The Newton Massacre

West 2nd Street

Newton, KS 67114

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The Newton Massacre took place in Perry Tuttle’s Dance Hall located on W 2nd in the general vicinity of what is today the parking lot behind Community National Bank. The shooting took place during the summer of 1871, when Newton was the terminus of the Chisholm Trail. The shootout, which is reported to have rivaled anything in Dodge City, resulted in the death of five men - more than were killed at the OK Corral. Three other men were injured but survived their wounds. "Wholesale Murder at Newton" was the title of the article that ran in The Emporia Weekly News, Emporia, Kansas, on August 25, 1871. The article describes one of the "bloodiest affrays that ever occurred in our state." It began with an argument between Mike McCluskie and Billy Bailey. Both men were hired as Special Police during a high-tension election. On August 11, 1871, McCluskie and Bailey got into a fist fight that ended with Bailey being shot twice. He died the next day. Texas friends of Bailey, which included Hugh Anderson, were angered and vowed revenge. Following Bailey’s death, McCluskie had fled town to escape arrest, only to return a week later when it was determined the shooting was self-defense. However, Anderson and his friends would exact revenge during the early morning hours of August 20, 1871, in Perry Tuttle’s Dance Hall, located in Hide Park; named so "because the women showed so much of their hide," according to an article titled "’No Sunday West of Newton:’ Newton’s Bloody Sunday: Part 1" published by the Harvey County Historical Society. McCluskie was seated at the faro table in Perry Tuttle’s saloon when three of the Texans entered, taking a seat at the bar. The Emporia Weekly News article reported that Anderson entered shortly after, walking directly to McCluskie, "With murder in his eye, and his foul mouth filled with oaths and epithets," and shot him. McCluskie is fatally shot in the neck and attempts to fire back, but his gun misfires. Jim Riley, a friend of McCluskie nicknamed "McCluskie’s Shadow," an 18-year-old dying of tuberculosis, was distressed by the scene and pulled his revolver. It is reported that he fired his gun until it was empty before walking out and was never heard from again. In the aftermath, three men were injured and two men were killed that night. Three others died from their wounds in the following days. Four of those deaths are attributed to Riley.

 

Anderson’s father came to Newton and, once his son could be moved, he appealed to several Newton citizens for help. Under the cover of darkness, they smuggled Anderson aboard a train that took him to Kansas City, where he recovered from his wounds. Anderson is reported to have returned to Texas to work on his father’s farm. He eventually married and had one son. He was killed at the age of 62 when he was struck by lightning while, reportedly, hiding under a tree during a storm.

This undated photo shows Hugh Anderson, believed to have fired the first shot in the Newton Massacre title= This drawing depicts the Newton Massacre, which occurred in the early morning hours of Aug. 20, 1871, and left six men dead title= This photo shows the interior of one of Newton’s saloons in 1871 title= This parking lot is the site of the former Tuttle’s Dance Hall, where the Newton Massacre occurred title=

 

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