62 Facts About Bat Masterson


Bartholemew William Barclay "Bat" Masterson was a US Army scout, lawman, professional gambler, and journalist known for his exploits in the 19th and early 20th-century American Old West.

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Bat Masterson was born to a working-class Irish family in Quebec, but he moved to the Western frontier as a young man and quickly distinguished himself as a buffalo hunter, civilian scout, and Indian fighter on the Great Plains.

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Bat Masterson later earned fame as a gunfighter and sheriff in Dodge City, Kansas, during which time he was involved in several notable shootouts.

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Bat Masterson took an interest in prizefighting and became a leading authority on the sport, attending almost every important match and title fight in the United States from the 1880s until his death in 1921.

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Bat Masterson moved to New York City in 1902 and spent the rest of his life there as a reporter and columnist for The Morning Telegraph.

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Bat Masterson's column covered boxing and other sports, and it frequently gave his opinions on crime, war, politics, and other topics, as well.

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Bat Masterson became a close friend of President Theodore Roosevelt and was one of the "White House Gunfighters" who received federal appointments from Roosevelt, along with Pat Garrett and Ben Daniels.

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Bat Masterson is remembered today for his connection to many of the Wild West's most iconic people, places, and events, and his life and likeness are frequently depicted in American popular culture.

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Bat Masterson was born on November 26,1853, at Henryville, Quebec, in the Eastern Townships of what was then known as Canada East.

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Bat Masterson was the second child of Thomas Bat Masterson, who was born in Canada to an Irish family, and Catherine McGurk, who was born in Ireland.

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The other six Masterson children were Edward John, James Patrick, Nellie E, Thomas, George Henry, and Emma Anna "Minnie".

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Bat Masterson was engaged in buffalo hunting on June 27,1874, when he became an involuntary participant in one of the Wild West's most celebrated Indian fights: a five-day siege by several hundred Comanche, Kiowa and Cheyenne warriors led by Quanah Parker at a collection of ramshackle buildings in the Texas panhandle known as Adobe Walls.

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Bat Masterson was one of only 28 hunters who defended the outpost during the attack.

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Bat Masterson was attacked by a soldier, Corporal Melvin A King allegedly because he was with a woman named Mollie Brennan.

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Bat Masterson was grabbed by friends of Deger and pistol-whipped by the lawman.

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On November 6,1877, Bat Masterson was elected county sheriff of Ford County, Kansas, by the narrow margin of three votes.

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On February 1,1878, Sheriff Bat Masterson captured the notorious outlaws Dave Rudabaugh and Ed West, who were wanted for an attempted train robbery.

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The tandem law enforcement effort came to an abrupt end when 25-year-old City Marshal Ed Bat Masterson was shot and killed in the line of duty on April 9,1878.

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However, the rediscovery of two court cases in which Bat Masterson testified under oath that he had shot both men adds credence to the idea that Bat had avenged his brother.

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The end of Bat Masterson's involvement came on June 12,1879, when he surrendered a roundhouse his men were holding at Canon City, Colorado.

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Not long after this census was taken, Bat Masterson received a telegram from Ben Thompson asking Bat to save Ben's troublesome brother, Billy Thompson, from almost certain lynching in Ogallala, Nebraska.

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Bat Masterson took Billy Thompson out of Ogallala by a midnight train bound for North Platte, Nebraska.

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In North Platte, Masterson was provided with assistance by William F "Buffalo Bill" Cody, who promptly offered to help.

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Bat Masterson says Nebraska is dry and many people are leaving the state.

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Bat Masterson came by wagon, and was accompanied by 'Texas Billy' Thompson.

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Bat Masterson spent the remainder of 1880 in Kansas City and Dodge.

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Earp, Short, and Bat Masterson worked as faro dealers, or "look outs", at Tombstone's Oriental Saloon.

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Bat Masterson had only been in Tombstone for two months when he received an urgent telegram that compelled him to return to Dodge City.

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Bat Masterson arrived in Dodge City on April 16,1881, where he accosted Updegraff and Peacock.

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Bat Masterson became more widely known as a gunfighter as a result of a practical joke played on a gullible newspaper reporter in August 1881.

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Cockrell then regaled the reporter with the story of Ed Masterson's death and how Bat responded fearlessly and heroically against his brother's killers.

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Bat Masterson was appointed city marshal of Trinidad, Colorado, on April 17,1882.

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Bat Masterson had hardly settled into his $75-a-month marshal's job when Wyatt Earp requested his help to prevent the extradition of Doc Holliday from Colorado to Arizona.

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Bat Masterson was back in Dodge City on November 1,1884, where he issued a small newspaper called Vox Populi which was devoted to local political issues.

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Bat Masterson finally left Dodge City and made Denver, Colorado, his center of interest, where he soon became involved in a divorce scandal.

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Bat Masterson dealt faro for "Big Ed" Chase at the Arcade gambling house.

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Bat Masterson's biographer has raised the possibility that they were married on November 21,1893, two weeks after Emma's divorce from Edwin Moulton.

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Bat Masterson maintained an interest in prizefighting and other sports, and was known as a frequent attendee at boxing matches across the country.

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Bat Masterson frequently placed bets on the fights and occasionally served in an official capacity as a second or a timekeeper.

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Bat Masterson knew—and was known by—the heavyweight champions of the era, from John L Sullivan and James J "Gentleman Jim" Corbett to Jack Johnson and Jack Dempsey.

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The sports-minded Masterson was ringside during the John L Sullivan – Jake Kilrain heavyweight championship fight at Richburg, Mississippi, on July 8,1889.

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Bat Masterson was the designated timekeeper for Kilrain and came under fire from some sources for how he handled his role.

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In early 1892 Bat Masterson moved to the silver boom-town of Creede, Colorado where he managed the Denver Exchange gambling club until the town was destroyed by fire on June 5,1892.

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Bat Masterson moved to New York City in 1895 to briefly serve as a bodyguard for millionaire George Gould.

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Bat Masterson received favorable media coverage from a Denver newspaper called George's Weekly, where he was employed as sports editor.

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In September 1900, Bat Masterson sold his interest in the Olympic Athletic Club and made another visit to New York City.

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Bat Masterson had decided to settle in New York City, but had a sudden change of heart and returned to Denver, with humiliating results.

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Bat Masterson's story was that an irate woman belted him with an umbrella on May 2,1902, when she took exception to an "undesirable" such as Bat Masterson trying to cast his ballot at a local election.

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An alternate version states that Bat Masterson had become a dangerous drunk who was run out of Denver for being a public nuisance.

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The next day, Masterson was having his shoes shined at a public stand when police swooped in and arrested a West Coast gambler named James A Sullivan, who was standing nearby.

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Lewis encouraged Bat Masterson to write a series of sketches about his adventures, which were published by Lewis in Human Life magazine.

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In 1907, Bat Masterson provided five biographical studies of Ben Thompson, Wyatt Earp, Luke Short, Doc Holliday and Bill Tilghman.

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Bat Masterson explained to his audience what he felt were the best properties of a gunfighter.

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Bat Masterson provided only one more article, on Buffalo Bill Cody, which was his final Human Life contribution.

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Concurrent to his career as a newspaper writer, Bat Masterson served as the timekeeper for many prize fights, most notably for the Jack Johnson – Jess Willard title fight in Havana, Cuba, on April 5,1915.

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Later that day, in the official film of the fight, Bat Masterson can be seen as one of the seconds for Jess Willard, climbing through the ropes just prior to the fight.

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On July 2,1921, Bat Masterson attended his last heavyweight championship fight, the so-called "Million Dollar Gate", promoted by George "Tex" Rickard, in which Jack Dempsey defended his title of heavyweight champion of the world.

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Mr Bat Masterson was sitting in that same chair eighteen days later when he heard the last call.

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On October 25,1921, at age 67, Bat Masterson died at his desk from a massive heart attack after writing what became his final column for the Morning Telegraph.

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Bat Masterson was always stretching out his hand to some down-and-outer.

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Bat Masterson had a great sense of humor and a marvelous fund of reminiscence, and was one of the most entertaining companions we have ever known.

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Bat Masterson's life has been portrayed in countless works of fiction and non-fiction in film, television, literature, and other popular media.

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