Under the headline "Shot in Curtis's Place," the story that ran in the next day's edition of the St. Louis Daily Globe-Democrat began, "William Lyons, 25, colored, a levee hand... was shot in the abdomen yesterday evening at 10 o'clock in the saloon of Bill Curtis... by Lee Sheldon, also colored." According to the Globe-Democrat's account, Billy Lyons and "Stag" Lee Sheldon "had been drinking and were in exuberant spirits" when an argument over "politics" boiled over, and Lyons "snatched Sheldon's hat from his head." While subsequent musical renditions of this story would depict the dispute as one over gambling, they would preserve the key detail of "Stag" Lee Sheldon's headwear and of his matter-of-fact response to losing it: "Sheldon drew his revolver and shot Lyons in the abdomen... When his victim fell to the floor Sheldon took his hat from the hand of the wounded man and coolly walked away."Here's probably the best-known modern retelling of the story, by 1998 Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Famer Lloyd Price in which the headgear at the center of it all is a Stetson:
Saturday, December 28, 2013
Saturday afternoon tunes: "The bullet came through Billy and it broke the bartender's glass"
Here's how it was written up in the St. Louis Globe-Democrat 118 years ago yesterday: