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Player Handout: Bat Masterson

Bat Masterson

William Barclay "Bat" Masterson was born in 1856. He became a buffalo hunter as a young man, and first distinguished himself by taking part in the Battle of Adobe Walls, in which nineteen buffalo hunters were attacked by a hundred furious warriors of the Coyote Confederation. Afterward, he became an army scout in Sweetwater, Texas. He claimed that his teacher in the art of gunplay had been none other than "Wild" Bill Hickok.

Mr. Masterson gained the nickname of "Bat" because of an incident in Texas. A fight broke out over the matter of Mr. Masterson asking a girl to dance -- a girl who happened to already have a jealous boyfriend in the form of one Sergeant Kind. A gunfight ensued, which resulted in Kind being shot through the heart, and Masterson being shot in the leg, fracturing the bone. Thereafter, Masterson walked with a limp and with the assistance of a cane -- one that he would frequently use as a club when he served as a peace officer in Dodge City, under the authority of Wyatt Earp. Thus, the name "Bat" stuck with him.

In 1875, Bat Masterson was elected sheriff of Ford County, at the age of 22. Eventually, he followed Wyatt Earp to Tombstone, Arizona, where he helped out with Earp's new business venture, the Oriental Saloon. Eventually, however, Bat went into business for himself, starting up a gambling house of his own in Trinidad, Colorado.

He was offered a position as a Confederate Marshal in Arizona, but declined, instead becoming a U.S. Marshal in New York State. He eventually quit this job, becoming a sports writer at the New York Morning Telegraph, showing up at all the top fights, and a frequent celebrity seen at the Big White Way of Broadway. Eventually, he fell ill in 1921, and passed on at the age of 65.

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