Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas night, St Louis, 1895.

114 years ago on this night, Henry Crump and Billy Lyons were at Curtis' Morgan Street bar in St Louis when Lee Shelton arrived around 10 o'clock and joined the two men standing in the barroom. It was a cold night and the rains that had flooded the rivers downstate had let up. Blanketed by clouds, the quarter moon was low on the western horizon.

Tom Scott and Frank Boyd were tending bar that night and the place was nearly full with a crowd of about twenty five men. A life size photo of Jake Kilrain and a framed woodcut of General Grant were hung side by side on the wall.

Shelton was thirty years old, Lyons a year older and both were regulars at the bar, dropping in just about every day. Barkeeper Scott had known "Stag" Shelton since he was a boy.
Some patrons said there was an argument and some said they were just playing, but Shelton drew a .44 Smith and Wesson. When Lyons reached for his knife, he was shot and killed.

This was one of eight violent assaults that Christmas night in the city of St Louis resulting in at least seven deaths. There are no songs about those other six or their murderers.

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