Tag Archives: Mexican War

LUCKY BILL THORINGTON: GAMBLER/ GUNSLINGER

Lucky Bill ThorntonThe Frontierado holiday is this Friday, August 5th! As we all count down to it like little kids excitedly awaiting Santa Claus here’s another look at legends surrounding another neglected figure of the American west.  ** Special thanks to Jay Thorington, a descendant of Lucky Bill, for the correct spelling of the last name ** 

LUCKY BILL – William B. Thorington was the real-life inspiration for Bret Harte’s fictional gambler Jack Hamlin. Lucky Bill was born sometime in the 1820s in New York and after serving in the Mounted Rifles during the Mexican War of 1846-1848 had wandered as far as Michigan when word of the discovery of gold in California hit in 1849.

Thorington traveled west with one of the countless wagon trains, putting his Monte-playing skills and his con artist tricks to good use along the way. By the time the wagon train reached California, Lucky Bill had supposedly acquired a large amount of cash and valuables from his traveling companions. Periodic clashes enroute with the Pawnee and other tribes helped hone Lucky Bill’s gunmanship.

Sacramento 1849

************** Sacramento in 1849, when it was inhabited exclusively by cartoon figures. Later they would move south and establish Toon Town.

Rather than spend his time prospecting for gold Bill settled in to fleece prospectors and other gamblers at the Monte table or with his skill at the Shell Game. Eventually, after winning many pots and losing a few others Lucky Bill settled in Sacramento, already with a trail of dead bodies in his wake courtesy of his Colt Walker pistol. Thorington played his game and his cons out of casinos like Jimmie Lee’s Stinking Tent, Mansion House, The Humboldt, New Orleans West and The Diana. He even spent time working The Empire – run by Andrew Butler – the brother of future Civil War General Benjamin Butler. Continue reading

Advertisements

19 Comments

Filed under FRONTIERADO

DONIPHAN’S THOUSAND FOR MEMORIAL DAY

Doniphan

William Doniphan, sporting the Hungover Christopher Walken look.

For Memorial Day Weekend here’s a look at a needlessly neglected U.S. military unit.

DONIPHAN’S THOUSAND

Conflict: Mexican War

Comment: This unit of the American Army was named for its leader, Alexander William Doniphan, who had served in his native Missouri’s Mormon War of 1838. Though Doniphan led troops against the Mormon forces he was instrumental in sparing the life of the Mormon leader Joseph Smith, whom his men had captured.

In the Mexican War Doniphan led his eponymous “Thousand” in the longest geographical campaign since the days of Alexander the Great. Doniphan’s Thousand was with General Kearney when he took Santa Fe and in December they defeated  Mexican forces at El Brazitos on Christmas Day. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Neglected History

TOP FOUR FORGOTTEN CONFLICTS IN AMERICAN HISTORY

With the Memorial Day holiday weekend coming up what could be more appropriate than to examine a few of the forgotten conflicts from America’s past? The soldiers who fell in those wars are no less dead just because they served in actions that are neglected in the history books and/or were never formally declared by Congress. (details, details)

And in keeping with my blog’s overall theme I won’t be bringing any of that weak Korean War, World War One or War of 1812 crap. When Balladeer says forgotten I mean forgotten with a capital (or at least italicized) “F”. As forgotten as The Montefuscos and Hizzoner. As forgotten as a Polish memoir or a promise from a presidential candidate.

4. THE FORGOTTEN YEAR OF THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR (1781 – 1782) – My fellow Revolutionary War geeks and I are forever rolling our eyes at documentaries that act like Cornwallis’ surrender at Yorktown marked the end of that conflict. True, it was the last MAJOR battle of the war, but there were 13 more months of open bloodshed and another year after that before the peace treaty was signed. 

October 1781 to November 1782 saw General “Mad” Anthony Wayne’s campaign to fully recover Georgia from British Loyalists and Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Neglected History

THE TOP FOUR FORGOTTEN CONFLICTS IN AMERICAN HISTORY

With the Memorial Day holiday weekend coming up what could be more appropriate than to examine a few of the forgotten conflicts from America’s past? The soldiers who fell in those wars are no less dead just because they served in actions that are neglected in the history books and/or were never formally declared by Congress. (details, details)

And in keeping with my blog’s overall theme I won’t be bringing any of that weak Korean War, World War One or War of 1812 crap. When Balladeer says forgotten I mean forgotten with a capital (or at least italicized) “F”. As forgotten as The Montefuscos and Hizzoner. As forgotten as a Polish memoir or a promise from a presidential candidate.

4. THE FORGOTTEN YEAR OF THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR (1781 – 1782) – My fellow Revolutionary War geeks and I are forever rolling our eyes at documentaries that act like Cornwallis’ surrender at Yorktown marked the end of that conflict. True, it was the last MAJOR battle of the war, but there were 13 more months of open bloodshed and another year after that before the peace treaty was signed. 

October 1781 to November 1782 saw General “Mad” Anthony Wayne’s campaign to fully recover Georgia from British Loyalists and Continue reading

87 Comments

Filed under Revolutionary War

THE TOP FOUR FORGOTTEN CONFLICTS IN AMERICAN HISTORY

Happy Memorial Day from Balladeer’s Blog! What could be more appropriate on this holiday weekend than to examine a few of the forgotten conflicts from America’s past? The soldiers who fell in those wars are no less dead just because they served in actions that are neglected in the history books and/or were never formally declared by Congress. (details, details)

And in keeping with my blog’s overall theme I won’t be bringing any of that weak Korean War, World War One or War of 1812 crap. When Balladeer says forgotten I mean forgotten with a capital (or at least italicized) “F”. As forgotten as The Montefuscos and Hizzoner. As forgotten as a Polish memoir or a promise from a presidential candidate.

4. THE FORGOTTEN YEAR OF THE REVOLUTIONARY WAR (1781 – 1782) – My fellow Revolutionary War geeks and I are forever rolling our eyes at documentaries that act like Cornwallis’ surrender at Yorktown marked the end of that conflict. True, it was the last MAJOR battle of the war, but there were 13 more months of open bloodshed and another year after that before the peace treaty was signed. 

October 1781 to November 1782 saw General “Mad” Anthony Wayne’s campaign to fully recover Georgia from British Loyalists and Continue reading

47 Comments

Filed under Revolutionary War