CowboySpirit.TV - We've got a series of truly notable events in Old West history today, including the creation of the Indian Territories, the unification of a nation and... a pioneer cannibal? Read on for the full story!
1841: An ill birth today: old west prospector Alferd Packer was born on this day. In the 1870s, he would lead an expedition that became stranded in the Colorado mountains and ran out of supplies. It is widely believed Packer killed and ate several of his team to survive before making it out of the mountains and blaming the cannibalism on another.
1890: One of the best-known of the secretive Montana Vigilantes, John “X” Beidler, died on this day. Despite the... unorthodox nature of old west Montana justice at this time, Beidler was first and foremost a lawman and presided over the executions of several notable Montana villains.
1907: A minor milestone in Native American history today. Charles Curtis, who was 1/8 Kaw Indian, took office as the first Federal Congressman of (acknowledged) native descent. Curtis spent his first three years on a Kaw reservation, and would eventually become Vice-President to Herbert Hoover.
1848: As the rush of an avalanche can be caused by a few snowflakes, so could a different kind of rush. On this day, James W. Marshall discovered flakes of gold outside Sutter's Mill, California, which he co-owned. Despite Marshall and Sutter's efforts to keep the discovery quiet, the great Gold Rush would soon be on.
1915: Today likely marked one of the final blows to the days of the old west. On this day, Alexander Graham Bell successfully completed a transcontinental telephone call, from his office in New York to his long-time associate Thomas Watson in San Francisco. The west had gone real-time.
1864: Speaking of the Montana Vigilantes, today they ended the life of one old west outlaw named "Whiskey Bill" Graves. Graves was believed to be a member of the Innocents and died by hanging with a bit of equine assistance. As was typical with the Montana Vigilance Squad, the identities of his killers remained unknown.
1825: And, an unfortunate day in Native American history. Today, Congress approved the creation of the Indian Territory in present-day Oklahoma. The result would be multiple forced relocations of tribes and, eventually, the creation of the Trail of Tears.