Thursday, June 21, 2012

Jim and John Reynolds: Good men to Bad men

If ya' push men far enough,
they just might break.
Arrest good men on false charges,
they just might take.
Jim and John Reynolds
from down Texas way,
traveled North ta' Colorado,
near Bayou Salado,
'bout eighteen-sixty an' three.
They were a dandy pair,
had money ta' spare,
yet no visible means of support.
Of course, that's what the townsfolk say.
There weren't a speck of evidence
ta' prove the claim, "they're highwaymen."
But they did -- apparently --
commit the crime of coming from Texas.
Lone Star boys
with Confederate noise
found themselves interred
in this Northern Territory.
Shipped away ta' Denver
as Southern sympathizers,
their money taken by the town collaborators,
or "justified" legalizers.
The brothers hated lock-up,
so bust out they did...
and skedaddled.
Back home ta' the Lone Star.
They weren't Confederate,
but now they are:
signed on as irregulars.
The Colorado Yankees
with their legal hanky-panky
had no notion
that they're about ta' get the spurs.
Like burrs beneath a saddle,
or snakes that slither and rattle,
the Reynolds Brothers recruited a gang.
Well, back North they did ride.
They did plan ta' hit and hide.
Their first hit took down
forty-thousand in gold.
The brother's claimed it for Jeff Davis:
the South needed the loot.
But a dozen members of the gang
chose dollars over loyalty:
took a share and did scoot.
Legend has it,
the brother's buried the rest.
And they would add
a lot more to the cache.
Hatred hollowed out their hearts
over the way they were mistreated.
A string of robberies followed,
it eased their pain a pinch...
like another pinch of gold dust --
ten thousand dollars worth.
But like any other gamble
luck would run its course,
and cards were dealt
that turned a losing hand.
In the Spring of sixty-four
one member was no more:
sent before his Maker with hot lead.
Jake Stowe and Brother John
still free ta' mosey on.
Yet Brother Jim
and four more men
were caught,
and sentenced ta' life.
Some Yankees felt justice was ill-served.
They felt that Johnny Rebs
should rate a rope.
Colonel John Chivington,
of the 3rd Colorado Cavalry,
stepped in
an' gave Southern haters hope.
He convened a second (secret) trial
that lasted just a little while
an' off ta' Ft. Leavenworth he sent the five.
The chosen troops
or guardians
came right back in a few days...
on a trip that should have lasted weeks.
Captain Cree and his troops
said the Rebs did try escaping.
They shot them down when they were on the run.
But their story had some holes,
some rather gaping,
the famous scout Dick Wooten
found the prisoners were killed for fun.
The cons were lashed ta' trees,
near a ghost town,
The bodies were shot ta' hell,
laden down with lead.
The order came from Chivington,
but the people had their doubts.
A fine upstanding officer,
even a Methodist minister.
"No," they said,
"He's not a man ta' fear."
But three months later
Chivington was responsible
for the infamous Sand Creek Massacre --
which changed the minds of many
over the earlier affair.
nothing was done.
Brother John stayed away
for seven long years.
He came back North
for the cash that he did stash.
But he tried ta' make another killing,
a few more robberies ta' be filling
his coffers up as high as they would go.
Til bullets finally found him,
he went like Brother Jim:
down ta' Hell ta' be reunited.
But they say as John lay dying
he told a drunk a secret:
he told him where ta' seek to an' fro.
But the piss-poor outlaw,
a fellow named Brown,
drank away his memory.
He never found the cache,
an' the legend was bound ta' grow.
So if ya' crave an' adventure,
an' ya' want ta' find some gold,
cruise up ta' Handcart Gulch an' Spanish Peaks.
There's a hefty treasure waiting,
though it might cost ya' yer' soul --
like it cost the Reynolds Gang,
an' those damned Yankees, don't ya' know.

No comments: