Saloons Empty When Gunshot Rings Out in Medford

Oct 3, 2016

Saloons, card rooms and rowdy folks gave Medford, Oregon’s Front Street a poor reputation in 1911. Fights were common, but guns were rarely used.  When a “deafening report rang out” on the night of June 8, the saloons emptied, windows and doors opened and a crowd gathered to see who had been shot.

“Get policeman Bill,” someone shouted. Another replied, “Here he is now.”

Out of the darkness, a large figure appeared from behind the train station. His helmet and silver star gleamed in the dim light as he put his Colt .45 back in his waistband and examined a spent shell. The crowd shrunk back until someone shouted, “What happened?  Who got killed?”

The policeman looked puzzled before a broad smile creased his face and another figure emerged from the blackness.  The onlookers recognized City Councilman Wortman, who assured everyone that no one had been killed.  He said a shipment of cattle had come into the station for him and one of the cows had broken a leg on the journey.  

Wortman had asked the policeman to put her down, which he had obligingly done.

Source:  "It Was Only a Cow." Medford Sun 9 June 1911: 5. Print.