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.

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