Horse Stealing – A Hanging Offense

Horse stealing in the Aged West was a really serious offense. A man’s lifetime generally depended on his means to get somewhere rapidly, and that ordinarily was by horseback. To take a man’s horse from him in some situations was like putting a bullet by means of his head. Because of its seriousness the punishment for these types of crimes was constantly the exact – swift and merciless. The thief was most generally identified hanging from a tall tree with a note pinned to his shirt identifying him as a horse thief. It was a warning to other would-be horse thieves to feel twice ahead of using an additional man’s horse.

If he was fortunate, a horse thief was shot full of holes by a rancher’s posse as an alternative of remaining hung. Hanging was not a enjoyable way to finish one’s lifetime, and it ordinarily bore the stigma of wrong-doing.

There had been those who had been silly sufficient to feel they could get absent with stealing horses. To them it seemed like a brief way to make cash by selling the stolen horses. To their way of considering, somebody else may get caught, but not them. They had been substantially also clever, substantially also bold, and substantially also suggest to get caught – and would by no means be that stupid!

Take the case in point of Charles P Ford identified as “1-armed” Charlie Smith, a horse thief who didn’t feel he’d get caught. He and his brother Tom grew fatigued of their dull and tedious lifetime in Peoria, Illinois, and decided to come west. Tiny is identified about their early lifetime. They had been thought to be the illegitimate sons of the then Illinois Governor Ford. Their pursuit of exciting and experience brought them to Kansas. For factors unidentified they dropped the name of Ford and grew to become identified as Tom and Charlie Smith. Charlie did not get the name of “1-arm” Charlie right until 1871. In Topeka, Kansas, where he shed his correct arm above the elbow in a taking pictures incident. Later on he and his brother joined the Curly Marshall gang of outlaws and horse thieves. The gang operated around Topeka, Newton, and Wichita, Kansas.

In the spring of 1871, Charlie Smith founded a little ranch on the Ninnescah River concerning Wichita and Caldwell, Kansas. The ranch was located close to the route over which stolen horses had been remaining taken into Indian Territory. Charlie’s involvement with identified outlaws and the Marshal gang of horse thieves additional enormously to his now lousy reputation. It was not long right until the ranchers and settlers in the location decided to manage to get rid of “1-arm” Charlie and his den of horse thieves. They arrived to his ranch and took Charlie and two mates absent at gunpoint. They rode on horseback to a grove of large cottonwood trees alongside the close by river, tossed a rope over a strong limb, and brought the outlaws to the tree, a single at a time to be hung.

The first person to be hung was L. B. Hasbrouck, a younger promising attorney who experienced nothing to say and died quietly.

The 2nd person to be hung was Billy “Bully” Brooks, a well-identified gunfighter and the first town marshal of Dodge City, Kansas.

“1-arm” Charlie was the last to be hung. As he was led to the hanging tree, he felt it was all wrong that an japanese governor’s son was going to finish his job of experience by remaining hung. He felt now that he need to have remained in Illinois and lived a peaceful lifetime as an alternative of the a single he experienced picked out of rapidly horses, speedier women of all ages, and damn swift justice. Charlie’s melancholy musings on his squandered lifetime had been minimize brief by a tricky slap on the rump of his stolen horse. The horse galloped off leaving Charlie swinging by means of the air from the hanging tree with a broken neck. He would go down in history identified as just an additional horse thief who died at the finish of a rope.

The pages of western history are full of tales like Charlie’s – tales of guys who stole and killed just for the exciting of it, for financial gain, or for experience. They, like “1-Armed-Charlie” generally ended up at the finish of a hanging rope, with a note pinned to their shirt telling about their offense.


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