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Hon. Hiram Priest esq.

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About Hon. Hiram Priest esq.

  • Esquire

ID Card

  • Role
    Main Character
  • Playby
    Samual S. Hinds
  • Goes By
  • Profession
    lawyer, judge, politician
  • Position
    Independent means
  • Birth Date
  • Status
  • Height
  • Hair Color
  • Eye Color

Physical Description

Hiram Priest is slender and gaunt.  He dresses in finery:  suit and waistcoat, watch, fob, and top hat.  His complexion is quite pale, some would even say ashen, but it matches his white hair nicely.  He has cunning gray eyes behind wire-rimmed spectacles.  He rarely smiles;  1) because he doesn't have much warmth or empathy, and 2) because even HE is aware of his off-putting, tobacco stained teeth.  Other than looking aged, he is otherwise in good health.

Traits & Characteristics

Priest is very smart.  He always seems to be weighing odds, judging character, or planning his next move, just as a Chess Master would.  He appraises, always with a plug of tobacco nestled against his left cheek.  He can recite legal arguments about cases he learned in Law School -- and do it fluently.  Yet, most times he's laconic and never one who could be described as blabby.


WIP --- He shrewdly saved his money over time, and at the outset of his story here, can self-finance.   His goal is to work his way into the fabric of community leadership and perhaps be appointed or elected as judge.



Hiram is a civic leader (if a crooked one) having been elected as Mayor of Wagon Mound, up in Dakota territory.  Later, he was appointed a Territorial Judge.  Often, he could be seen bearing witness, after intoning, "By the powers invested in me by Statute 83d and all other statues thereto appertatum..." standing solemnly, cheeks loaded with chaw and his hands gripping his lapels, while the condemned fell through a gallows' trapdoor.

Aliases / Nicknames

Judge, Mayor,



Kith & Kin


Life Events


Character Notes


Player Notes


Other Characters by this Player

  • Franklin Fortner
  • 35 posts
  • Player
    Brian Donlevy
    Goes By
    Birth Date
    Hair Color
    Eye Color
  • Horace Potee
  • NPC
  • 2 posts
  • Player
    Montana Historical
    Goes By
    Birth Date
    Hair Color
    Dark brown
    Eye Color
    Dark brown

Recent Posts

  1. Hon. Hiram Priest esq.
    He smiled.  "It's Ben Simons and I was asking about some of your plans for Kalispell and I'm sure the good voters here would like to know as well."
    Then he gave a wide sweeping gesture to acknowledge the other people who were there.  It seemed that there were a few who were getting more interested in their conversion as some of them responded with "yeah" and "what he said."
    Priest didn't like to be pushed, but he didn't let that break his stride.  Except for eyeing Ben Simons up and down, and chomping on his chaw, he remained genial.   But, when he was about to address Simons, that drunken old hag began blathering.
    "They should have a whatayacallem!" yelled Sally Adams suddenly "A debate! All of them, whatayacallem, Can'idates!" she laughed. "I remember seein' Douglas and Lincoln in Freeport waaaaaay before the war. Douglas whupped his ass. Course, that's before he had that beard. Beard helped a lot, y'know. Much better with the beard."
    "The lady has a point," Hiram agreed.  "But that's for down-the-road a spell once all the candidates get together."   And then he turned to Ben and said, "Sir, I'm preparing a platform to run on, and I will lay it out for everyone at the rally I'm holding next week down the street."  He smiled and said,  "You don't think I'm gonna steal my own thunder.  Do ya?"
    A draft swept into the saloon as three rough toughs entered through the swinging doors.  After two steps inside, they looked at Fortner.
    "Gentlemen," the Proprietor greeted them.  "Welcome to the Star Dust.  Step up to the bar and have a drink."
    The men grunted and did as he said.
    That gave Hiram his cue.  "Thanks for your interest, Mr. Simons.  I'm sure we'll talk later."  And with that, he walked over to the corner to where his reserved table was.
    Hells-a-poppin, the old politician thought as he sat down.
    "Three whiskies," one of the men said, after reaching into his coat and putting down some coinage.
  2. Hon. Hiram Priest esq.
    Hearing the mention of plans, Ben stepped forward, "You wouldn't mind giving us a hint on these plans? I've already heard a few from the other contenders and I wouldn't want you to step on their toes by saying something they've already covered."
    "Well that's a fine question, young man," Priest began cautiously.  "One has to proceed with ..."   but his flow of speech was cut short when Arabella shouted from across the room.
    "More to the point, Mister Priest, what are you? A nice clean living Democrat, or some God-forsaken, devil horned, dyed in the wool Republican?!" she asked, her political opinions (pointless as she didn't hold the vote due to her age and sex) set in stone by her Southern upbringing. 
    Priest stared at her from over the top of his glasses.  He wasn't used to being questioned, especially by one so young and seemingly inexperienced.   He frowned, and so did her employer, Franklin Fortner.
    Arabella continued.  Only her youth prevented her from appearing as a fishwife. 
    "Say, you ain't no dirty Greenbacker are ya?!" she cried. She wasn't over-sure what a Greenbacker was, but she'd read somewhere that 'Beast Butler' was one, and that was bad enough for her. "You know, whoever runs on the Democrat Ticket'll get the votes of ever' dislocated Southerner round here I reckon: there's me, 'cept I cain't vote, obvious, urr... Mr Pettigrew, Mr Crabbe, Mr Connolly, Mr McVay... oh, there's tons!" she offered, helpfully.
    "Arabella!  Enough!" barked Fortner.
    There was a pause while everyone, employee and patron, was shocked at Franklin's imperative. 
    Hiram shook his head.  "I got no problem answering the young lady's question.  It's a good one."  He looked across the floor to where Arabella stood waiting for an answer.  "So you're asking me what political affiliation I might be, a Democrat or a Republican?   And that's a good question so I'll tell you.   I'm an American.  More to the point, I'm a Montanan.  Your head is filled with worryin' about yesterday - Republican, Democrat.  But look at it this way.  We're all on a journey.  We're all on a train headin' for better times.  So don't pack a trunk of junk filled with yesterdays because tomorrow, tomorrow'll be filled with sunshine."
    It was near lyrical, and Hiram looked out at the slack-mouth audience.  "You oughta put that to music," he said to Arabella.
    But Ben needed answering but he'd start from scratch.  "Your name, again?"
  3. Hon. Hiram Priest esq.
    Caroline  never gave a rat's ass about politics, she couldn't even vote anyhow. However Fortner was much more ardent.
    Franklin stood back and began clapping, and he looked to Caroline and Ralph to back him up.
    Caroline noticed and immediately started up her own clapping, she certainly looked genuinely enthused. Ralph applauded also both of them being the loyal veteran employees that they were.
    There followed some claps from the scant number of patrons, it was, after all, not even noon yet.  Still, Fortner was buoyed by the response and stepped back while pushing Hiram forward.  The old roué enjoyed it all;  He was in his element.
    "Fellow citizens," he began.  "I thank you for your support!   And, if you do me the honor of making me the next Mayor, I'll do right by each and every one of you.  It'll be my duty to keep law and order in the streets, and my aim to make Kalispell a place where you can all prosper.  I just want you to know that I'll be giving a speech in that vacant lot down the street, probably in a few days.  There you'll hear of some of my plans."
    Frank smiled.  This guy is good, he thought.
  4. Hon. Hiram Priest esq.
    Priest rolled a wad of tobacco from one cheek to the other.  "Well, how do you do,  Mr. Simons?"  He asked cordially.  "In town for long?"
    "Long enough," Ben said with a smile.  He decided to do some fishing and find out if Priest was really interested in running or it was just an off the cuff remark, "From what your friend, Mr. Fortner said you've been both a judge and a mayor.  This town is pretty covered where judges are concerned with Judge Robertson looking after any civil matters and circuit Judge Bryant looking after the criminal ones, so that leaves mayor."
    Horace nodded and pulled at his chin in the classic gathering-thoughts gesture.
    "Both good men from what I've heard, Mr. Simons.," Priest began.  "Being a Judge in these parts can be a special challenge.  You get everything from disorderly conduct cases to cattle rustling to claim jumping.  Of course, sprinkle in some shootings and  you have a full docket."  He eyed Simons, head to foot.  "I was Mayor of Bottleneck for two terms back before the War, then things went to Hell.  Then in 1866 I ran for Mayor of Valley City, and won.  Then was Mayor of Walhalla until a couple of years ago."  He chuckled.  "Ah!  Walhalla.  The damn fool who founded it was near illiterate.  He meant to register it as Valhalla, but mixed up his "V" with a "W". "
    Then, as if already in the office, Priest continued to espouse the need for rule of law, fair elections, and the importance of rallying the citizens in common cause.
    After taking a sip of his whiskey, that had been left on the bar by Ralph, he continued, "What I mean to say, is that you're probably already aware that we have a mayoral election happening soon.  So, if you're planning to try your luck here, you best get a move on.  Nominations close at five o'clock today."
    "I'll be go-to-hell", the older man exclaimed.
    Fortner slapped Priest on the shoulder.  "Looks like Mr. Simons came in at the right time.  Best high-tail over to City Hall and put your name in the hat.  I can tell you that I'll do everything I can to rally support for you at the Star Dust."
    Priest nodded in agreement.  "I expect you're right."   And at that, he left through the swinging doors.
    "He's a good man, Ben." he said to Simons.  "Hell!  He had my back yesterday when I was confronted with a drunk cowhand."  He cleared his throat as if to wipe a slate clean and moved on to another subject.  "What's your game?  Poker?"
  5. Hon. Hiram Priest esq.
    Frank stood back and appraised the stranger, head to toe.
    "Hey! Got news for ya. Meet the new owner of the Star Dust, Mr. Frank Fortner," she decided to handle the introduction.
    Fortner smiled, confident and sure.
    "So, I heard," he answered before turning to Fortner.  Holding out his hand, he said, "Nice to meet you, the name's Ben Simons."
    Frank reached out with his right hand and took the offered one.  Simons' grip was strong and the hand was warm.  The name sounded vaguely familiar but he couldn't place it exactly.
    "Mr. Simons," Frank said. "A pleasure, I'm sure.   We hope you find the Star Dust your home away from home.  I aim to keep what's good about it, and make improvements around the edges.  If you like games of chance, we are planning some card rooms in the back, and away from the distractions."  He eyed Arabella.
    "Ralph," he said to the barkeep.  "Set one up for Mr. Simons, will you?  On the house."
    A figure moved into his peripheral vision.  It was aging but sure footed Judge Priest. 
    "Wait a minute," Frank called to the older man, stopping him on his way to his reserved table.  "I want you to meet someone."  He nodded toward Simons.  "This is Ben Simons.  Ben, I'd like to introduce you to Mr. Hiram Priest,  some time Judge, some time Mayor."
    Priest rolled a wad of tobacco from one cheek to the other.  "Well, how do you do,  Mr. Simons?"  He asked cordially.  "In town for long?"
  6. Hon. Hiram Priest esq.
    With the girls entertaining the patrons, and a good job they did, The Honorable Hiram Priest and Franklin Fortner got down to business.  The two men were rarely animated or loud when discussing  matters of import.  An observer would not be able to discern if they were discussing Chicago beef prices or a revenge killing.  
    "We could maybe get our friend Mr. Potee lassoed into a poker game?" Priest ventured.  It could be arranged, they decided. 
    Of course, Potee had never met the two schemers regardless of what the two had  said to Arabella.  And, they only knew him from land records. However, after listening to Arabella, he sounded like a rube who could be cheated and not even know it.
    "We get him liquored up," Fortner said.  "Really stoke him with the hard stuff."
    Hiram barely nodded.  "Get him on a losing streak .. or maybe on a winning streak so he gets over confident.  We can get him to bet the homestead, then maybe we can plan some ruckus so he looks away, and then swap cards on him."
    "If he feels cheated, he might pull a gun on us," Fortner countered. 
    "Too bad for him," Priest said.  "But whatever happens, it's gotta look right to the Sheriff."
    Fortner sighed.  "I wonder if we can enlist Caroline?"
  7. Hon. Hiram Priest esq.
    Soon --- too soon, Franklin regretted asking Arabella about possible improvements.  She bubbled up like a coffee pot over a campfire.
    "Well, we need a new pianna, and new curtains, maybe red velvet ones with gold tassles, and a new big mirror over the bar and I thought a big muriel [sic] with mermaids on and don't worry if you can see their..." she leant forward and whispered "boobies... because them there mermaids is half fish and they don't mind if no-one sees 'em in the altogether, but I reckon you could always paint some seaweed over 'em but I reckon the fellers what come in here might like to look at them there silkies with their charms on show, an'..."
    "Sounds like a bordello," Franklin muttered to Hiram, and then to Arabella, "the mirror sounds good and maybe a new piano.  We can send for one from Denver, maybe."
    Caroline scuttled over to talk to the bar keep.  It appeared that they had a pretty close relationship from what Franklin could see.  Maybe just close coworkers, maybe more.
    Priest cleared his throat and in his best mayoral tones asked Arabella, "Do you know most of the town folk who come in here... I mean by-name?"
    "Oh sure, I could name 'bout every feller that's in here right now and what they drink and what sort of tunes they like and how many slugs they can take before they falls over or gets berigilent [sic] or... you know... gets so blind drunk that they wanna kiss me or Cookie or even Mr Flandry sometimes. Ask me one, go on, and I'll tell you aaall 'bout him!" she challenged them.
    Priest looked closely at Fortner, and he didn't say anything to Arabella until the new owner of the Stardust barely nodded.
    "I believe we gotta old acquaintance who lives here abouts," the judge began.  "His name is Horace Potee.  I think I heard he's got a homestead somewhere north of Flathead Lake.  I figure he might make it to town  every so often for supplies and maybe a snort."
    Fortner played his part masterfully.
    "Oh yeah," he said.  "I remember he loves a Poker game.  Maybe we can coax him into town for a game.  I gotta win some of my money back."
    They both turned to see if Arabella had anything to say.
  8. Hon. Hiram Priest esq.
    "Can you, please, let Arabella know everything will be all right and above board?"  he asked Caroline as Arabella approached.
    "Sure, but she's sharp, she'll figure that out with her own eyes and ears too," Caroline nodded.
    "No doubt," Fortner agreed. 
    Hiram pushed out a chair for Arabella to sit in.
    "Oh, Mr. Priest, I don't got time to sit down: when I'm not playin' that ol' pianna an pullin' the customers in, I'm helping serve the customers, scrubbin' the floors, emptyin' the spittoons, cleanin' the dishes, helpin' cookie with the food, lightin' the fires, doin' the laundry, ... oh, and polishin' Mr. Flandry's knobs." she took a breath at last... and sat down.
    "Hey," Frank began.  "You don't have to worry about taking a breather when it's  Management asking you to sit down.  Beside, if you do nothing but polishin', scrubbin', cleanin' and helpin', you'll turn into an old lady before your time, and none of us would like that.
    The bouyant Arabella rush on to the next subject.
    "So, you plannin' any big changes, Mr. Fortner?" she asked with a tip of her head and a sort of simpering doe-eyed mushy look on her face "Course, me and Caroline's music and Cookie's food and Mr. Flandy's barman-in' skills is already a big, BIG favourite with them rounders, er, customers, but I think the place lacks a sorta... well.. a sorta genial host."... she looked wide eyed at Frank like a sudden realisation had his her "Oh! Mr. Fortner... I reckon you will be the perfect Genial Host!"
    Frank never talked down to anyone. 
    "Miss Arabella.  I think that, in time, we might make some changes, but why interfere with success?  I think the smartest thing to do right now is to leave things running like they are now.  Then, after seeing how things might be improved, we'll set about to make a few changes, but  not right away.   But if you can think of anything, let me know."
    Caroline spoke up.
      "Excuse me gents, Ara can keep you occupied whilst I have a little chat with Ralph."
    Frank nodded, and she rose and glided over to the bar, then drinks seemingly not making a dent in her deportment.
    Priest cleared his throat and in his best mayoral tones asked Arabella, "Do you know most of the town folk who come in here... I mean by-name?"
  9. Hon. Hiram Priest esq.
    Hiram and Franklin concluded their plotting for the time being, and their voices elevated. 
    Priest wagged a finger at his co-conspirator, "You know, if Lee had  only waited before moving into Pennsylvania, then who the Hell knows how the war might have ended?"
    "That's Blood under the bridge," Fortner concluded.  "Glad he didn't wait, though."
    It was a touchy subject even though the War ended over a decade before.  Memories were long and minds were filled with bitterness.
    Just then the place was jarred by a high-brow piece being played on the piano.  It was that Arabella girl.  Some looked on appreciatively while others carped. 
    "Not bad," the Judge judged.
    "Where's that girl who...?"   Fortner began, looking around for Caroline, and when he spotted her, he waved her over.  
  10. Hon. Hiram Priest esq.
    While Franklin Fortner was upstairs, The Honorable Hiram Priest esq., continued to play his games of Solitaire.  He enjoyed the card game very much because he could muse about other topics while his hands arranged the cards perfectly, as if they had a mind of their own.
    Red Queen on Black King, --- Black Deuce on Red Three   It was all very mechanical.
    Hiram turned over in his mind his current situation.  In his pocket was an assayer's  report on some gold nuggets found in the waters of the South Fork of the Flathead River.  The verdict?   Pure gold.  This was the document that Franklin Fortner had been so anxious to ask him about.  Even the killing of a loudmouth troublemaker didn't upset the urgency Fortner held, hence his whispered query to Hiram even as gunsmoke still filled the air. 
    Hiram recalled the man who owned those nuggets;  Lester McAndrews.  How he had the misfortune to blab his good fortune to Franklin Fortner as the two consumed a goodly amount of Red Eye in the barroom of the  Bunkhouse Hotel in Bozeman.  Old Lester was flushed with sugared thoughts and plied Franklin for a grubstake.  It was a sure deal.  There would be enough money for all partners --- and why not?  He had the assay report to show him. 
    But good times never  came to Lester McAndrews.  He was last seen stumbling upstairs to his room at the hotel.  Later, someone reported that he thought he'd heard McAndrews weaving down the hallway and out the rear entrance.   Hotel Management was angry because left without paying his bill.  They were pleased, however, when Franklin Fortner, feeling guilty because he'd liquored up the man, paid the outstanding debt.
    "Now there goes a fine man," the hotel owner said to the desk clerk after Fortner left.
    That was a few months back.
    The assay report was now safely in Priest's pocket, but there was only one hitch remaining that blocked he and Fortner from their chance at a big strike.  The land where the river ran was a homestead belonging to one Horace Potee.
    "Game!" muttered Hiram after placing the final card.

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Sagas of the WIld West is a roleplaying game set in a fictionalized version of the town of Kalispell in Montana territory. Our stories begin in 1875 and are set against the backdrop of actual historical events.Sagas was inspired by the classic television and movie westerns. Our focus is on writing, storytelling and character development.

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