Biographical Sketches of Col. James H. McLaughlin of Detroit, Mich.,
and Henry M. Dufur of Marlboro, Mass.

Journal of Manly Arts
March 2003


Champions of the World at Collar-and-Elbow Wrestling.





In preparing and publishing these biographical sketches of Col. J. H. McLaughlin, of Detroit, Michigan, and H. M. Dufur, of Marlboro, Massachusetts, we are not only supplying a pressing demand, long felt, but spreading the intelligence far and wide, that athletic sports are not necessarily demoralizing, but may be engaged in by gentlemen of position and influence in business and social life, without suffering a blemish upon their character.

The prowess and skill of these magnificent representatives of the west and the east, is something marvelous, and reminds us of those Roman giants, who when the "Eternal City" was at the zenith of her glory, were wont to entertain and amaze the kings and the people, by their wrestling and gladiatorial combats. No other two athletes so thoroughly command the respect and admiration of the people, or have done so much to establish this highest form of athletic sport on a respectable and entertaining basis, as our noted subjects. Not only has their fame reached to the shores of Alaska, to the everglades of Florida, to the lumberman's hut in the pineries of Maine, and to the cattle ranches of Texas, and to England, the Continent, and the isles of the sea. No other two men can so densely pack the largest halls in the country, and hold their audiences spell-bound for hours, as can Dufur and McLaughlin, whose names are synonyms for all that is honorable, gentlemanly and instructive in the art of wrestling.


J.H. McLaughlin

Was born at Oriskany, Oneida County, New York, June 8, 1844. His father was Scotch, and his mother a native of Kings Co., Ireland. His first wrestling match occurred at Binghamton, N.Y., when he was only fifteen years of age, but even then he was a big lump of a boy weighing 185 pounds. Hiram McKee, a brawny Scot of twice his years, was his opponent, and was defeated for a stake of $100 a side. Stung by defeat McKee taunted the victorious boy beyond endurance, when the latter collared him upon the village green, and after a brief tussle threw him with such violence as to break one of his legs. McKee was in hospital for several weeks. In the fall of 1850, McLaughlin defeated Luke Loucks, at Oneida Castle, N.Y., $100 a side. At the beginning of the rebellion, he enlisted as a private in the Twenty-sixth New York Infantry, and for bravery and meritorious conduct, was promoted to a captaincy. Subsequently he was transferred to the Twenty-fourth New York Cavalry, and rose to the rank of Major. While in the army, McLaughlin had many contests with his fellow soldiers, and won them all. His most formidable opponents were Duval Wilcox, whom he defeated at Fort Lyon, Va., in 1861, for a purse of $400 in gold, the struggle lasting three hours, and Corporal Corrigan, of the Twenty-seventh New York, whom he vanquished at Fort Ellsworth, for a purse of $300.

His first match after the war was with Louis Ainsworth, at the Newark (N. J.) Driving Park, May 14, 1866, for $1000 a side and the championship of America, defeating him easily.

In March 1867 he defeated Homer Lane, of New York, at Mechanics Hall, Utica, New York, in a similar match, Sept. 1, of the same year he again met Lane at Devereaux Hall, Oneida, under the same conditions, and suffered his first defeat.

In 1870, Col. McLaughlin went to Detroit, Mich., to participate in a tournament. Up to this time there had been no trophy emblematic of the championship of America, but at this tournament, a valuable belt was offered, open to all collar-and-elbow wrestlers. The tournament opened at Young Men's hall, March 10, 1870, some eighteen contestants appearing, but only two, the late E. P. Harrington, of Detroit, and Barney Smith, at that time an engineer on the Great Western Railway, of Canadacompeted with McLaughlin and both were easily defeated.

Smith received an injury to his head in the contest, which it was claimed hastened his death, which occurred not long afterwards.

On the 16th of the same month he defeated Geo. C. Orr, at Detroit, for $200 and the championship. Homer Lane was the first to challenge McLaughlin for the belt thereafter, and he was defeated at Titusville, Penn., on April 30, following. On Dec. 6, 1870, he defeated Joseph J. Benjamin, of Washington, D. C., for $100 and the belt, at Titusville, where on Feb. 4, 1871, he also vanquished Nathan L. Dorrance, of Chicago.

The loser again challenged McLaughlin, and was again defeated at the same place, June 19, 1871. On June 29 following, McLaughlin issued through the Clipper, a challenge to wrestle any man in the world, square holds, right hand to collar, for from $1000 to $10,000 a side; his deposit of $200 remained for months uncovered, and was finally withdrawn. Thereupon he claimed the world's championship by default.

McLaughlin now removed from the Oil Regions to Detroit, where he secured a situation as passenger conductor on the Detroit and Lansing Railroad, and was not again heard of in the athletic arena, until February 14, 1875, when he wrestled Michael Whalen, alias "Corduroy" a big policeman of San Francisco, at Platt's Hall, February 14, 1875, in that city, for $2500 a side. McLaughlin won two consecutive falls and the match, himself and backers pocketing, it was stated, $15000 in gold. Resuming his railroad duties, McLaughlin did not wrestle again until Jan. 4, 1875, when he defeated J. J. Benjamin, of Washington, D.C., at the Detroit Opera House, Detroit, winning two straight falls. The price of tickets ranged from $1 to $8 each, and the actual cash receipts were upwards of $4000.

During 1876 followed McLaughlin's three contests with Jacob H. Martin, the "Butcher Boy" of Ypsilanti, Mich. The first, at the Detroit Opera House, March 23, for $500 a side, broke up in a row and was decided a draw; the second, at Whitney's Opera house, Detroit, June 29, terminated similarly after the men had wrestled until sunrise without either gaining a fall; the third took place at Central Park Garden, New York, Oct. 16, when McLaughlin won the first and third fall. After this McLaughlin remained in and about New York for several weeks, and on Dec. 7, 1876, at Harry Hill's Theatre, he gave an exhibition wrestle with Charles Murphy, whom he defeated in two straight falls. In this contest McLaughlin severely injured his left ankle, and he was still crippled when he was defeated by the late James Owens of Fairfield, Vt., in a match announced as for the championship, on Dec 28 following, at Music Hall, Boston. The belt won at Detroit was not in controversy.

McLaughlin then returned home and paid forfeit to John McMahon, with whom he had a match pending at San Francisco, Cal.

On Feb. 21, 1877, at the Opera House, Utica, N. Y., McLaughlin defeated John Cavanagh, gaining two consecutive falls. At the same place, March 5th following, he wrestled Thiebaud Bauer a mixed match, collar-and-elbow, Graeco-Roman, and catch-as-catch-can, which resulted in a wrangle. This was McLaughlin's first match at any style outside of his specialtycollar-and-elbow.

April 10, 1877, at Whitney's Opera House, Detroit, he defeated Bauer, under the same conditions, winning the collar-and-elbow and catch-as-catch-can bouts.

McLaughlin then became a passenger-conductor on the Canada Southern Railway, and attended strictly to business until the fall of 1878, when he was defeated by John McMahon of Bakerfield, Vt., collar-and-elbow, at McCormick's Hall, Chicago (McLaughlin then weighing 268 pounds), Nov. 23. At the same place, Dec. 14 following, collar-and-elbow, in harness, McLaughlin turned the tables, defeating McMahon.

Jan. 18, 1879, at Whitney's Opera House, McLaughlin wrestled Graeco-Roman, with Lucien Marc, (who fraudulently represented himself as Andre Christol), throwing him in three minutes with such violence as to fracture the Frenchman's right collarbone. Feb. 15 following he defeated Wm. Miller at Music Hall, Boston, Mass., Graeco-Roman, tripping allowed.

On the afternoon of March 12 following, he wrestled a draw with John McMahon, at the Boston Theatre, collar-and-elbow, alternate bouts in jacket and harness, each man securing a fall.

At the Academy of Music, Baltimore, March 26. 1879, McLaughlin was defeated by Miller, Graeco-Roman style. April 10, same place, same conditions, the men gave another exhibition, ending in a draw.

At the Detroit Opera House, Aug 17 following, McLaughlin defeated Andre Christol, losing the Graeco-Roman bout and winning the catch-as-catch-can and collar-and-elbow bouts.

At Whitney's Opera House, Detroit, Sept. 13,1879, he wrestled in mixed fashion with Bauer, same conditions, Mac being returned the winner, Bauer throwing him only at Graeco-Roman.

Having afforded ample opportunities to all wrestlers desiring to compete with him, and having failed in persistent efforts to secure a match with his old opponent, Jas. Owens, Col. McLaughlin again retired to private life, and in November, 1879, obtained position of conductor on the Michigan Central Railroad. His personal statistics are as follows :

Age, 46; height, 6ft. 1in.; weight, natural, 265 pounds; weight in fix, 215 pounds; chest 48 in.; biceps, 18in.; forearm, 16in.; thigh, 28in.; calf, 18in.

In the latter part of 1883, he resigned his position as conductor on Michigan Central Railroad, for the purpose of meeting every man in America, who lays any claim to eminence in the collar-and-elbow arena. He believes he can "clean them all out," and he not only talks it, but his long and open purse says so.

He keeps himself in splendid form, by wise and systematic exercise and training, and by total abstinence from the use of liquors and tobacco, which debilitating habits he never acquired.

Socially he is a great favorite, being widely known and very popular through the great northwest. He is one of those "hale fellows well met," winning attention by his massive and handsome physique, and friends by his genial, hearty manner.

He has acquired a snug little fortune by his industry, shrewdness and ability, and engages in wrestling not from the necessity of a living, but from a genuine enjoyment of the sport. Few men embody so much in their make-up and characteristics that gain the admiration of the people, as the Colonel.


Henry Dufur

Was born in Richford, Vermont, June 5th, 1843. Said state is the mother of wrestlers, such men as McMahon, Owens, Flagg and Cox, having been born within the shadows of her far-famed Green mountains. Wrestling is, and for long years has been, the popular sport of her sturdy yeomanry; town meetings, fairs, cattle shows, house raisings, &c., being incomplete and void of special interest without a wrestling tourney to wind up with.

Dufur, when a small boy, was taught the art of wrestling by his father, Eliphalet Dufur, who is also a Vermonter, and is now living, at the age of seventy-one years, in the town of Sutton, Vt., and is a hale and vigorous old gentlemen. He in his day was noted for his remarkable strength, endurance and wrestling powers, having sent many a good man "to grass." He was always intensely interested in any matches wrestled by his boys, viz., Noah, John, David, and Henry Moses; and when they got defeated, would invariably give them a lecture, and show them points that would enable them to escape defeat again by the same dodge.

In this way they grew up under the direct tutorship of their father, their styles of wrestling being collar-and-elbow, or square hold, body and side holds, and catch-as-catch-can. Time and again have the boys pitched in, and attempted to "down" their plucky father, but he would slay them as fast as they came up. Not until very lately would he allow himself to be "downed" by his sons.

When H. M. Dufur was a small boy, and when going to school, the different districts would be matched against each other, in which exciting contests he was almost always victorious. When but fifteen years old, he was rated as champion of his town. About this time he was matched against the champion of one of the adjoining towns, and won a decisive victory. Other similar matches followed, Dufur winning in every instance, until he came to be regarded by the young sports of that section of the state, as the giant and king of the wrestling arena.

At the age of seventeen, he was matched against a 250 pound wrestler of considerable note, winning two straight falls in twelve minutes. A considerable sum of money changed hands. Dufur weighed only 155 pounds. From that time forward he was considered invincible. So enthusiastic were his young friends over this victory that they carried him home on their shoulders. His power of endurance has from his boyhood been wonderful. At town meetings, he would wrestle all comers, there having been occasions, when the ring would hardly be broken from early morning until late at night. For several years at this period he worked in a lumber yard, handling timber and logs.

When he was eighteen years old, it was customary for the whole wrestling fraternity of that region, to assemble every Saturday night, in the summer months and engage in a ring wrestle, always drawing a big crowd of spectators. Dufur was always the leading spirit. Whenever a new wrestler came to town Dufur was always the boy put forward to see what the stranger was made of. When eighteen years and six months old he went to live at Hudson, Mass. Here he met and defeated the thought-to-be wonderful (barber) William Jenkins, who weighed 252 pounds. Dufur weighed 164 pounds, and won in about the time it takes to relate the fact, his opponent being thrown so heavily as to be unable to attend to business for several weeks. All the shoe shops were closed, the workmen coming out to see the match. Soon after this Dufur was engaged by a class of young men, to teach them collar-and-elbow wrestling.

When twenty years old he removed to the adjoining town of Marlboro, and engaged in the clothing business. Here he continued to wrestle anyone who cared to collar him for fun or money.

Feb. 28th, 1877, he met at Worcester, Mass., James Owens, of Fairfield, Vt., in a collar-and-elbow contest, which after a prolonged struggle was declared a draw. Owens agreed to meet Dufur in a week, and finish the match, but failed to do so.

April 20th 1878, Dufur issued a challenge in the New York Clipper to any man in America, to wrestle him a collar-and-elbow match for $200 a side. It was accepted by Edward Cox, of Fairfield, Vt., the match being wrestled at Riverside Park, Hudson, Mass., May 29th, and won by Dufur. For the second time he was taken on the shoulders of his friends and carried to his dressing room, their enthusiasm finding vent in two or three yells.

People thought he had nearly gone crazy, when, early in June the same year, he challenged through the New York Clipper, James Owens, the then champion of the world, whom he previously met at Worcester. The same issue of that paper contained a challenge from Cox to Dufur, to wrestle a match for $200 a side, which Dufur, after waiting several days and not hearing from Owens, accepted. Said match was wrestled on Boston baseball grounds and won by Dufur.

June 11, 1879, he wrestled at the Howard Athenaeum, Boston, Mass., with James Owens, for $500 a side, championship and door money. Owens stood 5 feet 7 1-4 inches in height, and weighed 170 pounds. Dufur 5 feet, 11 1-2 inches, and weighed 192 pounds. The prestige of Owens' previous victories, notwithstanding this disparity in height and weight between the men, led Owen's friends to expect the champion would again win. It was quickly apparent, however, as soon as the men got to work that Dufur was much the more powerful and equally as scientific a man. He frequently brought Owens to his knees, side and face, winning first fall in forty-three minutes. The second bout was also won by Dufur. Strenuous efforts were made by Mr. Kirk, Owens' umpire, and by John McMahon, to induce the referee, Judge Jas. J. Fassett, of Nashua, N.H., to withdraw his decision giving Dufur the second fall, but he remained firm. Being unable to carry their point, the belt was taken from its place of deposit, in an unsporstmanlike manner, and Dufur has never been able to get possession of it. By the decision of the referee, however, Dufur became the champion, and was and is so recognized by the sporting papers and the sporting world. The possession or existence even of a champion belt, which is simply an emblem, is of only secondary importance. Dufur still wears the championship honors, and somebody else has the belt. It is only just to the memory of James Owens to say, that he was the best man for his weight and height that Dufur ever had hold of.

While the Dufur-Owens match was pending, John McMahon issued a challenge to the winner, to wrestle a match for $1000 a side, and made a deposit in the hands of the editor of the New York Clipper of $100, to insure the match. Dufur, as winner of said match, accepted McMahon's challenge, and covered the deposit. McMahon, however made a match with Owens and transferred his deposit. The match was for the championship and a purse. Dufur determined his man should not escape him, did a most daring act, by challenging both McMahon and Owens as one man, for $1000 a side, and made a deposit in the hands of Frank Queen, as a guarantee of his intentions. After the expiration of a month this challenge not being accepted, Dufur withdrew his deposit. He protested, however, against these men wrestling a match for championship, his letter of June 23, embracing this terse paragraph: "McMahon, with unseemly arrogance, has assumed to be the autocrat of the wrestling arena, and has set at naught the decision of umpires and referee, having arranged a championship contest with James E. Owens, a man who has no right to deliver the goods."

Under date of November 3d, McMahon challenged Dufur to wrestle a match for a stake of from $500 to $1,000 a side.

November l2th, George W. Flagg, of Braintree, Vt., challenged Dufur to wrestle for the championship and a stake of $500. Flagg was given the first chance because his challenge involved the championship, while that of McMahon was simply for a stake.

The Flagg-Dufur match at Burlington, Vt., was won by the latter, notwithstanding the former was nearly forty pounds the heaviest, and was then, and is now, the champion of Vermont. These two men have wrestled quite a number of matches in Vermont, where they always receive an ovation, having wrestled, on one occasion, in the presence of twenty thousand people.

September 12th, 1879, Dufur met E. R. Holcomb, a heavy weight from Grand Rapids, Mich., at Music Hall, Boston, winning three in four bouts.

A match between Dufur and McMahon having, with much difficulty, been arranged, they met in Music Hall, Boston, March 16th, 1880. The contest was one of the most prolonged and exhausting on record. It began at 8.30 p. m. At 1 o'clock Wednesday morning, the men having been wrestling continuously for four hours and fifteen minutes, the referee called a rest of ten minutes, during which time the audience and wrestlers retired for refreshments. At 1.10 o'clock time was again called. The contest was continued until 2.25 a.m., when Manager Peck, of the Music Hall, stated that the lease of the hall had expired, and the match was declared a draw by Referee John Ennis, neither man having been allowed a fall.

June 12th, Dufur, in a communication to the Boston Globe, said: "At a recent entertainment at the Howard Athenaeum, Mr. John McMahon publicly stated that he was ready to wrestle any man in the world for a heavy stake, H. M. Dufur preferred. It is needless for me to say that I am willing to meet any man upon fair and honorable terms. If McMahon will wrestle me a private match in stout, close-fitting jackets, and with a fair and impartial referee, one who thoroughly understands the rules of collar-and-elbow wrestling, and has the courage to enforce them, he can be accommodated for any reasonable amount." The expression pertaining to jackets had reference to those furnished by McMahon at the Dufur-McMahon match, which were cottonade, with narrow sleeve, and not as well fitting or durable as those offered by Dufur, which were made of strong cassimere, with good, heavy collars, ample sleeves and all seams double stitched.

September 8th, a collar-and-elbow and catch-as-catch-can match, best three in five, between Dufur and Duncan C. Ross, of Coburg, Ontario, Canada, was wrestled at Marlboro, Mass., and won by Dufur in three collar-and-elbow bouts.

December 13th, 1883, Dufur and McMahon wrestled a second match, in Boston, from which, after wrestling for a couple of hours, McMahon withdrew upon the plea of "not being in good condition." At this time, Dufur was in splendid condition, willing and desirous of continuing the match to the bitter end.

Dufur's record as a wrestler is among the most remarkably successful, if not the most so, of any one we have knowledge of. Of the 127 matches he has had a part in, he never lost a fall for money until he met Col. J. H. McLaughlin. We have spoken of the Cox, Owens, McMahon, Flagg, Holcomb and Ross matches at greater or less length, because they are regarded as the most important, those with Owens and McMahon, especially the latter, being fruitful of many and prolonged disputes, in which Dufur's conduct and purposes have not always been represented fairly in certain newspapers that might be named.

Following are 25 of the 127 matches, in the order in which they were wrestled:

With James Owens,.................For $1,000

" Edward Cox,.................." 400

" George W. Flagg,.........." 500

" Two Burt Brothers, as one man," 500

" E. R. Halcomb,.............." 500

" S. F. Hunt,......................" 250

" G. A. Hutchinson,.............." 250

" D. C. Ross,." 500

" George Burt, up and up,.........NOTHING.

" Edwin Bibby,.................." 500

" D. C. Ross,......................" 500

" Clarence Whistler,.............." 250

" Wm. Muldoon,..................." 250

" C. H. Burt......................." 250

" George W. Flagg,..............." 500

" A. W. Wheeler,.................." 250

" John McMahon,............." 1,000

" S. F. Hunt,.................." 200

In a Tournament at Big Bethel, Vt.," 550

With Mervin Thompson,........." 200

In a Tournament at Boston,........." 1,500

" " " Rochester, N.Y.,..." 500

With John McMahon,.............." 1,000

" Col. J. H. McLaughlin,......" 1,000

" " " " .." 1,000

Much more of interest might be said of Dufur, as a wrestler, but we refrain; as a citizen, he has resided in the town of Marlboro,one of the oldest and most historic hill towns of Central Massachusetts for twenty-one years. By economy, industry and shrewd business ability, he has established a tailoring and clothing business of considerable magnitude. By his genial manner and proverbial courtesy, he has rallied about him a host of friends, who believe in him thoroughly.

He is a total abstainer from the use of alcoholic and malt liquors, wines and tobacco, which is undoubtedly one important reason for his superiority over most other wrestlers. He engages daily in athletic exercises, which, in conjunction with his correct habits, keeps him in perfect and constant health, and always ready to wrestle a match, private or public, for fun or money. Whether at home or among strangers, he wins men to him, and holds all he wins.


The McLaughsin-Dufur matches, wrestled at Detroit, Mich., were among the most intensely interesting and exciting ones on record. The pride and confidence which the people of Detroit, Chicago and other portions of Michigan and Illinois, have in McLaughlin, whose magnificent physique and unsurpassed skill in the art of wrestling, combines to make him so formidable an antagonist, and the fame and renown Dufur had been winning in the east, caused the people in all ranks of society in Detroit, and the surrounding country, to anticipate the meeting of the best men in the west and the east, with the deepest interest. Not those alone who were interested in the ordinary sports of the day, but thousands of citizens at large, were anxious to get a sight at the champion. When they did see him at his hotel, and on the street, they were disappointed but happily, however. There was no coarseness, no brag, no bluster, no remarkable physique, no inclination to make a public exhibition of himself. He came as an ordinary man, smiling, modest, courteous and social, and had a cheery word for everyone, He had simply left his business, for a few days, to meet a foeman as famous, highly reputed and popular in the west as he (Dufur) is in the east.

The much anticipated night came at last. Detroit's fine opera house was packed from stage to walls. Every available seat was taken at extraordinary prices. The audience embraced a large proportion of the best society in the city, and was in every sense an ovation. The 29th of January, 1884, will ever be memorable among Detroiters as the night upon which the finest exhibition of wrestling ever witnessed in that city, was given. The newspapers gave abundant space to the report of the affair, speaking only in the highest terms of the strength, agility and science of both. No more gamey men ever faced each other.

Not having in our possession any Detroit dailies containing an account of that match, we reproduce a report published by the Advertiser in the town where Dufur resides.


The Dufur-McLaughlin Contest at Detroit.

The Champion Finds His Match at Last.

From copies of the Detroit dailies,Free Press, News, Journal, Times, Post and Tribune, of Wednesday, January 30, for which we presume ourselves indebted to Mr. Charles A. Cook, of Baird's Minstrels, formerly of the Advertiser, we have received full and graphic account of the great collar and elbow match, between H. M. Dufur and J. H. Mc-Laughlin at Detroit Opera House on the night of the 29th, ult.

Naturally these papers are jubilant over the triumph of one of their own popular and much respected citizens, a man in the railroad business, who voluntarily relinquished the championship in the wrestling field about five years ago, and who since then has been hardly more than a looker on in Venice.

The chief headings which show the exultation are these: "Mac Wins," "Mac Gets There," "The Champion Thrown," "A Champion Conquered," "Dufur was Downed," etc. Nevertheless full justice is done the hitherto unvanquished athlete from the east, as the after story will tell.

All accounts agree that intense interest was felt in the fray. Tickets sold for $1.50 and 2.00 each, the former commanding little more than standing room with hundreds upon hundreds unable to gain admission at all. By eight o'clock there were in the hall nearly two thousand spectators.

Among these were ladies, bankers, judges, business men, public officials, editors, and in short, an audience highly respectable in every sense of the word. For days it had been the leading topic of town talk, and on all hands it was agreed that no hippodroming need be expected, as both men had a character and reputation too valuable to bear trifling with in any degree. It was remarked also that no more orderly crowd of its size had ever assembled at such a contest in the city of the straits, as Detroit is called.


Curiosity extended to the separate dressing rooms of the athletes, who were attended by their umpires and friends, those of Dufur being almost as many as his opponent. Mr. Dufur wore a white flannel shirt, scarlet trunks, white tights and red stockings. He had a pleasant smile and word for all who called to pay their respects and in no way seemed to exhibit any signs of nervousness over the approaching contest.

Col. McLaughlin was attired in white flannel shirt, dark red trunks and light brown tights, sat upon a stool, while his physician and an attendant were watching every respiration. By the Colonel's side stood his boy, about twelve years old, and weighing not less than 140 pounds, whose large frame and glow of health showed a miniature edition of his father.

The Colonel said he should put sawdust on Dufur's back if it was a possible thing. He drank home made coffee and Dufur lemonade before making his way to the wings.


Geo. H. Penniman was master of ceremonies and before introducing his heroes, made a brief, but telling speech, in which he said that ever since Jacob of old, had wrestled all night with the Angel of Light, wrestling had been among the most popular of athletic sports. A brief period of time might produce a Gould or a Vanderbilt, but it required several generations to give the world such splendid specimens of manhood, as were to make trial and skill before the spectators.

The event must form a part of the history of Michigan and a part of the history of Massachusetts and the meeting between the giants of the commonwealths would show there is something more to be gained in this world than stacks of coin and volumes of bank notes.

The match was to be for $900 a side and net receipts. Ed. H. Gilman was referee, Dr. Phil. Porter of Detroit and J. C. Williams, of Boston, umpires for McLaughlin and Dufur, respectively, the match square, and best man to win. Then came the introduction of wrestlers, umpires and referee, the latter of whom spoke to the point, winding up with this remark: All I can say is, that I shall do my level best to make the men wrestle, and may the best man win. Then followed an examination of the wrestlers' pockets by the umpires, with everything found to be satisfactory.


Dufur came upon the stage with swinging movement, and waved his hand in a friendly-tip fashion to audience, and took his stand with folded arms stripped for action.

Dufur impressed an observer as a formidable antagonist. He was perfectly cool as he stood facing the house, and his keen eye lighted up with satisfaction.

McLaughlin looked serious as if he was fearful that himself or the audience was to be treated to a surprise. Dufur seemed slender standing beside the Detroit man, whose legs, arms and body were large and solid. Dufur's arms were small and shapely. His "india rubber legs" showed up well and were remarkable for the prominence of the knee caps, which extended conspicuously outward, in whatever position he stood. His strength appeared to be in the upper part of his body, but the Detroiter looked stronger in every way. He looked perfect, physically, and was in the pink of condition. The dimensions of the two champions are compared as follows:

Age, years, 40 40
Height, feet, 6 6
Weight, pounds. 195 265
Weight, (trained) pounds, 193 210
Chest, inches, 44 48
Waist, inches, 34 40
Thigh, inches, 25 26
Calf, inches, 16 18
Forearm, inches, 15 16 1/2
Biceps, inches, 16 18


As time was called at 8.12 and the wrestlers secured firm hold on each other's jackets, a hush fell over the house. It at once became apparent that the struggle was to be no tame affair. Each man went to work in a manner that meant business, and this was kept up throughout the evening. The result of the first bout created an impression in the audience that Dufur would leave Detroit and still be able to say that he had never yet been laid on his back. After considerable sparring, and several ineffectual locks, by both parties, the Yankee, by a marvelously quick change from an inside grape vine to an outside grape-vine lock, laid the Michigan giant flat on the floor, without the slightest chance at grumbling. The Colonel said afterwards that the lightning-like rapidity with which the thing was done was a surprise party to him. After the first bout both men played well, but McLaughlin rather forced the work. His immense strength stood him in good stead and never after the first fall was he brought nearer to the floor than on his knees.

The struggle was intensely exciting. Every time a lock was taken, the men's limbs would go together with a snap like the coupling of a railroad car, and then would follow the test of strength.

Through the thin tights of the contestants, the sinews stood out in great ridges, and the sharp, quick twitching showed what super-human efforts were being put forth. In these contests the Detroiter came out best, and usually managed to send his antagonist to the floor, but here the remarkable agility and twisting capabilities of Dufur came into play. He fell in all sorts of positions, except the one required by the rules. Occasionally McLaughlin would try to force him from a bridge down to his hips, but generally without success. The audience seemed to think that every time Dufur went down McLaughlin was entitled to a fall, and loudly demanded its concession.

At the end of the second round, when McLaughlin had secured his first fall, the referee read the rule to the spectators providing that falls should be judged by the manner in which the men struck, and not by any position they might be forced into after. Mr. Gilman closed his remarks characteristically by saying. "You bet your life they've got to wrassle!"

The work previous to the third fall was warmer than ever. McLaughlin flopped his man around in the most vigorous manner, but the latter always managed to turn his face or side in falling, or to make a bridge, until at last McLaughlin got the hip-lock, laying Dufur flat on the stage so that all four points, touched the floor.

The time of first bout was 7, of second 13, and of third 42 minutes.

Such is the story in brief.

A more extended narration, bout by bout, is of interest.


Dufur at once assumed the aggressive as though anxious to hurry things, and making the first spar with his left toe he was immediately answered by Mac, After a dozen taps in give and take fashion, D. tried to take a grapevine lock, but Mac got away and returned the compliment with an effort at a similar one, which D. avoided. Another session of sparring was ended by the Col. getting a slight lock on D., who broke away, taking his own jacket over his head in so doing. With toe-lock on Mac's left calf, Dufur brought his rival to one knee, but Mac recovered with a grapevine lock and threw Dufur to the floor, but not for a fall, for the wiry Yankee turned in a twinkling, and with a bridge saved himself. Quickly arising, D. again renewed the struggle, and caught an outside twist on Mac's left leg. M. essayed to break it, at which D., with a turn, a stoop and a lift combined in a movement as quick as a flash, had the Detroit man on his hip, and finally on the floor for a fall in much less time than it takes to read about it. "First fall for Mr. Dufur! Time, seven minutes!" shouted Referee Gilman. While the audience joined in an effort to lift the roof by a tremendous volume of applause, the wrestlers disappeared for a breathing spell.

Col. McLaughlin looked at his opponent rather dubiously and surprised as he retired to his dressing room, and remarked to a by-stander: He's a wonderful man! I did not know such a man lived in the world! He's as strong as a steam engine, quick as lightning, and knows every point and trick in wrestling.


Both men appeared promptly for the second bout at 8.33. Dufur now appeared in new tights, as during the bout he fell so as the knees of the pair first worn were badly torn. He rubbed his hands and wore quite openly an air of confidence.

On taking hold, the Col. assumed the aggressive at once, and seemed to wish to force the match to a conclusion instead of holding off, as in the first bout. Both men stood up to their work in a fair and square manner, and Mac twitched the Yankee around the stage by main strength. He was apparently determined to win this bout at all hazards, and tossed his opponent around at times like a toy. Mac. caught him first with a hip-lock and threw him over, but with his wonderful quickness, turned again in the air and landed on his stomach, with Mac. on top. The Col. next brought him over with a grapevine lock, but a bridge saved him. The applause was deafening. Tripping and twitching was next indulged in quick succession, and finally Mac performed his greatest feat of the evening, by picking up the eastern giant bodily from the floor, swinging him around much as Ned Hanlon would his baseball bat when hitting for a home run, and throwing him on his side for a "no fall."! After a moment's play, Mac caught another grapevine, but D. stiffened his limbs until his muscles stood out as if they must burst. Mac tugged away at him, and it seemed for a moment that the Massachusetts champion must go under. He did not, however, for with a quick movement he unloosened his legs, tightened them again, made a quick turn, and with the most graceful movement possible leaped upon his feet again. It was the prettiest and most skilful movement of the evening, and seemed quite a surprise to the Col. himself. D. was so elated over the success of this manoeuvre that he smiled, and went at his work with renewed vigor. This somewhat mettled Mac. He secured another grapevine, and with almost superhuman strength, lifted Dufur from his feet and tossed him over so quickly that he could not make his favorite turn or bridge, winning from the champion of the world the first fall ever secured from him in a match. The visitor arose to his feet, looked at the Col. in a surprised way, and retired to the wings, amid cries of "Down him, Mac!" and deafening cheers.


Everybody breathed short. This was the deciding bout. D. did most of the play. In a minute and a half he took an inside hold, but after a severe struggle was forced to let go to save himself. M. took an inside grapevine. Whenever he has done so before in Detroit his opponent has gone down. This man stood immovable. It was a Herculean strain for a few moments, and then M. let go. He had met his match. D. then took the same hold. M. broke it and pushed him through the scenery at the back of the stage. With a twitch the Wolverine brought the Yankee down again, but it was no fall. All this took six and one-half minutes.

D. opened the ball again with a fruitless trip and twitch. Then he got a toe lock which staggered M. Then M. put forth all his giant strength. He twirled the Yankee around in a circle and tried to trip him with a toe lock on the way, but no use. Agility was equal to strength. D. though shaken up, landed squarely on his feet. Then D. tried a cross buttock but he couldn't bring the colonel, and squirmed back to his upright position. Then he tried a grapevine with no better result. After a little play M. got a fair cross buttock, which brought D. to the carpet. As usual he landed on his stomach. He tried another cross buttock or hip lock, and this time laid D. on his side. M. was winding his antagonist and he had found that he could throw him on the hip lock. Again he tries the same lock, and again D. is down. The audience cheer and cry "Fall!" "Fall!" The referee steps up and says: "This is no fall."

Five minutes are given for a breathing spell. D. gets a lock, but is glad to let go and get safely on his feet again. M. takes an inside grapevine and throws D. on his side, rolling him over on his back, which does not count. M. gives D. a powerful twitch and brings him again to the carpet. But it is no fall. D. without waiting, after he gets up, entwines his legs around the inside of M's. and fairly raises him from the floor. Both these strong men tremble with the strain like paralytics. D. gives it up, and releases his hold to save himself. M. instantly takes an inside grapevine and throws his opponent. At 10.18 the wrestlers start it again, and they have hardly commenced when M. with his hip lock lays D. flat on his back. The fall was so palpable that before the referee could announce his decision those in the wings had crowded on the stage to congratulate the winner.

The winner pocketed $2,982.50 net. He was challenged by Dufur to another contest for $1000 a side, and the same accepted.

The return match occurred March 3rd, and was won by McLaughlin. The audience was fully as large as on the occasion of the first match and the manifestations of wonderful physical power, adroitness, and lighting play and escape was such that the audience showed their appreciation by tremendous applause, rising almost en masse from their seats, and by exclamations of surprise. Neither man lost his temper through the superhuman struggles, and are firm friends today.

Dufur went west fully confident that he could conquer the big Detroiter, but he received his defeat with the best grace possible.

To see these two men together after either of those matches, no one would ever have supposed that they had so recently been engaged in herculean efforts to win honors and money from each other. Dufur is a man equal to McLaughlin in pluck and hope, and has confidence in his ability to down the "big un" yet.

The calls from the largest cities in the country for those two men to visit them and wrestle, are so urgent, that they have at last yielded, and will wrestle a continuous series of up and up matches, for stakes and house receipts, in a limited number of large places. This project of wrestling a series of up and up matches, instead of exhibition matches, will keep both men on their mettle, and the public may never again expect to see the like.

March 2003