1889 Gunslinger Dave Mather, Taken by Aliens?

Dodge City, Kansas

Boot Hill Museum, Dodge City, Kansas (Sept. 2017)

While visiting the Boot Hill Museum in Dodge City, Kansas, my wife Tammy brought my attention to one particular informational display. On the display located at the jail exhibit, a gunslinger named, “Mysterious Dave Mather” was associated with a very unique story. Dodge City is well known for famous gunslingers like, Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson, but it’s also known for a few gun fights too! One gunfight in particular was actually between two lawmen, Mysterious Dave Mather, and Tom Nixon, who had both been assistant marshals there.
(A little western history first.)

Gun fight at the Boot Hill Museum, Dodge City, Kansas.

June 1st, 1883, Mather was hired as an Assistant City Marshal, he served only 9 months and was replaced on April 10th, 1884 by Tom Nixon which sparked a feud between the two. The feud increased when a city ordinance was passed outlawing dance halls within the Dodge City limits, and was immediately enforced against Mather’s Opera House Saloon, but not against Nixon’s, Lady Gay Saloon. A fight broke out between the two men on July 18th, 1884, and Nixon shot Mather but only slightly wounding him. Three days later on July 21st, Mather and Nixon got into another confrontation, but this time Mather shot and killed Nixon. Mather claimed self-defense and was acquitted. Later that year Mather was involved in another confrontation, but this time after his bail was set, he skipped out of Dodge to New Kiowa, Kansas, and ultimately left there too!

Interesting western stories, but it’s what happened to Dave Mather later in life, that caught my “UFO” attention.

    Dave Mather
(Picture taken courtesy, Boot Hill Museum, Dodge City, Kansas

David Allen Mather (August 10, 1851 – unknown), also known by the nickname “Mysterious Dave”, was an American lawman and gunfighter in the Old West. His taciturn personality may have earned him the nickname “Mysterious Dave”. He served as a lawman in Dodge City, Kansas, and Las Vegas, New Mexico.

Jump to 1996 reports from numerous news sites:

(Exact date unknown) An elderly Mexican man named Jorge Hernandez, was on his deathbed and asked to speak to his Roman Catholic priest, Father Joel de Mola, in Nacozari de Garcia, Mexico. He claimed to have been present in September 1899 when American lawman, Mysterious Dave Mather vanished “mysteriously” in northern Mexico.

The story sorta goes like this:

In August 1889, ranchers in the Sierrita mountains, southwest of Tucson, began complaining about missing cattle. Dave Mather put together a posse and set out to track down what they assumed were rustlers. Included in the posse was 14-year-old Jorge Hernandez. Led by a tracker from the San Carlos reservation, the posse followed the trail into Mexico.

About 50 miles southwest of Nogales, in Mexico’s Sonora state, Jorge said, the posse spotted “a huge silver bowl in the sky.” The huge silver bowl ” flew ahead of the posse in spurts, staying about a half-mile ahead at all times.” Reaching a range of low hills, Mather suggested that they split up and “Try to find that damned airship again.”

Note: Airships or dirigible balloons, made their first flight on September 24th, 1852. Invented by Henri Giffard, out of France, they would have been well-known in the US by the late 1800s.

Soon young Jorge Hernandez, found himself riding down a lonely barranca. Suddenly, “A tiny man in silver-colored clothes confronted him with a hollow tube,” instantly Jorge’s horse reared and he was thrown to the ground. Yelling, he drew his .45 caliber Colt Single Action Army revolver and shot at the tiny man.

Jorge kept firing as fast as he could and all six bullets went straight towards the man, but “the little man flickered like a candle flame and disappeared.”

Jumping to his feet, Jorge ran as fast as he could out of the gorge. The other members of the posse quickly gathered, as he told them his story. They didn’t believe him at first, except for the tracker who showed fear in his eyes.

Mather then told the Posse,  he would go check out the barranca himself. He said he’d fire a shot if he ran into any trouble. Jorge and the rest of the posse waited. About an hour later, one man shouted and pointed towards the barranca. The silver bowl rose about 200 feet into the air and took off over the horizon, never to be seen again.

When the posse entered the barranca, they found Mather’s horse, highly agitated, but no sign of Dave. There was no evidence of any violence, and Mather’s Winchester was still snug in its leather boot. His canteen was half-full, and there was no blood on the saddle or the bedroll.

Their tracker backtracked the horse’s hoof-prints and found something very odd. The tracks coming into the gorge were slightly deeper than the ones made recently by the horse, as if Dave had suddenly dismounted. But there was no sign of Dave’s footprints or any sign that his body had hit the ground.

Without another word, the tracker climbed onto his own horse and rode back to San Carlos.

“What’s wrong?” Jorge asked him.

“Pueblo de cielo,” the tracker muttered. (Spanish for “Sky People”) He quickly rode away…

Jorge and the rest of the posse searched the area afterwards, but they never found Dave Mather.

In an interview on Mexican television in 1996, Father de Mola said, “The old man was on his deathbed when he related it to me. He was convinced that the spaceship had been sent from heaven by God.”

After some research I found an article from www.historynet.com called, “Mather to Nixon: ‘You Have Lived Long Enough’. This article was about the gun fight between Mather and Nixon stated earlier in this blog, but towards the end of the article I saw this:

One fantastical tidbit appeared in a 1963 issue of Frontier Times magazine, describing not Dave’s death but rather his abduction by aliens. The schlock tabloid Weekly World News later ran an “eye witness” story head lined UFO SHOCKER!

Did Aliens Kidnap Old West Lawman in 1889?

They might as well have. To date, no reliable records exist to account for Mather’s movements from the day he skipped bail and fled New Kiowa. Until and unless such records surface, the life and death of David Allen “Mysterious Dave” Mather—lawman, badman, gambler and killer of Tom Nixon—must remain, well…mysterious.

Note: Obviously one problem with this story is, the Weekly World News, which is famous for fabricated stories. It reported the Jorge Hernandez story on August 9th, 1994, but as stated by [history.net] the original story was published in a 1963 issue of Frontier Times, magazine. Frontier Times magazine had a reputation for writing articles largely from the vantage point of the eye-witness observer or actual participant in the event. Was their article based on a Jorge Hernandez testimony or someone else?

And if this story is true, was the missing cattle which alerted Dave to form a Posse, related to the craft? Was this an 1889 cattle mutilation incident and was Dave Mather ultimately abducted?

After numerous attempts, I’ve been unable (at this time) to locate the 1963 issue of Frontier Magazine to verify the article about Dave Mather’s alien abduction, or really solidify Jorge Hernandez’s story; but… historian and author Ron Soodalter, who writes for the Wild West Magazine and is a regular contributor to Weider History Group publications, appears to be a very reliable source.

As for Dave Mather? No actual records exist about where he finally ended up or about his death. Some say he died in Texas with a bullet to head, some say he ended up on the East Coast, and some say he ended up in Canada, but there is no real proof of any of those situations. What is proof at this time is, there’s no record of his death, just a story from an old man who claimed to be one of the last people in a Posse, to see Dave Mather alive.

David Allen Mather ( August 10, 1851 – UNKNOWN )

Blog references:

Boot Hill Museum, Dodge City, Kansas
Boot Hill Museum

Historynet.com Mather-Nixon lived long enough!

Kansas History.com

ufoinfo.com (1899: Where is Dave Mather?)

Mysterious Dave Mather

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