Episode 1—Hartle’s Corners:
She would have been famous, as much a part of Old West lore as Wild Bill Hickok, Wyatt Earp or Annie Oakley. She would have been famous, the first, and maybe only, woman city marshal, but for the fact that, well…perhaps I should tell you her story, Gentle Reader, and you’ll understand why, in the chronicles and legend of the old west she is not mentioned, even as a footnote.
The Missouri town of Hartle’s Corners had been ravaged by Union & Confederate raiders, as had much of Missouri during the War, most of the young men either dead, or away fighting with either side’s raiders, the town being split between secessionists and unionists, and the most recent town marshal now dead three months. The job of city marshal had been posted, and no one seemed interested, for good reason….the job had proven to be a dead end for all incumbents.
When this tall, slim woman of ribald humor offered her services, the surviving town fathers were skeptical, and the womenfolk horrified. They needed somebody, and she was the only one with the courage to apply.
Within a month of her hire, she had managed, through the selective use of her brace of Confederate Navy Colt 44’s and her glib tongue, to enforce an uneasy, yet welcome, calm in the little town. Those few who couldn’t be talked out of a fight, learned of her skill with a horsewhip or to their fatal dismay, the speed and accuracy of her gun-handling.
Adelbert Samuel Simpson had avoided the carnage of the border wars mostly because he and his followers had catered to both sides with great success. Simpson learned of the new city marshal, and although he didn’t much care to kill a woman, he was certain she would be a threat to his operation if allowed to survive.
Simpson knew better than to confront the marshal, it just wasn’t his style. Instead he watched and waited. After a week or two, he had a plan. It appeared that she was unpredictable in her rounds, never making them in the same order: checking the doors of the various shops, stopping by the saloon, or simply the time spent at her office. One could never be certain where she would be at any time….except…
To Be Continued….
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