Dan Bird
Cornelius, Oregon

Not a lot. Her first name is believed to be Maria Virginia, but her last name is lost to history. Historians do not know how she met Joseph Alfred “Jack” Slade or anything about her life before him. They married around 1858, and Jack may have called her Virginia Dale. Either her name came from a grassy glade near where he established a stage station in Colorado in 1862 or he named the station after her.

Old West author Leon Metz says Jack, despite all his shortcomings, loved the young lass—maybe too much. Some folks who knew the couple says Virginia manipulated Jack, pushing him to do some of the bad deeds that eventually got him lynched by vigilantes.

After he died on March 10, 1864, she planned to take his body to his hometown in Illinois. She filled his mostly tin coffin with alcohol and set out for Carlyle. Four months later, she reached Salt Lake City, Utah, but his body had become so odorous, she had him interred in a Mormon cemetery.

On March 22, 1865, Virginia remarried, to James Henry Kiskadden, a friend of Jack’s who had witnessed the Montana vigilantes kill him. They divorced three years later, and she vanished.

If you have a question, write: Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327 or e-mail him at

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