Springtime in the Wild West
Spring is here and we're tossing off our coats for sleeveless shirts. It's a time for change, and all things look brighter. So what were the folks doing in the Old West? The farmers were planting, the ranchers were herding cattle to higher country, and these things:
April 1, 1877
In Arizona Territory, Edward Lawrence Schieffelin discovered a rich silver vein and named it Tombstone, which would eventually become the name of the lode, the hills, and the yet to be established town.
April 2, 1885
Spurred by hunger and mistreatment, the Cree, led by Wandering Spirit, killed nine Métis and white settlers at Frog Lake, Saskatchewan, in what is known as the Frog Lake Massacre.
April 3, 1860
The first Pony Express rider left St. Joseph, Missouri, headed to California.
April 4, 1858
Gold fever is discovered in the area between Hope and Lillooet on the banks of the Fraser River near current day Langley, British Columbia, marking the beginning of the Fraser River Gold Rush, which would attract 30,000 souls and change the culture of the area forever.
April 6, 1880
Charles Russell, takes a job as a cowhand at a ranch near Utica in Montana Territory. Read a fictional account of this famous artist's cowboying days in Jackson Lowry's West of the Big River: The Artist.
Heck Thomas and Bill Tilghman shot and killed Richard "Little Dick" West while resisting arrest on this date at the Arnett Ranch in Oklahoma Territory.
April 9, 1867
The US Congress ratified the Alaska Purchase from Russia (called Russian America). It passed by one vote, and naysayers dubbed it "Seward's Folly" after its chief proponent, US Secretary of State William H. Seweard.
April 10, 1875
The North-West Mounted Police began construction on Fort Brisebois to protect the fur trade and defend against US whiskey traders. It was later renamed Fort Calgary, and the city of Calgary, Saskatchewan, sprouted from it.
April 11, 1895
Anaheim, California became the latest city to receive electrical service.
April 13, 1860
Remember that rider who left St. Joseph, Missouri, on April 3rd? The mail arrived in Sacramento, California--Tom Hamilton carried the packet. The various riders traveled 1,966 miles in 10 days.
April 15, 1862
The Civil War made its way West to New Mexico Territory at the Battle of Peralta. One Union soldier and four Confederate soldiers were killed. A dust storm ended the battle.
April 16, 1882
Cockeyed Frank Loving was killed in a shootout with John Allen in front of Hammond's Hardware Store in Trinidad, Colorado. Allen was arrested but acquitted and became a street preacher.
April 18, 1878
In New Mexico Territory, a Lincoln County grand jury indicts William Bonney (Billy the Kid, born Henry McCarty) and others for the deaths of Sheriff Brady and George Hindman.
April 19, 1875
Helena becomes the new capital of Montana Territory, taking the honor from Virginia City.
April 21, 1836
An army of Texans led by General Sam Houston defeated General Santa Anna's troops at the Battle of San Jacinto, and won Texas's independence from Mexico.
April 22, 1889
10,000 people raced to claim 160-acre parcels in the first Oklahoma Land Run. Boomers followed the rules. Those that didn't were called Sooners.
April 26, 1860
Abe Lee discovered a rich lode of gold in the California Gulch, which led to the creation of a boom town named Leadville.
April 27, 1865
The four boilers on the steamship Sultana exploded, killing over 1,500 people (many of whom were Union soldiers who'd been prisoners of war) and wounding many more. The worst steamship disaster before or since had little coverage because the newsmen were preoccupied by another major news story--the assassination of President Lincoln.
April 28, 1880
Chiricahua Apache chief Victorio led a raid on Cooney, New Mexico Territory.
April 29, 1878- Texas- Sam Bass and his gang are found hiding at the home of Jim Murphy near Cove Hollow and a four-day running gunfight ensures.