Legends of America

Follow the links to the various pages of Legends of America

The Old West Legends of America Outhouse Madness Ghostly Legends Outlaws Old West Saloons Rocky Mountain General Store Legends Photo Store The Book Store Make your travel reservations here! Route 66 Native Americans The Old States - Back East

Legends of America    |    Legends General Store    |    Legends Photo Shop

 

Legends Of America's Facebook PageLegends Of America's Twitter PageLegends on Pinterest

Legends Home

Site Map

What's New!!

 

Content Categories:

American History

Destinations-States

Ghost Stories

Ghost Towns

Historic People

Legends & Myths

Native Americans

Old West

Photo Galleries

Route 66

Travel Center

Treasure Tales

 

   Search Our Sites

Custom Search

Google

 

About Us

Advertising

Article/Photo Use

Copyright Information

Blog

Facebook Page

Guestbook

Links

Newsletter

Privacy Policy

Site Map

Writing Credits

 

We welcome corrections

and feedback!

Contact Us

 

Legends' General Store


Old West/Western

Route 66

Native American

Featured Items

Sale Items

Books/Magazines

CD's - DVD's

Nuwati Herbals

Personalized-Engraved
Postcards

Wall Art

Custom Products

and Much More!

 

  Legends Of America's Rocky Mountain General Store - Cart View

 

Legends' Photo Prints

Legends Photo Prints and Downloads
 

Ghost Town Prints

Native American Prints

Old West Prints

Route 66 Prints

States, Cities & Places

Nostalgic Prints

Photo Art Prints

Jim Hinckley's America

David Fisk (Lens of Fisk)

Specials-Gift Ideas

and Much More!!
 

Legends Of America's Photo Print Shop - Cart View

 

Family Friendly Site

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Old West Legends IconOLD WEST LEGENDS

Tom Nixon - Buffalo Hunter & Lawman

Bookmark and Share

Earning a reputation as one of the most prolific buffalo hunters in the American West, Nixon once shot 120 buffalo in just 40 minutes in 1873, an event that was witnessed by a crowd he brought from town and positioned on a hill to watch. That same year, he set a record for having killed over 3,200 buffalo in just 35 days.

 

Thomas Clayton Nixon was born about 1837 in Georgia but somewhere along the line moved westward, landing in Kansas. He was one of the first pioneers of Dodge City and by the 1870's he was a successful buffalo hunter, as well as a ranch owner. With the likes of Bat Masterson, Bill Tilghman, and Levi Richardson, Nixon honed his skills as a buffalo hunter, besting all but Buffalo Bill Cody. He married Cornelia Caroline Houston about 1870 and the two would have a son they named Howard Tracy Nixon.

 

Thomas Clayton Nixon

Thomas Clayton Nixon, courtesy Susan Macfarlane,

Nixon's great great grand daughter.

 

 

 

 

Legends of America Lodging

Book your lodging in Dodge City right HERE online. 

 

By 1880, the buffalo were not as prevalent and Nixon turned to freighting, in charge of Charles Rath’s bull trains. Often loaded down with thousands of pounds of buffalo bones, Rath’s hide yards in Dodge were now filled with huge piles of bleached bones rather than buffalo hides.

 

Buffalo HunterIn the spring of 1883, Dodge City was embroiled in the so-called Dodge City War, a dispute between saloon owners who were friends of Dodge City's former Mayor, Alonzo B. Webster, and Luke Short, owner of the Long Branch Saloon. In the midst of this dispute was Tom Nixon, who was one of Webster's supporters and by that time owned his own saloon, called the Lady Gay. While he was mayor, Webster passed ordinances that protected his own two saloons and those of his friends, while establishing rules restricting competing saloons and levying taxes upon them. Nixon led a vigilante group to "force" Webster's rules and to run competing saloon owners out of town.

Into this mix came "Mysterious Dave” Mather, who had frequently made Dodge City his home in previous years. He soon became Dodge City's Assistant Marshal.

When Luke Short pulled in several of his friends to support him in the Dodge City War, including Bat Masterson and Wyatt Earp, the show of force caused Short's enemies to back down and violence was avoided. Though the Dodge City War had ended without gunfire and the city breathed a sigh of relief, the saloon dispute had not ended. Ironically, after having won his battle, Luke Short moved on to Texas. But, in his wake, the disputes continued.

 

Mather, in the meantime had established his own saloon called the Opera House Saloon and planned to make it a dance hall. However, because of its prominent downtown location, the city council objected to Mather's decision and soon passed an ordinance banning all dance houses. Ironically, the ordinance restricted all the saloons in town except for Tom Nixon’s Lady Gay. For months, Nixon and Mather battled to put each other out of business. In 1884, the city government replaced Mysterious Dave with Tom Nixon as the Assistant Marshal, and the feud that had been brewing for several months came to a head. Mather's resentment toward Nixon obviously grew.

 

In the meantime, Nixon was collecting $100 per month as the assistant marshal under Bill Tilghman. The lawmens' wages were paid by collecting license fees from the city’s gamblers, prostitutes, madams and pimps. The Lady Gay was the only dance hall left in town and Webster was profiting from his own saloons, while controlling the action and profits in the city.

 

Though it was Mather who was most resentful, tension for Tom Nixon evidently came to a boil on the night of July 18, 1884. As Mather was standing on the front steps of the Opera House Saloon, Nixon took a shot at him. Although Mather's face was powder burned and his left hand injured by flying splinters, he did not return the fire and refused to press charges. Evidently, he had his own plans for handling the affair.

 

Mysterious Dave Mather

Dave Allen Mather

This image available for photographic prints and

 downloads HERE!

 

Three nights later, on July 21st, Tom Nixon was standing at the corner of First Avenue and Front Street in front of the Opera House about 10 p.m. When Nixon heard a voice calling out to him from behind, he turned to see Mather pointing a Colt .45 at him. Within seconds, Nixon took four bullets, one piercing his heart, and he was dead before he hit the ground.

Mather then surrendered himself to authorities and though witnesses said that Nixon never drew his pistol, Mather was acquitted for self-defense. Later, Mather was heard to say, "I ought to have killed him six months ago."

After the trial, Mather remained in Dodge until the following year. On May 10, 1885, however; he and his brother Josiah were involved in a gunfight at the Junction Saloon. One man was killed and several were wounded, including Mather, whose head was grazed by a bullet. Both Dave and his brother Josiah were arrested but soon made bail and left town.  

©  Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated December, 2012.

 

Also See:

 

Dodge City -- A Wicked Little Town

The Beginnings of Dodge City

Hell-Raising Dodge

Mysterious Dave Mather

 

Dodge City Kansas 1874

Dodge City in 1874, courtesy Ford County Historical Society

 

Howard Tracy Nixon

Howard Tracy Nixon, Tom's son, courtesy

Susan Macfarlane, Nixon's great great grand daughter.

 

Free eNewsletter

 

Our eNewsletter features articles on the Old West, travel destinations, ghostly legends, and subscriber only specials from our Legends' General Store.  Sent directly to your inbox, grab a cup of coffee and travel the historic paths of the American WestSign up today!

 

Cornelia Houston Nixon

Cornelia Houston Nixon, Tom's wife, courtesy

Susan Macfarlane, Nixon's great great grand daughter.

 

Legends' Photo Print Shop

Vintage Old West photo prints and downloads.Vintage Photographs of the Old West - From Legends' Photo Print Shop, you'll find hundreds of vintage images of the Old West that can be ordered in prints or downloaded for commercial use. Providing dramatic glimpses into the rich heritage of the American West, see famous characters including notorious outlaws and lawmen, cowboys and trailblazers, and more; transportation including covered wagons and stagecoaches; Saloons, Gambling & Women; Westward Expansion, and everything in between.

Old West People Prints and Downloads   Westward Expansion vintage prints and downloads   Old West People Prints and downloads.   Old West photo prints and downloads   Old West Cowboys and Trailblazers prints and downloads   Painted Lady of the Old West

 

                                                            Copyright © 2003-Present, www.Legends of America.com