Site hosted by Build your free website today!

The McSweens

Alex McSween

This photo of McSween was probably taken in Topeka, Kansas in 1870. It is his only known photo.

Alexander Anderson McSween was born in Canada in 1843. He was strong in his faith of God and served as a preacher for a time. He attened a years worth of law school at a St. Louis college, but did not complete the entire class. He lived in Kansas for a while before moving to Lincoln County. While in Kansas, he worked as a school teacher and as a lawyer. He also married Susan Ellen Hummer in Kansas on August 23, 1873. McSween first worked as the lawyer for the Murphy-Dolan-Riley firm. Later, he left the faction and became the lawyer and friend of John H. Tunstall. In an attempt by James Dolan to destroy the Tunstall faction, Dolan accused McSween of embezzling on a case he worked on when working for the Murphy-Dolan-Riley faction. The case in reference was the case of the life insurance policy of Murphy's old partner Emil Fritz, who had died in 1874 and had left a $10,000 life insurance policy. His heirs were his brother, Charles Fritz, and his sister, Emilie Fritz Scholand. McSween had gone to New York to collect on the insurance a few years before joining Tunstall. In New York, the money was transferred to his account and he was not ordered by the court to give it to anyone. Nevertheless, he tried to give it to Charles Fritz, but Dolan told Fritz to tell McSween to hold on to it, and Fritz did so. Dolan then told Emilie Fritz Scholand that McSween was embezzling the money, which led to an affidavit being signed by Scholand that said this. McSween was arrested and went before Dolan man Judge Warren Bristol in Mesilla, New Mexico. Bristol stated the McSween said he and Tunstall wer partners in the store business. However, according to witnesses, McSween never said this (and he would have no reason to, since he was not Tunstall's partner in the store, only his lawyer). Because of this, Bristol issued a writ of attachment on Tunstall's and McSween's property. Tunstall's store and the possesion therein were attached by the corrupt Dolan man Sheriff William Brady. Shortly thereafter, Tunstall was murdered by a posse composed of Dolan men, while trying to find a legal way to reacquire his property. After this, the Lincoln County War started, with McSween acting as the boss of the Regulators. During most of the Lincoln County War, he was on the run. When he and the Regulators returned to his home in Lincoln on July 14, 1878 and refused to flee again, the Five-Day Battle began. On July 19, after his house was nearly burnt to the ground by the forces of the Murphy-Dolan-Riley faction, he and the Regulators started running out of the house. McSween, unarmed, caught five bullets and fell dead.

Susan McSween as a young lady

Susan McSween was born Susan Ellen Hummer in Adams County, Pennsylvania on December 30, 1845. After the Civil War ended, she left Pennsylvania to Ohio to live with her sisters there. In 1870, in Illinois, she met Alex McSween, and they soon became engaged. She went with him to Kansas, and there they married on August 23, 1873. They left for New Mexico shortly after, settling in Lincoln. Like her husband, she was an important figure in the Lincoln County War. Unlike her husband, she was not afraid to speek her mind and was far more realistic about what was going on. She was hated by every Murphy-Dolan-Riley man. After the war and after her husband was killed and her home burned to the ground, she hired a lawyer named Huston Chapman to bring the men she blamed to trial. At the top of her list was Lt. Col. Nathan A. M. Dudley, who was a Dolan man and who was present at the Five-Day Battle in Lincoln, in which her husband was killed and her home destroyed. During the battle, she had pleaded to Dudley to help her husband, but he basically laughed in her face. Her lawyer, Chapman, was murdered by Dolan and three other Dolan men, one of which basically announced he was hired to kill Chapman by Dudley. Dudley did go to trial for arson, but was acquitted. Before that, he faced a court of inquiry to decided whether he should be court martialed for his activities during the Five-Day Battle. Susan got past this and became the owner of not only her late husband's property, but that of the dead Tunstall and Dick Brewer's as well. She started a ranch near Three Rivers, New Mexico and became known as a cattle queen. She married a man named George Barber in 1880, but later divorced him. She died in White Oaks, New Mexico on January 3, 1931.

Susan McSween

This photo of Susan was taken sometime in the 1880s.