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Johnny Behind the Deuce Story: Tombstone Tips Issue #29
August 04, 2019

Insider Info Newsletter

August 2019


~ ~ Johnny Behind the Deuce

~ ~ July Events/Insider Update Review

~ ~ The Latest at Tombstone Travel Tips


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Johnny: Mike Rourke [sic] - Front Page News
From the Arizona Weekly Citizen
Sat., Jan. 22, 1881 - Page 1

#1 - News Reports Brings Johnny-Behind-the-Deuce Enduring Fame!

~ ~ Jan. 15, 1881 edition of "The Citizen" of Tucson Arizona headline: ANOTHER MURDER

~ ~ Called P. Rourke there. He shot popular mining Engineer P. Schneider in a Charleston saloon. The official version was given & then the version by a reporter interview of "Rourke."

~ ~ As seems a common error in newspapers of the day, names are inaccurate. The shooter's true name was Mike O'Rourke. He was nicknamed "Johnny-Behind-the-Deuce" - his favorite Faro bet was on the 2-card. The news article called him a "petty gambler." He was only 18 years old. Even California newspapers carried this story.

From the Oakland Tribune - Sat., Jan. 15, 1881 - Pg. 3
Oakland, California

#2 - Official Version Telegraphed to Tucson 1/15/1881

~ ~ Very early morning, just after midnight, Engineer P. Schneider had dinner at the hotel, when he & Johnny "had a few words." Johnny went out, got a gun, returned & said he'd "fix him when he came out." He re-emphasized that again & went out, waiting by the corral.

~ ~ Schneider finished eating, then exited. He saw Johnny, who pointed his revolver. Schneider said "...let me alone. I...wasn't even talking to you at the table." Johnny stepped forward & fired a head shot. It killed Schneider straight away.

~ ~ Johnny ran toward the San Pedro River, but Constable McKelvey got him. Constable Bell got a spring wagon & a shot-gun rider. The 3 of them transported Johnny-Behind-the-Deuce to Tombstone.

The Spring Wagon Was Similar to This

Or It May Have Been More Like A Buckboard - Like This

#3 - Johnny's Version

~ ~ He said he worked as a miner & barely knew Schneider. Johnny was in the restaurant, had lunch, a few beers & went over by the fireplace. He heard Schneider say sarcastically "It must be cold." When Johnny replied affirmatively, Schneider said "I ain't talking to you." Johnny came back: "You're a little too smart, anyhow." He started for the doorway, but Schneider followed.

~ ~ Johnny felt Schneider was about to hit him, but he cursed at Johnny. Then Bob Petty restrained Schneider. Johnny said Schneider should go outside to fight, in respect of the ladies in the restaurant. Johnny went out & started walking away. He turned & saw Schneider was following.

~ ~ Johnny turned & retorted: stop the insults! Schneider again said it wasn't directed at him. Johnny said OK, & Schneider replied, getting more & more mad: what if it was? And he kept getting closer.

~ ~ Johnny said he then could see a knife's handle in his hand. Schneider continued pushing at him, & Johnny panicked & pulled the trigger. He "ran a little ways....I didn't hardly know what I was doing, I guess."

2nd Part of Arizona Weekly Citizen Page 1 Story
Sat., Jan. 22, 1881

#4 - Over To Tombstone

~ ~ In Johnny's interview he noticed after he shot Schneider that "all the men rushed over from the mill and there was a terrible excitement." The news article mentioned a few times that Schneider was well liked & respected in Charleston.

~ ~ These men followed the Constables taking O'Rourke to Tombstone. They almost overtook them, but managed to get to town. He was secured in Jim Vogan's Saloon with a guard. The mob followed & wanted immediate justice on their own terms.

~ ~ Marshal Sippy took charge, with the help of his deputies. Afterwards Johnny-Behind-the-Deuce was taken to Benson, protected by a posse of armed guards that included Sheriff John Behan. There put on a train to Tucson for imprisonment, awaiting trial.

~ ~ CONTROVERSY: Who defended the prisoner from the lynch-mob? Many, including stories from himself - want you to believe it was Wyatt Earp. Even single-handedly. Wouldn't it seem the accounts of the time would be most accurate? None mention Wyatt. Only years later are these memories jogged - Hmmm??

~ ~ ~ ~ The descriptions do mention "deputies, themselves gambling men, to help" - from Parson's 1881 diary. Likely speaking of yes - the Earps, possibly including Wyatt, & Doc Holliday. But no specific documentation in 1881 can place Wyatt or Doc in Tombstone on 1/14/1881. So it's just conjecture. Virgil is specifically mentioned in accounts.

~ ~ ~ ~ Now Wyatt may very well have been among those protecting Johnny-Behind-the-Deuce from a lynch-mob. But exceedingly unlikely that he was the starring hero of the day. Just one of the deputies involved in the team action.

3rd Section of Arizona Weekly Citizen Front Page Story
Sat., Jan. 22, 1881

#5 - Trial - Prison - Then What?

~ ~ O'Rourke was remanded to Pima County Jail without bail on Jan. 15 - under Cochise County jurisdiction. The jail in Tombstone was under construction, where Johnny would be transferred eventually. The preliminary hearing brought 10 witnesses. Justice Neugass charged him with murder on February 1, 1881.

~ ~ Johnny wasn't looking forward to the April trial. He took matters into his own hands. Believing in his own innocence - his plea of self-defense, he made an escape. April 18, 1881 during a prison yard respite before bedtime, he got over the 16 ft. wall.

~ ~ In early a.m., Sheriff Shibell, with three Papago Indian (Tohono O'Odham Nation) scouts set out to find him. They didn't, & many theories try to figure what happened to him. Once more he was sighted, then never again. It was even said he might be the one to have Killed Johnny Ringo? Highly doubtful!

~ ~ For a really good discussion of Johnny-Behind-the-Deuce, well researched, watch for Roy B. Young's soft-cover book: "Johnny-Behind-the-Deuce" Guilty Until Proven Innocent. If you can find it, well worth it! Sometimes available, sometimes not. Keep watching - keep a look-out.

Johnny-Behind-the-Deuce: His Favorite Faro Play

~ ~ There are often historical remembrance events that make one want to know what were the true facts for people who roamed Tombstone & the Old West. What was their true story? And what happened to them - do we even know?

~ ~ And we enjoy sharing what we find with you.

We hope we'll see you in town sometime, seeing areas where they spent time - back in the 1800s.

Let us know if you'll be going to an upcoming event! Tell us how you liked any of them, or what you visited here! Just reply to this newsletter for easy input! (Let us know if we can use your comments - & how to credit you.)



~ ~ No Event days are scheduled for July.

~ ~ But of course, Independence Day - the 4th of July is a special holiday celebration here!

~ ~ ~ ~ Families enjoyed the event sponsored by Tombstone Forward in the City Park. Tombstone Art Gallery quilters had patriotic quilts on display. They were donated to the Tucson VA. From 8 am to 5 pm there were lots of fun things to do!

~ ~ ~ ~ Then about 7:45 pm the fireworks began. Sent up from Medigovich Field, by the high school, we can see them alright from our back deck. It was a nice show. People did complain they started them too early last year - about 7 pm. So this year's later start was good. But myself, still think it was a little too light out. Maybe 8pm would be better? Any local comments?


~ ~ We took a trip again! Well, it was a local trip. We were celebrating our 51st wedding anniversary & thought we'd check out our most local resort: The Tombstone Monument Guest Ranch.

~ ~ 1ST - Getting There - It's not very far - about 2 miles west of Tombstone's uptown. For us, it took about 15 or 20 minutes to drive there. It's the same way you'd go to get to the Schieffelin Monument.

Gravel/Dirt Road Much of the Way

~ ~ We checked in & were assigned to the "Grand Hotel." All the rooms have a specific Old West - and even more specifically 1882 Tombstone theme. We had reserved on-line with the "App" that we've been using: We always recommend it, since we're finding the best deals with it. Used it all thru our trip "Down Under." We did get a great deal - booked for 3 nights.

Our Room at The (Tombstone Monument) Grand Hotel

~ ~ 3RD - Bed & Breakfast Option - That's What We Chose

~ ~ Breakfast was included in the room price, each day - so 3 breakfasts. Buffet style. On Saturday, outdoors: Chuckwagon style.

~ ~ Another option is to go All Inclusive.

Cooking Up a Chuckwagon Breakfast

~ ~ 4TH - All Inclusive Option - Asked About It

~ ~ When we got the room, didn't realize this was available. So asked more details.

~ ~ The desk clerk (1 of a few we encountered) said it included all meals & horseback riding. That was per day.

~ ~ Their website says it also includes ranch activities. I don't see that it limits your rides, as there's more than 1 scheduled per day.

~ ~ The only items you pay extra for on this plan are riding lessons, the shooting activity, or outside trips - such as to the Dragoon Mountains.

Heading Out of Town - The Trail Ride

~ ~ 5TH - Trail Rides - Took One!

Wranglers take you on a guided ride. There are many options - but unless you can plead your case, your 1st ride must be the slow ride. On your schedule reservation form they ask your riding experience level.

~ ~ We used to have horses - looong time ago! We've ridden, certainly - but the last time was about 7 years ago. And we're getting old(er)! So we didn't mind the slow ride starter.

~ ~ 9 a.m. we headed out, South of the Ranch, through Tombstone Hills areas. Roamed about an hour. Really enjoyable. We considered going again - but didn't! On the B & B plan, it was $25 each.

My Horse Was Poquito
(His Head's Right in Front of Me!)

Bill on His Horse, Pablo
Another Ranch Wrangler Follows

~ ~ 6TH - Food & Entertainment
- All Good!
We were there to review it all - so we ate breakfast, lunch & dinner - Phew! Everything was delicious, for sure. Prices for lunch & dinner were very reasonable.

Bill Sitting at Their Beautifully Styled Bar

~ ~ Also consider if you order alcohol from the bar, that is an extra charge - B&B or All-Inclusive. And you don't have to tip, as a 15% service charge is included in all pricing - except for the bartender.

~ ~ Friday, Saturday & Sunday evenings - there is live music in the bar. A great time!

~ ~ If you want - we'll tell you even more about our experience on this terrific place to stay:


The Music on Saturday Night is Toe-Tappin'!
Good Job Bert!

~ ~ 7TH - Gunfighter Hall of Fame Museum - Visited here quite a while back.

~ ~ But not lately. It's a terrific museum. Highly recommend you go there, if possible. A question to us from a website visitor with a concern spurred another look over there.

~ ~ The thing is - when is it open? Seems like you could go there on several occasions & it won't be open. There aren't any hours posted. This day when we stopped, it was open - & the owner was there. So we spoke with him.

~ ~ He said he doesn't have employees, it's open when he gets there. That can be 7 days/week, from morning til 5 pm. But if he has to get something done: an appt., family emergency, to town for supplies, etc. - then he won't be there while taking care of those things. That's why he doesn't post hours.

~ ~ Therefore when you're in town & want to see this museum, it can be hit or miss. He says he can't help it - he has to run it this way. If you luck out - it's an $8 entry fee. A lot of worthwhile things to see, though.

The Gunfighter Hall of Fame Museum
Open Today in Tombstone Arizona!


~ ~ For a Chance to Win The Grand Prize - or One of the Category's First or Second Prizes

~ ~ Three Categories for Judging: On the Ranch, The Old Wild West Town, or Cowboys and/or Cowgirls

~ ~ Submit your maximum 800 X 600 pixel photo on our Submission Page, with a title and a nice description. Be sure to follow all the contest rules.

~ ~ Get it done before the deadline! That's midnight Arizona time (Mountain Standard Time), October 6, 2019.

~ ~ Just to let you know - Forewarn you: We'll send a contest reminder email twice about the contest in between our regular Tombstone Tips newsletter. If you have no intentions of entering (But think about it! You may get that great photo in the meantime!) - just delete the reminders!


And To Enter Our Photo Contest - Click Here>


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Until Next Month,

Karen & Bill McGowan
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