ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel
  • »
  • Education and Science»
  • History & Archaeology»
  • History of the Americas

Gunfight at Hyde Park

Updated on September 2, 2015

What began as a difference of opinion over local politics in the Red Front Saloon of Newton, Kansas, boiled over to become perhaps the biggest gunfight in Wild West history. The date was August 11, 1871 and incidents of that day would lead to a battle which would later become known as the Hyde Park Gunfight. It would be a day the town wouldn’t soon forget.

Although it never became as famous as shootouts like the one at the OK Corral, maybe it should have since there was more blood spilled and lives lost.

Ironically, the two who started the incident were local peace officers, Mike McCluskie and Billy Bailey. Both had been hired to keep the peace during upcoming elections. McCluskie was an Irishman from Ohio with a quick temper and Bailey, who had came from Texas on a cattle drive, didn’t like McCluskie from the moment the two met.

Citizens of Newton rarely saw the two together when they weren’t arguing over something. August 11th was no different. The two quarrelsome men were in the Red Front Saloon when once again they became embroiled in a heated dispute and ham handed McCluskie’s Irish temper flared.

Old West Faro Game

He swung at Bailey and connected with a powerful blow which knocked him out into the street. As Bailey was picking himself up out of the dust, he saw McCluskie had followed him out and had drawn his pistol. Still dazed, Bailey wasn’t quick enough to draw his own gun before he was struck twice in the chest. Bailey died the next day and McCluskie left town fearing he would be arrested.

However, he returned shortly afterwards claiming he had killed Bailey in self defense. He said he had feared for his life since Bailey was a known gunslinger who had already killed two men in several other gunfights. The authorities bought the defense and McCluskie remained in town. That would shortly prove to be a big mistake. Bailey had friends in Texas and when they heard about what had happened they vowed to avenge his death.

Had McCluskie known, he probably never would have gone into Tuttle's Dance Hall located in an area of town called Hyde Park on the evening of August 19th. He and a friend, a Texas cowboy named Jim martin, had planned a quiet evening playing Faro. The two sat down at the table of another friend, 18 year old James Riley.

It was after midnight when three of Bailey’s friends, Billy Garrett, Henry Kearnes and Jim Wilkerson strode in and took up a position to watch McCluskie and waited. Garrett was a gunfighter who had already put two notches on his pistol grip. Not long after another Texan, Hugh Anderson, entered. Anderson spotted McCluskie and wasted no time getting directly down to business. He walked straight up to McCluskie and hollered "You are a cowardly son-of-a-bitch! I will blow the top of your head off!"

Without another word he drew his gun and shot the dumfounded McCluskie in the neck. Wounded, McCluskie drew and tried to fire. However, his pistol misfired and as he slumped to the floor Anderson finished the job by shooting him in the back several more times.

When the gunplay began the other three Texans also began shooting as Riley had leapt to his feet, pulled his revolvers and started wildly spraying lead. Gun smoke made it hard to see who he was shooting at but surprisingly he hit seven men before his guns were empty. It was surprising because Riley had never been in a gun fight before.

In the meantime peaceful patrons in the establishment had toppled tables and chairs as they hastily dove for cover, but not before Riley hit two Santa Fe Railroad employees. One was shot in the abdomen and died several days later, the other was wounded in the thigh but made a full recovery. Perhaps that’s why Riley later disappeared and was never heard from again.

Martin was shot through the neck and he staggered out across the dusty street where he died on the steps of Krum's Dance Hall. Garrett, was shot in the shoulder and chest and died a few hours later. Kearnes was mortally wounded. Wilkerson and Anderson were also injured. Wilkerson was shot in the leg and nose while Anderson took two bullets in one of his legs.

Shortly after, a warrant for Anderson’s arrest was issued, but somehow he managed to board a train bound for Kansas City and escaped justice. He eventually made his way back to Texas but was never brought to trial for murdering McCluskie.

One would think that would’ve put an end to the issue, but it didn’t. Mike McCluskie’s brother, Arthur, had gotten wind of what had happened in Newton and was outraged at Anderson. Arthur was bound and determined to kill Anderson no matter how long it took.

Anderson was safe as long as he was hiding in Texas, but then he made the mistake of returning to Kansas in 1873. When Arthur found out he tracked his quarry down in Medicine Lodge where Anderson was working as a bartender at Harding's Trading Post.

On the 4th of July Arthur challenged Anderson to a dual giving him a choice of guns or knives. Anderson chose guns and came out to confront his opponent. Standing face to face both men drew and pumped bullets into each other until their chambers were empty. Amazingly both were still standing. They then went at each other with knives until both lay dead in the dirt.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • JY3502 profile image
      Author

      John Young 6 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

      An even better idea would be to not go in one to start with.

    • WesternHistory profile image

      WesternHistory 6 years ago from California

      Another interesting post Thanks. There seems to have been many people who unfortunately returned to the area where their misdeeds originally took place. Probably not a good idea. It's been said that Wild Bill Hickok was shot dead in Deadwood by someone seeking revenge for the supposed killing of his brother by Hickok. Don't think that was ever proven however it was probably good advice to say away from armed people in old west saloons and also a good idea to sit facing the door.

    • profile image

      femmeflashpoint 6 years ago

      John,

      I never make threats, lol.

      femme

    • JY3502 profile image
      Author

      John Young 6 years ago from Florence, South Carolina

      Femme, Is that a threat? LOL

    • profile image

      femmeflashpoint 6 years ago

      Wow! What a mess!

      I understand why people feel they must seek revenge. Not saying it's a good thing, but I understand it. I don't understand though, why they draw innocent people into the situation who had nothing to do with what's upset them in the first place.

      I'm not pro gun control, but I AM pro slective aiming.

      femme

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: "https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr"

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)