The first day he was permitted out by his physician, he hunted up Bob Linn, who had been the ringleader of the attack against him. Linn was found at supper in Spring Street and almost brained with a vinegar cruet.
And the following morning Allen lent a hand with the Sand boys,
all Poole followers in an attempt at revenge against a crusty mail-agent named Peck. The
sand boys were in the habit of loading their carts from the hills of sand left by the sloops and schooners before daybreak each morning. There was so little room between the dock and the railroad-track that the carts would be backed up against the sand piles and the forelegs of the horses would be on the tracks. Peck was in the habit of speeding down in the mail-car without warning and smashing over carts and horses. The mail-car was stoned this morning and in response to pistol-shots from the car window by Peck. Allen procured an ancient blunderbuss loaded with nails, which was possessed by one of the sand-schooner captains, and blazed away at the
Bill Poole met death on the night of February 24, 1855. Poole did not like Maguire, for some reason or other, and invited everybody to have a drink with the exception of Maguire. Mark resented this and said if he was as big as Poole he would show him what he thought of him.
Poole took a bread-knife from behind the counter and tossed it to Maguire with the remark that the two were now equal, as he was unarmed, and he exposed his pockets in proof of this claim. Chris Hogan, of the detective force, came between the two to smooth out the trouble. At this
in juncture the door opened and in came Morrissey with several of his friends.
Morrissey immediately walked over to Poole and began pouring out a torrent of abuse to which Bill responded by stripping off his coat. Morrissey tore off his collar and ejaculated a remark, that while pointless, was equivalent on his part to saying that he was primed to do bodily injury. "I'm John Brown, the Button Man," he said. There was an attempt by Hogan and
some of the onlookers to prevent the fight, which only enraged Morrissey more than ever, and drawing his revolver he snapped it three times at his enemy's head, but the gun missed fire. Some accounts have it that Poole then drew a pistol and would have fired at "Old Smoke" only that Maguire asked him reproachfully if he would kill a helpless man in cold blood. The truth is, Poole was unarmed and the coolness of the unarmed man only made Morrissey wilder than ever and he hurled his own pistol to the floor and begged some one to loan him another.
Then the police, led by Captain Charles Turnbull, arrived and Morrissey was placed under arrest, while Poole and Allen escaped by the back way into Mercer Street. Poole and the rest of them went back to Stanwix Hall. They stayed there drinking and talking until some time after midnight. The saloon was supposed to be closed and the curtains were all down. Poole had just announced that it was time for him to go home when the front door opened.
The Morrissey Thugs arrive as Poole was leaving. Bloodshed was inevitable. In walked Lew Baker, "Paugene" McLaughlin, Dad Cunningham and several others of the Morrissey bunch. Among the party was Jim Turner, who had just come back from California, having been run out of San Francisco by the Vigilantes. "Paugene" was the last to enter, and as he came in he turned
the key in the lock and made the door fast. Every soul present knew there was to be bloodshed. Poole leaned coolly against the bar and watched "Paugene" drop the door key into his pocket. "Paugene" returned the glare and asked:
"What are you looking at, you black-muzzled bastard?"
"At you," was the reply. "Well, you're looking at a better man than yourself when you take a look into the glass. So you're the American fighter? Why, Morrissey can lick you on sight."
As he said this "Paugene" leaped at Poole, seized him by the lapel of his coat and spat in Bill's face. At the same time there was a general drawing of revolvers among McLaughlin's followers. Poole calmly shook his insulter off and offered to bet $500. that he could lick any of the party fairly and he drew five golden eagles and slapped them on the bar. Turner, who had been fidgeting about nervously, yelled:
The Moment of Bloodshed
"Oh, hell! Let's sail in." And with that he pulled aside his heavy cloak and drawing a
long-barreled "tar anta" pistol of the type then in use by the Mexicans and the miners, leveled it over his arm at Poole. As he pulled the trigger some one jostled him and the ball ploughed through his own arm.
That was the signal for a general fusillade, and also for a general scamper. Unable to get out, those who had no stomach for the deadly sport took refuge behind counters and stools. One chap, George Deagle, actually walked into a pier mirror, supposing it in his terror to be an open door. One of the shots had taken effect in Poole's leg. He clinched "Paugene" and as they struggled toward the door another bullet hit Bill in the shoulder and he dropped across the door, which some one had forced open by now.
Lew Baker made a rush for the prostrate man, bounded upon him, and with his knee pressing into Bill's chest and before his friends could get to him, he placed the pistol against Poole's body and fired twice. One bullet lodged in the heart and the other in the abdomen. There was scarcely a second's interval between the two reports.
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