Gunfight at Hide Park--Newton, Kansas
Newton's General Massacre
19 August 1871
Kansas Heritage thanks Mark Smith for
contributing this material.
Hugh Anderson ???? - 7/4/1873
Son of a wealthy Bell County, Texas, cattleman. Although from a
good family, Anderson ran with a rough crowd. He had helped Wes
Hardin run down Bideno, the Mexican who had killed Billy Cohron in
1871. In August 1871, he was in Newton working as a cow-boy.
During the gunfight, he was wounded in the thigh and leg. That
same day, a warrant was issued for his arrest for the murder of
McCluskie. He father and friends smuggled him aboard a Kansas City
bound train. He then moved back to Texas to recover from his
wounds. On July 4, 1873, he was killed by Arthur McCluskie (Mike
McCluskie's brother) in a particularly brutal dual where both
contestants emptied their guns into each other, then went after
each other with knives. Anderson was never brought to trial for
the murder of McCluskie.
William "Billy" Bailey ???? - 8/11/1871
Also known as "Bill Wilson" and "William Baylor".
Bailey was not present at the Hide Park Gunfight, but it was his
murder by McCluskie that started all the players down the road to
their bloody end. A tough man, it was said that Bailey had won at
least three other gunfights, killing at least two men. Along with
McCluskie, Bailey had been hired as a Special Policeman during the
Newton elections. A long running feud between Bailey and McCluskie
culminated with Bailey being shot in the chest and killed by
McCluskie on election day. Bailey's friends, the Texas cow-boys,
William "Billy" Garrett ???? - 8/20/1871
A cow-boy from Solado, Texas. He was shot in the shoulder and
chest by Jim Riley during the gunfight. He died several hours
Hickey ???? - ????
Either a shoveler or foreman for the Sante Fe Railroad. He and
some friends were innocent bystanders during the gunfight. He was
shot in the calf (reported as a flesh wound) by Jim Riley.
Henry Kearnes ???? - 8/27/1871
A cow-boy from Texas. He was shot in the chest by Jim Riley during
the gunfight. He died a week later.
Patrick Lee ???? - 8/22/1871
A brakeman for the Sante Fe Railroad. He and some friends were
innocent bystanders during the gunfight. He was shot in the
stomach by Jim Riley. He died two days later.
James "Jim" Martin ???? - 8/20/1871
Also known as "John Martin", "Happy Jim Martin", and "Good Natured
Martin". A cow-boy for Refugio, Texas, Martin was known and well
liked by both the Newtonians and the Texans. He was shot in the
neck by Jim Riley. His jugular severed, he stumbled out of the
saloon, across the field, and died on the steps of Krum's dance
hall. He died while attempting to stop the gunfight.
Mike McCluskie ???? - 8/20/1871
Also known as "Arthur Delaney" and "Art Donovan". A rough man by
anyone's standards. Earlier in the year, he had been charged with
garroting a man to death, but the charges were dismissed. An
Irishman from Ohio, he had been employed by the Sante Fe Railroad
as a Night Policeman. He was making a living in Newton as a
gambler. During the August elections, he was hired by the Newton
authorities as a Special Policeman to help keep order. During the
elections, he got into a fight with another Special Policeman,
Billy Bailey. By the time the day was over, McCluskie had killed
Bailey. It was the killing of Bailey, a Texan, that led to the
Hide Park Gunfight. McCluskie was shot in the neck and back by
Hugh Anderson during the gunfight. He died six hours later.
James "Jim" Riley 1853 - ????
Where he came from, or what happened to him after the gunfight is
unknown. Around Newton, he went unnoticed. 18 years-old and dying
of tuberculosis, he was called "McCluskie's Shadow". Apparently,
McCluskie had taken a liking to the boy, and made sure he didn't
starve. There are no records or remembrances of Riley ever being
in trouble. He was reported as wearing a pair of Colt's revolvers.
This would not be unusual during the time when caps-and-balls
pistols were notorious for misfiring. Most men who carried guns
during that period usually carried at least two, and sometimes
more. Probably the least experienced gunman in the gunfight, he
managed to turn what should have been a simple revenge killing into
a massacre. Riley killed four men (Garrett, Kearnes, Lee, Martin)
and wounded three men (Anderson, Hickey, Wilkerson).
He was not a gunfighter. His first shot killed one his friends who was
trying to break up the fight, and subsequent shots killed one
bystander and wounded another. He was obviously just firing in the
general direction of the men who had just killed his friend and
Perry Tuttle ???? - ????
Owner of Tuttle's Dance Hall, where the gunfight took place. He
was a witness to the shooting.
James "Jim" Wilkerson ???? - ????
Although from Kentucky, he rode with the Texas cow-boys. He was
shot in the nose and leg by Jim Riley during the gunfight. He
recovered from his wounds.
The Rest of the Story...the timeline for the Hide Park Gunfight
NEWTON'S GENERAL MASSACRE, or THE HIDE PARK GUNFIGHT
August 11, 1871 (Friday):
Mike McCluskie and Billy Bailey argue during the day. Later that
night, they meet at the Red Front Saloon. An argument and
fistfight ensue. Bailey is knocked out of the saloon and into the
street. McCluskie follows with gun drawn. He fires two shots at
Bailey. The first misses, and the second hits Bailey in the chest.
August 12, 1871 (Saturday):
Bailey dies from his wounds. Jim Riley warns McCluskie that
Bailey's friends (the Texas cow-boys) will be looking for revenge.
McCluskie takes the train to Florence.
August 19, 1871 (Saturday):
McCluskie returns to Newton via train. Jim Martin arrives in town
10:00 p.m. McCluskie goes to Tuttle's Dance Hall.
11:00 p.m. Martin goes to Tuttle's Dance Hall.
August 20, 1871 (Sunday):
1:00 a.m. Perry Tuttle attempts to close down the dance hall. The
customers refuse. Tuttle lets the band go home.
2:00 a.m. McCluskie is sitting at a faro table in the corner of
the dance hall.
Billy Garrett, Henry Kearnes, and Jim Wilkerson enter. They have
come for the sole purpose of killing McCluskie. Two stand by the
bar waiting for Hugh Anderson to arrive. One sits at the faro
table and talks with McCluskie.
Anderson enters, gun in hand. He walks directly to McCluskie and
yells, "You are a cowardly son-of-a-bitch! I will blow the top of
your head off!"
Jim Martin jumps up and tries to stop the fight.
Anderson shoots McCluskie in the neck, knocking him to the floor.
McCluskie half-rises, gun in hand, and attempts to shoot Anderson
in the chest. The pistol misfires (a painfully common experience
with caps-and-balls revolvers). Mortally wounded, he cannot
attempt a second shot. He falls face-down on the floor.
Anderson stands over McCluskie and fires another shot into his
Garrett, Kearns, and Wilkerson begin shooting their pistols.
Apparently, they were not shooting at anyone. They may have been
attempting to keep the crowd back (one of them may have shot
McCuskie in the leg).
(Note: At this point, there are some conflicting stories. Some
say that Riley turned and locked the door before he began shooting.
This story has two major problems: 1) It assumes that Perry Tuttle
always left the key in the door, and that Riley, who was not a
gunfighter, had the presence of mind, in the midst of all this
pandemoniom, to calmly turn and lock the door. Not likely.
2) Jim Martin was the first one shot. Hit in the jugular and
rapidly bleeding to death, he ran out of the door and feel dead.
An impossible feat if the door was locked).
Standing by the door, Riley pulls his pistols and begins shooting.
(Note: Riley is credited with waiting for the Texans to empty
their guns before he started shooting. This too is probably more
myth than truth. After three or four shots from the Texan's
blackpowder pistols, the poorly lit room would have been filled
with smoke, making it impossible to see who was shooting. It also
assumes a tremendous amount of concentration on Riley's part. That
is, it assumes that an eighteen year-old, who had never been in a
gunfight, could calmly count the shots coming from four different
guns. His first shot belies that coolness... he shot his friend.
The truth is, is that Riley very likely just pulled his guns and
started shooting in the general direction of the Texans).
Jim Martin is the first hit by Riley. He is shot in the neck. His
jugular is severed and he runs out of the saloon, across the filed,
and dies on the steps of Krum's dance hall.
Riley shoots six more people: Patrick Lee, Garrett, Hickey,
Anderson, Wilkerson and Kearnes.
- Anderson is hit in the thigh and leg. He survives his wounds.
- Garrett is hit in the shoulder and chest. he dies later in the
- Hickey is shot in the calf. He survives his wounds.
- Kearnes is shot in the chest. He dies on August 27th.
- Patrick Lee is shot in the stomach. He dies on August 22nd.
- Wilkerson is shot in the nose and leg. He survives his wounds.
His guns empty, Riley walks out of the dance hall and is never
heard from again.
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