Right on the border of Colorado and Nebraska was a trading post that was established in 1859 run by a man named Jules Beni. Beni was a Frenchman, a Pioneer on the plains, having gone out on the frontier in that area in the later '50's. Beni had been trading with the Indians, but now found it more profitable to trade with the emigrants heading west. He named his trading post and way stop for the wagon trains "Julesburg."
For a year or so, Jules was the agent for the Leavenworth & Pike's Peak Express Company and managed the stage station. He was quite a noted and conspicuous frontiersman in early staging days between the Missouri river and Denver and Salt Lake. On the plains he simply went by the name of "Old Jules."
In 1862 The Overland Stage established a home station at Julesburg to take advantage of this profitable trade with pioneers. Jack Slade was put in charge of this new section of the line and proceeded to improve the quality of all the services by upgrading the livestock, personnel and stage stations. This put him into immediate conflict with Beni, and they had frequent collisions. They usually arose from trivial causes, and were quickly forgotten by Slade, but Jules treasured them until they became too heavy to bear. On one occasion, Slade came to Beniís ranch and found horses that clearly belonged to the Overland Stage. Slade proceeded to confiscate them. Jules Beni swore vengeance and disliked Slade intently.
A few months later, Jack Slade was at the Julesburg Stage Station, unarmed. He started towards Jules and had gone but a few feet when one of the men hanging about the Stage Station yelled out to him:
"Look out, Slade, Jules is going to shoot you!"
Just as Slade turned Jules fired all six shots from his pistol. Then Jules, who was standing in the door of his cabin, took a shot-gun which was within reach, and emptied its contents into the body of Slade, who was facing him when he fell. Slade was carried into the station, and placed in a bunk, with bullets and buck-shot all through his body. No one who witnessed the attack supposed he could survive an hour. Jules was so well satisfied that he was slain, that a short time later he said to someone near, in the hearing of Slade, "When he is dead, you can put him in one of these dry-goods boxes, and bury him."
Slade rose in his bunk, and glaring out upon Jules, who was standing in front of the station, exclaiming with an oath, "I shall live long enough to wear one of your ears on my watch-guard. You needn't trouble yourself about my burial."
In the midst of the excitement occasioned by the shooting, the overland coach arrived, bringing the superintendent of the road. Finding Slade writhing in mortal agony, he, on hearing the nature of the assault, caused Jules to be arrested, and improvised a scaffold for his immediate execution. Even though he tried three times, Jules didn't die. Jules promised to leave the country, and the superintendent ordered his release. He left immediately.
Slade finally recovered, but determined that this attack must be avenged. Jules, in the mean time, hung around somewhat in the area, buying and selling cattle, and more determined than ever to kill Slade. At every station on that long route of six hundred miles, Jack Slade was warned by different persons of the bloody purpose which Jules was returning to accomplish.
Slade finally came upon Jules, and after allowing Jules the time to make a will, fired his pistol at him. Slade went to Fort Laramie and surrendered himself a prisoner to the officer in command. The officers of the fort, familiar with all the facts, discharged him, with their unanimous approval of the course he had pursued. The whole subject was carefully investigated by the stage company which continued Slade in its employ. Slade, meanwhile, continued to wear the ear of "Old Jules" as a watch-fob.
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