Others connected with the mock trial which we have described fared badly, being waylaid and cruelly beaten. Mr. Ellis, the principal witness, was dogged every time he went to or returned from his claim, and finally was compelled to return to the States. He was followed to Fort Benton, a distance of three hundred miles, escaping death at the hands of his pursuers by slipping away secretly down the river, and hiding till the steamer came past when, springing joyfully from his place of concealment, and hailing her, he was taken on board.
N. P. Landlord* was an especial object of hatred to them. They had counted on his favoring them, at the trial, because he voted for a jury; but when they found that his ballot was cast for the death penalty, they vowed vengeance against him, and a gentleman, his particular friend. The latter could never go to his claim without a loaded gun and a revolver. Once the roughs had the plot all completed for the assassination of Mr. Langford; but accident revealed their preparations and intentions, and, through the timely warning of a friend, the conspiracy failed. The combination of the comrades of the two gentlemen, which embraced the order-loving of the community, was too strong to be openly defied by the roughs. The danger of sudden surprise and assassination was, however, continued.
* "Author of "Vigilante Days and Ways." One day, as Langford's friends were sauntering down the Main street, he saw Plummer approaching. He immediately drew a small bowie knife from his belt, and began to whittle a billet of wood, which he picked up for the purpose. Soon he came face to face with Plummer, who, looking with suspicious intelligence at the weapon, asked, "Why do you begin to whittle when you meet me?" The citizen regarding him with a stern and determined look, promptly answered, "Mr. Plummer, you know what opinion I hold concerning you and your friends, and I don't never intend to let you get the advantage. of me. I don't want to be shot down like a dog."
Finding that Mitchell had not gone away from town, a great many citizens thought it would be the height of injustice to keep Moore and Reeves away at Hell Gate, where the snow prevented the passage of the mountains, and, on Sunday, a miners' meeting was called, at which their sentence was remitted, by vote, and they accordingly came back.
An attempt had also been made before this to rob the store of Messrs. Higgins & Worden, of Deer Lodge; but the proprietors got word in time to hide the safe.
The Walla Walla Express was robbed by the band of road agents. Plummer directed this affair, and it is thought Long John had some share in it. The men actually engaged in it are not known.
A Mr. Davenport and his wife were going to Benton, from Bannack, intending to proceed by steamboat to the States. While taking a lunch at Rattlesnake, a man masked in black suddenly came out of the willows, near which they were camped, and demanded their money. Davenport said he had none; the fellow laughed, and replied that his wife had, and named the amount. A slight application of a Colt's corkscrew, which was pointed at Davenport's head, brought forth his money, and he was ordered, on pain of death, not to go back to Bannack at once, but to leave his wife somewhere ahead. This Davenport promised, and performed, after which he returned, and obtained some money from the citizens to assist him in his necessity. His wife proceeded to the States, where she arrived in safety. Davenport never knew who robbed him. The house of a Frenchman, named Le Grau, who kept a bakery and blacksmith shop at the back of Main street, Bannack, was broken into, and everything that could be found was stolen, after which the robbers threw the curtains into a heap and tried to burn down the house, but they failed in this. The greater part of the owner's money was, fortunately, hidden, and that they missed.
We have before spoken of Geo. Carrhart. He was a remarkably handsome man, well educated, and it has been asserted that he was a member of one of the western Legislatures. His manners were those of a gentleman, when he was sober; but an unfortunate love of whiskey had destroyed him." On one or two occasions, when inebriated, he had ridden up and down the street, with a shot-gun in his hand threatening everybody. He was extremely generous to a friend, and would make him a present of a horse, an interest in a ranch, or indeed, of anything that he thought he needed. His fondness for intoxicating liquors threw him into bad company, and caused his death.
One day, while sleeping in Skinner's saloon,** a young man of acknowledged courage, named Dick Sap, was playing "poker" with George Ranefield, a gambler, whose love of money was considerably in excess of his veneration for the eighth commandmeet. For the purpose of making a "flush," this worthy stole a card. Sap at once accused him of cheating, on which he jumped up, drew his revolver, and levelled at Sap, who was unarmed. A friend supplied the necessary weapon, and quick as thought Sap and Banefield exchanged all their shots, though, strange to say, without effect, so far as they were personally concerned.
* When they settled up his estate, the following account was presented: 1 pair of boots, $20.00; money loaned, $20.00; whisky, $40.00.
**See cut -the small house. The larger, Goodrich House, oldest hotel in Bannack.
The quarrel was arranged after some little time, and then it was found that Buz Craven's dog, "Toodles,'' which was under the table, had been struck by three balls, and lay there dead. groan from Carrhart attracted attention, and his friends looking at him, discovered that he had been shot through the bowels, accidentally, by Banefield. Instantly Moore called to Reeves and Forbes, who were present, "Boys, they have shot Carrhart; let's kill them," and raising his pistol, he let fly twice at Sap's head. Sap threw up his hands, having no weapon, and the balls came so close that they cut one little finger badly, and just grazed the other hand. The road agents fired promiscuously into the retreating crowd, one ball wounding a young man, Goliath Reilly, passing through his heel. Banefield was shot below the knee, and felt his leg numbed and useless. He, however, dragged himself away to a place of security, and was attended by a skillful physician; but, refusing to submit to amputation, he died of mortification.
In proof of the insecurity of life and property in places where such desperadoes as Plummer, Stinson, Ray and Skinner make their headquarters, the following incident may be cited:
Late in the spring of '63, Winnemuck, a warrior chief of the Bannacks, had come in with his band, and had camped in the brush, about three-fourths of a mile above the town. Skinner and the roughs called a meeting, and organized a band for the purpose of attacking and murdering the whole tribe. The leaders, however, got so drunk that the citizens became ashamed, and dropped off by degrees, till they were so few that the enterprise was abandoned. A half-breed had, in the mean time, warned Winnemuck, and the wily old warrior lost no time in preparing for the reception of the party. He sent his squaws and papooses to the rear, and posted his warriors, to the number of three or four hundred, on the right side of the canyon, in such a position that he could have slaughtered the whole command at his ease. This he fully intended to do, if attacked, and also to have sacked the town and killed every white in it. This would have been an achievement requiring no extraordinary effort, and had not the drunkenness of the outlaws defeated their murderous purpose, would undoubtedly have been accomplished. In fact, the men whom the Vigilantes afterward executed were ripe for any villainy, being godless, fearless, worthless, and a terror to the community.
In June of the same year, the report came in that Joe Carrigan, William Mitchell, Joe Brown, Smith, Indian Dick, and four others had been killed by the Indians, whom they had pursued to recover stolen stock, and that overtaking them, they had dismounted and fired into their tepees. The Indians attacked them when their pieces were emptied, killed the whole nine, and took their stock.
Old Snag, a friendly chief, came into Bannack with his band, immediately after this report. One of the tribe -a brother-in-law of Johnny Grant, of Deer Lodge -was fired at by Haze Lyons, to empty his revolver, for luck, on general principles, or for his pony -it is uncertain which. A member of citizens, thinking it was an Indian fight, ran out, and joined in the shooting. The savage jumped from his horse, and, throwing down his blanket, ran for his life, shouting "Good Indian." A shot wounded him in the hip. (His horse's leg was broken.) But, though badly hurt, he climbed up the mountain and got away, still shouting as he ran "Good Indian," meaning that he was friendly to the whites. Carroll, a citizen of Bannack, had a little Indian girl living with him, and Snag had called in to see her. Carroll witnessed the shooting we have described, and running in, he informed Snag, bidding him and his son ride off for their lives. The son ran out and jumped on his horse. Old Snag stood in front of the door, on the edge of the ditch, leaning upon his gun, which was in a sole leather case. He had his lariat in his hand, and was talking to his daughter, Jemmy Spence's squaw, named Catharine. Buck Stinson, without saying a word, walking to within four feet of him, and drawing his revolver, shot him in the side. The Indian raised his right hand and said, "Oh, don't." The answer was a ball in the neck, accompanied by the remark, enveloped in oaths, "I'll teach you to kill whites," and then again he shot him through the head. He was dead when the first citizen attracted by the firing ran up. Carroll, who was standing at the door, called out, "Oh, don't shoot into the house; you'll kill my folks." Stinson turned quickly upon him and roared out, with a volley of curses, topped off with the customary expletive form of address adopted by the roughs, "Put in your head, or I'll shoot the top of it off." Cyrus Skinner came up and scalped the Indian. The band scattered in flight. One who was behind, being wounded, plunged into the creek, seeking to escape, but was killed as he crawled up the bank, and fell among the willows. He was also scalped. The remainder of them got away, and the chief's son, checking his horse at a distance, waved to the men who had killed his father to come on for a fight, but the bullets beginning to cut the ground about him, he turned his horse and fled.
While the firing was going on, two ladies were preparing for a grand ball supper in a house adjoining the scene of the murder of Snag. The husband of one of them being absent, cutting house logs among the timber, his wife, alarmed for his safety, ran out with her arms and fingers extended with soft paste. She jumped the ditch at a bound, her hair streaming in the wind, and shouted aloud, "Where's Mr. -? Will nobody fetch me my husband?"
We are happy to relate that the object of her tender solicitude turned up uninjured, and if he was not grateful for this display of affection, we submit to the ladies, without any fear of contradiction, that he must be a monster.
The scalp of Old Snag, the butchered chief, now hangs in a banking house, in Salt Lake City.
We have recorded a few, among many, of the crimes and outrages that were daily committed in Bannack. The account is purposely literal and exact. It is not pleasant to write of blasphemous and indecent language, or to record foul and horrible crimes; but, as the anatomist must not shrink from the corpse, which taints the air as he investigates the symptoms and examines the results of disease, so, the historian must either tell the truth for the instruction of mankind, or sink to the level of a mercenary panderer, who writes, not to inform the people, but to enrich himself.
* Afterwards to become Governor of Montana.