- A true Texas legend passed on this day in our latest collection of Old West history, along with appearances from Black Bart and a younger General Custer.
1861: Fort Buchanan in the New Mexico territory (now Arizona) was officially abandoned by the US army and torched. The fort had stood for years as a constantly-embattled part of the western Indian Wars.
1886: A particularly unpleasant old west whiskey-runner named Calvin James was hanged on this day. He once shot one of his own companions in cold blood to seize the man's whiskey for himself, but this led to his downfall. When authorities caught up with his gang, the remaining members turned on him, testifying in return for leniency.
1878: That poetically-minded old west outlaw Black Bart left the following bit of verse after robbing a stagecoach:
Here I lay me down to sleep
To wait the coming morrow,
Perhaps success, perhaps defeat,
And everlasting sorrow.
Let come what will, I'll try it on,
My condition can't be worse;
And if there's money in that box
'Tis munny in my purse.
1863: One of the greatest of Texans, Sam Houston, died on this day. He moved to Texas while it was still under Mexican control, and quickly became embroiled in its politics. He would sign the Texas Declaration of Independence, defeat Santa Ana at San Jacinto, and would go on to be President of Texas, one of Texas' Senators, and finally Governor of Texas.
1862: A maritime tragedy occurred on this date when the S.S. Golden Gate, a steamer that specialized in hauling gold during the California gold rush, caught fire and sank several miles off the coast of Manzanillo, Mexico. Fewer than half of the 1,200 souls onboard would make it back to land.
1867: On this day, George Custer was arrested for going AWOL during a campaign against the Plains Indians. Reportedly, he was attempting to visit his wife. He was court-martialed, found guilty, and sentenced to a year's suspension without pay.
1900: The last spike was driven in the White Pass and Yukon Route, Alaska's first railroad. The line ran from Skagway, Alaska, to Fort Selkirk, Yukon. While it had been built in hopes of riding the Yukon gold rush, the rush was mostly over by the time it became active.
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