Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Baxter Stingley, Salida Marshal

Watch That Saved Baxter Stingley's Life

On Memorial Day of 1883, Marshal Stingley and his deputy, James Brathurst, went to Bender's Saloon where a fight had broken out. As they tried to arrest Tom Evans, he lunged at Marshal Stingley with a knife. Both Stingley and Brathurst shot at Evans and he was killed. Then Thomas Neinmyer (or Ninemyer), one of the brawl participants, began to shoot as he left the building. He shot and killed Deputy Brathurst and Gannon (a bystander). He also shot Baxter Stingley, who survived with a punctured lung.

Neinmyer left on horseback and a group of men pursued him. Neinmyer shot and killed one of the men following him, W.H. Brown. Eventually the group, led by William Goring, overtook Neinmyer and captured him. Neinmyer was arrested and taken to the Buena Vista jail.

It took several months for Baxter Stingley to recover from his wound. J.S. Boon was appointed temporary Marshal with Eli Chenoweth as his deputy.

While Stingley recovered, he asked Henry Weber to visit him. During the visit, Stingley showed Weber the double-case silver watch that Weber had loaned him and that Stingley had been carrying when he was shot. According to Weber, "A bullet had struck it, and had crashed thru to the last case, which it dented badly. Stingley was carrying the watch in his vest pocket so it was very evident that it had saved his life." (Chaffee County CWA Writers Project p. 10)

Today the shattered watch is on display at the Salida Museum.

Notes: This story is found in Salida: The Early Years by Eleanor Fry; Under The Angel of Shavano by George G. Everett and Dr. Wendell F. Hutchinson.

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