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Traveling Salesman Runs into Pack of Trouble in Gold Hill, Ore.

Traveling sewing machine salesman, H. W. Fountain, must have rued the day he met a girl in Gold Beach, Ore., in 1896. Another admirer, Grant Baxter, threatened to shoot Fountain if he visited her again.

The next night in front of the Bayview Hotel, Baxter confronted Fountain, who responded it was none of Baxter’s business and walked away.  Afterward, Baxter visited the girl with a loaded gun in his pocket and told her he would shoot Fountain.
One day while Fountain was buying a shirt from a street peddler’s wagon, Baxter knocked him down from behind.   Helped to his feet by friends, Fountain said, “That was not fair, boys.”
Fountain told Baxter to go away, saying he didn’t want any trouble with him and denied any misconduct involving the girl.  Baxter said, “I ought to kill you as I would a rattlesnake.”  Baxter pulled out his pistol and pulled the trigger, but the gun misfired.  Fountain retaliated by drawing a weapon. Shots were fired, both men wounded, and Baxter fell dead.
A coroner’s inquest ruled the killing was justifiable and Fountain left town a free man.
Townspeople agreed Baxter had finally bullied the wrong man.
Source: Wallace, Bill. "The Shootout." Curry Historical Society. N.p., 12 Apr. 2013. Web. 2014.

Kernan Turner is the Southern Oregon Historical Society’s volunteer editor and coordinator of the As It Was series broadcast daily by Jefferson Public Radio. A University of Oregon journalism graduate, Turner was a reporter for the Coos Bay World and managing editor of the Democrat-Herald in Albany before joining the Associated Press in Portland in 1967. Turner spent 35 years with the AP before retiring in Ashland.