Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Colorado Chronicles : Bat Masterson

denverBat Masterson*
Bartholomew Masterson, was born November 26, 1853 in (sit down for this) Quebec, Canada! One of America's most revered lawmen was a freakin' Canadian! Sad, but true. No offense to our friends to the North. And all these years we thought he was one of us. This is almost as bad as if you hosers up there found out that Wayne Gretsky was born in Oklahoma or God forbid, Massachusetts! The blow to American ego and pride aside, Masterson did call Colorado home for twenty-three years, including stints in Leadville, Trinidad and Denver. Best-known as a US Marshal and local lawman, Masterson was also a prizefight promoter, gambler, Army Scout, buffalo hunter and newspaper writer. After his arrival in Denver in the late 1890's, Bat published a weekly sports column in Goerge's Weekly. Wikipedia tells us of more of Masterson's writing exploits : "Masterson continued his writing career in New York at the New York Morning Telegraph, (a sporting newspaper featuring race form and results whose reputation was part of what was known as 'a whore's breakfast,' which consisted of a cigarette and the Morning Telegraph) circa 1904. Hired by the younger Lewis brother, William Eugene Lewis, he reprised his role as sports writer, later becoming the paper's sports editor. The politics, sporting events, theaters, fine dining establishments, and varied night life of his adopted city became fodder for his thrice weekly column "Masterson's Views on Timely Topics" for more than 18 years. W. E. Lewis eventually became the general manager and president of the company and promoted his friend Masterson to vice president and company secretary.
While in New York City, Masterson met up again with the Lewis brothers. Alfred Henry Lewis eventually wrote several short stories and a novel "The Sunset Trail", about Masterson. Alfred Lewis encouraged Bat to write a series of sketches about his adventures which were published by Lewis in the magazine he edited, Human Life (circa 1907–1908). Masterson regaled his readers with stories about his days on the frontier and his gunfighter friends. He also explained to his audience what he felt were the best properties of a gunfighter.
It was during this time that Masterson sold his famous sixgun—"the gun that tamed the West"—because he "needed the money". Actually, Masterson bought old guns at pawnshops, carved notches into the handles and sold them at inflated prices. Each time he claimed the gun was the one he used during his career as a lawman." The great Bat Masterson, con man. He probably would have been a Mets fan, too. Heh.

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