(? - January 24, 1876)
I have updated the Mollie Brennan story to coincide with an article written by historian Gary Roberts in the October 2000 issue of Wild West magazine. Essentially I have rifled Roberts' extensive research.
Mollie Brennan was a known "fancy lady" having worked in Denison, Texas, and Ellsworth, Kansas. In Ellsworth, Mollie married Joe Brennan and became involved with Billy Thompson - Ben Thompson's brother.
When Billy Thompson killed Sherrif Chauncey Whitney, he left Kansas and arrived in Mobeetie (then called Sweetwater). In Mobeetie, Billy was a partner in a local saloon. Mollie packed her belongings and followed Billy Thompson.
At a nearby military establishment was a soldier with a sorted past - Corporal Melvin A. King. King had changed his name from Anthony Cook due to court martials received from a previous enlistment. His history demonstrated he was troublesome when drunk.
On the night of January 24, 1876, Bat Masterson, Corporal King and others were involved in a poker game. King lost and left the Lady Gay Saloon angry. After the game Bat struck up a conversation with Mollie Brennan and the two left the Lady Gay for a dance hall with owner Charlie Norton. Mollie and Bat sat down and began talking while Norton went behind the bar. Bat heard a knock at the door and went to answer it. When he opened the door King burst in with gun drawn and began firing. Mollie threw herself between King and Masterson. The first bullet missed her, but hit Bat shattering his hip and knocking him down. The second bullet hit Mollie center kiling her instantly.
Was Mollie trying to protect Bat or just getting out of the way? The Mollie Brennan story is confusing with different versions of the event and King's motive for shooting Bat surfacing over the years. Some accounts have Bat and Mollie romantically involved, but this is not likely.
Mollie Brennan is buried in the Old Mobeetie Cemetery near Old Mobeetie, TX. Since the exact spot of the grave is not known a memorial headstone has been used.
Information compiled by Steve Grimm