Dodge City – Newspaper, Letters, and Book Excerpts

August 27, 1878 – Ford County Globe

“On Wednesday last, George Hoy, the young Texan who was wounded some weeks since in the midnight scrimmage, died from the effects of his wound. George was apparently rather a good young man, having those chivalrous qualities, so common to frontiersmen, well developed. He was at the time of his death, under a bond of $1,500 for his appearance in Texas on account of some cattle scrape, wherein he was charged with aiding and assisting some other men in “rounding up” about 1,000 head of cattle which were claimed by other parties. He had many friends and no enemies among Texas men who knew him. George was nothing but a poor cow boy, but his brother cowboys permitted him to want for nothing during his illness, and buried him in grand style when dead, which was very creditable to them We have been informed by those who pretend to know, that the deceased although under bond for a misdemeanor in Texas, was in no wise a criminal and would have been released at the next setting of the court if he had not been removed by death from its jurisdiction. “Let his faults, if he had any be hidden in the grave.”

April 8, 1879 – Ford County Globe

The original Long Branch Saloon, courtesy Ford County Historical Society

The original Long Branch Saloon, courtesy Ford County Historical Society

There is seldom witnessed in any civilized town or country such a scene as transpired at the Long Branch Saloon, in this city, last Saturday evening, resulting in the killing of Levi Richardson, a well known freighter, of this city, by a gambler named Frank Loving. For several months Loving has been living with a woman toward whom Richardson seems to have cherished tender feelings, and on one or two occasions previous to this which resulted so fatally, they have quarreled and even come to blows.

Richardson was a man who had lived for several years on the frontier, and though well liked in many respects, he had cultivated habits of bold and daring, which are always likely to get a man into trouble. Such a disposition as he possessed might be termed bravery by many, and indeed we believe he was the reverse of a coward. He was a hard working, industrious man, but young and strong and reckless. Loving is a man of whom we know but very little.

He is a gambler by profession; not much of a roudy, but more of the cool and desperate order, when he has a killing on hand. He is about 23 years old. Both, or either of these men, we believe, might have avoided this shooting if either had possessed a desire to do so. But both being willing to risk their lives, each with confidence in himself, they fought because they wanted to fight. As stated in the evidence below, they met, one said “I don’t believe you will fight.” The other answered “try me and see,” and immediately both drew murderous revolvers and at it they went, in a room filled with people, the leaden missives flying in all directions. Neither exhibited any sign of a desire to escape the other, and there is no telling how long the fight might have lasted had not Richardson been pierced with bullets and Loving’s pistol left without a cartridge. Richardson was shot in the breast, through the side and through the right arm. It seems strange that Loving was not hit, except a slight scratch on the hand, as the two men were so close together that their pistols almost touched each other. Eleven shots were fired, six by Loving and five by Richardson. Richardson only lived a few moments after the shooting. Loving was placed in jail to await the verdict of the coroner’s Jury, which was “self defense,” and he was released. Richardson has no relatives in this vicinity. He was from Wisconsin. About twenty-eight years old.

Together with all the better class of our community we greatly regret this terrible affair. We do not believe it is a proper way to settle difficulties, and we are positive it is not according to any law, human or divine. But if men must continue to persist in settling their disputes with fire arms we would be in favor of the dueling system, which would not necessarily endanger the lives of those who might be passing up or down the street attending to their own business.

We do not know that there is cause to censure the police, unless it be to urge upon them the necessity of strictly enforcing the ordinance preventing the carrying of concealed weapons. Neither of these men had a right to carry such weapons. Gamblers, as a class, are desperate men. They consider it necessary in their business that they keep up their fighting reputation, and never take a bluff. On no account should they be allowed to carry deadly weapons.

April, 1879 – Witness statement by Adam Jackson, bartender, regarding the Long Branch Saloon Gunfight

Long Branch Saloon, Dodge City, Kansas by Dave Alexander

Long Branch Saloon, Dodge City, Kansas by Dave Alexander

“I was in the Long Branch Saloon about 8 or 9 o’clock Saturday evening. I know Levi Richardson. He was in the saloon just before the fuss, standing by the stove. He started to go out and went as far as the door when Loving came in at the door. Richardson turned and followed back into the house. Loving sat down on the hazard table. Richardson came and sat near him on the same table. Then Loving immediately got up, making some remark to Richardson, could not understand what it was. Richardson was sitting on the table at the time, and Loving standing up. Loving says to Richardson: ‘If you have anything to say about me why don’t you come and say it to my face like a gentleman, and not to my back, you dam son of a bitch.’ Richardson then stood up and said: ‘You wouldn’t fight anything, you dam—’ could not hear the rest. Loving said ‘you try me and see.’ Richardson pulled his pistol first, and Loving also drew a pistol.

Three or four shots were fired when Richardson fell by the billiard table. Richardson did not fire after he fell. He fell on his hands and knees. No shots were fired after Richardson fell. No persons were shooting except the two mentioned. Loving’s pistol snapped twice and I think Richardson shot twice before Loving’s pistol was discharged.”

April, 1879 – Witness statement by Marshal Charles Bassett, regarding the Long Branch Saloon Gunfight

Inside the Long Branch Saloon, Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

“When I first heard the firing I was at Beatty & Kelley’s saloon. Ran up to the Long Branch as fast as I could. Saw Frank Loving, Levi Richardson and Duffey. Richardson was dodging and running around the billiard table. Loving was also running and dodging around the table. I got as far as the stove when the shooting had about ended. I caught Loving’s pistol. Think there was two shots fired after I got into the room, am positive there was one. Loving fired that shot, to the best of my knowledge. Did not see Richardson fire any shot, and did not see him have a pistol. I examined the pistol which was shown me as the one Richardson had. It contained five empty shells. Richardson fell while I was there. Whether he was shot before or after I came in am unable to say. I think the shots fired after I came in were fired by Loving at Richardson. Richardson fell immediately after the shot I heard. Did not see any other person shoot at Richardson Did not see Duffey take Richardson’s pistol. Do not know whether Loving knew that Richardson’s pistol had been taken away from him There was considerable smoke in the room. Loving’s pistol was a Remington No 44 and was empty after the shooting.”

September 9, 1879 – Ford County Globe

Dodge City has added another item to her history of blood, and rum has found another victim. Yesterday afternoon B. Martin and A. H. Webb became involved in a dispute in a saloon on Main street. Many complimentary allusions to the parentage, habits and previous history of the parties, usually passed during such scenes in Dodge circles, were freely bandied between the two, ending by Webb knocking Martin down. Martin, who was a remarkably small man, generally inoffensive and timid, made an apology to Webb for some of his strongest epithets, and then went out and sat upon a bench in front of his little tailor shop adjoining Henry Sturm’s saloon. Webb seemed to be very little placated by the submission of his little antagonist. He walked up Main street, threatening more vengeance at every step. He went into Zimmennan’s hardware store and asked Mr. Connor to loan him a pistol, but he was refused. He then went to his house on the hill, saddled his horse, got his Winchester rifle and returned to Main street. He hitched his horse at Straeter’s corner, walked to where Martin was seated, raised the rifle with both hands and brought the barrel of it down on Martin’s head with terrific force. Martin fell like a log and never was conscious afterward.

Webb then jumped for his horse to make off. The murderous blow, however, had been seen by several persons, who ran to prevent the escape. Marshal Bassett seized him and took away his rifle, which was found to be loaded and cocked. He was first taken to the calaboose, but a crowd gathering quickly among whom were some who favored lynching, the sheriff deemed it prudent to remove the prisoner to the County Jail.”

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