Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A World Record for Rich Hill

This blog is also from the Rich Hill Mining Review July 29, 1955 this editon was written by Ed McQuitty- for 75th Anniversary Issue.

A World Record for Rich Hill
Although there but very few people living that know anything about it, Rich Hill has the distinction of holding at least one world’s record. This statement refers to the prize fight between two men of the town staged in 1884, which contest continued through the 133rd round, finally ending in a "draw" or no decision. So far as any available records show, this was the greatest fight of all time in regard to durability. The bout was waged between two Rich Hill coal miners, Jim Fell a Welshman, and Hugh McManus, a Scotchman, both American born who worked side by side in the same "room" of one of the first Rich Hill Coal company’s deep shaft mines, Number 13, located five miles northwest of town. Neither could be classed as professionals, although six weeks of daily training under the instructions of Harry McCoy, a professional boxing master, at his specially constructed quarters at the Arcade saloon, both had become so adept with his fists that each was led to believe that he was “just a little better man” than was his friend. And is exactly what they were, boon companions without the least enmity toward each other whatsoever. The battlers were heavyweights of better than two hundred pounds. So, by mutual agreement at nightfall on July 15, 1884, Fell, McManus, with McCoy as referee, followed by every means of transportation available, loaded to capacity with fight enthusiasts, the procession started for the place of encounter. This was at a point due west of Rich Hill, just inside the Kansas border. The Missouri laws at the time prohibited “fights to a finish” Due to secrecy of the affair there were no more than one hundred spectators, all from Rich Hill except for a dozen or more from Hume. Stakes were driven and ropes stretched to enclose the ring, or square would be a better description for the scene of battle. After traversing the thirteen miles to get out of Missouri, the fight got under way about 10 o'clock with torches and lanterns affording the only lighting.
Under the London prize-ring rules, only bare knuckles were permitted, with time limits for "rounds" two minutes. The fight was fast and furious during the first twenty-five rounds, but at that time there was a clamoring among the spectators for an intermission or rest period every hour thereafter the fight continued. In this the pugilists were not so nearly so concerned as the onlookers, for they were just beginning to get warmed up. However, some of the audience demanded some time to crawl under the fence get to their conveyances, mix up a drink or two as an after midnight eye opener and get back to their seats on the grass without missing anything. As the hot summer's sun peaked over the horizon the next morning, July 16, the fight was still in progress in its 133rd round. Both participants were weary, of course. The proper guards were difficult to maintain, the wollops of the early stages of the fight were lacking but neither man would admit defeat. As no definite conclusion of the contest seemed evident, and for the thought that "the law" might be awakening from the morning's siesta, Referee McCoy declared the fight "a draw or no decision contest."
It was claimed afterward In sporting circles that Fell lost the fight as a consequence of a foul blow, but those of us who actually witnessed the battle know this to have not been true.
Comparable to the Fell-McManus I33rd-round, the John L,. Sullivan-Jake Kilrain fight of 75 rounds was a mere amateur exhibition, so far as endurance, at least, was concerned. After the encounter fell and McManus returned to Rich Hill side by side in a curtained carriage, friends as always, on the road occasionally administering to each others battered nose, ears and face with a special pain relieving concoction, while still claiming "to be the best man."
Incidentally the resultant "no decision" ruling cost most of the spectators many dollars and a goodly number of very unhappy miners who had wagered a month's pay check that the contest would end in a complete knockout.Jimmie and Hougnie are not concerned with the "ring" or its vicissitudes today as both are "ringed" in by six feet of cold turf, peacefully sleeping in Rich Hill's beautiful Green Lawn Cemete

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