Thursday, December 10, 2009

December 10, 2009
They called him "Loco Rooskie" south of the border down Magdalena way. But not to his face, of course. Emilio Kosterlitzky, born in Moscow, Russia in 1853, entered military school at St. Petersburg, Russia and later transferred to the Royal Navy College in Moscow. In 1872 he was assigned to a training ship on a world cruise, but on December 3, 1872, Kosterlitzky jumped ship at Puerto Cabello, Venezuela and made his way north, landing in Guaymas, Sonora in April of 1873. He enlisted in the Mexican army and rose to leadership in El Norte (the Wild West in Mexico was the Wild North). Emilio did Presidente Porfirio Diaz's bidding in the region and ruled Sonora and the border area with an iron fist. The head of the Gendarmeria Fiscal, better known as The Rurales, Emilio could be harsh and ruthless all the while being quite courteous. He is seen here in his formal uniform, which favored the Prussian style and must have stood out along the border:

He cut quite a figure during the Apache Kid campaign, and at one point saved Mickey Free from hanging. Mickey had killed a corrupt Rurale in an cantina fight, bringing down the emnity of the dead Rurale's cousin, a captain in the Rurales. Emilio and his men subsequently tracked and fought a ragtag group of Apaches near Casas Grandes, killing seven and recovering Glenn Reynold's watch, stolen when the Apache Kid and six other Apache prisoners escaped, killing Sheriff Reynolds and his deputy. For some time it was believed that the Apache with the watch was the Kid, but Mickey quickly identified him as another San Carlos renegade, Bachenal.

"If you ain't ever heard a Russian general speakin' pure Mex, you ain't lived a lick."
—Tom Horn

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