Outlaws

THE LOST DEAD BANDIT MINE….


Osage County, Oklahoma. Enjoy.
THE LOST DEAD BANDIT MINE

When I was only ten years old, at a Boy Scout camp I heard an elderly gentleman tell a story. The place was Camp McClintock and the man was known as “Pappy.” The story he told had the date and the names of some men. I don’t remember the date or the names. Anyways, here is my version.
As a store in Bartlesville was opening for business early one morning, two men arrived on horseback and robbed it. Automobiles were just becoming popular, yet these two men, described only as one young and the other quite older, chose to commit this crime with horses as their getaway conveyance. As my memory serves they took the contents of the safe, the contents of the cash drawer, several pocket watches, some canned food, and some ammunition.
Their take was said to be approximately 300 dollars in silver coins. Oddly there was no mention of paper currency, although they would have also taken paper.
A posse was quickly assembled consisting of Bartlesville businessmen. Just past noon the posse overcame the pair of bandits on Sand Creek near present day Osage Hills State Park. The bandits had stopped for lunch from the canned food and were caught off guard. Gunfire was exchanged and the pair took to their horses. They crossed the creek and raced up into a narrow draw. Around a few bends they realized their mistake. Cornered, they dismounted, grabbed the goods and climbed the steep rock embankment only to find a wide and steep cliff. There at the base was a small opening, a cave of sorts, and inside the pair sought cover. Relatively safe in the cave, I suppose these men were planning on making good their escape under the cover of darkness, but a member of the posse had left and headed to an area homestead where he knew that the landowner had just purchased the day before a large quantity of dynamite to clear tree stumps. Shortly before dusk he returned with a bundle of dynamite and a length of rope. With help from a spotter down below he positioned himself directly above the small cave. A threat to blast was shouted to the bandits and they replied with a couple of gunshots. The man above tied the bundle to the rope, lit the fuse, flung it into the cave, and ran.
Because of the late hour, the approaching darkness, the effects of the dynamite, and the squeamish nature of the businessmen, it was decided not to attempt to recover the money.
This small cave has another story of interest. When the Spanish were in this region searching for mineral wealth a seam was discovered on this ledge that bore a natural concentration of lead and other heavy metals. About 200 feet from the entrance is a well marked “El Grande” style death trap. This mine, like the dozen or so others in this region was worked by Native American people who were enslaved by the Spaniards. When at last the Indians had driven out the Spaniards, this particular mine was left open and unsealed. “Pappy” told of having seen bullets made from the ore, and said that Indians and homesteaders had worked the mine to get the lead just to make bullets. He also said these bullets tarnished black and were at least forty percent silver.
Copyright Bill Wade #grampawbill

Categories: Ancient Treasure, Lost Mines, Lost Treasure, Oklahoma, Outlaws, silver, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Lost Treasure is still out there….


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The Dalton Gang Loot

The famous Dalton Gang made history in 1892 when they attempted to rob two banks at the same time in Coffeyville, Kansas. The result was the death of four of the outlaws and four citizens, and a prison term for the only survivor, Emmett Dalton.

Less well known is the fortune in gold and silver coins allegedly buried by the outlaws on the evening before the Coffeyville attempt. The cache was estimated to be worth between $9,000 and $20,000 in 1892 values.

Before their Coffeyville robbery, the Dalton Gang held up a Missouri-Kansas-Texas train near Wagoner, Oklahoma, and another near Adair. From these robberies, they netted $10,000. A few weeks later, they walked into an El Reno, Oklahoma, bank and took $17,000.

Following these robberies, the gang members purchased new saddles and clothes. The remaining loot was carried in their saddlebags as they made their way toward Coffeyville.

On the evening of October 5, the gang arrived at Onion Creek where it joins with the Verdigris River near the Kansas-Oklahoma border. There, they set up camp. Desiring to travel as unencumbered as possible, they unloaded all of the goods from their horses. The gold and silver coins were placed in a shallow hole they dug adjacent to their campfire.

At dawn the following morning, the outlaws breakfasted, checked their firearms and ammunition, and saddled their mounts. Before leaving, Emmett told the gang members that if they became separated, they were to rendezvous at this site, where they would retrieve the coins and escape deeper into Oklahoma.

The robbery attempt was a disaster and spelled the end of the gang. All were killed, save for Emmett. He served only 15 years in prison when he was pardoned in 1907. Lawmen believed that when freed, Emmett would lead them to the buried cache. They followed him for weeks, but he stayed away from Onion Creek. He once told an interviewer that he believed the coin cache was tainted and he wanted no more to do with it.

The precise location of the Onion Creek campsite has been debated for years, but recently discovered information has narrowed the area of search. On the morning the Dalton Gang departed for Coffeyville, Mary Brown, the young daughter of a nearby rancher, was riding her horse when she heard voices near Onion Creek. Reining up her mount, she listened and heard the sounds of men eating and saddling horses. Moments later, Brown saw five horsemen riding out from under a small wooden bridge that spanned the creek and making their way toward Coffeyville.

Years later, when Brown was an adult, she heard the story of the gold and silver coins buried at the Onion Creek campsite and was determined to find them. During the time that passed since the Coffeyville Raid, however, the old bridge had been torn down, portions of the creek had changed course and the road had been relocated. Though she searched for a full day, Brown was unable to find the location where the Daltons had camped so many years earlier.

As far as anyone knows, the treasure is still there.

Belle Starr’s Lost Iron Door Cache

Belle Starr was arguably the American West’s most famous female outlaw. She was known to deal in stolen horses, and she provided sanctuary in her eastern Oklahoma home to Frank and Jesse James, the Younger Gang and other notorious banditti. Some believed that she helped plan crimes and aided her accomplices in hiding and spending money taken in bank and train robberies.

A tale that has surfaced over the years involves gang members Starr allegedly knew. They stopped a freight train bound for the Denver Mint during the mid-1880s. The train was transporting a cargo of gold ingots destined to be turned into coin.

Though the robbery went as planned, the gang feared immediate pursuit from federal agents. They decided to hide the gold in a cave in Oklahoma’s Wichita Mountains. Before riding away with the loot, gang members removed one of the iron doors from a railroad car and, using ropes, dragged the door along behind them as they made their escape on horseback.

When they arrived at the cave, the bandits stacked the gold against one wall. The iron door was placed over the entrance, wedged into position, and covered over with rock and brush. Before leaving the area, one of the outlaws hammered a railroad spike into an oak tree located 100 yards from the cave.

A short time after the robbery, railroad detectives learned of the possibility that the gold had been hidden in the Wichita Mountains. Though they hunted for weeks, they were never able to find it.

During a subsequent train robbery attempt a few months later, all of the members of the gang were killed. In 1889, Starr was murdered, a crime that has never been solved. With her death, no one remained alive who knew the exact location of what has come to be called the “Lost Iron Door Cache.”

During the first decade of the 1900s, a rancher and his young son rode into a canyon in the Wichita Mountains near Elk Mountain. Their attention was captured by the reflection of the sun from an object located on the eastern slope. On investigating, they encountered a large, rusted iron door set into a recessed portion of the canyon wall.  The son wanted to see what was on the other side of the door, but the father reminded him they had to reach their destination before nightfall. Later, the father learned the story of the Iron Door Cache. The two returned to the region, but were unsuccessful in relocating the site.

During the ensuing years, a number of ranchers, hunters and hikers have reported spotting the iron door against one wall of a remote canyon in the Wichita Mountains. On learning the story of the gold, they attempted to return to the location, but could never find it.

While traveling through a remote canyon in the Wichitas in the 1950s, a rancher decided to pause and take shade under a large oak tree. He hung his hat on a railroad spike hammered into the trunk. Familiar with the story of the gold cache and the spike, he made plans to return to the canyon and search for the treasure, but was never able to relocate the site. Later, someone cut down the oak tree for firewood.

The latest sighting of the door was in 1996. A middle-aged man making his way on foot from the small town of Cooperton to Lawton, in search of work, took a shortcut through the Wichita Mountains and spotted the iron door. Three weeks after arriving in Lawton, he learned the story of Starr’s Iron Door Cache. He purchased a few tools and set out to recover the gold. On the way, he suffered a heart attack and died.

Bill Doolin’s Gold

In spite of lore that claims Bill Doolin netted over $175,000 in robberies in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas over the two-year period preceding his death, the outlaw lived frugally in a wood frame shack near Burden, Kansas.

In between robberies, Doolin purchased a small plot of land and a shack near Burden, 40 miles southeast of Wichita. To this place he retreated with his loot, and it was here that he buried most of it. He never told anyone about his new residence, preferring to keep it secret.

In December 1895, Doolin traveled to Eureka Springs, Arkansas. An arthritis sufferer, he often bathed in the hot springs to soothe his aches. One afternoon he was arrested by Deputy Marshal Bill Tilghman while soaking in a hot mineral bath. He was placed in the jail in Guthrie, Oklahoma, to await trial for bank robbery. Certain that he would be convicted, Doolin escaped and fled to Burden. He began making plans to move his wife and child to this location.

For days following Doolin’s escape, the Oklahoma countryside was searched for some trace of him, to no avail. One lawman, Heck Thomas, got a tip that Doolin was planning on visiting his wife and son. He learned that Doolin’s family was living in Lawton. Thomas rode to Lawton and, from hiding, watched the house where Mrs. Doolin was living.

Thomas and a posse were hiding out near the house when Doolin came walking up, leading the horse and buggy.  The outlaw spotted the lawman and reached for a rifle under the wagon seat, firing twice. Thomas shot him dead.

Doolin’s friends were aware that he buried his share of the robbery loot, but never knew where. Not until 20 years after the outlaw’s death did anyone discover his secret residence in Burden. By that time, the old shack had tumbled down, and the land was covered in weeds and brush.

Though many have searched the area for Doolin’s cache of gold and silver coins, it remains undiscovered.

Sam Bass Treasure

Following a train robbery outside of Big Springs, Nebraska, Sam Bass and other outlaws got away with 3,000 twenty-dollar gold pieces, along with jewelry and money taken from the passengers. After dividing the loot, the outlaws split up. Bass went to his hideout at Cove Hollow near Denton, Texas. Some believe he buried his booty at Cove Hollow, although others believe he just as easily could have spent the money. He soon formed a gang, robbed more stages and added to his caches.

Bass made plans to rob the Williamson County Bank in Round Rock, Texas. When the outlaws stopped at the store first to buy some tobacco, a couple of local lawmen noticed they were armed and started to talk to them. They didn’t recognize Bass. The outlaws opened fire on them, and a gunfight ensued. Badly wounded, Bass escaped.

Texas Rangers caught up with him in a nearby pasture. The outlaw died more than a day later, and with his death went the knowledge of the location of his treasure caches at Cove Hollow.

Henry Plummer’s Lost Gold

In a short span of time, the Henry Plummer gang amassed an impressive fortune in gold coins, ingots and nuggets from robbing stagecoaches, freight wagons, miners and travelers throughout Washington and Montana…at least, according to legend, since no evidence supports the claim. Some historians have made the argument that Plummer was not an outlaw, nor did he lead an organized gang. But for those who believe that Plummer was a gang leader and who also believe in the legend of his treasure, Plummer’s share has been estimated to exceed $200,000.

For a time, Plummer (and maybe his gang) lived near Sun River, 20 miles from Great Falls, Montana. Plummer apparently buried his portion of the gold near a small creek located 200 yards from the house. He never revealed the location.

On January 10, 1864, vigilantes caught up with Plummer and hanged him. In 1875, a young boy was digging in the soft ground near a stream at Sun River and found one of Plummer’s bags of coins. He returned to the area with his father, but was unable to relocate the spot. Plummer’s buried treasure, at its estimated value, would be worth several million dollars today.

Cy Skinner’s Lost Loot

Cy Skinner was among those named as a member of Henry Plummer’s gang. After Plummer was killed, Skinner loaded up the gold ingots and coins he had accumulated in the same robberies—$200,000 worth—and fled to Hell’s Gate (now Missoula), Montana. After reaching his destination, Skinner carried the gold to one of several small islands in the middle of the Clark Fork. Weeks later, a mob of men stormed Skinner’s cabin, hauled him outside and hanged him.

During the 1930s, a man named Taichert found a portion of Skinner’s gold on one of the islands. When he returned the next day to search for the rest of it, heavy rains had caused the river to rise, barring access to the island. By the time the flow receded, the islands had been altered in size and shape. Taichert was never able to find the precise spot where he had found the gold.  Skinner’s gold still rests beneath a foot or two of river deposit on one of the small islands.

Outlaw Treasure

Mexican Payroll Loot Austin, Texas

A $3 million treasure, allegedly from a Mexican payroll in 1836 stolen by the paymaster and accomplices, the loot could be buried near Shoal Creek in Texas. After burying the loot and, in turn, killing members of the party, the remaining outlaw returned to Mexico. His map to the treasure shows it was buried five feet underground, close to an oak tree with two eagle wings carved on it.

Eight men dug 40 feet of tunnel for eight months along Shoal Creek, saying they were constructing a new bridge or a large house. On April 13, 1927, according to The Rising Star Record, the workers took off with the loot:

“A box was lifted from the square cut chamber between the rocks, for the next day the workmen were gone and the blasting has ceased. Curious throngs soon found the dark tunnel and with lights discovered traces of the large wooden box that had laid beneath the dirt for more than 60 years.”

Butch Cassidy’s Loot Moffat County, Colorado
Butch Cassidy and his Wild Bunch hid out in Brown’s Hole, Colorado, to escape from lawmen. Many believe the gang’s stolen loot was tucked away here, in an outlaw paradise, for safekeeping, but then abandoned and forgotten.Along what is known as “Outlaw Trail,” Brown’s Hole was also the perfect place to hide rustled cattle and horses.

Josie Bassett, an alleged girlfriend of Cassidy’s, lived on the Bassett Ranch at Brown’s Park. Cassidy had worked there as a ranch hand. Graves along the river, Josie’s cabin and remnants of Doc Parson’s cabin, where Cassidy lived for a while, still stand today.

Lost Treasure

Lost Opata Mine South of Tucson, Arizona

About 45 miles south of Tucson, Arizona, rises what remains of Tumacacori Mission, now a national park. The 18th-century church was built by Spaniards hoping to convert the pagan Opata and Papago Indians. The missionaries hired the Indians to work in their nearby silver mines and store the yield in a giant room.

The Opata kidnapped a woman they believed was the Virgin Mary and wanted her to marry their chief. She refused, so the people sacrificed her to their gods by tying her to the silver, rubbing poison into cuts in her hands, and dancing and singing around her.

The missionaries, so dismayed by the pagan violation of their Christian teachings, had the entrance closed off, presumably sealing in the woman’s skeletal remains—and all of the silver—still waiting to be found.

Lost Dutchman Mine Apache Junction, Arizona

Rich in gold, but—some believe—cursed, the fabled Lost Dutchman gold mine generates endless stories. The treasure hunters who mysteriously go missing while looking for the gold fuel the 120-plus-year legend. Today, some wonder if the Superstition Mountains really harbor the gold or if the stories have piled upon stories to bury the truth.

Sometime after 1868, a German (not Dutch) miner named Jacob Waltz found the Peralta family mine and worked it with an associate, Jacob Weiser. Legend has it that they hid some of the gold near Weaver’s Needle, a local landmark. Details after that are unclear, according to Lost Dutchman State Park information. Either Waltz killed Weiser or Apaches killed him, leaving Waltz as the only person who knew the whereabouts of the mine.

His neighbor in Phoenix, Arizona, who took care of him before his death in 1891, and countless others have searched unsuccessfully for the gold.

Hidden Treasure

Ruggles Brothers Gold Redding, California

In 1892, the charming, young Ruggles brothers held up the stagecoach to Weaverville, California, just west of Redding, making off with the strongbox loaded with gold. Buck Montgomery, of the Hayfork Montgomery clan, was the armed escort on the stage. He shot at Charles Ruggles, who had ordered the driver to halt.

John Ruggles fired back, killing Montgomery. Thinking his brother was dead, he cached the loot somewhere nearby. Charles was alive, but some of the loot was never found. Eventually, local vigilantes lynched the Ruggles.

Jesse James’s Hidden Treasure Wichita Mountains, Oklahoma

Legend says the James Gang, in 1876, buried stolen treasure in a deep ravine east of Cache Creek in Oklahoma. Jesse James made two signs pointing to the gold: He emptied two six-shooters into a cottonwood tree, and he nailed a horseshoe into the trunk of another cottonwood tree. Then he scratched out a contract on the side of a brass bucket to bound everyone to keep the secret. Although this doesn’t seem in his character to do so, since the written oath could have been used as evidence against him, some folks believe the treasure exists.

The words on the bucket read: “This the 5th day of March, 1876, in the year of our Lord, 1876, we the undersigned do this day organize a bounty bank. We will go to the west side of the Keechi Hills which is about fifty yards from [symbol of crossed sabers]. Follow the trail line coming through the mountains just east of the lone hill where we buried the jack [burro]. His grave is east of a rock. This contract made and entered into this V day of March 1876. This gold shall belong to who signs below. Jesse James, Frank Miller, George Overton, Rub Busse, Charlie Jones, Cole Younger, Will Overton, Uncle George Payne, Frank James, Roy Baxter, Bud Dalton, and Zack Smith.”

The gold hasn’t been found, but the engraved brass bucket and simple map have been, as have the markers pointing to the treasure’s hiding spot.

Categories: Ancient Treasure, artifacts, Civil War, gold, gold coins, gold ingots, Legends, Lost gold, Lost Treasure, Old West, Outlaws, silver, silver coins, Texas, treasure, Treasure Legends, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Joaquin Murrieta – Patriot or Desperado?….


Depending on a California pioneer’s point of view in the mid 19th century, Joaquin Murrieta was described by some as a Mexican Patriot, while others would say he was nothing but a vicious desperado.

 

Thought to have been born in either Alamos, Sonora, Mexico or Quillota, Chile in 1829; Joaquin traveled with his older brother, Carlos and his wife, Rosita, toCalifornia in 1850 to seek his fortune in the gold fields of California. The three immigrants soon set up a small farm and the brothers began to work a claim near Hangtown. However, in the same year as their arrival, a Foreign Miners Tax was imposed in California and their Anglo-Saxon neighbors tried to run them off by telling them that it was illegal for Mexicans to hold a claim. Reportedly, the Murrieta brothers tried to ignore the threats as long as they could until they were finally forced off their claim. Angry and unable to find work, Joaquin turned to a life of crime, along with other disposed foreign miners, who began to prey upon those who had forced them from their claims. 

 

Joaquin Murrieta, California bandit

Joaquin Murrieta

 
Murrieta soon became one of the leaders of a band of ruffians called The Five Joaquins, who were said to have been responsible for cattle rustling, robberies, and murders that occurred in the gold rush area of the Sierra Nevadas between 1850 and 1863. Comprised of Joaquin Botellier, Joaquin Carrillo, Joaquin Ocomorenia, and Joaquin Valenzuela, and Murrieta’s right hand man Manual Garcia, known as “Three-Fingered Jack,” the tales of their crime spree included stealing over 100 horses, making off with more than $100,000 in gold, and killing 19 men.

 

With posses trailing after them, the bandits were able to avoid the law for several years, killing three lawmen in the process. When travel through the goldfields was made nearly impossible by the Five Joaquins, a bounty was placed on Murrieta’s head for $5,000. Finally having had enough of the Five Joaquins as well as the rest of the lawlessness in California, its Governor, John Bigler, created the “California Rangers” in May, 1853. Lead by former Texas Ranger, Harry Love, their first assignment was to arrest the Five Joaquins.

 

On July 25, 1853, the rangers encountered a group of Mexican males near Panoche Pass in San Benito County. In the inevitable gunfight that ensued, two of the Mexicans were killed, one of whom was thought to have been Murrieta, and the other — his right-hand man, Manual Garcia.

 

As evidence of the outlaws’ deaths, they cut of Garcia’s hand and Murrieta’s head and preserved them in a jar of brandy. Seventeen people, including a priest, signed affidavits identifying the head as Murrieta’s and the Rangers involved received the $5,000 reward.

 

Murrieta’s grisly remains then began to travel throughout California, displayed in Stockton, San Francisco and the mining camps of Mariposa County, to curious spectators willing to pay $1.00 to see the “sight” of the dead bandit’s head.

 

But not long after he was killed, speculation began to arise that it had not been Murrieta who had been killed, especially when a young woman, who claimed to be his sister, viewed the head and said that it did not have a characteristic scar that her brother had. Others began to make reports that Marietta was seen in various places in California after his alleged death.

 

If his legend wasn’t enough during his short life time, it would soon grow larger when in 1854, the first “fictionalized” account of his life appeared in a San Francisco newspaper and a book by John Rollin Ridge. In The Life and Adventures of Joaquin Murrieta.

 

Ridge portrayed Murrieta as a folk hero who had only turned to a life of crime after a mob of American miners had beaten him severely and left him for dead, hanged his brother, and raped and killed his wife. According to Ridge’s account, Joaquin was a dashing, romantic figure that swearing to avenge the atrocities committed upon his family, committed his many crimes only in an effort to “right” the many injustices against the Mexicans.

 

According to the tale, Murrieta fled from his claim only to set up a saloon in nearby Hangtown, where miners began to go missing. One by one, the dead bodies of the miners, all who were said to have been part of the killings at the Murrieta claim, turned up with their ears cut off.

 

Joaquin Murreita's Head Advertising

After Joaquin’s supposed death, advertising posters were displayed where the head could be viewed, 1853.

After fourteen miners had been found dead or missing, a Hangtown settler identified Murrieta who fled once again. Before long, he had gathered up his outlaw gang and began to take out his vendetta against the white settlers through robbery and mayhem.  However, to his Mexican compatriots he was generous and kind, giving much of his ill gotten gains to the poor, who in turn helped to shelter him from the law.

 

There is no evidence that Ridge’s version of the tale is accurate; however, similar atrocities were committed on both Mexicans and Chinese who were living in California at the time.

 

Over the years, the telling of the tale continued to grow until the dead Mexican outlaw began to be called the Robin Hood of El Dorado and take on a symbolized resistance of the Mexicans to the Anglo-American domination of California. And all throughout Gold Country, tales were told of how the outlaw had stayed at this or that hotel, drank in various saloons, and those who claimed to have actually met or was robbed by the man.

 

As to what happened to Joaquin’s head, it was finally placed behind the bar of the Golden Nugget Saloon in San Francisco, until the building was destroyed by the 1906 earthquake.

 

The head itself would become yet a part of another legend – the ghost of Joaquin. Even today, the tales continue of Joaquin’s headless ghost riding through the old gold fields, crying like a banshee – “Give me back my head.”

http://www.legendsofamerica.com/ca-murieta.html

Categories: California, gold, Myths, Outlaws, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kansas Ghost Towns/Treasure Legends..


OSBORNE COUNTY

GHOST TOWNS

1…Deliverance, near West County Line, 12 miles North of Natroma
2…Kill Creek, 8 miles Southeast of Alton
3…Roundmound, 7 1/2 miles Northeast of Natroma
4…Twin Creek, 8 miles South of Osborne
5…Cheyenne, 5 miles North of Luray

Russell County

Legends

1…A payroll shipment was being transported on horseback to the salt mines
at Kanopilas and was hidden during an attack on Lost Creek along the
Old Butternut Trail.

2…An old mill was once located about 12 miles Southeast of Russell on
the Smokey Hill River and was a gathering place for settlers and outlaws.

GHOST TOWNS

1…Fay, 5 miles Southeast of Fairport
2…Success, 10 miles North of Bunker Hill
3…Balta, on railroad, 5 miles West of Russell
4…Homer, on railroad, 3 1/2 miles West of Bunker Hill

SMITH COUNTY

GHOST TOWNS

1…Ohio, 10 miles North of Kensington
2…Hardilee, 6 miles North Northeast of Kensington
3…Tyner, 10 miles North of Athol
4…Reamsville, 13 miles North Northwest of Smith Center
5…Thornburg, 14 miles North of Smith Center
6…Womer, 6 miles North Northwest of Cora
7…Sherwood, East County Line, 8 miles North of Lebanon
8…Anderson, 7 1/2 miles North of Smith Center
9…Hammer, 5 miles South of Smith Center
10..Oakvale, 10 miles South of Bellaire
11..Stuart, East County Line, 8 miles South of Lebanon
12..Oasis, 5 miles East of Harlan.

Categories: artifacts, Ghost Towns, gold, gold ingots, Gold Mine, Lost Treasure, Outlaws, placer gold, silver, silver coins, treasure, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kentucky Treasure Legends…


 

uruguayan_treasure_580x360_1Kentucky

McCraken County

1…Coins dated in the late 1800’s have been found on the South Bank of the Ohio River
near West Paducah, they are believed to be washing from the wreck of a steamboat
that sank somewhere upstream.

2…Late in the Civil War, the Cole brothers sold their tobacco crop for $5,000 in Gold
coins which they hid in the fireplace hearth in their cabin, 20 miles from Paducah.
A few weeks later a robber broke into the cabin and killed them both. He then hid the
cache somewhere near the house and fled pursing lawmen.
Around 1900, dying, he told teh story of the gold coins to a close friend who traveled to
Kentucky to recover the treasure. Upon arrival he fouund out the cabin had been tore
down shortly after the brothers murder and he was unable to locate the treasure.

Crittenden County

1…River pirates and outlaws are said to have hidden some of their stolen property and
loot at different places along the river shore and inland in Crittenden County. Using
Cave-in-Rock, in Illinois, they would go across the river to hid their loot.

2…The Harpe brothers buried treasure in Critenden County. The also used Cave-in
Rock as a hideout.

3…Numerous caches are believed to be buried along the old Ford’s Ferry-Highwater Road
the 12 mile long road that connected Potts Hill with the Ford Ferry Terminus on the Illinois side
of the river.

4…A group of counterfeiters hid a cache of Gold near Dycusburg on the Cumberland River
before they were captured. It has never been found

5…A man named Moore in the 1800’s lived near Dycusburg on the Cumberland River and was
killed by two (2) hired hands for the money he had hidden on his property. The hired hands were
imprisoned for life and admitted they never found the money.

Webster County

1…Outlaw Micajah Harpe (Harpe brothers gang) who murdered and robbed from 1795-1804,
buried $300,000 in the area of Harpe’s Head Road near Dixon. It has never been recovered.

Logan County

1…Jesse James and his gang were force to bury $50,000 in gold coins near Russellville in 1868.
The money was taken from the Russellville Bank. It was hidden on the outskirts of town in a cave to the West of the city.

Categories: Ancient Treasure, artifacts, Civil War, Confederate, gold, gold coins, Kentucky, KGC, Legends, Lost gold, Lost Mines, Lost Treasure, Myths, Outlaws, silver, silver coins, treasure, Treasure Legends, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Gambler’s Fifth Ace….


The small 1849 Colt Pocket “five shooter” put famed gunmaker Sam Colt in business for keeps.

 

5th_ace“You gonna pull those pistols or whistle ‘Dixie?’”

Clint Eastwood’s gunslinger famously brushed off a group of Union soldiers with those sneering words—just before he shot all four of them dead. The line was more than a bit reminiscent of the oft-misquoted line Eastwood said in the 1971 movie that catapulted him to fame: “You’ve got to ask yourself one question: ‘Do I feel lucky?’ Well, do ya, punk?,” his Dirty Harry character asked the bad guy at the mercy of his Smith & Wesson Model 29 .44 Magnum.

When Eastwood’s character ruthlessly killed those soldiers in 1976’s The Outlaw Josey Wales, he chose as his weapons of death the 1847 Colt Walkers from his belt holsters. It’s not surprising that Hollywood would have him draw Colt’s first six-shooter, as much of the credit for taming the Wild West is usually assigned to six-shooters and big-bore rifles. But had he met those soldiers at a poker table, Josey might have reached into his vest pocket for the little five-shot pocket revolver that played its own part in the saga of the American frontier.

That hideout revolver, the 1849 Pocket Colt, was the most produced of all Colt percussion arms. It also became the best selling handgun in the world during the entire 19th century.

Colt’s First Pocket Revolver

During the 1840s, people had a myriad of single shot pistols to choose from for personal portable protection. These guns varied from huge and cumbersome large-bored horse pistols to miniscule, largely ineffective “coat pocket” handguns. As insurance against malfunctions, some of these pistols were actually designed with auxiliary weapons such as affixed knives or heavy club-like handles.

One of the few repeating pistols offered at the time, the multi-barrelled “pepperbox,” was a popular, but somewhat unreliable gun. Named for condiment canisters, a host of these single-action and double-action pepperbox pistols were produced by manufacturers including Allen & Thurber, Blunt & Syms and the English firm Manton. While some considered the pepperbox pistol one of the best pistols of its time, others saw it as unreliable, inaccurate and sometimes downright dangerous for its possessor. In his classic work Roughing It, Mark Twain claimed that the safest place to be when such a contraption fired was in front of it. A justice of the peace in Mariposa, California, agreed with Twain and actually ruled in an 1852 assault case that an Allen’s pepperbox could not be considered a dangerous weapon.

Lacking a truly reliable pocket-sized revolver, the public clamored for a quality, accurate weapon. Sam Colt, an astute businessman, knew he could fulfill the need. He carefully studied his big and heavy Dragoon revolver and determined that certain features deemed necessary in a large belt revolver could be removed from a smaller pocket-type pistol. In crafting his first pocket revolver, Col. Colt eliminated an estimated 85 of the roughly 480 separate operations required to produce his firm’s belt pistol, the .44 caliber Dragoon, reports P.L. Shumaker in Colt’s Variations of the Old Model Pocket Pistol, 1848 to 1872.

Colt’s first pocket revolver began production around 1847, after the collapse of his Patent Arms Manufacturing Company in Paterson, New Jersey. Now called the “Baby Dragoon,” this 1848 revolver was the predecessor to the 1849 Pocket Model. About 15,000 Baby Dragoons were the first pocket pistols produced by Colt’s facility in Hartford, Connecticut.

Colt offered these .31 caliber pocket pistols as an inexpensive repeating firearm designed to compare more favorably to the single-shot handguns then available. To cut costs, Colt replaced the traditional six-shot cylinder with a five loader. The Baby Dragoon also included a recoil shield but no safety cutout to catch a percussion cap. If a cap failed to ignite its chamber’s main charge, the pistol had to be dismantled to replace that faulty cap.

The model also lacked a rammer assembly underneath the barrel, which made loading a Baby Dragoon a cumbersome process. The shooter had to load ammunition by knocking out the barrel wedge and removing the barrel and cylinder. The shooter then charged the chambers of the cylinder with powder before utilizing the cylinder pin to force a lead projectile into each chamber. Next he fitted percussion caps over the nipples, replaced the cylinder and barrel assembly, and securely fastened the barrel wedge. Lastly, he rotated the cylinder so that the hammer rested over a single cylinder “safety” pin located between two of the chambers on the rear facing of the cylinder.

In spite of these drawbacks, Colt’s new pocket revolver still outperformed other available single-firing and multi-shot handguns in design, quality and function. The public’s approval was overwhelming, and the new little “revolving pistol” was a success from the very start.

Pocket Colt Shoots Out Competition

Public opinion spurred Colt to implement additional changes to the Pocket Colt (the first few had an estimated 150 run). Colonel Colt added a rammer assembly for easier loading and a cutout in the recoil shield so that capping could be accomplished without taking the pistol apart. Other improvements included affixing a roller bearing at the base of the hammer, placing tiny “safety” pins between each chamber, as opposed to just a single pin, and replacing rounded stops cutting into the cylinder with rectangular stops. Colt also lengthened the frame and barrel design, and modified the trigger and guard. The most notable cosmetic change made to the gun was engraving a “stagecoach holdup” scene by rolling it onto the cylinder. (Some early models, however, featured the “Ranger and Indian” fight scene as found on the Dragoon and Baby Dragoon models.) These features constitute what has become known as the standard 1849 Colt Pocket Model pistol.

Produced in a wide variety of configurations and barrel lengths, the 1849 Pocket Model Colt became one of the most famous handguns of its time. It outsold all of the company’s other models as well as those manufactured by competitors. City dwellers in the East mainly purchased the five shooters for travel “insurance” and home protection. But many of these Pocket Colts also went west for California’s Gold Rush.

Initially promoted in California in March 1851, as the “New Pattern…with patent lever,” Colt’s improved ’49er quickly became a favorite with miners, express agents and other argonauts who needed a small pocket revolver. On San Francisco’s Barbary Coast, gamblers sometimes referred to such hideout guns as a “fifth ace.” The demand in the Golden State proved so great that Colt’s factory in Hartford was unable to keep up with the orders. The large belt model Colt, which sold for around $16-$18 each in the East, was selling for as much as $250-$500 apiece in the West. Even the less expensive .31 caliber model commanded prices around $100 on the West Coast. The gun proved to be a favorable alternative for folks who found the heavy Dragoon a bit inconvenient.

Many ’49 Colts made their way overseas. Thanks mostly to Colt’s British agency, the pistol reached ports in Canada, New Zealand, South Africa, Ireland, India and Australia. The demand “down under” was particularly strong due to the Australian Gold Rush of 1853-54. During the American Civil War, soldiers on both sides purchased the pistols with their own funds. They carried the 1849 Pocket models for close combat situations. For decades during the mid-19th century, adventurers worldwide praised these little Colts in the highest terms.

The ’49er was so well-regarded that many expressed their admiration for it by embellishing the Pocket Colt with custom stocks, special finishes, engravings and special gun sights. More non-standard Pocket ’49ers exist than any other model in the world, writes Robert M. Jordan and Darrow M. Watt in Colt’s Pocket ’49, Its Evolution, Including The Baby Dragoon & Wells Fargo. Jordan’s research shows at least 26,000 of the 1849 Pocket models were factory engraved and that more Pocket ’49ers are found in presentation cases than any other gun in the world.

The 1849 Pocket Model Colt may have outshot the competition, but it actually didn’t deliver much of a punch. Fortunately, it didn’t need to. The sidearm was perfect as leverage against a touchy situation. A misdealt card, a mining claim dispute, a defense of a lady’s honor or perhaps
an expedited bank withdrawal might all be eased along through the use of a ’49er. The simple brandishing of the firearm could even elicit the desired reaction.

If fired, the Pocket Colt’s efficacy varied at the whim of several factors not necessarily tied to its load. A .31 caliber round ball, or pointed (conical) bullet, weighs in at around 45 grains of pure, soft lead. With a standard charge of about 15 grains of FFFg (3Fg) blackpowder, this loading is capable of traveling at around 590 feet per second (fps) and hitting with a bit under 35 foot-pounds of muzzle energy. In comparison, a little modern .32 Smith & Wesson, when fired from a short-barreled revolver, develops approximately 680 fps and delivers almost 90 foot-pounds of muzzle thump.

By our current standards, the ’49 Pocket Colt is hardly impressive, but in its time, it could do damage. At close range, the length of a card table for instance, the gun could be dangerous. The soft lead of its bullets had the capacity to frustrate the period medical establishment.

Colt made the 1849 Pocket Model in barrel lengths of three, four, five and six inches. The four-inch and five-inch tubes were the most popular, and the six-inch barreled version appears to be the scarcest model produced. Unloaded, a ’49er weighs from 24 to 27 ounces, depending on barrel length. Sold with a blued barrel and cylinder, the frame and loading lever were color case hardened. Grip straps were generally silver plated over brass, although some were made with blued- or silver-plated iron. Factory standard stocks were of the one-piece varnished, straight-grained walnut variety—typical of commercially-produced period Colts. Custom stocks of select burl walnut, ivory and other materials were offered. On an 1849 model, you’ll likely find one of a variety of barrel roll stampings noting the addresses and places of manufacturing.

Although one of the Pocket Model’s improvements was the incorporation of a loading lever assembly, Colt produced a small number of ’49 models without these additions. Modern gun aficionados nicknamed these three-inch rammerless ’49ers the “Wells Fargo,” yet no evidence supports the claim that the famed express firm ever officially adopted this weapon as a sidearm for its drivers, guards and various agents. Wells Fargo employees certainly did carry ’49 Pocket Colts,
both with and without rammers. Many of these were privately purchased, along with other sidearms.

In any event, the rammerless Colt ’49 never sold well. Sometime around 1860, Colt attempted to sell the remaining inventory of his pocket pistols without rammers by fitting these three-inch barreled revolvers with loading assemblies. These were made by crudely modifying loading levers from the standard four-inch barreled pistols. In spite of this modification, the guns still met with public disapproval as the altered rammer lever made it difficult to apply the proper pressure to the rammer itself. Colt manufactured relatively few of these guns, probably around 100. As such, these factory-modified Colts are extremely desirable pieces with today’s collectors.

During its 23 years of production, Colt’s Hartford facility manufactured about 320,000 Colt Pocket Models, while another 11,000 were produced at the plant in London, England. Production of this handgun finally halted in 1873, when Colt began producing self-contained metallic cartridge revolvers. Despite the transition from cap-and-ball to metallic cartridge arms, Colt’s factory records reveal that percussion model ’49ers were still being shipped as late as 1889. This was especially ironic because the 1849 Pocket Model was one of the caplock revolvers that the Colt factory converted during its first stages of producing metallic cartridge handguns as early as 1869. A Colt employee, E. Alexander Thuer, designed a conversion system that allowed specially designed cartridges to be front-loaded. This little revision legally skirted around the Smith & Wesson-held Rollin-White patent for a drilled-through chamber in the revolver’s cylinder.

A Collector’s Dream

Inevitably, newer and stronger designs in pocket handguns and ammunition pushed the ’49 Pocket Colt to the wayside in favor of more modern arms. Today, the ’49 Pocket Model is considered quite collectible, commanding premium prices among discerning arms collectors. Greg Martin Auctions in San Francisco, California, set a record for the highest price paid at auction for a firearm when it sold a cased, gold-inlaid 1849 Pocket Colt engraved by Gustave Young for a $720,000 bid in 2003.

With the original garnering such a commanding price, it’s not surprising that variations of the 1849 Pocket Colts are still manufactured by Italy’s A. Uberti and Company, the world’s largest replica house, and sold by Cimarron Fire Arms, Uberti (Benelli USA), Taylor’s & Company, E.M.F. Company and Dixie Gun Works. The firms offer the standard four-inch barreled 1849 Model, the so-called “Wells Fargo” model (sans rammer assembly) and the rammerless Model 1848 “Baby Dragoon.” The Pocket models can be purchased from either company in a variety of standard finishes that include dark blue, charcoal blue and the so-called “original” antique patina.

Shooting one of these replica 1849 Pocket Model Colts is a true joy. The attached rammer assembly on Cimarron Fire Arms’ replica of the four-inch barreled version makes loading easy and firing the gun delightful. Unlike the big belt model cap-and-ball six-guns of the age, you won’t hear a booming report or see as much white smoke with each shot. Discharging this little spitfire is rather reminiscent of a small vocal dog. The diminutive wheel gun barks sharply, spitting out a .31 caliber ball with the gusto of a feisty little critter. At close range, say within 25 feet, the accuracy is gratifying. At card table distances, the ’49er is deadly, putting its lead pills right where they are aimed.

After handling and firing this pocket revolver, one can easily see why it commanded such respect among the people of the Victorian era. For its time, the 1849 Colt Pocket Model was a modern and practical pocket gun. And no bluecoat whistling “Dixie” in your face would have stood a chance against it.

Categories: Civil War, Confederate, KGC, Legends, Old West, Outlaws, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Buffalo Bill’s Wild West was the greatest show of the American Frontier….


Buffalo Bill was born William Frederick Cody on February 26, 1846. He lived until January 10, 1917. Cody grew up on the frontier and loved his way of life. As he got older, some of his titles he earned included buffalo hunter, U.S. Army scout and guide, and showman, as well as Pony Express Rider, Indian fighter, and even author. Whatever Cody’s titles, he was destined for fame.

His track of fame began as with his reputation as a master buffalo hunter. While hunting buffalo for pay to feed railroad workers, he shot and killed 11 out of 12 buffalo, earning him his nickname and show name “Buffalo Bill.” As an army scout, Cody extended his fame by gaining recognition as an army scout with a reputation for bravery. As a well-known scout, he often led rich men from the East and Europe and even royalty on hunting trips. Cody’s fame began to spread to the East when an author, Ned Buntline caught wind of him and wrote a dime novel about Buffalo Bill, called Buffalo Bill, the King of Border Men (1869). To top it all off, Buntline’s novel was turned into a theatrical production which greatly contributed to his success and popularity in the east.

Buffalo Bill, nicknamed after his contract to supply Kansas Pacific Railroad workers with buffalo meat
Buffalo Bill, nicknamed after his contract to supply Kansas Pacific Railroad workers with buffalo meat.Source

Before long, Cody ended up starring as himself in Buntline’s play. Soon after, he started his own theatrical troop. It wasn’t until 1883 when Cody first got his idea for a Wild West show. That same year, he launched Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show in Omaha, Nebraska. With his Wild West show in hand, nobody could deny Buffalo Bill’s fame. “At the turn of the twentieth century, William F. Cody was known as ‘the greatest showman on the face of the earth’”.Cody had full domination of the Wild West show business.

Out of all of his fame-bearing titles, William F. Cody is most celebrated for being the inventor of the Wild West show. His crown title would be impresario, or manager or producer of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show. His motivation to produce the show was to preserve the western way of life that he grew up with and loved. Driven by his ambition to keep this way of life from disappearing, Cody turned his “real life adventure into the first and greatest outdoor western show”. Cody did not want to see his way of life vanish without remembrance. Consequently, Cody became the first real Westerner to cash in on the western myth, which others had been writing literature, dime novels, and plays about for some time.

Buffalo Bill's Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World
Buffalo Bill’s Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World Source

In creating the Wild West show, Cody also created the myth of the adventuresome, exciting, and outright wild western frontier. Cody helped pitch-in to give the West its image as we see it today. The legend he fathered became a permanent part in America’s history and is still present today. He also was the first to establish the format and content of Wild West shows.

The shows consisted of reenactments of history combined with displays of showmanship, sharp-shooting, hunts, racing, or rodeo style events. Each show was 3–4 hours long and attracted crowds of thousands of people daily. The show began with a parade on horseback. The parade was a major ordeal, an affair that involved huge public crowds and many performers, including the Congress of Rough Riders. The Congress of Rough Riders was composed of marksman from around the world, including the future President Theodore Roosevelt, who marched through the parade on horseback.

The Adventures of Buffalo Bill (1914)
The Adventures of Buffalo Bill (1914)Source

Among the composition of the show were “historical” scenes. “The exact scenes changed over time, but were either portrayed as a ‘typical’ event such as the early settlers defending a homestead, a wagon train crossing the plains, or a more specific event such as the Battle of the Little Bighorn”. In both types of events, Buffalo Bill used his poetic license to both glorify himself or others while heightening the villainous mischievousness of the “bad guys” (outlaws or Indians) and to embellish each situation for theatrical enhancement. “Typical” events included acts known as Bison Hunt, Train Robbery, Indian War Battle Reenactment, and the usual grand finale of the show, Attack on the Burning Cabin, in which Indians attacked a settler’s cabin and were repulsed by Buffalo Bill, cowboys, and Mexicans.

Buffalo Bill's Wild West, 1890
Buffalo Bill’s Wild West, 1890.Source

A more specific historical event in the show might have been a reenactment of the Battle of Little Bighorn also known as “Custer’s Last Stand”. This event was made into a famous act performed in the show, with Buck Taylor starring as General George Armstrong Custer. In this battle, Custer and all men under his direct command were killed. After Custer is dead, Buffalo Bill rides in, the hero, but he is too late. He avenges Custer by killing and scalping Yellow Hair (also called Yellowhand) which he called the “first scalp for Custer”.This reenactment is exciting for the audience and also stresses Buffalo Bill’s importance, as it suggests that were he to ride in on time, Custer and his men may have been saved.

Shooting competitions and displays of marksmanship were commonly a part of the program. Great feats of skill were shown off using rifles, shot guns, and revolvers. Most people in the show were all good marksmen but many were experts. Buffalo Bill himself was an excellent marksman. It was said that nobody could top him shooting a rifle off the back of a moving horse. Other star shooters were Annie Oakley, Lillian Smith, and Seth Clover.

The show also demonstrated hunts executed by Buffalo Bill, cowboys, and Mexicans, which were staged as they would have been on the frontier, and were accompanied by one of the few remaining buffalo herds in the worlds. “People throughout North America and Europe who had never seen buffalo before felt the rush of being in the middle of the hunt.”

Annie Oakley Cabinet Card Signed.
Annie Oakley Cabinet Card Signed.Source

Animals also did their share in the show through rodeo entertainment, an audience favorite. In rodeo events, cowboys like Lee Martin would try to rope and ride broncos. Broncos are unbroken horses that tend to throw or buck their riders. Other wild animals they would attempt to ride or deal with were mules, buffalo, Texas steers, elk, deer, bears, and moose. Some notable cowboys who participated in the events were Buck Taylor (dubbed “The First Cowboy King”), Bronco Bill, James Lawson (“The Roper”), Bill Bullock, Tim Clayton, Coyote Bill, and Bridle Bill.

Races were another form of entertainment employed in the Wild West show. Many different races were held, including those between cowboys, Mexicans, and Indians, a 100 yd foot race between Indian and Indian pony, a race between Sioux boys on bareback Indian ponies, races between Mexican thoroughbreds, and even a race between Lady Riders.

Photo of Buffalo Bill and his horse taking a bow after a 1915 performance.
Photo of Buffalo Bill and his horse taking a bow after a 1915 performance.Source

All in all, the show had a pretty big entourage. It contained as many as 1,200 performers at one time (cowboys, scouts, Indians, military, Mexicans, and men from other heritages), and a large number of many animals including buffalo and Texas Longhorns. Performers in the show were often popular celebrities of the day. Some of the recognizably famous men who took part in the show were Will Rogers, Tom Mix, Pawnee Bill, James Lawson, Bill Pickett, Jess Willard, Mexican Joe, Capt. Adam Bogardus, Buck Taylor, Ralph and Nan Lohse, Antonio Esquibel, and “Capt. Waterman and his Trained Buffalo”. Even more famous were Wild Bill Hickok and Johnny Baker. Wild Bill Hickok was well known as a gunfighter and as a marshal, and he was also an established dime novel hero, like Buffalo Bill. His name on the playbill gave a great draw of audiences because they knew him from dime-novels, and he was a genuine scout. Johnny Baker was nicknamed the “Cowboy Kid” and considered to be Annie Oakley’s boy counterpart. Cody originally took him on in the show mainly because he would have been the same age as his own dead son, but little Johnny Baker turned out to be a great success, was very skilled and ended up becoming the arena director.

A portrait photograph of Martha Canary, better known as Calamity Jane.
A portrait photograph of Martha Canary, better known as Calamity Jane.source

The list of famous Wild West show participants was not limited to men. Women were also a large part of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show and attracted many spectators. In fact Annie Oakley, one of the show’s star attractions was a woman. Born Phoebe Ann Moses, Oakley first gained recognition as a sharpshooter when she defeated Frank Butler, a pro marksman at age 15, in a shooting exhibition. She became the star attraction of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West show for 16 years, under the management of Frank Butler, whom she ended up marrying. Annie was billed in the show as “Miss Annie Oakley, the Peerless Lady Wing-Shot”. She was also nicknamed “Little Sure Shot” by Chief Sitting Bull, who was also in the show. Annie was renowned for her trick shots. Annie was able to, from 30 paces, split the edge of a playing card, hit center of ace of spades, shoot down a playing card tossed in air, shatter glass balls thrown in air, hit dimes held between Butler’s fingers, shoot an apple out of poodle’s mouth and shoot off the butt of cigarette from Butler’s mouth. She also performed the last trick shooting the cigarette out of Crown Prince Wilhelm’s mouth in Berlin. Her most famous trick was a mirror trick in which she hit a target behind her shooting backwards using a mirror for aim. These incredible feats of marksmanship amazed and excited people and she generated huge audiences eager to see the display.

West Side Park as configured for Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show.
West Side Park as configured for Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show..Source

Calamity Jane (or Martha Cannary) was another distinguished woman participant of the show. Calamity Jane was a notorious frontierswoman who was the subject of many wild stories- many of which she made up herself. In the show, she was a skilled horsewoman and expert rifle and revolver handler. She also claimed to have a love affair with Wild Bill Hickok (and that she was married to him and had his child), which he denied and there is no proof of.Calamity Jane appeared in Wild West shows until 1902, when she was reportedly fired for drinking and fighting. Other mentionable females in the business were Lillian Smith and Bessie and Della Ferrel

Native Americans were also a part of Cody’s show. The Native Americans who took part in the show were mostly Plains Indians like the Pawnee and Sioux. They participated in staged “Indian Races” and historic battles, and often appeared in attack scenes attacking whites in which their savagery and wildness was played up. They also performed talented dances, such as the Sioux Ghost Dance. In reality the performance of the ghost dance meant that trouble was brewing and about to break out, but it wasn’t portrayed as such in the show. The Native Americans always wore their best regalia and full war paint. Cody treated them with great respect and paid them adequately. The extent of his respect was demonstrated when he named the Native Americans as “the former foe, present friend, the American”. Audiences were impressed by the presence of Native Americans in the show because they were extraordinarily “simultaneously exotic and accessible people”.

Native Americans in the show also had their claim to fame, the best known being Chief Sitting Bull. Sitting Bull joined the show for a short time and was a star attraction alongside Annie Oakley. It was said that he only agreed to join the show because he was fascinated with Annie Oakley and Buffalo Bill assured him that if he joined, he could see her perform all the time.During his time at the show, Sitting Bull was introduced to President Grover Cleveland, which he thought proved his importance as chief.He was friends with Buffalo Bill and highly valued the horse that was given to him when he left the show. Other familiar Native Americans names who performed in the show were Chief Joseph,Geronimo, and Rains in Face (who reportedly killed George A. Custer).

Sitting Bull and Buffalo Bill, 1885
Sitting Bull and Buffalo Bill, 1885.Source

Buffalo’s Bill’s Wild West show continued to captivate audiences and tour annually for a total of 30 years (1883–1913). After opening on May 19, 1883 in Omaha, Nebraska, the show was on what seemed to be a perpetual tour all over the east of America. The show “hopped the pond” in 1887 for the American Exhibition, and was then requested for a command performance at Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887 at Windsor Castle, in England. The whole troupe including 200 passengers plus 97 Natives, 18 buffalo, 181 horses, 10 elk, 4 donkeys, 5 longhorns (Texas steers), 2 deer, 10 mules, and the Deadwood Concord stagecoach crossed the Atlantic on several ships. They then toured England for the next six months and the following year returned to tour Europe until 1892. With his tour in Europe, Buffalo Bill established the myth of the American West overseas as well. To some Europeans, the Wild West show not only represented the west, but all of America. He also created the cowboy as an American icon. He gave the people of England, France, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, and Germany a taste of the wild and romantic west.

In 1893 the show performed at the Chicago World’s Fair to a crowd of 18,000. This performance was a huge contributor to the show’s popularity. The show never again did as well as it did that year. That same year at the Fair, Frederick Turner, a young Wisconsin scholar, gave a speech that pronounced the first stage of American history over. “The frontier has gone”, he declared.

The Wild West on Film – Actual Footage of Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley by Thomas Edison

 

The Lussiure New of England predicted “The Business will degenerate into the hands of men devoid of Buffalo Bill’s exalted simplicity, and much more eager to finger the shillings of the public than to shake the hand of Mother Nature.” By 1894 the harsh economy made it hard to afford tickets. It did not help that the show was routed to go through the South in a year when the cotton was flooded and there was a general depression in the area. Buffalo Bill lost a lot of money and was on the brink of a financial disaster. Soon after, and in an attempt of recovery of monetary balance, Buffalo Bill signed a contract in which he was tricked by Bonfil and Temmen into selling them the show and demoting himself to a mere employee and attraction of the Sells-Floto Circus. From this point, the show began to destroy itself. Finally, in 1913 the show was declared bankrupt. “Cody was forced to take his tents down for the last time”.

Western shows “generated a passion for Western entertainment of all kinds.”This passion is still evidenced in western films, modern rodeos, and circuses. Western Films in the first half of the 20th century filled the gap left behind by Wild West shows. The first real western, The Great Train Robbery was made in 1903, and thousands followed after. Contemporary rodeos also still exist today as major productions, still employing the same events and skills as cowboys did in Wild West shows.

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Is ‘Two Gun Billy’ the Real McCoy?..Another Billy the Kid photo?


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Posted: Sunday, February 7, 2016 11:00 pm |Updated: 11:57 pm, Sun Feb 7, 2016.

Another photo said to be of the famous outlaw Billy the Kid — showing a young man posing on a rock, holding one pistol in his right hand and another in his holster — surfaced last week.

It is still unauthenticated and lacks provenance.

But like all the other purported Billy the Kid photos, this one has an interesting backstory.

Two Gun Billy is one of nearly 500 photos in an Old West collection believed to have been owned by Frank Phillips, the founder of Phillips Petroleum.

The photos are now owned by an unidentified couple who traveled in the 1990s to Checotah, Okla., where they stopped at an antique store called the Downtown Antique Mall. The woman, who is an artist, purchased several photos from the store to use in painting profiles.

Both she and her husband are Western enthusiasts and, after comparing the photos to those in their books on the Old West, they went back to the antique store the next day, and the day after that, and spent a few hundred dollars on the collection.

The couple believe that 100 of the photos depict people involved in the O.K. Corral shootout, their family members and others from Tombstone, Ariz.

Because there were photos of Phillips and his family among those the woman purchased, she and others who have examined them concluded that they once belonged to Phillips, whose 3,700-acre ranch in northwestern Oklahoma, called Woolaroc, was only 100 miles away from where the photos were purchased. And the property was adjacent to land frequented by outlaws. The photos came to be known as the Phillips Collection.

Jim Williams, a Western antique dealer with a shop in Springfield, Mo., was hired by the couple to help authenticate the photo called Two Gun Billy and market it. Cathy Briley, Williams’ fiancée, a real estate appraiser and collector of antiques from Palmyra, Neb., said they immediately felt the albumen print was of Billy the Kid.

They didn’t have the resources, Briley said, to hire people with the software to do facial recognition — and besides, they were unsure if it would work because the photo shows the Kid in profile. But they did decide to try to find the location where the photograph was taken, and they were pretty sure the landscape depicted New Mexico.

They came here in December, after studying Google Earth images for weeks and weeks. In New Mexico, everyone gave them different opinions. They failed at first and spent the night in Ruidoso before driving home.

It was there when Briley had an idea that the photo might have been taken at the time of the shootout at Blazer’s Mill between the Lincoln County Regulators and the buffalo hunter Buckshot Roberts. The Regulators apparently were hunting down anyone associated with the murder of John Tunstall, which had set off the Lincoln County War. The confrontation took place three days after the shooting of Sheriff William Brady, a crime for which Billy the Kid was convicted in 1881. The Regulators, including the Kid, were supposedly in Blazer’s Mill to eat at Mrs. Godfrey’s Restaurant.

The connection hit Briley, she said, “like a ton of bricks.”

They now believe the photo was taken on a hillside between Lincoln and Tularosa overlooking a 19th-century village called South Fork. The area subsequently became part of the Mescalero Apache Indian Reservation. Williams and Briley believe the photo was taken April 3, 1878, the day before the shootout.

Williams went back to New Mexico and on Jan. 20, Briley said, he found the rock overlooking South Fork on which the Kid had been posed, and matched up the mountains in the background as well as old Indian trails.

Briley said the face looks identical and the body type and size are “perfect” when compared to the authenticated tintype of Billy the Kid purchased by billionaire William Koch for $2.3 million in 2011 at an auction in Colorado.

Furthermore, the figure is wearing patterned suspenders and an unadorned sombrero, and is pictured with the types of guns Billy was known to carry. There’s a bandana wrapped around his leg above his right knee, which could be related to injuries sustained in the Brady ambush, Briley said.

In Koch’s tintype, the Kid looks sloppy, but in this photo, his tie is tucked into his shirt and, according to Briley, he was known as a “snappy dresser.”

Briley said she has seen another photo that surfaced in recent years — one said to show the Kid playing croquet in New Mexico in 1878 — and the National Geographic program that aired about the photo last year. In that case, the photo was bought by a California man for $2 or so from a Fresno County memorabilia shop.

She believes that photo is of the Kid, but she conceded many photos claimed to be of him don’t get received very well. “They get a lot of negative response,” she said. “Western enthusiasts immediately deny them if there’s no provenance attached to the photo.”

So, she said, even though “I do think our photos are the genuine article … we are fighting an uphill battle.”

But that doesn’t stop people who think they have the real deal, she added. “We’re just going to be inundated with photos because people are seeing dollar signs.”

Briley said several photos from the Phillips Collection already have been sold, including those of outlaw Belle Starr and lawman Wyatt Earp’s brother James, and one of Earp himself in a forest with several other people. Two of those were bought by Williams and resold. There are two other photos of the Kid in the Phillips Collection, Briley said.

The original Oklahoma vendor, however, had no idea of their value, she said. Online, Briley called the collection “likely one of the largest historical finds in recent history.”

But Daniel Kosharek, photo curator at the Palace of the Governors Photo Archives in Santa Fe, said the number of Kid photos cropping up is getting to be “almost as bad as Elvis sightings.”

“This one is a pretty good stretch,” he said of Two Gun Billy.

Korsharek said there are many photos that could show the Kid, and even in the Museum of New Mexico collection, he said, he could probably find a half-dozen tintypes that could be of the famous outlaw.

Contact Anne Constable at 505-986-3022 or aconstable@sfnewmexican.com.

Categories: Billy the Kid, Ghost Towns, Old West, Outlaws, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

KGC Billion dollar Treasure waiting to be found…..


World famous treasure hunter Floyd Mann shares with the AHRF his insights on a billion dollars worth of treasure that was scattered across the United States by A secret organization called the Knight Of The Golden Circle or KGC for short. This group of confederate sympathizers refused to accept the terms of the surrender and started making plans for the south to rise again. But they needed a great amount of money to support a 2nd civil war. So they started collecting, robbing and stealing money, gold, silver, jewelry, arms and ammunition. They buried it around the country in old mining tunnels, pits and holes that they dug. They assigned armed sentries to protect this loot from being found. But by the time they had amassed enough fortune and supplies to fund their second civil war, World War One broke out an ended their plans by uniting the country. Also, most of the KGC had died off by then anyway. But the treasures they buried, which some have estimated to be worth billions if not trillions of dollars, is the stuff that dreams are made of to treasure hunters. Floyd shares some clues as to where to look, what to look for and where to go to get more information.

Categories: Ancient Treasure, Andersonville, Confederate, gold, gold coins, KGC, Lost gold, Lost Treasure, Old West, Outlaws, silver, silver coins, treasure, Treasure Hunters, Treasure Hunting, Treasure Legends, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Possible new photo…Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid….


sharper tin type reversed

FORT SUMNER, N.M. (KRQE) – A flea market treasure could mean big things for New Mexico’s history. A North Carolina man believes he may have a photo of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid.

Frank Abrams traveled all the way to New Mexico to learn more about an old tintype he purchased years ago. KRQE News 13 followed Abrams to Fort Sumner, New Mexico to try and get to the bottom of this historical mystery.

Billy the Kid’s legend lives on more than a century since his reported death.

“I knew only Billy the Kid from the movies,” Abrams chuckled. But the North Carolina attorney is learning much more about the western outlaw, especially since he may have a photo that could blow the lid wide open on a piece of history.

“The holy grail might exist,” Abrams told KRQE News 13.

Abrams spent $10 on an old tintype at a North Carolina flea market years ago. He said it was the rough looking cowboys that caught his eye.

The tintype sat hanging in a guest room for years.

Recently, the newly-verified photo of Billy the Kid playing croquet, now appraised at $5 million, got Abrams thinking.

“After I Googled Billy the Kid, I said ‘oh my gosh, he looks like Pat Garrett!” Abrams recalled. “And that’s what got it started.”

Legend has it Billy the Kid was killed by Lincoln County Sheriff Pat Garrett in July of 1881.

Convinced his photo shows Garrett possibly with the Kid, Abrams brought high resolution images of his tintype to meet with local experts.

“The improbability of this situation is such that I need to find out,” Abrams told KRQE News 13.

Abrams and his wife flew to New Mexico, then hit the road to Fort Sumner, home to the Billy the Kid museum and his reported gravesite.

Inside the museum’s walls are rare pieces of history, including Billy the Kid’s gun, his wanted poster, and dozens of old artifacts.

Tim Sweet is the museum’s owner. “The first thing when I looked the photograph, the first one that stood out to me was Pat Garrett,” Sweet told KRQE News 13.

Sweet said he’s 95-percent convinced the man with the mustache in Abrams’ tintype is Pat Garrett.

Owner convinced man with mustache is Pat Garrett.
Possible photo of Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid.

“If this is the real deal, Frank has got a jewel right here,” said Sweet.

Finding out who the other men are and why they were together is key. Sweet believes if the tintype is a photo of Billy the Kid, it may have been taken when Garrett and a crew took him to be arraigned, and before Billy’s escape.

Sweet said the capture was cause for celebration. “All of them are smoking cigars,” Sweet pointed out.

There are other features that have him thinking. Abrams points out a defined Adam’s apple on the man he believes to be Billy the Kid, compared to the known photo of the Kid. Both photos show a pronounced Adam’s apple.

Still, Sweet said more research is needed, and more experts need to analyze the tintype.

Sweet, along with local historians, would be curious to figure out why Garrett would have taken a picture with Billy the Kid and when.

If Abrams does have a photo of Billy the Kid and Pat Garrett, Sweet said, “I think it just proves what took place.” It would be the first photograph of the two together, which Sweet admits would be “big.”

Either way, Abrams said his first trip to New Mexico, and the adventure this photo has led him on, is worth it.

“I’m going to do whatever is necessary to find out,” Abrams told KRQE News 13. “This picture would clear up a lot of mysteries, historical mysteries. The truth is the key.”

It took a team of experts more than a year to authenticate the second-known photo of Billy the Kid playing croquet. Abrams said he’s in it for the long haul to get to the truth.

Categories: Ancient Treasure, Billy the Kid, Ghost Towns, hidden, Lost gold, Lost Mines, Lost Treasure, Mexico, Myths, New Mexico, Outlaws, Strange News, Treasure Hunting, Treasure Legends, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

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