This Week in Old West History - June 11
CowboySpirit.TV - In this wild edition of our Old West historical roundup, we've got the death of a legend, the birth of several states, and the introduction of liquor to Dodge City.
1979: A true legend of the silver screen left us today, when John Wayne, The Duke, succumbed to stomach cancer. His grave is marked with the words: "Tomorrow is the most important thing in life. Comes into us at midnight very clean. It's perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we've learned something from yesterday."
1838: The Iowa Territory was officially organized on this day, and then became recognized by the US Government less than a month later, on July 4. The territory was originally much larger, including significant portions of present-day Minnesota and both Dakotas.
1878: On this day, old west outlaws The Sam Bass Gang engaged in a heavy firefight with a posse of Texas Rangers come to capture them. Several men were killed or wounded, although Bass himself escaped. He would not enjoy his freedom for long, however, and was killed a month later, on July 21.
1846: The end of the Mexican rule of California began on this day, when thirty-some settlers revolted against the Mexican government in Sonoma, first raising the famous “bear flag” of the California Republic. The “Republic” was never officially organized and, when the US Army arrived to occupy the area 26 days later, the rebels happily handed over control to the US government.
1881: Those notorious old west bandits, the James-Younger Gang, knocked over a Rock Island Line train in Missouri on this day, killing two men in the process. One of their less impressive heists, this only gained them around $1,000, although that's still around $24,000 in today's dollars. Frank James was tried for the heist, but acquitted.
1906: On this day, President Theodore Roosevelt signed the Oklahoma Enabling Act. It was the culmination of a compromise that combined the Oklahoma Territory and the Indian Territory into a single entity, paving the way for Oklahoma to enter the Union as a state the next year.
1872: Famed old west town Dodge City went from dry to wet on this day, as George M. Hoover, “The Founder of Dodge,” opened the city's first bar, serving whiskey at 25c for a ladle.
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