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Monday, April 5, 2010

Modern Outlaw

By Michael

There is a part of me that is a little bit of an outlaw. I think my parents would tell you that I was a good kid and didn’t cause them a lot of problems. I am a god fearing man and try to live my life following the two great commandments of loving God and my fellow man. However, I also have a natural urge to rebel against the status quo. I listen to anti establishment punk rock and folk music. I like the idea of vigilante justice a la batman. That being said, I have a confession to make in this article about my outlaw tendencies but before I make my confession I wanted to share a story that my Aunt Carolyn shared with me about one of my distant Kirkham ancestors. I share this so that you all know that breaking the law runs in my genes. Maybe it isn’t all my fault

The following story along with a picture of the grave appeared in the Leadville Chronicle Summer Guide (leadvillenews@cmnm.org) in 2007.

“In 1879, it is said that Sheriff Kirkham was facing a slew of stagecoach hold-ups along the route between Leadville and Buena Vista. It was the work of one bandit who seemed to have inside information on when the gold shipment would be on board, as that was the only time he struck. The sheriff came up with an idea to capture the crook, only this time he kept his plan to himself. He didn’t tell his deputies. He didn’t let his close friends or even the banks in on his scheme. He didn’t even tell his wife!

On March 7, Sheriff Kirkman (spelled differently this time) put his plan into action and dressing in a disguise as a woman, boarded a stagecoach carrying some very precious cargo. Just as he suspected, when the stagecoach near the Twin Lakes junction, the lone bandit appeared ordering the gold to be handed over. The sheriff sprang into action, ripped off his disguise, and drew his weapon. “Halt!” Sheriff Kirkham yelled. “In the name of the law!”

The bandit was clearly surprised, and took off running, ignoring the lawman’s order. Sheriff Kirkham brought down that stagecoach robber with one bullet in the back. When he reached the body, he anxiously turned it over to discover the identity of the brazen bandit. It was his wife, dressed in disguise as a man!

Sheriff Kirkham could not bear the shame and embarrassment of his wife’s actions. So instead of bringing her back to town for a proper burial, he laid her to rest along the old stagecoach road. The epithet reads: “My Wife – Jane Kirkham – Died March 7, 1879-Aged 38 years, 3 months, 7 days”.

Now for my confession. Marisa and I have been breaking the law for the last 4 years. We have had illegal chickens living in our yard. Yes, you heard correctly, it has been illegal for us to have chickens in our city until recently. Thankfully some law abiding citizens took it into their own hands to make owning chickens legal. I am glad they did and we already have some neighbors who bought some baby chicks.

I feel like a burden has been lifted as I make this confession. Maybe now I will start using all of my talents for good instead of evil. I would urge those of you who want chickens , or those of you that have them illegally to do what was done in our town and get them legalized. Raising chickens for eggs is one of the easiest things that I can think of that will help us all be more self sufficient.


Jennifer said...

I love this story! I'd very much like to hear the process of how your city changed its chicken ordinance, if you know it. In my own city I would also be an outlaw.

megan said...

That sounds just like you and Marisa.

marisa said...


Laura said...

What a funny post! At first I thought you were going to confess something actually naughty...:P

Laura said...

You Rebel you!! Too cute, but seriously cool that you can own them legally now, it would have been awful to have had to get rid of them. Hope to see livestock in urban back yards become the mainstream instead of the rare.
I think every community should embrace a new way of thinking, no one in this country should ever go hungry we all have so much to share and teach about self sufficiency. How did we ever get so far off track?

Karen said...

I wondered. We can't have them here yet but supposedly it's in the works.

Carolyn Johnson Christensen said...

I loved this story, too. Especially as it unrolled before us who did the research. Now these people are a part of my life. I love the backyard farming blog - farming is in my blood - and the proof of this is my relationship to Dale - brother & sister. But to me, farming and ancestors are inseperable. Without farming, my ancestors would not be what they are. Without my particular ancestors, I would not be what I am. It is all intertwined. I still do a little backyard farming, especially in my herb gardenm, but more in supporting my enthusiastic husband. Meanwhile, I grow the seeds of what past generations have given us.

Michael Atkinson said...

Shameful but glorious ... favorite part was "Maybe now I will start using all of my talents for good instead of evil."