The Story of Cole Younger – 24 “Captain Dykes”

gunbeltThe winter that the amnesty bill was before the Missouri legislature I spent in Florida, with the exception of a short trip to Cuba. I was the greater part of the time at Lake City. I sent Bob to school at William and Mary college, but the same proud spirit that caused him to leave Dallas in 1872 impelled him to leave college when his fellow students began to connect his uncommon name with that of the notorious Missouri outlaw, Cole Younger. He rejoined me in Florida. I was “Mr. Dykes,” a sojourner from the north, and while I carried a pair of pistols in my belt to guard against the appearance of any of Judy’s ilk, the people of Lake City never knew it until one day when the village was threatened with a race riot.

A lot of the blacks there had been members of a negro regiment and all had arms. My barber was of a different school of darkies, and the Lake City blacks determined to run him out of town. He told me of the plan, and I did not take much stock in it until one morning when I was being shaved I heard the plotters, over a bottle of whisky in an adjoining room, declaring what they were going to do. Soon after I left the shop I heard a pistol shot, and turning around to see what was the matter, I saw my barber running toward me, while the other darkies were scattering to their homes for their guns. I walked up the street a little distance with the barber, when some one called to me, and I saw that the lieutenant of this old company had us covered by his gun. I ran up to him and planting my pistol between his eyes, commanded him to drop the gun, which the barber got in a jiffy. The pistol shot in the shop had alarmed the merchants, each of whom kept a gun in his store, and thereafter as the blacks came to the rallying place in the public square with their guns we disarmed them quicker than it takes to tell it, and they were locked up to cool off.

After that I was dubbed “Capt.” Dykes, by unanimous consent, and had to be more careful than before lest the military title should attract to me the attention of some curious investigator who would have overlooked entirely “Mr. Dykes.”

The disguised outlaw became during the remainder of his residence a leading and respected citizen. When the election was held it was“Capt. Dykes” who was called upon to preserve order at the polls, he, of course, having no interest as between the rival candidates, and with pistols in easy reach he maintained perfect order during one of the most exciting elections Lake City had ever had.

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