The Full and Graphic Account: Newton’s Bloody Sunday, Part 2

by Kristine Schmucker, HCHM Curator

Several newspaper correspondents were in Newton covering the cattle drives that summer.  Murder and revenge filled the headlines in the days following the “General Massacre” adding to Newton’s image of lawlessness. The Topeka Daily Commonwealth reported on the violence on 22 August 1871.

“We received . . . the following full and graphic account of the Newton tragedy, from a correspondent of the N.Y. World.  We publish it to the exclusion of our usual variety of local matter, knowing that it will be read with interest by our readers.

On Sunday last . . . Blood and murder was rampart to an unusual degree. . . .Ever since the shooting affair between McCluskie and the Texas man, Bailey, which resulted in the death of the latter . . . “war” was declared to the bitter end against McCluskie . . .”

Accounts of the shoot out varied.  All agree that Anderson shot McCluskie, and that McCluskie attempted to return fire, but his gun misfired. What happened next, took the fight beyond the two men. After Anderson shot McCluskie, another unknown person began firing.

The Commonwealth/N.Y. World  reporter “Allegro” credited an unnamed “Nemesis” with most of the shooting to avenge McCluskie’s death in an 22 August 1871 article:

“. . . there is an avenging Nemesis on track.  A stalwart figure suddenly appears on the scene.  For an instant he remains motionless, as if studying the situation.  Then a sheet of flame vomits forth, apparently from his hand, and a Texan staggers from the room across the area and falls dead at the door of the “Alamo”.  Another and another and another shot follows, until six men . . . have bowed to his prowess.”

Most accounts agree that Jim Martin, the first person shot by the second gunman, ran out of the door, bleeding from the neck, and fell dead in front of Krum’s saloon, the Alamo.   Martin was a well liked and most agreed that he was an innocent bystander who tried to calm the situation down.  Instead, he was fatally shot.  After Martin, six more men were shot. The original shooter, Hugh Anderson, was severely wounded. Patrick Lee, a brakeman for the railroad, and Texans Billy Garrett and Kearnes were fatally shot, each dying after several days.  Two other men, James Wilkerson and a man known as  Hickey, were wounded and later recovered.

Over the years artists have attempted to illustrate the 1871 "General Massacre in Newton."

Over the years artists have attempted to illustrate the 1871 “General Massacre in Newton.”

At 8:00 o’clock Sunday morning, Coroner C.S. Bowman held an inquest into the deaths of Mike McCluskie (aka Art Donavan) and Jim Martin.  After investigating for four and a half hours, the jury found “that Martin came to his death at the hands of some person unknown, and that McCluskie came to his death at 8 o’clock a.m., this 20th day of August, by a shot from a pistol in the hands of Hugh Anderson.”  The finding angered the Texans, who promised that the bodies of the jury would be found “ornamenting neighboring telegraph poles” if Anderson was arrested. Fear was rampant the next few days in Newton.

The Emporia News reporter concluded that “this was the bloodiest affrays that ever occurred in our State.”

Anderson’s father soon arrived in Newton to insure the best medical care for his son, Hugh. He also appealed to Newton’s leading citizens for assistance with his son.  These businessmen wanted no more trouble and a plan was devised to sneak Anderson out of town on a  train.  Judge Muse recounted Anderson’s escape from Newton.

“The excitement was intense, and the City Marshal, Tom Carson, and his assistants, all heavily armed . . . Were parading the streets, day and night, with warrants for the arrest of Anderson. [His father], a gray-haired and amiable old gentleman . . Bowed down with shame and sorrow at the conduct of his sons,” came to consult with Muse and others.

Once Dr. Boyd determined that Anderson could be moved, a group of men including A. Baker,  George Yocum, Judge Muse and Dr. Boyd began their work. A litter was constructed, and at 2:00 a.m. Anderson was removed from the back door of Hoff’s store where he had been recuperating.

“To avoid detection, we carried him north, past the residence of Dr. Lewis, and there striking the cattle trail, followed it down to the car.  The night was dark and rainy; the grass rank, high and wet, and the ground muddy, and our task a hard one, as we dare not use a light.”

Anderson was placed in a car with a closet that was then locked.  All of this had been arranged with the conductor.  He was to remain in the rail car until he reached Kansas City.

The Abilene Chronicle August 24, 1871 concluded:

“Thus ends the third or fourth chapter in Newton’s bloody history-a town only a little over three months old. . . . But if the worse than beastly prostitution of the sexes is continued, and the town is controlled by characters who have no regard for virtue, decency or honor, it will not soon become fit for the abode of respectable people.”

Despite the efforts of Newton leaders,  violence continued into the fall.  On September 23, Deputy Sheriff Carlos B. King was shot by Thomas Edwards.  While making rounds in a dance hall, King had taken Edwards’ gun.  Later, Edwards shot King as he stood “in the same fated area which drank the blood of Martin and other victims of the Sunday morning horror a month ago . . .”     

By the start of the new year things had begun to change.  The cattle trade  moved to Wichita in the spring of 1872  and with it many of the “cowboy businesses.”  Judge Muse noted many “that depended upon the cattle trade were closed or sold out at very low figures.” A year later the newly established Newton Kansan reported in September 1872 that  “one by one these old barbaric domiciles are being remodeled into fit places for good society.” 

Perry C. Tuttle was one business owner that left early.   Perhaps, he was weary of the violence or realized that the cattle trade was coming to a close in Newton. Tuttle sold his business to shady person whose last known residences was above Tuttle’s saloon, James Shay, in February 1872.

Deed for Block 52, Lot 1, Newton, Ks

Deed for Block 52, Lot 1, Newton, Ks. HCHM Archives, Newton, Ks

Perry C. Tuttle left enough of a paper trail that we know a bit about his life.  Born in Wisconsin in approximately 1845,  Perry was  living with his parents, Chester C. & Betsy Tuttle  in Beloit, Rock County, Wisconsin in 1850. His father was a farmer.  By 1860, the Tuttle family, including Perry,  had moved to  Topeka, Shawnee Co., Kansas. From 1862 to 1865, Perry served with the 11th Ks Calvary Co. E . under Maj. Edmond G.Ross along the Kansas/Missouri border. The 1865 Kansas Census lists  Perry C. Tuttle, age 25,   living in Topeka, Shawnee Co., Ks.  He owned a livery stable and was married to a dressmaker named Bertha.

In 1871, he operated a saloon in the new town of Newton, Kansas.

He next appears in the 1880 Census as a 34 year old Saloon keeper, married to Jane with one small daughter, Frances.  Tuttle died in 1898/1899 and was buried in Graceland Cemetery, Creston, Union County, Iowa.

tuttlegrave

Hugh Anderson reappears in history one more time. He recovered from his wounds in Kansas City.  However, he had to look over his shoulder for the rest of his life.  Mike McCluskie’s brother Art had vowed revenge.   Anderson and McCluskie met again at Harding’s Trading Post in Medicine Lodge, Kansas on 4 July 1873. Art McCluskie challenged Anderson to a dual; Anderson could pick the weapon.  He chose the gun. Both men died in the brutal gun/knife fight that followed. On lookers were “sickened at the brutality.”

New Information has come to light regarding the fate of Hugh Anderson.  See our blog posts on the  Duel that Never Happened. (added on 4 September 2015) and Texas Cowboy, Desperado, Businessman (added 11 September 2015).

Newton’s bloodiest days may have been over, but the stories about  the “General Massacre” were just beginning, including those about the  identity of the unknown gunman. Our next post, “A Boy Named Riley” will conclude our series on Newton’s Bloody Sunday.

Sources

  • Allegro,  N.Y. World correspondent; “To the Editor of the Commonwealth,” 21 August 1871
  • Abilene Chronicle 24 August 1871
  • Emporia News, 25 August  1871
  •  Kansas Daily Commonwealth,  (Topeka) 22 August 1871, 23 August 1871,  27 August 1871, 27  September 1871, 28 September 1871
  • Newton Kansan, 26 September 1872
  • Kansas Census 1865, 1875
  • United States Census, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880
  • http://usgwarchives.net/ks/shawnee/shawnee.htm
  • Register of Deeds, February 28 1872  Lida and Perry C. Tuttle to James Shay, HCHM Archives, Newton, Ks

Accounts:

  • Muse, Judge RWP. History of Harvey County, (1881) Harvey County Historical Museum and Archives, Newton, Ks. First published in Edwards, John P. Historical Atlas of Harvey County, Kansas. Philadelphia, 1882.
  • Hunter, J. Marvin, ed.  The Trail Drivers of Texas.  2 Vols.
  • McCoy, Joseph G. Historic Sketches of the Cattle Trade of the West and Southwest, 1874.

Secondary Sources:

  • Coke, Tom S. “Fight to the Finish” at http://4jranch.com/cokestories/AndersonH. 2001.
  • Davis, Christy. “Rediscovering Newton: An Interpretive Architectural History”  Master’s Thesis, WSU, 1999.
  • Drago, Sinclair Wild, Wooly and Wicked: the History of the Kansas Cow Towns and the Texas Cattle Trade. New York, 1960.
  • Dunlap, Great Trails of the West, New York: Abingdon Press.
  • Miller, Nyle and Joseph Snell.  Why the West Was Wild.  Topeka, Ks 1963.
  • Toews, Dudley Dodgion.  Newton, Remembering Yesterday Today, 1994.
  • Streeter, Floyd B.  The Kaw: Heart of the Nation.  New York: Farrar and Rinehart, 1941.
  • Waltner, John. “The Process of Civilization on the Kansas Frontier, Newton, Kansas, 1871-1873” MA These, University of Kansas, 1971.

 

This three part blog series is adapted from our Speaker’s Bureau Program, “Newton’s Bloody Sunday.”  For more info on our Speaker’s Bureau and programs available see:  https://hchm.org/speakers-bureau/

“No Sunday West of Newton:” Newton’s Bloody Sunday: Part 1

by Kristine Schmucker, HCHM Curator

August 20 marks the date of one of the most violent days in the history of Newton, Kansas. One hundred and forty-three years ago, “Newton’s General  Massacre,” captured the attention of the nation and gave the new town the reputation as “Bloody Newton.”  The events of the early Sunday morning hours of Aug 20, 1871 are still the subject of questions, books, and even, a screen play.Our next three posts will feature the event that gave early Newton such a bad reputation.

In the 1870s there was a saying . . .

There is no Sunday west of Newton . . . and no god west of Pueblo.”

In the opening paragraph of the “Newton” section in his History of Harvey County, (1881) Judge RWP Muse wrote,

It is an old saying, that a bad beginning insures a good ending, and if this be true, then will the infamous character, which the town justly earned, in the early days, fore-shadow an after career of unexampled greatness and prosperity”. 

During the summer of 1871 Newton seemed to go up over-night around Joseph McCoy’s stockyard. A cowboy passing through provided this description of the new town.

“We crossed Bluff Creek into Kansas and passed Newton during the latter part of May.  A blacksmith shop, a store, and a dozen dwelling places made up this town at that time, but when we came back through the place on our return home thirty days later, it had grown to be quite a large town, due to the building of the railroad.  It did not seem possible that a town could make  such a quick growth in such a short time, but Newton, Kansas sprang up almost over night.” (Waltner, p. 14 quoting J. Marvin Hunter, ed. The Trail Driver of Texas, Vol. I p. 369)

 

Newton, Summer 1871.

Newton, Summer 1871.

The first passenger train arrived in Newton on July 17, 1871. Judge Muse and R.M. Spivey opened a land office and aided in constructing wood structures with false fronts and awnings along Main Street. The new town soon had it’s share of  businesses that catered to the “cow-boy” along Main Street including grocers, clothing and entertainment.

A reporter for the Wichita Tribune (24 August 1871) observed that Newton had ten bawdy houses

“in full running order and three more underway.  Plenty of rotten whiskey and everything to excite the passions was freely indulged in . . . Rogues, gamblers, and lewd men and women run the town.”

Henry Lovett’s 1st Saloon, opened in the Spring 1871, and was located at the northwest corner of 4th & Main and the O.K. Saloon was located on 5th Street with two additional “houses”  located east of the OK. One writer claimed that every third building was a saloon.

The Gold Room, owned by  future Newton mayor James Gregory, was located between 5th & 6th on Main and was considered the “grandest.”

Plat Map of Newton, Kansas, 17 August 1871. HCHM Archives Map Collection.

Plat Map of Newton, Kansas, 17 August 1871. HCHM Archives Map Collection.

Described by a Topeka Commonwealth reporter,  the Gold Room Saloon  was a large, roughly constructed, frame building. Inside,  a twenty foot bar  was  left of the front door. Barrels containing all kinds of liquors and wine were behind the bar. The “mantle or show part of the bar, lined with clusters of decanters daintily arranged and polished until their shimmer is like that of diamonds” was above.  Opposite the bar, were the gaming tables. A raised platform for entertainers was at the rear. (Topeka Commonwealth, September 17, 1871).

In general, saloons in Newton had been constructed quickly.  They were often were long, narrow rooms, darkly lit, with small, not very fancy bars. Kerosene lamps provided a yellowish light; everything was smelly and dirty.

In addition to the Main Street saloons, there was an area south of the AT&SF tracks known as Hide Park “because the girls showed so much of their hide.” ** The two  largest and best known were the saloons in the “red-light district” were owned by Perry Tuttle and Ed Krum.

Tuttle’s was more popular, all through the night, Sundays included, there was activity.

hideparkwatermark

Plat Map of Newton, Kansas, 17 August 1871. HCHM Archives Map Collection.

 

Law enforcement in Newton was uncertain. The new town had to rely on township authorities from Sedgwick or special policemen  hired by the saloon owners.

The Topeka Commonwealth observed one “of the constables and the deputy sheriff have been appointed policemen.  They receive their pay from a fund raised by the gamblers.”   Fights were not uncommon.

Long time resident C. H. Stewart recorded memories of his boyhood in Newton during the mid-1870s.  He recalled that there were “many cow-boys in town who frequented the saloons . . . And the ‘boys’ would get drunk and come staggering along those walks with their jingling spurs and clanging boots and wild whoops”.  (C.H. Stewart, “Newton History” )

Into this environment of lawlessness comes the Texas cowboys, many of whom sided with the Confederacy during the Civil War, and  northern veteran businessmen looking for a new start. The two groups mixed together on the streets and in the saloons with sometimes tragic results.

Several well-known gunfighters came through the area during July and August.  John Wesley Harden, one of the most notorious Texas gunfighters, had followed the Chisholm Trail in 1871 on a cattle drive and spent time in Newton.  Billy Brooks also was in and out of Newton as law enforcement and as gunfighter depending on the situation in the early 1870s.

Trouble started early. Muse reported:

June 15, 1871 Snyder shot and killed Welsh in front of Gregory’s saloon.  Both were “cow-boys”.   A few days later Johnson killed Irvin in the Parlor Saloon.  His pistol was accidentally discharged, the ball passing though a partition and killing Irvin.   . a man of no known character.”

August was the peak of the cattle drive season and all the ingredients were in place for violence. Muse described the atmosphere;

“About the first of August, a young man, named Lee was shot and killed in one of the dance-houses in Hyde Park, accidentally. . . Newton was indignant over the murder of a young cowboy named Lee.”

Lee was well liked,  handsome and outgoing with many friends “but the citizens of the town were helpless before the fierce, gun-totting Texans” and the incident was ruled an accident.

Ten days later another shooting.

Mike McCluskie, an Irishman from Ohio, also known as Arthur Delaney or Art Donovan, was in town. He had a rough reputation and was described as “among the hardest individuals to ever walk Newton.” Previously he had worked for the Santa Fe Railroad as a night policeman. In August 1871, he was hired by the Newton authorities as a Special Policeman to help keep order during the railroad bond election on August 11.

“Billy” Bailey, a Texan, was described as a  “thoroughly offensive and officious” gambler. It was rumored that he killed at least two other men in gun fights.  Bailey was also hired as a Special Policeman for the elections. The two men, McCluskie and Bailey,  had a long standing feud, possibly over a woman, which came to a tragic conclusion August 11, 1871.

August 11, Friday – Election Day

During the day, McCluskie and a drunk Bailey argued. Later, at the Red Front Saloon, the argument escalated into a fistfight. Bailey left the saloon with McCluskie following, guns drawn. Two shots were fired at Bailey, who died the next day. McCluskie, realizing he is in danger from Bailey’s Texas friends, left for Florence by a train.

August 19, Saturday

A week later, feeling the danger had passed, McCluskie returned to Newton and went to Perry Tuttle’s Hide Park Dance Hall to gamble.

August 20, Sunday Morning

1:00 a.m.   Apparently, sensing trouble, Perry Tuttle attempted to close the dance hall.  Customers refused to leave, even after the band left.

2:00 a.m.   McCluskie remained at the faro table.  Three Texans, Billy Garrett, Henry Kearnes, and Jim Wilkerson, entered the dance hall, one joined McCluskie at the faro table. A short time later a Texas cowboy, Hugh Anderson entered, gun in hand.

Anderson was the son of a wealthy Texas cattleman, and was in Kansas working as a cowboy in August 1871.  He had recently ridden with John Wesley Hardin and had been part of a brutal killing of a Mexican cowboy earlier in the summer. Now his mind was on revenge for the death of his  friend Bailey. McCluskie’s return to Newton on Saturday was Anderson’s opportunity.

The Emporia News described the next few minutes inside Tuttle’s Dance Hall.

Anderson walked directly to McCluskie, “with murder in his eye, and foul mouth filled with oaths and epithets, he steps up to McCluskie and shot him,” striking him in the neck.  Mortally wounded, McCluskie fell to the floor while attempting to fire his own pistol, which misfired. This  account goes on to note that “shooting then became generalending with five men killed and three wounded.  (Emporia News, 25 August 1871)

shootout

1871 Shootout in Newton Ks by Frederick Remington.

Next week: “The Full and Graphic Account” Newton’s Bloody Sunday Part 2  Several reporters were in Newton to cover the cattle drive and the provided their readers “back East” with detailed accounts of the “Wholesale Butchery” that occurred in Newton, Ks on August 20.

Links to other posts.

**Note: Hide Park has also been spelled “Hyde Park“.  Muse used “Hyde“, but other contemporary sources used “Hide.”

Sources

Maps:

  • Plat of the Town of Newton, Ks, 17 August 1871. Map Collection, HCHM Archives.

Newspapers:

  • Topeka Commonwealth, September 17, 1871.
  •  Emporia News, 25 August  1871

Accounts:

  • Muse, Judge RWP. History of Harvey County, (1881) Harvey County Historical Museum and Archives, Newton, Ks. First published in Edwards, John P. Historical Atlas of Harvey County, Kansas. Philadelphia, 1882.
  • Stewart, C.H. “Newton History” February 25 1938 recalling 60 years ago (1878).  Chisholm Trail Collection, HCHM Archives.
  • Hunter, J. Marvin, ed.  The Trail Drivers of Texas.  2 Vols.
  • McCoy, Joseph G. Historic Sketches of the Cattle Trade of the West and Southwest, 1874.

Secondary Sources:

  • Davis, Christy. “Rediscovering Newton: An Interpretive Architectural History”  Master’s Thesis, WSU, 1999.
  • Drago, Sinclair Wild, Wooly and Wicked: the History of the Kansas Cow Towns and the Texas Cattle Trade. New York, 1960.
  • Dunlap, Great Trails of the West, New York: Abingdon Press.
  • Miller, Nyle and Joseph Snell.  Why the West Was Wild.  Topeka, Ks 1963
  • Streeter, Floyd B.  The Kaw: Heart of the Nation.  New York: Farrar and Rinehart, 1941.
  • Waltner, John. “The Process of Civilization on the Kansas Frontier, Newton, Kansas, 1871-1873” MA These, University of Kansas, 1971.

This three part blog series is adapted from our Speaker’s Bureau Program, “Newton’s Bloody Sunday.”  For more info on our Speaker’s Bureau and programs available see:  https://hchm.org/speakers-bureau/