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Wyatt Earp Fans - 12-12-2011, 12:37 PM

What do San Francisco, Tombstone AZ and Chicago have in common?

Back in the 1870s there were two competitive San Francisco billiard players - Anthony “Tony” Kraker and Lanson “Lance” W. Perkins - both of whom ran in the same gambling clique during the time of their competing for the Pacific Coast Straight Rail Billiard Championships. And both of whom ended up smack dab in the middle of the Tombstone Saga featuring the infamous Earp brothers against the county sheriff and the cowboy rustler ring.

Fast forward a few years to Tombstone, A.Z. and now you'll find Perkins and Kraker actually on opposing sides in local politics (circa 1881)

Lance Perkins had arrived in Arizona a few years prior and was running the billiard room at the Grand Hotel in Tombstone. (the local hang-out and headquarters of the "cowboy" faction)
In 1880, soon-to-be-Sheriff John H. Behan arrived in Tombstone and went to work as a bartender at the Grand Hotel as well, where he met and befriended Perkins

Gunman 'Tony' Kraker becomes a member and supporter of the Earp gambler faction.

Side note: At the same time, Kraker is a sales agent for San Francisco-based billiard table manufacturer Jacob Strahle . Ironically, Wyatt Earp's brother - Morgan Earp (who was a cue aficionado) was shot and killed while playing on a brand new Jacob Strahle table.

Besides serving as deputy sheriff under Behan in late 1881, L. W. Perkins in early 1882 also rode as deputy sheriff in Behan’s 23-man posse which was chasing the seven-man Earp posse out of the Arizona Territory...

...and the rest, as they say, is history....

But, you might ask, what does any of this have to do with Chicago?

It turns out that Perkins eventually gave up his western adventures and moved to Chicago to become a billiards instructor at the infamous Mussey's room downtown. "Professor Perkins" as he was known, taught great players like Calvin Demarest and Welker Cochran.

A far cry from riding horses across the desert after Wyatt Earp.

This portrait of Mr Perkins appeared in Billards Magazine in July of 1916


Special Thanks to Mr. K. Vail for the tip.

Last edited by Mr. Bond; 12-14-2011 at 08:13 AM.
  
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12-12-2011, 01:43 PM

Wyatt Earp was born in Monmouth, IL. Same town as Ralph Greenleaf.
  
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12-12-2011, 06:13 PM

Kickass story. Being a big Deadwood fan was good to read that.


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More on Earps and pool - 12-12-2011, 08:52 PM

Morgan Earp was assassinated on March 19, 1882 by a shot through the window of a door while he was playing billiards.

"At 10:00 Saturday night while engaged in playing a game of billiards in Campbell & Hatch's Billiard parlor (in Tombstone), on Allen between Fourth and Fifth, Morgan Earp was shot through the body by an unknown assassin. At the time the shot was fired he was playing a game with Bob Hatch, one of the proprietors of the house."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morgan_Earp

The cowboys suspected were left off on technicalities or for lack of evidence. Wyatt Earp felt he could not rely on civil justice and decided to take matters into his own hands. He concluded that only way to deal with Morgan's murderers was to kill them. Wyatt assembled a posse that included their brother Warren Earp and set out on a vendetta to kill those they felt were responsible.

http://www.historynet.com/wyatt-earp...etta-posse.htm


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12-12-2011, 11:49 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed Wiggins View Post
Morgan Earp was assassinated on March 19, 1882 by a shot through the window of a door while he was playing billiards.

if i remember correctly, the bullet went thru his spine, and into someone else.
man... that hurts just thinking about it.
  
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12-14-2011, 08:16 AM

more about Perkins as deputy sherrif..

Name:  1881 Dec 15 Sherrif Lance Perkins LA Herald.JPG
Views: 1410
Size:  71.4 KB

Daily L.A. Herald Dec 15 1881

Last edited by Mr. Bond; 12-14-2011 at 08:21 AM.
  
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12-14-2011, 08:20 AM

Perkins' Relationship to Calvin Demarest

"Veteran Chicago Theorist…

Demarest, alone of all the great billiard players, uses what is known as the “long” bridge, which has been regarded among billiardists as the proper method of resting the cue in playing pool, but for the close nursing essential in billiards the “short” bridge always has been considered best. That is the way in which…all of the other great billiard players have bridged the cue in playing nearly all their shots.

On account of this peculiarity of Demarest, and because of the recognized difficulty of any billiard player changing his stroke, the ability of Demarest ever to become a champion has been doubted by many, in the face of his steady phenomenal improvement. [Both J. Schaefer and California professional A. Spink both inclined to the opinion that it was a handicap for him.] Said Spink, “I have never known a player to change his stroke materially after having attained a good deal of speed at a style of his own…”

Whether Demarest’s success will result in refuting the general idea that a man with a “pool” stroke is not likely to attain to the highest billiard form is an interesting problem…

Demarest… is said to be nearer a machine-made billiard player than any other billiardist the world has known. He is the product of a theory which the veteran Chicago billiard teacher L. W. Perkins, worked upon for many years before he finally had the opportunity to see it put to a fair test….Known today as the “Perkins stroke”…. “I am sure that if I could take a naturally skillful man who had never touched a billiard cue and train him, right from the start I could make a champion of him, for in billiards, like in golf, the whole thing is a matter of form, and most so-called “bad” shots made by good players are in reality due to their fault of stroke,” Perkins often remarked to his friends.

For almost a year Demarest was kept plugging away at the most rudimentary elements of the game…. Finally the boy was allowed to go into competitions, and his increase in “speed” was phenomenal…. Finally the time came when Demarest got so far ahead of his teacher in execution that he became restless under restraint, and after several quarrels they finally separated…but he himself concedes that the greatest part of his success is due to the precise machine-like method which he required from his teacher

One of Perkins’ ideas was this comparatively long bridge, and the fact that none of the best professionals used it did not deter him from believing that it was the best. His idea was that their skill was in spite of certain faults of method and not the result….

“The general objection to a long bridge,” said W. A. Spink, “is that it gives the cue a greater chance to wobble, and hence causes inaccuracy in hitting the cue ball just where the player intends.”"

Anaconda Standard - 12/19/1909
  
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12-14-2011, 12:19 PM

great info..........thanks

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Bond View Post
What do San Francisco, Tombstone AZ and Chicago have in common?

Back in the 1870s there were two competitive San Francisco billiard players - Anthony “Tony” Kraker and Lanson “Lance” W. Perkins - both of whom ran in the same gambling clique during the time of their competing for the Pacific Coast Straight Rail Billiard Championships. And both of whom ended up smack dab in the middle of the Tombstone Saga featuring the infamous Earp brothers against the county sheriff and the cowboy rustler ring.

Fast forward a few years to Tombstone, A.Z. and now you'll find Perkins and Kraker actually on opposing sides in local politics (circa 1881)

Lance Perkins had arrived in Arizona a few years prior and was running the billiard room at the Grand Hotel in Tombstone. (the local hang-out and headquarters of the "cowboy" faction)
In 1880, soon-to-be-Sheriff John H. Behan arrived in Tombstone and went to work as a bartender at the Grand Hotel as well, where he met and befriended Perkins

Gunman 'Tony' Kraker becomes a member and supporter of the Earp gambler faction.

Side note: At the same time, Kraker is a sales agent for San Francisco-based billiard table manufacturer Jacob Strahle . Ironically, Wyatt Earp's brother - Morgan Earp (who was a cue aficionado) was shot and killed while playing on a brand new Jacob Strahle table.

Besides serving as deputy sheriff under Behan in late 1881, L. W. Perkins in early 1882 also rode as deputy sheriff in Behan’s 23-man posse which was chasing the seven-man Earp posse out of the Arizona Territory...

...and the rest, as they say, is history....

But, you might ask, what does any of this have to do with Chicago?

It turns out that Perkins eventually gave up his western adventures and moved to Chicago to become a billiards instructor at the infamous Mussey's room downtown. "Professor Perkins" as he was known, taught great players like Calvin Demarest and Welker Cochran.

A far cry from riding horses across the desert after Wyatt Earp.

This portrait of Mr Perkins appeared in Billards Magazine in July of 1916


Special Thanks to Mr. K. Vail for the tip.


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12-16-2011, 06:49 AM

I noticed that you refered to professor Perkins as Lanson Perkins this is the same spelling Cochrane used in his book.
I then noticed the Billiard Magazine spelled it Lansing.
Dalys book lists him as Lansing Perkins who was the teacher of Calvin Demarest.
I wonder which is correct?
I have also seen him listed as Langston Perkins but I think it was either Lansing or Lanson.
Isn't Billiards History fun!
Great story by the way! Thanks
  
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12-16-2011, 11:08 AM

thats a good point/question you've raised...i had always thought it was 'lansing' myself...

an 'old west' researcher by the name of Kenneth Vail informs me that his real name was Lanson....thats all i can tell you without digging out some census records...and even then, you know how that goes...lol
  
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12-16-2011, 04:10 PM

Here is a token from the billiard room/saloon where Morgan was shot.



Rob
  
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01-26-2012, 06:40 PM

Kenneth Vail here, the Old West researcher.
I have acquired quite an interesting file on Lanson W. Perkins and can assure his correct name with a dozen or more sources. Here’s one from a Boston paper:

"CHICAGO BILLIARDS.
Lanson Perkins (260) DEFEATED John Thatcher (220) in the afternoon game of the Beninger-Siler short stop billiard tournament by 260 to 117.… In the evening game John Matthews (300) defeated William Harrison (250) by 300 to 212."
[Boston Journal - December 22,1896]

It seems Perkins, in advanced age, tried to ‘shark’ Hoppe from the audience:

"…A ripple of laughter wafted through the little hall, just as Hoppe reached 50 in his run, Willie heard some one in the audience snoring. He stopped and looked up, and, lo and behold! it was no less a personage than Professor Lanson Perkins, who just at that moment was dreaming of the time when his brilliant pupil, Welker Cochran, would take the measure of this champion of champions. But the professor was wide awake when Willie made his run of 216, and saw every point. He afterward declared, with due modesty, that Hoppe’s game was simply that which he has been teaching for years…." [Sporting Life - March 28, 1914 - p. 17]

Whenever I'm researching a particular boom town of wild mining camp I've always got an eye out for the billiard and pool action. There were some reall yhigh-stakes games played in places like Helena and other Montana camps, to the tune of $500 a side gambling, even in 1868. Road players were already doing there thing, evidently.

For the guy interested in "Deadwood" - the real Deadwood of 1876-77 - one top player was Jerry Lewis (a Montana guy) - the Jerry Lewis who ran for first town marshal and of Lewis & Mann Saloon, where Hickok got killed.

KennyV
  
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01-27-2012, 07:31 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by KennyV View Post
Kenneth Vail here, the Old West researcher.
I have acquired quite an interesting file on Lanson W. Perkins and can assure his correct name with a dozen or more sources. Here’s one from a Boston paper:

"CHICAGO BILLIARDS.
Lanson Perkins (260) DEFEATED John Thatcher (220) in the afternoon game of the Beninger-Siler short stop billiard tournament by 260 to 117.… In the evening game John Matthews (300) defeated William Harrison (250) by 300 to 212."
[Boston Journal - December 22,1896]

It seems Perkins, in advanced age, tried to ‘shark’ Hoppe from the audience:

"…A ripple of laughter wafted through the little hall, just as Hoppe reached 50 in his run, Willie heard some one in the audience snoring. He stopped and looked up, and, lo and behold! it was no less a personage than Professor Lanson Perkins, who just at that moment was dreaming of the time when his brilliant pupil, Welker Cochran, would take the measure of this champion of champions. But the professor was wide awake when Willie made his run of 216, and saw every point. He afterward declared, with due modesty, that Hoppe’s game was simply that which he has been teaching for years…." [Sporting Life - March 28, 1914 - p. 17]

Whenever I'm researching a particular boom town of wild mining camp I've always got an eye out for the billiard and pool action. There were some reall yhigh-stakes games played in places like Helena and other Montana camps, to the tune of $500 a side gambling, even in 1868. Road players were already doing there thing, evidently.

For the guy interested in "Deadwood" - the real Deadwood of 1876-77 - one top player was Jerry Lewis (a Montana guy) - the Jerry Lewis who ran for first town marshal and of Lewis & Mann Saloon, where Hickok got killed.

KennyV
Thanks for the story and the clarification.
Cochrane was one of the closest persons to him, so I would have to assume that he of all people knew Perkins real name.
He says Lanson in his book , so for me it is Lanson.
So many times in my research I have found a discrepancy and then it gets repeated by one newspaper after another.
Probably because they all bought their out of town stories from the Associated Press and if there was a mistake made in the original they just kept repeating it.
  
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Lance - 01-28-2012, 05:16 AM

You're welcome, Book Collector.
I'll share another reference, since the World Almanac is usually noted for accuracy, not to mention a tantalizing peek into Chicago game rooms:

NOTABLE BILLIARDS IN 1896 AND 1897
"Massey’s Billiard Room, Chicago, ILL. , October 19. 1896. —Inaugural of the Roomkeepers' Handicap Tournament at 14-inch balk-line game, for a gold watch and chain, awarded to the winner of the greatest number of games in contests of two nights duration, played during the year. The games were played on a 5x10 regulation championship table, and the concluding contest was played at Parker's Superior Billiard Room, August 25, 1897. The entries at start were: W. P. Hatley (3OO), representing Mussey's room, but who withdrew from the tourney and then was entered from Carey's room; Lanson Perkins (260), Bensinger's room; Henry Rhines (210), Rhines' room; Edward Helm (210), Helm's room; A. M. Clarke (130), Clarke's room. Capron won 12 games during the year and was awarded the gold watch and chain. Clarke was second, having won 4 games."
[The World Almanac & Book of Facts (1898) By Facts on File, Inc. - p. 219]
  
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01-28-2012, 07:57 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Bond View Post
What do San Francisco, Tombstone AZ and Chicago have in common?

Back in the 1870s there were two competitive San Francisco billiard players - Anthony “Tony” Kraker and Lanson “Lance” W. Perkins - both of whom ran in the same gambling clique during the time of their competing for the Pacific Coast Straight Rail Billiard Championships. And both of whom ended up smack dab in the middle of the Tombstone Saga featuring the infamous Earp brothers against the county sheriff and the cowboy rustler ring.

Fast forward a few years to Tombstone, A.Z. and now you'll find Perkins and Kraker actually on opposing sides in local politics (circa 1881)

Lance Perkins had arrived in Arizona a few years prior and was running the billiard room at the Grand Hotel in Tombstone. (the local hang-out and headquarters of the "cowboy" faction)
In 1880, soon-to-be-Sheriff John H. Behan arrived in Tombstone and went to work as a bartender at the Grand Hotel as well, where he met and befriended Perkins

Gunman 'Tony' Kraker becomes a member and supporter of the Earp gambler faction.

Side note: At the same time, Kraker is a sales agent for San Francisco-based billiard table manufacturer Jacob Strahle . Ironically, Wyatt Earp's brother - Morgan Earp (who was a cue aficionado) was shot and killed while playing on a brand new Jacob Strahle table.

Besides serving as deputy sheriff under Behan in late 1881, L. W. Perkins in early 1882 also rode as deputy sheriff in Behan’s 23-man posse which was chasing the seven-man Earp posse out of the Arizona Territory...

...and the rest, as they say, is history....

But, you might ask, what does any of this have to do with Chicago?

It turns out that Perkins eventually gave up his western adventures and moved to Chicago to become a billiards instructor at the infamous Mussey's room downtown. "Professor Perkins" as he was known, taught great players like Calvin Demarest and Welker Cochran.

A far cry from riding horses across the desert after Wyatt Earp.

This portrait of Mr Perkins appeared in Billards Magazine in July of 1916


Special Thanks to Mr. K. Vail for the tip.
He was living on borrowed time chasing Wyatt Earp. Probably a very wise decision on his part to change professions. Earp died of old age at the age of 80.
  
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