No sooner had the command arrived in Denver than A. A. Neiland and Charles Pearson hurried on through Denver not waiting for their discharge papers, and went down to their homes on Henderson’s Bar, fifteen miles from Denver. Here they left their horses and returned to Denver for their discharge papers. They were immediately arrested as deserters and put in jail.

When Alston Shaw got into Denver with the horses, one of Neiland’s friends went to him and told him of Neiland’s and Pearson’s trouble and ending by saying, “They will be tried as deserters and suffer the penalty.” “O, I guess not,” said Shaw and walked away.

Lieutenant Sully was on guard at the jail and was suddenly surprised by a gruff voice, “What have you got those fellows in there for?”
“I don’t know as it is any of your business.”
“I will make it my business,” and Shaw started away in search of some of their comrades.

Soon afterwards Sully was disturbed by a command to let the prisoners out. He hesitated but just for a moment; he saw a battering ram in the hands of eight men and heard a voice saying, “If you don’t let ’em out we will knock the door in.” Sully decided the easiest way out of the difficulty was to unlock the door and let Neiland and Pearson out, which he did and nothing was ever heard about the deserters.

The soldiers who had not gotten a horse out of the bunch had been told by Shaw to go get one. But for some reason Bill Youle would not go ask for one nor take one when the other volunteers did.

During the night after getting into Denver, four horses were stolen from the Elephant corral. Shaw placed a guard over the remaining ones and went to look for the others.

He traveled several miles before finding any trace of them. He finally came onto their tracks and after following them a short distance he saw the four horses and two men going up the opposite bank of the gulch. Shaw drew his revolver and ordered them to throw up their hands, which they did. As Shaw drew nearer he recognized one of the men, “Why, Bill,” he said, “you foolish fellow; you didn’t need to steal those horses, you know you had them coming to you. I followed because I thought someone might have them that had no business with them. Just keep them and go on; I won’t interfere.” Youle did as bidden and Shaw turned back to Denver.

The army Commander at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, ignored Evans’ proclamation and sent a Mr. Smith out to Denver to take charge of the Indian horses. Upon his arrival in Denver he was sent down to the Elephant corral and told to speak to the Deputy, Shaw, about it. Shaw was just coming out of the gate when a stranger stepped up to him, “Your name is Shaw, I believe.”

“Guess you are right.”
“You have held out some of those horses for yourself, haven’t you?”
“Yes, sir, two of them, down in the barn on Fifteenth street.”
“Well, Shaw, I will have to take them as I have orders from headquarters to gather up all the Indian horses and take charge of them.”

So saying Smith started in the direction of the barn but Shaw stopped him by saying, “Smith, if you put a hand on either of those horses, I will shoot you so full of holes that you won’t hold corn husks.”

Instead of going to the barn, Smith went to Auctioneer Clark and asked, “What kind of a fellow is that Shaw?’

“Straight as a string, afraid of nothing, protects his own interest or anyone else who is being run over; stands for whatever he thinks right, stubborn as a mule and always keeps his word.”

Smith then told Clark the threat Shaw made and asked his opinion.

“Well,” said Clark, “If he said that, my advice is to let him alone, for he always makes good his promise.”

Smith wanting to get even for being so baffled on his errand, watched for an opportunity to get revenge.

While he was talking to Clark, Shaw had a soldier to go run the horses down to Neiland’s place.

Smith was wandering around in the barn and noticed an old government saddle among Shaw’s things. He immediately went and swore out a warrant for Shaw’s arrest, charging him of having government property in his possession. The case was taken to U. S. Marshal Joe Davis, who readily saw into the scheme and knew it was just a case of revenge, but coming from an officer from headquarters, Davis had to go through with it even if he believed Shaw was all right. So he put Shaw under eleven thousand dollar bonds and knew while he was doing it that neither Shaw nor his sixteen bondsmen had six bits of their own. What difference did it make, it was only a farce. Smith went back to Fort Leavenworth without any horses, and nothing more was heard of the eleven thousand dollar bond or the sixteen bondsmen.

Some of the Pioneers of Colorado


Source: True History of some of the Pioneers of Colorado, by Miss Luella Shaw, Press of Carson Harper Co, Denver, Colorado, 1909