Sunday, November 1, 2009

Rattlesnake Dick or Brainless Barter?

The son of a British officer,
Richard Barter was his name,
though he answered most ta' Rattlesnake Dick.
Though he was schooled when he was young,
an' weren't no pauper's child,
his choices seemed ta' come from a brainless hick.
He took off ta' California
for ta' pan himself some gold,
but found out it were too much work fer' nothin'.
When he struckout with the mining
he still had a get rich itch,
an' decided ta' scratch the itch with a little rustlin'.
But no fortune did he make
when he chose that law ta' break,
just a two-year stint a sittin' in a cell.
Yet upon his release
he quickly crossed the line,
an' charted him a path straight on toward hell.
He formed himself another gang
with some others,
like the outlaw brothers Cy an' George Skinner.
With thoughts of leavin' rustlin' behind
with dreams of movin' up,
convinced his plan was a 24-carat winner.
They learned from a drunk,
a big mouth mining engineer,
about large shipments of Trinity Mountain gold.
So Barter sent George Skinner,
accompanied by a trio,
figuring one hold-up would get them a Mother Lode.
Well, Skinner did his part,
takin' the mule-train outside Nevada City,
an' comin' away with $80,000 in gold ore.
So off they rode ta' rendezvous
with his brother Cy an' Barter,
but soon discovered their good luck was no more.
Barter an' Cy couldn't show,
they were pinched fer' stealin' mules,
an' sat dumbfounded within the local jail.
Of course, upon their release
they sought Cy's brother George,
a wantin' ta' get their share of the loot.
But they found ta' their dismay,
George was in Boot Hill,
he crossed paths with detectives an' chose ta' shoot.
Yet most the gold was unrecovered,
they had buried it on the mount,
but those who knew where no longer had breath ta' tell.
So Barter an' Cy spent weeks on the mount,
diggin' here an' diggin' there,
an' comin' back with nothin' but an urge ta' kill.
Thick headed as he were
Barter failed ta' learn the lesson,
chose instead ta' rob himself a stage.
But Sheriff J. Boggs
tracked the two bandits across the river,
over the hills, an' through the prairie sage.
Then trapped the varmints in a pass
in Auburn, California,
on July 11th, eighteen an' fifty-nine.
Of course, instead of raisin' hands,
they foolishly chose ta' raise steel,
but one shot ta' the heart sent Barter into hell ta' dine.
Boggs only fired a single-shot,
but it did young Barter in,
his deputies then wounded Cy.
They brought him in
an' quickly found him guilty,
sent him ta' prison fer' a spell, then off he went ta' die.
The facts in this are simple,
Barter died just how he lived,
makin' choices as if he were brainless.
The problem bein' a rattlesnake,
they often warn they're there;
they give themselves away, an' their death is rarely painless.
Now here's a bit of truth
ya'll might just like ta' hear,
that buried gold has never yet been found.
It's been a hundred an' fifty years,
with multitudes a lookin',
but the secret is still safe an' the gold's still in the ground.

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