This Week in Old West History - June 18
CowboySpirit.TV - This week's installment of our old west history lesson has it all, from the Gold Rush, to Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, to the prelude to the end of General George Custer. Read on for some great historical tidbits.
1880: John Sutter, the man whose land sparked the California gold rush, died on this day. Sadly, he died virtually penniless, a combination of failed business ventures and having the government overturn his claim on the land, which had been granted while California was under Mexican control.
1881: On this day, a decorated Texas Ranger and old west hero named John B. Jones died. He rose to the rank of Major, and eventually served as the commander of the Rangers' “Frontier Battalion,” defending Texas against Natives and outlaws alike, including the notorious Sam Bass.
1887: Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show performed for Queen Victoria in London on this day. She was so impressed by his old west display that she immediately ordered a command performance that was attended by royalty from across Europe, and giving him an endorsement that ensured the show's success.
1879: The uncommonly cultured old west outlaw Black Bart knocked over a stagecoach in Butte County on this day. While he did not leave any bits of verse at this heist, he did reportedly say to the driver: "Sure hope you have a lot of gold in that strongbox, I'm nearly out of money."
1882: A deadly fire swept through the downtown area of Tombstone, Arizona, on this day, sparked off by an combination of high heat, a barrel of bad whiskey that had been set out to be returned to the manufacturer, and an unnamed unfortunate who was careless with his cigar. Sixty-six buildings were destroyed.
1898: The first major conflict of the Spanish-American war was fought on this date, The Battle of Las Guasimas. The battle was indecisive, with 16 dead on the US side and an estimated 10 Spanish army killed, although both sides claimed victory. Future President Theodore Roosevelt was present, along with the Rough Riders.
1876: Scouts belonging to General George Custer arrived at an outlook called the Crow's Nest, some 14 miles east of the Little Bighorn River. Their reports of a huge Native American village would lead Custer to march to the last battle of his life.
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