Sometimes when my pals and I went up on Peters Peak to shoot our guns, George Cowboy Smith would be there too. I didn't know him well, but he was a loner like me and we got along. He liked guns and had several pistols he would shoot. One was a nickel plated single action Colt .45. with pearl grips and he did wear a white cowboy hat sometimes. He was a tough guy and I believed his destiny was to be somebody who would eventually live by his gun either good or bad. I lost track of him when he went into the Army and I also left Hazard. Around 1952 when I hooked up with Dick McIntyre again in Hazard he told me a story about Cowboy. I was not surprised.
Down at the end of Main Street right on the corner where you turn right to go to Big Bottom, there was a regular Saloon there called The Wheel. That old three story building was always the bad part of town. They ran whores upstairs and downstairs. You could get any thing else you wanted. Some sold moonshine and dope on the street. Apparently the Wheel's business was doing very well. Booze, gambling and it looked like a place right out of "Gunsmoke." They were also cutting and shooting and fighting nightly. I can't remember the owner's name but he was a tough guy. He avoided being shutdown legally for a couple of years. I never understood Hazard politics. One year its wet, one year its dry. Anyway, Cowboy had been in to it with this guy several times but could never get anything to stick. One Saturday night Cowboy walks into the crowded place with the police department's Thompson sub-machine gun and empties a whole clip into the walls. The owner was slightly wounded. I'm not sure about the rest of the story but after that the place was closed for good.
Never a dull moment in Hazard back in the good ole days.