Doc Ch. 18bykingkey©
Early the next morning we had breakfast with Grandpa, and the rest of the family. Judge Mitchell showed up at the stables as we were hitching the mules to the wagons.
"Clay, I need to speak to you before you leave. Do you have a minute?" he asked.
Going over to him, I said, "Sure, Judge. We was just getting ready to go. What can I do for you this morning?"
"The telegraph we sent to Fort Laramie hasn't had any results as of yet, so here is a warrant for Jack McCall. I'm also giving you ten blank warrants, to use as needed, to get to the bottom of why he was not brought in for a proper trial," Judge Mitchell said.
"Thanks, Judge. These will help. I'll be back as soon as I can. Please keep me informed by telegraph if you hear anything," I said.
Then he handed me a dozen extra badges and said, "Be careful, Clay, most of these camps do not have any law so you may have to deputize some help but since you are a deputy marshal yourself. You only have the power to temporarily deputize someone. Try to urge the camps to appoint some marshals or constables to try and keep the law, and to try to get them to vote for a sheriff.
"Since this is a territory and not a state, yet, everything falls under federal jurisdiction. This is just too big of an area for one man to cover. Also, use your own judgment if you see someone that may make another good deputy marshal. Temporarily deputize them, until the regular marshal... or myself... can make it official. Let them know that the pay is sixty dollars a month, and found. If you need to form a posse, the pay for that is two dollars a day, per man."
After he left, I grabbed my medical bag and was tying it to the back of my horse, after adding extra ammunition.
I was putting a little food into my saddlebags when Grandpa said, "Looks like you're about to head out. You need me to come with you, to back you up?"
"No. I shouldn't have much trouble. Jack McCall was a coward so if he's still around, I'll bring him back here for trial. There should not be any problems that I would need back-up on. Judge Mitchell was just talking to me and gave me power to deputize any help I would need, locally. You just go ahead and take the family back home, while I ride ahead. I'm not taking the wagons with me. I need to move fast if I'm going to try to catch him before he can leave the area," I said.
I then kissed all my wives goodbye, mounted my horse, and headed for Deadwood. I made it in about two and a half hours, not wanting to push my mount too hard.
Upon arriving, it seemed like the whole town had turned into a madhouse. People were lining up at the undertaker's, and paying six bits a head to view Hickok's body. They were also lined up to enter the Number Ten saloon, to view the bloodstained table and the chair where Hickok was killed. They were acting as if the circus had come to town.
The 'straw that broke the camel's back', though, was when I saw the infamous Soapy Smith selling pieces of an Indian's scalp. I knew that if I didn't stop this really quickly, it could start an Indian massacre.
Going up to him, I grabbed him and said, "Just what the hell do you think you're doing? Trying to start a massacre? We're trying to stop all the Indian fighting, and you go out and murder an Indian, and try to sell bits of his scalp! Give me one good reason why I shouldn't arrest you for murder, right now?"
"Marshal, I didn't kill anyone. A couple of days ago this Mexican comes riding in with a head of the young Buck Indian. He was bragging about how he was attacked, and was getting free drinks in all the saloons. I didn't do anything but scalp an already dead head, and try to sell pieces of it."
"Is everybody around here a fool? Don't they know how the Indians will react to this news? Some other damn fool will go out and try to collect himself a head, and start another damn Indian war? Where is this Mexican now?" I asked.
"He was bragging all over town 'till he went into the restaurant. Aunt Lou took a frying pan to his head, and ran him out of town," he claimed.
"I'm starting to think that Aunt Lou is the only one in this whole damn town with a lick of sense! Now I'll tell you what, Soapy. I know all about your different scams. I even know the scam named 'soapy', where you sell bars of soap for a dollar each. The people are told to find the bars of soap with a ten-dollar bill wrapped in them, and just enough bars with one-dollar bills to keep the marks interested. I also know that the one that gets the ten, in the first few bars, is your confederate.
"So being as that may, I want you out of the Black Hills within the next twenty-four hours, or I will arrest you... or maybe I'll just turn you over to the miners you cheated," I said.
"Marshal, that's not enough time! It will take me longer than that to get out of here, 'cause the nearest large town is Cheyenne, and that's over a hundred miles away!" Soapy cried.
"Then you'd better get your ass in gear. I see you after that twenty-four hour period, and you'll find your ass in jail," I said.
I then headed over to the undertaker's to find out what was going on. The man at the door tried to bar my way saying I had to pay to go in. I slammed him into the wall and asked, "Do you think you can make me?" Walking in I saw the undertaker had propped Hickok up as if on display, and was charging people to see him. This really pissed me, off.
I grabbed him and shouted, "Just what the hell is going on here? This was a great man, not some carnival freak. Why hasn't he been buried already?"
"Just trying to make a dollar Marshal was no harm done!" he said.
"Didn't he have enough money to pay for his burial? I ask.
About this time, the door slammed open, and Charlie Utter and a large plain looking woman entered looking very mad and shouting at the undertaker, Seeing that I had a hold of the undertaker, they quieted down.
Turning to them while still holding onto the undertaker's arm I asked, "Charlie, what's going on around here, and who's your companion?"
"Doc it's good to see you again. Let me introduce you to miss Jane Canary, otherwise known as Calamity Jane. She was also a good friend of Bill's, and we just came to see about putting an end to this mockery," Charlie explained.
Giving the undertaker a shake I said, "I asked you a question! Didn't Bill have enough money to pay for his own funeral?"
Charlie said, "When Bill was killed, he had over two hundred dollars on a table in front of him. He had plenty of money but this greedy bastard is trying to make money from Bill's dead body. Look he even stole his guns and his boots. Bill has a young widow back East, and we mean to see that she gets his belongings!"
I slammed the undertaker against the wall and shouted, "Is this right? Besides putting him on display you robbed him, and stole his belongings?"
The undertaker started stuttering, "But his boots and guns are worth a small fortune, and he isn't going to need them, now."
"You get his boots on him now! And give Charlie Utter all the rest of his belongings including his money, so he can send them to his widow. Then you can put him in your best coffin and give him a deluxe funeral at sundown, tonight. You can also include a marble stone with his name, and the dates of his birth and death. You can get the dates from Charlie, here. He will also tell you what else to put on the stone. And you're going to do all this out of your own greedy little pocket. If not you can plan on spending the next few years in prison for grave robbery," I explained while shaking him the whole time.
"But... But... That's going to cost me a small fortune," he sputtered.
"You should have thought of that before you got greedy," I said. Turning to Charlie, I asked, "Can you stick around here and make sure he gets all this done right? I have a few other things I need to get done, but I'll see you at sundown for Bill's services."
Charlie and Jane both uttered their thanks to me and told me they would see me then.
My next stop was the Number Ten Saloon going in I found a place crowded seeing that they had roped off the bloodstained table with the blood splattered cards a pair of black eight's with a pair of black aces and the queen of hearts tacked to the wall was assigned underneath proclaiming it as a dead man's hand. Look around I spotted a man that was obviously in charge going up to him, I introduce myself and asked, "Can you tell me exactly what happened?"
He introduced himself as Dave Mann one of the owners and said, "It was about eight o'clock when Bill Hickok came in. Charlie Rich was seated in Bill's normal spot with his back to the wall when Bill came in. Since Charlie was on a winning streak, he didn't want to move. He was used to changing seats, but Bill just shrugged his shoulders and took the empty seat with his back to the door.
The night before, Bill had cleaned out Jack McCall for everything he had. But he gave him a dollar so that he would have enough to get something to eat this seemed to insult Jack McCall that Hickok would give him charity. So that night, while Bill had his back to the door, McCall walked up behind him. Before we knew it, he had shot Bill in the back of the head."
"So why wasn't Jack McCall brought in front of the territorial judge, down in Hill City?" I asked.
"It happened here, so after we grabbed him, we formed a miner's court. We tried him right here. I was one of the judges. When it came out that Hickok had killed his older brother in Abilene, in an accidental shooting, the court deemed it not to be murder. He was let go and told to get out of town." he explained.
"When are you people going to learn? You have no legal rights to hold a trial! If you want to be able to hold trials, get the older businessmen and permanent residents to elect a town Council, and a Mayor. Then appoint a town sheriff of your own.
"But quit taking matters into your own hands. Jack McCall should have been brought in front of the territorial judge, in Hill City. It is less than ten miles away! As it stands right now, I need to track him down and bring him before a real judge. Did you even wire Abilene, and check his story out?" I asked.
At this time, a young boy of about fourteen entered the saloon and gave me a telegram. It is said that Jack McCall had been apprehended in Fort Laramie, when he had started bragging about killing Wild Bill Hickok. After checking to find out if he had a brother killed in Abilene or any other place (which he did not, as he had no brothers); he was then re-tried, found guilty, and hung by the neck until dead. I showed Mann this telegram, and he started to look real sheepish.
"See? Justice has been done, and your so-called kangaroo court almost let a guilty man go free! Remember what I said about a town council, and the appointed town lawman."
About this time, I started to hear a small commotion on the street. Going out the door I was just in time to see both my wagons coming down the street and parking next to the hotel in the vacant lot. I wondered what my ladies were doing here. I went over to see them, to find out why they weren't at the ranch with the rest of family.
Seeing Dawn and Moon driving my doctor's wagon, and Running Deer, Little Doe and Standing Bear in the living wagon I asked, "What are you doing here? Why aren't you with Uncle Henry and the rest of the family at the ranch?"
"We are your wives. We go where you go. You here we here, so when you come here, we follow you," Dawn explained.
"You should not have followed me. It might have been dangerous. I'm glad you're here but next time, ask. Why is Moon with you, she should have gone back to the ranch with Uncle Henry?" I asked.
"She your wife too! You buy her," Dawn said.
"You are my wife and Running Deer and a Little Doe or both my wives but Moon is not my wife," I tried explaining getting a sinking feeling in my gut.
"You buy Running Deer and a Little Doe and make them wives. You buy Moon, too. That make her wife, also," Dawn said firmly.
"It's not the same thing I gave the man back his money for Moon so as she was not a slave to him and her uncle refused to take her back so I asked her to join the family until she found somewhere else to be," I tried to explain.
"You ask her to join the family, she now wife! We talked to her, and she wants to be your wife also!" she said firmly.
I could tell that this was an argument that I had already lost, so I said, "Okay, I'll have a talk with her, and see if she wants to become a wife. I will not have any of you pressuring her to become a wife. I already feel I have enough wives with the three of you, but I will talk with her, to see what she wants.
"I'm supposed to be the man, the head of this family. You two girls keep making decisions without even consulting me. This stops right now! If you girls want to keep making all the decisions on your own, then I don't see where you need me. I'll just leave."
My ladies then rushed up to me, crying and asking me not to go. I looked over and saw Moon standing by herself, looking miserable, and crying.
Going over to her, I hugged her and asked, "What's the matter? Why are you so upset?"
She said, "You no want me! Nobody wants me! I don't know where to go! Unless maybe I go to saloon, become a whore."
"I didn't say I didn't want you, honey. I don't know you, little one. We had just met when I had to come here. What I'm so upset about is the fact that they are telling me what to do, and not asking me what I want. I told you that you are welcome with my family as long as you wanted to stay. I don't even know if you want to become one of my wives." I explained.
"I want to be wife, like others. I can be big help. My father was Herb doctor back in China. I help him when I was younger. Still remember lot of things to do to help sick people," she said.
I could tell I lost this argument, and would have a fourth wife. As soon as Grandpa heard this he would be laughing his ass off at me again. After helping unhitched the wagons and taking the mules and my horse to the stables while Standing Bear lowered the leveling jacks on the living wagon. I told my ladies to go into the general store and see about getting dark dresses because we had this funeral to attend at sundown.
Going into 'doctor mode', I saw patients for the rest of the day. Most of them were just the usual broken bones, bumps, and bruises.
Toward the end of the day a young man came and wanted to know if I could go to his cabin to check on his little girl. He said that she was real sick and was breaking out with blisters all over her body. My mouth suddenly went dry as I remembered another thing from the history of this town.
Edited By TeNderLoin