From Grant County News May 02, 1889
The law is not vindicated yet. Not until the brutal murder of John Bronkee is avenged, will
the people of Grant county feel that the hand of justice has dealt in accordance with the
eternal fitness of all things.
And now the report comes that 12 human skeletons have been found in the swamps of Harney county. Of course many people will be
ready to believe that they are the remains of "settlers murdered by wealthy stockmen".
The grand jury that is to be drawn today will be confronted with the Sullivan case, and when furnished
with a copy of the testimony of the defendant, and when taking all things into consideration their finding can
be nothing different from the verdict of the coroner's jury-murder in the first degree.
The "Harney Press" of 4/25th -- and its information must have been conveyed by slow
freight -- says: "THE GRANT COUNTY NEWS" says at an early hour Monday forenoon, a man known as Peter Sullivan
came into town and surrendered himself to the authorities, saying that he "had killed Broncho Bill at his cabin
on Pine Creek." Now, we propose to say that the NEWS never uttered such a sentence as the above; never said anything about
"Broncho Bill". There has not been a man by that name in Grant County since our recollection. Because every third man
you meet in Harney county is sailing under the cognomen of "Buccaroo Jim", Scarface Charley", "One-Fingered Tabby",
"Wild Bill" etc., it is no reason that the residents of Grant county should be falsely accused of carrying
unlawful names, or that the name of THE GRANT COUNTY NEWS should be taken in vain. The man killed was John Bronkee, as stated
in the NEWS, and not "Broncho Bill" as the Harney paper had it.
In digging the grave for McGinnis, Tom Reynolds dug too close and run into the coffin of Cain who was hanged here in 1865, for the
murder of a man named Watson, the particulars of which were related to the NEWS man by residents of the city who were present at that time:
Cain had worked for Watson in a claim above town for a while and had quit and gone to work in a
claim of his own. Watson could not pay him his wages in gold, in full at the time he quit, but promised to square up as soon as he
could, and told Cain that he would borrow the money and pay him in greenbacks, which were at that time
1864 - worth only a few cents on the dollar. Cain told him if he "greenbacked" him, he intended to kill him.
Cain sued Watson and obtained judgment. Watson, through his attorney, settled with Cain in greenbacks, and Cain immediately
hunted up Watson and shot him dead. Cain was tried and executed by due process of law. Tom Reynolds buried him 24 years ago, and also buried
McGinnis last Friday.
... Thus the two executed murderers lie side by side, and Pete Sullivan in due time will make the third.
©1998 Roxann Gess Smith
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