Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Oy There, Pardner

I came across this in an article about Jewish Pioneers: A new life in the old west:
A lesser-known fact about the O.K. Corral was that the town had a Jewish mayor. Wyatt Earp’s common-law wife was also Jewish, and so were the first non-Indian chief of the Acoma tribe, a surgeon who stormed the Alamo, as well as merchants, miners, gunfighters, cattle punchers, doctors, and lawmen.

“So successful were the Jewish pioneers that by 1900, there wasn’t a single settlement west of the Mississippi of any significance which had not had a Jewish mayor,” says historian Kenneth Libo. “This includes Deadwood, Dodge City, and Tombstone.”
Sounds interesting, though I think this part is going a bit far:

But it was the Jewish merchant, not the fly-by-night prospector, who played a major role in the development of the West, turning dusty little cow towns into urban centers. “Jews literally brought civilization to countless cities and towns in America west of the Mississippi by establishing ‘the department store’ in every town of any consequence,” says Libo. “Their numbers may have been small, but their influence was substantial.” [emphasis added]
Read the whole thing.

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