Thursday, 14 July 2011

robbing the stagecoach

Abilene began as a stage coach stop in 1857, established by Timothy Hersey and named from a passage in the Bible, meaning "city of the plains". The town grew quickly when Joseph G. McCoy decided to use the town for the location of his stockyards. Abilene became the very first "cow town" of the west.hill
With the railroad pushing west, cattle traders soon came to use Abilene as the largest stockyards west of Kansas City. The Chisholm Trail ended in Abilene, bringing in many travelers and making Abilene one of the wildest towns in the west.
Town marshal Tom "Bear River" Smith was initially successful policing Abilene, often using only his bare hands. He survived two assassination attempts during his tenure. However, he was murdered and decapitated on November 2, 1870. Smith wounded one of his two attackers during the shootout preceding his death, and both suspects received life in prison for the offense. make models
He was replaced by Wild Bill Hickok in April 1871. Hickock's time as marshal was short lived. While standing off a crowd during a street brawl, gambler Phil Coe took two shots at Hickock, who returned fire killing Coe, but then accidentally shot his friend and deputy, Mike Williams, who was coming to his aid.
 He lost his job two months later in December.
In the old West it was said “Men were men and women were women.” But sometimes it was difficult to tell the difference. History is replete with women who masqueraded as men for one purpose or another. There were women who dressed up as men and joined the military to fight for their country.
Some found it easier to survive on the frontier if everyone thought they were a man. Take the case of Charley Parkhurst. Charley was a female tobacco chewing, cussing California stagecoach driver who had disguised herself as a male from a young age. When Charley died in bed on December 18, 1879, friends found out Charley was a woman.
Others didn’t try to change the appearance of their gender but from a distance they might be mistaken for a man. One such lady was Pearl Hart born about 1870 near Toronto, Canada. She was known as an attractive woman and was of French descent. Hart would grow up to become one of the only female stagecoach robbers in the American West. In fact, she was the first known female stage robber in Arizona territory.stagecoach to monterrey
Pearl was brought up in a respectable middle-class family and received a good education. At the age of seventeen, she fell in love and married a charming gambler named Frederick Hart. Fred sometimes worked as a bartender, but he had a penchant for the gambling tables and frequently lost whatever he earned. In addition to being a poor provider, he was a heavy drinker and her life with him proved to be one hardship
In 1893, the couple traveled to the Columbian Exposition in Chicago where Fred worked as a sideshow barker and Pearl found a number of odd jobs. While there, she became attracted to the Wild West shows. She was especially enamored by Annie Oakley who was performing there. She also attended the World’s Fair Women’s Pavilion where she listened to a number of women’s speeches, by prominent women’s activists.
Inspired by strong women and enamored by the heroes of the Wild West, she left her husband and boarded a train to Trinidad, Colorado. There, she gained a measure of popularity as a saloon singer. However, she shortly became pregnant with Fred’s child and returned to her family in Canada. After giving birth to a son, she left him with her mother and traveled west again to Phoenix, Arizona.
There she ran into her husband again. He had followed her there hoping to win her back. Things went alright for a few years living on the edge of decent society. Fred got a job working as a manager and bartender at a local hotel and for a time their life seemed to be happy
However, the pair also began frequenting the saloons and gambling parlors on Washington Street, where Pearl learned to smoke and drink, and reportedly began using other harsher drugs, including marijuana and morphine. By this time Pearl had become pregnant with Fred’s second child.
Finally, Fred now bored with domestic life and supporting a family, left to ride off with Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders in Cuba. Pearl once again returned to her parents, but didn’t stay long, leaving her second child there as well. After being abandoned by her husband, Pearl found it very difficult to survive. She "got along as best she could."
Pearl was disappointed in the "West” not finding it anywhere near as glamorous as she had expected. Instead, her life had now become regulated to working as a cook in a café and taking in laundry. Eventually, she grew depressed and tried to commit suicide three or four times. Fortunately, each time someone intervened.

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