GUNSHOTS  AT  THE  FAIR
(...of Col. Zack Mulhall)
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Lee  Gaskins'   AT THE FAIR  The 1904 St. Louis World's   Fair 
                   Web  Design and Art/Illustration   copyrighted  2008



contests.  The colonel (as he was named), began  showcasing  his  thirteen year Lucille in a show dubbed the Congress of Rough Riders and Ropers. The same year, Zack  was invited to partake a country fair in St. Louis. He brought  along a young mixed-blood  Cherokee trick-roper straight out of military  school, who would be world-famous- Will Rogers (Zack  launched the career of  Tom Mix  as  well). 

Zack Mulhall became producing more professional and grander  shows  as his reputation continued to  grow. After Lucille won  10,000  dollars  in  a show in Denison, Texas in 1904, the Mulhalls  were invited  to an unofficial  event which  began on May  3rd, at the 1904 Louisiana Exposition in St. Louis. To avoid competition, Mulhall joined with Frederick  Cummings to produce an Indian Show, near the  entrance to the Pike.

Mulhall's  scheduled six months  run at the World's Fair only lasted  six  weeks.

On June 18, 1904,  after the  last show of  the  evening,  an angry Zack Mulhall, with Lucille and Charley walking close,  opened fire on  the boss stable  man by the name of Frank Reed, near their attraction's entrance  on the Pike. The altercation stemmed from a dispute  over unauthorized uses of horses.   Will Roger's  acquaintance,  Johnny Murray (a cowboy  from San Angelo, Texas),  tried  to  break up the fight was shot by Mulhall  in the chest. Unfortunately Ernest Morgan,  an eighteen year-old `town boy,' was critically shot through the stomach, the bullet penetrated his  cecum,  opening two holes, and lodging in his hip. Injured, and not  expected  to  live; doctors took out the  bullet  on July, 11.  Morgan survived but was left permanently disabled.  Reed was only  grazed in the arm and neck.

Mulhall tried to flee  by cutting through an  attraction on the  Pike,  but  was  apprehended near the Indian Village.  He was promptly escorted to the emergency hospital on the fairgrounds, where the wounded Murray and Reed identified Mulhall as the shootist. He was then jailed. A weeping Lucille  was barred  from  the police  station.

Johnny Murray disappeared from the Fair after receiving treatment at the Fair hospital.  Returning to  the horse-riding circuit months later, he claimed  that  there a  `hush-up,"  after the shooting at the Exposition.  He stated in the  trial  that Mulhall was the man that  shot  him. He was eventually mortally gunned down by his brother-in-law over money.

On June 20, Mulhall's friend, Ed Butler posted a 20,000 dollar bond. Mulhall publicly made a statement  expressing his  sorrow about Ernest Morgan's condition. He also claimed  that while he and Reed  were struggling,  people in the crowd began shooting, and it  could have been one of their  bullets that  had injured Morgan. He also said that the situation with Reed was purely  self-defense on his part,  and that Reed did not have a gun at the  end of the altercation because  George A. Fay (who was the operator of the shooting gallery  and Mulhall's  friend), disarmed Frank Reed   before authorities arrived.

On July 29th, 1904,  the court  set an August court date so Morgan could stabilize  enough to testify. Mulhall  was charged with two motions of intent to kill of Morgan and Reed. The trial took place in  January, 1905. Mulhall was sentenced to three years in prison.
Reed  refused to swear  out a  warrant  against Mulhall. Thomas J. Rowe (Mulhall's  attorney),  argued that his  client  did not  get a fair  trial because they  were from Texas and one of the victims was Texan (During this era, Oklahoma and Texas had a hot rivalry).  Mulhall continued to  claim   that the bullet that  hit Morgan  did  not  come  from his   gun. Morgan rebutted Zack's   arguement.

After the  trial, Morgan was awarded 5,000 dollars in damages from Mulhall    in a civil suit in December, 1905. 

Zack Mulhall was denied appeal at the Circuit Court level, but was later released on a 3,000 dollar bond pending an appeal  to  the Missouri  Supreme  Court. In 1907, the case was ruled self-defense.

Within a week of the  shooting, Zack Mulhall was banned from the Fair and fairgrounds. The banishment   did  not  affect Mulhall's children,  but by July, Lucille, Charley and Will Rogers  soon left, the former two performed at an alternative  show (directed by their father),   outside the fairgrounds. 

A few days after the incident, Chiefs Geronimo  and Blue Horse  and 750 Indians  complained  that  the Mulhall cowboys snapped their revolved in the  their faces-  an  act  of  disrespect.  This, along with prior heated debates with Mulhall,  created tensions  so  high that   all the Mulhall cowboys    quit the show (allegedly   due to Indian threats).

By September, 1904, relations between Geronimo  and Zack Mulhall had improved.

Tom Mix played some engagements with the Mulhall Ranch Show.

After the demise of the Mulhall Ranch Show and financial troubles which left Col. Zack near bankrupt, Mix influenced Charley to come to Hollywood and Charley Mulhall was a stunt man for several years in cowboy movies.

Geronimo  was an admirer of Lucille's talent and gave her a beaded vest and a decorated Indian bow.

Fifteen years earlier, Zack  Mulhall was seriously wounded in a shootout.

Please see this link on information on Lucille Mulhall:


After the shooting he became a prominent rancher in southern New Mexico. Many accounts in the Roswell Daily Record, Carlsbad Current, El Paso Herald and several other newspapers show the spelling of his name to be Murrah. In 1920 he was poisoned by his bother Will, not "gunned down by his brother-in-law over money".  Information  credited  to:  Beth Gallegos   Thank  you.




Born in 1847, Zachariah P. Vandeveer,  was parentless by  the  age  of  eight.  Taken in by his aunt  and uncle-  the Joseph  Mulhall's, a Catholic family  from  St. Louis. The couple  also  took in a girl  named Mary  Agnes who  was twelve years younger than Zack.   Taking their surname, Zack Mulhall took a  few  courses at  the University  of Notre Dame.  Mary  Agnes went to Notre Dame's Saint Mary's College, majoring in liberal arts. Despite  being  raised as siblings,  twenty-eight year old Zack's   relationship with Mary Agnes  bordered on incestuous, and they  were married in 1875.
Mary Agnes was a pious woman who ignored her husband's infidelity  and cheerily raised his mistresses' children as her own. She even tolerated Zack Mulhall taking his mistress on the road for Wild West shows, where he passed her off to audiences and the press as his daughter.
Only two of their eight children survived to  adulthood- Agnes (nicknamed- Bossie)  and Lucille, who would later  become world famous  as a master trick rider and the world's first cowgirl. Moving to  lease Cherokee lands in the Oklahoma land rush of 1889, Zack Mulhall staked his claim to 160 acres  which would grow into an 80,000-acre cattle ranch in the Indian Territories. The next year he moved Mary Agnes and her two daughters on the claim, and the  family  took  to  ranch life. Immediately,  Zack began  staging riding and roping
 
Zack Mulhall and Lucille