Monday, October 12, 2009

David L. Anderson: from outlaw to lawman

David L.Anderson, born in eighteen an' sixty-two,
died in nineteen an' eighteen,
with alias' of Billy Wilson an' Buffalo Billy.
Though he weren't as rotten, nor as mean
as most who took ta' the wrong side of the law.
He come into the world in Ohio.
Moved ta' Texas early on,
an' took ta' the range as a young cowboy,
liftin' a burden off his Ma an' Pa.
He resettled at eighteen in White Oaks, New Mexico,
where he took on the moniker of Billy Wilson,
an' ran himself a livery stable.
But he had a weakness in business,
an' he weren't no whiz with figures,
though with the stock an' equipment he was more than able.
Well, he up an' sold in eighty;
considered it a good deal,
but the payoff was in counterfeits,
a damn sharper got the stable in a steal.
No, Billy weren't the wisest
where money was concerned,
he simply went ta' passin' the bills he'd been paid,
with an' awful lesson soon ta' be learned.
Cuz' the system failed young Billy,
a warrant was issued fer' him,
while the one who swindled him got away.
You could say the system created an outlaw that day.
Young Wilson was both scared an' riled,
it sent him on the skid.
He jumped bail immediately,
ran off an' joined another Billy --- Billy the Kid.
Wilson may have started as a greenhorn,
but he learned his lessons quick.
Even a pawn can kill a king,
an the game of life is no lark.
It took grit ta' hang with Billy the Kid,
after all, he weren't no saint.
An' posse's by the dozen were always
chompin' at their heels
like a great white shark.
Though more often than not they out smarted them,
or at least had the better luck.
Like on the night of November 29th of eighty-one,
when both the Kid an' Wilson's horses
were shot an' felled' ta' bloody muck,
an' the two still escaped the posse
on foot in the dark.
However, the subsequent retaliation
coulda' used a bit more plannin'.
But the Kid had a powerful hankerin' ta' get even,
even at the expense of common sense.
So the two joined up with Dave Rudabaugh,
an' grabbed some fresh mounts,
then headed back ta' White Oaks
with the thought of recompense.
When the trio boldly rode into town
they quickly spotted Deputy James Redman,
who had been part of the posse on the previous night.
The three drew steel, an' spent some lead,
but Redman ran for cover,
an' somehow got clean outta' sight.
But the sound of gunfire roused the town
an' dozens of citizens joined in the fight.
So the three desperadoes wisely chose ta' take flight,
gallopin' away
in order ta' fight another day.
A day not far in the future,
in fact, on the 'morrow,
when the posse tracked 'um ta' the ranch of Jim Greathouse.
Where posse leader Jim Carlyle tried a bit of reason,
but found out reason weren't in season with the Kid,
who, in fact, played the louse.
Cuz' on Carlyle's next play
he put himself in harm's way,
exchangin' himself fer' a hostage.
An' though he tried his best
it weren't good enough,
took three ta' the chest
when the Kid flipped his lid.
Then William Bonney took the body
an' crashed it through the window,
shockin' the posse with disbelief,
an' givin' time fer' the three men ta' go.
Now when the posse learned they let them escape
they needed themselves a way ta' vent.
They took it out on the ranch house
an' everything in it,
leavin' nothin' but ash an' stone ta' show.
History later would record that while in the house
Anderson, alias Wilson, had also tried ta' reason with the Kid,
but the Kid was havin' none of it from anyone.
Wilson had reminded him, that at that time,
there wasn't much of a charge against them.
But the Kid opted ta' do his thinkin' with a gun.
Ironically, it was this incident that paved the way
fer' Pat Garrett ta' assume command
of the posse in the area,
all searchin' fer' the gang.
Now with Garrett in charge
the posse set a trap near Fort Sumner, New Mexico,
an' waited fer' the outlaws ta' appear.
An' probably thinkin' of which ones would hang.
Then six of 'um came ridin' up on the 19th of December;
so Garrett, Lon Chambers, an' others
leapt from their cover,
confrontin' both outlaws an' fear.
Now Pat appeared ta' want them alive,
but alive was riskier in the eyes of his men,
who started pullin' triggers an' spittin' lead.
In jus' a few seconds the whole thing was done,
but it obviously wasn't done well;
cuz' only O'Folliard an' Pickett were blown
from their saddles.
Oh yeah, an' Dave Rudabaugh's mount was dead.
The Kid an' Charlie Bowdre
had quickly raced away.
An' Anderson showed his grit
by slowin' ta' pick up Dave.
All four of them made good their escape
without so much as a scratch.
Though as luck would have it,
Anderson's days with the gang were numbered
on account of another trap Garrett did hatch.
They caught him at Stinking Springs,
convicted him of robbery an' murder,
an' sent him off ta' prison at Santa Fe.
Though he quickly escaped an' fled ta' Texas,
ta' the town of Sanderson, founded by kin;
where he ended up spendin' many a day.
He lived there quietly under his real name.
He married, raised a family,
an' ran the Old Cottage Bar.
He eventually gained in popularity,
even got himself elected in nineteen-ought-five:
elected by the town ta' wear their star.
From one side of the law to the other,
an' he proved himself time an' again,
keepin' the peace with a resolute steady hand.
So well in fact he did his job
that when his past did arise
Garrett an' others saw that the charges were counter-manned.
But it has often been said,
"If ya' live by the gun, ya' die by the gun."
An' in the life of Anderson it came true.
It came while tryin' ta' reason with a young cowboy
who was drunk an' brandishing his iron.
Well, Anderson let his guard down
cuz' it was someone that he knew.
His name was Ed Valentine,
an' he ran to a shed an' refused ta' come out.
So Anderson felt it was his duty ta' go in,
but he never made it through the door
before the bullet struck him.
An' by the way, lest I forget ta' mention,
the townfolk were so incensed
at this killin' without no sense,
that they seized the culprit an' commenced ta' lynchin'.
As I end this tale
let me leave ya' with a bit of trivia
connected with David L. Anderson.
It has ta' do with his earlier arrest,
an' I find it kinda' interestin'.
The gun that he surrendered ta' Pat Garrett that day
is suppose ta' be the same one the sheriff used
ta' blow Billy the Kid away.
Although history has never been a hundred percent certain.

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