Jack Madigan

The story of Jack Madigan’s death begins on March 30, 1902, when the Daily Nevada State Journal noted Madigan’s return from Salt Lake City. By June 21, 1902, the Tonopah Bonanza heralded the impending opening of “The Butler,” a lavish saloon venture helmed by W.S. Elliot and Madigan located on Main and Brougher. The establishment promised opulence and indulgence to patrons living in Tonopah. Later, George Cole purchased the interest of Madigan, and became partners with Elliott.

However, the promise of prosperity soon gave way to the grim specter of violence when Jack Madigan and Frank Hamilton, two gamblers, traveled to Goldfield to kill O.C. Elliot, one of the best-known saloonkeepers at Goldfield. The men met Elliot in his saloon and started to shoot. Elliot first disarmed Madigan and with the latter’s own revolver shot and killed him. He then disarmed Hamilton and wounded him seriously.

The shooting is thought to have been the outcome of a mining deal and a gambling argument. Elliot, for the reason that he shot the men in defense of his own life, has not been arrested and it is probable that he will not be prosecuted for the act.

The Reno Evening Gazette on August 22, 1904, recounted Elliot’s exoneration by a coroner’s jury, affirming his actions as necessary for self-preservation. Despite the vindication, the repercussions of the incident reverberated far beyond the confines of Goldfield. Mrs. Madigan’s arrival from Salt Lake City, as reported by the Tonopah Miner on August 27, 1904, underscored the human toll exacted by the tragedy.

As the dust settled, official records immortalized the events of that fateful day. A death certificate, dated August 14, 1904, attested to Jack Madigan’s demise, sealing his fate as a casualty of the violent clash that gripped Goldfield.

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