Tag Archives: neglected gunslingers

SAM SIXKILLER: NEGLECTED GUNSLINGER

People who experienced their very first Frontierado with Balladeer’s Blog this year agreed it was a warm and beautiful experience they’ll remember for a lifetime. Anyway, to meet the demand for more Frontierado items til next year here’s one last neglected Wild West figure. 

Sam Sixkiller

Sam Sixkiller

1. SAM SIXKILLER – Not only does this  gunslinger have a name that screams out for cinematic treatment (or at least a cable television series) but he also saw more action than many western figures who are better known. Born in 1842 Sam Sixkiller was a Cherokee lawman in Oklahoma back when it was still being called Indian Territory and had not yet been opened up for white settlement. The unique setting of life in Indian Territory and the way it served as a microcosm of issues that the nation at large was dealing with after the Civil War adds layers of depth to Marshal Sixkiller’s tale that I find incredibly intriguing. 

After starting out in the Confederate Army, in 1863 Sam enlisted in the Union Army as the Civil War raged and saw action in Arkansas and Indian Territory. Because many Native Americans owned slaves (black and mixed-race) as their tribes had for centuries the Indian Territory was as split in terms of support for the Union and Confederacy as were badly-divided states like Missouri. Between conventional battles and Bushwacker raids the Territory was reduced to a wasteland in many areas by the  end of the war. In May 1865 Sam was discharged and returned to his wife Fannie to attend to their farm.

Following the Civil War the slaves in Indian Territory were declared Freedmen like the slaves in the late Confederacy, and as citizens of Indian Territory those Freedmen were in theory entitled to some of the money that was still being paid to the tribes in the Territory and to land. In reality the Five Civilized Tribes who called Indian Territory home were resentful of their former slaves’ new status and often used violence to drive out the freed slaves, even burning down their homes in many cases.

Outlaw bands would ride in to loot and pillage in the Territory then flee outside its borders to escape prosecution. In addition bootlegging and rustling were rampant and construction of railroads through Indian Territory brought new crimes. Throw in the usual inter-tribe conflicts that still surfaced and the Territory was a very dangerous place at the time. Continue reading

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SALLY SKULL: NEGLECTED GUNSLINGER

Frontierado is Friday, August 5th! 

Sally SkullSALLY SKULL – Sara Jane Newman, the future Sally Skull, was born in Illinois in 1817. In 1823 her family moved to Fayette County in Texas, which was then part of the area that Mexico had seized from Native Americans. 

Like all the other ranch families in the area, whether from Mexico or the U.S., Sally and her family lived a rough life managing their land and surviving periodic assaults from the American Indians in the area. Sally killed her first man – an attacking Indian, when she was 11, using a rifle. At age 12 Sally was proficient with all firearms and provided plenty of food for the family table by hunting. 

In 1831 Sally’s father died and she began running the ranch for her grieving mother, even registering her father’s old brand in her own name. 1833 saw the 16 year old married to a Texas Ranger named Jess Robinson and settled in Gonzalez, TX, still part of Mexico.   

Over the next 10 years, as Texans rebelled against the tyrannical Mexican government and broke away to form their own Republic, Sally and Jess had 2 children who survived – a son and daughter. In 1843 the couple divorced and 11 days later Sally married a gunsmith named George Skull (or Scull), whose last name she would keep throughout all her future marriages.  Continue reading

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