Comments about ‘Was Duchesne farmer the Sundance Kid?’

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Published: Tuesday, Feb. 17 2009 12:00 a.m. MST

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Jerry Nickle

I was invited to speak before the Emery County Historical Society in Castle Dale Utah last Thursday March 26 to tell my story. I really enjoyed speaking before this group and I thank them for inviting me.

Daniel Buck

Perhaps we are speaking of two different July 29, 1902, Pinkerton memos. The one I'm looking at says that Harry Place was in New York in February 1901, with a woman said to be his wife, at a boarding house at 234 E. 12th Street. He was treated in Buffalo and New York for an undisclosed ailment. With Place at the boarding house was George Parker, known as Ryan.

Place and his wife sailed for Argentina February 20, 1901, and returned April 3, 1902, but the Pinkertons sat they have no record of Parker/Ryan returning. A fair reading of that section is that Parker/Ryan was with them on the outgoing voyage -- the Pinkerton clerk just forgot to mention his name -- because is specifically mentioned as not returning in 1902.

Finally, the Tiffany & Co. records have Ryan, residing at 234 E. 12th St., buying a watch on February 4, 1901.

In terms of 100 year-old records from different archives collaborating each other, this is about as good as it gets.



Having an accurate time line has to be established. Has there been word from the Lab as to when the DNA results will be released? A few days...A week or more..next month????

Ghosttown Bob

TM: I agree with you, having an accurate timeline is essential for Jerry, that is why the above discussion is important, because, as it stands right now, using only Pinkerton files will result in confusion. Like so many police investigations every tip was recorded, accurate or not, so the files become inundated with a hodgepodge of conflicting information. A careful analysis has to be made to distinguish fact from rumor, and outside sources have to be considered, such as the gold watch, or Charlie Siringo's memories.


Has anybody else ever seen the receipt for the gold watch besides Dan Buck?


Is it possible, it was only "reportedly" seen? We refer, of course, to the receipt for the gold watch.

some guy

I have been an interested observer on the butch/sundance topic for some time now and although I am far from an expert I have put a considerable amount of time into reading up on Butch and Sundance. Saying this I am still unsure about the circumstances of the final shootout in Bolivia.

Were Butch and Sundance absolutely with no doubt whatsoever working the mines in San Vincente at the time of the shootout AND if so was the residence the two bandits were tracked back to known to be the same that BC/SD were also lodging?
It didn't seem very difficult for Americans with a little cash to travel back and forth to and from the US and SA at that time so is there atleast a remote possibility that another duo of "gringos" took to the task of the robbery and were somehow made to be the famous outlaw duo by means of the American media?
Thx to anyone who attempts to answer these inquiries;as I have said I am no expert, just some guy trying to form an opinion to a question that may never be answered.

Daniel Buck

Re the watch. The source for the February 4, 1901, purchase of a $40.10 watch by James Ryan is a March 12, 1992, letter from Tiffany & Co. to me.

In today's currency, by the way, $40.10 works out to roughly $1,000.00.

The source for the idea that Cassidy gave Sundance the watch is a January 11, 1963, letter from Roy Letson to Charles Kelly, reproduced in Ernst (2009), pp. 186-88.

Kelly (1996 ed.), p. 288,. says that in 1901 Sundance bought "a fine watch for himself and a beautiful lapel watch for Etta" at Tiffany, but does not say where that information came from. He may have telescoped several stories, or garbled what Letson had told him, Tiffany's informed a researcher in the early 1990s that it has a record of H.A. Place buying a $15.35 watch on June 25, 1902.

What does the watch business has to do with William Henry Long anyway? Is the watch a dagger through the heart of the Long = Sundance fable? A Tiffany dagger.




I know a couple of people from old rural Utah families that have stories of their dads being introduced to Butch after he came back from South America. So, I'm open to the idea that Sundance did also.

If Butch was 27 when he married the 40-year-old Luzernia, it's easy to believe it was a marriage of convenience rather than love. And that he would be inclined to run off with the extraordinarily attractive Etta Place. Maybe after a decade in South America, during which time something happened to Etta, he was ready to come home and settle down with the mother of his children.

I dunno. Just trying to figure out that whole relationship.

Jerry Nickle

There is a Pinkerton Memo dated June 8, 1909 that states Butch was in Evanston Wyoming June 26 and 31 1908. The San Vicente shootout happened Nov 6, 1908.
There is another Pinkerton memo dated March 22, 1909 which states Butch was in Price and Sisco Utah the last part of Feb 1909. This Memo also says Butch was in Woodside Utah March 1, 1909.
As far as I know these memos have never been included as an appendix in any book. I am going to include them along 35 others in my book.


Do the Tiffany & Co own a copy machine?


"Is the watch a dagger through the heart of the Long = Sundance fable? A Tiffany dagger." Buck asks.

Should his question more accurately be----is this a dagger thru the heart of the Zimmer=Butch fable? A Tiffant shovel?

If Buck would wait and speak only when "He" has facts to share, there would be a lot less noise.

Daniel Buck


In ref to the comment about BC&SK in Bolivia, Patterson (1998), Meadows (2003 ed.), Ernst (2009), are worth reading just to get a general handle on the story. BC&SK did not work in the San Vicente mines, they stopped in the village to spend the night, a long night it turned out to be. I don't understand the question about "the residence the two bandits were tracked back to." Cucho? Tomahuiaco? Verdugo? Tupiza?


Daniel Buck


The "American media," by the way, did not make the two bandits killed at San Vicente into BC&SK. It was years before the BC&SK connection filtered into the news in any major way, and that was largely because of stories told by American and British mine workers who had known BC&SK and had lived in the region in the early 1900s. But you are correct in that there are lots of remote possibilities, and that the question -- or questions -- may never be answered, certainly to everyones satisfaction. Certainly not mine.

Finally, Jerry, your comment about Mike Bell's article. I assume you are referring to his Spring 2000 WOLA Journal article. (There is no February 27, 2009, article.) In that article, Bell republished the text of the 1912 Buenos Aires Standard story, and discussed how it might have come to been written and how reliable might it be. All in all, Bell's article is an excellent rumination on an interesting source document.




How many "continued's" are allowed, before an ISBN number is required?

Daniel Buck


You should do so. The Cassidy sightings must run in the hundreds. Patterson (1998) devotes two chapters to such stories.

There are dozens of tales of their deaths on three continents, from 1898 and through the 1970s. We collected about 60 in "Butch and Sundance: Still Dead?" NOLA Quarterly, vol. XXX, no. 2, April-June 2006. A summary can be found on line by Googling the title.

There are number of reasons for the multiplicity stories. Nature hates a vacuum. When someone disappears, whether he's Butch Cassidy or Jimmy Hoffa, people see him, even if he's dead. Then there are the impersonators, like William T. Phillips, or the pranksters, like Butch's brother Dan, who was said to have joked around that he was Butch.

Informants pass along rumors. Sifting through 100-year-old raw police files requires care and skepticism. In the wake of the 1997 murder of Italian designer Gianni Versace in Miami, the police released a description of his killer, and received hundreds of reports of his whereabouts, as far north as Montreal. Turns out he was holed up on a houseboat near the crime scene.



Come on Jerry, read what the experts have written. If "they" wrote it, you know it has to be real. Save yourself all this grief, just read what Buck says.

Before you do though, you might want to read some "other" views, as has been previously noted.

Ghosttown Bob

Cassidy death and sighting stories are a dime a dozen. Look in any newspaper archives and you will find dozens. One of the best I have read recently is the Pool Hall story printed in the Price, Utah "Sun Advocate" recently. "LeRoy!"

As for possible impersonators or sightings, even while Butch and Sundance were known definitely to be in South America there were sightings in the US. One such was Edward Holton as was reported in the Salt Lake Herald Aug 3, 1904 under the title "BUTCH" CASSIDY HAS A DOUBLE" This guy looked so much like Butch that even the police were fooled for a while. Since this guy was a gambler and card dealer, who roamed around the west and frequented saloons, it is possible that several sightings can be attributed to him.

Rookie Writer

Was wondering what the rates are to advertise and promote your oun agenda. Will I pay the same line rate as Buck does?



Why don't the expert's mention the story told by the Utah State Trooper? I think his name was Johnson. His family knew the Parker family well. But it does talk of Mr. Cassidy returning to Utah, after he was killed in So. Am. This might cause certain one's to frown on such a story. Ya think?

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