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Old West Outlaws - C

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Frank CantonFrank M. Canton, aka: Joe Horner (1849-1927) - Canton was actually born as Joe Horner near Richmond, Virginia. As a child to he moved to Texas with his family and while in his teens became a cowboy, herding cattle from North Texas to the Kansas railheads in the 1860's. In 1871 he dropped from sight and made his living as a bank robber and rustler. He was jailed for robbing a bank in Comanche, Texas but escaped and returned to cattle herding. After driving a herd to Ogallala, Nebraska, he changed his name to Frank Canton and vowed to uphold law and order. He was soon hired as the top enforcer of the Wyoming Stock Grower's Association, a group of powerful cattlemen in Johnson County, Wyoming.


He was later elected sheriff of the county. It was here that he made his reputation in the notorious Johnson County War of Wyoming in the 1890's and was involved in the unlawful hangings of James Averell and Cattle Kate.


Afterwards he fled south, becoming a U.S. Deputy Marshal under Judge Isaac Parker and made a name for himself as a strong and honest lawman. Canton accepted an appointment as a U.S. Deputy Marshal in Alaska in 1897.


Some time later, he returned to Oklahoma and once more became a lawman. In 1907, he became adjutant general of the Oklahoma National guard, a post he held until his death in 1927.


"Laughing" Sam Carey - Possibly also known as Laughing Dick Carey, he was a member of the loosely knit Hole in the Wall Gang in Wyoming during the latter part of the 19th century. Although Sam Carey is mentioned often in recorded exploits of the gangs operating out of the Hole-in-the-Wall Pass, located in Johnson County, Wyoming, very little is known about him.


As a boy, it is believed that Carey acted as a messenger and camp servant to Butch Cassidy and his gang. As a teenager he rode with a gang led by the little-known outlaw Otto Chenoworth. However, the gang was less than successful and broke up when Chenoworth was committed to a sanitarium in South Dakota, from which he was later released to his mother. Carey returned to the Hole-in-the-Wall after the gang's breakup.

Carey then rode, off and on, with a number of the gangs considered part of the Hole in the Wall Gang, which included Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch and
Black Jack Ketchum's Gang. Carey was well known in his own time, and often associated with stories of the outlaw exploits originating from the Hole-in-the-Wall. However, by 1903, almost all of the gang members best known to operate from there were either dead or in prison, with Carey never being captured to anyone's knowledge. Afterwards, he simply faded from history.


Bill Carver, outlawWilliam "News" Carver (1866?-1901) - Born in Coryell County, Texas around 1866, the young man worked as a cowboy at the Half Circle Six Ranch in Tom Green County, when he fell in love with and married 17-year-old Viana Byler in 1891. However, just a few months later, Viana took sick and died and Carver, heart broken, turned to a life of crime. Later he would turn his affections towards Viana's 15-year-old niece, Laura Bullion, who would often assist him in a his outlaw pursuits. In 1896, Carver carried out several robberies in New Mexico with Thomas "Black Jack" and Sam Ketchum.


After a failed train robbery, he fled to the Robber's Roost in Utah and joined Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch. He soon started riding with Butch Cassidy, the Sundance Kid, Ben Kilpatrick, Harvey Logan, George Curry, Elza Lay and Bob Weeks, taking an active part in their illegal activities.


On August 29, 1900, Carver, along with Cassidy, the Sundance Kid, and Harvey Logan held up a Union Pacific train at Tipton, Wyoming. Wasting no time, they then hit the First National Bank of Winnemucca, Nevada on September 19th, taking more than $32,000. The following year the gang obtained $65,000 from the Great Northern train near Wagner, Montana. In April, 1901, William Carver and Ben Kilpatrick had returned to Texas and on April 1st Carver was ambushed by Sheriff Elijah Briant and his deputies at Sonora on April 1st. Shot by Briant, Carver died from his wounds three hours later.



Butch Cassidy in 1893Butch Cassidy, aka: Robert Leroy Parker, Hiram Bebee (1867-1911 or 1937) - Born in Beaver, Utah, Robert Leroy Parker, was raised in the Mormon faith on his parent's ranch near Circleville, Utah. While working at a local dairy farm when he was a teenager, he fell in with a horse and cattle rustler by the name of Mike Cassidy.

Later he worked on several ranches and at a butcher shop in Rock Springs, Wyoming for a brief time. It was when he worked for the meat cutter, that he got the nickname of "Butch." Later, he borrowed his friend's name "Cassidy." Butch went on to lead the Wild Bunch gang, which robbed trains and banks in Utah, Nevada, Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico.


Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid reportedly moved their operations to Bolivia, where they were believed to have been killed in a shootout with Bolivian troops in 1911. Evidence exists, however, that Butch Cassidy relocated to Spokane, Washington, where he lived under the alias William T. Phillips until he died of cancer in the county poorhouse on July 20, 1937. Persistent reports also claimed that the Sundance Kid returned to the United States where he allegedly lived under the name of Hiram Bebee until his death in Wyoming in 1955.


Augustine ChaconAugustine Chacon (18??-1902) - A vicious killer who operated on both sides of the border, Chacon boasted that he killed some fifteen Americans and 37 Mexicans. Captured, he was sentenced to hang at Solomonville, Arizona; however, just before his sentence was to be carried out, he managed to escape to Sonora, Mexico. However, hot on his tail was Arizona Ranger Captain Burt Mossman. Determined to track the elusive killer, who was becoming a local folk hero, Mossman enlisted the help of two ex-lawmen turned outlaws, Burt Alvord and Billy Stiles, to trap the elusive Chacon. Alvord, who was an ex-lawman turned outlaw, was also hiding in Mexico and Mossman knew that Alvord wanted to return to the states. Striking a deal with Alvord and Stiles, the Arizona Ranger offered to testify to their good behavior if the two would help him locate and capture Chacon. Before long, a meeting was set up with Chacon where Mossman posed as a cattle rustler and got the drop on the cagey outlaw. Bringing him back to the states, Chacon would not be able to escape this time and was hanged in Solomonville, Arizona in December, 1902.


Bill Chadwell Bill Chadwell, aka: William Stiles, Jack Ladd, J. Ward (1840s-1876) - Born in Missouri but raised in Minnesota, Chadwell returned to Missouri and was thought to have ridden with William Quantrill in the Civil War. Some time later he hooked up with the James-Younger Gang and participated in the Missouri Pacific Railroad train in Otterville, Missouri on July 7, 1876, where gang members made of with some $15,000. Some believe it was he who persuaded a reluctant Jesse James to rob a bank in Minnesota. On September 7, 1876, he and seven other members attempted to rob the First National Bank in Northfield, Minnesota, but when local citizens fought back, Chadwell and Charlie Pitts were killed. The rest escaped but the Younger Brothers would be captured and sent to prison. After his death, his remains were taken by a young medical student named Henry M. Wheeler, who had been involved in the shoot-out. His skeleton would later be displayed in Wheeler's office when he went into practice.


Will Christian, aka: Black Jack, Ed Williams, 202 (18??-1897)  - Leader of an Oklahoma gang of robbers called the High Fives Gang, Will was first called "202” because he was such a large man. Later, because of his skill with a six-gun, he earned the nickname of "Black Jack.” When he and his brother Bob were arrested for the killing of a peace officer in Guthrie, Oklahoma in 1895, they escaped from jail and headed to New Mexico and Arizona. There, they began to rob banks, trains, and stagecoaches in earnest. On August 6, 1895, the High Fives Gang robbed the International Bank in Nogales, Arizona. However, as they were headed out of town, gang member Bob Hays was shot and Black Jack dropped the bag of money. Aggressively pursued by a posse led by Sheriff Bob Leatherwood, the officers caught up with the gang near Skeleton Canyon. When a gunfight ensued, Deputy Frank Robson was killed before the gang escaped across the border into Mexico. When authorities learned the outlaws were back in the area in 1897, another posse was organized. They soon tracked them to what is now known as Black Jack Canyon and in yet another gunfight, Will Christian was killed.  


Willard Erastus Christianson, aka: Matt Warner, Ras Lewis, The Mormon Kid (1864-1938) - Both an outlaw and a lawman, Christianson was born in Ephraim, Utah in 1864 to a Swedish father and a German mother who had come to Utah as converts to the Mormon Church. Though his start was good, he got into a fight when he was 14 years-old, and fearing he had beaten the other boy to death, he ran away. He soon joined up with a band of rustlers to begin his life as an outlaw. It was at this time that he began going by the name of Matt Warner. Somewhere along the line, he got married to a girl named Rose Morgan and the two ran a cattle ranch in Big Bend, Washington before returning with his wife and a daughter to Utah.


He then hooked up with his brother-in-law, outlaw Tom McCarty. In no time, Warner was robbing banks and trains with the likes of Elza Lay and Butch Cassidy. He then got into a shoot out, that earned him five years in the Utah Sate Prison. Though he received an early release for good behavior, his wife died during his incarceration.


After his release, he remarried and settled in Carbon County, Utah. Warner ran for public office under his real name, Willard Erastus Christianson, and lost. He then had his name officially changed to Matt Warner, the name most people knew him by, and was elected justice of the peace and then served as a deputy sheriff. Later he worked as a night guard and detective in Price, Utah He died a natural death on December 21, 1938 at the age of seventy-four.


Billy ClaibornBilly Claibourne (1860-1882) - Claibourne, most likely from Arizona or New Mexico, began to make a name for himself in his early twenties. After William Bonney’s death in 1881, he insisted that he too, be called Billy the Kid. He claimed to have killed three men who laughed at this demand, though newspapers report that he only shot one man. Billy was arrested after having killed a man named James Hickey, but was found not guilty and released. A cattle rustler with Clantons, he readily enlisted in the confrontation with Earps at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone. However, when the time came, Claibourne, claiming to have been unarmed, ran from the confrontation and survived the gunfight. On November 14, 1882, Claibourne got into an argument with gunfighter "Buckskin” Franklin Leslie, when the gunfighter refused to refer to him as "Billy the Kid.” Later that night, a drunken Billy returned to the saloon and called to Leslie from outside to come out and fight. It was the last mistake he would ever make. In the inevitable gun battle, Claibourne was hit several times. While he lay in the dusty street, Leslie walked up to him and Billy said, "Don't shoot me anymore I'm killed."   His friends took him to the doctor where he died six hours later. Allegedly, his last words were: "Frank Leslie killed John Ringo. I saw him do it."


Cherokee Bill - See Crawford "Cherokee Bill" Goldsby


The Clantons:


William "Billy” Clanton (1862-1881) -- Born in Hamily County, Texas, Billy moved with his family to Fort Bowie, Arizona in 1865. The next year, the family moved once again to San Buena Ventura, California and somewhere along the line, Billy's mother, Mariah Kelso Clanton dies leaving Newman "Old Man" Clanton with four boys and two girls to care for. For the next decade they move several times before finally settling down near Charleston, Arizona in 1877. Not long afterwards, the Clantons began to be known as cattle rustlers, horse thieves and road agents who often ambushed unsuspecting travelers. Billy soon became involved in the ongoing feud with the Earps in Tombstone and was involved in the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral on October 26, 1881. On that fateful day, Billy Clanton, along with Frank and Tom McLowery were killed and later buried at the Boothill Graveyard in Tombstone, Arizona.


Ike ClantonIsaac "Ike” Clanton (1847-1887) - A member of the Clanton family in Cochise County, Arizona, he was unarmed when the Earps and Doc Holliday advanced on them at the O.K. Corral. Ike, the braggart leader of the outlaws, fled at the first sound of gunfire with Billy Claibourne hot on his heels. His brother William "Billy” Clanton was killed in the shootout along with Frank and Tom McLowry. Ike Clanton schemed revenge on the Earps, arranging to have Virgil Earp ambushed in November 1881. Virgil was hit in the back and was crippled for the rest of his life. In March 1882 Clanton and 4 henchmen, shot and killed Morgan Earp. Wyatt Earp then gathered a posse including his brother Warren and Doc Holliday and went after the Clanton Gang killing three of them. Ike fled to Mexico and hid under an assumed name. When Earp finally gave up the search, Ike returned to the Tombstone area, took up his old rustling ways, and was shot in 1887 by lawmen. He was buried where he was shot in an isolated grave in Greelee County, Arizona.


Newman Haynes "Old Man” Clanton (1816-1881) - The head of the Clanton Clan in Cochise County, Arizona, Clanton was accused by the Earps of rustling, ambushing smugglers and harboring rustlers. However, he was never prosecuted or arrested for these alleged crimes. In July 1881, Old Man Clanton and several of his rustlers, ambushed a group of Mexican cowboys driving a herd through Guadalupe Canyon, killing 19 of them. The slaughter was later known as the Guadalupe Canyon Massacre. In retaliation, Clanton and four of his men were killed in the same canyon by Mexican cowboys seeking revenge for the earlier ambush. Originally, he was buried in the Animas Valley of New Mexico. However, he was later re-interred in Boot Hill at Tombstone, Arizona.


Archibald J. "Little Archie" Clement (1846-1866) - Born in Moniteau County, Missouri on January 1, 1846, Archie joined the Confederate guerillas under Captain William "Bloody Bill" Anderson in 1861 and by the time he was 17, had already become a lieutenant. A very small man, weighing just about 130 pounds and standing just over five feet tall, he made up with it with his fearlessness and as an expert pistol shot. He quickly took a prominent role in Anderson's military operations, including the raid on Lawrence, Kansas where some 150 men were killed and the town was burned. He also participated in the Centralia, Missouri massacre where 23 Union soldiers were robbed and shot. When "Bloody Bill” Anderson was killed by Union forces on October 26, 18 64 , Clement took command of the unit until the war was over. Though the Civil War was officially over, an embittered Clements continued to create problems for the government by intimidating voters in elections and becoming part of a gang that would later be referred to as the James-Younger Gang. Thought to have been the initial leader, he led them in their first robbery on February 13, 1866. The first daylight armed bank robbery in the U.S. , the men stormed the County Savings Association in Liberty, Missouri taking over $60,000 in cash and bonds. As the outlaws were making their escape, gunfire erupted and an innocent 17 year-old boy was killed. Missouri authorities suspected Clements as the leader and a price was quickly put on his head.  However, the fearless little man next led the gang in robbing the Alexander Mitchell and Company Bank in Lexington, Missouri on October 30, 1866, making off about $2,000. He was finally killed by the Missouri State Militia on December 13, 1866 in Lexington, Missouri. He was buried in the Arnold Cemetery in Wellington, Missouri.


Dan "Dynamite Dick" Clifton (1865-1896?) - Dan Clifton was already a wanted man before joining the Doolin Gang in 1892. Having committed robbery, safecracking, and cattle rustling in Oklahoma, lawmen were constantly on his tail. Two stories tell of his nickname, one that he gained it when he blew himself out of the side of a moving train while trying to crack a safe. The other, more simpler tale, says that he lost three fingers while playing with dynamite as a child. Upon joining the Doolin Gang, Clifton supplied the fire power to the gang and took part in the remainder of their robberies. In an 1893 gunfight with law enforcement at Ingalls, Oklahoma, he was wounded, but that didn't stop the outlaw. On May 20, 1895, he, along with Bill Doolin and Bill Dalton, robbed a bank in Southwest City, Missouri, killing J.C. Seaborn before escaping. The next year, both Doolin and Clifton were both behind bars in Guthrie, Oklahoma, but after gaining control over a prison guard, and made their escape, along with 13 other prisoners. Holing up at a farm outside of Newkirk, Oklahoma, he was trapped there on December 4, 1896 by U.S. Deputy Marshals George Lawson and Hess Bussey. As he tried to escape, he was shot down and killed. Clifton was buried at the government's expense in the town cemetery at Muskogee, Oklahoma.


Brack Cornett (1859-1888) - The co-leader of the Bill Whitley or Brack Cornett Gang, Cornett robbed banks and trains in southwest Texas in the late 1880's. Born and raised in Goliad County, Texas, somewhere along the line he joined up with Bill Whitley and the two formed a gang that was successful in their robbery endeavors for a couple of years. In June of 1887, the gang robbed a train near Flatonio, Texas, making off with about $600 in money and $1000 worth of jewelry from passengers. The next year, the gang robbed a bank at Cisco, Texas, making off with some $25,000. Several days later they robbed the International-Great Northern Railroad, escaping with $20,000. However, when they planned to rob the Southern Pacific train out of Harwood, Texas, on September 22, 1888, they found a posse waiting for them. The gang was finally trapped by U.S. Deputy Marshals a few days later on September 25, 1888. In the inevitable gunfight that took place, Bill Whitley was killed and another gang member taken prisoner. Brack Cornett was able to escape and fled to Arizona. However, one Texas Ranger, Alfred Allee, doggedly pursued Cornett to Frio, Arizona, where he caught up with him. Gunplay erupted once again and when the smoke cleared, Cornett was dead.


James Robert Cummins or Cummings, aka: "Windy Jim" (1847-1929 ) - Cummins, born on January 31, 1847, lived near Kearney, Missouri and rode with Quantrill’s Raiders during the Civil War, most often assigned to follow "Bloody” Bill Anderson. A known horse thief, he joined up with the James-Younger Gang after the war and was involved in the train robberies at Winston and Blue Cut, Missouri. He was suspected of being involved in the plot to kill Jesse James because his sister, Artella Cummsins, married Robert Ford, Jesse’s killer.  After the break up of the James Gang, he became a farmer in Arkansas and actually tried to turn himself in several times, but no one believed he was really Jim Cummins. At the age of 63 he married Florence Sherwood and lived to an old age. He died in the Old Soldiers Home at Higginsville Missouri on July 9, 1929.


George Curry, aka: Flat Nose, Big Nose (1864-1900) - Born on Prince Edward Island, Canada about 1864, Curry moved to Nebraska with his family when he was still a child. At the age of 15 he drifted west and soon became involved in cattle rustling. Some where along the line, a horse kicked him in the nose, earning him not only a disfigurement, but also the nicknames. He soon joined the Wild Bunch with whom he participated in several holdups. While working with Cassidy's gang, Harvey Logan adopted his surname and became known as Kid Curry.

In June, 1897, George Curry, along with Harvey Logan and Tom O'Day held up the Butte County Bank at Belle Fourche, South Dakota. O'Day was arrested immediately as his horse had run away, but the other two escaped. However, while Curry and Logan were holed up in Fergus County, Montana, a posse caught up with them and hauled them back to South Dakota where they were placed in the Deadwood jail. The outlaws, however, had other ideas and in November they overpowered the jailer and escaped. After participating in more robberies of post offices and trains, Curry was rustling cattle in Moab County, Utah when lawmen Jessie M. Tyler and Thomas Preece finally caught up with him on April 17, 1900 and Curry was shot and killed. His friend, Harvey Logan, was so enraged that he soon traveled toUtah where he killed both Tyler and his Deputy, Sam Jenkins, in a gunfight. Curry is buried in Chadron, Nebraska.

Kid Curry - See Harvey Logan



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