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Paiute Girls, c. 1866


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Account published in The New York Times / December 8, 1887

DURANGO, Mexico, Dec. 7. -- The story of a desperate mining claim feud that culminated in the death of two well-known citizens of the United States reached here to-day. The scene of the affair was the hacienda of Otinapa, some 35 miles north of here, owned principally by C. A. Lebold, a banker of Abilene, Kan. Eight miles north of the Otinapa house is situated on Otinapa lands the hacienda Rio Verde, which is the headquarters of the Durango Mining Company of St. Louis, Mo., in charge of Dr. Sidney S. Eady.

J. M. Bagget, who was manager and part owner of the Otinapa hacienda, has sought by every means outside of the courts to obtain perfect possession of the Rio Verde property, and endeavored to drive away all parties whether owners or not. In order to obtain and hold possession Mr. Bagget recently made a transferable lease to two parties, Holder and Wadsworth, (the former a ranchero and the latter a regular employee of Mr. Bagget in his saw mill,) and Holder took possession as far as he could do so.

Immediately after having executed this lease Mr. Bagget conceived the idea that it was a dangerous document, as either party could sell his share, and the party to whomsoever it was sold could take and hold the property as against Bagget, so he endeavored to obtain its surrender. It is said that Wadsworth tendered his lease for the sum of $1,000.

Dr. Eady, hearing of the condition of affairs, left Durango on the 19th inst. for Rio Verde, one object of his visit, at least, being the purchase of the rights of one or both of the leaseholders. On Sunday, Nov. 20, (transactions here on Sunday being legal,) he purchased Wadsworth's leasehold and his cattle, and had the same duly transferred. Holder, it appears, had already sold or promised his right to Mr. Bagget.

The following morning Dr. Eady and Mr. Baldwin of Council bluffs, Iowa, who had accompanied him from Durango, started for Durango, to reach which city they were obliged to pass the Otinapa house, and when in front of it they saw Mr. Bagget and Holder come out of the house and toward them. Upon reaching the carriage he saluted its occupants and requested Eady to come to the house and have the paper signed. Eady replied that as Bagget had a duplicate duly signed further signature was unnecessary so far as he (Eady) was concerned. Bagget again made the same demand and received the same reply. Then he demanded that Eady give up the paper to him, which Eady declined to do. Bagget then stepped back two paces from the carriage, saying:

"Eady, I'm going to kill you."

Mr. Baldwin said, "Don't shoot! the doctor will arrange matters satisfactorily."

Bagget paid no attention to the remonstrance, but fired twice, shooting Eady through the arm and body. Then standing over him, pistol in hand, he said: "Eady, I want those papers." Realizing that further refusal meant instant death, Eady motioned to Baldwin to take the papers from his pocket and give them to Bagget. The latter then mounted and rode to Durango, and said he would be heard from in the United States.

While Eady was lying mortally wounded on the ground one of his assistants named Bradley rode up, and, hearing what had occurred, started in pursuit of Bagget. He reached here half an hour after Bagget's arrival and asked the Mayor and police to effect the arrest. Bagget, it appears, went direct to the bank and drew out a considerable sum of money, and mounted his horse to depart, when he was confronted by the police. He forcibly resisted the efforts to arrest him and fired several shots at the police.

Freeing himself, he fled upon his tired horse, seeking a hiding place in a high hill situated in the western part of the city. By this time the cavalry had been called out to pursue him, and Bagget, finding his horse too tired to serve him longer, jumped to his feet and took to the hill.

He was armed with a Winchester rifle and Colt's revolver and kept up a constant fire upon his pursuers. Every effort was made to take him alive, but unsuccessfully. He became somewhat disabled by some shots, and two policemen succeeded in closing in upon him, and although he wounded both of them he was captured, but not before he had received his death wounds.

He was borne to the hospital, but died before reaching it. Dr. Eady died the same night. Mr. Bagget came here from Texas, where he has many relatives residing, and where he was highly connected. He enjoyed the reputation of being a man of his word and responsible in all business engagements. Dr. Eady comes from a highly respectable family, residing at Chertsey, England. He was of pleasing address, smooth and plausible in conversation, but was regarded by many as not over-scrupulous as to the particular methods or arguments employed to accomplish his ends. The newspaper fraternity will remember him as the Associated Press representative at El Paso, Texas, some three years ago.



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