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Tuesday, February 20, 2007

A Brief Introduction to the Hakka People

A Brief Introduction to the Hakka People

The 'Hakka', or 'Guest People', are a specific ethnicity that migrated from northern to southern China over the past two thousand years, at least. Their origins are obscure. There are many theories and views on this matter. The Hakkas have their own language, dress, culture and martial arts. This is a brief introduction into what it means to be Hakka.

But what exactly does it mean to be 'Hakka'? There is a Hakka town in the New Territories; the inhabitants are very proud of their Hakka past. Yet they all speak Cantonese and none but the very old, can speak Hakka anymore.

They abandoned their ancestral worship over a hundred years ago and dismantled their family shrines. The Village shrine was converted into a Christian church. No one practices 'Ching Ming' (i.e. the cleaning of the ancestral graves in springtime), nor indeed 'Chung Yuen', ( i.e. feeding the ancestral spirits in autumn time). No one practices Hakka martial arts - an activity discouraged by Western missionaries as 'unChristian'. The inhabitants of this village feel secure however, in their Hakka-ness, despite no obvious outward sign that they are indeed Hakka at all. Clan importance and 'name lineage' has faded away. Why? Because many Christian Hakka clans that converted, were expelled from the Hakka name clan - making them self-sufficient and independent. So what makes these people, and others like them in the world, secure in their Hakka identity? It is the one thing that links ALL Hakka peoples together, namely a shared sense of history and at onetime culture, a culture that many still share today. The Hakka diaspora spreads the world, from India to the West Indies, the USA, Canada and even Africa.

All Hakka origination stories claim a northern Chinese heritage. And the stories say that following various events, (normally invasion), the Hakka peoples were forced (or choice) to migrate to central China and then finally to southern China, before leaving the mother land and travelling the world, via Vietnam, Indonesia (where, from the late 18th and most of the 19th century the only Hakka kingdom outside of china existed - the Lan Fang Republic), Africa, Europe and the Americas. Hakka history is written down in the 'Tsuphu' or 'Juk Bow', the terms translating as 'Clan Book'; each Hakka name has a book of its own, with an originating village somewhere in the mainland. These villages will have a stone tablet with the family name and clan poem engraved upon it. Anyone with a specific family name, is entitled to the heritage and history of that clan. The clans were originally much larger tribes, that through fragmentation due to migration and geographical separation, became the name clans other time. Many of these names trace their origins to the names of States, or ruling houses. Indeed, many Chinese names are considered Hakka, such as Chin, Li, Lim, Wong. Chu and Sung , etc, but there are many more. The Hakka language has undergone many changes of late. firstly, wherever Hakkas reside in China ( i.e. Sichuan, Guangxi, Guandong, Fujian or the north), the Hakka language (which is similar to Guanyu, or old Mandarin) has mixed with the local dialects, giving the Hakkas in that area a distinctive local accent and dialect. Hakkas in the West for instance, tend to be very proud of the area that their recent ancestors came from, be it the New Territories, Fujian or Sichuan!

Due to the hard life of the average Hakka of old, a culture emerged based upon 3 basic principles:

1) Confucian education
2) Farming
3) Martial arts

Generally speaking, Hakkas are tough, hard working and fight like tigers! However, due to the insistance tradition has placed upon correct behaviour, Hakka communities are vary well ordered. Hakka gungfu is collectively referred to as Hakka Kuen, or Hakka Fist. The term Hakka being Cantonese for 'Guest People' and kuen meaning fist. Hakka is what the Cantonese called the original tribal migrants from the north, and it seems to have stuck! Hakka gungfu styles include;

1) Phoenix Eye Fist
2) Praying Mantis
3) Iron Ox Praying Mantis
4) Longfist

There are many variants. Hakka culture is rich in good food, such as 'pigs trotters and ginger in rice wine', and 'Cloud Chicken' to name but two favourites, and a multitude of soups that are as medicinal as they are tasty! Hakka people have much to be proud of.

Further reading:

The Original Buddhism by Adrian Chan-Wyles PhD

For more information regarding Hakka history and culture, please visit:

Pictish Warrior

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Shocked groups slam chastity belt for women proposal

Saturday February 17, 2007

Shocked groups slam chastity belt for women proposal
By Jane RITIKOS and Majdah MUHAMAD

KUALA LUMPUR: No, no, no. That's the response to the chastity belt for women mooted by Islamic scholar Datuk Abu Hassan Din.

Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil said the Government had no intention of considering the proposal.

"It is up to the individual. Women or men could wear it if they feel it is for their best protection but it is not a policy issue," she told reporters in Kota Baru yesterday.

Abu Hassan, speaking at a Maal Hijrah forum in Kuala Terengganu on Thursday said women should wear chastity belts to thwart rising cases of rape and incest, adding that the chastity belt was the best way to avert sexual predators.

Perlis Mufti Dr Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin said he was "quite surprised" when he read about the proposal.

Islam, he said, had spelt out what women should do to protect themselves against danger and to protect their modesty.

"Have we come to such a stage that women need to wear chastity belts?" he asked.

"I urge all religious figures not to make suggestions that can appear to discriminate women and which make people think the religion as undermining women," he said.

Women's Aid Organisation executive director Ivy Josiah said it still amazed her when people showed their ignorance about why men commit sexual violence against women.

"It is always the women who are expected to modify themselves and their appearance and, now, even to inflict pain on themselves by wearing chastity belts," she said.

Amnesty International said it was appalled by the suggestion.

"It is unacceptable and violates a women's dignity and her physical and mental integrity," its executive director Josef Roy Benedict said.

Sisters in Islam (SIS) said Abu Hassan had acknowledged that not all men were potential rapists.

"Thus, would it not make sense to raise awareness among men and educate them on how to prevent violence against women rather than blame and control all women for the behaviour of certain men?" the group asked.

SIS said as Malaysians approach 50 years of independence, they should be proud of the high standard they had set for themselves, "but not of the double standard set against half the population."

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Chinese Wedding Night

Chinese Wedding Night
A Chinese couple gets married. She's a virgin. Truth be told, he is not all that experienced either.
On their wedding night, she cowers naked under the sheets as her husband undresses.

He climbs in next to her and tries to be reassuring. "My darring," he says, "I know dis you firss time and you berry frighten. I pomise you, I give you anyting you want, I do anyting - juss anyting you want.
Whatchu want?" he says, trying to sound experienced, which he hopes will impress her.

A thoughtful silence follows and he waits patiently (and eagerly) for her request. She eventually replies shyly and unsure, "I want to try somethin I have heard about... Numbaa 69."

More thoughtful silence, this time from him. Eventually, in a puzzled tone he queries...

"You want... Garrlic Chicken with coriflour?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

And THEY walk among us !!

They Walk Among Us!!!!!!! ====================Some guy bought a new fridge for his house. To get rid of his old fridge, he put it in his front yard and hung a sign on it saying: "Free to good home. You want it, you take it." For three days the fridge sat there without even one person looking twice at it. He eventually decided that people were too un-trusting of this deal. It looked to good to be true, so he changed the sign to read: "Fridge for sale $50." The next day someone stole it.

They Walk Among Us!
==================== One day I was walking down the beach with some friends when someone shouted...."Look at that dead bird!" Someone looked up at the sky and said..."where???"

They Walk among us!! ==================== While looking at a house, my brother asked the real estate agent which direction was north because, he explained, he didn't want the sun waking him up every morning. She asked, "Does the sun rise in the north?" When my brother explained that the sun rises in the east, and has for sometime, she shook her head and said, "Oh, I don't keep up with that stuff."

They Walk Among Us!!
==================== I used to work in technical support for a 24/7 call center. One day I got a call from an individual who asked what hours the call center was open. I told him, "The number you dialed is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week." He responded, "Is that Eastern or Pacific time?" Wanting to end the call quickly, I said, "Uh, Pacific" .

They Walk Among Us!!! ==================== My colleague and I were eating our lunch in our cafeteria, when we overheard one of the administrative assistants talking about the sunburn she got on her weekend drive to the shore. She drove down in a convertible, but "didn't think she'd get sunburned because the car was moving".

They Walk Among Us!!!! ==================== My sister has a lifesaving tool in her car it's designed to cut through a seat belt if she gets trapped. She keeps it in the trunk

They Walk Among Us!!!!! ==================== My friends and I were on a beer run and noticed that the cases were discounted 10%. Since it was a big party, we bought 2 cases. The cashier multiplied 2 times 10% and gave us a 20% discount...

They Walk Among Us!!!!!! ==================== I was hanging out with a friend when we saw a woman with a nose ring attached to an earring by a chain. My friend said, "Wouldn't the chain rip out every time she turned her head?" I explained that a person's nose and ear remain the same distance apart no matter which way the head is turned...

They Walk Among Us!!!!!!! ==================== I couldn't find my luggage at the airport baggage area. So I went to the lost luggage office and told the woman there that my bags never showed up. She smiled and told me not to worry because she was a trained professional and I was in good hands. "Now," she asked me, "has your plane arrived yet?"...

They Walk Among Us!!!!!!!! ==================== While working at a pizza parlor I observed a man ordering a small pizza to go. He appeared to be alone and the cook asked him if he would like it cut into 4 pieces or 6. He thought about it for some time before responding. "Just cut it into 4 pieces; I don't think I'm hungry enough to eat 6 pieces.
They walk among us, AND they reproduce

Statistics are used much like a drunk uses a lamp post: for support, not illumination.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Owner-Moderator's Comments :

I am a number 9!! Oh Boy!


If you were born on the 1st, 10th, 19th, 28th of any month you are number 1.
If you were born on the 2nd, 11th, 20th, 29th of any month then you are number 2.
If you were born on the 3rd, 12th, 21st, 30th of any month then you are number 3.
If you were born on the 4th, 13th, 22nd, 31st of any month then you are number 4.
If you were born on the 5th, 14th, 23rd of any month then you are number 5.
If you were born on the 6th, 15th, 24th of any month then you are number 6.
If you were born on the 7th, 16th, 25th of any month then you are number 7.
If you were born on the 8th, 17th, 26th of any month then you are number 8.
If you were born on the 9th, 18th, 27th of any month then you are number 9.

Number 1
You are smart, frank, funny, stubborn, hardworking, honest, jealous on competing basis,
kind hearted, friendly, and authoritative.
Famous Person always want to be and regarded as First on position, they are often like to be independent, will never be under others, self confident people!

You are most likely to fall in love in the younger age, but will get married when you mature!
You are likely to have problems with people who have opposite views and you are most likely to take revenge over your enemies in a long time basis.
You are a spender, but you will have a good profession in the future.
If you are guy, you will be very popular that everybody will have mental attraction and respect you.
You can go anywhere from the local shop to the heart of the parliament because you are positive and talented in numerous issues!
But make sure in your life, you will always have some people who will work hard to support.
Because of your smart behavior, some people will hate you too.

Your family life is very cool; you will have a very nice partner & wonderful children.
You are Pioneer, Independent & Original.
Your best match is 4, 6, 8 good match is 3, 5, 7.

Number 2
No matter what, every one will love you because your ruler is the Moon and every one loves the Moon, huh!!

Well, you are a person who daydreams a lot.
You have very low-self confidence; you need back up for every move in your life.
You are very much unpredictable means you do change according to time and circumstances.
Selfish and have a very strong sense of musical, artistic talent, and verbal communication.
Your attitudes are like the Moon comes to Gloom and fade away so everybody can expect changes in you.
You can be a next Mahatma Gandhi who does peace love or you can be a Hitler who wants to destroy the mankind and peace.
I mean in the community and your own home.
If you really have a deep thought about your own, believe in God, you can feel the difference, which will make you stronger!
Most of the time your words are a kind of would be happening.
True! You can predict the situation.
You will become poets, writers, or any artistic business people!

You are not strong in love, so you will be there and here till you get marry.
If you are a girl, you will be a responsible woman in the whole family.

If you are a man, you will involve in fights and arguments in the family or vice-versa.
You are gentle, intuitive with a broad vision, a power behind the scenes, well balanced people!!!
Your best match is 2, 5, and 9 no other people can put up with you!!!

Number 3
You are a person of hardhearted, selfish most of the times, religious, loves to climb up in your life.

You always tend to have lots of problems within your family in the early stages but you will put up with everything.
You have strong word power, pretty happy face, so wherever you go, you always have got what you wanted!!!
And from the birth you always wanted to work hard in order to achieve something.
You will not get anything without hard work!
When you reach a Man/Woman age, you want other younger listen to you because you want younger people to respect older people.
You do set so many examples to others.
Generally you're not a cool person.
It's not easy dealing with you!
But once you like someone's attitude, then here you go.
It will be a lasting friendship.
You always have respect from others.
Your life seems to have lots of worries and problems but they won't be long.
You will always have brilliant kids!!!
You love money a bit too much so temptation will push you to endless trying.
If you are a guy, you will be looking after your family and helping friends, and will spend a life time just being generous and (except 21st born Men) you will be such an example of how to be in the culture & Life!!!
If you are girl, then it's your good character and hardworking attitude you always follow.
You are a Freedom Lover, Creative Ambition focused who brings Beauty, Hope & Joy to this world!!!
Your best match are 6, 9. Good match are 1, 3, 5.

Number 4
You are very stubborn and very hard working.

You have rough word power, which might put lots of people away from you.
You may cause nuisance to others if you are a man.
You often understand others well and their problems.
If you are a girl you are very good with studies and arts.
If you are guy you spend most of the time after girl friends.
You will have fun life with mates & girls.
Your friends will spend your time & money and get away with their life and you will become empty handed and don't know what to do, so be careful!!
You love to spend anyway!!!
Your good will is you are always there to help family and friends.
You always fall in love in younger age as well.
You need to be careful of people who will take advantage of your kind heart and beware of your relations too.
You are practical, patient, persistent, a bit old-fashioned.
You best matches are 1, 8. Good matches are 5, 6, 7.

Number 5
You are very popular within the community.

You can get things done by just chatting to even enemies! You have a pretty good business mind.
You are someone who acts on impulse.

You will be famous if you open up a business, get involve in share dealings, music etc.
Very popular with sense of humor, you are the one your friends and families will always ask for help and you are the one actually get money on credit and help your friends!
You will have more than 1 relationship, but when you get settle down you will be a bit selfish.
Anyway, because your other half will have a pretty good amount of control in you.
Be careful you tend to go for other relationships/contacts even you are married at times because of your popularity.
You are someone who gets along with anyone because the number 5 is the middle number.
You like changes and freedom.
You are an Explorer with Magic on your face.
You learn your life through experience and it's your Best Teacher!!!
Your best matches are 1, 2, 9. Good matches are 6, 8.

Number 6
You are born to enjoy.

You don't care about others; you always want to enjoy your lifetime.
You are a person.

You will be very good in either education or in business management!
You are talented, kind (but only with people who you think are nice), beautiful girls and guys.
Popular and more than lucky with anything in their Lives.

All the goodness does comes to you.
The mind and body is just made perfect.

If you are a number 6 man, you will experience looks from most girls and will involve in more than few relationships until you get marry!!!
If you are girl, most of them will get marry/engage early.
You are caring towards your family and friends.
You are a person of Compassion, Comfort & Fairness, Good judgment, and after all you can heal this world to make peace forever because you have great power of caring.
Your best matches are 1, 6, 9. Good matches are 4, 5.

Number 7
You have got the attraction to anyone out there.
You are realistic, confident, happy, a talented individual in your Education, Music, Arts, Singing, and most importantly Acting.

You have real problems with bad temper!!
If you are girl, you are popular with the subjects listed above, you give up things for your parents, I mean you value your family status a lot.
You will be in the top rank when you reach a certain age!
If you are a guy, you are popular with Girls.
You are a very talented too!
Most of the number 7s faces lots of problems with their marriage life.
Only a very few are happy!!

It's probably the Lord give you all sort of humans talents and you are about to suffer in family life, so you need to get ready looking for a partner rather than waiting.
If you don't, then you might end-up single!!!
You are wonderful, Friendly, Artistic, Happy person.
You are born to contribute lot to this world!!!
Your best match is 2. Good matches are 1, 4.

Number 8
You are a very strong personality, there's no one out there will understand you.

You are very good at pointing your finger at some thing!!!
You are more likely to suffer from the early age poverty.
If your times are not good you might lose either of your parents and end up looking after your entire family.

You often suffer all the way in life.
The problems will not allow you to study further, but you will learn the life in a very practical way!!!
You are the one will fight for justice and may die in the war too!!!
You are normally very reserved with handful of friends and most of the time, live life lonely and always prepared to help.
Well, once you get marry (which is often late) then your bad lucks will go away a bit, then you become safe.
Beware of un-expected problems from the terror, government, poisonous animals & accidents.
You are someone with discipline, persistence, courage that will take you to the Success! !
You are a Great part of a team, family and a fighter!!!
Your Best matches are 1, 4, 8. Good match is 5.

Number 9
Hey, you guys are the un-compatible people in the world; you are so strong, physically and mentally. You often have big-aims.

You will work hard and hard to get there, normally you suffer in the early age from family's problems and generally you will have fighting life, but when you achieve what you have done, it's always a big-task!!
You are so much respected in the community.
You are a person who can make a challenge and successfully finish the matter off.
You are very naughty in your younger age, often beaten up by your parents, and involve in fights and you seemed to have lots of injuries in your lifetime, but when you grow, you become calm and macho type!!!
Tell you what; Love is not an easy matter for you.
You are good in engineering or banking jobs because people always trust you!
Your family life is very good, but will have worries over your children.
Your qualities are humanitarian, patient, quick witted & compassionate.
You are born to achieve targets and serve every one all equally without any prejudice!
You are totally a Role Model to everybody in the world for a Great Inspiration!!!
Your best matches are 3, 5, 6, 9. Good match is 2.

Bush and Rice

An oldie but worth the time...

George W. Bush and Condoleezza Rice discuss international leaders, coffee and whether one is able to aquire Chinese food in the middle-east

Thursday, February 1, 2007

William H. Carney: 54th Massachusetts Soldier and First Black U.S. Medal of Honor Recipient

William H. Carney: 54th Massachusetts Soldier and First Black U.S. Medal of Honor Recipient
William H. Carney's grit at Fort Wagner earned him the distinction of being the first black soldier to receive the Medal of Honor.

By Thomas M. Hammond

Of all the men who wore blue uniforms in the Civil War, none felt more keenly the purpose of his mission than the African-American soldier. Every marching step, every swing of a pick and every round fired at Confederate enemies gave him a chance to strike a blow against slavery and prove himself equal to his white comrades. U.S. Colored Troops were consistently good fighters, performing well in every engagement in which they fought. Even their enemies had to grudgingly admit that fact. One USCT member, William H. Carney, transcended good to become great, and was the first black U.S. soldier to earn the Medal of Honor.

On February 17, 1863, at age 23, Carney heeded the call for African Americans to join a local militia unit, the Morgan Guards, with 45 other volunteers from his hometown of New Bedford, Mass. That unit would later become Company C of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment.

There was something unique about the new regiment, commanded by Colonel Robert Gould Shaw; it was an all-black unit with the exception of senior officers and a few senior noncommissioned sergeants. The 54th Massachusetts was created to prove that black men could be good soldiers.

Carney was born a slave on February 29, 1840, at Norfolk, Va. His father, also named William, escaped slavery, reaching freedom through the underground railroad. William Sr. then worked hard to buy the freedom of the rest of his family. The free and reunited family settled in New Bedford in the second half of the 1850s. Young William learned to read and write, and by age 15 he was interested in becoming a minister.

He gave up his pursuit of the ministry, however, to join the Army. In an 1863 edition of the Abolitionist newspaper The Liberator, Carney stated: "Previous to the formation of colored troops, I had a strong inclination to prepare myself for the ministry; but when the country called for all persons, I could best serve my God serving my country and my oppressed brothers. The sequel in short—I enlisted for the war."

That career change had momentous impact on Carney's life, as the 54th Massachusetts had a chance to prove its mettle in the July 18, 1863, Battle of Fort Wagner outside of Charleston, S.C. During the fight, the 54th made heroic attacks on the garrison, and Carney's bravery earned him a promotion to sergeant and the U.S. military's most prestigious award.

Fort Wagner on Morris Island guarded the entrance to the harbor of Charleston. Shaw and the 600 men of the 54th Massachusetts would spearhead the Federal assault from a slim strip of sand on the east side of the fort, which faced the Atlantic Ocean.

The 54th burrowed into a sand dune about 1,000 yards from Fort Wagner. Behind it was the 6th Connecticut. Federal land and sea artillery bombarded the fort all day long. By nightfall, orders were passed down and the 54th stood up, dressed ranks and attacked in two wings of five companies each.

As the men advanced they were immediately hit by a barrage of canister, musketry and shelling from the fort. A bullet struck the 54th's color sergeant, and as the wounded man faltered, Carney threw down his gun, seized the flag and moved to the front of the 54th's assaulting ranks. He soon found himself alone, on the fort's wall, with bodies of dead and wounded comrades all around him. He knelt down to gather himself for action, still firmly holding the flag while bullets and shell fragments peppered the sand around him.

Carney surveyed the battlefield and noticed that other Union regiments had attacked to his right, drawing away the focal point of the Rebel resistance. To his left he saw a large force of soldiers advancing down the ramparts of the fort. At first he thought they might be were Union forces. Flashes of musketry soon doomed his hopes. The oncoming troops were Confederates.

He wound the colors around the flagpole, made his way to a low protective wall and moved along it to a ditch. When Carney had passed over the ditch on his way to the fort, it was dry. But now it was waist deep with water.

He seemed to be alone, surrounded by the wreckage of his regiment. Carney wanted to help the wounded, but enemy fire pinned him down. Crouching in the water, he figured his best chance was to plot a course back to Federal lines and make a break for it.

Carney rose to get a better look. It was a fateful move. As he later wrote: "The bullet I now carry in my body came whizzing like a mosquito, and I was shot. Not being prostrated by the shot, I continued my course, yet had not gone far before I was struck by a second shot."

Despite carrying two slugs in his body, Carney kept moving. Shortly after being hit the second time he saw another Union soldier coming in his direction. When they were within earshot, Carney hailed him, asking who he was. The Yank replied he was with the 100th New York, and asked if Carney was wounded. Carney said he had indeed been shot, and then flinched as a third shot grazed his arm. The 100th soldier came to his aid and helped him move farther to the rear. "Now then," said the New York soldier, "let me take the colors and carry them for you." Carney, though, would not consent to that, no matter how battered he was. He explained that he would not be willing to give the colors to anyone who was not a member of the 54th Massachusetts.

The pair struggled on. They did not get far before yet another bullet hit Carney, grazing him in the head. The two men finally managed to stumble to their own lines. Carney was taken to the rear and turned over to medical personnel. Throughout his ordeal, he held on to the colors.

Cheers greeted him when Carney finally staggered into the ranks of the 54th. Before collapsing, he said, "Boys, the old flag never touched the ground!"

During the battle, Company C of the 54th Massachusetts was able to, for a short time, capture a small section of Fort Wagner. The 54th suffered 272 killed, wounded or missing out of the 600 in the battle. Colonel Shaw was among the dead. Total Union casualties were 1,515 out of about 5,000 in the assault force, while the Confederates had 174 casualties out of about 1,800 defenders.

Although the Union forces were repulsed and had to lay siege to Fort Wagner, which the Confederates abandoned two months later, the 54th was widely hailed for its bravery. Like a pebble dropped into a puddle, the regiment's heroism had a ripple effect, spurring thousands of other black men to join the Union Army. Even Abraham Lincoln noted that the 54th's bravery at Wagner was a key development that helped secure final victory for the North.

William Carney recovered from the four wounds he received at Fort Wagner, and word soon spread of his unselfish actions. When Carney's commanders heard about his conduct, he was promoted to sergeant. Later in the war, the 54th fought a rear-guard action covering a retreat at the Battle of Olustee, but Sergeant Carney could not participate in that engagement due to the lingering effects of his wounds. Because of his injuries he was discharged from the Army a little more than a year after the battle, on June 30, 1864.

Carney subsequently married Susannah Williams, also of New Bedford, on October 11, 1865. They had one child who later became an accomplished music teacher of the New Bedford area.

In 1866 William Carney was appointed superintendent of streetlights for the city of New Bedford. He then went to California to seek his fortune but returned to New Bedford in 1869 and took a job as a letter carrier for the Postal Service. He worked at that job for 32 years before retiring. After retirement he was employed as a messenger at the Massachusetts State House, where in 1908 he would be fatally injured in an accident that trapped his leg in an elevator.

William H. Carney's valor at Fort Wagner was honored on May 23, 1900, when he was awarded the Medal of Honor. That was almost 40 years after he so proudly served with the 54th Massachusetts Regiment. He was the first black soldier to receive the award. When asked about his heroic actions, he simply said, "I only did my duty."

This article was written by Thomas M. Hammond and published in the March 2007 issue of America's Civil War magazine.

Wyatt Earp's Vendetta Posse

Wyatt Earp's Vendetta Posse
The blood of his brothers Virgil and Morgan was on Cowboys' hands, and the time had come for Wyatt Earp, with a little help from his gun-toting friends, to gallop around the legal system in search of raw justice in Arizona Territory.
By Peter Brand

At about 11:30 p.m. on December 28, 1881, some two months after the so-called Gunfight at the O.K. Corral had rocked Tombstone, assassins opened fire on City Police Chief Virgil Earp outside the Oriental Saloon in that same divided community. At least three men fired double-barrel shotguns from their dark hiding place across the street. Virgil's left side took most of the pellets, and doctors were forced to remove several inches of shattered bone from his upper left arm. Virgil's distraught brother Wyatt was still assuming the worst when he telegraphed Crawley P. Dake, the U.S. marshal for Arizona Territory, a few hours later.

Tombstone, Arizona Territory, December 29, 1881
Virgil Earp was shot by concealed assassins last night. His wounds are fatal. Telegraph me appointment with power to appoint deputies. Local authorities are doing nothing. The lives of other citizens are threatened.
-Wyatt Earp

Marshal Dake readily agreed, and Wyatt Earp, now with federal authority, assembled a posse of gunmen to protect his family and to hunt for the men who had shot his brother. One of the prime suspects was Ike Clanton, who wanted revenge after an inquest had cleared the Earp brothers of any wrongdoing in the O.K. Corral fight.

Wyatt knew he must choose trustworthy men who would not be intimidated by further threats or acts of violence by the Cowboys, the group of alleged rustlers who had lost three of their own (Billy Clanton, Tom McLaury and Frank McLaury) in the October 26, 1881, street fight with three Earps (Wyatt, Virgil and Morgan) and Doc Holliday. The possemen not only would help Deputy U.S. Marshal Wyatt Earp enforce the law but also would act as bodyguards for the Earp brothers (Warren, as well as Morgan and Virgil) and their wives. Doc Holliday, a gambler, a lunger and a diehard friend, continued to stand by Wyatt during these dark days, and now the deputy marshal gathered some more help -- gunmen who had mysterious, if not dubious, backgrounds and tough reputations. For $5 a day, these men were willing to place themselves in extreme danger, though they all probably had different motivations for riding with Wyatt Earp.

In 1882 (from left) Sherman McMaster, Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday lead the charge after their Cowboy enemies during Earp's Vendetta, which is also the name of this Bud Bradshaw painting.

The first of these men was John "Texas Jack" Vermillion. A carpenter by trade who was said to have hailed from Virginia (not Texas), Vermillion gave his age as 36 in 1881. He had arrived in Tombstone from New Mexico Territory and had proved his worth to the Earps after the June 1881 town fire, when he was deputized by Virgil to help keep lot jumpers at bay. Here was a man who could enforce the law in times of trouble. Vermillion apparently wore his hair long and was sometimes called "Shoot-Your-Eye-Out Jack." Recent researchers have said that his full name was John Wilson Vermillion, that he had been a sharpshooter with the Virginia Cavalry during the Civil War, and that he was rumored to have been a lawman in Missouri.

Sherman W. McMaster, who was 28 in 1881, was the most complex and valuable deputy among Earp's group, as he possessed an extensive knowledge of the local terrain and personally knew many of the Cowboys said to be gunning for the Earp family. Born in Galena, Ill., to a wealthy family and well educated in Rock Island, Ill., McMaster saw service with the Texas Rangers in 1878-79. Stationed in El Paso, he tracked renegade Indians, chased horse thieves, and acted as a scout for the 9th Cavalry, which was situated nearby.

McMaster's Texas Ranger Company held outlaw (and future Clanton and McLaury confederate) "Curly Bill" Brocius prisoner over a five-month period in 1878, and McMaster was later said to have associated with the San Simon Cowboys. To further complicate matters, Sherman was also accused of army mule theft and stage robbery in company with the infamous Cowboy Pony Diehl. Although these charges were never proved, Wyatt admitted that McMaster had been friendly with the Cowboy element, and he was, therefore, able to make use of his inside knowledge. McMaster spoke fluent Spanish, rode fine horses and was skilled with a gun (Bat Masterson's brother Thomas called McMaster the fastest man on the draw he had seen). He is thought by some to have been an undercover operative for not only Earp but also Wells Fargo. If that was true, McMaster's open association with the Earp posse ended any hope he had of staying in Arizona, and he may have seen Wyatt's posse as his paid ticket out of the territory.

Perhaps the most dangerous man deputized by Wyatt Earp was Jack Johnson. Earp biographer Stuart Lake referred to him as "Turkey Creek Jack" Johnson, but his real name, according to Wyatt, was John William Blount. He was 34 in 1881 and had a unique reason for joining the posse. A native of Missouri who was raised in the lead mining area of Neosho, he became a wanted man and was forced to flee the state in 1877 after he and his brothers were involved in a violent street battle in Webb City, Mo. One brother, Bud, killed a man in a quarrel in May 1881 in Tip Top, Arizona Territory, and was sent to Yuma Prison. John Blount, using the alias Jack Johnson, then went to Tombstone to see if Wyatt Earp could help get his brother pardoned. Indeed, Wyatt assisted with a petition to the governor, and Bud Blount was eventually freed. As a way to repay his debt, Johnson joined the posse. Johnson was also said to have previously associated with the Cowboys and therefore, like McMaster, was able to pass on important inside information.

Origen Charles Smith and Daniel "Tip" Tipton, two gamblers who supplemented their incomes with mining ventures, completed the Earp posse. Smith, a 37-year-old native of Connecticut, had a close and long connection to the Earp family. Charlie was fluent in Spanish, having spent several years in Texas working in saloons. In Fort Worth he had been associated with barman James Earp, the oldest of the Earp boys, as well as saloon owner and future Earp business partner Robert J. Winders. Smith took a hand in at least two Fort Worth gunfights and sustained a serious chest wound in 1878. The following year, Smith came to Tombstone with Winders and immediately became associated with all the Earps.

Tipton, also 37, arrived in Tombstone in March 1881 with a shady reputation earned during the early days of the mining boom in Virginia City, Nev. Tipton, who sported several tattoos on his hands and forearms, was a former Civil War Union seaman who took up mining and gambling after the war. In 1879 he spent time in the Gunnison district of Colorado before coming to Tombstone at the request of his friend Lou Rickabaugh, a gambling kingpin who needed help during the town's so-called Gamblers War (see story in the October 2004 Wild West). Ricka­baugh was a business partner of Wyatt Earp. Tipton was said to have traveled to Tombstone in the company of another Earp ally, Bat Masterson. By the time of the serious trouble with the Cowboys in October 1881, Masterson had left Tombstone, but Tipton was still there supporting the Earp faction.

Wyatt Earp's early prognosis about his wounded brother was wrong. By mid-January 1882, Virgil's condition had improved slightly, and Wyatt decided to headquarter the Earp families with Virgil at the Cosmopolitan Hotel for safekeeping. Tombstone was a powder keg, and Wyatt knew there was safety in numbers. On January 17, 1882, Doc Holliday and Cowboy rival Johnny Ringo had a much-celebrated standoff on Allen Street. The men faced off with their hands on their revolvers, but a town deputy prevented them from taking matters any further. On the same day, gambler and Earp ally Lou Rickabaugh came to blows with Ben Maynard, a Cowboy associate, but they were separated before weapons could be used.

After spending the first half of January watching out for Cowboys and watching over his injured brother, who had lost the use of his left arm but would survive, Wyatt Earp decided it was time for action. On January 23, 1882, Wyatt and his possemen rode out of Tombstone with warrants for Virgil's suspected attackers -- Ike and Fin Clanton and Pony Diehl. On the ride, they arrested the fiery Maynard and forced him to lead the way as they descended on the nearby Cowboy hangout of Charleston. The posse went door to door in Charleston but failed to find the Clantons or Diehl. After riding out of town, the men scouted through the countryside, eventually setting up a camp near Tombstone at a place known as Pick-em-up.

Unbeknown to Wyatt, the Clanton brothers had surrendered themselves and were already back in Tombstone. To make matters worse, on January 30, a deputy sheriff rode out to Pick-em-up and served his own warrant on Earp posseman Sherman McMaster, who was wanted for "borrowing" two horses from the Contention mine the previous fall. No resistance was offered, and the entire Earp posse returned to Tombstone, where McMaster was bailed, and he and Charlie Smith booked into the Cosmopolitan Hotel.

Courtroom dramas dominated the Tombstone newspapers throughout February 1882, as both factions sought justice through the legal system. McMaster gave evidence against Ike Clanton during the latter's hearing on the attempted murder of Virgil Earp. Although Ike's hat was found at the scene of the crime, he provided an alibi and the charges were dismissed due to inconclusive evidence.

On February 9, Ike Clanton went to the town of Contention and filed new charges against the Earps and Doc Holliday relating to the O.K. Corral shootout, but these charges were later dismissed. With tensions close to breaking point on February 15, Earp deputy Dan Tipton and the ever-ready Ben Maynard came close to a gunfight in Tombstone's Alhambra Saloon. Tipton was left with a bloody eye, and both men were fined. Two days later, the Earp posse was riding again. Heavily armed, they left Tombstone with warrants for the arrest of Pony Diehl, who was now wanted for a January 1882 stage robbery. That expedition proved fruitless, and Wyatt and his men eventually returned empty-handed to town.

As March 1882 progressed, an uneasy quiet fell over Tombstone. Wyatt and his men had heard that the Cowboys were plotting more revenge attacks, but no one knew for sure when, or where, the attacks would take place. There seemed to be an air of inevitability about further violence occurring. Tipton would later state that members of the Earp faction had been repeatedly warned to be on the lookout for a Cowboy ambush, and on March 18, it finally came. At about 11 p.m., Morgan Earp was playing pool at Campbell and Hatch's Saloon, while Tipton, McMaster and Wyatt watched. As Morgan turned his back to a rear door to play a shot, gunshots tore through the door widows and struck him in the back. Morgan collapsed at the scene and died within the hour.

A coroner's jury later identified the men suspected of killing Morgan as Cochise County Deputy Frank Stilwell, his friend Pete Spence (or Spencer), and three of Spence's employees -- Indian Charlie, Frederick Bode and an unnamed half-breed. The cowardly assassination of his brother was a turning point for Earp and his posse. Until that time, Wyatt had attempted to rely on the legal system to bring Virgil's assailants to justice. He now understood the futility of that effort and knew the only way to deal with Morgan's murderers was to kill them.

Before he could concentrate on the hunt, Wyatt had to secure what was left of his family. Morgan's coffin was loaded on a train, and James Earp accompanied it to Colton, Calif., where Morgan's distraught widow, Louisa, was residing. The wives of James and Wyatt, Bessie and Mattie, would follow five days later. Wyatt and his men then escorted Virgil and his wife, Allie, to the train station at Contention. The original plan was to see them safely as far as Benson, but reports came in that Ike Clanton and Frank Stilwell had been seen in Tucson. Fearing another ambush, Wyatt and Warren Earp, Sherman McMaster, Doc Holliday and Jack Johnson boarded their train on March 20 and guarded Virgil and his wife all the way through to Tucson. A passenger later commented that the men carried pistols, rifles and shotguns and that McMaster wore two belts of cartridges.

The party arrived safely at Tucson that evening and went to the nearby Porter's Hotel for dinner. At the end of the meal, the rest of the group helped Virgil and Allie back onto the westbound train. At that point, two men thought to be Ike Clanton and Frank Stilwell were seen lying on nearby flatcars with guns pointed at the train. Wyatt quickly alighted from the train and moved quietly between the cars. He would later claim that both men saw him and ran. Wyatt chased hard after the men, who separated among the rail cars. McMaster, Holliday and Johnson also gave chase. A railroad fireman testified that he saw one man running along the tracks followed by four armed pursuers. Wyatt claimed that he caught up with one would-be assassin and fired both barrels of his shotgun when the man made a grab for it. The remaining posse members then arrived at the bloody scene and proceeded to fire more shots into the corpse. The dead man was Frank Stilwell.

Stilwell's corpse was found in the Tucson rail yard the next morning, but Earp and his men were long gone. A witness would later say that he heard six to 10 shots and at the same time heard men cheering. One eyewitness claimed that Stilwell "was shot all over…the worst shot-up man I ever saw." The coroner's inquest later found at least five separate gunshot wounds on the body -- one for each member of the Earp posse. They had wanted to send a clear message to Ike Clanton and the other Cowboys: There would be no more attempted arrests from now on; Wyatt and his men would dispense their own law.

After the killing, Wyatt and his possemen had watched Virgil's train depart and then had searched the rail yard for Clanton and his men. Having no luck, they then walked in the darkness to the Papago station, where they hopped a freight train and rode back to Benson. Next, the group rented a wagon and drove to Con­tention, probably joining "Texas Jack" Vermillion, who had not traveled to Tucson but had stayed behind in Contention with their horses. The posse then rode back to Tombstone and immediately went to the Cosmopolitan Hotel. Later that day, Charlie Smith and Dan Tipton joined them, and plans were made to again leave town.

The coroner's jury in Tucson duly found that five members of Earp's posse were responsible for the death of Stilwell, and warrants were issued for their arrest. A telegram sent to Sheriff John Behan in Tombstone advised him that his deputy had been murdered and asked him to detain the men responsible. When Behan arrived at the Cosmopolitan Hotel, he found Earp and his posse walking through the lobby to the street, armed to the teeth and in no mood to chat. Behan approached the group and said he wanted to see Wyatt, but all the men brushed past him. As Wyatt passed the ineffectual sheriff, he remarked, "You may see me once too often," or something similar. He and his men strode on to a nearby corral, where they mounted their horses and rode defiantly out of Tombstone.

After spending that night in a camp outside of town, the Earp posse rode hard in the direction of the Dragoon Mountains. Pete Spence operated a woodcutting business in the foothills, and the posse hoped to catch not only Spence but also the other three men named in the coroner's report. On the morning of March 22, Wyatt's party rode into Spence's camp, but failed to find him. Spence had judiciously surrendered in Tombstone, and an Indian known as Hank had already been arrested. Two Earp posse members, probably McMaster and Smith, questioned a worker in Spanish at the camp, and then the group rode up a hill in the direction of a half blood known as Florentino.

The eight-man posse must have been convinced they had their man, because they opened fire. Florentino ran but was quickly brought down in a hail of bullets. Wyatt Earp would later say that Florentino was one of the men who had stood watch for the murderers on the night Morgan was killed. During the inquest into the half blood's death, he was further identified as Florentino Cruz. The Arizona Weekly Citizen later published a letter, stating that he was also known as Philomeno Sais, and he was wanted in connection with the robbery and murder of two U.S. marshals in 1878. The Arizona Weekly Star added weight to this argument, as it had previously identified the 1878 murderer as Florentino Saiz. Whatever his correct name, he was guilty as far as the Earp posse was concerned.

After the killing, the posse rode out of the area, and on March 23, Smith and Tipton separated from the others to obtain information in Tombstone. The two men immediately ran into trouble. Sheriff Behan liked the odds this time and arrested both of them for "resisting arrest and conspiracy." The men were immediately bailed, and Smith left town to rendezvous with the posse while Tipton remained in Tombstone. Smith met with Earp and then was sent back to town to obtain $1,000 in expense money for the posse. Wyatt and his men were to meet Smith later in the Whetstone Mountains, at a watering hole known as Iron Springs.

Back in Tombstone, a coroner's inquest found that Florentino Cruz was killed by Wyatt and Warren Earp, Sherman McMaster, Jack Johnson, Doc Holliday, Texas Jack and two other unnamed gunmen (Dan Tipton and Charlie Smith). Sheriff Behan then organized his own posse and set out after the wanted men. Behan drew criticism as his group included noted Cowboys Johnny Ringo, Fin Clanton and Johnny Barnes. A second posse, made up of Charleston Cowboys, also took to the field. On March 24, that bunch rode into Contention, and a witness reported that the Charleston contingent was well mounted, well armed and hunting for the Earp posse.

The afternoon of the 24th was warm, and Wyatt loosened his cartridge belt as he led his men toward Iron Springs. To his surprise he did not find Charlie Smith but a gang of Cowboys, who opened fire without warning. Earp jumped from his horse with a shotgun in his hands, while McMaster, Johnson and Doc Holliday wheeled their horses and sought cover. Vermillion's horse was shot and collapsed, pinning Texas Jack's leg. At the first shot, according to Earp, McMaster recognized "Curly Bill" Brocius and cried out his name.

Earp then returned fire and blasted Brocius with his double-barrel shotgun, almost cutting the Cowboy in two. Amid the gun smoke and mayhem, Wyatt pulled up his cartridge belt and attempted to mount his horse while taking fire from the remaining Cowboys. He fired in their general direction as Cowboy bullets struck the pommel of his saddle and the heel of his boot. One slug hit with such force that Earp believed he had been wounded. He somehow managed to partially mount his horse and scampered back to safety, picking up Texas Jack Vermillion as he went.

The Earp posse had miraculously survived the gunfight without any serious casualties, other than the loss of Texas Jack's horse. Bullets had perforated Wyatt's coattails and McMaster had sustained a grazed side when a bullet cut through the straps of his field glasses and tore through his clothes. The posse rested, counted their blessings and then rode back toward Tombstone. The Cowboys would later deny that Curly Bill Brocius had been killed at Iron Springs. Although debate raged in the Tombstone newspapers, Earp always maintained he had blasted Brocius, and the fact remained that Curly Bill was never seen in Tombstone again.

Charlie Smith's exact movements are hard to trace at this stage. Apparently he rejoined Earp's posse just after the Iron Springs shootout, but he did not supply the much-needed funds. That task would eventually fall to Dan Tipton. In any case, on March 26 Earp and his men rode out to Dragoon Summit Station, where they stopped an eastbound train at 1 p.m. and hunted unsuccessfully through the carriages. Whether they expected to find a messenger with additional funds, or Ike Clanton himself, is not exactly clear. They needed money and a place to rest before deciding their next move, so they rode north to Henry Clay Hooker's Sierra Bonita Ranch. Hooker was an influential cattle rancher in nearby Graham County and a supporter of Earp's actions.

The Earp posse arrived at Sierra Bonita on March 27. There, they fed their worn-out horses and took advantage of Hooker's hospitality. Early that same morning, Dan Tipton left Tombstone on the first stage heading for Benson, carrying $1,000 from mining man E.B. Gage for the posse. At Benson, Tipton boarded a train to Willcox, where he rented a horse and rode to Hooker's ranch. Lou Cooley, a stage driver and likely Wells Fargo operative, also provided the Earp posse with additional funds, from the express company. Wyatt and his seven men now had traveling money and fresh horses. They left Hooker's ranch the next morning and set up a camp on a nearby butte. From their vantage point, they could see the approach of any riders from rival posses, and they waited for a possible confrontation. It never came. Sheriff Behan and his men eventually arrived at Sierra Bonita, but they were refused assistance. According to one report, Hooker mockingly told Behan where to find the Earps, but the sheriff rode off in the opposite direction.

The eight-man Earp posse remained in the area for a few more days, but the so-called Vendetta had run its course. With two hostile posses on their trail, Wyatt and his men were outnumbered and knew it would be extremely dangerous to stay in Arizona any longer. Early in April 1882, Wyatt and his posse rode to Silver City, New Mexico Territory. They spent one night in the home of a friend, and the next day sold their horses and saddles, before taking a stage to Deming. From there they traveled by train to Albuquerque and made plans to move to the relative safety of Colorado. Charlie Smith parted company with the group in Silver City and headed back to make Tombstone his home. He was the only member of the Earp posse to do so.

Once in Colorado, the posse fragmented. Wyatt and Warren Earp, Dan Tipton and Texas Jack Vermillion headquartered at Gunnison. Doc Holliday went to Denver, while Johnson and McMaster probably reunited with their respective brothers in Leadville. The men had found their sanctuary, as Colorado Governor Frederick Pitkin refused extradition requests from the Arizona territorial authorities.

In time, the law did catch up with some of the surviving Cowboys. Johnny Ringo was shot dead -- some say by his own hand -- in July 1882, while Ike Clanton was gunned down in 1887 resisting arrest. Johnny Barnes was said to have died of wounds sustained at the Iron Springs shootout, while Pete Spence, Fin Clanton and Pony Diehl were eventually convicted of various crimes and all did time in state penitentiaries.

Peter Brand, from Australia, has done extensive research on the Vendetta (see his Web site and writes for the Western Outlaw-Lawman History Association (WOLA) Journal and the National Outlaw-Lawman Association (NOLA) Quarterly. See his "Daniel Tipton and the Earp Vendetta Posse" in the Fall 2000 NOLA Quarterly, and his "Sherman W. McMaster: The El Paso Salt War, Texas Rangers and Tombstone" in the Fall 1999 WOLA Journal. This article originally appeared in the March 2007 issue of Wild West magazine.

New Words for 2007

New Words for 2007

An excellent phrase for an overweight person.

A deeply unattractive person.

Waving your arms around and talking bollocks.

Sitting round in a group, discussing why a deadline was missed or a Project failed, and who was responsible.

A manager who flies in, makes a lot of noise, craps on everything, and Then leaves.

The process by which people seem to absorb success and advancement by sucking up to the boss rather than working hard.

The experience of spending an entire day swimming upstream only to get screwed and die.

An office filled with cubicles.

When someone yells or drops something loudly in a cube farm, and people's heads pop up over the walls to see what's going on. (This also applies to applause for a promotion because there may be cake.)

Single Income, Two Children, Oppressive Mortgage. What yuppies turn into when they have children and one of them stops working to stay home with the kids or start a "home business".

Single working girls. Single income, no boyfriend and desperate.

One who has bleached/dyed her hair but still has a 'black box'.

The fine art of whacking the crap out of an electronic device to get it to work again.

The rarefied organisational layers beginning just above the rank and file. Decisions that fall from the "adminisphere" are often profoundly inappropriate or irrelevant to the problems they were designed to solve.
This is often affiliated with the dreaded "administrivia" - needless paperwork and processes.

Entering a fast food restaurant with no intention of buying food, you're just going to the bog. If challenged by a pimply staff member, your declaration to them that you'll buy their food afterwards is known as a McShit with Lies.

* 404.
Someone who's clueless. From the World Wide Web error message "404 Not Found" meaning that the requested document could not be located.

Similar to a French Kiss, but given down under.

That minuscule fraction of time in which you realize that you've just Made a BIG mistake (e.g. you've hit 'reply all').

A very short skirt, only an inch from the hare.

A young man of substandard intelligence, the typical adolescent who works in a burger restaurant. The 'no-stars' comes from the badges displaying stars that staff at fast-food restaurants often wear to show their level of training.

The contents of a Wonderbra, i.e. extremely impressive when viewed from The outside, but there's actually naught in there worth seeing.

A bath so hot, that when lowering yourself in, you go: "Oo! Oo! Oo! Aa! Aa! Aa!".

The bus that arrives at the pub on Friday night while you're in the Toilet after your 10th pint, and whisks away all the unattractive people so the pub is suddenly packed with stunners when you come back in.

The taxi that arrives at your place on Saturday morning before you wake up, whisks away the stunner you slept with, and leaves a 10-Pinter in your bed instead.

The invisible but warm coat worn when walking home after a booze cruise at 3:00am.

The invisible device that ensures your safe arrival home after booze cruise, even though you're too drunk to remember where you live, how you got here, and where you've come from.

Your first pee in the pub, usually after 2 hours of drinking. After breaking the seal of your bladder, repeat visits to the toilet will be required every 10 or 15 minutes for the rest of the night.

Bottled premixed spirits, regularly consumed by young women.

A woman whose knickers are too small for her, so she looks like she's got 4 buttocks.