Missouri and Ozarks History

Information and comments about historical people and events of Missouri, the Ozarks region, and surrounding area.

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Location: Missouri

I'm a freelance writer specializing in the history of the Ozarks and surrounding region. I've written sixteen nonfiction books, two historical novels, and numerous articles. My latest books are Wicked Women of Missouri, Yanked Into Eternity: Lynchings and Hangings in Missouri, and Show-Me Atrocities: Infamous Incidents in Missouri History.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

James H. Fagg

I think I've mentioned Pink Fagg on this blog before. He was a notorious character in the Ozarks in the late 1800s. He first got in trouble in Springfield in the mid 1870s for theft, spent a stint in the state prison, and then got in trouble around 1880 for trying to kill his wife in Jasper County. He beat that rap but tried to kill a man at Pierce City a few years later and went up the river for another stay at Jeff City. He got released again after only a couple of years and went to Fort Smith, where he killed a man in an argument over a woman. After a term in the Arkansas State Prison at Little Rock, he finally settled down and lived out the rest of his days as a liquor dealer in Tulsa. My next book from Pelican Publishing, entitled Desperadoes of the Ozarks, will contain a chapter on Pink.
Pink Fagg apparently came by his wild streak honestly, because his father, James H. Fagg, was a character of some notoriety himself. When Pink was a kid, his father ran a grocery/saloon in Springfield and, during the Civil War era, often butted heads with law officers, both civil and military, over liquor and other violations.
To cite only one instance, James H. Fagg and his partner, DeWitt Brewster, got in trouble in December of 1863 with the provost marshal of the Springfield post for selling liquor to soldiers in violation of military policy. According to statements given to the provost marshal by soldiers and other witnesses, when Brewster and Fagg's business on the east side of town was raided in the wee hours of the morning of December 27, the pair was not only caught in the act of serving booze to soldiers but was also in possession of some flour that had been stolen the night before from one of the military units stationed at Springfield. Although Brewster denied all the charges, Fagg admitted he had sold liquor to soldiers but claimed that he thought the order against doing so had been lifted because all the other liquor dealers had been selling to enlisted men, too. Fagg implied that he was being singled out only because he had previously been accused of being disloyal, a charge which he denied. Brewster and Fagg ended up having their supply of goods confiscated by the government and getting their business shut down, but the closure must have been only temporary, at least in the case of Fagg, because he got in trouble with the provost marshal again for selling liquor to soldiers at least one more time later in the war.


Blogger Betty Craker Henderson said...

Wow, Larry. Where DO you come up with this stuff? It's fascinating. I just wish I could keep it in my head.

July 15, 2011 at 7:59 PM  

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