Correspondence of the “Journal”

Mark Twain

Muscatine Tri-Weekly Journal/ March 12, 1855

St. Louis, March 1, 1855.

Yesterday afternoon, about 1o’clock, an affray occurred in the saloon of the Planters’ House, between the noted desperado, Bob O’Blennis, and Benjamin F. Brand, Deputy Marshal, which resulted in the death of the latter in a few hours.

According to the published evidence, the two men commenced quarrelling, while standing at the bar. Harsh language passed on both sides. O’Blennis left the saloon, but soon returned, and said to Brand, “I suppose you have something against me, and now is the time to settle it.” Brand said he was ready. Both drew their revolvers at the same time, but Brand did not shoot. O’Blennis fired four shots, one shattering B.’s hand, another entering his wrist, the third taking effect in the arm, near the shoulder, and the fourth and fatal ball entered the side, passed through the lungs, and lodged in the back bone. Brand lived about three hours. His wife, who visited him, was almost frantic. Mr. B. was about thirty years of age, and leaves three interesting children.

O’Blennis was taken before Justice Butler and examined. He rambled about the streets, after the murder, accompanied by an officer part of the time, and part of the time entirely at liberty.

Bob O’Blennis has long been celebrated as the most abandoned and reckless outlaw in St. Louis — and but for his money, would have been roasting in the infernal regions long before this. Mr. Brand is not the first man he ever killed. If all the curses I have heard heaped upon his head today were to go into effect, I almost doubt if a place could be invented hot enough for him.


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