Category Archive 'Old West'
20 Nov 2019

To Be Auctioned: New Alleged Photograph of Billy the Kid

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Billy the Kid and three Regulator friends playing cards. From left, Richard Brewer, Billy the Kid (with tall hat), Fred Waite, Henry Brown.

Sofe Design Auctions, November 22, 2019, 11:00 AM CST
Richardson, TX, Lot 241: Sensational Authenticated 1870s BILLY THE KID Tintype Image with Great Provenance. Opening Bid: $50,000. Estimated price: $500,000 — $1,000,000.

A HISTORICALLY IMPORTANT, INCREDIBLY RARE ONE-OF-A-KIND 1877-78 BON-TON TINTYPE PHOTO IMAGE OF THE OLD WEST’S MOST FAMOUS AND MYSTERIOUS OUTLAW, WILLIAM BONNEY, AKA BILLY THE KID. THE IMAGE ALSO CONTAINING THREE IMPORTANT BTK FRIENDS AND FELLOW NEW MEXICO LINCOLN COUNTY WAR REGULATOR VIGILANTES: RICHARD BREWER, FRED WAITE, AND HENRY BROWN. (BILLY THE KID WILL HERETOFORE BE REFERRED TO AS BTK). THIS AMAZING PHOTO IMAGE IS ONLY THE SECOND POSITIVELY DOCUMENTED, ANALYZED PHOTOGRAPHIC IMAGE OF BTK. AS WELL AS THE ONLY KNOWN GROUP IMAGE KNOWN TO INCLUDE BTK. POSSESSING METICULOUS AND IRREFUTABLE TEXAS/NEW MEXICO ANDERSON FAMILY PROVENANCE DATING BACK THREE GENERATIONS. AS WELL AS 101 YEARS OF CONTINUOUS ANDERSON FAMILY POSSESSION AND SAFEKEEPING. THIS NEVER BEFORE SEEN NOR PUBLICLY OFFERED (LIKELY ONE OF A FOUR-PLATE) PHOTOGRAPHIC MASTERPIECE IS ONLY THE SECOND POSITIVELY DOCUMENTED AND FORENSICALLY ESTABLISHED BTK IMAGE. AS PREVIOUSLY MENTIONED, THE SUBJECT PHOTOGRAPH BEING THE ONLY AS YET UNEARTHED GROUP IMAGE OF BTK, POSITIVELY ESTABLISHED THROUGH BOTH SCIENTIFIC AND FORENSIC STUDY. AND EVEN MORE IMPORTANTLY, CRUCIAL AND CONTINUOUS ANDERSON FAMILY CHAIN OF PROVENANCE DATING BACK FROM THE PRESENT DAY, BACK TO 1918, WHEN TOMAS ANDERSON SR. RECEIVED THE SUBJECT PHOTO DIRECTLY, AND WITH POSITIVE AFFIRMATION OF IDENTIFICATION OF IT POSITIVELY CONTAINING BTK. COMING DIRECTLY FROM, AND GIVEN TO MY GRANDFATHER BY THE WIDOW OF DAVID LAWRENCE ANDERSON, (MY GRANDFATHER’S 2ND COUSIN) ALIAS BILLY WILSON, (WHO RODE WITH AND BEFRIENDED BTK DURING THE LINCOLN COUNTY WAR, AND WHO WAS THOUGHT TO HAVE BEEN GIVEN THE SUBJECT PHOTOGRAPH TO HOLD AS SAFEKEEPING PRIOR TO BTK’S 1881 MURDER). …

HE IMAGE DEPICTS THE FOUR MEN PLAYING A FRIENDLY GAME OF CARDS AND DRINKING, IN WHAT WAS UNDOUBTEDLY A “STAGED” PHOTO SITTING BY AN ANONYMOUS TRAVELING PHOTOGRAPHER. MOST LIKELY THE SUBJECT PHOTO WAS PART OF A FOUR-TIN PLATE, WHICH WOULD HAVE COST AROUND, AND SOLD FOR, 25 CENTS, AND DISTRIBUTED INDIVIDUALLY TO EACH OF THE FOUR MEN. ALL PERTINENT DOCUMENTATION PAPERWORK INCLUDED WITH SALE (SHOWN IN AUCTION PHOTOS): PERSONALLY WRITTEN AND ATTESTED-TO ANDERSON FAMILY PROVENANCE CONTINUOUSLY DATING BACK TO 1918 IS PROVIDED TO THE WINNING BIDDER. AS WELL, THE APPROXIMATE AGE AND SPECIFIC TYPE OF ORIGINAL BON-TON TINTYPE BEING POSITIVELY IDENTIFIED BY THE ESTEEMED GEORGE EASTMAN MUSEUM’S HEAD CURATOR. (THE APPROXIMATION OF DATE STAMPING THE PHOTO FROM MID-1877 TO EARLY 1878, COMES FROM THE FACT THAT THE FOUR SUBJECTS IN THE PHOTO ALL WORKED AT THE JOHN TUNSTALL NEW MEXICO RANCH TOGETHER STARTING IN MID-1877, AND RICHARD BREWER, THE SUBJECT ON THE FAR LEFT IN THE PHOTOGRAPH WAS MURDERED IN APRIL,1878). IN ADDITION, A TOP WESTERN PHOTO FORENSIC SCIENTIST WHO RESEARCHED AND WORKED ON SCIENTIFIC FACIAL RECOGNITION AND OTHER PERTINENT RESEARCH FOR SEVERAL MONTHS POSITIVELY IDENTIFIED BTK AND FRED WAITE AS TWO OF THE MEMBERS OF THE SUBJECT PHOTO. (THE OTHER TWO SUBJECTS: BREWER AND BROWN ARE TURNED PROFILE, THUS PRECLUDING FORENSICALLY IDENTIFYING THEM. HOWEVER, AS SEEN IN THE SUPERIMPOSED PHOTO OF PREVIOUSLY DOCUMENTED IMAGES OF THE FOUR MEN, THEN PLACED ON TOP OF THE SUBJECT PHOTO, THE EXTREMELY CLOSE SIMILARITIES OF THE FOUR MEN, INCLUDING BREWER AND BROWN ARE QUITE EVIDENT. IN ADDITION, NOTED ENGLISH APPRAISAL FIRM BARNEBY’S HAS APPRAISED AND COMMENTED VERY POSITIVELY ABOUT THE SUBJECT PHOTOGRAPH, ASSIGNING AN APPROXIMATE PRE-AUCTION ESTIMATE OF 100,000+. BESIDES ALL THE ACCOMPANYING DOCUMENTATION INCLUDED IN THE SALE, IS THE ORIGINAL 1872 LEATHER PHOTO ALBUM WITH BILLY WILSON’S CARVED INITIALS IN WHICH THE SUBJECT PHOTO WAS ORIGINALLY ACQUIRED BY TOMAS ANDERSON SR. IN 1918. …

Billy The Kid (born Henry McCarty 1859-1881, also known as William H. Bonney) was an American Old West outlaw and gunfighter who killed eight men before he was shot and killed at age 21. He took part in New Mexico’s Lincoln County War, during which he allegedly committed three murders.After murdering a blacksmith during an altercation in August 1877, Bonney became a wanted man in Arizona Territory and returned to New Mexico, where he joined a group of cattle rustlers. He became a well-known figure in the region when he joined the Regulators and took part in the Lincoln County War. In April 1878, the Regulators killed three men, including Lincoln County Sheriff William J. Brady and one of his deputies. Bonney and two other Regulators were later charged with killing all three men. Bonney’s notoriety grew in December 1880 when the Las Vegas Gazette in Las Vegas, New Mexico, and The Sun in New York City carried stories about his crimes. Sheriff Pat Garrett captured Bonney later that month. In April 1881, Bonney was tried and convicted of the murder of Brady, and was sentenced to hang in May of that year. He escaped from jail on April 28, 1881, killing two sheriff’s deputies in the process and evading capture for more than two months. Garrett shot and killed Bonney aged 21 in Fort Sumner on July 14, 1881. During the following decades, legends that Bonney had survived that night grew, and a number of men claimed to be him.

Richard M. “Dick” Brewer (February 19, 1850 – April 4, 1878), was an American cowboy and Lincoln County, New Mexico, lawman. He was the founding leader of the Regulators, a deputized posse that fought in the Lincoln County War. Brewer was born on February 19, 1850 in St. Albans, Vermont. At the age of four, he and his family moved to Boaz, Wisconsin. Brewer moved on to Missouri before arriving in Lincoln County, New Mexico. Brewer tried farming as a profession, and he bought a farm in Lincoln County with this in mind. In the spring of 1871, Brewer began working for Lawrence Murphy, but soon left that job. By 1876, he was working as a cattle foreman for cattleman John Tunstall, owner of one of the largest farms in the area. On February 18, 1878, Tunstall was murdered. After Tunstall’s murder, a posse was deputized to serve arrest warrants on his killers, with Brewer chosen to lead the posse. The Regulators originated from that posse, and included Billy the Kid and Jose Chavez y Chavez. Dick Brewer established a bond of friendship with Billy the Kid, Chavez and the rest of Billy the Kid’s gang, and he was often accompanied by gang members. Being one of the founders of the Regulators, Brewer sometimes assumed a leadership role when around Billy, Chavez and the rest of their company, and was the first leader of the Regulators during the early stages of the Lincoln County War. The pair remained friends until Brewer’s death, and evidently he followed Brewer’s lead. Brewer was the most mature of the group, by all accounts, and the rest of the Regulators accepted him in that role.

Frederick Tecumseh Waite, occasionally spelled Fred Wayte (born September 23, 1853 – September 24, 1895), was a Chickasaw cowboy who joined Billy the Kid’s gang. His father was a farmer and operated a trading store and stage stop southeast of Pauls Valley in the Chickasaw Nation. Waite left Indian Territory to work as a cowboy in the New Mexico Territory. While working for John Tunstall as a ranch hand, he met Bill Bonney and several other men who worked for Tunstall. After Tunstall was killed in the Lincoln County War, Bonney, Waite and the others called themselves the Regulators while they pursued Tunstall’s killers. After that, they became known as the “Billy the Kid gang.” In 1880, Waite left the gang, returning to live in the Chickasaw Nation. Waite married, became a rancher and started a family. He lived a law-abiding life thereafter and became involved in Choctaw and Chickasaw politics. Elected to the legislature as a representative both as a representative and as a senator, he was even elected Speaker of the House for three sessions. Then he was appointed Attorney General of the Chickasaw Nation. He died of rheumatism at the age of 42.

Henry Newton Brown (1857 – April 30, 1884) was an American Old West gunman who played the roles of both lawman and outlaw during his life. In 1877, Brown landed in the New Mexico Territory, and became embroiled in the Lincoln County War. Brown joined Billy the Kid and cowboys as “The Regulators”, working John Tunstall’s Rio Feliz Ranch. On April 1, 1878, Brown, Billy the Kid, Jim French, Frank McNab, John Middleton and Fred Waite ambushed and murdered Lincoln County Sheriff William Brady, who was indirectly responsible for the death of Tunstall. Three days later, at the Gunfight at Blazer’s Mill, Brown and the Regulators engaged in a gunfight with Buckshot Roberts, another man they believed involved in Tunstall’s murder. Roberts received a serious gunshot wound from Charlie Bowdre which later proved to be fatal, but not before he managed to kill the Regulators’ nominal leader, Richard M. Brewer. Retreating into proprietor Blazer’s office, Roberts continued a prolonged firefight with Brown and the Regulators. He died the next day.

It will be interesting to see if the market accepts its authetication and it sells.

03 Jun 2019

Frustrating Photo

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(Just click on photo for large version.)

You cannot make out what rifle he’s holding, or what pistol butt protrudes from that holster.

I think there actually is a lever there, but for some reason it is practically invisible. The bulge on the receiver just in front of the trigger guard has to eliminate Winchester and Marlin, and my guess is that it’s a rare Bullard Repeating Arms lever action. Bullards were made circa 1884 to 1891.

I also think those pelts are wolves.

31 May 2019

137-Year-Old Winchester Exhibited in Museum

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The Model 1873 Winchester found leaning against a Juniper tree in Great Basin National Park in 2014 is now a popular exhibit.

Some News Agency:

A 137-year-old rifle found five years ago leaning against a juniper tree in Great Basin National Park in Nevada is now part of an exhibit dedicated to the “Forgotten Winchester” at the park visitor center near the Utah border.

The weathered Winchester Model 1873 is in a case designed to capture the way it looked when park archaeologist Eva Jensen stumbled across it on a rocky outcrop above Strawberry Creek during an archaeological survey.

Based on its condition, experts believe the weapon might have been abandoned in the forest more than a century ago.

But nearly five years after its discovery, park officials still don’t know who it belonged to nor why it was left against the tree. No sales or ownership records have been found.

The serial number was visible, allowing experts at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyo., to determine it was made in 1882.

The exhibit also highlights the role the Model 1873 — one of the most popular guns on the Western frontier — played in the history of the West.

“The exhibit is a showcase for visitors to discover the rifle’s mysterious story and become inspired to imagine, investigate and care about a piece of their American history,” said Nichole Andler, the park’s chief of interpretation.

Herbert Houze, former curator of a firearms museum at the Buffalo Bill center, has said Model 1873 rifles were so valuable that whoever owned the one on display might have rested it against the tree and been unable to find it later.

“You just don’t leave a gun like that there,” he said.

The rifles sold for $35 to $50 in the 1880s and can now fetch up to $15,000 depending on their condition.

The rifle on display has been exhibited at gun shows and at the Buffalo Bill center for a summer. There, officials did an X-ray, found a bullet in the stock and removed it.

The bullet is included in the new exhibit case.

2016, Dated and Conserved

January 2015 — Report of rifle found

10 Apr 2019

Clay Allison

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26 May 2018

“A Long Way From Home”

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18 May 2016

The Bridgeport Rig

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The Bridgeport Rig was patented by Louis S. Flatau of Pittsburg, Texas in 1882 and manufactured by the Bridgeport Gun Implement Co., of Bridgeport, Connecticut. One’s Colt Peacemaker could be drawn quicker by simply sliding it in a straight line forward from its clip, and it could even be fired potentially faster still by leaving it attached and just swiveling the gun.

I’ve heard of this before, but Fred Sinclair has some details I didn’t know. Apparently, they actually sold 500 of the rigs to the US Army. It’s not hard to see that soldiers wouldn’t like them. A Bridgeport Rig could be just the thing tucked away under your long coat for a night gambling in the town saloon, but it would be a trifle insecure, bouncing around on top of a horse, and for field duty you’d want a holster with a flap, not an arrangement that left your expensive revolver completely exposed to the weather.

Wikipedia:

Elmer Keith wore a Bridgeport rig as did James Gillett when he was Marshall of El Paso, Texas in the 1880s; it is sometimes referred to as the “Gillett Rig” for this reason.

14 Oct 2015

New Billy the Kid Photo Authenticated

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Young man identified as Billy the Kid (on left) playing croquet with other regulators, Summer 1878.

Fox News:

A rare coin dealer in California has concluded that a grainy image of legendary gunman Billy the Kid playing croquet is the real thing and could be worth as much as $5 million.

That is not bad for a photo purchased by Randy Guijarro of Freemont, Calif. for $2 as a part of a miscellaneous lot at a Fresno junk shop in 2010… The company is negotiating a private sale of the photo. …

The 4×5-inch tintype – which depicts Billy the Kid and several members of his gang, The Regulators, relaxing in the summer of 1878 – will be the subject of a two-hour documentary airing Sunday on the National Geographic Channel.

Taken just one month after the tumultuous Lincoln County War came to an end, it offers a rare window into the lives of these gunmen. Rather than a threatening outlaw, Billy the Kid seems to be enjoying some downtime following… a wedding.

Kagin’s web-site.

14 Aug 2015

Tall Tale From the Old West

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MountainRats1876

New Falcon Herald:

Pikes Peak was the scene of a fraud perpetrated in 1876 by John O’Keefe, whose job was to take weather readings on the summit and signal them to the city below.

O’Keefe’s tall tale about rats on the peak’s summit was first printed in the Pueblo Chieftain newspaper. The tale then spread to the Rocky Mountain News, which published an articled entitled “Rodents on the Rampage – an Awful and Almost Incredible Story, a Fight for Life with Rats on Pikes Peak.”

In the Rocky Mountain News story, O’Keefe claimed the top of Pikes Peak was overrun by rats the size of cats that fed on “saccharine gum that percolates through the pores of the rocks.”

The story continues:

    “Since the establishment of the government’s signal station on the summit of the peak, these animals have acquired a voracious appetite for raw and uncooked meat, the scent of which seems to impart to them a ferocity rivaling the fierceness of the starved Siberian wolf.”

O’Keefe claimed that on his first night at the station, he and his wife were attacked by rats and would have been overwhelmed had they not electrocuted them using electrical wire powered by a battery.

When the battle was over, they discovered the rats had eaten their infant daughter, Erin.

O’Keefe claimed he buried all that was left of Erin (her skull) under a pile of rocks with a marker and this inscription, “Erin O’Keefe, daughter of John and Nora O’Keefe, who was eaten by mountain rats in the year 1876.”

The grave became a popular tourist attraction, and O’Keefe charged 50 cents for tourists to have their picture taken at the site.

O’Keefe was eventually revealed as a fraud. He didn’t have a wife or daughter, and probably buried his dead burro under the rocks.

Via Ratak Monodosico.

22 Jul 2015

Wild Bill Hickok’s First Gunfight

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HickokTutt

Amy Athey McDonald, at Yale News, describes Wild Bill’s first gunfight, and shows us a revolver once owned by Hickok, now in Yale’s Peabody Museum collection.

Davis Tutt shouldn’t have taken Wild Bill’s watch.

The former Confederate soldier and gambler was shot down by James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok 150 years ago in Springfield, Missouri, in what is today recognized as the first quick-draw gunfight of the American West.

Events leading up to the legendary shootout began the night before with a dispute over a gambling debt. Hickok and Tutt had known each other for years, but there had been a falling out and Wild Bill refused to play cards with Tutt. According to an account by a witness who called himself “Captain Honesty,” Tutt retaliated that evening by giving money to every other man around the table playing against Hickok. A successful gambler, Wild Bill won nearly $200 that night, which angered his one-time associate even more.

Tutt called in a past debt of $45 on the spot from Hickok, who promptly paid up. Tutt then claimed another $35 debt owed from a previous game. Hickok disagreed with this second claim, saying he only owed Tutt $25. It was at this point that Tutt took Hickok’s gold Waltham watch from the table and said he would keep it until the debt was paid. Hickok warned Tutt against such a foolish action. Trial testimony from a J.W. Orr noted that Tutt later raised his price to $45.

While the details of what happened the next day on July 21, 1865, are not entirely clear, historians agree that Tutt showed up in the town square in front of the courthouse around 6 p.m. with Hickok’s watch. Wild Bill appeared at the other end of the square and warned Tutt not to come any further. The two began to cross the square toward one another, drawing their pistols. Exactly how far apart they were and what guns were used are not definitely known. It’s written that they were facing side-on, dueling fashion, almost 100 paces apart, with Hickok using his Colt Navy.

Tutt and Hickok fired one shot each. Tutt missed; Hickok didn’t. Tutt staggered and fell, shot through the heart, and Hickok was soon arrested and charged with murder. The charge was later reduced to manslaughter, but the jury found that Hickok acted in self-defense and he was acquitted.

The shootout launched Wild Bill’s fame as a gunman.

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HickokPinfireRevolver
French .44 Pinfire Revolver of unknown manufacture, presented by James Butler Hickok to Wild West Show manager William Green, Yale Peabody Museum.

21 Jul 2014

“The Gunfighter”

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NSFW

Via Theo.

26 Apr 2014

John C. H. Grabill’s Photos of the Old West

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WesternTown

Between 1887 and 1892, John C.H. Grabill sent 188 photographs to the Library of Congress for copyright protection. Grabill is known as a western photographer, documenting many aspects of frontier life & hunting, mining, western town landscapes and white settlers’ relationships with Native Americans. Most of his work is centered on Deadwood in the late 1880s and 1890s. He is most often cited for his photographs in the aftermath of the Wounded Knee Massacre on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. link

02 Apr 2014

Barbed Wire

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How the West was Fenced – Like a cattle-brand, local family ranches in the late 1800’s made their own barbed wire and used it to identify their property lines and retain their stock. What’s a good indicator that you’re a badass..? Making your own barbed f’n wire! The hardy bastards probably flossed their teeth with it too..

Via Ratak Monodosico.

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