Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Murder in the Wild West! 1864

One can only imagine the events described below as happening in the Wild West! Although the description is of events that happened on the streets of San Francisco, it was all about a man who lived in Yreka... The following is edited from a old news article from 1864...

It seems one Bill Davis, a noted gambler, who resides here at Yreka, was interested in and drove a horse race, which came off at Placerville on the 15th of June, and “throwed” the race, making some $4,500 by it. Hank Stevens, Ball, Dutch Abe, and Spanish Bob, four “sports” backed Davis’s horse and got broke; swore vengeance, killing on sight. On the 18th they all arrived in San Francisco (except Davis) and publicly said they were going to shoot Davis on sight. On the 21st, Davis came to town, and at two o’clock, P.M. was sitting having his boots polished, in a black’s adjoining the Fashion when Ball and Dutch Abe came to the door, and looking in exclaimed, “Here’s the dirty thief now,” and drawing their revolvers, commenced shooting. Davis jumped out of the chair, with one boot polished, and drawing his revolver, fired, and Ball fell dead across an iron grating. Davis then jumped out on the sidewalk, laughingly saying, “You’ve made a mistake,” and fired at Dutch Abe, the ball taking effect in his right breast. He fell, when Davis ran and caught the revolver from Ball’s hands, saying, as he walked towards the door of the Fashion, “Where’s the rest of you murderers?” – Blood was running down Davis’s left hand from the arm and also down the right cheek. As he was on the point of entering the door, he was met by Stevens and Spanish Bob, when Davis raised the revolver in his right hand and fired twice. Stevens fell, and Spanish Bob jumped over him on the sidewalk and fired. Davis staggering, but recovering, they (Davis and Spanish Bob) commenced in good earnest, each striving to fire a deadly shot. Davis was laughing all the time.

They then commenced firing at each other, about twenty feet apart. After Davis had fired two shots he threw his revolver at Bob, and changing the revolver he took from Ball into his right hand, he raised it, and it snapped three times; the fourth time it went off, and Bob fell. Davis had fallen before this, and was lying on his breast on the banquette. Davis threw the revolver into the street, saying, “Hell and furies, damn the thing.” He then pulled a Derringer, and both (only having one shot each) began crawling towards each other on their stomachs. When about five feet apart they both raised partly up and fired simultaneously, when Bob’s head fell, and he remained perfectly still. Davis then said, crawling towards Bob, “He’s gone, I cooked him,” and then partly turned on his side and tried to rise.

On examination, Ball and Spanish Bob were dead; Dutch Abe and Stevens mortally sounded, the first having been shot through the right lung, causing internal hemorrhage. The latter was shot through the left breast.

Spanish Bob had four wounds on him—two in the right breast, one in the right arm, and one between the eyes. Ball had a ball in his heart. Davis has six wounds—two in right leg, one in right breast, one in left shoulder, one in left wrist, (through) and one in right cheek, where a bullet had struck the cheek bone and glanced off, cutting out a piece of flesh of the size of a ten cent piece.

Stevens died on the 24th, at forty minutes past ten A.M. Dutch Abe died the morning before. Doctors say Davis will certainly recover.

Source: Weekly Standard, Raleigh, North Carolina. September 14, 1864. Page 1.

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