Hysterical Journey to Historic Places

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February 2nd 2019
Published: February 2nd 2019
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Russian Bill Tautenbaum and Sandy King were outlaws who got themselves arrested by Dangerous Dan Tucker. Russian Bill was caught on a stolen horse, and Sandy King stole cattle. Deputy Sheriff Tucker lodged them for safe keeping in what passed for a jail in Shakespeare, and then took off after other outlaws. While he was gone the local miners quickly grew weary of feeding them and taking time off from their claims to guard them. The vigilance committee was called in to session and it was decided that it would be fun to just ahead and hang the outlaws, It was a cold day, and there weren't any trees around so they just strung them from the rafters in hotel dining room. That way they did not even have to stop drinking whiskey. This is their burial site. They did not deserve grave markers.

I am damned if I know what to make of Dangerous Dan Tucker. He seems to have appeared in New Mexico from nowhere, served his uses as a lawman, and then disappeared to nowhere. He first appears in New Mexico as the operator of a roadhouse at City of Rocks in Grant County, New Mexico. When he lost his lease on it in 1877 he moved on to Silver City, which was a far livelier community. City of Rocks would have been a convenient place for a man to hide out from the law if he thought the law was after him. Silver City would have been a convenient place for man to hide out from the law under an assumed identity if he could just go straight. Early records in Silver City suggest that his real name was David, not Dan. The 1880 federal census for Silver City shows a fellow named David Tucker residing there. The census indicates that he was born in Canada in 1849, and that both of his parents were born in Canada too, and that he was employed as a machinist. We have just his word on that census document that

The little ghost town of Shakespeare, New Mexico is privately owned and closed to visitors these days. The owners are rumored to be old as sin, and may be living in dissipation and penury themselves. The two story building in the background might be the hotel where Russian Bill and Sandy King were hung by vigilantes.
his last name was Tucker. It may well have been an alias. Perhaps he assumed the alias from a song popular in those times called “Old Dan Tucker”. In any event he took an appointment as Deputy Sheriff of Grant County from Sheriff Harvey Whitehill in 1877. What better way to hide from the law than to join it? Rumors suggest that he was raised in Indiana and that he had killed a man in a knife fight in Colorado before going to City of Rocks. The 1885 Territorial Census in New Mexico shows a fellow named D J Tucker as proprietor of a boarding house in Deming. It shows him as a married man having been born in 1843. If he was married it was most likely a marriage of convenience in which either party could leave it without the formality of a divorce. There is also a marriage license on file in the State of Indiana showing that D J Tucker had entered into matrimony on July 27, 1876. Could he have gone to City of Rocks in order to hide from a wife, or her brothers? There are several instances of a man named David Tucker in

City of Rocks is a state park these days. When Dangerous Dan operated the roadhouse there one of the attractions was a hot spring nearby.
the ancestry.com files and a few of them were born in 1849 or in 1850 in Canada. There is one immigration record dated 1850 showing a woman named Mary Tucker entering the country at Chicago with a child named David. They entered the country on a visitor visa and could have gone off to Indiana from there. They do not, however, appear in the 1860 or the 1870 census for Indiana, perhaps because they were living illegally in this country. He was rumored to have passed away at the Patton Hospital in San Bernardino in 1896. The Patton Hospital was a county facility for the insane and inebriate. He may have died there in dissipation and penury. If such was his sad end he left the world without notice. Whatever his actual name was; what is known about Dangerous Dan Tucker is that he was highly regarded among the citizens that he served, and that he was a fearless and intrepid officer of the law. Before he retired due to failing health in 1888, eight miscreants went out in a blaze of glory before his guns, and he was shot himself four times. He finished four others by legal hanging.

One day Dangerous Dan and a pal of his took an excursion out to the east of Deming. They encountered a sassy group of Apaches out there and got chased by them to Zuni Siding on the railroad. There were a few freight cars parked there and Dangerous Dan and his pal took cover beneath them and behind the wheels. The Apaches decided that the risk of taking their scalps was too high that day and left them alone, but they did steal the horses. It was a long walk back to town from Zuni Siding.
There are some cases where he returned to town with stolen livestock covered in blood but no prisoners. His bullet wounds, of course, had something to do with his health problems, but he was also known to pull a cork from time to time, and to consort with lewd women. Either activity is liable to lead to dissipation.


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