asked why I wished to see him. Told her that I wanted to live with them awhile. Here the little lady climbed upon her dignity and informed me that they did not keep boarders; that there were two hotels in town. She then slammed the door in my face.
Recalling that old saying: "Faint heart ne'er won fair lady," I determined to try it. So unsaddling my pony and placing the saddle on the porch, I took the horse to the stable and gave him a good feed of grain and hay. Then returning to the porch, I lay down on the saddle.
It was a damp, cold day, and through the window I could see Mrs. Taylor and her only child, a ten-year-old daughter, sitting by the blazing fire in the hearth. Through the window they could also see me.
About dusk Mr. Taylor rode up on his horse and wanted to know what was up. I told him my tale of woe—that I had got into trouble in Texas and was hiding out—hence did not want to stop at a hotel. Also that I was a friend of Gordon G.'s. He replied that if I was a friend of Gordon's I could stop with them, providing he could get his wife's consent. He was absent in the house long enough to get the consent of ten men.
Mrs. Taylor was a splendid cook, and the warm supper hit the soft spot in my heart. And the nice clean bed in a cozy front room put me at peace with all the world.
Shortly after I had established myself in the home of Mr. Taylor, the county commissioners, with the county judge, J. Archuleta, and the county attorney, Jas. L. Russell, returned from New Mexico under an escort of sixty mounted and well armed Mexicans.
We revolutionists, about seventy-five strong, met them at the bridge spanning the San Juan river, and prevented them from entering the town. Communications were carried on through flags of truce.
Our side were mostly wild and woolly cowboys and ranchmen, and we had plenty of liquor to keep up our fighting spirit.
The county officials were camped in an old house on the opposite side of the swift flowing San Juan river, while their armed escort were housed in the vacated government barracks, a quarter of a mile distant from the river.
A plot was laid to assassinate the seven officials at 3 A. M. Two men were to cross the river above town and slip along under the bank to a haystack which adjoined the house in which the officials slept. The haystack was to be set on fire. This would burn the house. Men secreted behind rocks on our side of the river were to shoot down the gentlemen as they ran out of the burning building.
About 11 p. M. I waded the river half a mile above town and made a swift run to notify the armed guards doing duty at the old government barracks.
Jose Martinez, brother to Bendito Martinez, promised that he would give me ample time to get back to the saloon where our mob was congregated, before notifying the officials. But this he failed to do; the result being that our guards on the bridge saw the officials running with their valises over to the camp of their fighting men. Then the drunken mob began counting noses to see who of their party were absent to have warned the enemy. Of course, I was missed. Hence when I returned there was something "doing," and they were determined to hang me. But my friends, Taylor, Dyke and Gordon, believed my protests of innocence and my life was spared.
They decided to set a trap for me the next night. They concluded that if I were the guilty party I must have communicated the secret to Mrs. Scase, and she sent the news to her husband by one of her small boys. It puzzled them to know how I could have waded the swift river, which was waist deep, without wetting my clothes. They had felt to see if they were wet. They did not know that I disrobed while crossing the river.
County Commissioner Scase had a Mexican wife, and when the mob burnt up their residence and livery stable and escorted Mr. Scase over the line into New Mexico, they allowed Mrs. Scase and her children to occupy an old shack on the bank of the San Juan river. So at this shack the trap was set to catch me. They felt sure that if I were a detective I would communicate with Mrs. Scase. Therefore, they had two men detailed to watch this shack. They secreted themselves in a large wood pile near the front door. These men took turns about guarding.
We had a dance that night. All attended but the men on duty guarding the bridge and the Scase shack.
About 11 p. M. I walked in a round-about-way to the Scase residence to deposit some short hand notes in the back of an old oil painting which hung on the wall, and which had escaped the fire. I passed within a few yards of the wood pile where the armed guard was doing duty.
Securing the door key under a board—where Mrs. Scase had promised to leave it—I entered the front room and deposited the notes. Then I sat on the edge of the bed talking to Mrs. Scase a moment. The children were sound asleep.
In taking my departure I slipped a board out of place along the wall, facing the river, and made a jump of about twelve feet onto the rocky edge of the river. Mrs. Scase replaced the board.
As soon as I entered the door the young man in the wood pile ran to the dance hall to tell the half drunken mob that the suspect was caught in the trap. All grabbed their rifles or shotguns and raided the Scase shack. I was told that Mrs. Scase stood pat and insisted that I had not been there.
When I entered the dance hall the ladies and children turned their gaze onto me. There were no men in the place but the two fiddlers. A runner was sent to inform the mob that I was in the hall.
In a few moments the hall was a surging mass of armed men. Gordon G. touched me on the shoulder, saying: "Anderson, I want to speak to you." He led the way into a side room where there was a carpenter's work bench, and pointing to this bench, he asked me to sit down as he wished to ask me some questions. Around my waist were old Colt's 45 and a pearl-handled bowie knife. My first impulse was to draw the pistol and fight my way out, but on second thought I concluded that would be showing bad detective ability.
I sat down on the bench facing Gordon, who stood six feet in his stockings, and was otherwise every inch a man. Placing both hands on my knees and looking me square in the face, he said: "Now, Anderson, I want you to tell me the truth. If you do I can save you, otherwise you are going to be killed. Now, remember, don't lie to me. I want the truth. Are you a detective?" I answered, "no." He then continued: "Well, what were you doing in Mrs. Scase's house tonight?" I replied that I did not know Mrs. Scase, nor had I ever been in her house. Said he: "Well, one of our men swears he saw you go in there."
At this I jumped off the bench and with my hand on old Colt's 45, demanded that he show me the dirty whelp that would tell such a lie on me. And that if he said it to my face, one of us would have to die. I said this in a loud angry tone so that the mob in the hall could hear me.
Gordon said: "I believe, Anderson, you are telling the truth. But keep cool, and I'll put you face to face with the man."
We then walked into the hall and Gordon called the young man. As he stepped up I asked if he had lied about me. The result was the poor fellow weakened and said he could have been mistaken, but the man who entered Mrs. Scase's looked like me, but it being dark, he might have been mistaken.
That settled it for the night, but next day the mob became drunk and unruly and were determined to hang me as a spy. It would require too much space to give the details. The result was that through hard lying I saved my neck and was promoted. Sheriff Dyke made me one of his special deputies at $4.00 a day, as long as I could remain. This money came in handy and it was all "velvet," that is, belonged to me individually.
Two days later, after being appointed deputy sheriff, I saved the lives of the county commissioners, the county judge and Attorney Russell, who, by the way, has since served as district judge of that district, and at the present writing, so I am told, is still an honored citizen of that county.
A plot had been planned for both sides to stack all the fire arms and leave two men from each side to guard them. Then a meeting of the commissioners could sit in the court house. The scheme was to have some rifles cached and make a raid on the fire arms and their guards. Then the slaughter was to begin.
All the county officials with the exception of Bendito Martinez had agreed to the plan. All were trying to get Martinez's consent. He finally caught my eye and I shook my head—as much as to say don't do it. That settled it. He stood pat and the plot fell through.
I have heard it said that a Mexican can't take a hint, but Martinez caught a hint in a very light shake of my head. Poor fellow, he soon afterwards shot a man dead in the Durango court room, which broke him up financially, though I hear he is getting on his feet again.
After holding the county officials and their armed escort at bay for about four days, peace was declared by the leaders of the revolutionists being promised an even division of the political pie in future. Then the commissioners held their meeting and all departed for New Mexico.
The blood of the insurgents had cooled off as the liquors in Bowland's saloon diminished, hence peace was declared under a flag of truce—a woman's white apron.
For the next six weeks I had nothing to do but play outlaw and eat Mrs. Taylor's good cooking. Whenever suspicious strangers appeared in town Sheriff Dyke would have me keep hid out until he could learn their business, for fear they might be Texas officers on my trail.
Often I would be the sole occupant of the Taylor residence and at such times I would read Mr. Taylor's private political letters. His old love letters would be laid to one side. I had secured a key that fitted his private desk.
There were piles of political letters and receipts for votes bought during past elections. The ruling price of votes was two dollars in cash or one sheep. Most of the interesting political letters were from Billy Adams, brother of the twice governor of Colorado, Alva Adams. From these letters I learned many new lessons in up-todate western politics.
I appeared before the grand jury in the adjoining county of La Plata, at Durango, the judge of the court being Chas. D. Hayt, and the prosecuting attorney, G. T. Summer, with the result that sixteen of the leaders in the uprising were indicted.
I then disposed of my horse and saddle and "sneaked" to an eastbound train for Denver.
I had been on the operation about two months and during that time I dared not write reports or letters to my wife, nor receive mail from Denver, as the postoffice at Pagosa Springs was in the hands of the insurgents. I had used the name of Chas. Anderson on this operation.
Arriving in Denver, I was hurried away to the Republic of Mexico to run down an A., T. & S. F. Ry. brakeman who had stolen $10,000 from the Wells-Fargo Express Company at La Junta, Colorado, during the excitement of a train wreck.
A ride of 700 miles on the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway brought me to El Paso, Texas, and another 1,200 miles on the Mexican Central Railway brought me to the City of Mexico.
On arriving there the first thing I did was to write a nice letter to my friend Taylor in Pagosa Springs, telling him that I had got a telegram from my brother in Texas warning me to skip, as the grand jury had found a true bill against me for murder, and that I intended to remain in the City of Mexico a month or so until my brother could get money to me; then I was going to lose myself in the wilds of South America. My address in the City of Mexico under a new assumed name was given to Mr. Taylor, and in the course of three weeks I received a nice long letter from him. He told me that the grand jury in Colorado had indicted him, Sheriff Dyke and fourteen of the other leaders, for running the county officials out of Archuleta county and burning their property. He said that they were all then under heavy bond, and on account of the mysterious way in which I left, they had laid their downfall on to my giving them away before the grand jury; that they were mad enough to murder me if I could have been found; that I only had one friend in Pagosa Springs who stuck up for me to the last and refused to believe me guilty, and that was his wife. He said that this showed how a woman could be a true friend when once her mind is made up. He assured me that no matter to what part of the earth I might drift, I could count on having true friends in Pagosa Springs, and that any time I should need money or help, to write him. I have never seen any of the Archuleta county warriors since leaving there, hence I do not know whether I am regarded as an outlaw yet or not. I see by the papers that Taylor still lives in Pagosa Springs, which has grown to be an important railroad town, and that he is judge of the court there.
In dismissing the Archuleta county uprising, I wish to state that these men had good cause for revolting, as politics in that county were rotten. Most of them were honorable citizens, though a little rough and wild. Of course, I felt "sore" at them for wanting to hang me up by the neck.
I shall always hold my friend Gordon G. as one of the "true blue" sons of the Lone Star State, as he knows how to stick to a friend.
Here I will take a break from the narrative. This is the end of the part of the chapter for Archuleta County. If your interested in the rest of the chapter it is included at the bottom of the page, Please enjoy. Immediately below is a news paper article about the outbreak of this event in Archuleta County.
|The Salt Lake Herald.
Salt Lake City, Utah,
February 03, 1887.
|A STATE ANARCHY|
|An Alleged High Handed|
|WORK OF A DESPERATE MOB|
|They Forcibly Oust Officials, burn|
the House of One and Create
a Reign of Terror
|A Wild and Deaperate Mob|
DENVER February 2—Pagosa Springs
the seat of Archuleta County, is in a
state of anarchy A mob has driven
the county commissioners from the
town burned several houses of Commissioner Scase and forced him to resign his office at the point of a revolver A special from there says: J.
B Martinez, J. P. Archuleta and Mr
Scase Republican county commissioners, were on january 31, unseated by the Democratic sheriff named
Height. The act was done with political
intent and the mob which followed the
sheriff after having accomplished the
act of intimidation
BURNED THE HOUSE
of Mr Scase at Pagosa Springs. This
last act was committed on Monday
during the absence of Scase in Denver
Last November the above–named commissioners were elected by Republican
votes a the same time that a Democrat named Height was elected sheriff
There was great feeling at the polls, but
the preponderating Mexican vote
assured Martinez Archuleta and
Scase of their triumph over
the attacKs of their antagonists. They
were Mexicans and this too added
strength to the bitterness prevalent
The feeling increased instead of
diminishing as the time of their induction into office approached and
January 3 at the county seat the time
for their official appearance an armed
body of fifteen or twenty determined
men led by Sheriff Height forced a
way into the room where the commissioner were seated and demanded of
them that they
VACATE THEIR SEATS
The sheriff insisted that their resignations be made at once else there would
be blood shed The commissioners had
mistaken the temper of the mob and refused under the impression that the
demonstration was nothing more than
bluster but the mob intent on its purpose took forcible possession of the
cammissioners and with more threats locked them in a room declaring it to
be their purpose to starve them into submission At the time of the forcible
entry one member, Martinez, left the
room and escaped from the building
A delegation overtook him and
FORCIBLY DRAGGED HIM
through the streets to the court house
and locked him up with his companions
Finally at the expiration of five or six
hours the mob permitted their
prisoners to go but the concession
seemed to be for a purpose As soon
as the three Commissioners separated,
the mob, with the sheriff still at their
head, followed commissioner Scase to
his home Scase was the proprietor of
the hotel at Pagosa Springs and it was
here that he resided The mob surrounded the hotel and taking Scase
again into custody he was dragged
FROM THE MIDST OF HIS FAMILY
and with a gun barrel at his
head compelled to resign his
office as commissioner The resignation so obtained was at once for
warded to Governor Adams and instructions sent with it that he appoint
at once a Democrat in place of Scase
Since that time the board has not met
no laws hare been enforced and a condition of things bordering upon anarchy has prevailed The commissioners
have not been permitted to set foot in
the county since the day they were
warned at the peril of their lives not to
return In fact it was
DANGEROUS TO REMAIN IN THE VICINITY
and so they started at once to Denver
not only for protection but to lay their
grievances before their representatives
in the Legislature and the governor"
The Governor is doing all in his
power to secure a peaceful settlement of
the trouble The matter will be brought
before the General Assembly today
and a joint committee appointed to investigate the affair at once.
Here continues the rest of Chapter 2
A few nights after my arrival in Mexico City, a big earthquake shook up the city. It shook the Guadaola Hotel where I had a room on the fourth floor, from stem to stern. Many people in the city, according to reports, had been killed. The next morning the streets were still lined with natives praying.
A few days later the big day of the Republic, the Fifth of May, was celebrated, and I then saw my first bull fight, and I never want to witness another. If ever Uncle Sam should want a good soldier to help wipe Mexico off the face of the earth or make her promise to quit her coldblooded cruelties to dumb animals, he can count on me and I will gladly furnish my own ammunition. They pitted three bulls imported from Spain against four native bulls. The ones from Spain were artists when it came to butchering horses. If they had killed a few of the ignorant and cruel Mexicans who were riding the poor beasts up to be gored to death, they would have won my applause. One horse was sewed up six times and each time ridden back to be gored again, until finally killed by the bull. It was enough to disgust a Piute Indian, and still men, women and little children went wild and shouted for joy at the sight of blood and the suffering of the dumb brutes.
To show what a great head I've got for avoiding danger, I will cite a little instance. A Mexican National Railway engineer, whose arm was in a sling, having been injured in a recent wreck, was out with me to see the sights. We visited the noted Church of Guadalupe, which is said to have been built by Montezuma in memory of the angel Guadalupe. After going through the church and seeing the "serape" (blanket), which this angel saint wore on her flying trip from heaven to Mexico City, we climbed the hill to the graveyard where all the noted warriors are buried. It covers a couple of acres and a guard with a rifle and sword is kept on duty night and day.
On coming to old General Santa Ana's grave, I thought of poor Davy Crockett and his brave followers who met their fate in the Alamo at San Antonio, Texas, through the inhuman blood-craving of this same old general. The earth mound where he sleeps was plastered over with all kinds of fancy, many-colored pieces of broken chinaware. One particularly pretty piece took my eye and I told the engineer that it would be in my cabinet of curios even if it should cost me a leg. The engineer said it would mean possible death or a long term in a Mexican dungeon if I were caught stealing from this "heap big chief's" grave, but when he found that I was determined to risk a fight to a finish with this copper-colored son of old Montezuma, he agreed to assist me by steering the watchman away to another part of the graveyard and keeping his back towards me by asking him questions about the city which lay at our feet in plain view. The guard stood in sight with the seat of his white cotton pants towards me when I and old Colt's 45 climbed over the sharp-pointed, tall iron pickets and secured the prize. We wondered if Davy Crockett turned over in his grave to smile.
When a cowboy, and on a tear, we used to often in fun get up on the bar and yell: "I'm a wolf, and tonight is my night to howl. I've got two rows of teeth, one for ransacking graveyards and the other for devouring human beings." Little did I dream then that in years to come I would ransack old Santa Ana's grave just to satisfy a greedy desire for a pretty relic and to break the slow monotony of a peaceful life.
Much of my time was spent with Supt. Daniel Turner and his assistants in the Wells-Fargo office. They had just gone through a siege of fool Mexican law. They had all been held prisoners in their own offices over a peeled duck—that is, a duck with the feathers off.
A few hundred miles north, as a passenger train was fixing to pull out for the capital, a Mexican came running up to the Wells-Fargo agent with a duck in his hand. He demanded that it be expressed to his friend in Mexico City. This the agent said was impossible, as his duckship had to be billed out in regular form and now the train was ready to start. The result was the train pulled out leaving Mr. Mexican and his duck on the station platform. But he had his revenge as soon as he could reach the office of the Alcalde and make complaint. For a week or two the agent lay in a dungeon and Supt. Turner and his assistants dare not venture on the streets, as the place was surrounded by guards day and night. For a week Mr. Turner and his men had to eat and sleep in the office on account of the measly little duck, for the law prohibited the officers from going inside the house to arrest them.
I had located my man who had stolen the $10,000. He was living under an assumed name, but he was free from arrest while on Mexican soil, so for that reason I had to keep track of him until he left Mexico. This suited me, as it allowed me a month or two to see the sights and to have a good time.
The thief invested some of the stolen money in diamonds. I kept track of the purchases. Finally he got ready to sail from Vera Cruz on a steamship for Havana, Cuba, thence to New York City, and by rail to his home in Leavenworth, Kansas. I was all ready to go with him on the ship and thereby see Cuba and the City of New York, but word came that yellow fever had broken out in Havana, and our trip was abandoned. However, we started for the United States by way of El Paso, Texas. I remained with my man until he reached his home in Leavenworth, then had him arrested, and I departed for Denver, reaching there after an absence of about two months. Being so busy and constantly on the jump, I never went to the trouble to find out how many years in the penitentiary my friend received.
After only a few days spent with Mamie and Viola, I had to "hit" the road again, this time for Roseta, a mining camp in Custer county, Colorado, to capture the world renowned Bassick mine.
Four of us operatives, John Rucker, who had traveled with Barnum's circus as a Dickenson man for years, a fellow by the name of Goods, a Frenchman with a name as long as my arm, and myself, started armed to the teeth with Winchester rifles, pistols and playing cards.
At Canon City we left the railroad and drove over the Greenhorn range of mountains in a vehicle loaded with ammunition and grub to stand a long siege. A drive of twenty miles or more brought us to the top of a mountain overlooking the great Bassick mine and the little village of Quereda nestling at its feet. A mile further was the town of Roseta, noted for its tough men and the bloody local battles fought in the early history of Colorado mining. Eight miles to the west lay the prosperous mining camp of Silver Cliff, and the railroad town of West Cliff.
During the night we moved down the hill and entered the large Bassick hoisting works by breaking in a rear window. The custodian, a Kentucky colonel and exsheriff of Custer county whose name was Schofield, was at his home in Quereda, a few hundred yards down the mountain side, asleep.
In law, possession is nine points to the good, therefore, we had gained the points aimed at for our client, Mr. David Bryan, the Minnesota millionaire; but the question was could we hold it in the face of the great odds which Schofield could muster.
We sat up all night and next morning when Schofield unlocked the big front door of the hoisting works, as was his custom as paid custodian for Bassick and his associates, we threw our rifles down on him and made him go away and leave the door open. He had a pistol but made no effort to draw it, his surprise being so great. After he had climbed down off the high platform in front of the door, he was in the main street of Quereda. Across the street was the postoffice and a couple of stores, the remaining buildings being vacant. Finally Schofield recovered from his surprise and demanded to know what we meant. We laughed and told him that we had merely captured his job from him while he slept. He swore that he would dispossess us if it cost all the blood in Roseta. He then got on a horse and galloped over the hill to that town. Anticipating that the men of Roseta would open war on us, our superintendent had sent his trusted bookkeeper, Lawton, to Roseta a few days previous, so as to post us of impending danger. That night a little after midnight, our man Lawton slipped up to a rear window of the hoist and called for us. He was too badly frightened to come in. He gave a note to one of our men and then began "hitting" the high places over the mountains for Canon City. The note read about as follows: "Boys, run for your lives. Don't wait. 300 armed men, many of them drunk and desperate are now on the way from Roseta under the leadership of Schofield to kill you and take possession of the mine. I am off for Canon City. Follow me quick, before it is too late."
We held a hurried council of war and decided to stand "pat" and die fighting "all same" the noted heroes under Davy Crockett at the Alamo. "Frenchy" was the only man who looked pale and he wondered what would become of his wife if he were killed.
Stationing ourselves at upper story windows from whence the little valley towards Roseta and the side of the mountain towards Canon City could be scanned, we awaited results with rifles ready. Soon the moon came out, but she had no blood on her face. I told "Frenchy" that this was considered a good sign during war times.
About 3 o'clock we heard fierce yelling over the hill towards Roseta. Soon, by the bright light of the moon, we saw a dark mass of something creeping over the crest of the hill, a distance of half a mile or more. The yelling still continued. On drawing nearer we discovered the black mass to be men. When within about a quarter of a mile of us the one hundred to two hundred men stopped and collected into a solid round bunch—holding a consultation preparatory to making the final charge, thought we. The yelling had ceased. In a few moments the men began to string out again towards us. We could see that many carried rifles or shotguns, and many were staggering as though loaded with "booze." The yelling had begun again. Soon all stopped and we could hear loud cursing as though they were fighting among themselves. At last, to our great delight, all but two men started back towards Roseta. The two staggered on to Schofield's house and disappeared inside. One of them was Schofield. Next day we heard through the postmistress, a young lady from Chillicothe, Mo., that the mob broke up in a drunken row. Thus ended my second bloodless war within a space of four months.
The Rocky Mountain Daily News of Denver gave the following account of our arrival:
"LAWLESSNESS AT SILVER CLIFF.
Silver Cliff, Colo., June 21, 1887. This community was convulsed with excitement last evening about 6 o'clock, on receipt of news that the Bassick mine had been captured by an armed force of men from abroad. Nothing definite could be gleaned until this morning, when it was learned that four men armed with Winchesters marched at once to the mine, broke in the doors of the old and new works and took possession. They are strangers and have ammunition and provision for a long siege. It has been ascertained that they are under orders from President Brown of the Bassick Mining Company."
In a few days Mr. Chas. Handsell, of the Denver law firm of Mathewson, Thornes & Handsell, came to the Bassick mine to see how we were getting along. As there was some wild talk by Schofield and his friends about ousting us, Mr. Handsell hired two fighting men in Silver Oiff to assist us.
In the course of a week or so matters quieted down and all were called off the job but Rucker and me. After this Schofield, who had been drowning his trouble in drink, made friends with Rucker and me, but we wouldn't allow him to loaf with us on our front porch—the platform in front of the hoist. He had to stand on the ground and hand the bottle up for us to drink out of. He thought this wasn't treating him right after he had buried the hatchet. Then, too, we always made him drink out of the bottle first, so if there was poison in it he would die too.
Soon after this, Schofield put up a slick Kentucky job on me, but it failed to work. It was Texas against Kentucky, and the Lone Star State won with hands down.
One evening about dark, Schofield came to our front porch with only one good drink in his bottle, but he said there was a demijohn full of the same kind of stuff in his cellar, and that if I would go with him he would give me a quart bottle full. I went, and on starting down the cellar steps at his residence, they being on the outside of the house, he stepped to one side to let me go down first but I balked. He then went ahead and on passing through the inner door he stepped to one side to let me pass. Here I suggested that he keep in the middle of the road and in front. He then went to the opposite side of the cellar and filled the bottle from a jug, then gave me a drink and I backed out of the door and up the steps. Next day a friend told us that Schofield had failed to trap me in his cellar. He said the inner door had been arranged with a spring lock so that he could stand outside and pull the door shut, leaving me a prisoner inside; that then it was arranged to capture Rucker and take possession of the mine.
In the course of a few weeks the court appointed a custodian to take charge of the mine. Then Rucker and I left for Denver, and shortly after Rucker returned to the New York Branch of the Dickenson agency, where he still hangs out.
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