Author Topic: One more. . . Bark on tough. . .  (Read 4120 times)

Offline Gibson

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One more. . . Bark on tough. . .
« on: February 10, 2013, 02:08:06 pm »
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Milton J. Yarberry: A Tough Sonuvabitch!

Milton J. Yarberry, tree tall and indeed a bad man!

He actually began life as John Armstrong, being born at Walnut Ridge, Arkansas in 1849- this according to his own account given to a friend, Elwood Maden. He wasted little time growing up before he sent his first man to Kingdom Come. It seems his family was involved in a land dispute and Yarberry (Armstrong) knew early on how to settle disputes. . . he settled things with a blazing sixshooter. He was rewarded for his murder with a price tag of $200 being placed on his head by authorities. He then laid low. As soon as things settled, our protagonist wasted no time in dispatching a second victim. He killed a man in Helena, Arkansas, (or was clearly implicated in the man's death) and fled to the owl hoot trail.

He landed near Fort Smith in 1873 and got involved in the horse trade, i.e. stealing them. . . He had hooked up our old friend, "Mysterious" Dave Mather.

Dave Mather:

« Last Edit: February 10, 2013, 02:10:14 pm by Gibson »
"Then say a 'Hail Mary', because you're dead where you stand."

Offline Gibson

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Re: One more. . . Bark on tough. . .
« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2013, 02:10:50 pm »
Next is a brief account of the Yarberry's (or Armstong's) time with Mather and the boys, begin with the the first full sentence. This is from Leon Metz's book "The Encyclopedia of Lawmen, Outlaws, and Gunfighters":



Jonhson/Yarberry next moved on to Jack County Texas and joined Company B Texas Rangers Frontier Battalion. Here is a wonderfully illustrative story related by DeArment in his great book, "Deadly Dozen: Twelve Forgotten Gunfighters of the Old West, Volume 1"



It was not long before Yarberry left his Ranger service. . .

He showed up in Decatur, Texas and ran a saloon and pool hall combo in 1878-77, with a new nom de plume. He called himself "John Johnson". Things went okay until a detective from back in Arkansas showed up nosing around and asking questions. Yarberry mysteriously sold out and left. Old timers tell the story of finding a lead laden corpse, in Decatur back alley. It was that same detective. . . Indeed. . .

Stay tuned. . . we'll get into our episode involving Yarberry
"Then say a 'Hail Mary', because you're dead where you stand."

Offline Gibson

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Re: One more. . . Bark on tough. . .
« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2013, 02:12:09 pm »
After a short sojourn in the Queen of Cowtowns, Dodge City, Kansas, Yarberry landed in Canon City, Colorado and there he went into business. He bought into a combination saloon and variety theatre. Sort of a vaudeville with whiskey. . . His new partner was named Tony Preston. He, himself now went by the new name, Milton J. Yarberry. He'd die with than one.

The great vaudevillian Eddie Foy met Yarberry when he performed in the club, he later wrote in his memoirs of how Milton "rather fancied himself a violinist". More like a fiddler. . .

Foy went on to remark how that Yarberry considered himself something of a dude. Sating that appeared "citified" and that he appeared to be prosperous, wearing "a broadcloth suit, velvet vest, frilled shirt front and white collar. . ., expensive Eastern-made boots, and a long black mustache, [but] none too sweet a character." Indeed. Foy goes on to mention Yarberry was already well known as a man killer.

The bartender of the Gem Saloon in Canon City shot Tony Parker down on March 6, 1879. He hit him in the upper chest area, all but a fatal wound, after many days of back and forth, he slowly recovered. After Parker was blasted and fell, Yarberry did what anyone would expect Yarberry to do, call the cops. NOT ON YOUR LIFE. Yarberry yanked out his own sixshooter and commenced blazing away. He got off three rounds as the bartender fled the scene. Yarbery missed. That drink' slinger' had to be the luckiest man in the world. He later gave himself up to the city marshal as a posse that included Yarberry gave chase. Milton J. Yarberry left Canon City.

Next he showed up in following the railroaders serving up prostitutes to the builders with a Mexican woman known as "Steamboat" for a partned. (You cannot make this shit up!) Yarberry soon robbed and murdered a freighter "20 miles outside of the latest railroad boomtown". He was suspected but not arrested.

Next Milton was accused, and in all likelihood killed a man named Morgan right in the middle of the dining room in a Rincon hotel. Body count is steadily rising.

DeArment, "Deadly Dozen""

Later he showed up in San Marcial, where





THAT BOY HAD NO IDEA WHO HE HAD PISSED OFF



"Then say a 'Hail Mary', because you're dead where you stand."

Offline Gibson

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Re: One more. . . Bark on tough. . .
« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2013, 02:12:30 pm »
The die was cast, the scene was set, the Rubicon was crossed.

Milton J. Yarberry



It was March 27, 1881 and this rather brazen hussy, Sadie Preston was out with Mr. Brown and get this, Yarberry was watching her daughter. I suspect it was out of simple decency and knowledge of the mother being trash. Brown and Preston went into the restaurant to eat but Brown quickly came back out and Yarberry appeared walking down the street with the girl. He took the girl into the restaurant and then reappeared. (Makes you suspect that Yarberry had not at first understood that he was babysitting for Sadie's date. All we have for a witness is the hack driver who happened to be outside, John Clark. Who knows.)

The two men got louder and louder. They walked to a vacant lot.

Yarberry was 6' 3" tall in his bare feet. He had grey eyes and a wiry build. He had killed God knows how many men, yet this idiot, over a trollop, was ready to do battle with a man that the bad did mess with. Go figure. . .

Stay tuned. . .
"Then say a 'Hail Mary', because you're dead where you stand."

Offline Gibson

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Re: One more. . . Bark on tough. . .
« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2013, 02:13:03 pm »
As Milton Yarberry and Harry Brown walked along, Yarberry could be heard to threated to arrest Brown, Brown copuntered, "Milt, I want you to understand I am not afraid of you and would not be even if you were marshal of the eitire United States." Not real bright. . . After they arrived in the vacant lot, Brown again cut loose with, "the vilest language he could lay his tongue to." Yarberry stopped talking and started watching. He had that instinct that all gunmen have. They know when to shut up and observe. He later stated that he knew that Brown was trying his best to distract and get the drop on him. It didn't work out real well, for Harry Brown.

About this time, Sadie decides to see if she can help out. With Milt's back to the restaurant building, Sadie calls out to Brown. Again, exhibitting the instinct of the gunman, Yarberry does not turn as she had hoped. He remains facing Brown. (He would later testify, "I did not look around.") But Brown decides to take his chances and jacks Yarberry with a left hook, he attempts to use this as an opportunity to yank his sixshooter with his right hand and kill Yarberry. Not so fast, Mr. Brown. The wily veteran of a many a life and death struggles was too fast for him. He got off a wild half ass shot, but Milt clears leather as quick as chain lightning and pours lead into Brown. BAM. BAM. Brown hits the ground dead. Yarberry slams two more rounds into his lifeless corpse. Dead as the proverbial doornail.

I told you he was about as sharp as a bowling ball.

He are the exact words of Yarberry describing what happened:

"Brown struck me a blow in the face with his left hand while at the same time drawing his sixshooter with his right, and immediately firing his first shot, grazing my right hand and inflicting a trifling scratch on the thumb. In an instant I realized that I must either kill him or die, and quicker than it takes to tell, I whipped out my gun and began firing."

Constable Milt got off on a plea of self-defense. Many in Albuquerque were semi-outraged over him getting off, some newspapers called the killing, murder. . . They'd get another shot at Yarberry, less than one month after his acquittal (pun intended, as it were).

Stay tuned will finish up tonight. . .
"Then say a 'Hail Mary', because you're dead where you stand."

Offline Gibson

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Re: One more. . . Bark on tough. . .
« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2013, 02:13:37 pm »
On a hot summer day, June 18,1881, Milt was sitting in the front yard of his friend "Monte Frank"Boyd's house, shooting the breeze. The two men heard the crack of a revolver shot and immediately proceeded to see if they could ascertain who was doing the shooting. They went toward where they had heard it. It seem to have come from an eatery around the corner. Constable Yarberry with Boyd in tow walked up to the area and made inquiries as to who had done the shooting. He questioned a bystander, "who fired the shot?" The bystander pointed to a man who was high stepping away. Boyd and Yarberry took in after him. "Stop there, I want you" called out Yarberry.

What happened next is anyone's guess. The end result was Charles D. Campbell lay on Front Street with three bullet wounds. Yarberry swore that he shot him in the right side after Campbell turned and fired on him. The Coroner claimed that the three wounds were in the back. Yarberry stated that he shot the man in the right side in defense of hius life and that Boyd had pumped two rounds into his back. I suspect Yarberry shot him down but that he was likely armed. However, what ended up hanging him was a single witness who swore Campbell was unarmed, one Thomas W. Parks, an attorney. And indeed, no weapon was found on the body. (Meaningless in those days as the vultures would descend and steal the dead man's gun in the excitement, often.)

Yarberry and Boyd were arrested. I assume they were let out on bond because when they went to re-arrest the two, Boyd had flown the coop. The town was in a frenzy and talk of lynching was nonstop. Boyd was never located. Yarberry was convicted.

Milton's Tombstone, indeed, a final slam on him. Note the last name :)



wiki:

"Sheriff Armijo arrested both Yarberry and Boyd for the shooting. Yarberry claimed that Campbell, who was not known to Yarberry but who had a reputation as someone who drank too often, had turned toward him with a gun, and thus he fired in self defense. One of his bullet wounds was in the back, but Yarberry claimed that the bullet in the back had to have come from when Campbell's body spun after being hit in the front. Campbell was armed, but no one could testify that his gun was out when he was shot. Again Yarberry, as well as Boyd who fired at least two rounds, was cleared in a preliminary hearing. This led to a loud public outcry, despite evidence at the time indicating that Yarberry had acted in good faith, in self defense.

Boyd left town, heading to Arizona, where he is alleged to have been killed by Navajo Indians the following year. Yarberry was again jailed, with anticipation of another Grand Jury hearing. On May 11, 1882, a Grand Jury indicted Yarberry for the murder of Campbell. The New Mexico Governor Lionel Sheldon, having newly taken office, and doing so in a time when news stories of Billy the Kid and John Kinney were rampant, was intent on making an example out of Yarberry.

The New Mexico Attorney General, William Breedon, handled the case for the prosecution, assisted by Arnet R. Owen. For the defense, Yarberry was represented by Jose Francisco Chavez, I.S. Trimble, and John H. Knaebel. Witness Thomas A. Parks, an attorney from Platt City, Nebraska, brought forth the most damaging testimony, when he stated he saw the entire event, and stated further that he saw no gun in Campbell's hands. Campbell's pistol that he had in his possession had been fired, and Yarberry claimed he'd fired it at least once at him. No one could counter this, aside from Parks, who claimed this was false. Yarberry also claimed he had fired only one time, hitting Campbell in the front. Yarberry stated adamantly that he shot Campbell because Campbell tried to shoot him, and he never varied from that.

The trial lasted three days, after which Yarberry was convicted and sentenced to hang. Yarberry insisted he had been "railroaded", and that he had acted correctly and in self defense. On September 9, 1882, Yarberry and three others escaped from the Santa Fe, New Mexico jail, and he quickly found that a $500 bounty had been placed on him. The other prisoners were captured quickly, and Santa Fe County Sheriff Romulo Martinez organized a posse to hunt down Yarberry.

On September 12, 1882, a posse led by Santa Fe Police Chief Frank Chavez captured Yarberry twenty eight miles outside of town. Five months later his appeal was denied. Attorney John Knaebel filed appeals and sent letters all the way to Washington, D.C., insisting his client was innocent of murder, but to no avail. In his final interview, Yarberry was told by the reporter that he looked pale, to which he replied, "Maybe. But I ain't sick, and I ain't scared either.["Hell, I wouldn't get scared if they walked me out on the scaffold right now." He then snatched his fiddle and cut loose with "Old Zip Coon".]

On February 9, 1883, under a guard provided by order of the governor, made up of the "Governor's Rifles", a New Mexico militia, Yarberry was marched to the gallows. His close friend, Sheriff Perfecto Armijo, was tasked with pulling the lever to hang him. Sheriff Armijo had staunchly supported Yarberry throughout the process, and also insisted he was being hanged unjustly. Yarberry requested that Colfax County Sheriff Mason T. Bowman take Sheriff Armijo's place, to save his friend from the task, but Sheriff Bowman declined. Over 1,500 people were in attendance to watch the hanging. As Sheriff Armijo pulled the lever, Yarberry proclaimed, 'Gentlemen, you are hanging an innocent man.'"

Finis.

One mean hombre, eh?

My newest sketches: http://www.wedealinlead.net/forum/index.php
"Then say a 'Hail Mary', because you're dead where you stand."

Offline GunClick Rick

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Re: One more. . . Bark on tough. . .
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2013, 07:35:58 pm »
Whats a sketch?
Bunch a ole scudders!

Offline Gibson

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Re: One more. . . Bark on tough. . .
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2013, 08:55:43 pm »
Whats a sketch?

sketch  (skch)
n.
1. A hasty or undetailed drawing or painting often made as a preliminary study.
2. A brief general account or presentation; an outline.
3.
a. A brief, light, or informal literary composition, such as an essay or a short story.
b. Music A brief composition, especially for the piano.
c. A short, often satirical scene or play in a revue or variety show; a skit.
4. Informal An amusing person.
v. sketched, sketch·ing, sketch·es
v.tr.
To make a sketch of; outline.
v.intr.
To make a sketch.

It's just my way of trying to let folks know that my little "write-ups" are informal and in the rough. Rife with typos and probably some errors here and there. "A brief general account; informal."
« Last Edit: February 10, 2013, 09:08:12 pm by Gibson »
"Then say a 'Hail Mary', because you're dead where you stand."

Offline GunClick Rick

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Re: One more. . . Bark on tough. . .
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2013, 09:19:37 pm »
OK,i went there signed up and was looking for drawings. I got it now. Rick Sontag :) ;)
Bunch a ole scudders!

Offline Gibson

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Re: One more. . . Bark on tough. . .
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2013, 09:07:01 pm »
Thanks for registering Mr. Sontag.

I hope many follow suit. Working on Lampasas Saloon Shootout (Jerry Scott's Saloon on Third Street), March 14, 1873, right now.
"Then say a 'Hail Mary', because you're dead where you stand."

Offline GunClick Rick

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Re: One more. . . Bark on tough. . .
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2013, 09:51:54 pm »
 ;D ;)
Bunch a ole scudders!

Offline Mavrikakis

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Re: One more. . . Bark on tough. . .
« Reply #11 on: December 26, 2019, 08:34:32 pm »
I have no idea if anyone is still following this or if Gibson is still around. I would like to talk to him but his last post was six years ago and any links to his website are broken.

I have been researching Milton Yarberry for at least four years now. I am one research trip away from hopefully begining the full writing process for a biography. Much that is stated here is incorrect, misleading, incomplete, speculation, and rumor. I am by no means saying anything negative about Gibson or his work here. There was very little information to go by. People simply began to tell and retell the same stories over and over again, but putting it in their own voice and spin. This realization of these oft repeated stories with no actual sources to back them up began to weigh heavily on my mind. In some cases to become frustrated and even angry. It is also what spurred on the next four years of my life and continues to this day.

I will not clear the air specifically here, but, a few known statements to be incorrect are his place of birth, that due to no known provenance of the photograph it cannot be accepted at this time to be Milton. He was not sitting in the front yard of any friend's house, and the place wasn't even connected to Frank Boyd. The only people we know for sure were killed by Milton were Brown and Campbell. The rest are all hearsay and rumor.

There are some good bits of information too. He most likely was John Armstrong and from Arkansas. He was born in 1849. He was very likely to have served with the Texas Rangers. Steamboat was real though probably not Mexican but of Spanish descent. She was actually well liked and respected.

Though a little too editorial I enjoy this piece. But I cannot leave it unsaid about many inaccuracies.

If anyone wishes to write or just read a piece on an historical character, you must dig deep and take things with a grain of salt. Especially in compilation books i.e. books that contain a handful of stories with each chapter on someone different. Do they actually supply sources? Or do they contain the phrases Sources Say, It is said/told, or perhaps gives a very specific event but doesn't go into detail of how they know and only that it happened.

History is an incredible thing which sparks a lot of passion in people. I wish that everyone who had the notion to study, would pick a specific person or event. Study and research it until you may become the preeminent authority on that subject. No more of this reading a few pages out of a few books and rewriting it for others. We should be able to trust those writers and historians who came before us to have done their due diligence and report the facts (hopefully in a compelling way). Unfortunately that may not be the case. Milton Yarberry is a good example of that.

"Even the very wise cannot see All ends."

 

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