Tag Archives: John L Smith

WHISPERING SMITH: NEGLECTED GUNSLINGER

Frontierado is Friday, August 5th! 

whispering smith

Whispering Smith

WHISPERING SMITH – James L Smith, aka Whispering Smith, led an action-filled life that bore little resemblance to the squeaky clean image of the man depicted in the movie, radio and television series based on his law enforcement career. Smith was a relentless lawman whom I often describe as “the Dirty Harry of the Old West.”

Whispering Smith was born in 1838 and by 1860 was making a living as a riverboat gambler up and down the Mississippi, where he acquired his famous nickname. He had his first gunfight in the form of a duel with a gambler named Larry Boyle on the Belle of Memphis. When the Civil War broke out James joined the Union Army, as did other future gunfighters like Wild Bill Hickok, Bear River Tom, Long-Haired Jim Courtright and others.

After the war he next surfaced in New Orleans, LA, as part of the city’s Metropolitan Police Force in 1868. By 1873 Smith had made detective and married his sweetheart Anna Mannion. Continue reading

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