ATM Update: Hunnewell, KS

A reader asked me to share more about the wild town of Hunnewell, Kansas, in the Jan/Feb 2006 issue. I told her about an 1884 gunfight in which drovers Oscar Halsell and Clem Barefoot shot it out against lawmen Ed Scotten and Ham Raynor.

John Licht of Denver, Colorado, has shared with me a 1937 book, Cowboys and Cattlelands, written by Oscar’s brother, Harry, which details the gunfight.

The book states the trouble between Raynor and Halsell started over a woman (didn’t it usually?).  Raynor had fallen in love with a beautiful, dark-haired woman of the evening (she was no Sunday school teacher or would ever lead a prayer meeting, Harry writes) who dropped him for Halsell. Raynor wired Scotten in El Paso, Texas, about a bad desperado in Hunnewell and how he needed help apprehending him. Scotten rode up to assist his friend.

Halsell and some cowboys were in the parlor of a bordello drinking and partying when Raynor and Scotten walked in. An argument ensued, and the lawmen and two drovers took their fight outside into an alley where shooting broke out. When the smoke cleared, Scotten was mortally wounded with a bullet in his neck, and Raynor had five wounds. Halsell and Barefoot left town and parted company.

A murder warrant was sworn out for the drovers, and the governor of Kansas offered a reward for the pair, dead or alive. Oscar asked his brother Harry to travel to Hunnewell and arrange for his surrender. After that was accomplished, Oscar, accompanied by two friends, rode into Hunnewell and surrendered. He was tried and acquitted of murdering Scotten.

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