From the Fort Smith Elevator, Friday, September 4, 1891, p. 2:
"Capt. Charley La Flore, of the Indian Police, last week closed up twenty-eight beer saloons in the Chickasaw country--fourteen in Ardmore, eight in Purcell, three at Paul's Valley, two in Wynnwood, and one in Barywn. He not only closed them up but seized all the goods and houses and placed the same in custody of U. S. officers. Hard cider joints are also being closed up."
That's interesting, makes me wonder what was going on as the joints selling uno beer, a brew that was supposedly one percent alcohol, was considered a legal enterprise. I also wonder why the Deputy U. S. Marshals, at least one of which was living at or near each of these locations, were not the instigators of the closure.
The uno liquor, one percent alcohol, may have been legal by federal law but illegal by Indian government law. Charles LeFlore represented the Union Agency Indian Agent in Muskogee as Captain of the Union Agency Indian Police. The U.S.I.P. upheld held all the law of the Five Civilized Tribes.
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What did Captain LaFlore do with all of the "goods and houses" that he seized from the fourteen saloons and cider joints that he closed in the Chickasaw Nation?
Maybe the "confiscated" fixtures, furnishings, and equipment went to stock some Indian Casino - somewhere down river!?! By the way, do they have an Indian Casino in Muskogee?
Closing three uno joints at Paul's Valley in the 1890's would have hardly dented the trade. Smokey Row was a street so named because of the perpetual layer of cigar smoke eminating from these bars. The street fronted the railroad and was lined with such joints, no one knows exactly how many, but certainly more than a dozen. It does not make sense that officers would single out only 3 pubs if the purpose was to shut the joints down. I'll have to do some checking, but my suspicion is that LaFlore was in town enforcing liscensure or tax laws as opposed to cleaning out saloons.
As to the probable fate of the fixtures, I believe Federal law, much like today, allowed officers to sell materials seized that were used in the commission of a crime. Another clue is that: Following the November, 1907 murder of City Marshal R. W. Cathy by Jim Stevenson, the town council voted to close the joints as they were seen as the real reason behind most of the violence in town. All saloon keepers were ordered to have all their product and fixtures at the railroad depot with a bill of lading for shipment out within 3 hours. Operator, John Stump, refused to fill out a bill of lading and a mob carried his stuff out into the middle of the street and burned it while the fire department watched.
I have a real early article out of the Enterprise in which Claude Weaver, pioneer resident of Pauls Valley, is quoted as saying that Paul Avenue was "Smokey Row", so referred to because of the many gunfights that occured on the street. He goes on to state that many feuds were settled on "Smokey Row", attested to by a graveyard, supposedly located somewhere nearby, with over 50 unmarked graves in it. Could this be true?
Also, I realize that it may be just a minor technicality; but, Jim Stevenson didn't actually "murder" Marshal Cathey. Oh, he "shot and killed" him for sure; however, the jury and the Courts acquitted Stevenson of "murder". So, technically, it aint murder. And, O.J. didn't "murder" Nicole, either. It's a great system we have, huh?!?
I really enjoy reading all of your reports about the Chickasaw Nation and, especially, your invaluable knowledge, that you've been willing to share with us, about Pauls Valley. In my opinion, you are "the" authority for that region. Please, keep up the good work!
Claude's version of the naming falls into the "romantic" category except that it has a basis in fact. Smokey Row was the scene of numerous gun battles involving weapons using black powder, which, as you know, do belch a lot of smoke. The old cemetary at Pauls Valley has a lot of graves marked by sand stone markers with the names of the interred erased by time and others that are unmarked. A possible clue to an unknown grave yard is Robert S. Flanagan's tale of three Mexicans killed in 1879 by a cowboy from the Williams outfit who were "buried in Dead Man's Hollow a mile or two west of the saloon." The saloon was about 2 miles (north?)of the Paul home. As to Stevenson, read it as you like. Even Moman Pruiett, after the fact, admitted that Jim shot Cathey because he didn't like law men and that the killing was not self defense. And, don't call me Mister or Sir, it's Mike, Tower, hey-you, or stupid; I answer to them all. And, I ain't no expert, just a seeker of truth like the rest of you, and I post this stuff cause I figure every little bit helps make a whole.
Without the "self-defense" plea, Moman Pruiett would have starved to death!
Pruiett even made notice, toward the end of his career as a criminal defense lawyer, that he was beginning to develop bursitis in his back and shoulder from demonstrating so many times to the juries how the "deceased" was reaching for his gun in his hip pocket just before Pruiett's client "blew him away"...naturally, in self-defense. The poor victim almost always had a pistol in his hip pocket, or belt, or somewhere on his person.
Besides the uno-joints, did other types of saloons exist in the Pauls Valley area? I believe I read somewhere that non-citizens in the Indian Territory could open up alcohol establishments in towns that were located on railroad lines for non-citizens only who worked or had some relationship to the railroad.
When the railroad came through, 1886-87, a tent city leap frogged down the line, staying just ahead of the end of the line. This mobile city of sin included saloons, brothels, and gaming houses, all, intended to seperate the railroad worker from his coin as quickly as possible. The crime wave caused by the track town is what caused the court to send Heck Thomas out as a full time, on the spot, deputy. In the valley, the tent city was located at White Bead Hill. Immediately, after the depot was established, Fred Waite opened a tent saloon on the tracks at the PV location using nail kegs and boards for benches, and bar. Heck closed this out pretty fast. The uno joints were in reality saloons, the 1% beer varied in alcohol content from 1 to 90 proof, depending on who made it and where the law was. Whiskey came in on the train and there were several stills in the area. Before the railroad came through, Sam Paul, in the 1870's had a saloon, first south of his plantation and then, a few years later, after he got busted, north of town. The saloons were equal opportunity, they'd sell to anyone.
Getting back to the original post: From the Fort Smith Elevator for December 27, 1889:
"Capt. Charley LeFlore of the Indian Police assisted by Dep. Marshall Heck Thomas raided the gambling dens of Ardmore on Monday last and burned to ashes all the tables, chips,cards, and other tools usually found in such places. The gamblers made no resistance."
I came across another little item on this raid. From the Territorial Topics 5/8/1890, "Capt. Charley LeFore, of the Indian Police, Deputy Marshals Heck Thomas and Cardell, who were arrested for breaking up a gambling den at Ardmore, were discharged last Friday, the (Paris, Texas) grand jury ignoring the bill against them.This message has been edited. Last edited by: Tower,
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