Gunslinger Biography William Barclay Bat Masterson Part 2

About the famous gunslinger William Barclay Bat Masterson, history and biography, famous fights, favorite weapons, and how he died.



In Denver, he managed Ed Chase's gambling palace and theater. There, in 1891, he met and married Emma Walters. He continued to ply his trades of lawman and gambler. He also took a fling at prizefight promotion, but he lost his shirt.

Masterson moved to New York City in 1902, and Pres. Theodore Roosevelt gave him the job of U.S. marshal for the southern district of New York. For a while he was satisfied, but then he gave up the post to become sports editor for the Morning Telegraph. There he remained until his death on Oct. 25, 1921.

Favorite Weapon: His early choice was Colt's 1873 Frontier Model with a 7 1/2-in. barrel and ivory handles. Later he chose Colt's Peacemaker with a 4 3/4-in. barrel and pearl handles. Both were nickel-plated .45s.

Speed on the Draw: Masterson was unbeaten. As sheriff of Ford County he practiced his art-which he called "sweetening his guns"-in public. His speed and showmanship did much to discourage the lawless element.

Victims: Although he has been credited with 30 to 40 gunfights and killings, records indicate that Bat Masterson killed only two white men, both in self-defense--Sgt. Melvin King in 1876 and Jack Wagner in 1878.

Leading Fight: Probably the most important gunfights of Bat Masterson's career were the ones he didn't have. His exaggerated and unearned reputation for dealing out death with his guns preceded him wherever he went, from Dodge City through the boom towns of the West. Men stayed out of his way--and Masterson stayed alive.

Earnings: As a buffalo hunter, $100 a day. As a gambler, considerably more. As a lawman, occasionally as much as $1,000 a month. As a journalist, just a living.

How Died: One New York newspaper wrote: "He died at his desk gripping his pen with the tenacity with which he formerly clung to his six-shooter." His last written words: "There are many in this old world of ours who hold that things break about even for all of us. I have observed, for example, that we all us. I have observed, for example, that we all get about the same amount of ice. The rich get it in the summertime and the poor get it in winter."

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