Read about the outlaws and all-around bad guys from all series. Adventures are listed first, then Milestones, then the younger series, Circle C Stepping Stones. Let me know in the comments if I’m missing anyone.
Circle C Adventures
T.J. Silver, aka Troy Swanson is a drifter Cory, Rosa, and I find one Saturday afternoon buried in creek mud near my special spot. The stranger is in bad shape. We fix him up the best we can, and then I keep going back with supplied. When he’s cleaned up, he has light-brown hair and brown eyes. T.J. is a likeable young man. However, when I figure out he’s really Troy Swanson, my sister Kate’s swindler husband, he turns mean. He left his three kids and me under an oak tree and hightailed it out of the area when he knew everybody was looking for us. (Family Secret)
Troy disappeared for Many years, so you can imagine my shock and dismay when I ran into him again on my wedding day. I recognized him at once, even though Troy was wearing a mask and his cohort was calling him “Big T.” Yes, Troy and the other fellow were road agents and robbing our stagecoach on the way to Yosemite. “Honeymoon Hazards,” Yosemite at Last: And Other Tales from Memory Creek Ranch.
After that incident, Troy turned himself in, got Justin to defend him, and received a lighter sentence than expected (since he never killed anyone). He served three years in San Quentin prison. When he was released in January 1890, Troy returned to San Francisco and made things right with his wife, Katherine, and his three children.
Jed Hatton was convicted of murdering Mr. Slater, a Fresno citizen. Justin was pretty sure he didn’t do it, so he worked hard to defend him in court. I believed Justin (even though Chad didn’t) when he said Jed was innocent. But would an innocent client escape on the way to prison, grab a gun, and hold an entire class of kids hostage? Hmm . . . Then he was going to grab Virginia Foster to take with him. He ended up taking me. That was one of the most terrible experiences of my life. Luckily, Jed was recaptured and sent to San Quentin. (Dangerous Decision)
That should have been the rest of the story, but it wasn’t. Jed turns up just like a bad penny as one of the kidnappers (Courageous Love) in cahoots with Procopio and his band of cutthroats. It appears he escaped prison. However, Jed redeems himself in my eyes when he helps me escape from Propcopio’s hideout. He flees into the woods for another three years and blows back into my life with horrifying news. No more spoiler alerts.
Feng Chee. Even his name makes me shiver. I get tingles up and down my neck whenever I see his picture. He is in charge of the kitchen at Miss Whitaker’s. A small man, maybe around five feet five inches, nevertheless, he seems bigger. Much bigger. He mistreats little Lin Mei and yells at me too. “Missee no belong in kitchen. Missee get out.” And other orders.
Worse, it turns out that he is a member of the tong, some kind of Chinese crime organization, and part of a slave-buying ring. He bought Lin Mei and practically works her to death. Then, when he caught Jenny and me snooping around, he determined to sell the poor child to another master. That is when Jenny and I went into action. He’s a mean one, all right. His scowling face shows only a fraction of his meanness. He nabbed Jenny, Lin Mei, and I and kept us in a warehouse. He planned to get rid of Jenny and me by shipping us to the Orient. That was one of the scariest nights of my life. (San Francisco Smugglers) In the end, Feng Chee was caught in his lies and deceit and no longer works at Miss Whitaker’s Academy.
Mr. Hunter is in charge of the academy’s stables (San Francisco Smugglers), for what they’re worth. Not much if you ask me. This fellow is creepy. He prowls the school grounds, ever on the lookout for somebody to scold. I have never seen him smile. I think his frown lines are permanent. Juan Carlos whispered to me one day that the only thing Mr. Hunter likes is money. He’d turn his own mother in for a reward if he could. I can’t imagine he earns all that much money working for a girls’ school, though. He lives in a few small rooms above the stables. I’m not sure how many because of course I’ve never seen them. That’s what Juan says, though. He also likes the bottle a little too much. I try to stay well out of Mr. Hunter’s way. He caught Jenny, Lin Mei, and I trying to sneak away and would have locked us in a stall if Juan had not smashed him over the back of this head with a whiskey bottle.
Deputy Hugh Baker is a young deputy Sheriff Tate hired to help him protect the town of Fresno in Trouble with Treasure. But Hugh Baker is too big for his britches. He delights in arresting townsfolk for the least offense, like a couple of pranksters who painted some horses. Instead of simply fining them the five dollars, he threw them into jail. Sheriff Tate then had to undo the harm. Unfortunately, Sheriff Tate was not in town the day Hugh arrested Andi, Jenny, Jack, and Cory for accidentally destroying the watering trough in front of Goodwins Mercantile. He threw them in jail to cool their heels. Fortunately, Justin learned about it and insisted Hugh released them. The deputy at first refused, but then the shout of a bank robbery distracted Hugh. He tossed the keys to Justin and raced out the door. Sadly, that is not the end of Hugh’s story. He pops in and out of a number of scenes in Trouble with Treasure. He turns out to be more than an annoyance. He ends up on a Wanted poster so has earned his place on this “Wanted Characters” page.
Circle C Milestones
Tyler “Ty,” Jason “Jase,” and Rudy Walker are Macy’s three disreputable brothers. They rob stagecoaches, rustle cattle, and then turn to stealing horses. The outlaw leading this outlaw family is Ty. He’s the oldest and has some self-control. He is the firstborn, so he’s hard on Macy but not over-the-top. In the end, the brothers know who calls the shots for the Walker family: Ty. He is 24 years old.
Jase is the middle Walker brother, age 22. He doesn’t have the mean streak Rudy has, but he’s not a strong enough character to hold his own against Ty. He and Macy ignore each other. Inside however, Jase likes his sister and wishes he could stand up to his brothers. Given half a chance, Jase Walker could be somebody halfway decent. He has black hair a dark eyes. Rudy is in the youngest, age 20. He is red-haired and shaggy. But for this picture, he got a haircut and shaved. He is the most volatile, with a hair-trigger temper. He lashes out at Macy whenever he feels like it. She’s scared of him, but she won’t ever show such a sign of weakness. These three brothers were eventually caught red-handed with rustled cattle and horses. They are spending a nice, long time in prison. (Thick as Thieves)
Tomaso “Procopio” Rodendo is the instigator of all the misery Lucy and I went through in Courageous Love. Procopio the Red-handed was one of the best-known bandits in California history (true story). He got his nickname probably because of his violent nature and bloodthirstiness. In 1872, the San Francisco Chronicle called him “one of the most fearless and daring desperadoes . . . of our state.” Procopio was often aided in escaping from lawmen by Mexicans living in California.
Tomaso was born in Mexico around 1841. His mother was the oldest sister of the most notorious bandit in California history, Joaquin Murrieta. Young Tomaso idolized his Uncle Joaquin and grew into a fearless rider and reckless youth. In 1862, he became the leader of a bandit gang that engaged in nighttime raids on farms and ranches in the area. His gang murdered a rancher and his family and burned down their house. But there was not enough evidence to convict him of the crime. Later, he teamed up with another bandit, Vasquez, and robbed the Visalia stagecoach. The passengers, four men and a woman, were tied up and robbed of two gold watches and $500 in gold.
Following a few more stagecoach robberies, Procopio and Vasquez headed to Mexico to spend their new wealth. When they returned, Vasquez headed for the hills but Procopio stayed in San Francisco, where he was caught and arrested. Here, the story differs from Courageous Love, as Procopio was killed by the posse in my story.
Benita is Procopio’s wife. She lost their only baby boy to a sickness when he was less than six years old. Her husband was in San Quentin prison at the time. Ever since, Procopio promised her another son. He fulfilled that promise when he kidnapped Lucy Carter and gave Sammy to Benita. She called him Santos. Jed Hatton shot her, but she lived. When she learned that her husband had been killed, she went into a frenzy. She escaped with her companions (one of them being Mateo Vega) and has lived in Mexico ever since. But revenge is probably on her mind, and she may return to give Lucy or me grief at a later time. (Justin told me all this. He heard rumors.)
Mateo Vega is the now-dead Procopio’s right-hand man and companion. That man was meaner than a rattlesnake. Procopio was a gentleman compared to Mateo Vega. Vega always looked at me like he knew what I was thinking. He didn’t trust me and called me a wildcat (and worse things in Spanish, not realizing I knew the language). Oh, was he ever mad when he saw that his boss’s prize got away: Lucy and Sammy. He tried to choke me to death in a final act of fury, but thanks to Lucy’s derringer I shot him in the stomach. No regrets there.
I shot him in the stomach, but he was still alive when Riley and I fled on Dakota. Who knows if he still lives? Deep down, I believe he is holed up in Mexico nursing his wounds and thinking up more mischief for my family. Every time I see a Mexican man wearing an oversized sombreo, it gives me a start. No spoiler alerts here.
Circle C Stepping Stones
Will Benton (Boss) is the outlaw boss behind Mother’s and my kidnapping November 1877, when Mother was the schoolteacher that day. (Andi to the Rescue) Boss robs stagecoaches, banks, and whatever else he can get his hands on, but he is a “gentleman” outlaw. He was polite to us and acted like someone in the upper class. Why would he kidnap schoolteacher and a little girl? Answer: Will Benton could not read. This limited his movements greatly. In addition, a letter from his now-grown daughter, Caroline, had reached him. He wanted to read it himself, so he snatches the schoolteacher (whom he thinks is Miss Hall). Who would miss a spinster old-lady teacher?
Mr. Benton made a big mistake. Mother made me keep quiet and she pretends to be Miss Hall. She even teaches the outlaw how to read. Meanwhile, she sends me on a dangerous journey down the mountain and into the lowlands to find help and lead rescuers back to his hidden outlaw shack. All’s well that ends well for this gentleman outlaw. I began to like him. He was especially kind to me, even after he learned Mother had tricked him and was Elizabeth Carter, not Miss Hall. He called me “Little Miss,” no doubt in reference to his daughter. Later, I went with Mother a few times to the jail so she could keep teaching him to read.
Mr. Benton was tried and convicted of all his outlaw deeds. He went to prison, but good news! He wrote to Caroline, and she came to visit him in prison. He hopes he can get out on good behavior someday.
Eli (Scruffy Face) and Paco (the Mexican) are Will’s cohorts. They are not gentlemen, but the two outlaws respect Will. Eli wears a long overcoat, in which he hides his pistols. Paco usually wears a big sombreo on his head. They stay in the band because Will is good at what he does. Paco stays in the U.S. because there is a price on his head from the federales in Mexico.