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LTC Stephen F.
Thank you my friend SGT (Join to see) for making us aware that on October 25, 1921 Canadian born buffalo hunter, lawman, gunfighter, gambler and sportswriter William Barclay 'Bat' Masterson died of a heart attack at age 67 while working at his newspaper desk.

LEGENDS OF THE OLD WEST | Dodge City Ep1: “Bat Masterson, Hunter & Hero”
Bat Masterson hunts buffalo in western Kansas. He fights in the Second Battle of Adobe Walls. He plays a key role in an Army rescue mission. He meets his lifelong friend, Wyatt Earp. And the journeys of both young men lead them toward an up-and-coming cowtown called Dodge City.

1. William B. 'Bat' Masterson, Ford County Sheriff and Dodge City citizen
2. A 'typical' beauty, Bat Masterson's love of his life 'Emma Walter' from Century magazine, 1904.
3. The theater that Masterson managed for a time, and where he met Emma Walters with whom he would eventually settle down.
4. Bat Masterson in 1879

Background from {[http://www.kansashistory.us/fordco/batmasterson.html]}
W. B. "Bat" Masterson; Dodge City Lawman; Ford County Sheriff; November 26, 1853 - October 25, 1921
W. B. "Bat" Masterson was born William Bartholomiew (nee, Barclay) in Iberville County, Quebec, Canada on November 26, 1853. Bat was the second of five children.
According to Masterson, writing in the third person in his book Gunfighters of the Western Frontier (1907), he gained his nickname later in life;
"It was as a hunter he won his name of 'Bat', which descended to him, as it were, from Baptiste Brown, or 'Old Bat', whose fame as a mighty nimrod was flung all across, from the Missouri River to the Spanish Peaks, and filled with admiration that generation of plainsmen which immediately preceded Masterson upon the Western stage."
Bat Masterson moved to Kansas in 1871, when he and his family settled near the small farming community of Sedgwick (near Wichita, KS), along with a family friend, the buffalo hunter, H.H. Raymond. The Masterson family had previously farmed in New York and Illinois. That fall and winter, 18-year-old Bat headed west to hunt buffalo. With his 19-year-old brother Ed, he camped with hunters working along the Salt Fork River in present Comanche and Barber counties, Kansas.
During visits to neighboring hunting camps, Ed and Bat Masterson met several future Western legends, including Billy Dixon, Tom Nixon, "Prairie Dog" Dave Morrow, and Bat’s lifelong friend, Wyatt S. Earp.
In the summer of 1872, Bat and his brother worked on a crew grading roadbed for the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad. Their territory covered a four-mile stretch from near Fort Dodge, KS to a tent town then called "Buffalo City" — later Dodge City. According to Robert M. Wright, Dodge City's founder, in his 1913 book, "Dodge City, the Cowboy Capital":
He [Bat], with a partner, took a contract of grading a few miles of the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad, near Dodge. He was only eighteen years old at the time; this was in the spring of 1872. He says that he never worked so hard in his life, in filling this contract, which they did, with a nice little profit to their credit, of which he was very proud; but his partner ran off with everything, leaving him flat broke. He said it nearly broke his heart, grieving over his loss and over the perfidy of his partner, as he was only a boy, and the world looked dark and dreary. But this misfortune proved a benefit to him eventually, as he gained a lot of experience from the episode, and had many hearty laughs over it afterwards.
That winter the Masterson brothers once again hunted buffalo. Their younger brother Jim Masterson joined them in their camp along Kiowa Creek southeast of Dodge. They shot and butchered up to 20 buffalo a day.
According to a diary kept by H. H. Raymond, Bat was in and out of Dodge until at least October 1873. For the next several years, his travels are difficult to document.
In June 1874, he was in the Texas Panhandle and was one of the buffalo hunters who took part in the Battle of Adobe Walls, Texas, starting June 27, Bat was one of twenty-eight men and one lone woman in the ill-protected settlement of Adobe Walls. They faced 800-1000 Native Americans, headed by Chief Quanah Parker, who led the Comanches; Lone Wolf, the Kiowas; Stone Calf and White Shield, the Cheyennes against the white hunters. By March 1875, Bat was back in Dodge City, where he was listed in the Kansas census as a "teamster."
In early 1876 Bat Masterson and Wyatt Earp became law officers in Dodge City. Both were special policemen under Ford County Sheriff Charles Bassett; Earp was also an assistant city marshal. In June 1877 Masterson was arrested for interfering with the arrest of local character Bobby Gill (also known as Robert Gilmore), but the charges and fine were dropped in July. The Dodge City Times reported on October 06, 1877, that "W. B. Masterson, ser. as spec’l policeman" had been paid $25 for the month -- around $2000 in current value. He was also appointed under-sheriff during this period.

Deciding to run for sheriff, Bat's made his announcement in the "Dodge City Times:"
"At the earnest request of many citizens of Ford county, I have consented to run for the office of sheriff, at the coming election in this county. While earnestly soliciting the sufferages of the people, I have no pledges to make, as pledges are usually considered, before election, to be mere clap-trap. I desire to say to the voting public that I am no politician and shall make no combinations that would be likely to, in anywise, hamper me in the discharge of the duties of the office, and, should I be elected, will put forth my best efforts to so discharge the duties of the office that those voting for me shall have no occasion to regret having done so.
"Respectfully, "W. B. MASTERSON."

The home paper said that, "Mr. W. B. Masterson is on the track for sheriff. Bat is well known as a young man of nerve and coolness in cases of danger. He has served on the police force of this city, and also as undersheriff, and knows just how to gather in the sinners. He is well qualified to fill the office, and, if elected, will never shrink from danger."
In November, 1877, Bat was elected sheriff of Ford County, KS — by three votes. The Dodge City Times noted on November 24, 1877: "Larry Deger only lacked three votes of being elected Sheriff of Ford county. His successful opponent, Bat Masterson, is said to be cool, decisive, and a bad man with a pistol."
In 1878 his term of office was punctuated by a variety of violent acts: A train robbery in January, the murder of his brother Ed in April, Northern Cheyennes escaping their reservation in September, and the killing of Dora Hand, a popular Dodge City personality, in October.
Bat’s next year in Dodge was also eventful. In January 1879 he chased a horse thief in Colorado; in February he was delegated to bring Cheyenne prisoners to town to stand trial for depredations committed during the fall raid; in March he joined in a conflict between the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe and Denver, Rio Grande & Western railroads for access to Colorado's Raton Pass.
At election time that November, Masterson was defeated for his second term as sheriff. When his term was up, he left Kansas. After stints in Colorado, Nebraska, and Arizona, Bat was called back to Dodge in 1881 by his brother James, part-owner of a local saloon. Before he left town, he was involved in a gunfight with Al Updegraph, one of his brother's partners.
For the next several years, he made a living as a gambler moving through several of the legendary towns of the Old West. He visited Wyatt Earp in Tombstone, Arizona, leaving shortly before the famous "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral." He spent a year as Marshal of Trinidad, Colorado.

In 1883 he participated in a bloodless conflict and gunfighter gathering later called the "Dodge City Saloon War. "

Bat Masterson, letter in the Daily Kansas State Journal, 9 June, 1883
I arrived here yesterday and was met at the train by a delegation of friends who escorted me without molestation to the business house of Harris & Short. I think the inflammatory reports published about Dodge City and its inhabitants have been greatly exaggerated and if at any time they did 'don the war paint,' it was completely washed off before I reached here. I never met a more gracious lot of people in my life. They all seemed favorably disposed, and hailed the return of Short and his friends with exultant joy. I have been unable as yet to find a single individual who participated with the crowd that forced him to leave here at first. I have conversed with a great many and they are unanimous in their expression of love for Short, both as a man and a good citizen. They say that he is gentlemanly, courteous and unostentatious - 'in fact a perfect ladies' man.' Wyatt Earp, Charley Bassett, McClain and others too numerous to mention are among the late arrivals, and are making the 'Long Branch' saloon their headquarters. All the gambling is closed in obedience to a proclamation issued by the mayor, but how long it will remain so I am unable to say at present. Not long I hope. The closing of this legitimate calling has caused a general depression in business of every description, and I am under the impression that the more liberal and thinking class will prevail upon the mayor to rescind the proclamation in a day or two.
In November 1884, Masterson published a one-edition-only political newspaper in Dodge, The Vox Populi. On March 1, 1885, he was listed in the Kansas census as a 30-year-old Dodge City farmer.
Over the next several years, he was in and out of Dodge. By 1891, he was living in Denver, Colorado, where he bought the Palace Variety Theater. He married an actress, Emma Walters, on November 21, 1891. He continued to travel in the boomtowns of the West, gambling and promoting prize fights. He began writing a weekly sports column for George's Weekly, a Denver newspaper, and opened the Olympic Athletic Club to promote the sport of boxing.
He arrived in New York City in 1902 and was almost immediately arrested for conducting a crooked faro game and carrying a concealed weapon. The crooked gaming charges were dismissed and he was fined $10 for carrying the gun.
For the next 20 years, he lived and worked within walking distance of Longacre Square, now Times Square. He became one of the "Broadway guys" that Damon Runyon wrote short stories about. The character of "Sky Masterson" in Runyon's Guys and Dolls is based on Bat Masterson.
Starting in about 1904, Bat became sports writer for the New York Morning Telegraph. During this period, he was also a frequent visitor at Theodore Roosevelt's White House. In 1905, Roosevelt appointed Masterson U.S. Marshal for the Southern District of New York. This appointment lasted until Roosevelt left office in 1909.

In 1910, Bat Masterson did return one last time to Dodge City. He wrote in the Morning Telegraph, July 31:
"In coming down the Arkansas Valley from Pueblo to Dodge...I could not help wondering at the marvelous change that had come over the country in the last twenty years. As I looked from the car window after reaching the Kansas line at Coolidge, I saw in all directions groves of trees, orchards and fields bearing abundant crops of corn, wheat and alfalfa.... The idea that the plains of Western Kansas could ever be made fertile was something I had never dreamed of."
In 1921, Masterson died of a heart attack while working at his newspaper desk. He is buried at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx, New York.

Bat Masterson on himself
W.B. 'Bat' Masterson
In recent numbers of Human Life, there have appeared sketches of the careers of certain celebrated gunfighters who, by the prompt accuracy of their pistol practice, and the indomitable stubbornness with which they 'stood up against the iron', waxed famous in the West of thirty years ago. Meanwhile, there have descended upon the editor a tempest of written inquiry touching Mr. Masterson himself. It would be among things impossible to induce the author of those sketches, known intimately as 'Bat' Masterson, to attempt the story of himself. He will write biography, but not autobiography, being modest.
Masterson, subject of this memoir, was early abroad upon the plains. What is farm land now was savage wilderness then, and those who invaded it did so with a knowledge that their hands must keep their heads. For twenty years, beginning when he was thirteen, Masterson lived by his own personal powers of offense and defense, and was in more or less daily peril of death from Indians or from outlaw spirits&emdash; common enough, these latter, in the West of that hour.

Has wasted least lead of any man
Just as some folk are born poets, so others are born shots, and Masterson from the first evinced a genius for firearms. With either rifle or pistol he proved himself infallible, and of all who ever pulled trigger he has wasted least lead. It was as a hunter he won his name of 'Bat', which descended to him, as it were, from Baptiste Brown, or 'Old Bat', whose fame as a mighty nimrod was flung all across, from the Missouri River to the Spanish Peaks, and filled with admiration that generation of plainsmen which immediately preceded Masterson upon the Western stage.

His first gun trouble
Once, so runs the tale, a gentleman of extensive pistol practice was testifying as a witness. "How many men have you killed?", asked the cross-examining lawyer.
The witness seemed for the moment posed, almost puzzled. At last, as one seeking exact light, he inquired: "You don't mean Mexicans and Indians?"
Excluding Mexicans and Indians, Masterson's first gun trouble was at Mobeetie in the Texas Panhandle, the theatre thereof being a dance hall called the Lady Gay. Sergeant King, a soldier and a gambler, found fault with Masterson, and lay in prudent wait to take his life at a side door of the Lady Gay.
The evening was dark. A girl named Anne Brennan came up. The lurking King, giving some excuse, asked her to rap at the door, conjecturing that Masterson, who was just inside, would open it. The King conjecture was justified; Masterson did open it, and asked the girl what was wanted. At the sound of his voice, King stepped forward and, placing the muzzle of his pistol against the Masterson groin, fired. Kind fired a second shot, and accidentally killed the girl. Coincident with that second shot, however, Masterson's pistol exploded, and King fell shot through the heart. The girl, King, and Masterson went down in a bleeding heap; the first two were buried while, to the amazement of the surgeons at Fort Elliot, Masterson was back in the saddle by the end of eight weeks. So much for the recuperative powers of one who had lived healthfully and close to the ground.
Masterson's hat measures seven and three-eighths. Wise, cool, wary, he is the born captain of men. Generous to a final dollar, the poor and needy make for him like night birds for a lighthouse. To a courage that is proof, he adds a genius for justice, and carries honesty to the pitch of romanticism. To these virtues of mind and heart, add the thews of a grizzly bear, and you will have a picture of Masterson. Such he is; such he was when, at the age of twenty-two, the public elected him sheriff of Ford County, whereof the seat of justice was the stormy little city of Dodge.

The killing of Masterson's brother
Masterson's brother Ed was made Marshal of Dodge, somewhat against the wish of Masterson. The latter feared that the 'bad men', who came and went in Dodge, would 'out manage' his brother, whose suspicions were to easily set at rest.
It fell out as Masterson had feared. Mr. Wagner, drunk and warlike, sought to enter Mr. Peacock's dance hall, questing trouble. Marshal Ed Masterson, instead of pulling his own gun, as prudence would have dictated, and stopping the violent Wagner with the cold muzzle thereof, seized that truculent person by the shoulders. Instantly, Wagner's six-shooter was brought to the fore. With that Marshal Ed Masterson shifted his left hand to Wagner's wrist and, for the moment, put that drunkard's weapon out of commission. There the two stood, the situation deadlocked.
From across the street, Bat Masterson saw events and started to his brother's aid. He was still sixty feet away when Mr. Walker, like Wagner a person of cows, ran from the dance hall and snapped his six-shooter in Marshal Ed Masterson's face. The cartridge failed to explode. Walker was never given the chance of trying a second, for Bat Masterson put three bullets from his Colt's .45 through him before he could hit the ground. As the dead Walker went down, Wagner, still in a grapple with Marshal Ed Masterson, got his gun to bear and shot Marshal Ed Masterson in the body. The latter fell wounded to the death, coat afire from the other's powder. Wagner fell across him, a bullet from Bat Masterson's pistol through his brain.
After this fashion did Masterson maintain law and order in Dodge. Many were his battles, many the wounds he wrought; it was said that the local doctor traced half his practice to the untiring efforts of Masterson on behalf of communal peace.

From Gunfighters of the Western Frontier, by W. B. Bat Masterson, 1907

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Thanks for the additional history lesson.
LTC Stephen F.
LTC Stephen F.
2 y
Bat Masterson
Bat Masterson was the quintessential westerner. Buffalo hunter. Indian fighter. Army Scout. Lawman. Gunfighter. Gambler. Bat made his bones fighting Comanche warriors and bringing law and order to wild cow towns like Dodge City, Kansas.
In his later years he’d move to New York City and enjoy a career as a sports journalist and enjoy the life of a gentleman.
How did a filthy buffalo hunter turned gunman eventually end up as a presidential appointee, celebrated journalist, and frequent guest at the white house?

1. Dodge City Peace Commission' in June 1883. Front, l-r; Chas. E. Bassett, Wyatt S. Earp, Frank McLain, and Neil Brown. Back, l-r; W. H. Harris, Luke Short, W. B. Bat Masterson, and W. F. Petillon.
2. Quanah Parker, Chief of the Comanche Indians.
3. Adobe Walls, Texas
4. photograph of William Barclay (Bat) Masterson, Sidney Burns and William A. Pinkerton at Hot Air Mine in Hot Springs, Arkansas March 1911

1. Background from {[http://plainshumanities.unl.edu/encyclopedia/doc/egp.law.030]
BAT MASTERSON (1853-1921)
The man destined to achieve fame and notoriety as Bat Masterson, frontiersman, lawman, and gunfighter on the frontiers of Kansas and Texas, was born at Henryville, Quebec, Canada, on November 26, 1853. Christened Bartholomew and called Bart or Bat by his family, he chose to use the name William Barclay Masterson throughout his life.

Masterson grew up on farms in New York, Illinois, and Kansas. He left his father's farm in Sedgwick County, Kansas, in 1871 to hunt buffalo and soon gained a reputation as a dead shot and intrepid frontiersman. In June 1874 he was the youngest of twenty-eight buffalo hunters at Adobe Walls, Texas, who withstood an attack and siege by several hundred warriors led by Quanah Parker. Masterson served as a civilian scout in the Red River War of 1874-75. A shooting on January 24, 1876, at Sweetwater (now Mobeetie), Texas, was the basis for his gunfighter reputation. He killed a soldier after the man shot a woman to death and severely wounded Masterson. He served as a city policeman at Dodge City, Kansas, during that town's most uproarious years and was elected sheriff of Ford County before reaching the age of twenty-four. On April 9, 1878, after his brother, Dodge City marshal Ed Masterson, was shot and killed, he avenged that murder by killing one and wounding another of the assailants.

Residing primarily in Colorado after 1880, Masterson returned to Dodge City frequently, most notably as a participant in an 1881 gunfight in the town's plaza in which he shot and wounded a local saloon man and as a member (with Wyatt Earp and other gunmen) of the Dodge City Peace Commission formed in 1883 to protect the interests of gambler Luke Short. In 1902 Masterson left Denver for New York City, where he became a well-known boxing authority and sports columnist. He died on October 25, 1921, in New York and is buried there.
See also IMAGES AND ICONS: Dodge City, Kansas; Gunslingers / WAR: Adobe Walls, Battle of.
Robert K. DeArment Sylvania, Ohio
DeArment, Robert K. Bat Masterson: The Man and the Legend. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1979.

2. Background from {[https://truewestmagazine.com/bat-mastersons-femmes-fatales/]}
Bat Masterson was admired by men for his daring exploits as a buffalo hunter, army scout and lawman, but, as a “well dressed, good looking, perfectly-made man,” he was irresistible to women, who played a large part in the dramatic events of his life.

A woman was a major figure in a bloody shoot-out at the U. S. Army cantonment at Sweetwater, Texas, on the night of January 14, 1876—an event that would become the foundation upon which Masterson’s widespread notoriety as a gunfighter was based. That night Army Corporal Melvin King and civilian army employee Bat Masterson fought to the death with sixguns. A dancehall girl named Mollie Brennan, over whom, by most accounts, the fight was waged, died in the exchange of bullets. In a jealous rage over Mollie’s evident preference for Bat, King is said to have confronted Masterson and the girl in the Lady Gay saloon. As he brandished a pistol, Mollie jumped between the men, in an effort to prevent gunplay. King’s first bullet, a bullet through his mid-section, knocked Masterson to the floor, A second shot struck Mollie and she crumpled, mortally wounded. Bat had his gun out now and, while prone on the floor, killed King with a single shot.

Little is known of Mollie Brennan who died in that roar of gunfire and whose name would be forever linked with the famous Bat Masterson. She reportedly worked as a prostitute in Denison, Texas, before moving on to Ellsworth, Kansas, when that town was enjoying its brief boom as the terminus of the Texas cattle trail. There she hooked up with saloonman Joe Brennan and took his name in a common-law marriage. She later lavished her affections on Billy Thompson, the troublesome younger brother of well-known Texas gambler and gunfighter, Ben Thompson. Late in 1875, Mollie followed Billy Thompson to Sweetwater where he had an interest in a dance hall, and there she met her ultimate destiny.

No charges were brought against Masterson by either the army or civilian authorities for the affair, and, after recovering from his wound, he showed up in Dodge City, where he soon pinned on a lawman’s badge. In 1877, at the age of 24, he was elected sheriff of Ford County, Kansas, headquartered in Dodge. The following year the murder of another well-known woman led to a legendary exploit. The featured singer at The Varieties, a combination saloon, theater and concert hall in Dodge, was Dora Hand, billed as “Fannie Keenan, The Queen of the Fairy Belles.” By all accounts Dora was a beautiful and talented woman. She had appeared in a succession of frontier towns where, according to no doubt exaggerated reports, her charms had precipitated gunfights in which 12 men died. No reliable sources ever linked Bat with Dora romantically, but the handsome young sheriff and the beautiful stage performer were well acquainted, and when she died needlessly at the hands of a wanton killer, Masterson, enraged, was quick to lead a successful search.

James “Spike” Kenedy was the ne’er-do-well son of Mifflin Kenedy, one of the wealthiest and most successful cattle ranchers in Texas, for whom both a town and county were named. In Dodge, young Kenedy got into an altercation with Jim “Dog” Kelley, saloon owner and mayor of the town. The city police told him to “get out of Dodge” and he left, but vowed vengeance. In the early morning hours of October 4, 1878, he again rode into town astride a thoroughbred racehorse and headed straight for the small frame dwelling where he knew Dog Kelley lived. Drawing a Winchester rifle from the scabbard, he deliberately fired four shots into the building, then put spurs to his mount and thundered out of town. What he did not know was that his hated enemy, Kelley, had taken sick a few days before and was then under treatment at the post hospital in Fort Dodge, five miles away. During his absence he had turned over his little two-room cottage to Dora Hand and another variety hall entertainer, Fannie Garretson. Spike Kenedy’s murderous fusillade intended for Kelley resulted only in the death of Dora Hand, who was struck by one of the bullets as she slept, killing her instantly.

Sheriff Masterson organized what the Dodge City Times called “as intrepid a posse as ever pulled a trigger,” including City Marshal Charlie Bassett, Assistant Marshal Wyatt Earp, and Deputy Sheriffs Bill Duffey and Bill Tilghman who rode out on the trail of the murderer. By good guesswork as to his route of flight and much hard riding, Masterson’s posse was able to reach the Cimarron River before Kenedy arrived. There they set up an ambush at the crossing. When the fugitive appeared, he ignored Bat’s calls to halt and tried to flee, but posse bullets killed his horse and one big slug from Masterson’s buffalo rifle smashed his arm. When they pulled him from under his dead horse, Bat later said, they “could hear the bones crunch.”

“Did I kill that bastard Kelley?’ Kenedy wanted to know. When he was told that Kelley was fine and he had only succeeded in killing Dora Hand, Kenedy blanched. Then, seeing the buffalo gun in Bat’s hand, he snapped: “You damn’ son-of-a-bitch! You ought to have made a better shot than you did!”

“Well, you damn’ murdering son-of-a-bitch,” Bat retorted, “I did the best I could!”

During his term as sheriff at Dodge City, the local papers contained several oblique references to Masterson’s consorting with the ladies. There was a social item in June 1878 mentioning the attendance of “Sheriff Masterson and lady” at a gala in neighboring Spearville, and the appearance of “W. B. Masterson and Miss Brown” at a grand masquerade ball in Dodge City that Christmas. The 1880 census taken in Dodge indicated that he was cohabiting with one Annie Ladue, aged 19, occupation “concubine,” who was “keeping house.” Beyond this stark reference, no information has sur-faced regarding Miss Ladue. Bat’s brother Jim, city marshal of Dodge, was enumerated in the same census as living with one Minnie Roberts, 16 years old and also acting as housekeeper and concubine. According to gossip around Dodge, Bat took a shine to Minnie and trouble developed between the two brothers over her.

Any difficulty he had with Jim over Minnie Roberts did not prevent Bat from hurrying almost a thousand miles back to Dodge from Tombstone, Arizona, in April 1881 when he was informed by telegram that enemies were conspiring to murder his brother. At noon on April 16, Bat swung down from an eastbound train and within moments was involved in a gunfight with A. J. Peacock and Al Updegraph, Jim’s adversaries, who had learned of Bat’s coming and were waiting. When they spotted him, Peacock and Updegraph ran behind the heavily timbered calaboose and opened up with pistols. Bat dropped behind the railroad embankment and returned their fire. Soon friends of both sides were shooting from positions on either side of the tracks. When the shooting was over, Peacock and Masterson were unscathed, but Al Updegraph had a bullet through his chest. He survived. Bat was fined $8 for discharging a pistol within the city limits, and before the day was over he and brother Jim had departed Dodge.

They both landed in Trin-idad, Colorado, where many members of what newspapers were calling “The Dodge City Gang” had congregated. They took law enforcement pos-itions there, but the brothers were never again close. Minnie, now calling herself “Minnie Masterson,” although no record of a legal marriage has ever surfaced, was still with Jim and would remain with him until his death from consumption in 1895. She later took up with an Oklahoma rancher named Joe Bryson. Minnie Roberts Masterson Bryson died in Liberal, Kansas, in the 1940s.

By the early 1880s, the name of Bat Masterson was well known in the West. Although he took occasional peace officer jobs, his major occupation was gambling. He was a prominent member of the “sporting” crowd, the denizens of the saloons and honky-tonks, the dancehalls and theaters, the gambling halls and brothels, that were the frontier’s playgrounds. For a time he managed the Palace Theater in Denver, called by one irate clergyman “a death-trap to young men, a foul den of vice and corruption.” There he had op-portunity to consort with many vivacious and attractive en-tertainers, keeping company with such beauties as Maggie Cline, Lottie Rogers, Effie Moore, Ettie St. Clair and Cora Vane.

In rival Denver establishment, the California Hall, he became involved with an attractive young singer, late of the Kate Castleton Opera Company, who performed under the name Nellie McMahon. The liaison ultimately led to Bat receiving his second and final gunshot wound. It seems that Miss McMahon was married, and her husband, a minstrel comedian named Lou Spencer, found nothing humorous about his wife carrying on with “W. B. Masterson, a handsome man, and one who pleases the ladies,” as the Rocky Mountain News described him. When Spencer found his wife perched on Masterson’s knee in a theater box he took instant umbrage. After a scuffle in which Bat rapped the comedian over the head with his pistol, both men were arrested, but a magistrate quickly released them with only an admonition to carry the difficulty no further. A few days later, Nellie filed for divorce and, according to the Denver newspapers, “eloped” with Masterson to Dodge City.

Bat was soon back in Denver, however, where he learned that Spencer, assuaging his matrimonial sorrows in an opium den, had been arrested and bailed out by a man named Bagsby. Aiding an enemy was a personal affront to Bat, and when he ran into Bagsby in Murphy’s Exchange Saloon, he first belabored him with invective and then the barrel of his revolver, cracking him on the cranium with his six-shooter as he had Spencer. Bar patrons made a rush for the exits. A shot rang out. When police arrived they found Bagsby nursing his bloody head at the bar, and Masterson in a back room on a table, under treatment for a gunshot wound in the leg. By all accounts the shooting was accidental, caused by the pistol of a man named Scott Judy, who dropped it during the crowd’s mad exodus. No charges were filed and there the matter ended.

Masterson did not marry Nellie McMahon as the Denver papers suggested, but about this time he established a marriage of sorts with another theatrical performer, a blond song-and-dance girl at the Palace named Emma Walter. The daughter of a Philadelphia teamster who died a Union soldier during the Civil War, leaving his widow and children in dire financial straits, Emma took to the stage at an early age. By the time she met Bat Masterson in Denver in the mid-eighties she was almost 30 years old, a widely traveled veteran of the boards, who had undoubtedly been courted by many men. But she, like many women before her, was strongly attracted to the dashing sporting man and frontier celebrity. Soon the two were keeping house. One of Bat’s brothers told an interviewer years later that Bat and Emma were married in Denver in 1891, but no record of a formal union has been found, and it is believed the couple lived together in a common-law marriage arrangement. At any rate, once he settled down with Emma, Bat Masterson’s oats had all been sown, and his name was never again connected to another woman. They lived together as man and wife for more than 30 years, until he died at his newspaper desk in New York City in 1921. Emma followed him in death 11 years later. They are buried together in New York’s Woodlawn Cemetery."

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Great Old West share!
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Good ole west history.
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