1873 - 1878
1873 was not a good year for New Opportunity. Locals refer to it as “The Dark Year”. Mid-march had the strange livestock mutilations and the death of John Engle. One of the town founders, Charles Southard, was found guilty of murder and hung for his crimes. His business, the Southard Brewery, closed as he had no heirs.
That summer was cursed with the serial killer Jarvis Schrute, known as “The Scalper”. The Scalper killed nearly a dozen people with his axe before he was stopped. His first victim was Sinjin Jackson who had just started his own newspaper, The Opportunist. His last victim was Sheriff J.B. Truesdale. It was Jarvis Schrute’s best friend, Benjamin Redwood, that finally caught him and put him down.
In Autumn there was a mysterious fire that burned down the local church. The popular leader, Father Tobias Ezrah, and his adopted daughter were killed in the blaze. His chief disciple, Tai Shou Ch’uan, moved the center of the religious movement to the town of Harmony. The Church in New Opportunity remained in ashes for almost five years. The local Deacon, Alberto Santos, was named the new Father and held most services in the town hall.
David Buck, a successful businessman, committed suicide after murdering the wife of his partner, Long Ju Shen. Shortly after this, Long Ju Shen’s daughter ran away. She returned in 1876 and bought the old Southard Brewery and turned it into a saloon – The Lucky Dragon.
In 1877, Reverend Ezekiah Grimme of Lost Angels wrote his Edict of ’77, declaring Lost Angels to be a sovereign nation. Since then only True Believers have been allowed to live in the city. This has made life difficult for the three competing railways who want to reach Lost Angels.
After years of infighting with the leaders in Harmony, the followers of Ezrah decided to rebuild the church in New Opportunity. Construction was slowed by the constant demands of the head church. It’s grand opening is coinciding with the Assumption of Mary celebration of 1878.