Horace C. Lewiss gunfight
Fast Freight Line Owner shot a man over a woman
By PETER BOLTZ
Express Staff Writer
Most people familiar with Wagon Days know the name Horace C. Lewis. The
ore wagons in the parade were used by his Fast Freight Line.
And many people also know that the first Wagon Days in 1958 featured
Lewiss widow, Katherine, as the Grand Dame of Ketchum.
Indeed, descendants of this historically important family, Cutler Lewis
and his sister, Hildegarde Lewis, are this years Wagon Days parade marshals.
But how many people know that in 1883, Horace apparently shot a man three
times in a fight over a woman?
According to The Wood River News-Miner, "An old feud has grown
up between Horace Lewis and John Pilmer since the commencement of the [formers]
attentions to Miss Irene Brasher."
The News-Miner reported that after an earlier "affray"
Pilmer confronted Lewis in the Ketchum post office.
The two "were seen to be very near to each other, as if about to
fight, when young Lewis quickly backed off and fired three shots in rapid succession at
One shot nicked Pilmers shoulder; one shot was a flesh wound to the
right thigh; and one shot went across the front of Pilmers mouth taking out the four
front top teeth.
Despite his wounds, Pilmer "in an instant had Lewiss pistol
wrested from him, when several men who were nearby interfered and separated the
Pilmer, reported the News-Miner, was taken to the drug store and
treated for his wounds. The paper wrote that he would recover but would live with a
"deformity of the upper part of the mouth."
All this was reported in the Oct. 20, 1883, issue of the News-Miner.
According to this account, the shooting took place on Monday evening, Oct. 15, 1883.
The paper wrote more on Irene Brasher one week later in a story the News-Miner
called "A Concentration of Various Reports into What Is Most Likely the True
The paper reported that Brasher was Pilmers sister-in-law and that
both of them were from Des Moines, Iowa.
Furthermore, Brasher was living in Pilmers home at the same time
Lewis was calling on her.
Pilmer "at length forbade Mr. Lewis in his house upon which Miss
Brasher left it herself, and lived at the house of Captain J. B. Harper.
Declared the newspaper:
"Under this irritation, Mr. Pilmer from time to time manifested his
hatred of Mr. Lewis."
The other newspaper in the valley at the time, The Ketchum Keystone,
was outraged by the News-Miners reporting.
But then again, the editor of the Keystone was George J. Lewis,
The same day the News-Miner ran its story "The Ketchum
Shooting," on Oct. 20, the Keystone ran its editorial, "A Hailey
George Lewis wrote, "The uncouth manner in which Mr. Picotte [the
editor of the News-Miner] grabs at the single-handed conjuration of a domestic
scandal is shocking to every sense of journalistic duty, and unpleasing to his readers.
The disgraceful manner in which he has overstepped his bounds in attacking citizens of
this place with a dastardly attempt to amuse, at the expense of their characters, is
illustrated in his recent account of the shooting here."
In its next issue, Oct. 24, 1883, the Keystone printed this wedding
"Married, at the Merchants Hotel, in Hailey, on Sunday [Oct.
21] morning, the 21st instant, by the Rev. E. Pratt, Mr. Horace C. Lewis and Miss Irene
Brasher, both of Ketchum.
"Miss Brasher, who had been on a two months visit to her home
in Des Moines, Iowa, reached Hailey on Sunday mornings train, where she was met by
Mr. Lewis. They are both well known in Ketchum."
(The Mountain Express thanks Wendy Warren and Rusty Marti of The
Community Librarys Regional History Department for their help in researching this