Sometimes truth is stranger – and funnier—than fiction!!

This was Bishop Rowe in about 1920.  No pictures of Billy the Horse exist. 

During the Alaska Gold Rush, Billy the Horse was well-known for his encounter with Bishop Rowe. They were coming from opposite directions on the same trail and, as the Bishop was completely bundled up, Billy didn’t know he was talking to a man of God. When asked about the trail he had just traveled, Billy replied “that trail is the god-damndest trail that any dirty son-of-a-b%^&* ever went over.” Then Billy asked how the Bishop had found the trail he had just come over, “Just about the same as you, brother.” (Billy was booming until as late as 1913 and died in April of 1916.)

Billy the Horse was also alleged to have been in a poker game of notoriety in Dawson where Swiftwater Bill Gates slipped a man named Jack Blackburn a sixth card. It was well into the game when Jack asked for some beer and sandwiches. No one objected and they continued the game after a quick bite. When it came time to show cards, Jack laid down four aces. Swiftwater Bill immediately objected and said that Jack had six cards and was thus disqualified.

“Six cards,” said Jack. “You’re crazy.”

Search as they could, the three other men could not find the extra card they knew Swiftwater Bill had slipped to Jack. So Jack walked away with the pot.

About six months later, Billy the Horse ran into Jack on the trail and asked him about that game. Jack smiled and said, “I saw that card as soon as it got in my hand. That’s when I got powerful hungry and thirsty. Reason you didn’t see no sixth card in my hand was because I just slipped it into that there sandwich and ate it.” Thereafter he was known as Eat-’em-up Jack.

Once, when Billy was down on his luck and was refused a drink, he got a can of peas and doctored it to look like a dynamite stick. He attached a fuse to the can and went back to the saloon that had refused him the drink. He entered the saloon, lit the fuse and watched while everyone cleared out. Alone, he had several drinks, took a few full bottles of booze before he casually left the saloon.

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