from uncertain times
who got it from hellhoundonmytrail:
Lee Shelton “Stagger Lee” (March 16, 1865 - March 11, 1912)
“William Lyons, 25, coloured, a levee hand, living at 1410 Morgan Street, was shot in the abdomen yesterday evening at 10 o’clock in the saloon of Bill Curtis, at Eleventh and Morgan streets, by Lee Sheldon, also coloured.
Both parties, it seems, had been drinking, and were feeling in exuberant spirits. Lyons and Sheldon were friends and were talking together. The discussion drifted to politics, and an argument was started, the conclusion of which was that Lyons snatched Sheldon’s hat from his head. The latter indignantly demanded its return. Lyons refused, and 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.
He was subsequently arrested and locked up at the Chestnut Street Station. Lyons was taken to the Dispensary, where his wounds were pronounced serious. Lee Sheldon is also known as ‘Stag’ Lee.”
- St Louis Globe-Democrat, December 26, 1895.
Yep, the song has its roots in reality, though little of that reality made it into the lyrics as the years went by. The details of what happened are fortunately recorded in the trial transcripts. According to witnesses:..........................