"Texas, by God"
and the
On this day 1874 at Council Bluffs
Tue Aug 7, 2018 11:48

Virge Earp is healing well after being shot with a pistol at Omaha (July 23rd) by nymph du pave Margaret Larrity - aka "Wild Madge." Details of the case were scarce due to the fact Earp was too embarrassed to press charges. The Judge ordered "Wild Madge" out of town so she jumped over to Council Bluffs, where Earp actually lived. The paper mentioned she "still carries her little "persuader.""

There is no doubt that U.P.R.R. employee Henry F. Sills of Omaha knew all about this episode, he being virtually surrounded by prostitutes within the section of town where he lived. In fact, the hundreds of male U.P.R.R. employees at Omaha had little chance against the countless "working girls" who came in with the various railroads. As might be expected some of the brothels were situated right behind certain hotels, such as the United States Hotel, as stated, "a colored house of ill-fame, the lowest in the city, located back of the United States Hotel."
Sills placed himself as living at the Pacific House, which was on Tenth near Capitol. The closest Tenth St. house of prostitution was that of boss Cyprian Amanda Kelly, in which customers could expect to pay a little extra cash lifted out of pocket if not watchful.

Quite possible Sills became aware of Earp (if they did not meet somewhere in the vice business) after his first arrest in 1873 for arson in the westerly Sixth Ward of the "The Bluffs." That's a long story which relates to Earp and a partner Williams being rebuffed in their efforts to open a dram shop near the vile "Big Brick" - aka Planters House.

By 1871-72 Henry Sills (arriving in 1868) had to learn about the prolific bunko gang which began riding the trains and working the depots. They were a threat in different ways. After the infamous Samuel Atwood case of July 1873, when railroad employee Atwood had been warning passengers to avoid the bunko man's skin games, and Atwood was then attacked by Jonny Bull and George Mehaffy, Sills was ordered with several hundreds of R.R. employees to attend a mandatory meeting. It was thought that Atwood would die from the knife wound inflicted by Mehaffy. Gist of the meeting was for "forming a vigilance committee...that in case Atwood dies, they intend to have summary vengeance upon the men who are now confined in jail...."

Although Atwood lived in can be expected RR employees were keen to e watching for the names, faces and possible aliases used by the bunko men, some of whom were very dangerous. Therefore when the Council Bluffs gamblers war broke out (they having been kicked out of Omaha) in late 1874 and into 1875, Sills could read the key names in the papers as developments got exciting. Nine or ten were on each side, with Virge Earp being in faction no.2 with some of the most celebrated in history:
George Devol, Big Mat Foster, Dr. Bagg -aka Doc Baggs, James Wilson, Ben. Marks, James Bush, compromised policeman E. W. "West" Jackson, C. F. Mullary, Virgil Earp and the Prussian, Joseph Gorshpachoe, aka Gespacher, aka Joe Hopkins.

    • Hell on Wheels!David, Thu Aug 9 13:02
      Mary and I are just finishing up season 5 (the last; we are "a little" behind as usual) of the series on DVD. It is very well done and quite (violent and) entertaining, but even though most... more
      • Re: Hell on Wheels!K.t.K., Fri Aug 10 13:28
        According to Sills' timeline he didn't visit Hell on Wheels but arrived at Omaha straight from Belville, Canada in 1868. Although Hell on Wheels didn't end till 1869, Sills spent his first three... more
        • Wow; GREAT stuff David, Sun Aug 12 13:07
          (as always); I learned A LOT in that one post! Thanks Kenny. David
    • Thank you, Kenny (nm)James Wright, Wed Aug 8 10:56
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