No two men filled a broader space in the early history of the Florence mines than Pinkham and Patterson. Their personal characteristics gave them a wide-spread notoriety, and a sort of local popularity, which each enjoyed in his separate sphere. They were both leaders, after their own fashion, in the heterogeneous society in which they moved, and he was deemed a bold man who would gainsay their opinions, or resist their enterprises.
They were both gamblers, and lived the free end easy life of that pursuit; a pursuit which, in a new mining camp, next to that of absolute ruffianism, enabled its votaries to exercise a power as unlimited as it is generally lawless and insurrectionary. Indeed, there it is the master vice, which gives life and support to all the other vices, and that surrounds and hedges them in.
The order of influences which govern and direct the social element of a mining camp in its infancy are exactly the reverse of those which govern and direct the social element of an Eastern village. The clergyman, the church, and the various little associations growing out of it which make the society of our New England villages so delightful, and, at the same time, so disciplinary and instructive, are superseded in a mining community by the gambling saloon, cheap whiskey, frail women, and all the evils necessarily flowing from such polluted combinations. In the one case, religion and morality stand in the foreground, protected by the spirit of wise and inflexible laws; in the other, the rifle, the pistol, and the bowie-knife are flourished by reckless men, whose noblest inspirations are excited by liquor and debauchery. While all this is good and true and pure in society is brought into unceasing action in the one case, all that is vile and false and polluted reigns supreme in the other. We look to the one condition of society for all great and good examples of humanity, and to the other for such as are of an opposite character.
If we are to credit the early history of New England, Miles Standish was a central character of Puritanic chivalry and fidelity. The people had faith in his Christian character, and entire confidence in his strong arm and fertility of expedients in the hour of danger. Some such sentiment, qualified by the wide difference in the moral character of the two men, attached the mining community of Florence to Pinkham. He was a bold, outspoken, truthful, self-reliant man, without a particle of braggadocio or bluster, careful always to say what he meant, and to do what he said. Fear was a stranger to him, and desperate chances never found him without desperate means. Pinkham was a native of Maine, and physically a fine type of the stalwart New Englander. In stature he was more than six feet, and in weight upwards of two hundred pounds. To the agility of a mountain cat he added the quick, sharp eye of an Indian and the strength of a giant. Trained by years of frontier exposure, he was skilled in the ready use of all defensive weapons. When aroused, the habitual frown upon his brow gathered into a fierce scowl, and the steely grey eyes fairly blazed in their sockets. At such times he was dangerous, because it was his custom to settle all disputes with a word and a blow, and the blow almost always came first. The intensity of his nature could not brook altercation.
Pinkham had been an adventurer ever since the discovery of gold in California. He was among the first of that great army of fortune-seekers which braved the perils of an overland trip to the distant El Dorado in 1849. If, before he left his New England home, no blight had fallen upon his moral nature, it is certain that soon after his arrival in the land of gold his character took the form which it ever afterwards wore, of a gambler and desperado. In this there was nothing strange, as he was but one victim in a catastrophe that wrecked the characters of thousands. The estimate is small, which places at one-half the number of the early Pacific gold-seekers, those who fell victims to the moral ruin of life in the mining camp. It was the fruitful nursery of all those desperate men, who, after years of bloody experience, expiated their crimes upon the impromptu scaffolds of the Vigilantes, or in some of the violent brawls which their own recklessness had excited. Pinkham's pursuits in California were those of the professional gambler. At one time he kept a common dance-house in Marysville. It is fair, in the absence of facts, to presume that his life in the Golden State was a preparatory foreground for the one which followed in the mountains of Washington Territory. He was among the first, in 1862, who were lured to that Territory by the reports of extensive gold discoveries. Among the desperate, reckless, and motley crowd that assembled at Florence immediately after the discovery of the mines, was Pinkham, with his faro boards and monte cards, "giving the boys a chance for a tussle with the tiger and the leopard." It was not long until he became a central figure in the camp. The wild, undisciplined, pleasure-seeking population, attracted by the outspoken boldness and self-assertion of the man, quickly submitted to the influence which such characteristics always command. And no man better understood his power over his followers, or exercised it more warily, than Pinkham. The reputation which he enjoyed, of being a bold, chivalric, fearless man, ready for any emergency, however desperate, gained for him the favor of every reckless adventurer who shared in his general views of the race.
Unlike most of the gamblers and roughs, who for the most part sympathized with the Confederates, Pinkham was an intense Union man. He never lost an opportunity to proclaim his attachment for the Union cause, and denounced as traitors all who opposed it. No fear of personal injury restrained him in the utterance of his patriotic sentiments, and as he always avowed a readiness to fight for them, his opponents were careful to afford him no opportunity. At every election in Idaho City after the organization of the Territory, he was found at the polls surrounded by a set of plucky fellows armed to the teeth, ready at his command for any violent collisions with secessionists that the occasion might inspire. His tall form, rendered more conspicuous by the loud and inspiring voice with which, to the cry of "negro worshippers," "abolitionists," and "Lincoln hirelings," he shouted back "secessionists," "copperheads," "rebels," and "traitors," was always the center of a circle of men who would oppose force to force and return shot for shot. On his return to Idaho City from a business visit to the States, a few days before the anniversary of our national independence, of the year in which he was killed, he was so indignant that no preparations had been made for a celebration, that when the day arrived he procured a National flag, hired a drummer and fifer, and followed them, waving the banner, through the streets of the town, greatly to the disgust of the secessionists. The South had just been conquered, and the demonstration wore the appearances of exultation, but no one aggrieved by it had the hardihood to interrupt its progress. "Old Pink," as he was familiarly called, was much too dangerous a character to meddle with.
With all his rough and desperate characteristics, Pinkham had no sympathy for the robbers and murderers and thieves that swarmed around him; and when Idaho was organized the governor of the territory appointed him sheriff of Boise County. Soon afterwards he received the appointment of United States marshal, an office which made him and his friends in some measure the representatives of law and order. By promptly discharging the duties of these offices, he was held in great fear by the criminal population of the Territory, and won the respect of the best citizens for his efficiency and fidelity.
Patterson was a native of Tennessee, from whence, in boyhood, he went with his parents to Texas, and grew to manhood among the desperate and bloody men of that border State. His character, tastes, and pursuits were formed by early association with them. He was a gambler by profession, but of a nature too impulsive to depend upon it as a means of livelihood. When he came to California, he turned his attention to mining, alternating that pursuit with gambling, as the inclination seized him. Like Pinkham, he was a man of striking presence,-in stature six feet, and of weight to correspond, with a fair complexion, light hair streaked with gray, sandy whiskers, and, when unaffected by liquor or passion, a sad, reflective countenance, lit up by calm but expressive blue eyes. His habitual manner was that of quiet, gentlemanly repose; -and to one unacquainted with his characteristics, he would never have been suspected of a fondness for any kind of excitement. In conversation he was uniformly affable when sober, and bore the reputation of being a very genial and mirth-loving com panion when engaged with others in any exploring or dangerous enterprise. He was brave to a fault, and perfectly familiar with all the exposures and extremes of border life,-as ready to repair the lock of a gun or pistol as to use those weapons in attack or defence. His kindness and thoughtfulness for the comfort of any of his party in the event of sickness, and the resources with which he overcame obstacles in the numerous expeditions of one kind and another in which he participated, made him a great favorite with all who knew him, and gave him a commanding power over the society in which he moved. He was naturally a leader of those with whom he associated. Had these been his only characteristics, Patterson would have been one of the most useful men in the mining regions,-but whiskey always transformed him into a demon. Patterson was not a steady drinker, but gave himself up to occasional seasons of indulgence. He was one of that large class of drinkers who cannot indulge their appetites at all without going through all the stages of excitement, to complete exhaustion. From the moment he entered upon one of these excesses to its close, he was dangerous. The whole man was changed. His calm, blue eye looked like a heated furnace and was suggestive of a thirst for blood. His quiet and gentlemanly manner disappeared. His breath was labored, and his nostrils dilated like those of an enraged buffalo. He remembered, on these occasions, every person who had ever offended him, and sought the one nearest to him to engage him in quarrel. His whole bearing was aggressive and belligerent, and his best friends always avoided him until he became sober.
His unfortunate propensity for liquor had involved him in several serious affrays before he came to the Idaho mines. On one occasion, in Southern Oregon, a man who had suffered injury at his hands while on a drunken spree, shot him in the side by stealth. Patterson, with the quickness of lightning, drew his revolver, fired upon and wounded his assailant. Both fell, and Patterson, believing the wound he had received would prove fatal, fired all the remaining charges in his pistol at his antagonist, and then called for his friends to take off his boots as quickly as possible before he died.
The original expression "he will die with his boots on some day," uttered many years ago as the prediction of some comical miner that a murderer would be hanged or come to his death by violence, has grown into a fatalistic belief among the reckless and bloodthirsty ruffians of the Pacific coast. Patterson, who shared in this faith, intended, by having his boots taken off, to signify to those around him that he had never been guilty of murder. When we consider that of the great number of those who in the early history of the mining regions were guilty of murder, nineteen at least of every twenty have expiated their crimes upon the scaffold or in bloody affrays, the faith in this frontier axiom seems not to be greatly misplaced: but why it should be any more potent as a human prediction than as the stern edict of the Almighty denounced against the murderer four thousand years ago, I leave for the solution of those modern thinkers who build their belief outside the lids of the Bible.
Another bloody recontre in which Patterson was engaged was with one Captain Staples in Portland, Oregon. Staples, an ardent Unionist, boisterously patriotic from liquor, insisted that all around him should join in a toast to Lincoln and the Union arms. Patterson refused, and an unpleasant altercation followed, but the parties separated without collision. Later in the evening they met, and the difficulty was renewed, and in the fight Staples was killed. Patterson was tried and acquitted; and became, in consequence of the quarrel and trial, a great favorite and champion among the secessionists of Portland.
Some time after this, in a drunken frenzy he scalped a disreputable female acquaintance. His own version of this affair was as follows: "I was trying," said he, "to cut off a lock of her hair with my bowie-knife, but she wouldn't keep her head still, and I made a mistake, and got part of her scalp with the hair." For this act he was arrested and recognized to await the action of the grand jury; but before the term of court he left the State, and his bondsmen were compelled to pay the forfeiture.
Patterson came to Idaho with the first discovery of gold in that section. His fellow-gamblers, who never failed to take advantage of his unskilful playing, with one hand, were always ready to contribute to his necessities with the other. If he wanted money to stock a faro bank they furnished it. If a saloon keeper needed a man who united popularity and strength to arrest the encroachments of the roughs, he was ever ready to share a liberal portion of his profits with Patterson for such services. The difference between Pinkham and Patterson was that, while the friends of the former looked to him for aid in their embarrassments, those of the latter afforded him the means of existence.
About a year before the occurrence of the bloody affray between these men, Patterson and some of his friends, during a period of drunken excitement, took unlawful possession of a brewery in Idaho City, and engaged in the manufacture of beer, Pinkham was the only person in the city brave enough to undertake their arrest. When he entered the building for the purpose, he informed Patterson of his object and was met with violent resistance. In the struggle, Pinkham was successful, and Patterson was arrested and taken away. The citizens, knowing the character of Patterson, and expecting nothing less than a shooting affray as the consequence of the arrest, were surprised at his submission. It was soon understood, however, that the bad blood provoked by the incident had severed all friendly relations between the champions, and that Patterson would avail himself of the first opportunity to avenge himself. Months passed away without any collision. The subject, if not forgotten, was lost sight of as other occurrences more or less exciting transpired.
On the day he was killed, Pinkham, with an acquaintance, rode out to the Warm Springs, a favorite bathing resort two miles distant from Idaho City. Meeting there with several friends, he drank more freely than usual and became quite hilarious.
Patterson returned early the same day from Rocky Bar, fifty miles distant. Half-crazed from the effects of protracted indulgence in drinking and a severe personal encounter, his friends, to aid his return to sobriety, took him to the springs for a bath. Among others who accompanied him was one Terry, a vicious, unprincipled fellow, who, in a conflict with Patterson a year before, begged abjectly for his life when he found himself slightly wounded, and ever after, spaniel-like, had licked the hand that smote him When they arrived, Pinkham and his friends were singing the popular refrain of "John Brown," and had just completed the line -
"We'll hang Jeff Davis on a sour apple tree."
as Patterson and his party stepped upon the porch. Jefferson Davis was at that time in custody. With the curiosity which exercised the Unionists one of the singers said to Pinkham: -
"Pink, do you think they will hang Jeff Davis?"
"Yes," replied Pinkham, "in less than six weeks."
Hearing a step on the threshold, he turned, and his gaze met the heated eyes of Patterson. Neither spoke, or, except by vengeful looks, gave any token of recognition. Patterson advanced to the bar. Terry crowded behind him, and slipped a derringer into his pocket. With an oath and opprobrious epithet, Patterson said,-
"Don't mind him. He is not worth the notice of a gentleman."
Pinkham, looking steadily at Patterson, with his habitual frown deepened, passed out upon the porch. Patterson went through the opposite door to the swimming pool, followed by Terry. After they were out, he handed the derringer back to Terry, and proceeded with his bath. Terry returned to the bar, and going around to the desk, while unobserved by Turner, the landlord, thrust a revolver under his coat, and went back to Patterson. Doubtless he told Patterson that Pinkham and his friends intended to attack him, for Patterson was observed on the moment to be greatly excited. Pinkham's friend, who knew both Patterson and Terry, told Pinkham that mischief was brewing, and suggested their immediate return to town.
"No," replied Pinkham, "when he insulted me in the bar-room, I was unarmed, but now I am ready for him."
"But it is better," suggested his friend, "to avoid a collision. No one doubts your courage."
"I will not be run off by the rebel hound," said Pinkham. "If I were to leave, it would be reported that I had 'weakened' and fled from Patterson, and you know that I would prefer death at its worst form to that." Patterson hurried out of the bath, dressed himself as quickly as possible, and with the revolver strapped to his side, came into the barroom. Calling for a drink, in a loud tone and with much expletive and appellative emphasis, his blood-drinking eyes glaring in all directions, he demanded to know where Pinkham had gone. Turner, thinking to pacify him, replied in a mild tone,-
"Away, I believe."
Pinkham at this moment was standing by a bannister on the porch, and engaged in conversation with a friend by the name of Dunn. He was unapprised of Patterson's return to the saloon, and, from the tenor of his conversation, believed he would be warned of his approach. For the impression that each entertained of the other's intention to fire upon him, and that both were waiting for the opportunity to do so, these men were indebted to the mischievous interference of those friends whose wishes were parent to the thought.
"I will not be run off by Patterson," said Pinkham, "nor do I wish that through any undue advantage he should assassinate me. All I ask is fair play. My pistol has only five loads in it."
"Stand your ground, Pink," replied Dunn. "I have a loaded five-shooter, and will stand by you while there is a button on my coat."
These words were scarcely uttered, when Patterson stepped from the saloon upon the porch. Turning to the right, he stood face to face with Pinkham. The fearful glare of his bloody eyes was met by the deepening scowl of his antagonist. Hurling at him a degrading epithet, he exclaimed,-
"Draw, will you?"
"Yes," replied Pinkham with an oath, "I will," and drawing his revolver, poised it in his left hand to facilitate the speed of cocking it.
Patterson, with the rapidity of lightning, drew his, cocking it in the act, and firing as he raised it. The bullet lodged under Pinkham's shoulderblade. Pinkham received a severe nervous shock from the wound, and delivered his shot too soon, the bullet passing over the head of Patterson, into the roof. At Patterson's second fire the cap failed to explode, but before Pinkham, who was disabled by his wound, could cock his pistol for another shot, Patterson fired a third time, striking Pinkham near the heart. He reeled down the steps of the porch, and fell forward on his face, trying with his expiring strength to cock his revolver. At the first fire of Patterson, Dunn forgot his promise to stand by Pinkham. Jumping over the bannister, he sought refuge beneath the porch. Stealing from thence when the firing ceased, he ran across the street, where, protected by the ample trunk of a large pine, he took furtive observation of the catastrophe. Pinkham's other friends came from the rear of the house in time to assist Turner in removing his body.
Patterson's friends, some seven or eight in number, well pleased with the result, but fearing for his personal safety, mounted him on a good horse, armed him with revolvers, and started him for a hurried ride to Boise City. Half an hour served to carry intelligence of the encounter to Idaho City. The excitement was intense. Pinkham's friends were clamorous for the arrest and speedy execution of Patterson; those of the latter avoided a collision by keeping their own counsel, and expressing no public opinion in justification of the conduct of their champion. Terry and James, the instigators of the contest, secreted themselves, and left town by stealth at the first opportunity. Indeed, many of Patterson's friends believed that Terry intended that the affray should terminate differently. The pistol which he furnished Patterson had been lost, and buried in the snow the entire winter before the encounter, and it was supposed by the owner, who was afraid to fire it lest it should explode, that the loads were rusted. Terry knew of this. He stood in personal fear of Patterson, and bore an old grudge against him. Here was his opportunity. At the second attempt of Patterson to fire, the pistol failed, and the wonder is that it went off at all.
In less than an hour after the tragedy, Robbins, an old friend and former deputy of Pinkham, armed with a double-barrelled shotgun and revolvers, mounted his horse, and left town alone, in swift pursuit of Patterson. He was noted for bravery, and had been the hero of several bloody encounters. At a little wayside inn, seventeen miles from the city, he overtook the fugitive, who had stopped for supper. Patterson came to the door as he rode up.
"I have come to arrest you, Ferd," said he, at the same time raising his gun so that it covered Patterson.
"All right, Robbins, if that's your object," replied Patterson, as he handed Robbins his revolver. In a few moments they started on their return.
Before they arrived at town, several of the sheriff's deputies met them, and claimed the custody of Patterson. Robbins surrendered him, and he was taken to the county jail.
After the account given of the fight by Patterson had been circulated, the community became divided in sentiment, the Democrats generally espousing the cause of the prisoner, the Republicans declaring him to be a murderer. There were some exceptions. Judge R, a lifelong Democrat and a Tennesseean by birth, was very severe in his denunciation of Patterson. He distinguished him as the most marked example of total depravity he had ever known, and related the following incident in confirmation of his opinion: -Several years before this time, Patterson joined in an expedition in Northern Galifornia, to pursue a band of Indians, who had been stealing horses, and committing other depredations upon the property of the settlers. The pursuers captured a bright Indian lad of sixteen. After tying him to a tree, they consulted as to what disposition should be made of him. They were unanimous in the opinion that he should not be freed, but were concerned to know how to take care of him. Some time having elapsed without arriving at any conclusion, Patterson suddenly sprung to his feet, and seizing his rifle, said with an oath that he would take care of him, and shot the poor boy through the heart. "That incident," said the judge, "determined for me the brutal character of the wretch. His whole life since has been of a piece with it. For years he has been a 'bummer' among men of his class. He has lived off his friends. He has had no higher aims than those of an abandoned, dissolute gambler. Pinkham, though a gambler, had other and better tendencies. His schemes for the future looked to an abandonment of his past career, and he was in no sense a 'bummer.'"
The justice of this criticism was unappreciated by Patterson's friends. He was provided with comfortable quarters in the jailer's room, and accorded the freedom of the prison yard. His friends supplied him with whiskey and visited him daily to aid in drinking it. No prisoner of state could have been treated with greater consideration. The gamblers and soiled doves gave him constant assurance of sympathy. Even the poor wretch he had scalped at Portland wrote to ascertain if she could do anything for "poor Ferd."
Pinkham's friends, enraged at the course pursued by the officers of justice, began to talk of taking Patterson's case into their own hands. The example of the Montana Vigilantes excited their emulation. When they finally effected an organization, several of Patterson's friends gained admission to it by professing friendship for its object. They imparted its designs and progress to others. Patterson was informed of every movement, and counselled his adherents what measures to oppose to the conspiracy against his life. Meantime the Vigilantes appointed a meeting for the purpose of maturing their plans, to be held at a late hour of the evening, in a ravine across Moore's creek, a short distance from the city. Patterson having been apprised of it, was anxious to obtain personal knowledge of its designs. So when the hour arrived, representing in his own person one of the deputy sheriffs with the consent of the sheriff, he placed himself at the head of an armed band of six men as desperate as himself, and stole unperceived from the jail-yard to a point within three hundred yards of the rendezvous. Here they separated. Each with a cocked revolver approached at different points, as near the assemblage as safety would permit. Three hundred or more were already on the ground, and others constantly arriving. It was a large gathering for the occasion,-and the occasion was not one to inspire with pleasurable emotions the mind or heart of the wretch who was risking his life to gratify his curiosity. Nevertheless, he crept forward till within seventy yards of the chairman's stand.
The place of meeting was partially obscured by several clumps of mountain pines, which grew along the sides of the ravine, and enclosed it in their sombre shade. It was bright starlight. When the gathering was complete and had settled into that grim composure which seemed to await an opportunity for a hundred voices to be raised, the chairman called upon a Methodist clergyman present to open their proceedings with a prayer. This request, at such a time, must appear strange to the minds of many of my readers. And yet, why should it? It bore testimony to some sincerity and some solemnity in the hearts of the people, even though they had assembled for an unlawful, perhaps some of them for a revengeful, purpose. They felt, doubtless, that the law did not and would not protect them, and if they had known that the person whose doom they were there to decide, at that very moment stood near, armed, a secret observer of their proceedings, with friends within the call of his voice to aid him or obey his orders, they might very properly have concluded that the law exposed them to outrage and murder. Prayer had no mockery in it in such an exigency. Patterson afterwards jocosely remarked that it was the first prayer he had listened to for twenty years. Its various petitions, certainly, could not have fallen pleasantly upon his ears.
Patterson returned unobserved to the jail at a late hour, fully possessed of the designs of the committee. A system of espial was kept up by his friends, by means of which the sheriff and his deputies were enabled to devise a successful counter-plot. At eleven o'clock in the morning of a bright Sabbath, a few men were seen congregating upon the eastern side of Moore's creek, below the town, for the supposed purpose of carrying out the decision of the previous evening, which was the execution of Patterson. Patterson and thirty of his friends, armed to the teeth, were in the jail-yard looking through loopholes and knotholes, anxiously watching them.
When their numbers had reached a hundred, a signal was given to the sheriff. He quickly summoned a posse of one hundred and fifty men, who had received intimation that their services would be needed. Fully armed, they marched slowly to a point on the west side of Moore's creek, where they confronted the Vigilantes. Nothing daunted at this unexpected demonstration, the latter quietly awaited the arrival of several hundred more, who had promised to join them. Hours passed, but they came not. Not another man was bold enough to join them. Robbins, who, after much persuasion, had consented to act as their leader, was greatly disgusted, and for three hours declined all propositions to disband. Every hill and housetop was crowded with spectators, citizens of Idaho and Buena Vista Bar, anticipating a collision. The newly elected delegate to Congress was on the ground, making eager exertions to precipitate a contest.
"Why don't you fire upon them'?" said he, with a vulgar oath to the sheriff. "You have ordered them to disperse, and still permit them to defy you."
The sheriff, though a determined, was a kind-hearted man, and wished to avoid bloodshed. He knew if his men fired the fire would be returned, and a bloody battle would follow. He was also aware that seven hundred or more had enrolled their names in the ranks of the Vigilantes; courageous men and good citizens, who would probably rally to the assistance of their comrades in case of an attack. The day wore on with nothing more serious to interrupt its harmony than the noisy exchange of profane epithets and vulgar threats between the two bands, until it was finally agreed that persons would be selected from both factions to work up the terms of a peace. The result was that the Vigilantes disbanded, upon the sheriff's pledge that none of them should be arrested, and Patterson was conveyed to prison to await the decision of a trial at law. After an unsuccessful effort of his attorney to have him admitted to bail, the sheriff remanded him to custody.
The counsel on both sides prepared for trial with considerable energy. The evidence was all reduced to writing. The character of each juryman, the place of his nativity, and his political predilections were ascertained and reported to the defendant's counsel. The judge and sheriff were required, by the Idaho law, to prepare the list of talesmen when the regular panel of jurors was exhausted. In the performance of this duty in Patterson's case, the judge selected Republicans, and the sheriff Democrats. When the list was completed, and the venire issued, a copy of it was furnished to Patterson's friends, who caused to be summoned as talesmen such persons named in it as were suspected of enmity to the accused, in order that they might be rejected as jurors. The preliminary challenges allowed by law to the defendant were double those allowed for the prosecution. With all these advantages, the defendant's counsel could hardly fail in selecting a jury favorable to their client; and after the jury was sworn, such was its general composition, that both the friends and enemies of the prisoner predicted an acquittal. Nor were they disappointed. When his freedom was announced from the bench, his friends flocked around him to tender their congratulations. But Patterson was not deceived. He felt that he was surrounded by enemies. Sullen eyes were fixed upon him as he walked the streets. Little gatherings of the friends of Pinkham stood on every corner in anxious consultation. He very soon concluded that his only safety was in departure. At first he thought of returning to Texas, but the allurements around him were too strong; besides, he owed considerable sums of money to the friends who had aided him in making his defence. He had, moreover, many attached friends, who, by promises of assistance, sought to dissuade him from leaving the country. Finally, two weeks after his trial, he left Idaho City for Walla Walla.
One day the following spring, Patterson entered a barber's shop for the purpose of getting shaved. Removing his coat, he seated himself in the barber's chair. A man by the name of Donahue arose from a chair opposite, and, advancing toward him, said: -
"Ferd, you and I can't both live in this community, You have threatened me." As Patterson sprang to his feet, Donahue shot him. Staggering to the street, he started towards the saloon where he had left his pistol, and was followed by Donahue, who continued to fire at him, and he fell dead across the threshold of the saloon, thus verifying in his own case the fatalistic belief of his class, "He died with his boots on."
The only incident of Patterson's trial worthy of note was the following: One of the attorneys who had been employed for a purpose disconnected with the management of the trial, insisted upon making an argument to the jury. This annoyed his colleagues, and disgusted Patterson's friends, but professional etiquette upon the part of the lawyers, and a certain indefinable delicacy from which even the worst men are not wholly estranged, prevented all interference, and the advocate launched out into a speech of great length, filled with indiscreet assertions, slipshod arguments, and ridiculous appeals, at each of which, as they came up, one of the shrewder counsel for the defendant, seated beside his client, filled almost to bursting with indignation, would whisper in his ear the ominous words: -
"There goes another nail into your coffin, Ferd."
Wincing under these repeated admonitions, Patterson's eyes assumed their blood-drinking expression, and at last the mental strain becoming too great for longer composure, he exclaimed with a profane curse: -
"I wish it had been he, in place of Old Pinkham." Upon the trial of Donahue the jury failed to agree. He was remanded to prison, from which he afterwards escaped, fled to Galifornia, where he was rearrested, and released upon a writ of habeas corpus, by the strange decision that the provision of the Constitution of the United States requiring one State to deliver up a fugitive from justice to another claiming him, did not apply to Territories.
To certain of my readers, some explanation for detailing at such length the life of a ruffian and murdered [sic] may be necessary. Not so, however, to those familiar with mountain history. They would understand that both Patterson and Pinkham were noted and important members of frontier society, representative men, so to speak, of the classes to which they belonged. Their followers regarded them with a hero-worship which magnified their faults into virtues, and their acts into deeds of more than chivalric daring. Their pursuits, low, criminal, and degrading as they are esteemed in old settled communities, were among the leading occupations of life among the miners. Said one who had been for many years a resident of the Pacific slope, after spending a few weeks in the Atlantic States: "I can't stand this society. It is too strict. I must return to the land where every gambler is called a gentleman."