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Huntsville Independent (AL)
Huntsville Independent (AL)
Contributed by klstacy_home

Description: A Cowboy Episode - Fatal Fighting with Forty-Five's

Date: January 28 1886

Newspaper published in: Huntsville, AL

Source: Madison County, AL Library

Page/Column: Page 1, Column 8

Fatal Fighting at Arms’ Length with
Forty-Five Caliber Revolvers
Las Vegas Gazette: Sam Thompson of Liberty has brought in the first news of a fatal shooting affray at Montruelto Plaza Ranch, New Mexico, last Saturday evening. The trouble occurred at a wedding dance. There is a pool camp at that point, and all the boys were in attendance at the wedding festivities. The daughter of Anastasia Martino had just been wedded to Francisca de Baca. The ceremony was performed about 7 o'clock in the evening and dancing began immediately afterward. The second set was on the floor when John Brophy and William Johnson left the house, and, meeting outside, had some words about a disagreement that had existed between them for some time. Brophy had charge of the camp, and Johnson, it seems, had heard that Brophy had said that Johnson “did not go by his right name." Johnson wanted Brophy to "take back" the remark. The dispute waxed warm, and a comrade named Tom Harris came out and tried to make peace.
Finally the disputants agreed to leave the question to Harris and Charles Thompson to settle. Harris went into the house to get Thompson, and while he was gone the dispute grew warmer, and both; men pulled their revolvers. As Harris came out Brophy and Johnson were facing each other but a few feet apart. Harris grabbed both pistols, turned the muzzles down, and stood between the two angry men for nearly half an hour, or until his hands became so benumbed that he could stand it no longer. In vain he begged the men to put up their weapons. But his efforts were futile. Johnson demanded. "Let us loose and let us settle it." At last Harris pushed the muzzles of the revolvers down as far as he could and jumped back. Instantly two reports rang out in the night air. Brophy's shot took effect in Johnson's chest, about two inches below the collar bone, passed through the body and came out below the right shoulder blade. Johnson's first shot hit Brophy's watch, and did no further damage than to smash that timekeeper. Brophy then started to run. Johnson fired the second time, the ball entering the small of Brophy's back and dropping down where a probe could not reach it.
Brophy fell as soon as Johnson's second shot took effect, but Johnson coolly walked into the house, put on his overcoat, and started off. Brophy was carried into the house and Johnson was not found until nearly an hour afterward. He had walked down to the corral in order to get his horse and had fainted from loss of blood. He was carried back to the house. A doctor was summoned and examined the wounds.
As they were made with forty-five caliber weapons scarcely more than arm's length away, the wounds, and especially that of Johnson, were ghastly and terrific. The physician said Johnson was liable to die at any moment, and that Brophy could not live to exceed 10 days.
Both the wounded men are Texans and well known in the territory. All their acquaintances speak of them as "might good boys." Johnson, as was shown by his conduct after the shooting, was a remarkably gritty fellow. Both men are single.
After the wounded men had been made as comfortable as possible, it was found that there were no more grudges to settle, and, as everybody present felt kindly disposed toward everybody else, the fears of the ladies were quieted, and the interrupted dance proceeded as though nothing had happened.

Submitted: 05/22/19

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