Monday, November 23, 2009

Rowdy Joe Lowe & Edward T. Beard.

Joseph Thomas Lowe, also known as Rowdy Joe Lowe, born 1846 in Illinois.

Joe Lowe and his wife Kate wandered into Kansas from Illinois where they set up a combination saloon-brothel in West Wichita, Kansas. Following the boom railroad towns they opened similar establishments in Ellsworth and Newton, Kansas.

Joe shot and killed a man in Newton named A. M. Sweet after Sweet threatened to kill Joe. The Topeka Kansas Daily Commonwealth reported Joe immediately surrendered to the Sheriff. In Wichita, Joe fled custody after killing Edward Beard. Delano, Kansas- Gunman Edward T. Beard, AKA Red Beard, died two weeks after being shot by gunman Rowdy Joe Lowe. Beard was at odds with the dreaded gunman Rowdy Joe Lowe, who had built a saloon next to Beard's (winning in a race to see who could build a dance hall first). On October 27, Beard, drinking heavily, accused one of his prostitutes, Jo DeMerritt, of stealing from him. DeMerritt threw a bottle at him and fled next door to Lowe's saloon.

The drunken Beard followed her, staggered into Lowe's, and in the smoke-filled place mistook another prostitute, Annie Franklin, for DeMerritt. He fired a shot which struck the woman in the stomach. Lowe then grabbed a shotgun and exchanged shots with Beard. Lowe's shot missed but Beard's bullet grazed Lowe's neck. A stray bullet struck and wounded bystander Bill Anderson who was standing at the bar. Beard fled and Lowe, as drunk as his quarry, went after him. Both men, mounted on horses and racing out of town, had a running gunfight. Lowe caught up with Beard near the river bridge and emptied his shotgun into him, then rode back to town where he turned himself in to the sheriff . Beard was found critically wounded in the arm and thigh, loaded with buckshot. He clung to life for two weeks, but through loss of blood died

He wandered through Texas and finally 'settled' in Denver, Colorado. While drunk and belligerent Lowe insulted a local Denver Colorado police officer. As tempers flared both men went for their guns and Joe was shot dead.

Joe Lowe is buried in the Riverside Cemetery in Denver, Colorado.

There are many accounts of this gun fight here is another version.
The characters in this scandalous scene were two dance hall owners by the names of Joe Lowe and Edward Beard; Rowdy Joe and Red Beard, as they would later be known.

Standing about five feet seven inches and heavy set, Joe may have appeared less menacing than the red-haired, six foot Red. Sworn enemies, their establishments were similar in appearance and simple functionality, but the characters of these two men were different as they could be. The trouble between the two arose, allegedly, because of Red’s dislike of Joe’s frontier reputation and success in the saloon business, which Red deeply resented. Red’s dream was to get Joe out of the way, thus crowning himself “King of Delano”.

While Joe ran his own business with his wife, Rowdy Kate, Red relied upon his mistress, Josephine DeMerritt, and Walter and Carrie Beebe to manage his saloon. Like most establishments in Delano, the “facilities” were crude and placed in the rear, next to rooms for customers who wanted more than a drink or a dance. The two dance halls carried on in a relatively peaceful manner until a showdown occurred between Joe Lowe and Red Beard on the night of October 27, 1873.

Many tried to retell the events, but the full story has never been told. Indeed, it does seem as Red was jealous of Joe’s reputation for his ownership of the “swiftest place in Kansas” and no cowboy could say he had lived until he had visited Joe’s. This, then, was the gnawing at Red. On that fateful night, while tragically drunk and temperamental, Red went to his room and returned with a shotgun and a pistol. He went to the window of Joe’s and shot at him, creasing his neck but not fatally wounding him. A sniper exercise ensued between the two until a wounded Red retreated across the river. While Joe later turned himself in, Red lingered in agony in his home for three weeks until he passed away on Tuesday, November 11 at the age of 28.

The Wichita Eagle reported that Red had been well educated. and raised Christian. His family knew nothing of his western life. Though divorced, his former wife Deborah, an intelligent and refined lady, came to Wichita to take charge of his affairs. Jo DeMerritt continued to run the saloon and there had been no diminution in attendance as a consequence of his death. Joe escaped jail and fled west. Once safe in the knowledge that Joe was long gone, Mayor Hope claimed he once marched down to the rivers edge and told Rowdy Joe and his crew to get lost. It is highly doubtful. Joe Lowe died in a Denver Saloon in 1899 at the age of 72 after insulting the Denver Police Department and was shot by a former policeman. Seven years after Joe left town, the prostitutes, gamblers and pimps were shipped out and Delano was incorporated into Wichita.

Edward T. Beard ("Red")

The son of the man who founded Beardstown, Illinois, Beard was well educated and married to a cultured woman from Virginia. Although he was a member of a prominent family and the father of three children, Beard abruptly pulled up stakes in 1861 and went West. He became a footloose and somewhat notorious character in California, Oregon, and Arizona before being attracted to Kansas by the cattle boom. In Wichita he established a disreputable dance hall, and in 1873 he engaged in a series of wild shootouts, the last of which caused his death at the hands of Rowdy Joe Lowe.

Update 8-19-2013.

The following information was given by Daniel K. Kehoe.
I found some information to add to your Rowdy Joe Lowe memorial on Findagrave.com
It appears his date of death (the shooting, assuming he died at the scene) was 11 Feb 1899.  See attached image of a newspaper article.  I may be a distant relative of the former policeman who shot him, Emanuel A. Kimmel (still researching this).  If it is a match, Emanuel Kimmel would have been the brother of my great grandmother.  Kimmel was reportedly a policeman, but I am wondering if he was actually or at first a "cinder dick" - a railroad detective for the Frisco railroad who he used to work for.
Also this text from

"Feb 12, 1899:
Denver, Feb. 11. – About midnight tonight Joe Lowe, a sporting man well known in the West, and particularly in Colorado, was shot and killed in Watrous’ saloon on Curtis street by Charles Kimmell, an ex-policeman, as a result of a quarrel.

Today Lowe drove into the city and left his team hitched on the street without blankets, the mercury registering below zero.  The team was taken to a stable by a policeman.  Lowe went to police headquarters and made a vigorous protest.  Later, meeting Kimmell, whom he had known as a policeman, in Watrous’ saloon, he began cursing the police department.  Kimmell resented and a quarrel ensued during which Kimmell drew a pistol and shot Lowe several times, from the effects of which he died in an hour.  Kimmell gave himself up to the authorities.

Lowe is thought to have been unarmed at the time, as no weapon was found on his person after death.
Fro the past seven years Lowe has conducted a so-called road house, abut five miles south of this city, which was a popular resort for the sporting fraternity.

Joe Lowe has been a familiar character in the South and West for the last fifty years.  He was born in Texas and early in life went into the government service as a scout.  In 1878 he went to Leadville, where, for a short time, he ran a variety show, and in 1882 removed to Denver, in which place he has since lived.  He enjoyed the reputation of being a tough man, but his friends held him in the highest esteem.  He had a family and was devotedly attached to his children."

Update November 31, 2013.

The following information was given by Daniel K. Kehoe.

Thanks for adding me to your blog.  Note that the link

appears correctly in the blog but does not actually hyperlink there.

You may want to paste the link into Notepad to sanitize it then paste it back in the blog

And the "Charles Kimmel" in the story text of the usgwarchives site is actually "Emanual A. Kimmel."  I have once seen him referred to as the nickname "Charlie" but everywhere else it is always Emanuel A. Kimmel, who is my great grand uncle.  Not sure how true that "Charlie" label really is.








No comments: