Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Baxter Stingley's Murder

shouted the headlines of the November 3, 1883 Salida Mail.

Five months after being shot by Thomas Neinmyer, Salida Marshal Baxter Stingley had recovered and was back on the job. He heard that Frank Reed and Ernest Christison were at the Arbour's Variety and Dance Hall. Stingley had an arrest warrant for both men for stealing cattle. Reed had told everyone he wasn't going to be arrested and lynched like Ed Watkins had been. So, when Baxter Stingley held his gun on Reed and said, "I have a warrant for your arrest," Reed pulled his gun out and shot Stingley. (Another report says Reed shot Stingley with Stingley's gun.) Reed ran for the back door with Stingley following him and both men were shooting. After Reed exited the back door, Stingley stopped and Mr. Arbour asked him if he was shot. Stingley said, "Yes, he has shot me three times." They laid him on a table, removed his boots which were filled with blood, and he died shortly after.

Frank Reed escaped and was never captured. Ernest Christison was arrested early the next morning and taken by train to the jail in Buena Vista.

Baxter Stingley's funeral was held at the Opera House. The funeral procession included the Knights of Pythias lodge and the fire company. Baxter Stingley's murder was also reported in the New York Times.

If you are related to any of the people mentioned in this post, please contact me at


Bill West said...

Hi Gayle,
I enjoyed both stories about Baxter Stingley. Isn't it fun finding
these stories that involve our ancestors in some way?


Gayle Gresham said...

Bill, I love the connections between people! For example, I knew Christison was arrested that night, but the picture became much clearer when I found the arrest warrant listing both Christison and Reed. In researching the book I'm writing, I've found so many connections between people that are lost when stories are pulled from the past without the context of the history.

Heidiwriter said...

Great story, Gayle! Keep up the good writing!

strongatm said...

My gg grandma, Mary Alice Stingley Barker, was Baxter's sister.Her daughter, Nina Barker Lange, was a concert pianist in KC and studied under Sir Carl Busch. Does Baxter have living relatives?

Gayle Gresham said...

As far as I know, Baxter wasn't married and didn't have any children. I have some information on his brother, Jesse, who also lived in Salida. He married Nettie Cameron and they had some children. Do you have more info on Jesse? Do you have any pictures of the Stingley family. Please e-mail me at Baxter Stingley plays a pretty big role in the book I am writing.

Alison Martin said...

Sorry it took me so long to write to you. my mom may have some pictures and more information about the family. her name is Judith Lee Jones Tharp, MD. email: She grew up in Leavenworth, KS and lives in Missouri. Tell her you are writing a book and she'll be right back with you!!!