April 14, 2016

Soapy Smith's saloon fully restored! (pics)

Jeff Smith's Parlor restored

Courtesy of NPS/B. Hayes
(Click image to enlarge)






estoration is complete!
Jeff. Smith's Parlor to open April 30, 2016






     Since December 2008 Soapy Smith fans have awaited the restoration and reopening of one of Skagway, Alaska's most famous buildings; Jeff. Smith's Parlor! The date is April 30, 2016. I had originally planned to attend but a few of life's little "pop quiz's" kept me from going. I would like to try to make up there this summer.
     I have been up to Skagway, Alaska a number of times, the first time in 1977 with my parents, brother, aunts and one uncle. I was 18 years old. Although I was semi-interested in Soapy, that trip forever ingrained him into my life.


(l to r) Soapy, the author, Dorthy Smith (my mother), uncle Joe, aunt Thelma
Author's collection
 (Click image to enlarge)


Seeing the Parlor in 1977 somewhat different from what visitors will see today. First off, it's a whole lot cleaner! Everything has been carefully and lovingly restored. George Rapuzzi won't be giving the tour like he did for us. The old Soapy manikin worked via Ford motor parts built by Martin Itjen before 1941. Visitors opened the front door and Soapy's head turns towards the door and his eyes light up. At the same moment his left arm raises a mug of beer in a toast of welcome, as seen in the photograph above. Visitors today will see the manikin, but it will not operate for fear of further wear and tear.



Courtesy of NPS/B. Hayes
(Click image to enlarge)




(l to r) Thelma Smith, Joe Smith, George Rapuzzi, Dorthy Smith, Soapy
Author's collection
(Click image to enlarge)




Slot machine and artifacts
Courtesy of NPS/B. Hayes
(Click image to enlarge)





Dorthy Smith with slot machine
Author's collection
(Click image to enlarge)


Soapy Smith manikin, 2016
Courtesy of NPS/B. Hayes
(Click image to enlarge)


Soapy Smith manikin, 1977
Author's collection
(Click image to enlarge)




(l to r) Joe Smith, Thelma Smith, Greg Smith, Dorthy Smith, Joy (Smith), Soapy, the author
Author's collection
(Click image to enlarge)


If you plan to visit Skagway and see Jeff Smith's Parlor, do know that you will have to reserve a tour! There are more fantastic photographs of the restored Parlor, the collection within, the artifacts, the manikins (three total), the taxidermy wolf and Two moose lock horns in combat, at the website for the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park. A new window will open when you.

 















Restoration of Jeff Smith's Parlor
(Note: this link will open a new window that contains at least 25 posts. They are not in chronological order. Be sure to scroll).  








"When the recording angel makes up his ledger with Jefferson (Soapy) Smith, there will be innumerable works of charity to be recorded in his favor."
Leadville Herald Democrat
Alias Soapy Smith, p. 591.



APRIL 14


1775: The first abolitionist society in the U.S. is organized in Philadelphia with Ben Franklin as president.
1828: The first edition of Noah Webster's dictionary is published under the name American Dictionary of the English Language.
1860: The first Pony Express rider arrives in San Francisco with mail originating in St. Joseph, MO.
1865: President Abraham Lincoln is assassinated in Ford's Theater by John Wilkes Booth. Lincoln dies the following day.
1873: The “Easter Blizzard,” a three-day storm kills many settlers in Kansas, Nebraska and southern Dakota Territory.
1874: Alferd Packer, the lone survivor of the Packer party, makes it to the Los Pinos Indian Agency, near Sagauche, Colorado Territory. Packer told a story of men quarreling and killing each other and of eating human flesh to survive.
1884: Bob Cahill kills outlaw Buck Linn in El Paso, Texas, over a misunderstanding that Cahill had killed Bill Raynard, a partner of Linn’s. Linn came crashing into the gambling hall firing four poorly aimed shots. Cahill's first shot went through Linn’s stomach and shattered his spinal column and the second lodged in Linn's heart.
1894: First public showing of Thomas Edison's kinetoscope.
1902: James Cash Penney opens his first retail store in Kemmerer, Wyoming. It is called the Golden Rule Store. Later stores would be named J. C. Penney.





April 5, 2016

Plug Uglies: Law-Badge Wearing Con Men of Denver.

PLUG UGLIES
Rocky Mountain News
October 7, 1894
Authentic badge from author's collection
(Click image to enlarge)






even months following the Denver City Hall War of 1894 the county sheriff employed Denver's criminal element as commission carrying, badge wearing county deputy Sheriffs, "armed to the teeth," in order to maintain a presence of strength against fears of another attempt by Populist state governor Waite to forcefully take over control of the Denver city government at city hall, via state troops. Soapy Smith and members of the Soapy Gang, such as Joe Palmer, were made deputy sheriffs, using their badges and power to their advantage in swindling visitors to the city. Soapy kept his commission paperwork which resides in the authors collection.

For months the newspapers of Denver published every problem that transpired due to having criminals running about the city armed as deputy sheriffs. Something had to give, and it did on Friday October 5, 1894, when bunco man Milt Smith, carrying a deputy sheriff's commission, is shot and killed by Police officer Robert J. Boykin. Here are some of the stories and troubles the city had in dealing with these legally armed "walking arsenals," as published in the Rocky Mountain News two days later:

PLUG UGLIES
__________

Read the Record and Learn if They Are to be Trusted by Decent Citizens.
__________

Walking Arsenals and a Source of Terror to Decent Men.
__________

Sheriff Burchinell’s Deputies Recruited from the Pariahs of the Slums of Denver.
__________

Here are the Noxious Things Taxpayers are Asked to Support in Office.
__________

Milt Smith, the Colored Desperado, Was a Fair Sample of His Class.
__________

Gamblers and Bullies from the Lowest Dives Enrolled in the Disreputable Herd.
__________

Chief Armstrong’s Men Hampered in Enforcing the Laws by the Court House Machinery.
__________

     It is a matter of record at police headquarters that the arrests on the charge of disturbance are made up largely of deputy sheriffs. The books show this, and in every case the record has been made only when the written commission from the sheriff was exhibited. Here are some of the names of deputy sheriffs who have occupied cells at city headquarters:
     WERLEY, ALBI, GREGGERS OR HENDRICKS, HESTER JOHNSON, HORY, RILEY, CLINE, SENEY, CLARK, GUGER, JEFF SMITH, JOE PALMER, JACK WILHELM, DUNCAN, CRAIG, LEWIS, ROSSA, BUCK, REED AND DOZENS OF OTHERS.
     In many cases these men have had a pull and in this way have escaped serving their terms of imprisonment. Henry Hester was arrested four times and was fined $200 twice and $100 twice. The mayor pardoned him after every conviction. In one outfit of thirteen gamblers arrested recently seven of them carried guns and had deputy sheriff commissions. In another crowd three out of five were armed in like manner by authority of the prince of redeemers, Sheriff Burchinell.

Smith’s Criminal Record.

     Milt Smith, the deputy sheriff who was killed by officer Boykin Friday night has been in trouble dozens of times. In the last three years he has been in the city jail thirty times on the charge of vagrancy and disturbances. His parents are very respectable colored people and they have generally succeeded in clearing him from the more serious charges against him. He is well known to all the patrolmen who have had Market street on their beat. A couple of years ago he came near killing Sergeant Norkett and about a year ago Officer Tom Clifford had his finger punctured by a bullet from Smith’s gun. Detective Elajes knew him as a desperado three years ago in Colorado City when Smith was a porter at the Hoffman house.
     “I want to do my duty by the people of this city,” said Chief Armstrong yesterday, “but I want them to understand that every move I make towards doing that duty is handicapped by the sheriff’s deputies and his alleged county detective department. Hundreds of the worst characters in the city are walking arsenals. On Market street almost every loafer who lives off the earnings of the dissolute women is armed with a deputy sheriff’s badge. To all intents and purposes he is the sheriff’s duly accredited representative.”

Outrageous A. P. A. Move.

     The killing of the worthless character Smith, who wore a deputy sheriff’s badge promises to furnish a pretext through which the police are to be annoyed by the A. P. A. influence. Yesterday Ellie Smith, the destitute colored mistress of Milt Smith, swore out a warrant in Howse’s court, charging Robert J. Boykin and Felix O’Neil with murder. The claim is made that murder is not a bailable offense.
     Yesterday morning Officer Boykin was released on $5,000 bonds by justice Cater on the same charge as preferred later in Howse’s court. Alderman Ed Fox and Thomas McNulty became his sureties. The A. P. A’s thought the bond insufficient or the bondsmen unsatisfactory and they induced the abandoned creature who was the indirect cause of the killing to swear out additional warrants in Howse’s court, charging not only Boykin but Officer Felix O’Neil with murder.

All Armed to the Teeth.

     The killing of Smith by Boykin appears to have been justified beyond all possible doubt. Smith, who was a big burly negro, had repeatedly boasted that he would kill the first Populist policeman who dared to lay hands on him. It appears that he had a certain control over the toughs of the colored element on the row, and as he became bolder in his threats, they too assumed an air of indifference when commanded to do anything by the police.
     There is hardly a tough on the row who does not wear a deputy sheriff badge and carry a deputy sheriff commission. This entitled them to carry as many guns and knives as is consistent with their being regulation Republican heelers. Gun plays have been so frequent of late that it began to look as if there was to be a return to the old frontier days of lawlessness and crime. If an officer made an arrest and found concealed weapons on his prisoner, he would have flashed in his face the star and commission of Sheriff Burchinell. The toughs armed to the teeth, went about with their hands on big 45-caliber guns, ready on the slightest provocation to pump lead into any policeman or enemy who should happen to incur their drunken displeasure.

Killing of Smith.

     On Friday night Chief Armstrong decided to clean the row of this degraded class and it was with that object in view that he visited the street. He had been talking to his men, Boykin and O’Neil, on the subject when Smith and his mistress began the disturbance on the other side of the street. The Chief, on talking of the killing, said to a News reporter:
     “Boykin and O’Neil crossed over and the former told the negro to move on. The latter, instead of doing so, pulled his gun. Boykin told him to drop it. He did not do so, and Boykin, who had only his ‘billy’ in his hand, struck at him, I think, striking him on the arm. The negro then walked back a few steps and raised his gun, pointing it at O’Neil and Boykin. Not until then did Boykin pull his revolver. He fired before Smith had pulled the trigger of his gun and Smith fell to the sidewalk with his gun clasped tightly in his hand and with his finger on the trigger. Boykin was about five feet away when he fired. I saw the whole affair and I am convinced that if he had not fired when he did, either himself or O’Neil would now be in the morgue instead of Smith.”
      The inquest to inquire into the cause of Smith’s death will be held tomorrow. Smith, as a deputy sheriff, three weeks ago had a prisoner in Harper’s court on the charge of vagrancy. Smith was at Cripple Creek during the recent unpleasantness.
      Last night Detective Gardiner served the Howse warrants on Boykin and O’Neil and on Chief Armstrong, guaranteeing to turn over the men when wanted. They were not taken to jail.






[Soapy had]“accounts at the merchants’ stores for provisions and fuel for the needy people here” and that they “amount to several hundreds dollars a week.” Additionally, the visitor learned that Soapy paid “for the funerals of friendless persons, and I can assure you that that is no small item. What are you going to make out of a character like that?
—Joseph T. Cornforth
Alias Soapy Smith, p. 591.



APRIL 5


1614: American Indian Pocahontas marries English colonist John Rolfe in Virginia.
1621: The Mayflower sails from Plymouth, Massachusetts, on a return trip to England.
1792: President George Washington casts the first presidential veto, against a measure for apportioning representatives among the states.
1806: Isaac Quintard patents the cider mill.
1827: James H. Hackett becomes the first American actor to appear abroad as he performs at Covent Garden in London, England.
1843: Queen Victoria proclaims Hong Kong to be a British colony.
1859: The unofficial state of Jefferson is formed by residents in the western part of Kansas Territory (present day Colorado).
1863: 140 cavalrymen route 200 Indians during the Battle of Spanish Fork in Utah.
1869: Outlaw Benjamin Bickerstaff and his men ride into Alvarado, Johnson County, Texas, firing weapons into the air and some store windows. Irate armed citizens shoot and kill Bickerstaff and several other members of the gang.
1869: Daniel Bakeman, the last surviving soldier of the U.S. Revolutionary War, dies at the age of 109.
1872: The first Cypress Hills Massacre occurs as American wolfers and Assiniboine Indians fight in the Sweet Grass Hills, Montana Territory, near the Canadian border.
1879: Frank “Cock-eyed” Loving shoots and kills Levi Richardson in the Long Branch Saloon, Dodge City, Kansas. Richardson was berating Loving, who was seated at a Hazard table. Levi pulled his revolver and fires five shots, only nicking Loving’s hand. Loving fires three times hitting and killing Richardson with all three shots. It is ruled as self-defense. Loving is shot and killed about a year later in Trinidad, Colorado.
1881: “The agent of the Adams Express Co., at this place, Mr. Rudy, was taken out to the railroad water tank last Wednesday, and drenched with water by Mayor Kelley and his policemen, for writing an article to an Iowa newspaper and reflecting discreditably upon said officials.” Dodge City Times.
1887: Anne Sullivan teaches a blind and deaf Helen Keller the meaning of the word "water" as spelled out in the manual alphabet.
1892: Walter H. Coe patents gold leaf in rolls.




March 31, 2016

From Rancher to Robber: Dick Hawkins, the Life and Death of a Hardcase Member of the Soap Gang.











rom Rancher to Robber.
Dick Hawkins: The Life and Death of a Hard-case




     At the time I published Alias Soapy Smith, my information on bad man Dick Hawkins was lacking, limited to mere mentions on a total of five pages. Over the years I collected more about this character. His life as a Colorado rancher is uneventful and largely void of published detail, but that all changed when, according to friends and family, he became interested in the gambling scene. Gambling was an introduction into the criminal underworld, and one bad move led to another, unraveling Hawkin's chance for an honest, peaceful life.  
     His mother (Rocky Mountain News for March 18, 1896) lists Hawkins' birth name as Aquilla C. Hawkins, but everyone knew him as Richard C. Hawkins, "Dick" to his friends.
     In Alias Soapy Smith I published that Hawkins had died on March 10, 1896, after a shootout in a Denver saloon. That's pretty much all I had on his death. Since then, I found that I had the correct date of the shooting, but not of Hawkins' demise. I had the correct location of his death but not the location where the shooting took place, or the circumstances.
      Hawkins did die in Denver, but that is not where he was shot. He was shot and mortally wounded during the afternoon hours in the Gregg and Combs saloon in South Platte, Colorado, wounded by a revolver in the hands of proprietor James R. Gregg. Hawkins died on March 14, 1896, four days after the shootout and four days later than I originally reported. In a pre-death statement Hawkins told a doctor that his shooting was a setup and that members of the Soapy Gang were instruments of his murder.
     So what's the story of this good rancher turned bad man?
     A search on Ancestry.com shows that Aquilla C. Hawkins was born sometime in 1866 in Spencer Township, Ralls County, Missouri. He had two older brothers and three younger sisters. At some point Aquilla took on the name Richard. In 1880 he worked with his father, Arculus Crittendew Hawkins, as a miner in Silver Cliff, Colorado. On January 10, 1893, the father and Aquilla's older brother Arculus Coleman Hawkins were killed in a mining accident according to one source. In 1893 Aquilla was working as a gambler and cattle rustler; otherwise he might have perished with his father and brother.
     A March 1896 edition of the Rocky Mountain News disclosed that Hawkins started his criminal career around 1891. Before that, he was a gambler. The newspaper clipping below, dated 1888, may be the first known mention of Hawkins' life as a professional gambler. 


Earliest mention of Hawkins
Buena Vista Democrat
May 31, 1888
Newspaper image
(Click image to enlarge)


      Dick Hawkins and his partner opened up a "faro bank" (table) in a saloon known as Savard's place. Advertised was that it accepted "under a liberal limit," meaning that the table proprietors accepted larger bets. Saloons and gambling establishments of the nineteenth century often rented space to gamblers who had gambling equipment and capital from which to operate a game.
     Not known is when Hawkins came to Denver and began working for Soapy Smith as a faro dealer. The first mention of Hawkins in Denver was published in the Rocky Mountain News, August 18, 1890. He is running a faro table but had branched out into crime, operating a shell and pea swindle. Here is the text of that article followed by a photocopy of the newspaper clipping.


The shell and pea swindle

________________________________________
__________
NOT RIGHT.
__________
 A Shell Worker Who Was Not Put Under Arrest.
     One of the most disgusting scenes imaginable occurred yesterday afternoon at Sheridan park. That place is a popular resort Sunday for the people who cannot visit the mountain resorts in the various parts of the state. Dick Hawkins, a faro dealer and an all-round gambler who is well-known in the city, was present and manipulated a shell game that surprised everybody at his boldness. He played without regard to the Sunday law and took advantage of the innocent who visited the place. A Swede, whose name is not known, proved to be the sucker of the occasion and he swallowed the bait offered by the man who ran the game. He played several times and finally lost some money. He raised a racket and created a disturbance, and in a few minutes everybody present knew that he had been fleeced of what he had. He tried to convince those present that he had been "worked," but Hawkins was too slick, and managed to make those who were present believe that the Swede did not know what he was talking about.
     Indignantly the Swede walked off a few feet and drawing his revolver fired three shots at the man who had who had worked him so nicely. In the melee that followed he was arrested by Bob Stockton, a saloon keeper on Seventeenth street, who formerly was an inmate [employee] of the sheriff's office. Stockton arrested the Swede, but refused to jail Hawkins. The Swede was landed in the county jail while the notorious Hawkins was allowed to continue his nefarious game contrary to law.
     Stockton was at one time a sheriff's deputy under Barton, but whether he retains his commission is not known.
 
 NOT RIGHT
Rocky Mountain News
August 18, 1890
Newspaper image
 (Click image to enlarge)
________________________________________


A crooked cop

     On this particular day Hawkins was in Sheridan Park just outside Denver city limits. As a faro dealer in Denver, it is doubtful that he is the proprietor of the bank. Possibly he is an employee of Soapy Smith at the Tivoli Club located on Seventeenth and Market. It is probably not a coincidence that Bob Stockton, the ex-deputy sheriff, "saloon keeper" also worked in a Seventeenth Street saloon, perhaps even Soapy's Tivoli Club. This is a good example of the power held by Denver's criminal underworld. A victim of the shell game attempts to shoot Hawkins but misses, only to have a crooked ex-deputy sheriff, saloon keeper arrest the victim but not the criminal Hawkins.
     This article also brings up the obvious advantages and probability that Soapy hired ex-deputy sheriffs and ex-policemen as employees in the Tivoli Club and other establishments.
     The following month, Deputy Sheriff Bob Stockton played a role in Denver's fraudulent elections when he followed Soapy and his men into a poll-counting room and took control of the ballot box. The official excuse for commandeering the box was to protect it from "vote stuffing (or placing unauthorized ballots in the box). Obviously, the "protectors" of the ballot box had their own "vote stuffing" in mind (Alias Soapy Smith, page 182).
     Three months later, Hawkins was accused of firing his gun and assaulting a complaining victim at Soapy's place. However, Hawkins was not present. Following is the newspaper account and story.    


________________________________________
__________
 
Hawkins and His Gun.
     Last night at about 7:30 the notorious Dick Hawkins, the shell worker who deals faro at the Texas house on Seventeenth and Market streets, got into a dispute with a drunken hobo over a poker game in the house, and to keep up his dead tough game he hit his opponent over the head with a loaded pistol, which went off and the bullet flattened itself against the wall, and caused a stampede in the house. The fellow he hit ran out of the house more frightened than hurt.

Hawkins and His Gun.
Rocky Mountain News
November 8, 1890
Newspaper image
(Click image to enlarge) 



BIG HAND
"Friendly" game of poker swindle


     The newspaper story above is not accurate, probably intentionally falsified in order to confuse the public and protect Joe Simmons, the manager of the Tivoli Club. Note the name "the Texas house" used in reference to the location of the saloon. Known is that the Tivoli Club contained a downstairs saloon and upstairs gambling rooms. Several times during its existence, it appeared to "change proprietorship," at least on paper. At one point the Tivoli Club was sold (the paperwork is in the author's collection), and the bar downstairs might have undergone a name change. The sale, though, might have been part of a swindle. However it was, Soapy regained control of the Tivoli Club, which kept its name until 1895.
     The following day the Rocky Mountain News came out with the following addendum in its local brevities column.

W. M. Shuck of Lyons was not struck by Dick Hawkins, as was at first supposed. Mr. Hawkins was not anywhere in that vicinity. Shuck was shot by Simmons, supposed to be proprietor of Soapy Smith's place. The revolver was a 45 Colt. Glancing shot.

     Quite a different story from the previous published version the night before. W. M. Shuck, the victim, goes from "hobo" to a citizen of Lyons, Colorado. The mention of "poker game" indicates that this was probably the standard "big hand" poker swindle, a rigged game of poker staged in backrooms all-around the business district, awaiting dupes. The story appears to have been intentionally misreported with Hawkins firing the shot so that Simmons would not be arrested. With blame diverted, no one is arrested, and Hawkins cannot be charged as he is reported as not "anywhere in that vicinity." As most of the saloon patrons were probably drunk, the common practice of misdirecting blame had the added benefit of a hungover victim who could not recognize or faithfully pick out his assailants in the following police investigation in the days to come.
     I love the line from the first published report: "he hit his opponent over the head with a loaded pistol, which went off and the bullet flattened itself against the wall...." Obviously the intention was to show that there was no murder attempt and that the accidentally discharged bullet did not threaten the innocent lives of Denverites on the street. The line "the fellow he hit ran out of the house more frightened than hurt" makes it appear that no one was harmed at all, except of course, that "Shuck was shot by Simmons," even if a "glancing* shot."
(*Glancing: to strike a surface obliquely, especially so as to bounce off at an angle.)
     At some point in late 1890, club manager Joe Simmons fired Hawkins, drove him from the Tivoli Club, and fired a bullet in the fleeing man's direction. Hawkins gave up Denver but not before robbing the Arcade and the Nickel Plate gambling houses.


The Arcade saloon and club rooms
The Arcade is the building to the left of the one where the men are standing
(Click image to enlarge)

     In January 1891 Hawkins used a pistol to rob the faro bank at the Arcade gaming house on Larimer Street in Denver. Then he went into the Nickel Plate club on Lawrence Street and reenacted the scene there. The first published account was that the robber was a man named "Smith."

(The following sequence of events in Denver is taken from Alias Soapy Smith:)
Sometime before January 23, 1891, a dealer named Smith (no relation to Soapy) who worked one of Jeff’s Tivoli Club gambling tables was fired. The reason is unknown, but Jeff later told a News reporter that “the man was such an unprincipled scoundrel that he was discharged.” This man Smith, “a medium-sized, rather good-looking, smooth face, with the exception of a mustache, black stiff hat and light over coat,” strolled into the Arcade club rooms at about 8:30 p.m. on January 22, 1891, and placed a $100 wager at a faro table. The bet was a losing one, and the News covered what happened as the dealer collected the bet. Smith then drew his
45-calibre Colt’s gun, cocked it and requested the dealer pass the money back. The bank dealer was not slow in complying with the request.
     The bravo held the pistol in his hand, backed out of the room and walked leisurely down stairs and disappeared, although a crowd of about 150 men were in the room…, yet not a move was made to intercept the “tin horn.”
Next Smith [Hawkins] went into the Nickel Plate club on Lawrence Street, arriving about 10:30. He went to a faro table, bet “$50 on the king and said: ‘This all goes, see!’” The dealer said “All right,” the $50 was lost, and the dealer said,
“Well, you have lost your ‘dough’….
“The h____ I have! Give me that bet, and quick too,” at the same time drawing the same big pistol as he displayed at the Arcade club rooms.
     The desperado backed out unmolested, in the same manner as he did making his other successful play. … Detectives are looking for the would-be Jesse James, and it is quite possible that the “bad man from Market street” will languish in the city jail before morning.
     In 1892 Soapy moved his operations to Creede, Colorado. With him were members of the Soap Gang, as well as his younger brother Bascomb Smith.


Bascomb Smith
The inset is a drawing of Bascomb
The photograph is not confirmed to be Bascomb
Author's collection
(Click image to enlarge)



     While in Creede, Bascomb made an enemy of Dick Hawkins. Bascomb mentioned the trouble in the June 24, 1893, issue of the Rocky Mountain News.
     It is an old quarrel. I whipped his partner, Dick Hawkins, a year ago and Harry [Harry Smith] said that he would get me. ... Bob [Ford] opened a saloon and gambling house, and Hawkins and "Shotgun" Harry Smith boosted for the place.

Rocky Mountain News
June 24, 1893
Newspaper image
(Click image to enlarge)

     The trouble started with a fistfight in a Creede saloon. Hawkins is said to have attempted to shoot Bascomb, but before he could, an unknown member of the Soap Gang floored Hawkins with the swing of a cane. Hawkins and pal “Shotgun” Harry either chose, or were forced, to leave Creede. Before leaving they robbed the Mint Club where Hawkins was employed.  
     On March 7, 1892 Hawkins robbed the Mint Club in Creede, Colorado in the same fashion as the Arcade and the Nickle Plate gaming houses in Denver, only this time, he was an employee of the house he robbed. The Creede Candle published the story on March 10.
Dick Hawkins, one of the faro dealers at the Mint, … on Monday night, with the aid of Harry Smith and Jerry O’Brien, covered the crowd with their guns, collared the bank roll of about $1,300 right out from the jaws of the tiger [a nickname for the game of faro] and made good their escape with the boodle. A posse was at once organized and many innocent young men who were supposed to resemble the absconding Dick because of a common lack of whiskers were held up and examined, but the looters were away, and the green on which they sported now knows them no more.
     The Creede Candle was a weekly newspaper, so although the robbery took place in Creede, the Denver Rocky Mountain News beat them to their own story, which follows:

BEATING THE WHEEL.

Dick Hawkins and Two Pals Rob a Roulette Wheel in Creede. With Drawn Revolvers They Lay Claim to Twelve Hundred Dollars And Decamp. Now the Crowd Is Looking for the Bold Trio With Tight Neck Tie Ready.

      Special to The News. CREEDE, Colo., March 7.—The most sensational affair that has been witnessed at Creede occurred this afternoon at 3 o’clock. Dick Hawkins, a well-known Denver sport, and two “pals,” robbed the Mint Exchange of $1,280. Dick Hawkins is the same individual who held up one of the faro banks for $200, the Arcade, in Denver, a year ago, and made good his escape. Hawkins began to deal faro this morning for Charlie [M.] Lorje [or Lorge], or “Sheney [sic] Charley,” as he is called in Denver at the Arcade, where he has been running the principal roulette wheel…. …
     Hawkins dealt all day and at the closest estimate the bank won nearly $1,000. At 3 o’clock Harry Smith and Jerry O’Brien, his two pals, came in and began playing. Instantly the trio drew their revolvers, took all the money and backed out the door. Captain Light, Captain [Jack] Kirwin and Deputy [Mike] Delaney and a posse of men are in search of the robbers, and if found, quick retribution will be meted out to them.



BEATING THE WHEEL.
Rocky Mountain News
March 8, 1892
Newspaper image
(Click image to enlarge)



The Mint Club
Creede, Colorado, 1892
(Click on image to enlarge)

     A three-man posse went after Hawkins, but he was not apprehended. Nor did he ever answer for any of the robberies. This may not be so surprising as one of the posse was "Cap" William Light, Soapy's brother-in-law.
    There is a theory that Soapy may not have actually fired Hawkins, that Soapy allowed the loose cannon free reign to cause hell, perhaps with an agreement that Soapy would receive gratuities from his plunder. However this theory has no provenance.
     After fleeing Creede Hawkins went back to his family ranch in Pine Grove, Colorado, and kept a low profile for the next three years. Cattle rustling and an attempt on the life of a deputy sheriff brought Hawkins back into the lime-light, and his old boss, Soapy Smith, took notice, clipping and saving a newspaper story of the events. Soapy wrote on it, "Denver Republican April 14," but failed to put the year, which remained a mystery for decades.
     I believe I have uncovered the date, based on another newspaper article, "Two Men Shoot to Kill." Appearing in the Rocky Mountain News, March 11, 1896, it contains the line "He has been mixed up in trouble of various kinds, and only a few months ago was tried in Jefferson county for cattle rustling." This matches up with the Denver Republican clipping, which would make the missing year 1895. However, the March 11 article states that "only a few months ago [Hawkins] was tried in Jefferson county for cattle rustling." His arrest was for cattle rustling and attempting to kill Deputy Sheriff Corbin. Although there is a time span of nine months (04/14/1895 to 03/11/1896), Hawkins could have spent the time in jail, awaiting preparations for trial, or trials, considering these are two separate offenses. If correct, the date of the following article is April 14, 1895.

PULLED HIS SIX-SHOOTER
_____

Dick Hawkins Attempts to Kill Deputy Sheriff Corbin.
_____

AN ENCOUNTER AT PINE GROVE
_____

One of Jeff Smith’s Old Men Gets Into Trouble Over Another Man’s Cattle and Trick to Wind Up the Affair Explosively by Shooting an Officer He Fails in the Attempt and [three words?] in Irons-A Lively Meeting at a Little Summer Resort in Platte Canon.
_____

      Dick Hawkins, a well-known tough character, formerly one of Jeff Smith’s bunco men, but lately said to have been implicated in some questionable cattle deals up in Jefferson county, was brought in heavy ironed on the South Park train at midnight last by Deputy Sheriff Corbin of Pine Grove. According to the story of the officer, Hawkins attempted to kill him on the streets of Pine Grove yesterday afternoon and a fatal shooting affray was narrowly averted. Sheriff Kelly of Jefferson county met the pair at the train and the prisoner was taken to Golden in a buggy and placed in the county jail.
     The attempted shooting grew out of trouble which Hawkins and his family and friends have been having with the Jefferson county officers for some time, and which has continued to grow more serious until it culminated in yesterday’s nearly fatal encounter. Hawkins was formerly one of “Soapy” Smith’s lieutenants in this city and his particular branch of business was the entrapping of “hayseeds,” miners and cow-punchers come to town for a good time. When business dropped off Hawkins moved his headquarters up the Platte and located at Pine Grove, a little summer resort up the river on the line of the South Park.

Some Cattle Dealings.

      In this vicinity P. J. Hannah, father-in-law of Charles D. McPhee, has a ranch and is heavily interested in cattle. In some manner he came to have business dealings with Hawkins and his relatives and it is said that they worked the old game on him, on a somewhat larger scale, with the result that he charged them with stealing all his cattle and running him and his employees out of the neighborhood.
     Mr. Hannah is quite an old man and unable to look after business of this character actively, and it is said that these people appropriated his live stock in a very cold-blooded manner and after the style of highwaymen. Hawkins claimed to own all the stock and, it is said, threatened to shoot any officer who ventured into the neighborhood. When he heard that warrants had been issued for his arrest for cattle stealing, he rode up and down the country with a Winchester rifle on his shoulder, waiting for the officers.
     Sheriff Kelly and Deputy Corbin, armed with warrants for Hawkins and others of the family and also with a writ of replevin [restoration] for the stolen cattle, without resistance, in spite of Hawkins and his Winchester. Hawkins and the others were arrested and taken to jail at Golden. His mother was one of those charged with larceny, but the case against her was not pushed and she was released. Hawkins himself was released on bail, and the cases were to have come up at the present term of court in Jefferson county.

Sued for Damages.

      After the cattle had been taken Hawkins brought suit against Hannah for damages, and it is this action which brought matters to a crisis. Corbin, who was the deputy located at Pine Grove, Ben Spencer and others were witnesses and testified strongly against Hawkins. The case is still undecided, and Hawkins and his crowd cherish bad feeling against the witnesses who testified against them. Spencer was attacked by Hawkins several days ago and badly pounded up, and his assailant has since been looking for Corbin.
     The officer has been out on the range, and rode into Pine Grove yesterday afternoon. Hawkins and several of his friends were on the street and approached Corbin directly. The latter saw trouble was imminent and tried to avoid a quarrel. Hawkins was armed and evidently intended trouble. Words followed and Hawkins finally shouted: “You — — — you know you swore to a —.”
     “Don’t say such a thing about me.” Interrupted Corbin, divining his intention to accuse him of perjury.

Drew His Revolver.

      At this Hawkins drew a six-shooter from his belt and aimed it at Corbin. The officer was too quick for him, and seizing the barrel of the revolver, held it away from his body while he drew his own gun. Hawkins’ friends rushed up and tried to disarm the officer, but a number of citizens who had been attracted by the quarrel, ran up and insisted on fair play.
     Disarmed of his weapon Hawkins started in to assault Corbin with his fists. A scuffle ensued, in which the officer had his coat and vest torn off, but succeeded in knocking Hawkins down and punishing him severely. After this he secured a piece of rope and tied Hawkins securely, bringing him down to Denver on the South Park train in this condition.
     At the depot, where they were met by Sheriff Kelly, Hawkins was relieved of his fetters, and after some refreshment the trio set off for Golden in a buggy. Hawkins now has the charge of assault to kill added to the others against his name on the prison records at Golden.


PULLED HIS SIX-SHOOTER
Denver Republican
April 14 [1895?]
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Author's collection
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 ________________________________________


     On March 10, 1896, Hawkins was shot and mortally wounded, succumbing to his injury four days later. Supposedly in self-defense, saloon proprietor James R. Gregg, shoots and mortally shot Hawkins in the Gregg and Charles Comb's saloon, South Platte, Colorado, 45 or 50 miles southwest of Denver. In a death-bed disclosure Hawkins claimed that Soap Gang shell and pea operator Tom Cady [spelled Keady] was plotting to kill him. It would certainly not be the first, or last, time members of the Soap Gang would do such a thing. In Gregg's Saloon Hawkins asked to borrow a pistol for protection, and it was given to him. Hawkins believed that Gregg was involved in the plot, thus the attempted shooting of Gregg. Hawkins died four days later in a Denver hospital. The Rocky Mountain News published the story the following day:

TWO MEN SHOOT TO KILL
__________

Dick Hawkins Brought Down by Saloonkeeper Gregg.
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A SOUTH PLATTE SALOON FIGHT.
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Gregg Barely Escapes a Bullet, but Then Brings His Trusty Colt's Into Play, and Hawkins Falls, Wounded in the Hip, and Is Now in a Critical Condition—Wounded Man Once Held Up a Faro Bank at Creede—Both Are Gun Fighters.
__________

     In the saloon of Gregg and Combs, at the town of South Platte Richard C. Hawkins, better known as Dick Hawkins, a rancher of Pine Grove, was shot, perhaps fatally, by Saloonkeeper Gregg yesterday afternoon at 4 o'clock. Hawkins was brought to this city and placed in St. Luke's hospital, where at a late hour last night he was in critical condition.
    The saloon fight started over the payment for a round of drinks served to slake the thirst of a dusty company of ranchers, cowboys and miners. Hawkins, who gained notoriety about four years ago at Creede by holding up a faro bank, and who is a quick hand with a gun, took offense at the saloonkeeper and began shooting.
     Gregg was behind the bar and the first bullet from Hawkins' revolver passed within an inch of his ear and shattered a new mirror purchased by the firm. The shot cleared the bar room, all leaving except Hawkins and Saloonkeeper Gregg.
     Although slightly excited by his escape from death Gregg retained enough presence of mind to reach for his trusty long-barreled 44 caliber Colt's revolver that lay upon a shelf of the wall behind the bar. He brought the weapon to aim and fired, the shot taking effect in Hawkins' right side and bringing him to the floor.
     Great disorder prevailed on the outside. Several members of "Soapy" Smith's gang  of flim flammers who were engaged in running a thimble game near the saloon door, deserted their post and their table was knocked over by one of the excited witnesses to the shooting.
 
Hawkins Floored.

     When the excitement had cooled the crowd returned to the saloon and found Hawkins on the floor weltering in his own blood. Saloonkeeper Gregg stood behind the bar, revolver still in hand. Gregg's face was badly powdered burned, the effect of the shot that was fired deliberately at his head. Among the witnesses to the shooting was Albert H. Weber, of West Creek, lately chief of the guard at the Arapahoe county jail, who was on his way to Denver, and several friends of Hawkins. The sympathy of the crowd, it seems was extended more to the saloon keeper than to Hawkins, as witnesses say that Hawkins almost without warning took a shot at the man behind the bar. The trouble originated in the crowd lined up at the bar. Hawkins refused to pay for a round of drinks, and a row started which the saloonkeeper endeavored to stop.
     An old grudge, it is said, existed between Hawkins and Gregg, owning to a dispute over mining claims in Pine Grove district. As there was no medical help at hand, Hawkins lay bleeding at the station until the arrival of a train at about 5 o'clock. He was removed to St. Luke's hospital in the police ambulance, and on the way made a statement to the effect that he was shot without provocation and in a cold-blooded manner. He refused to give the name of his assailant, but said that the shooting was caused by a dispute over mining claims situated upon his farm in Pine Grove. A number of claims have been located upon the property, and much dispute has arisen regarding them. Saloonkeeper Lou Blonger met the wounded man at the depot and accompanied him in the ambulance to the hospital. 

Hawkins' Bad Record.

      The fate of Hawkins, according to the statements of a number of his friends, has not been unexpected. He has been mixed up in trouble of various kinds, and only a few months ago was tried in Jefferson county for cattle rustling. The holding up of the faro bank at Creede was another of Hawkins' escapades, but in each case he was acquitted by a jury.
     An examination of the wound at the hospital showed that the bullet had entered Hawkins' right side about two inches above the apex of the hip bone. The course taken by the bullet has not been ascertained, but will be made known to-day by probing. Hawkins is 33 years of age and unmarried. He has a sister living at 2509 Arapahoe street, and his mother has been rooming at 1724-1/2 Curtis street.
     Saloonkeeper Gregg is 6 feet 3 inches in height and has a reputation as a gunfighter. He is about 30 years of age, and has been running the saloon at South Platte for some months. Hawkins' parents lived upon the Pine Grove farm for a number of years, leaving him in charge after the death of the father.

TWO MEN SHOOT TO KILL.
Rocky Mountain News
March 11, 1896
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Gregg's arrest begins to reveal details of the shooting.

ARREST OF J. R. GREGG.
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Sheriff Kelly of Jefferson County Arrives With the South Platte Saloonkeeper in Custody.

      Sheriff Kelly of Jefferson county arrived in Denver last night from South Platte, where he arrested J.R. Gregg for the shooting of Dick Hawkins. Before leaving South Platte the sheriff investigated the affair and is convinced that Gregg shot in self-defense. The latter told the story of the shooting last evening and was corroborated in every particular by the sheriff.
      "I was standing at the bar waiting on a customer," said Gregg, "and had just taken off the metal cap from a bottle of whisky, when Hawkins fired. He had come into the place and stood at the end of the bar without saying a word until his shot. There was no dispute of any kind, for there had not been a word spoken to him by myself or anybody else. The shot from his revolver missed my right ear by less than an inch and tore off the top of the metal bottle cap which I had just taken off the bottle. Then I grabbed my gun and fired, and that was about all there was to it. I was almost blinded by the burning powder in my face and the blood streaming from every place where the grains struck, but I managed to shoot in the right direction through the smoke."
     Gregg's face and hand seem to bear out his story. Hundreds of little blotches tell where the powder struck and he exhibits the metal cap with a jagged hole through the top. The bullet is a huge affair and went through several thicknesses of glass, four inches of wood and then crossed the street and embedded itself in the side of the building. "Why, I just loaned Hawkins the gun not an hour before," said Gregg," and I didn't expect to get shot when I gave it to him."



ARREST OF J. R. GREGG.
Rocky Mountain News
March 13, 1896
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      As witnesses and friends report in, the acceptance of a clear case of cut and dry self defense is beginning to wear thin as questions are being asked. Then as witnesses and friends began to report in, the clear case of cut-and dried self-defense began to grow less clear, giving rise to questions, as reported in the March 14, 1896, edition of the News.


DICK HAWKINS DYING.
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Saloonkeeper Gregg's Victim May Not Survive an Operation at St. Luke's Hospital.

      Dick Hawkins, the victim of a bullet from the revolver of Saloonkeeper Gregg of South Platte, was operated on at St. Luke's hospital last night and the probabilities were that he would not live until daylight, intestinal troubles having set in.
      The trouble over which the shooting occurred in the little saloon has never been thoroughly explained, and it is said to have dated back two or three years to when Hawkins was dealing faro for "Soapy" Smith in Denver. The saloon was filled at the time of the affair with several well known characters in the criminal history of the country, two of them having big records in Chicago [Big Ed Burns?], both in the straight criminal line and in connection with this Cannon election frauds. Some of these persons came to Denver with Hawkins early in the week and were arrested within a few hours after reaching town. Yesterday they were given ten hours to leave and they got out last night.
      Mrs. Hawkins, mother of Dick, was at the station early last evening. She informed Chief Russell that there was a probability of the early death of her son as a result of the shooting, and she wanted the men held in the city as witnesses. This the chief refused to do, claiming that there were other and more reputable witnesses, who could easily be secured.
     The tough record which Dick Hawkins possesses dates back only a few years and it seems to be an agreed fact that up to the time that he was led astray by bad companions, about five years ago, he was a plain, good-natured fellow with no vicious habits. The family lived at Pine Grove, where they moved seventeen years ago from Missouri. About five years ago Dick began to gamble. Soon after that, in company with Joe Palmer, it is charged, he held up "Sheeny Charlie's" faro bank at Creede and secured several hundred dollars. Then he returned to the ranch and divided his time between Pine Grove and Denver, where for about a year he dealt faro bank for Jeff Smith. In some manner he was charged with being a bunco man, but persons on the inside say that he never did any "outside" work, but worked entirely behind the table. The next trouble Hawkins got into was in connection with cattle rustling, and in this affair his mother was also involved, but both were cleared. Then Dick took a shot at a deputy sheriff a year ago and was placed in jail at Golden. 


DICK HAWKINS DYING.
Rocky Mountain News
March 14, 1896
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      The above article gives insight into the beginnings of Hawkins' downfall. The account says "about five years," which would be in the neighborhood of 1891, which is a pretty close match to the newspaper stories published here. It seems obvious that the Soap Gang strongly influenced his career choices, from gambler to con man. The idea that Joe Palmer may have influenced Hawkins' decision to rob the Mint in Creede opens up new questions and theories.
      In Alias Soapy Smith I go into what is known about Soapy's dislike of Bob Ford, the killer of Jesse James, and a fellow Creede saloon entrepreneur. This dislike was not a secret. Even the editor of the Creede Chronicle spoke of it. Joe Palmer, one of Soapy's men, befriended Ford, probably to obtain information. Some of the actions taken by Palmer, such as a wild, drunken shoot-em-up, shooting out windows, blow off of steam, which got both Palmer and Ford evicted from the town, may have been an attempt to get Ford out of Creede, or to get him shot dead. Possibly Palmer talked Hawkins into robbing the Mint Club to get rid of Hawkins. Perhaps that plan just did not work out when Hawkins and his "pals" escaped the posse hunting for them.
      The following article from the Rocky Mountain News, March 15, 1896, reports Hawkins' death. It also discloses what the previous day's story stated, that direct witnesses to the shootout are ordered to leave Denver before their depositions can be taken by the coroner.          



DICK HAWKINS DEAD.
__________

Saloonkeeper Gregg's Bullet Strikes a Vital Spot and Medical Skill Fails.

Richard C. Hawkins, the victim of J. R. Gregg's bullet, died at St. Luke's hospital yesterday afternoon. Hawkins was shot at the saloon of Gregg and Combs at South Platte last Tuesday afternoon. He was brought to Denver on the evening train that day and sent to St. Luke's hospital where he was so weak that no effort was made to remove the bullet until Friday afternoon when an operation was performed, which disclosed the utter hopelessness of the case, a vital point having become involved, and by sheer physical strength the young man survived until yesterday afternoon.
     Mrs. Hawkins, mother  of deceased, called on Chief of Police Russel Friday night and explained that there were probabilities of the affair taking a serious phase by the death of her son, and she wanted the witnesses taken into custody. Orders had already been issued for the men to leave town, and they were permitted to depart Friday night.
     The body was yesterday given in charge of Undertaker Miller. Arrangements were not made for the funeral, which will not be held until Bob Hawkins of Albuquerque, a brother, can be communicated with. Hawkins leaves a mother, two sisters and one brother. He owned some ranch property near Pine Grove, on part of which a mining townsite has been located, and which may prove of considerable value.    



DICK HAWKINS DEAD.
Rocky Mountain News
March 15, 1896
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      Before Hawkins died, he was finally able to get his side of the shooting published, which beg for an investigation. Although apparently nothing more was done, his last statements do add information and bring up important questions that would have been lost to history otherwise.


PLOTTED BY BUNCO MEN
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Death Bed Disclosure of Aquilla C. Hawkins.
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HIS DEATH WAS COOLLY PLANNED.
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Testimony of D. Fish Reveals a Warfare Among the Thimble-Riffers of West Creek—Denver's Outcasts Fight for a footing in the New Mining Camp, Where They Were Privileged to Defy Local Authority.

__________


      At the corner's inquest held yesterday afternoon over the remains of Aquilla C. Hawkins, better known as Dick Hawkins, who was fatally shot by Saloon Keeper James Gregg at South Platte last Tuesday, Dr. A. R. Fish sprung a sensation. He told the jury of an ante mortem statement made by Hawkins, which was to the effect that Tom Keady ["Troublesome Tom" Cady], a well-known shell-game man, and Saloon Keeper Gregg had conspired to start a row in which he (Hawkins) was to be shot by Gregg.
      The conspiracy was planned, declared Hawkins, for the purpose of getting him out of the way on account of the part he had taken in certain mining deals in which Keady and Gregg were interested with him.
     The ante mortem statement was not taken in writing, but the doctor, who is disinterested, never having known any of the parties to the affair, said that Hawkins was fully aware of the approach of death at the time when he made the statement.
No Witnesses Present.

      A strange feature of the case is the fact that witnesses to the shooting were not in evidence yesterday at the inquest, although at least a dozen men, most of whom live in Denver, were present in Gregg and Comb's saloon when the fatal shot was fired. Only one witness to the shooting could be found yesterday, although the coroner made efforts to locate the others. The witness who testified is Tom Keady, sometimes known as Cady, the shell-game man. The witness testified that he was in the saloon at the time of the shooting, and that among the other witnesses were Al Weber, ex-chief guard at the Arapahoe county jail, "Big Ed" Burns and several companions and some friends of the saloon keepers.

      "Hawkins fired two shots at Gregg," said Keady, "before Gregg fired at him, although the second shot of Hawkins was fired at about the same time that Gregg shot. Just before the shooting I had a row with a big fellow who made a pass to pull his gun on me. Gregg leaned over the bar and tried to hit me with his gun, and I dodged down under the bar, and then Hawkins fired.

Interested in Gambling.

      Witness said that he and Hawkins had been interested together in gambling games carried on about the saloon and had previously carried on their games at West Creek. His testimony was given before that of Dr. Fish, and the coroner therefore had no opportunity to question him regarding matters suggested by the ante mortem statement of Hawkins.
      Mrs. Lucy A. Hawkins, mother of the deceased, was sworn, and testified that her son's name was Aquilla C. Hawkins; that he was ["28" or "29"] years of age at the time of his death, and that he was born in Missouri. Witness had a talk with her son shortly before his death, and he informed her that a man named Loomis and a saloon keeper at West Creek, whose name he did not know, could tell all about the fight, they having witnessed it. The jury returned the following verdicts:
      That said Aquilla C. Hawkins came to his death Saturday, March 14, 1896, about 3 p.m., at St. Luke's hospital, Denver, Arapahoe county, Colorado. The cause of said death was shock from gunshot injury, the gun being in the hands of one Jim Gregg at South Platte station, Jefferson county, Colo., between the hours of 4 and 5 p.m., Tuesday, March 10, 1896.
      We, the jury, find from evidence that the said shooting was felonious.
      Gregg was arrested on a charge of assault to kill by Sheriff Kelly of Jefferson county two days after the shooting.
      The mother of the dead man has sworn out a warrant charging Gregg with murder, and it is reported that Gregg is now in custody of a deputy sheriff at South Platte, attending to his duties as usual.


PLOTTED BY BUNCO MEN.
Rocky Mountain News
March 18, 1896
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Aquilla "Dick" Hawkins was a rough character, to say the least. The Denver Evening Post wrote of him, “He was never suspected of earning a dollar honestly, and was always regarded as a crook who might be guilty of committing any crime from petite larceny to murder.” From these words I had always assumed that Hawkins was born a bad man, but the new information uncovered shows a different side. While not an honest, law-abiding man, he was likely one that others could take advantage of. A man that crimes could be pinned on. A man who could be murdered and few would care or miss. 

Epilogue: James R. Gregg


Seven days short of the one-year anniversary of Hawkins' shooting, Gregg shot another of his saloon patrons. The Herald Democrat covered the occasion, revealing that Gregg had "killed at least three men in Oklahoma Territory," giving some credibility to the account of the News (March 10, 1896) that Gregg had "the reputation as a gunfighter." 

AN OKLAHOMA BAD MAN DOES MURDER AT PUMA.
__________

     Puma City. March 4.—Peter S. Cox, a saloon keeper, was killed last night in a dance hall by James R. Gregg. The trouble occurred over the purchase of a saloon and dance hall. It was claimed that Cox fired the first shot with a Winchester. Gregg fired at Cox striking him in the breast, and afterwards, while his victim was on the ground, he fired two more shots at him.
     Gregg is well known at South Platte, being a partner in the saloon business there with Charles Combs. It is said he has quite a record as a man killer, and holds a commission as deputy sheriff in Park county. The statement is made that about six months ago he killed a shell-game operator in a saloon in South Platte, and was then acquitted on the plea of self-defense. He came to South Platte from Enid, Oklahoma Territory, where he was reported to have killed at least three men in saloon fights.


AN OKLAHOMA BAD MAN DOES MURDER AT PUMA.
Herald Democrat
March 5, 1897
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      I found no further legal action taken against James R. Gregg for the shooting of Dick Hawkins.
    Ten months later the Fairplay Flume for January 8, 1897, spoke of a liquor license issue for Gregg and Combs. Nine months later (October 22, 1897), the same newspaper published Gregg's news of acquittal in the shooting death of Pete Cox. The last report of Gregg comes from the Durango Wage Earner for May 18, 1899. Gregg had been charged with assault and robbery, a friend (Bruce Sanders) caught him stealing $50 from his pants in the hotel room where the two were staying. 


Last man standing
The South Platte Hotel
built by the Zang Brewing Company
South Platte was a regular stop
and the last stop for Dick Hawkins
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Dick Hawkins: pages 79, 182-84, 273.





"He is the most gracious, kindhearted man I’ve met. To know him is to like him.
—William Saportas
Alias Soapy Smith, p. 590.



APRIL 3


1513: Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon goes ashore onto what will later be named Florida.
1776: George Washington receives an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Harvard College.
1817: Famed Texas Ranger William “Big Foot” Wallace is born.
1829: James Carrington patents the coffee mill.
1842: William “Big Foot” Wallace is one of 159 prisoners of war of General Santa Anna. A raffle for who lives and who dies is held, by putting 144 white beans and 16 black ones into a gourd. Those who drew a black bean were to be executed. Wallace drew a white bean. His death, by natural causes, came in 1899, at age 82.
1860: The first Pony Express rider leaves St. Joseph, Missouri towards Sacramento, California. The riders were paid $125 a month and were expected to ride 30 to 70 miles a day with the total ride taking nine days. Despite numerous dangers from Indians and robbers only one mail rider was killed (by Indians) during the Express's 19 months existence.
1861: Cadet George Custer receives three demerits for throwing snowballs near the West Point barracks, New York.
1865: Union forces occupy the Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia during the Civil War.
1866: Rudolph Eickemeyer and G. Osterheld patent a blocking and shaping machine for hats.
1868: A wood chopping party is attacked by Indians in Rock Creek, Wyoming. One woodcutter is killed.
1882: Outlaw Jesse James, age 34, is shot in the back of the head and killed in his home in St. Joseph, Missouri by Robert Ford for a $5,000 reward.
1885: 2.75 million acres of land in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Dakota Territory are opened for settlement.
1898: An avalanche at Sheep Camp on the Chilkoot Pass, in Alaska, during the Klondike gold rush kills approximately 70 men.
1908: Former hotel bellboy and well known gambler, Riley Grannan dies with an estate of $100. A few years prior he was known for putting $250,000 on a horse and winning the wager.
1910: Mt. McKinley in Alaska, the highest mountain in North America, is successfully climbed.