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Old West Outlaws - M

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David McCanlesDavid C. McCanles (18??-1861) - McCanles owned the property upon which the Rock Creek Station sat on the Oregon Trail in Nebraska. On July 12, 1861, McCanles would be shot and killed by Bill Hickok, giving rise to Wild Bill's frontier legend and labeling the entire affair as the "McCanles Massacre." McCanles bought the Rock Creek property when he was on his way to the Colorado gold fields in the spring of 1859. However, after meeting a number of miners who were returning from Colorado with nothing in their pockets other than disappointment, he decided to take up "road ranching” instead. There are a number of variations on the tale of McCanles' killing, which are still in debate today. His "outlaw" persona comes from Hickok, who said he was a ruthless killer her lead a vicious the vicious McCanles Gang throughout the region. However, other versions of the tale say that while he was the local bully, and perhaps an unethical businessman, he was not an outlaw. In any event, McCanles, along with at least two other men, were shot and killed by Bill Hickok after an altercation at the ranch. More ...

 

Henry McCarty - See William Bonney

 

Tom McCarty (1855-1900?) - Raised on a Morman ranch in Utah, McCarty began his outlaw life at an early age and is credited with introducing Butch Cassidy to the life of banditry. When he was 18, he married Teenie Christanson, sister to Willard Christianson, aka, Matt Warner, who was also a Mormon. Somewhere around 1892, he and his brother, Bill McCarty; and brother-in-law, Matt Warner, held up a bank in Roslyn, Washington. However, when an angry crowd approached him, he opened fire, wounding two men. The next year, the McCarty brothers, along with their nephew, Fred McCarty robbed a bank in Delta, Colorado, in which, Tom shot a killed the cashier, A.T. Blachey. When citizens heard the gunfire, they rushed the bank and shot and killed Tom's brother, Bill, and his nephew. Tom McCarty was able to escape and fled to Montana where he settled down and worked as a sheepherder. However, around 1900, he was killed in a gunfight in Bitteroot County.

 

Arthur C. McCoy (1825-1880?) - Born in Ireland in 1825, McCoy immigrated to the United States, first settling in California during the gold rush. However, by the 1850s he was living in St. Louis, Missouri, where he worked as a coppersmith. In 1855, he married Louisa Gibson and the couple would eventually have five children. He then formed a partnership and started a painting business called "Farmer and McCoy." During the Civil War, he became a captain under Confederate General Jo Shelby, and was said to have worked as a spy. After the war, he became involved with the James-Younger Gang and was though to have been involved in several robberies as well as killing a Pinkerton Agent named Joseph Whicher in 1874. He then moved his family to Texas, where he began working as a rancher. He was thought to have died in around 1880.

 

"Three-Fingered" Jack McDowell (18??-1864) - Immigrating from Ireland to New York in the 1840’s, McDowell fought in the Mexican War before joining the California Gold Rush When gold and silver were discovered in Nevada , he moved there, first shooting his way around the Tuolumne County mining camps. He then moved on to Virginia City, and followed the gold once again to Aurora, Nevada . In the 1860’s Aurora was a booming mining camp with its share of bandits and other unsavory men. McDowell was right at home, running a saloon in the camp. Hooking up with John Daly, a known gunslinger, the pair ran an unsavory saloon and operated the Daly Gang which terrorized the Nevada gold fields between Aurora and Carson City. Using scare tactics known as "criminal vigilantism," they lynched anyone who resisted. 

 

The saloon quickly became known as a place where beatings, gunfights, mayhem, and murder were the norm. McDowell, Daly and two other men named William Buckley and Jim Masterson, bullied the town and cheated any card players that were foolish enough to frequent McDowell's saloon. However, after the gang cut a man's throat and threw him in to Aurora's dusty street, the fed up citizens formed a vigilante group and attacked McDowell's saloon on February 5, 1864. Dragging McDowell , Daly , Buckley, and Masterson from the saloon, they locked them up while they quickly constructed a gallows. A short time later, all four men were hanged outside Armory Hall in Aurora. Aurora, Nevada is now a ghost town located very near the California Border in Mineral County.

 

Tom McLauryFrank McLaury (1848-1881) - The eighth of eleven children, McLaury was born in Korthright, New York in 1848. Several years later the family moved to Iowa where they settled in Belle Plaine. In 1878, Frank, along with his brother, Tom moved to Hereford, Arizona, where they met the Clanton family. Three years later they would find themselves embroiled in the bitter dispute between the Clantons and the Earps in Tombstone , Arizona. On October 26, when Virgil Earp attempted to arrest Ike Clanton, Frank and Tom McLaury, Billy Clanton and Billy Claiborne for disturbing the peace, all hell broke loose.

 

In what has since forever been known as the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Frank McLaury and Billy Clanton made the mistake of cocking their pistols when approached by the Earp brothers and Doc Holliday. It is not really known who fired the first shot, but Doc’s bullet was the first to hit home, tearing through Frank McLaury’s belly and sending McLaury’s own shot wild through Wyatt’s coat-tail. The 30-second shootout left three Billy Clanton, Frank McLaury and Tom McLaury dead. Virgil Earp took a shot to the leg and Morgan suffered a shoulder wound. Frank and Tom McLaury are both buried at Tombstone's Boothill.

 

 

Tom McLauryTom McLaury (1853-1881) - The tenth of eleven children, McLaury was born in Korthright, New York on June 30, 1853. Two years later the family moved to Iowa where they settled in Belle Plaine. In 1878, Tom, along with his brother, Frank, moved to Hereford, Arizona and met the Clanton family. Three years later they would find themselves embroiled in the bitter dispute between the Clantons and the Earps in Tombstone , Arizona. On October 26, 1881, during the gunfight at the O.K. Corral, Tom McLaury shot Morgan Earp in the shoulder. Doc Holliday instantly countered, blowing McLaury away with blasts from both barrels of his shotgun. His brother, Frank, was also killed in the gunfight. Both are buried at Tombstone's Boothill.

 

Sam McWilliams, aka: The Verdigris Kid (1876?-1895) - An outlaw and member of the Bill Cook Gang, who operated in Indian Territory in 1894. Though the Cook Gang was short-lived, the gang was ruthless and known to shoot anyone who got in their way. Starting small, the gang first began by stealing horses and selling whiskey, before they quickly advanced to robbing banks, stores and stagecoaches. As the months progressed, most of the members of the gang, including leaders Bill Cook and Cherokee Bill Goldsby were killed or arrested. However, Cook Gang members, Sam McWilliams and George Sanders were still at large. In April, 1895, Sam "Verdigris Kid” McWilliams, George Sanders and Sam Butler rode into Braggs, Oklahoma ordering everyone to put up their hands.

 

The trio of outlaws quickly marched their prisoners to the Madden General Store and when the store clerk panicked and ran into the street, the outlaws shot him down. As their hostages stood waiting, the thieves robbed the general store and exchanged their clothing and boots for new ones. One of the hostages was then sent to bring a horse to the store, exchanging it for one of theirs.  Fortunately, the owner of the store was not present, but could see the robbery taking place and quickly reported it to two law officers, one of which was U.S. Deputy Marshal Barbee. When the two officers arrived, they shot the Verdigris Kid and Deputy Marshal Barbee opened fire on the rest of the gang. George Sanders was also killed, and Sam Butler, though wounded, escaped. McWilliams was 19 years old.

 

"Colonel" Thomas Means (??-1867) - A surveyor by profession, he came to New Mexico Territory soon after the inauguration of civil government by the Americans. He lived in Colfax County for some time, and for years was more or less identified with the tragic episodes which marked the early history of the infamous Maxwell Land Grant. He finally settled down in Taos, where he made life one continuous round of misery for all who were forced into contact with him. He exhibited an insolence and confrontational disposition that constantly precipitated him into trouble until he became such a nuisance to the more peaceably inclined inhabitants as to render drastic measures necessary. He would not only grossly insult and frequently attack anybody who came within his reach, but beat his wife so badly on innumerable occasions that her life was despaired of. Finding that appeals to courts of justice were of no avail, in 1868 a number of citizens decided to organize that common frontier institution known as a Vigilance Committee and put an end to "Colonel" Means and all his meanness. Though the vigilantes warned him of his inevitable fate, if he continued in his violent actions, Means ignored the threat at on January 2, 1867 when he drew his knife, fired his pistol at several people, and assaulted and nearly killed his wife following a "big spree". He was soon arrested. That night, a group of 15-20 heavily armed men "in disguise" entered the room where Means was being held and forcibly removed from the custody of his guards. The vigilantes then carried him to an adjoining room, which served as the county courthouse, and hanged him from a heavy rafter. The coroner's jury described Means as "not deserving of the sympathy of anyone, being as he was altogether a dangerous character, continually threatening the lives of peaceable citizens, without distinction and even the lives of members of his own family and innocent children." The conclusion was that means had died at the hands of "persons unknown". The next day was one of general rejoicing that the community had been summarily rid of one of its most disagreeable and dangerous factors. Thus ended the career of one of the most widely known, and at one time, one of the most influential men of northern New Mexico.

 

James B. Miller, aka: Killin' Jim, Killer Miller, Jim the Killer, Deacon Miller (1866-1909) - One of the worst of the many violent men of the Old West, James B. Miller was seemingly one of those "bad seeds" from an early age. Often impeccably dressed with good manners, he didn't smoke or drink and often attended church, earning him the nickname "Deacon Miller." But, he was a wolf in sheep's clothing. Miller became a hired gun in the 1880s, a "career" he would continue for the next two decades. Said to have committed as many as 50 murders, he was hanged by vigilantes in Ada, Oklahoma. See full article HERE.

 

McClelland "Clell" Miller (1850-1876) - Born on January 9, 1850, Miller grew up to be a member of Quantrill's Guerillas under William "Bloody Bill" Anderson. After the Civil War, he joined the James-Younger Gang. He participated with the gang in several robberies including a Corydon, Iowa bank in 1871. In this heist, the outlaws made off with $40,000. Miller was captured and tried for the crime but was later acquitted. Continuing his outlaw ways, he was with the gang when they attempted to rob a Northfield, Minnesota bank on September 7, 1876. However, when citizens realized a robbery was in progress, they took up arms. When the smoke cleared, Clell Miller and William Stiles, aka: Bill Chadwell were dead. The remaining members of the gang fled. Though Frank and Jesse James were able to escape, Cole, Jim and Bob Younger were captured and sent to prison. Miller was first buried in a potter's field in Minnesota, but was later re-interred at the Muddy Fork Cemetery, north of the James farm in Kearney, Missouri.

 

Redmond "Red” Munkirs (or Munkers) (1845-1867) -  Born in Missouri on March 26, 1845, he was the son of Solomon Munkirs and Sarah Ferril from Tennessee. He was thought to have ridden with Quantrill's Raiders during the Civil War and afterwards joined the James-Younger Gang. He was with the gang in their first robbery of the Clay County Savings Association in Liberty, Missouri on February 13, 1866. After marrying Martha Elizabeth "Mattie" Marton, he got into a conflict with the Missouri State Militia in Clay County, Missouri and at the age of 21, was shot and killed by them on his front porch on May 18, 1867. His only child, daughter Lorene Redmond Munkirs, was born five weeks later on June 22, 1867.

 

George West Musgrave, aka: Jeff Davis, Jesse Miller, Jesse Johnson, Jesse Williams  (1874-1947) - Born in Texas and raised in New Mexico, Musgrave, a cheerful and soft-spoken man, would nonetheless grow up to be a cattle rustler, robber, and all around outlaw. One of the first members of Will "Black Jack" Christian's High Fives Gang, the outlaws were responsible for Arizona's first robbery, the largest Santa Fe Railroad heist in history, and numerous post office and stagecoach robberies. Following a betrayal by fellow cowboy and ex-Texas Ranger, George T. Parker, Musgrave was charged with cattle rustling and fled. He would later kill Parker in October, 1896 southwest of Roswell, New Mexico. When Will "Black Jack" Christian was killed, Musgrave continued to ride with Black Jack's brother, Bob Christian, for a short time until the pair were arrested at Fronteras, Senora, Mexico for "shooting up the town." When they were released, Musgrave disappeared for a dozen years. Still wanted for the murder of George T. Parker, Musgrave remained free until he made the mistake of visiting Colorado, where he was recognized. Fleeing once again, he was arrested in North Platte, Nebraska in December, 1909 and returned to Roswell, New Mexico for trial. However, in June, 1910, he was acquitted. He then headed for South America, where he became a "legend"  as a leading Gringo rustler. Ill health finally ended his infamous outlaw career and he died on August 15, 1947. 

 

 

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