Stands 5'11", medium of build with brown hair, p blue eyes. One hundred sixty pounds. Generally wears a sack suit with shirt & tye. Has a slight worn dark gray low top hat. When on the move, he wears the oldest of his clothes.
Traits & Characteristics
Fair and honest publishing. (+)
Tough when trouble comes. (-/+)
True to his given word or handshake. (+)
When forced he'll stand his ground. (-)
Phinn is a likable cuss unless a printed story sheds a poor light on you. He is, for the most part, friendly and outgoing. Generally likes people and considers everyone a friend until proven otherwise.
None at this time
Top writer and typesetter with the Grand Island Independent, Grand Island Nebraska 1869-1874
None at this time, but, it's early yet. You know how newspaper men can be.
1843 ~ 1850
Worked as a printers devil and lived at home. His schooling was working the type cases, counting sheets a paper to be printed. His mother took care of his writing, spelling and the like.
1850 ~ 1858
Ran away from home at 17. Pressman~Omaha World-Herald 1850
Columnist~Omaha World-Herald 1858~1861
Talk of secession was spreading throughout the country and being southern born and bred, Phin headed south to join up just as the war broke out. he was assigned to the Tennessee Mounted Rifles and met then privet Nathan Forrest.
1861 ~ 1865
He is a fair shot with either rifle or pistol from his time in the War Between The States. He served with Nathan Bedford Forrest onward in the 3rd Virginia Cavalry and through his commands to the Forrest's Cavalry Corps. He discharged at wars end as a First Sergeant.
1865 ~ 1869
Fairly disillusioned, Phinn sort of drifted one meaningless job to the next until he found himself back in Omaha in where he did odd jobs until he saw an ad for a columnist in Grand Island.
1869 ~ 1874
Not only did he win the job, but he also agreed to take on typesetting job for which he was well trained. Phinn emersed himself in the community where he met, courted and married Elizabeth "Beth" Howell if a middle-class family For the next three years they were the happiest couple in Grand Island. However, the winter of '74 was harsher than normal, Beth took a fall and contracted pneumonia. She could never regain enough strength to fight it and succumbed.
Once the funeral was completed, Phinn sold the hose and everything of value. Bought a wagon, two mules, a saddle horse, an old press and type cases along with paper and inks and headed west.
Possibly the 8th or 9th grade Languages Spoken:
Animals: A pair of grey mules to pull his wagon and black saddle horse
Every town needs a newspaper, Phinn fills the bill and then some.
"Exceptions, yes, and we'd rather not see them as the rule. We are not Dodge City for Gods sake! And we won't be. We'll ban guns from town, only the police will carry firearms. That Phin, will put a quick end to shootings in Kalispell." Latham expounded, "And with a regular police force patrolling the streets, everyone will be all that much safer."
"So what you are saying is that the populace is currently unsafe, and unprotected?" Phin asked, "That Guyer and his deputies have somehow failed to provide the expected protection to the towns folk?"
"What I am saying is it is eighteen and seventy-six, it is time, high time, that Kalispell moved forward as a town with it's aspirations of becoming a city in short order. McVay, you a stumbling block in the way of progress in our fair town. We'll not have it, do you understand, we will simply not have it." The veins were protruding from Latham's neck, and his face reddened. "People like you, and Guyer, and Leah Steelgrave, are holding us back! Standing in the way of real progress, and we will put an end to that, do you hear me? The rest of the mealy-mouth citizens hereabouts can either get used to the new age in Kalispell or move on!"
"Cole Latham, you sound a whole lot like your master, Elias Steelgrave. Pity you and he have no understanding of the very men and women you intend to subjugate. Kalispell will fight you Latham, you and the Evergreen. These are free people here, not subjects, and you sir, need to understand that. For you will have a fight on your hands, whether you like it or not. So it is you and the old man out there that needs to understand this, Kalispell will not kowtow to you or anyone else!" He leapt to his feet fully intending to strike the first blow against this insanity, but restrained himself, taking a step back. "I believe this concludes the interview, Mister Latham." He turned and left the office slamming the door, and with it the frosted glass panel, which shattered.
"Just what the Sam Hell are you going on about?" Phin asked, "There ain't no opium dens in Kalispell, and ain't likely to be, unless you were thinking of bringing them in. Hell we got whores, always have had. And yes, mining seems to be on the uptick, but I don't see a rush like they had in the south, Virginia City, down that way. Crime, sure as hell we got that, but no where near the scale you're talking about. Of course you may know something I don't."
"I'm talking about growth, the uncontrolled growth of this town where they just build willy-nilly wherever they're a mind too. We can't have that. There needs to be control, permits need to be issued at a reasonable cost before the plans can be approved. And plans have to be submitted, which will require a building department." Cole Latham explained.
"Balderdash! This isn't New York, or Philadelphia for Christs sake. Not even Helena! My God man, we're still a small town, and having growing pains while we're at it!"
"Phin, times are changing, and they're changing fast! Why before the Governors intrusion into our affairs, we had everything under control, everything just the way it should be for a growing town. Then, he leaves his regulators here to enforce the will of the Helena elite!"
"So your answer is to create taxes and levy fees, which begets fines, if they aren't paid promptly." Phin retorted, "And creating a whole new department which will have to be paid for by people who don't need it or want to use it."
"They'll be required to use it or face possible arrest. That's just one more reason we will need to have a police department. Not violent crime, but crime none the less." Latham responded, "And don't give me that 'we already have enough law' business, because we don't, not to enforce the laws that will be necessary as we move forward."
Phin shook his head, "And you believe folks will buy into this rhetoric of yours? And where do you see all of this crime coming from? One attempted bank robbery in all the time the town has had a bank. Oh, I agree, there have been shootings, but they've been the exceptions rather than the rule."
"It's open." Came Latham's response to the rap on his door. As Phin opened the door and stepped inside, "Well, Phinias McVay, to what do I owe the honor of you visit, sir?"
"I understand you are in the running for Mayor and thought to do an article on the candidates, more or less in their own words." Phin replied.
"Fine, fine. Have a seat. Care for a drink?" Latham offered.
"A bit early yet Cole. Perhaps later. So, why are you running for the office of mayor? Seems to me you have a lucrative business, what with Miss Mercer away. You are the only attorney in town."
"Yes, that's true, her absence has increased my business and my profits. I owe her a debt of gratitude, however should she never return, well, that would be just fine with me, and keep that jackal, Dutton Peabody out of town!" He cleared his throat. "So I suppose you'll want to know what I would do if elected. Simple, see to it that Kalispell is run correctly."
"First, I would remove the Town Marshal, nothing against Guyer, but we need a real police force. Such as they have in some of the larger towns and most all of the cities out here in the west. And to do that, among other improvements I have in mind, we'll need a tax base to support it. It may not be popular at first, well, until the citizens see the benefits of the changes and improvements that will result."
"Excuse me? What improvements are you referring to? And why a police force, I mean frankly, how do you justify that?" Phin asked in surprise.
"Phin, a police force only makes sense in the town our size, considering the lawlessness and incoming mining prospects. Why, two or three men can't possibly deal with all of that. Good as they might be, I'm afraid they would be over matched. And you know as well as I, with mining comes the dregs of society, card sharps, prostitution, opium dens, all manner of crime. Far too much for Guyer and his two deputies to deal with."
It was a pleasant visit with the ladies of the 'Young Woman's Refuge' although brief. He marveled how these three had decided to do something that would benefit others in need, as they themselves were. That some good could come of the tragedy was a welcome thing. Too often misery and pain of losing a loved one leads to sorrow and despair, but evidently not there.
What he had left to do was to meet with Cole Latham, the last of those running for Mayor of Kalispell, and from his biased opinion, the worst. Yet in fairness, he was obligated to listen to his self-aggrandizing if not his plans for the town. Or would they be Elias Steelgrave's plans for Kalispell? He tended to believe the latter. A den of vipers, Elias and his cronies, and he believed firmly that Judge Ben Robertson was firmly in cahoots with whatever these plans might be.
He marched over to the Municipal Building where Latham had his office. Not the towns lawyer, but sequestered in a spot in the the towns offices. A very nice spot at that. Only City Attorney Harriet Gene Mercer had a larger office, and Phin, for one, wished she was back in it! He had a feeling she might be needed in the very near future.
Phin climbed the stairs slowly, not really looking forward to Latham's verbal barrage about how great he was, and how the town owed it to him to elect him to the post of Mayor. He stopped in front of the door, grimaced, and then knocked.
"Well Ladies, you may rely on me in support of your 'Young Women's Refuge.' I believe that it is certainly something which is needed, perhaps not all of the time, nor regularly, but often as that need presents itself." He said in praise of the idea."
"Unfortunately I have an appointment to interview one of the men running for mayor of this fine town. But if you don't mind I shall drop by from time to time, at appropriate hours, of course."
For the most part, Phinias McVay was one to doubt that which he saw as untenable, and certainly these three waifs had what certainly appeared as a most untenable situation, unless there were those in town that might wish to help, and that was where Phin McVay came in, as he saw it, he could get out and about, speak to business owners on their behalf, quietly of course. Plans were forming in his head, why he felt instantly involved, he had no idea.
"So ladies, the very best of luck, and I shall see you from time to time." He said cheerfully as he stepped toward the door.
"And I am please to meet you as will, Miss Grimes. This idea of yours is wonderful. It will mean a lot to the community" He sett down the down to take her hand. "This will be an excellent use of this facility, by the way. You do have a good deal of usable space in here, beside what is upstairs."
As he looked over the interior of the building it was clear that they could add rooms with no problem. It would work well for them, what he had a hard time figuring was how they would make the ongoing expenses, which they would need to do for food and other ancillary expenses that were always a part of daily life.
"If you don't mind my asking, how do you ladies plan to make expenses?" He asked as politely as possible, not to embarrass them, but in order to see what might be done to help out, specifically him.
"Why Miss Mudd, I believe you have a winner. better than even I could have composed. That is exactly what needs to be said, and believe me, I did not miss Misses Wigfall's sign in the window, not for a moment."
He had fought for the south, but not about slavery, or anything like that, it had been about northern aggression that threatened his home. "Now don't get me wrong, I rode with Forest's Third Virginia Cavalry, and Forrest's Cavalry Corps right to the end. But end it did, and now, well I don't see the need to be discriminating out here in the west."
He grinned at the reference to his being, as she put it, 'You're actually a pretty nice feller, aren't you?' "Well thank you Arabella, what a kind thing to say. I'll be starting the edition the minute I get back to the office."
"Ahem, Yes young lady you do have a point about Miss Steelgrave and the problems with getting her project underway, but I have to say that it is not the normal way things are done. She has one big factor that she's fighting and that would be her father Elias Steelgrave who has connections that make things as difficult as possible for her/" He explained.
Of course, yes, she could start with little to nothing except good will and a bandage, however, that is not what she wants to do, far from it. A hospital in this territory would almost be a Godsend. It is needed. Now, about your plan, and believe me when I say that it too would be a Godsend, because it will be. Regardless, Arabella, of what anyone would say, help for those who are in need is always welcome."
"Now then, about what I might put in the Union regarding your project. You want folks to know it is there, and will soon be available, don't you?" He asked, "Well, advertising at no cost to you would, I believe, be most helpful to your particular cause."
"No, no just telling you I intend on keeping my promise to Mister Pettigrew. And without mention of Mister Reeve." He explained, the trunk more comfortable on his shoulder, a bit easier to manage. Mention of the good book answered that question for him. "Yes, it can, and does weigh heavy on many of us."
"Now this project of yours, the Refuge, I like the idea, the name, everything about your plans. This is certainly something that is needed, and, unlike the hospital and orphanage, does not have to be built. You young ladies are to be applauded for this effort." He affirmed. He could see the need, now and in the future, he was trying to recall the layout of the place, knowing it was two stories, he could not quite recall what was on the second floor, most likely bedrooms, or perhaps storage.
"I suppose that your plans are written down?" Of course he was thinking as a man, and for all he knew it was currently just being discussed among themselves and not quite ready to start upgrades. "I can see an article about this plan of yours, yes I can. With it we can raise awareness to it, and Arabella, who knows where it will go from there. Honestly, there is no telling." An idea was forming.
"As a matter of fact, I mean, now that you ask, no, just help a lady with her trunk." Phin said, leading them on just a bit before stating the obvious. "After you Miss." He said to her, allowing her to lead them out of the saloon and on their way to her new residence. Actually, Phin was glad that Arabella would be with Bridget, at least for the foreseeable future. It might be good for both of them.
"So you never said where the two of you would be staying." Addressing Arabella as the stepped out onto the boardwalk. Not that it was any of his business, but he had shouldered her trunk, and he was not a young as he once was, no invalid Phin McVay, but the thing was beginning to show it's weight.
"Now about Pettigrew, I had assured him that what he had said in anger, would not be part of the column." Phin said. "He has his position, and I applaud that. It does not align with mine, and that too is fine. He may well be one Kalispell's favorite entrepreneurs, and I believe rightly so, a Mayor? Perhaps not. Then again young lady, I could be wrong about that."
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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