Night falls on the Daylight Kid — Part 2

AUTHOR’S NOTE: In the first half of this two-part story, Alaska baseball star and World War I veteran James “The Daylight Kid” Hill turned a United States deputy marshal in Seldovia and tried to “clean up the town.” On Oct. 30, 1924, he and Robert Jacobson, a roustabout on the native jail, had been looking for unlawful liquor-making tools on the property of William and Dora Brooks when the Brooks canine bit the marshal. Hill fired quite a few photographs along with his pistol on the fleeing animal, and down on the Brooks residence, William picked up a rifle and threatened to go kill the marshal if the marshal had killed his canine.

Origin of the Marshal

U.S. Deputy Marshal Hill was born James Edward Altier, Jr., on July 26, 1886, in St. Paul, Minn. By the time younger James turned 6, his mom, Bridget, had divorced the elder James and gotten remarried to a person named David Hill.

The file is unclear, however James Jr. quickly turned James Edward Hill, whereas his older brother, John Willard Altier, retained his unique surname, though each of them lived with their mom. In 1893, their father additionally remarried, but it surely doesn’t seem that both boy ever returned to reside with James Sr.

By the time the U.S. Census was enumerated in 1910, younger James was dwelling in Valdez. He apparently additionally spent a substantial period of time in Kodiak, the place he owned and operated a saloon till he offered his curiosity in 1913 and returned to Valdez.

In 1915, the 5-foot-6 Hill was dwelling at Matanuska Junction, was captain of the native baseball group, and was working as a lineman for the Telephone & Telegraph (T&T) Department, related to the Alaska Railroad.

He joined the U.S. Army Signal Corps in March 1918 and shortly discovered himself stationed in France. A 12 months later, with World War I at an finish, he was desperate to return residence. On June 15, 1919, he despatched a letter from Paris, the place he was on depart, saying that he was “thoroughly tired of foreigners” and sought the corporate of previous pals.

When the U.S. Census was taken in 1920, Hill was again within the Matanuska space and dealing once more for the T&T Department. A 12 months later, he married Minnie Louise Popp, who was 10 years youthful and a former worker on the T&T Department. In 1922, the Hills moved to Seldovia so James may start his law-enforcement profession.

Origins of William and Dora Brooks

Details of William Brooks’s youth are scarce. According to the Anchorage Daily Times, he was a “Kentuckian,” however the few census data through which he seems point out an Ohio delivery in about 1872.

He moved to Emerson, Mills County, Iowa, by not less than the early 1900s and met Dora Huntsman, who was 10 years his senior and nonetheless single. On March 31, 1904, Dora and William slipped throughout the state border into Plattsmouth, Nebraska, the place they had been wed by a choose.

Prior to their marriage, Dora had been dwelling together with her aged father, William Huntsman, who had been widowed since 1880, when Dora was 19. Dora additionally had two youthful siblings and should have been serving to to take care of them after her mom died.

By 1910, the Brookses had been residents of Bonners Ferry, Idaho, simply south of the Canadian border, however they might have lived briefly in South Dakota earlier than that. In 1907, a person named William Brooks — a homesteader who “recently arrived in South Dakota from Iowa,” in accordance with the Sisseton Weekly Standard — was arrested for illegally harvesting timber on the Cheyenne Indian Reservation.

The subsequent transfer for William and Dora seems to have been to Alaska. By 1918, they had been in Ketchikan, the place William labored as a fisherman. He had a industrial allow for the Kasaan District and bought an 8-ton fishing vessel known as the Hiawatha presently.

In March 1921, the Brookses had been on the transfer once more. The Anchorage Daily Times reported that they’d come to Anchorage and expressed an curiosity in shopping for a home there and settling down. Regardless of their intentions, nonetheless, they didn’t keep lengthy.

Later that very same 12 months, the Alaska Daily Empire reported that William Brooks had filed on 80 acres on the north facet of Kachemak Bay, and about the identical time he and Dora acquired the 35.26-acre Mickie Doyle property alongside the slough in Seldovia. Likely, success in Seldovia, together with a larger ease of entry, prompted William to relinquish his declare throughout the bay.

After the capturing in 1924, William Brooks can be recognized as a 52-year-old homesteader “with the reputation of being a ‘gun-toter.’” During his time in Seldovia, in accordance with those self same stories, he labored “at various jobs … as a fisherman, woodsman and sawmill man.”

According to investigator Claude Shea just a few days after the incident, Brooks was “evidently of a surly and quarrelsome disposition as he had attempted to kill a man with an axe while in the woods last summer.”


Vowing to kill the marshal if the marshal had killed his canine, William Brooks, with a .35-caliber Remington computerized rifle in hand, and over the protestations of his spouse, bolted from their home and sped towards the canvas wall tent the place Hill and jail roustabout Robert Jacobson had been figuring out their subsequent transfer.

In an affidavit, Jacobson testified that he and Hill heard a bullet cross close to or by the tent. Hill, who had emptied his pistol capturing at Brooks’s canine, pulled out his firearm once more and commenced loading it whereas poking his head out of the tent to see what was happening.

“Bob,” he stated, “that crazy fool is shooting at us.”

Jacobson made a run for it, lifting the again of the tent and racing for the security of a close-by brush pile. When he reached cowl, Jacobson turned to see whether or not the marshal was operating to affix him. “[I] saw Jim running around the tent [and] down the clearing. Brooks came around the corner of the tent right after him.”

Brooks, stated Jacobson, issued a string of expletives and hollered at Hill to get off his land. He then fired a number of photographs on the fleeing marshal. Jacobson raced additional into the woods and didn’t cease, even when he heard Hill say, “Oh, Bob!”

According to Dora Brooks’s assertion, she heard a volley of gunshots after which William returned to their home. He informed her, “I have got him or crippled him for I saw him fall.”

She testified that William then “went into the front room and came back out and went around the house, and I heard another shot and thought someone was shooting at Brooks.” She hurried exterior by the connected woodshed and known as her husband’s title. She heard no response and continued round the home.

“When I came to the corner of the house,” she stated, “there he lay.” William Brooks had put a gun to his personal head and dedicated suicide.

The physique of U.S. Deputy Marshal James Hill was discovered, mendacity face down, about 275 ft from the tent. He had been shot by the correct shoulder, the bullet severing arteries close to the center earlier than exiting from the middle of his chest. Investigators decided that Hill had been struck first about 125 ft from the tent, had fallen about 75 ft later, then risen and struggled ahead solely to fall once more a ultimate time.


Despite all its yelping, William Brooks’s canine had not been hit by a single bullet from Marshal Hill’s pistol. In reality, when investigators arrived a pair days later, Claude Shea stated the canine “was running about, as lively as ever.”

Brooks’s three bootlegging accomplices, all of whom had been taken to the Seldovia lock-up by jailer Milo Hurlburt, pleaded not responsible at their trial, however a jury decided in any other case. All three had been sentenced for Prohibition violations.

Hurlburt, the city jailer, was sworn in to interchange Hill as deputy marshal.

Dora Brooks, in 1927, obtained patent to her homestead and lived there till her loss of life, at about age 83, in 1944.

James Hill’s widow, Minnie, together with their 2-year-old son, Robert, stayed in Seldovia only some extra months earlier than shifting to Seattle. There, she remarried twice extra, the primary ending in divorce.

Robert Hill, who stood 5-foot-6 like his father and weighed solely 130 kilos, registered for the army draft in 1942, shortly after the United States turned embroiled in World War II. He served within the Pacific and died on Dec. 5, 1945, from a response to a sulfa drug administered to combat an an infection. A Canadian hospital ship managed to get him to Tacoma in time to reunite along with his mom earlier than he handed away.

In a hyperbolic however fond farewell about two weeks after the capturing, the Seward Gateway praised Marshal Hill, who “died in the discharge of his duty — a pleasant task for a red-blooded man — never faltering or sidestepping the administration of the law … to avoid the Grim Reaper, [even] if his path led over the Great Divide.”

The editorial known as Hill’s loss of life “one of those regrettable accidents which go to form the warp and woof of Life,” and concluded with this line: “Were we to inscribe his epitaph, it would be: ‘Here Lies a Man.’”

Source hyperlink

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.