Medora in Billings County, North Dakota — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
The Shooting of Riley Luﬀsey
William Riley Luffsey was born in Wayne County, Missouri, around 1859. He died in a gun battle along the Little Missouri River on June 26, 1883, about a mile west of the twin towns of Little Missouri and Medora.
Riley Luffsey was a popular young man. He and his partners, Frank O’Donald and John Reuter (Dutch Wannigan), were hunters, who supplied the military cantonment and the settlement with fresh game. They also guided visiting sportsmen.
The arrival of the Marquis de Mores in April 1883 brought conflict. The Marquis accumulated title to many acres of formerly public land, and ordered much of his land fenced. Where the fences crossed game trails used by the hunters, the hunters cut the wires.
Drunken threats were made against the Marquis, who reported them to the sheriff at Mandan, 130 miles east. Before the sheriff arrived, a gunfight erupted between Luffsey, O’Donald and Reuter and several men led by the Marquis. O’Donald and Reuter testified it was an ambush. The Marquis’ party testified it was self defense.
In 1885, the Marquis de Mores and his foreman, E. G. Paddock, were indicted for Luffsey’s murder. The Marquis was acquitted at trial, and the charges against Paddock were dropped.
Although no one was held accountable for Riley Luffsey’s death, a stone marker in Medora’s cemetery overlooking
(Marker Number 25.)
Location. 46° 55.742′ N, 103° 32.881′ W. Marker is in Medora, North Dakota, in Billings County. Marker is on Pacific Avenue 0.1 miles east of Interstate 94, on the right when traveling west. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Medora ND 58645, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Medora Cemetery (approx. 1.1 miles away); Bad Lands Cantonment (approx. 1.1 miles away); Little Missouri: The Town (approx. 1.1 miles away); Frontier Military (approx. 1.1 miles away); Little Missouri Bridge (approx. 1.1 miles away); Chateau de Mores (approx. 1.1 miles away); Historic Medora (approx. 1.2 miles away); De Mores Packing Plant (approx. 1.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Medora.
More about this marker. Photographs of John Reuter and Frank O’Donald, and the Marquis de Mores appear at the top of the marker. Between these photos is a copy of a document requesting the dismissal of the murder charge against the Marquis de Mores.
Categories. • Settlements & Settlers •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 22, 2015, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 282 times since then and 24 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on August 22, 2015, by Bill Coughlin of North Arlington, New Jersey.