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.
Phinn had the headline set and was working on the text of the column when he paused, staring out of the window at the street, without seeing either the traffic, or the passers by. He was seemingly lost in the interview or nearly a month before. Lost in that final question he had asked of Leah Steelgrave, would she have killed Pronto Pike as her father had wished her to do?
There had been no answer, just a smile. A smile that could have meant anything at the time. She had been quite frank with him until that final question. She had even agreed to meet with him again if he wished and she had even promised that when the time was right she would give him a story that would rock the Steelgrave empire.
He had not printed any of the interview with her, not because he doubted any of it, but because he saw no good coming from it. He elected to wait, to hopefully meet with her again as she had agreed, to see what might be added to her story. Something that would shine a more positive light on her.
News to this point had been scarce. But that was generally true in the west. There were tales of the Red-man being out, but so far if that was true it had not affected Kalispell, or Whitefish, or even Columbia Falls. No tales of recent rustling of local cattle, no updates on the building of the new fort.
In fact, news of the coming Harvest Festival was even scarce, why the Town Council had not put out more information could only be attributed to there not being any. With that thought he turned from the window and went back to setting type and thinking of Leah Steelgrave and a possible second interview.
"Yes sir, sending troops out of somwhere's the other side of Helena to supposedly build a new fort. You know, to protect us out here from the red man." Phinn explained as the waitress came with a pot and three cups. "Why thank you Ma'am. Anyway, the way I hear it there's some fear of an Indian uprising and we all know about the rustling in the area, plus, rumor has it that mining is set to take off again. Granted, that's ten years past down at Virginia City and Nevada City way, but there's speculation, closer to this area."
"Virginia City? Hell, I got a percentage comin' in outta the one in Nevada. Names, must be hard to come by I 'spose." Pike revealed.
""That's what drew me out this way, partners in a firm in the east that buys and sells claims." Speed divulged. "Wood and Guyer Mining Company. I was just thinking this morning I need to open an office and hire a man or two to do some scouting while I'm tied up here in town. We speculate land for minerals, timber, which is real rich around here, and of course precious metals."
"I heard tell of a young prospector here abouts, can't think of the name right off, but that might be right up his alley." Phinn Added. "You plan on running it out of the Marshal's Office?"
Speed laughed. "I believe the town council would frown on that. No, I need an office, nothing much, just a place to start. And I'd like to talk to that young man, see if he'd be interested."
"I like this town, " Pike began, "hate to see it turn into a mining camp. Thing can go bad real fast in a place like that. You fill up the the dregs, along with the honest folk. Seen it down Nevada, more'n one place fer shore." He was shaking his head.
"I haven't kept up with the real estate market, probably should, but I'd guess there's bound to be office space available. I mean I imagine there's likely room up stairs in the Municipal Building were you to ask." Phinn offered.
Pike grinned. "So much for, what was it you said? Do nothin' day?"
Phinn’s walk to work was from one room to another. Actually it was an added lean-to behind the storefront where the Union office and printing press was. Excitement had dwindled since the Pinkerton news, and the bear before it. Local news was exactly what one would suspect of a small town in north-eastern Montana.
He had been up for a while, had fixed himself a simple breakfast of toast and his last egg with the coffee he brewed. Now it was sitting at his desk, looking out at the rain which rattle on the tin overhang as he dealt himself a hand of solitaire to ward off the boredom.
There just wasn’t a great deal of news to be had, oh there were rumors, of course, but he prided himself on facts. There was nothing of real interest, oh Leah Steelgrave was in town, and yes she had been see at dinner with Doctor Danforth at the Belle-St. Regis Hotel, but that was far from earthshaking. Then there was the rumor of something going on to the north, and the Steelgrave name had been mentioned.
He wanted more on the cattle drive, but that, along with news of the Army moving into the territory, would have to wait. That too seemed to be just rumors. The only real news was the rain, and his inability to play the red four he held. Perhaps a walk to the café, it was only a few steps away, and he had seen the Marshal headed in that direction.
McVay busily scribbled his notes as Asher spoke, looking up time to time and finally saying, “I’ll be sure to note that about poor choices. So she has not killed anyone, so far as you or the law knows I take it.”Rest assured Agent Asher, this will be front page, and will certainly mention your concerns about Miss Parsons. It’s not often that we have a story such as this, so I am in your debt for this.”
Though Phinn had no love for Pinkerton agents, but in this instance old feelings from the War of Northern Aggression would be put aside to concentrate on the present time and events. “It will appear in this week’s Union, sir.”
Phinn looked up, mentally composing his next line when he saw Marshal Guyer with a stranger. Of course, that instantly peaked his interest. It was clear to him Speed wasn’t showing this stranger around casually, perhaps a new deputy?
What would that mean for Hannah Cory? Had she quit? Had Guyer let her go? Had she moved on to something else? Or, was this something else entirely?
Phinias G. McVay was a newspaperman, and he could smell a story a mile off, in a dust storm. This was a story, and he wanted it for the next edition so he leapt to his feet grabbed is coat, his note pad and pencil in the breast pocket, hat already on his head as he bolted from the doorway, pulling the door closed behind him.
He dashed across the street, nearly getting run over by a wagon and dodging two different horses, as he reached the boardwalk just shy of Doc Danforth's office, tipping his hat to two ladies as he pushed past a man.
“Gentlemen. If I might have a word.” he blurted out.
Speed half turned. Hello Phinn.” He greeted with a sigh. “This is Pinkerton Agent Jack Asher. Looking for a particular woman. Jack, Phinias McVay publisher of the Kalispell Union.”
She paused sipping her tea, looking at McVay over the rim of her tea cup. She set the cup on the table and suddenly smiled. “You’re damned right I did!” She exclaimed. “Darby O’Malley tried to rape me and I drove my hat pin in his eye, took his derringer from his vest pocket, and put a bullet in his brain!” She paused, looking around the all but empty café two men and the waitress stared at her, disbelief at what they had heard on their faces. “Of course, my big brother Ben, who was skulking about near by rushed onto the scene and took credit for it, but he knows. He’s said nothing, and now it’s out. Again sir, you may do what you wish with whatever I’ve said, except, to miss quote me.”
When the pencil was laid on the table, Phinn looked up at her. “No ma’am, if you wish, we’ll bury this. I’ll not publish something which could destroy a life.”
“You are very kind Mister McVay, but it was years ago, I was just eighteen when that happened and after all that’s been said about me, behind my back, in snickers and whispers with no knowledge of the facts, well, you print what you like, sir, and I’ll attest under oath to every word if necessary.
Phinn summoned the waitress, “another tea for the lady, and another coffee for myself. And miss, I count or your discretion in this matter.
“Of course, sir.” Before she scurried off she gave a knowing look to Leah, who smiled back, as Phinn rose and went to the two men engaged in their meal.
He returned with a grin from ear to ear, “Headed to Oregon, just stopped for a fresh cooked meal. One last question, if I may.”
“Your interest in Mister Pike?
“My father was afraid he was employed by the Thorntons as a gunman. Father sent me here to kill him, for the family, were that the case.” Was her straight forward reply.
But they underestimate me, sir. I am not in need of their protection, even though it is forced on me before I have a chance to handle the situation myself, in my own way and in my own time. I want it to be said that I believe in strong women, and I believe I am one.
That’s all rather tempestuous conversation, but you may include it, and I will sign my permissions for you. Women have a difficult time of it in the world, no matter where, but, if they are of wealth, influence, prominence, well, let’s say we enjoy some of the freedoms other women do not. Yet, for al the finery, I am still at the mercy of the men of the Steelgrave family. I am given a key to hose, subject to my father taking it back. I am allowed an allowance, and credit here in town, subject to his wishes, and the suite hotel? Only by his permission. So you see, for all of the fashions I may have, I am really no better off than any other woman in town.”
Phinn finished jotting down her words and looked to her with a different perspective. Oh, all of the slights aside, what he was seeing was a young realist in so far as a woman’s lot was concerned. Words he had not expected from her, well, actually no woman, except perhaps Addy Chapple, who could be as forthright as any man he’d ever met.
“I’m sure you know that it has been said that you killed a man, Darby O’Malley.” Phinn figured if she was going to be honest about what was said of her, then his statement would not be rebuffed.
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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