Mysterious Dave Mather
Dave Mather was born on August 10, 1851 in Massachusetts and immigrated to the American West shortly afterwards, arriving in Dodge City, Kansas, in 1883.
He served as assistant town marshal and later co-owner of the Opera House Saloon with Tom Nixon (owner of Lady Gay Saloon). Their disagreement stemmed from a town ordinance which prohibited saloons.
Early Life and Education
David Mather was born on July 21st, 1941 in Spokane Valley, Washington to Herman and Louise (Kientz) Mather. After graduating high school in Spokane Valley, he attended Oregon State University where he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Economics.
Dave had a variety of interests throughout his life, such as astronomy, science, literature and history. Additionally, he and his wife Betty Jean enjoyed traveling together and spending time with their children and grandchildren.
David was heavily influenced by his parents and uncles as a child, growing up in a church environment. With an intense spirituality that was deeply rooted in Scripture, David made sure to follow God’s will every day of his life.
Dave Mather had a professional career that combined gunfighting and law enforcement. He began his journey in Las Vegas, New Mexico as a marshal for the city.
He only stayed there a short while before moving on to Dodge City, Kansas where he became embroiled in a conflict between two saloon owners that ended when he killed Thomas Nixon (also the Assistant Town Marshal) during a shootout.
He was then last seen in Mobeetie, Texas, where he and Wyatt Earp were accused of peddling fake gold bricks to several people. There are few reliable reports as to his whereabouts after leaving Dodge.
Achievements and Honors
Dave Mather earned his bachelor’s degree in physics from Swarthmore College and went on to receive his doctorate from the University of California at Berkeley. With George Smoot, he co-developed COBE – a satellite that measured cosmic microwave background radiation.
In 2006, he and Smoot were honored with the Nobel Prize in Physics for their discoveries that supported the big-bang model of universe’s origin. Currently, he serves as senior project scientist on NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope.
He served as Director of Athletics at Case Western Reserve University for 19 years, playing an instrumental role in creating the University Athletic Association and designing multiple athletic facilities. Furthermore, he created many men’s and women’s intercollegiate sports programs at CWRU.
David Allen Mather, better known by the moniker “Mysterious Dave,” was a lawman and gunfighter in the Old West renowned for his quiet demeanor. This trait earned him his name.
Born in Connecticut, he moved to Dodge City, Kansas, during the early 1870s. For many years he ran cattle, hunted buffalo, gambled and committed robberies.
He served as deputy town marshal in Dodge City and East Las Vegas, New Mexico Territory. Unfortunately, his feud with saloon owner Thomas Nixon came to a head in a shootout that claimed Nixon’s life; thereafter he vanished from history.
Dave Mather’s career as a lawman in the Old West happened by chance. The quiet son of a Connecticut sea captain, he practiced law on both sides of the law and led an interesting life.
After his parents died, Mather and his brother Josiah abandoned ship and set sail for California. At first they stopped in New Orleans but soon after left for San Francisco.
They eventually settled in Las Vegas, New Mexico and joined forces with such deviant figures as Dirty Dave Rudabaugh and John Joshua Webb.
Mather served as deputy marshal in East Las Vegas and was a member of the Dodge City Gang, an organized criminal gang which terrorized the town between 1879-80. He also engaged in gunfights that resulted in multiple fatalities.