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Old December 16th, 2011, 02:04 PM   #1

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Pat Garret and the Deacon Killer Miller


Like many of our western figures, Pat Garret started out as a buffalo hunter in the great western plains. He then became a lawman in New Mexico in 1878, some time after killing a man who had attacked him with an ax after Garret had pummeled him in a fight. Pat ran for Sheriff of Lincoln County in 1980, on a law and order platform and with the backing of the Governor, and the cattle Baron John Chisum, he won.

Pat had played no part in the Lincoln Co. war, but as Sheriff he was soon to bring the law down on some of those Lincoln co. figures. It was Garret who finally tracked down Bill the Kid, under special auspice of the Governor, and shot him to death in the dark of night.

Pat tried to make a career from writing when he hired Ash Upson to help him write a book to capitalize on Billy the Kid. The book was a major disappointment sales wise, with the hiring of an inexperienced publisher who flubbed the distribution.

Pat next tried politics, but a Lawyer that was supporting the opposition, got into a tangle with Pat, who escalated from hot words when he pulled his revolver and clubbed the man in the head. He lost the election.

Going back to a trade he knew, he was appointed as head of a newly formed company of Texas Rangers in 1884. After only six months, he tired of the lawman life again and became a successful rancher for awhile, a Customs Agent, a land speculator and eventually in 1908 he returned to Las Cruses New Mexico where he was mysteriously murdered.

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Deacon Jim Miller, aka Killer Miller, wasfor many years an infamous gunman and hitman. Some believe he had a hand in killing famed lawman Pat Garrett.

On July 30, 1884 the “Deacon” killed his first man, his brother-in-law, John Coop. Coop was killed in his sleep by a shotgun blast. The date of Miller’s birth indicates he would have been about 23 when he killed Coop, but some accounts say he was only 17. He was charged with the crime and found guilty, but the charges were dropped when he filed an appeal.

The nickname, Deacon, was arose by his steady and noted attendance in the local Methodist church. It was said he could quote scripture as well as any minister, spurned alcohol and tobacco and never used profanity. He also sported around town wearing a long, black, frock coat and packing a shotgun.

All this time, he was a hired killer, and the work was never lacking.

" In 1891, he rode into Pecos, Texas, a raw, tough town just beginning to acquire a little civilization. Its population, it was said, spent its time 'making a living, going to church, picnics, engaging in a friendly drink now and then, praying three times a day and fist-fighting twice a week." (Historynet).

He was hired as a Deputy by Sheriff Bud Frazier at this time.
It wasn't long before he began to out live his welcome, being accused of rustling and murdering local Mexicans. He was fired by Sheriff Frazier, and he became a bar owner.

Feelings were strained between the two men and they broke out into shooting scrapes two different time, wounding both and Miller somehow walking away despite being shot in the chest both times.
When Miller’s long, black coat and shirt were removed by the Doctor, it was discovered Miller was wearing a solid steel plate underneath his long coat. The plate was dented from four of Frazer's slugs. Later, Miller began stalking Frazer. He soon found him, playing cards in a Toyah saloon and killed him with a double barrel shotgun blast. Miller stood trial for the murder but again escaped the noose.

After 25 years of contract killings for as much as $2000 each, his luck ran out as when Miller was hired by three men, Jesse West, Joe Allen and Berry Burrell, to kill former peace officer, Allen Augustus “Gus” Bobbitt in Ada, Oklahoma. Which Miller promptly did, in ambush. The four were quickly arrested.
in the early morning hours of April 19, 1909, a mob stormed the jail and the four prisoners were taken to a nearby abandoned livery stable and lynched.

"Miller, to his credit, was as impassive as he had been when he blew other men into eternity. 'Let the record show,' he said, 'that I've killed 51 men.' He pulled off a diamond ring and asked that it be given to his wife; a diamond shirt stud he left to the jailer for some kindness. Then, as the noose slid around his neck, Deacon Jim Miller asked for his trademark, his black broadcloth coat. 'I'd like to have my coat,' he said. 'I don't want to die naked.'
No, said the posse members; they had had enough of the cool killer's effrontery. At his repeated request, somebody did set Killin' Jim's hat on the side of his head, and Miller actually laughed. 'I'm ready now,' he supposedly said. 'You couldn't kill me otherwise. Let her rip!
-Historynet.

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Click the image to open in full size.



On March i, 1908, Garret was killed while riding in a buggy with Carl Adamson, one of two prospective buyers for Bear Canyon Ranch, a property Garret was trying to sell. On the trail they met cowboy Wayne Brazel who was leasing Garrets property and had begun running goats on it. Garret and he were in a dispute over that action. Brazel joine the party and as they travelled he and Garret were arguing about the goats and the lease, which Garret felt threatened the sale of the ranch. They stopped ata a point so Garret and Adamson could step out and take a leak. With their backs to Brazel, two shots rang out and Garret fell dead.
The two men turned themselves in, Brazel claiming he shot Garret in self defense. He was acquited at trial.

As time passed, people began to doubt the story and the trial itself was thought a 'fix'. Pretty soon a counter theory (among others) came to being.

"an alleged meeting at the St. Regis Hotel in El Paso in the fall of 1907. In attendance at the meeting were W. W. Cox, Oliver Lee, Jim Gililland, Albert B. Fall, A. P. "Print" Rhode (Cox's brother-in-law), James P. Miller, Carl Adamson, and Mannie Clements. They were there to decide how to rid themselves of Pat Garrett. There were a number of motives: vengeance for Pat's activities while a lawman, fear that Garrett was continuing his investigation of the Fountain case, the desire for the water on Pat's ranch, and a seething anger over Garrett's killing of an alleged fugitive harbored on Cox's San Augustine Ranch.
The alleged conspirators offered Jim "Killer" Miller ten thousand dollars (accounts vary) to kill Garrett. He accepted, and the money was delivered to him at Fall's El Paso law office. The goats were part of the plan, as was the compliance of Wayne Brazel. Wayne was intensely loyal to W. W. Cox and could be depended upon to obey the cattleman's orders, no matter what they were. The goats would assure Garrett's anger, and his anger would lead to threats. Adamson would assure Pat's arrival at the predetermined spot where Miller would do the shooting, Brazel would take responsibility, and Adamson would swear to the truth of the matter."
http://southernnewmexico.com/Article...atGarrett.html

Last edited by unclefred; December 16th, 2011 at 03:09 PM.
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Old December 17th, 2011, 12:32 PM   #2

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Interesting that a person can be defending himself and shoot somebody in the back.

Thanks for the info Uncle.
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Old December 17th, 2011, 03:10 PM   #3
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Good thread . Feuding was a way of life .
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Old December 17th, 2011, 03:22 PM   #4

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Quote:
Originally Posted by McGrunt View Post
Good thread . Feuding was a way of life .
That's a good point McGrunt. If you think about it, Garret was a man with a dangerous reputation and they may have felt it's better to get him before he decides to make a move. The law wasn't always there to hold your hand as it is today.
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Old December 21st, 2011, 07:15 AM   #5

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this kind of post is why I read this forum. thanks
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Old December 21st, 2011, 07:39 AM   #6

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You're welcome, I love this stuff too.
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Old December 21st, 2011, 08:36 AM   #7

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1- with all the volatility and change in his life, is it specualted that garret was an alcoholic or maybe bipolar or depressive or something? or was change, volatility and amoral activity simply the norm for that time/place?

2- what do you think of the sam peckhinpah movie about pat and billy the kid?
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Old December 21st, 2011, 09:22 AM   #8

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I'd say Garret was very much a man of his time. It was very common for men of that period to have many occupations and business ventures. Many people came west because of it's opportunities, being a frontier. I am not aware of Garret being involved in criminal enterprises after being a lawman, but it was common for men to go back and forth as lawmen and criminals. Often at the same time!

As for the movie, it's one of my favorite westerns, I thought James Coburn was great as Pat Garret.
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Old December 21st, 2011, 09:43 AM   #9

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Quote:
Originally Posted by unclefred View Post
I'd say Garret was very much a man of his time. It was very common for men of that period to have many occupations and business ventures. Many people came west because of it's opportunities, being a frontier. I am not aware of Garret being involved in criminal enterprises after being a lawman, but it was common for men to go back and forth as lawmen and criminals. Often at the same time!

As for the movie, it's one of my favorite westerns, I thought James Coburn was great as Pat Garret.
I like the move too though I like the kirss kirsstofferson performance better. Are you watching the older version that was on VHS or the newer versin with additional footage and the mixed chronolgy? (starting with the murder of garret)
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Old December 21st, 2011, 11:00 AM   #10

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Originally Posted by Robert165 View Post
I like the move too though I like the kirss kirsstofferson performance better. Are you watching the older version that was on VHS or the newer versin with additional footage and the mixed chronolgy? (starting with the murder of garret)
I have both versions, the longer one is better for sure. I thought changing the order of the scenes made more sense. Kris was good and their were some other good actors with small parts, like LQ Jones, Harry Dean Stanton, Jack Elam and Chill Wills. That death scene with Slim Pickens and his wife was a very memorable scene. Great Bob Dylan tune.

Last edited by unclefred; December 21st, 2011 at 11:28 AM.
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