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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My apologies in return. If my blog was read as meaning that you were goading me, then I'm afraid I wasn't very clear. That statement was directed at two of my pals, Barbarella and Ancient Mariner, not at you.

That you want to discuss the material and evidence further is, to me, an indication that there is room among us for a book or books that does just that. Overall, the system of discussion and debate of the issues, evidence, and information benefits everyone --wanna be writers included -- and helps sharpen the arguments of those who wish to put forth a theory into the public arena.

I am always comforted by the adage: "The only dumb question is the one that was never asked." I have a lot of dumb questions, and when I ask them in a public forum such as this blog, I usually get a plethora of answers. That helps me a great deal.

As to Dimaio's notebook entry regarding a 16 year absence from PA, or an 1886 departure, do you agree that this is more evidence that we need to look more carefully into 1886/1887 Wyoming?

Continued ....


I ask that question in view of my earlier debate with Mr. Buck on the 1887 Tom Nichols/Hall -Newberry cattle raising venture in SA. I find it interesting and worthy of exploration that, with Dimaio's notebook entry, we have another link to an association between Harry Longabaugh, the Keeline Ranch, and 1886/87 Eastern Wyoming and Argentina.

It seems more credible to me that Butch and Harry had a long association with Wyoming future Wild Bunch members and South America than that they went to SA on a whim or mere guess that they could evade capture. If I was going to commit a crime or if my continued freedom depended on non-discovery and apprehension, I would associate with people I knew well, trusted, and had a reasonable belief that they were allies based on long association. In short, I would be mistrustful of strangers and the unknown.

For that reason I was surprised by those on this blog who wanted to stop discussion on Wyoming 1886/1887. I think we have a good deal more to learn here. I value what others have to say and think. I'd very much like to read that.



I read your blog carefully. Good job on the Zerelda Sammuel comment!

One of the people I'm most interested in is George Lewis "Tex" Rickard and his involvement with the Musgrave/Snake River/Cattlemen in Paraguay. Rickard, who might well have been born the very time that Mrs Samuel's cabin was blown up, was intimately connected to Susan Lavinia James and her husband,Allen H. Parmer, a former member of Quantrille's Raiders, and who went to Texas with the Rickards in tow. Parmer later became associated with the Texas ranching interests that fed the maw of Wild Bunch catle rustling. Rickard, of course, went on to Alaska where the evidence is fairly good that he was visited by Bert Charter and later associated with Charter and Cassidy, along with Tom and Mid Nichols in Nevada before spearheading the effort in Paraguay.

The connection of James, Parmer, Rickard, Nichols, Musgrave, Cassidy,and Charter I believe, should be more fully explored. I'm very interested to know what you have to say about the matter.

Do you have "Magnificent Rube" by Samuels? "Goldfield" by Zanjani? They might interest you.


Did the Pinkertons discover B&S went to Argentina because of the letter Sundance wrote from BA February 25 1902? I assume it had an Argentine stamp and post mark.

tartan cowboy

butch:wow.theres more names here than in a russian novel!how do you keep track of them?
re dimaios notebook.does it state "left pa 16 years ago" or "that he hadn't been back in 16 years" how close was Harry to his family? what records are available re his presence in wyoming,and in particular with the keeline ranch?
what tou seem to have is at least two groups of cattle companys with strong links to SA.were they actively stealing horses across SA? is there any SA archive reporting their activities?what year was charter linked to snake river company?what year does BC and charters paths cross.any family tradition through charters that he frequented SA.this could make astrong case for BC also following suit.if tie ins are made it would suggest BC/SK did not travel there on a whim.isn't there a letter from BC when in cholila that says "i've been looking for a place like this for 20 years"does that suggest this was the first time he'd been there? maybe just the first time he'd seen that territory.continued...

tartan cowbow

or maybe he'd just found the spread he'd always wanted.did they(BC/SK) resume their association with the other factions once in SA?when did the other companys disband?was the ranch at cholila used by these groups as arelay for stolen horses/cattle?
dont have "magnificent rube" or "goldfield" will check out summary on web.
still intrigued as to meaning of four code/the keys to rebecca!
look forward to your comments,butch.
ps.what is lutefisk?



Thank you for your interest and question. I was hoping to get another discussion going and you granted me my wish. Great question by the way.

1.) On Page 14 of Early Day History Of The Little Snake River Valley by John F. Gooldy it says:"An employee of Robert McIntosh received a letter from Harry from Walcott, Colorado, (I presume on or about November 5, 1900)and one from him in New York City, with a picture of him and his wife, saying he had married a Texas lady he had known previously. (I presume on or about February 19, 1901) A year from that time ( I presume February -March, 1902) another letter came from South America, in which he asked how things were in the valley." I believe best reading of the evidence is that Gooldy was refering to David Gillespie. If so, and because Gillespie received the DeYong photograph and it somehow got to the Pinkerton Agency, I believe it is reasonable to deduce that the SA letter was also known to the Pinkertons, and hence, that Harry Longabaugh was in Argentina.

Continued ......


2.) If Dimaio's notebook entry is a valid and accurate reference to a mail cover on Samanna Hallman which was reported on April 3, 1902, then the origin of the letter (Argentina)and the contents (indicating Argentina)would have been known to the Pinkertons.

Therefore, my conclusion is that there were two sources of information about Harry being in Argentina: 1.) The Letter to David Gillespie; and 2.) The letter to Samanna Longabaugh Hallman.

I hope I answered your question satisfactorily.



1.) Keeping Track of Names: I set myself the task of re-creating the Pinkerton Files in their original cross-indexed form. I extended that system to include names, places, and events that do not appear in the Pinkerton files. My combined files are digitized. With a few key stokes I can call up a name and cross-filed information. Its very handy.

2.) Damaio's notebook entry: I gave the entry in quotation marks exactly as Dimaio wrote it. I am a real stickler for exact words in documents, precise accurate citations to documents, and non-manipulation of evidence.

3.) Harry close to family: I don't know how close Harry was or felt to his family. Most evidence suggests he had a special relationship with Samanna and Elwood. Perhaps Harvey as well. His relationship to his parents and Emma may have been distant.

4.)Evidence connecting Harry to Eastern Wyoming, Keeline Ranch, and Lusk: I refer you to Ms Ernst's "The Sundance Kid" pages 28-29 and notes 1 and 2, Chapter 5, Page 207.

Continued ..........


Siringos book COWBOY DETECTIVE is a very good book. It has a lot about Burt Charter and Butch Cassidy.


Another very good book is Anne Charters COWBOYS DONT WALK. She married into the Charter family.


Caution: Ms Ernst's evidence is quite thin and I am checking her citations with great care with the assistance of local experts. I'll report on what I find.

5.)Two Cattle Operations: I believe that the Nichols/Hall-Newberry Patagonia operations 1887- 1910 are one you refer to and that the second is the Rickard/Musgrave -Farquart Rio Paraguay Operation circa 1910-1920.

6.) The record of outlaw activities by North Americans in South America is fairly extensive. See Meadows, "Digging Up Butch and Sundance" for an impressive introductory list.

7.) Bert Charter: A resident of the Little Snake until 1908, Charter was associated with all of the principal cattlemen, gamblers, and outlaws between 1887 and his death in the mid-1930s. Based on the 1908 Pinkerton Report cited and discussed earlier on this blog, Charter was associated with those who launched and acted in the Rio Paraguay venture. Bert Charter and George West Musgrave married sisters, Maud and Jano Magor. I think it would be fair to say that Bert Charter and Cassidy were linked at least by January, 1896 when Cassidy was released from the Penitentiary at Laramie. Perhaps earlier.

Continued .................


I do not believe that Bert Charter was ever in South America. I am not aware of any Charter family tradition that Bert Charter was ever in South America.

8.) Butch in SA: I believe the first time Butch was in SA was March, 1901. I think the evidence is quite strong, based on Pinkerton reports, that Butch made more than one trip from SA to the US and then back again.

9.)The August 10, 1902 letter from Butch at Cholila to Mrs Davis in Utah is not, I believe, evidence that Butch was in SA prior to March, 1901. I believe it is very good evidence that Butch -- and Harry -- were in Chile at some point in 1901.

10.)I believe Rio Paraguay disbanded by circa 1920. Butch and Harry sold Cholila in 1905 and their buyer continued operations until circa 1916. The Newberry operation in Rio Negro province appears to have continued into the post WWI era. I know of no evidence that the Cholila Ranch was ever involved in any illegal activities.

11.) The Four Code: See Siringo, Cowboy Detective, Page 364.

Continued ..........


12.) The Key To Rebecca: The book of the same name is a primer for breaking the Four Code. For the most part The Key To Rebecca will tell you how to use a key to a book code. A book code is a variant of the "one time pad" system of encription. Hint: The missing portion of the August 10, 1902 letter to Mrs. Davis contained the Four Code message to Elzy Lay that Siringo wrote about. Mrs. Davis is the mother of Maud Davis Lay, Elzy's first wife (common law). At the time of Butch's letter Maud was married to Oran L. Cury, a Gilsonite mine owner.
Cury was murdered February, 1903. The posse that chased the Winnemucca robbers recovered three sheets of blue stationary for Douglas Preston's Office. Preston and Mike Dunbar wrote to C. E. Rowe about "black stuff". Matt Warner claimed in "Bandit Rider" that he participated in bribing Elzy Lay out of prison by offering a Gilsonite mine to MN Governor Otero. Put it all together, crack the code, and you have a really wonderful solution to a great mystery.

Continued ...............


Lucky 13.) Lutefisk is North Atlantic Cod, soaked in lye, and sun dried on wooden racks. It is reconstituted by soaking three days in cold water, baked, and then served with boiled potatos. Although it is uncharitably called "fish Jello" by non-Scandanavians, it is the Norsk equivalent of Fish and Chips.

I hope I answered your questions. It was very challenging. Thank you for the work-out.

Clarra Bell

Does anyone else realize that Butch is on here in numerous personas even arguing with himself as one while he supports himself with another. Shame on you Butch. Lying, even to support what one thinks is right, is still lying. Not only are you not much of a historian, you are not very good at trying to psych people out with your games. Again, shame on you and all your personas.


I agree with you, Clarra Bell, I'm not much of an historian. That is precisely why I need the help of you and others to guide me to the facts. Will you join in the discussion and debate?


Thanks for you information. I hope you will clarify this for me. If Sundance sent the Feb 1902 BA letter to misdirect the Pinkertons to search for him in the USA why did he send it from BA? Sending the letter from BA would have told the Pinkertons he was in BA, which he did not want.

Clara Bell
Will you please show us where Butch is lying if he is.

Thank You



You ask great questions. If my blog was read to mean that Harry's letters to Samanna and Gillespie were written to misdirect the Pinkertons I need to write with more clarity. I didn't mean that. What I thought I was responding to was your question regarding how the Pinkertons knew Harry was in Argentina.

To the contrary, I don't believe that Harry was attempting to mis-direct the Pinkertons. What I did say -- and intended to say -- was that it was irrational for Harry to write a letter to Samanna that the Pinkertons were sure to discover that said, in effect: "You can get on my trail by looking at the Pierce Clinic in Buffalo". Both the letter to Gillespie and Samanna also told the Pinkertons exactly where Harry was --if not in the US --Argentina. The letters had the added effect of exposing Ms Ernst's ruse that Harry visited PA in January 1901.

But the real reason "Clara Bell" and the rest of Jerry Nickle's merry blogger band are so upset with me is that they begin to see two dangers to their preposterous theory that Bill is Harry.

Continued ...........


1.) If we begin to unravel the story that Harry had a bullet wound in the leg -- or anywhere else, the Nickle gang is threatened by any discussion that might indicate Bill didn't get a leg wound at Cortez in 1891.

2.) Once we start to firm up the presence of Harry and Butch in SA in 1901 and early 1902, the Nickle gang is threatened by Bill's presence in Fremont late in 1901.

I wouldn't be too hard on Clara Bell. When a pet theory is on the verge of destruction, no matter how absurd or ill considered the theory is, tempers can flare.

I hope I answered your question. Harry never intended to mis-direct the Pinkertons and Harry acted irrationally in pointing out the trail to Buffalo, and also told the Pinkertons he was in Argentina --and that he was married to alias Ethel Place. He sent the DeYoung Photo to Gillespie but not to his PA family. (Ernst, The Sundance Kid, Page 132)On two trips from Argentina to New York he never once visited his family --including 1902.

Continued .........

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