Monday, June 3, 2013

Family Stories: "The Trouble Grew Out of a Game of Poker"

When a history of the county states, "The trouble grew out of a game of poker the two men were playing just before the shooting," you aren't surprised that the next thing you find is a tombstone stating, "Died Aug. 6, 1877, Aged 27 yrs., 1 mo. & 12 days."

No, this isn't that Lindsey-Brooks part of my family about which I blogged several days ago. This saloon shooting involved a young man related to me through a James family that moved from Pennsylvania to Maryland, and, in the case of this particular branch of that family, from there to Kentucky, Missouri, and on to California, where this saloon shooting took place. 

American history is, at one level, a history about trouble over poker games and shots exchanged in the streets in response to insults, isn't it? As much as it's about the ineluctable movement of families from east to west, the search for new land and freer conditions, and the tragic dispossession of the native peoples that attended that search, as well as the exploitation of those reduced to servitude to bolster the wealth of property owners . . . .

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