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The Dodge City Gang of Las Vegas, NM

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In the summer of 1879, a gang of desperados known as the Dodge City Gang made their first appearance in Las Vegas, New Mexico. As the first Santa Fe trains steamed into the territory that summer, it brought with it a whole host of gamblers, ruffians and unsavory characters.

Before long, a group formed called the "Dodge City Gang,” since so many of them had earned reputations for violent behavior in the western cow towns of Kansas.

The Dodge City Gang was firmly in control of a criminal cartel bent on thumbing their noses at the law. For the next two years, the Dodge City Gang participated in several stage coach and train robberies, organized cattle rustling, and were said to have been responsible for multiple murders and lynchings.

 

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The Dodge City Gang was comprised of a judge, a group of peace officers, and several known outlaws with ties to Dodge City who were tormenting the citizens in and around Las Vegas at the time. The "gang" consisted of Justice of the Peace Hyman G. "Hoodoo Brown" Neill; City Marshal Joe Carson; Deputy U. S. Marshal and later, Las Vegas Marshal "Mysterious Dave" Mather; peace officer Tom Pickett; policeman John Joshua (J.J.) Webb, hard cases "Dirty Dave" Rudabaugh, Selim K. "Frank" Cady, Dutch Henry Borne, William P. "Slap Jack Bill" Nicholson, John "Bull Shit Jack" Pierce, Jordan L. Webb (no relation to J.J), and various other notorious gunmen. While Rudabaugh, Cady, Nicholson, Pierce, Jordan Webb, and the rest would commit acts of thievery, Neill, Carson, Mather, and J.J. Webb, in their official capacities, were suspected of helping cover their tracks.

Stage Coach RobberyTwo stage robberies in August of 1879, and one train robbery in October occurred in the Las Vegas, New Mexico area. Many suspected that the perpetrators were members of the Dodge City Gang.

On August 18, 1879 a Barlow & Sanderson stagecoach was robbed by three men near the village of Tecolote, New Mexico . John Clancy, Jim Dunagan, and Antonio Lopez were arrested for the robbery, however they were not convicted.

Just a few weeks later on August 30, 1879, another Barlow and Sanderson stagecoach was held up. "Frank" Cady, "Slap Jack Bill", "Bull Shit Jack", and Jordan L. Webb, all with ties to the Dodge City Gang, were arrested and charged with the second holdup. However, they too, escaped conviction. Dave Rudabaugh would later confess to this crime in cahoots with Las Vegas Marshal Joe Carson and a man named Joseph Martin.

On October 14, 1879, a train was robbed in the Las Vegas area by masked men. The robbers made off with $2,085, three pistols, and all the lanterns on the train. In mid–February of 1881, in an attempt to avoid trial on a capital offense, Dave Rudabaugh would plead guilty to the robbery.

 

At the time of the robbery, Charlie Bassett, Chalk Beeson, and Harry E. Gryden of Dodge City, Kansas, along with J.J. Webb, were hired by the Adams Express Company to investigate the robbery. It is unknown whether Webb was already suspected of being an accomplice in the thefts.

 

The town was getting a bad name in the rest of the county due to the violence and thievery that prevailed. "Shooting scrapes are of frequent occurrence in that remote region." reported the Dodge City Times. Miquel Otero, later governor of New Mexico wrote that in one month twenty–nine men were killed in the Las Vegas vicinity. It seemed as if every low-life from Kansas, Texas, and Colorado had congregated in Las Vegas.

 

 

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Mysterious Dave Mather

Dave Allen Mather

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