Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Blevins Brothers

In the eighteen-eighties
in the state of Arizona,
the Blevins brothers
earned their fifteen minutes of fame.
They were ranchers, yet rustlers,
horse-thieves, and hired-guns,
who, with cousins an' in-laws
did earn all their shame.
They lived lives of spite,
their actions were petty,
but crimes an' status increased
The ranchers with cattle
hated ranchers with sheep,
so they took ta' name callin',
an' flat out actin' rude.
But names didn't phase 'um,
an' rude acts were shunned,
so they up an' took stock,
an' began ta' shoot guns.
The death toll was mountin'
since both sides had dug in,
an' the townfolk were frettin',
the merchants had the runs.
It was truly unpleasant
in Pleasant Valley those days,
when hogs, sheep, an' cows
weren't the only things slaughtered.
The feud was nourished
with hate an' with malice,
an' the land quenched its thirst;
with blood it was watered.
Now Andy an' John,
Hampton an' Charles,
were heavily involved,
unlike little brother Sam.
But the deeds they were doin'
came with costs ta' be paid,
an' Hampton paid first
durin' a lead-belly jam.
The shootout took place
on the Middleton ranch,
it was August the tenth,
eighteen-eighty an' seven.
Yet the sins were a mountin',
the collector would call,
in less than two months
there'd be little left of clan Blevins.
But first came a crime
so heinous in nature,
it is hard ta' believe
it was humans, not dogs.
When Andy led the raid,
killin' John Tewksbury an' Bill Jacobs,
he then kept Tewk's wife at bay,
an' fed the bodies ta' the hogs.
Two days later
Sheriff Perry Owens came callin'
at the Blevins ranch near Holbrook,
with a posse an' a warrant fer' Andy.
Owens was known
fer' unwavering honesty;
a crackerjack shot:
with both rifle an' six-gun he's handy.
He rode up ta' the house,
found Andy on the porch,
an' told him ta' give up,
he was under arrest.
Andy ran fer' the door,
an' fired a shot,
then Owens cut loose,
an' tore a hole in Andy's chest.
Andy reeled from the shot,
pitched backward an' then
lay dead in the arms
of his fear-sticken mother.
Owens leapt from the porch,
just as John fired a round,
so Owens fired again;
down went another Blevins brother.
Then quick as a wink
Owens turned an' flung lead,
right into Mose Roberts,
one shot ta' the head.
It made such a mess,
it splattered his brains;
this brother-in-law
was the second one dead.
A split-second more,
comin' out thru the door,
little Sam Houston,
But Owens cut loose,
four fer' four was his count,
as he sent the teen boy
to a spirit-filled land.
In a matter of seconds
three dead an' one wounded:
John was the only one
lucky enough ta' keep livin'.
Cuz' his last brother Charles,
bit the dust three weeks later,
who was better at givin'.
John learned from the lesson,
the close call he had,
he cleaned up his life
an' put on a star.
that lived as he had;
provin' some men do change,
an' become better by far.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

William "Old Bill" Miner: the high life brought him low

William Miner from Jackson, Kentucky
got himself a taste of the high life.
An' from that point on nothin' else would do,
even when getting it caused him nothin' but strife.
While still in his teens he went west ta' California,
ta' be an Army messenger durin' the Apache Indian War.
But there was profits ta' be made,
as long as ya' thru ethics, morals, an' integrity out the door.
Like goin' ta' the folks in wartorn San Diego
an' deliverin' their mail at $25 bucks a letter.
But the war would end, an' he squandered his money,
an' sought another way ta' get back ta' livin' better.
In eighteen-sixty an' nine he held-up the Sonora Stage,
but all he got was two-hundred for the trouble.
But the posse got him quick, an' he stood trial,
an' they gave him fifteen-years; which popped his dream bubble.
He only did a dime of the time they did give him,
an' out he came with a bigger thirst than before.
An' legit wouldn't do, cuz' legit wouldn't pay,
he took up crime again an' sought another score.
Miner partnered with Bill LeRoy up in Colorado:
One night the posse cornered them; Miner shot his way free,
he left three deputies in the dust, too bloody ta' hold the reins.
But LeRoy was nabbed, the posse was mad,
an' the law made sure he did hang.
Then Miner skedaddled, ta' Europe he went,
he became part of a slave trading gang.
The trade was a boomin', but it weren't his thing,
so he soon tried gunrunnin' fer' size.
But within a year he was back in the states,
he still sought the high life, with his eye on the prize.
He went back ta' the beginning, the Sonora Stage he took;
but this time three-thousand was the purse.
Then a bank in Illinois, another stage in Colorado,
his quest fer' the high life was officially his curse.
Now once more ta' California,
the Sonora Stage again;
but they caught him like the first time,
to San Quentin he did go.
He was suppose ta' do a quarter,
but they let him out in twenty,
believin' he was just too old an' slow.
He was now in his fifties, an' tried ta' go straight,
but two years of it was all that he could take.
So he robbed a train in Oregon,
then another north of the border,
in British Columbia he got himself ten grand.
It helped him pass as wealthy,
a retired rancher he would say,
but in just two years all that money left his hand.
So he robbed another train,
still up north in Canada,
but the Mounties pursued an' took him down.
He was sentenced ta' life in prison,
but only served a year before
he escaped by tunneling underground.
With Mounties an' Pinkertons after him now,
he found himself hunted on both sides of the border.
They figured Old Bill an' his addiction ta' high life
was tarnishing the rep of law an' order.
He stayed on the run fer' several years,
it helped ta' take a bank fer' twelve grand.
But two years later while robbin' a train, they claim
 he could barely hold the six-gun steady in his hand.
Yep, that was the last, they ran him ta' ground,
they found him camped out in the hills.
He was sixty-two at his last arrest;
there would be no more high life an' thrills.
"I'm really getting too old for this sort of thing,"
Miner told a lawman at the pinch.
Old Bill robbed like a rascal,
an' spent like a king,
but don't be fooled into thinkin' it's a cinch.
He spent over half of his life behind bars,
an' at sixty-six he died in the pen.
Instead of the high life, a good life is best,
with no obligation ta' answer fer' sin.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Davy Crockett's Almanack of Mystery, Adventure and The Wild West: A Fistful of Legends - Special Pre-Pub Offer!#links

Davy Crockett's Almanack of Mystery, Adventure and The Wild West: A Fistful of Legends - Special Pre-Pub Offer!#links

     The above link is for a rare follower of this new blog of mine. Evan is a fellow writer, and a good one from all of the work that I have seen of his so far. He has a new story in the above listed anthology; a rare anthology of original western fare. So if you enjoy the western genre as much as I do, head on over there to check out the pre-release special offer.

Clelland Miller: Misplaced Hero Worship

Missouri born Clelland Miller
was raised in the vicinity
of the notable homestead of Jesse James.
An' like most folks in that territory
he nurtured a hero-worship
for the brothers with the famous names.
He knew of their deeds within the war,
an' revelled in their doings thereafter;
he could pert near quote them chapter an' verse.
But like all who worship the infamous,
an' try their best ta' follow suit,
there's only one outcome when ya' bed the curse.
It took awhile ta' get noticed,
ta' get the nod from Jesse James,
an' become a member of his crew.
He studied the trade,
an' practiced his skills,
an' learned ta' draw fast when he drew.
It's reckoned he went
along with the James boys
ta' a house where a Pinkerton stayed.
The agent was gone,
but the owner emerged,
an' three shots cut him down like a blade.
Mrs. Daniel Askew
alighted the house,
then gazed at the sight, horrified.
She went ta' her hubby,
she tried what she could,
then watched in vain as he died.
When asked who had done it,
she called out three names,
"It was Frank, and Jesse, and Clell."
But they said there was not
enough evidence,
"It was dark, so how could you tell?"
Yet Miller's outlaw days were numbered,
his luck was running out,
though he didn't know it til it actually came.
It occurred September seventh,
eighteen-seventy an' six,
an' Northfield was the name.
Two James boys,
three Younger brothers,
plus Miller, Pitts, an' Chadwell,
all entered the town,
went straight ta' the bank,
until their plan went all ta' hell.
There were three in the bank,
two guarding the door,
an' three at the end of the street.
One teller did con them,
they bought it, then killed him,
when all hell broke loose an' they beat a retreat.
Miller took the next hit,
a shotgun blast ta' the face,
so he blindly fired an' killed an unarmed man.
Then a medical student
repeatedly fired,
ending Miller's days with the outlaw clan.
He died in the dirt,
a broken bloody pulp,
never knowin' the outcome of the raid.
Both Chadwell an' Pitts
would join him in hell,
on account of mistakes that were made.
shot up, but survived,
were sent ta' the pen fer' life.
Only the James boys
escaped without wounds,
though their futures were now endless strife.
If ya' could ask
 Clell Miller today,
would ya' still worship Jesse the same?
He'd probably contend
a two-party blend,
both Jesse an' he were ta' blame.
So learn from his life,
an' don't pay the price,
the toll on that road is not cheap.
You'll think ya' can win,
but you'll lose in the end,
when the Reaper is called out ta' reap. 

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

John McCall: little coward, big mouth

John McCall never accomplished much
he couldn't even hunt buffalo alone;
his worth was less than a shattered gem.
Ever wonder where a coward came from?
Well, this one came from Kentucky,
though Kentucky probably wishes it could disown him.
The only thing he's known for
is one of the most despicable acts of the old west:
the cowardly backshootin' of Wild Bill Hickok,
puttin' Hickok's seatin' fears ta' the test.
He then ran like a rabbit chased by the fox,
they found him cringing in the barber shop.
They clapped him in irons an' took him ta' jail,
but Deadwood justice turned out ta' be a flop.
McCall piled lie upon lie, an' judge an' jury bought it,
not one smart enough ta' investigate.
On the day Hickok was buried McCall was acquitted,
not one lie did he have ta' corroborate.
Scared fer' his life, fearin' Hickok's friends,
McCall hopped in the saddle an' fled.
Off ta' Cheyenne an' Laramie, ta' bask in his freedom,
an' drink away the guilt, fear, an' dread.
But men with little deeds need ta' talk big,
an' whiskey helps loosen the lips.
Then a deputy marshall overheard the boast,
an' clamped the "little-big man" in irons again.
An' the Deadwood verdict was dismissed,
cuz' justice was waitin' fer' him in Yankton.
McCall had talked himself right out of his lies,
he left himself without a defense.
Which made it easy fer' this jury ta' see
it was McCall who initiated the offense.
"Guilty you were, an' guilty you are,
an' guilty you always will be."
Then McCall appealed ta' President Grant,
"Please pardon an' set me free."
The President said, "I will not intervene...
You made yer' bed...
It's time you laid in it an' slept."
So with the appeal denied, an' hanging date set,
McCall uncontrollably wept.
Eighteen-seventy an' seven, the day was March 1st,
McCall to the gallows did go.
He cried an' he quaked, trembled an' begged,
he showed all his cowardly soul.
He then shouted, "Oh, God!" as the trap was released,
an' before God he would surely then stand.
Where he'd try once more ta' lie his way free,
it's the mark of his cowardly brand.
But God is not mocked, McCall is then shocked,
eternity is the price of the bill.
His cowardly act of killing Hickok
bought him his ticket ta' hell.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

John "Liver-Eating" Johnson: Crow-Killer

After the trek from Missouri ta' Montana,
John Johnson made a name fer' himself
He took ta' the hills an' set his traps;
beaver, deer, bear, an' buffalo,
all sayin' "Catch me if ya' can."
He loved the life,
even took an injun' wife,
who bore him a healthy child.
But while Johnson was away from home
a band of Crow came callin',
an' did things that would make him riled.
They didn't just take what they wanted,
they killed what was left in the end.
So when Johnson came back,
an' saw the aftermath of the attack,
he emotionally went over the bend.
He stayed there alone,
warmed by the hate
that countered the cold of his heart.
His private war had begun,
an' many would fall,
the Crow would pay dearly for their part.
Whenever a Crow came into his sight
it was like steppin' into a killin' zone.
Whether man-ta'-man,
or even outnumbered,
Johnson's skill fer' killin' had been honed.
With rifle or knife,
hatchet or rock,
anything at all could be used.
He would never see a human
when he looked at a Crow,
on account of how his wife had been abused.
He saw only animals,
an' animals were his trade;
ta' be caught, ta' be killed, ta' be eaten.
He even acquired the strange moniker
after a witness saw him kill 'um, cut 'um,
an' then sink his teeth in.
Score upon score of Crow bit the dust,
for ten years his hate found its foe.
Then down from the mountain
ta' carry a star,
Johnson did finally go.
He put on the badge in Coulson, Montana,
an' he ruled with a rifle an' fist.
He never did carry a six-gun,
an' never started a "Dead Man's" list.
With his mountain exploits
an' peculiar peacekeeping,
even Buffalo Bill tried ta' hire him fer' shows.
But Johnson had tired of civilized life,
an' took off ta' where nobody knows.
He had no need fer' fame,
but his legend still grew,
even faster after he up an' disappeared.
"What a crock," he must think,
 of his legend nowadays,
it would be funny if he suddenly appeared.
His name has been changed,
an' facts rearranged,
all fer' the sake of a film.
Just remember what he ate,
after he began ta' hate,
an' he stuck in his knife ta' the helm.