Steve Chapman, historian for Salida Walking Tours and author of “Salida Sam” books, launched a new series of Salida history books Thursday.
Each volume focuses exclusively on one person or one incident from the past, offering an in-depth examination.
Book 1 of the new series is “MURDER! The Criminal Conspiracy and Coverup Behind the Slaying of Salida’s Most Famous Marshal.”
“Over the past few years, researching for tours and the chronological book series (Salida Sam), I found more intriguing facts than could fit into the other formats,” Chapman said in a press release about his motivation for writing the new series.
“‘MURDER!,’ for instance. There is no denying that the slaying of Marshal Baxter Stingley in 1883 was more sinister than a random shootout with a wandering cowboy,” Chapman said. “Stingley was involved in a cattle theft ring, at least peripherally. He made enemies of powerful ranchers and businessmen in the region, and these men had him killed. There is no doubt about it. I believe this book proves a conspiracy to commit murder and a cover-up to ensure the killer never was caught.”
Through legal documents, census reports, Salida town council minutes, original newspaper articles from around the nation, rarely seen photographs and a prosecutorial approach, Chapman lays out the life of Baxter Stingley from his birth in Missouri to his death in Salida.
“It’s a fascinating, true story that shows how violent and tribal this valley was in the early days,” Chapman said.