Sunday, October 11, 2009

Burton Alvord: lawman turned outlaw

Burton Alvord lived from eighteen sixty-six ta' nineteen-ten,
a feller' who took ta' both sides of the law.
He came out west with a justice of the peace,
of course he called him "Pa."
They settled in the well-known town of Tombstone
in the days of the Earp-Clanton feud.
In fact, Burton was a stable hand
at the O.K. Corral on that fated day
an' he would never forget what he viewed.
Alvord saw the Earp-Holliday crew defeat the Clanton-McLowery bunch
with cool composure an' deliberate aim,
an' he would mimic that pattern the rest of his life,
it would become a hallmark trait attached ta' his name.
Well in eighteen an' eighty-five at the age of nineteen
Six-Shooter Jimmy dared Alvord ta' make a play,
so both slapped leather on that ill-fated challenge,
but Jimmy fanned an' sprayed
while Alvord took a bead,
an' with one well placed shot it was Burton who walked away.
The well-known John Slaughter witnessed the affair
an' respected the youngster's reserve,
so when he was elected as sheriff of Cochise County in eighty-six
he sought out Alvord with a tin star in hand
an' asked him ta' serve
as a deputy ta' back him up against robbers, rustlers, an' such.
So under the eye of the competent Slaughter
ol' Burton, he learned himself much,
an' he coulda' gone far
wearin' that star
cuz' he lived in a time when fame was attached
ta' those who were tough,
ta' those with a knack
fer' puttin' damn bandits in jail.
Then came eighteen an' eighty-nine
when Alvord's character began ta' lose its shine
on account of the fog an' mist,
an' even some hail,
that comes with heavy drinkin'.
Coincidentally, he mixed his drinks with the outlaw element,
which helped him lose sight of what was important.
Inevitably, things jus' had ta' come ta' a head,
an' it came while on a drinkin' binge with two other yahoos,
when the one named Fuller
took offense at the one named Fortino,
so he grabbed Alvord's gun an' shot him dead.
Now when Sheriff Slaughter arrived on scene ta' learn
that his deputy was too snockered ta' discern
another man had used his gun with deadly force,
he up an' exploded,
chastizin' Burton bad,
"Dammit Son, can't ya' see you've been had
by the spirits yer' drinkin'
an' the company ya' keep?"
Slaughter said, "It's costin' ya' boy,
an' it's gonna get steep!
Now pull it together,
quit actin' like sheep,
or I'll have ta' fire yer' butt, it's my only recourse."
Well, Alvord sorta' soured then
on both Slaughter an' Tombstone,
so he moved ta' Fairbank, A.R.
ta' wear another star
as constable fer' the town.
Course he went back ta' cavortin' with criminals,
an' drinkin' like a fish,
which quickly turned the townfolk's smiles upside down.
He was asked ta' leave an' he quickly left
ta' be the sheriff in the town of Wilcox,
where even the riff raff called him a "boozer."
Then one of them undesirables,
a cowboy gunman named Billy King,
pushed Burton too far,
an' wound up as the real loser.
After threatenin' the star man
the two went out behind the saloon ta' get more space,
but as Billy passed through the door
Burton went into motion,
he drew steel an' shot every load
right in the gunman's face.
By the turn of the century
Alvord had foregone keepin' peace an' the law,
preferin' instead ta' break it.
He ran with the crowd befriended in saloons,
the kind that would look at what is yours as theirs,
if they wanted it they'd pull a gun an' take it.
Well, for a few years
Alvord took ta' leadin' some ruthless no-accounts,
whose only claim ta' fame,
though history's forgot most their names,
was the fact that they robbed a few trains.
Course Alvord weren't no genius,
so they'd catch him an' throw his butt in jail,
first in nineteen-hundred,
then again in ought-three.
The second time with his sidekick Stiles,
with the first name of Billy,
an' it was Billy who stole the keys
while in the position of trustee
which allowed them ta' leave the Tombstone jail.
 Alvord was now wanted with a passion
by the law he use ta' serve,
so he thought he'd use a bit of trickery,
an' the pair came up with a couple of corpses,
sealed them in two coffins an' sent 'um ta' town,
claimin' one was Burton an' the other Billy.
Well, thankfully all lawmen aren't drinkers,
some, in fact, are thinkers,
an' the star men in Tombstone weren't fooled by the ruse.
They opened those coffins
an' found two dead Mexicans,
which undoubtedly proved
that Burton an' Billy were still on the run.
This fact greatly perturbed the Arizona rangers
who set off in grim pursuit,
vowin' ta' bring 'um back,
or put 'um down with a gun.
Ignorin' the border of Ol' Mexico
acrossed it the rangers did tramp.
Then they headed yonder ta' Nigger Head Gap,
an' found the two in their so-called secret camp.
First talkin' was tried, but neither were havin' it,
both gunmen went fer' their steel.
So the rangers unloaded, an' wounded the pair,
though Stiles still somehow slipped away.
But Alvord was down with two ta' the leg,
an' that weren't the only pain he'd feel;
cuz' they packed him off ta' Yuma Prison,
where they'd turn a rusty key.
He would call it home fer' the next two years
on account of robbery.
Upon his release in nineteen-ought-six,
he decided ta' leave the American west.
Headin' fer' Central America, or so it's said.
Supposedly seekin' his fortune,
though reports seem ta' have him driftin':
Venezuala, Honduras,
an' workin' on the canal in ol' Panama
until the year of nineteen-ten,
the year most historians claim him dead.

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