May 2018 ~~~~ Editor:  Cliff Hanger ~~~~
Big Nose George - from Wikipedia
George Parrott, also known as Big Nose George, Big beak Parrott, George Manuse and George Warden, was a cattle rustler and highwayman in the American Wild West in the late 19th century. His skin was made into a pair of shoes after his lynching and part of his skull was used as an ashtray.


In 1878, Parrott and his gang murdered two law enforcement officers — Wyoming deputy sheriff Robert Widdowfield and Union Pacific detective Tip Vincent — after a bungled train robbery. Widdowfield and Vincent were ordered to track down Parrott's gang on August 19, 1878, following the attempted robbery on an isolated stretch of track near the Medicine Bow River The officers traced the outlaws to a camp at Rattlesnake Canyon, near Elk Mountain, where they were spotted by a gang lookout. The robbers stamped out the campfire and hid in a bush. When Widdowfield arrived at the scene, he realized the ashes of the fire were still hot. The gang ambushed the two lawmen, shooting Widdowfield in the face. Vincent tried to escape, but was shot before he made it out of the canyon. The gang took each mans' weapons and one of their horses before covering up the bodies and fleeing the area.

The murder of the two lawmen was quickly discovered and a $10,000 reward was offered for the "apprehension of their murderers". This was later doubled to $20,000.

George Parrott

In February 1879, "Big Nose" George and his cohorts were in Milestown (now Miles City, Montana). It was known around Milestown that a prosperous local merchant, Morris Cahn, would be taking money back east to buy stocks of merchandise. George, Charlie Burris and two others carried out a daring daylight robbery despite Morris Cahn traveling with a military convoy containing 15 soldiers, two officers, an ambulance, and a wagon from Fort Keogh, which was tasked to collect the army payroll. At a site approximately 10 miles beyond the Powder River Crossing, near present-day Terry, Montana, there is a steep coulee (known ever since as "Cahn's Coulee"). Approaching the coulee over a five-mile plateau, the soldiers, ambulance and the wagon became "strung out", creating large gaps between party members. The gang donned masks and stationed themselves at the bottom of the coulee, at a turn in the trail. The gang first surprised and then captured the lead element of soldiers, as well as the ambulance with Cahn and the officers. They waited and likewise captured the rear element of soldiers with the wagon. Cahn was robbed of an amount between $3,600 and $14,000, depending on who was doing the reporting.


In 1880 following the robbery of Cahn, Big Nose George Parrott and his second, Charlie Burris or "Dutch Charley", were arrested in Miles City by two local deputies, Lem Wilson and Fred Schmalsle. Big Nose and Charlie got drunk and boasted of killing the two Wyoming lawmen, thus identifying themselves as men with a price on their head. Parrott was returned to Wyoming to face charges of murder.


Parrott was sentenced to hang on April 2, 1881, following a trial, but tried to escape while being held at a Rawlins, Wyoming jail. Parrott was able to wedge and file the rivets of the heavy shackles on his ankles, using a pocket knife and a piece of sandstone. On March 22, having removed his shackles, he hid in the washroom until jailor Robert Rankin entered the area. Using the shackles, Parrott struck Rankin over the head, fracturing his skull. Rankin managed to fight back, calling out to his wife, Rosa, for help at the same time. Grabbing a pistol, she managed to persuade Parrott to return to his cell.

News of the escape attempt spread through Rawlins and groups of people started making their way to the jail. While Rankin lay recovering, masked men with pistols burst into the jail. Holding Rankin at gunpoint, they took his keys, then dragged Parrott from his cell.

Parrott's "rescuers" turned out to be townspeople, bringing Parrott out to a lynch mob of more than 200 people. The mob strung him up from a telegraph pole.

Charlie Burris suffered a similar lynching not long after his capture having been transported by train to Rawlins, a group of locals found him hiding in a baggage compartment and proceeded to hang him on the crossbeam of another nearby telegraph pole.

Desecration of remains

Doctors Thomas Maghee and John Eugene Osborne took possession of Parrott's body after his death, to study the outlaw's brain for clues to his criminality. The top of Parrott's skull was crudely sawn off, and the cap was presented to 15-year-old Lillian Heath, then a medical assistant to Maghee. Heath became the first female doctor in Wyoming and is said to have used the cap as an ash tray, a pen holder and a doorstop. A death mask was also created of Parrott's face, and skin from his thighs and chest was removed. The skin, including the dead man's nipples, was sent to a tannery in Denver, where it was made into a pair of shoes and a medical bag. They were kept by Osborne, who wore the shoes to his inaugural ball after being elected as the first Democratic Governor of the State of Wyoming. Parrott's dismembered body was stored in a whiskey barrel filled with a salt solution for about a year, while the experiments continued, until he was buried in the yard behind Maghee's office.


The death of Big Nose George faded into history over the years until May 11, 1950, when construction workers unearthed a whiskey barrel filled with bones while working on the Rawlins National Bank on Cedar Street in Rawlins. Inside the barrel was a skull with the top sawed off, a bottle of vegetable compound, and the shoes said to have been made from Parrott's thigh flesh. Dr. Lillian Heath, then in her eighties, was contacted and her skull cap was sent to the scene. It was found to fit the skull in the barrel perfectly, and DNA testing later confirmed the remains were those of Big Nose George. Today the shoes made from the skin of Big Nose George are on permanent display at the Carbon County Museum in Rawlins, together with the bottom part of the outlaw's skull and Big Nose George's earless death mask. The shackles used during the hanging of the outlaw, as well as the skull cap, are on show at the Union Pacific Museum in Omaha, Nebraska. The medicine bag made from his skin has never been found.


Many legends surround Big Nose George—including one which claims him as a member of Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch. Cassidy, however, would only have been 14 at the time of George's death, so this theory has been ruled out by historians. There is also speculation that he ran with the James brothers—with the flames of this rumor fanned by George himself. During a pre-trial interview in 1880, Big Nose stated that his outlaw pal Frank McKinney had claimed to be Frank James. He also told investigators that another member, Sim Jan, was the gang leader—leading to wild rumors that Frank and Sim were the infamous James brothers, Frank and Jesse.

However, it is generally agreed that Parrott was more of a run-of-the-mill horse thief and highwayman. His gang enjoyed a successful run of robbing pay wagons and stagecoaches of cash in the late 1870s, but a yearning for bigger profits led to the attempted train robbery.

Valery Havard - from Wikipedia
Valery Havard (February 18, 1846 – November 6, 1927), was a career army officer, physician, author, and botanist. Although he held many notable posts during his military career, he is most well known for his service on the western frontier of the United States and in Cuba. Many Texas plants are named for Havard, including the Chisos bluebonnet (Lupinus havardii), Havard oak (Quercus havardii), and Havard's evening primrose (Oenothera havardii).

Early life

Havard was born in Compiegne, France. After graduating from the Institute of Beauvais, he studied medicine in Paris before immigrating to the United States. He entered Manhattan College and the medical department of New York University, in New York City, graduating from both in 1869. For a time thereafter he was house physician in Children's Hospital and professor of French, chemistry, and botany at Manhattan College.

Frontier posts

In 1871, he was appointed an acting assistant surgeon in the army and was commissioned an assistant surgeon in 

Valery Harvard
the medical corps three years later. For six months in 1877, he served with the 7th Cavalry in Montana in pursuit of hostile Sioux and Nez Perce Indians. In 1880, he joined the 1st Infantry then engaged in opening roads in the Pecos River Valley in west Texas. In the summer of 1881, he accompanied an exploring expedition into northwest Texas, headed by Captain William R. Livermore, Corps of Engineers. From stations at Fort Duncan and San Antonio, he again went with exploring parties under Captain Livermore to the upper Rio Grande valley during the summers of 1883 and 1884. While on frontier duty he became interested in economic botany and studied the food and drink plants of the Indians, Mexicans, and early settlers.

Havard served in various posts from 1884 to 1898, including service in New York (Fort Schuyler, Fort Wadsworth, and the recruiting depot at Davids' Island), North Dakota (Fort Lincoln and Fort Buford), and Wyoming (Fort D. A. Russell).

Spanish–American War

With the outbreak of the Spanish–American War in 1898, Havard was assigned as chief surgeon of the Cavalry Division, and accompanied the Division to Siboney, Cuba. He served in the field during the Battle of San Juan Hill on July 1. After the war, he joined the staff of General Leonard Wood in Havana as chief surgeon of the Division of Cuba and continued with Wood when he became military governor. While in Havana in October 1900, he was the subject of a severe attack of yellow fever.

Russo-Japanese War

With the establishment of civil government in Cuba, Colonel Havard returned to the United States for duty in Virginia (Fort Monroe) and New York (West Point and Department of the East at Governors Island). In 1904, he was detailed as medical attaché with the Imperial Russian Army during the Russo-Japanese War. Havard arrived in St. Petersburg on December 7, 1904 and reached the frontlines in Manchuria on February 8, 1905. After being embedded with Russian forces just over a month, Havard was captured by the Imperial Japanese Army at the Battle of Mukden. Upon reaching Tokyo he was sent back to the United States.

In his official report, Havard compiled a list of lessons learned from the Russo-Japanese experience. He noted the lack of frontal assaults that were the result of improved weaponry, particularly the machine gun. Flanking movements became more necessary to avoid the machine gun, which necessitated increased frequency and distance of forced marches. In previous wars, soldiers were able to rest at night and armies saw little action during winter months. Both practices had become antiquated. Attacks were often ordered at night and the waging of war never ceased, even in sub-zero temperatures. According to Havard, the result of these trends was soldiers experiencing an increased amount of battle fatigue, as well as resurgence in the usefulness of the bayonet in night assaults. The Japanese claimed seven percent of their casualties resulted from bayonet wounds.

Because of his observations in Manchuria, Havard recommended changes to the U.S. Army’s Medical Corps. He suggested the war department devise a plan to train and mobilize large numbers of medical personnel for war and to promote the development of civilian organizations like the Red Cross. Because of the increased number of casualties resulting from modern weaponry, Havard stressed the significance of training enlisted soldiers in assisting medical officers in field hospitals. He also spoke to the importance of devising an adequate evacuation system from the battlefield to military hospitals. He explained that railroads were of importance in this process. Havard also advocated the implementation of telephone technology in order for hospital staff to have quick access to information from the battle.

He was subsequently elected to a term as president of the Association of Military Surgeons. In 1906 he was appointed president of the faculty of the Army Medical School, which he held until he retired from military duty in 1910. Upon retirement Havard established his home in Fairfield, Connecticut. There he continued a career of writing begun when he entered the army.

World War I

With the onset of World War I, Colonel Havard was called from retirement for duty with the Cuban government in the reorganization of the medical departments of its army and navy (1917–1923), for which he received the Cuban Order of Military Merit. In his eighty-first year, he died on board the steamship Columbo while returning from a visit to France.


Havard's early articles were on botany and military hygiene, continued with reports on observations on the Spanish-American and Russo-Japanese Wars. While at Fort Lincoln in 1889, Havard published a "Manual of Drill for the Hospital Corps". He won the Enno Sander prize given by the Association of Military Surgeons in 1901 with an essay on "The Most Practicable Organization for the Medical Department of the United States Army in Active Service". Pamphlets on "Transmission of Yellow Fever" (1902) and "The Venereal Peril" (1903) were issued as government publications. During his last service in Washington, he published his "Manual of Military Hygiene" (1909), with second and third editions (1914 and 1917) prepared at Fairfield. At time of publication this was the best work on military hygiene yet produced in this country.

Havard's article "The French Half-breeds of the Northwest" was published in the Annual Report of the Smithsonian Institution (1879). He published a number of articles on the flora of Montana, North Dakota, Texas, and Colorado, including "Botanical Outlines" in Report of the Chief of Engineers, Part III (1878), and "Report on the Flora of Western and Southern Texas" in Proceedings of the United States National Museum (1885). Havard's "Notes on Trees of Cuba" was published in The Plant World, IV (1901).

The standard author abbreviation Havard is used to indicate this person as the author when citing a botanical name.

Hugh Anderson - from Wikipedia

Hugh Anderson (1851–1873 or 1914?) was a cowboy and gunfighter who participated in the infamous Gunfight at Hide Park on August 19, 1871, in Newton, Kansas. Prior to the gunfight, Anderson was a son of a wealthy Bell County, Texas cattle rancher who drove from Salado, Texas to Newton. Anderson was the one who led the cowboy faction during the gunfight, and was also one of the first to draw blood.

The incident began with an argument between two local lawmen, Billy Bailey and Mike McCluskie. The two men began arguing on August 11, 1871, over local politics on election day in the "Red Front Saloon", located in downtown Newton. The argument developed into a fist fight, with Bailey being knocked outside the saloon and into the street. McCluskie followed, drawing his pistol. He fired two shots at Bailey, hitting him with the second shot in the chest. Bailey died the next day, on August 12, 1871. McCluskie fled town to avoid arrest, but was only away for a few days before returning, after receiving information that the shooting would most likely be deemed self defense, despite the fact that Bailey never produced a weapon. McCluskie had claimed he feared for his life, having known that in three previous gunfights, Bailey had killed two men.

The murder of Mike McCluskie and the gunfight

Hugh Anderson led the Texans in vowing revenge for Bailey's death. On August 19, 1871, McCluskie entered Newton and went to gamble at "Tuttles Dance Hall", located in an area of town called Hide Park. He was accompanied by a friend, Jim Martin. As McCluskie settled into gambling, three cowboys entered the saloon. They were Billy Garrett, Henry Kearnes, and Jim Wilkerson, all friends to Bailey. Anderson arrived soon after.

Anderson confronted McCluskie and the two had a bitter exchange of words, before Anderson ended up shooting McCluskie in the neck and body. The latter tried to shoot back at Anderson, hitting him in the neck, but Anderson continued firing. After McCluskie's gun finally misfired, Anderson walked over him and shot him in the back several times. At that point James Riley, believed to have been 18 years of age at the time, opened fire on them. Riley was dying from tuberculosis, and had been taken in by McCluskie shortly after arriving in Newton. Riley had never been involved in a gunfight before, but only Anderson still had a loaded pistol to return fire. Some accounts say Riley locked the saloon doors before shooting, but this seems unlikely. The room was filled with smoke from all the prior gunfire, and visibility was bad. Riley ended up hitting seven men. More casualties soon followed between the patrons of the saloon.

Mike McCluskie died in the following morning, and an arrest warrant was issued for the wounded Hugh Anderson. But his friends managed to spirit him away back to Kansas City first then to Texas before the local law could get him.

Duel with Arthur McCluskie

Anderson recovered from his wounds and by 1873 had become a bartender in Medicine Log, Kansas. Unknown to Anderson, the brother of Mike McCluskie, Arthur McCluskie, had been searching for him to avenge his brother, located him and challenged him to a duel. Anderson accepted the duel and was allowed to choose between pistols and knives; he chose pistols, and a formal duel was arranged. While it was different from the "quick draw duels" that became iconic in the West, the Anderson-McCluskie duel was also different from "traditional duels" because it depended more on speed and reaction time.

In late afternoon the two lined up as bystanders watched the confrontation. They stood with their backs to each other at twenty paces. At the sound of a signal (the gunshot from a pistol) the two quickly turned to each other and fired their weapons. Their initial shots missed but soon after Anderson hit McCluskie in the mouth and neck while the latter hit Anderson in the arm. More shots were fired and McCluskie managed to hit Anderson in the stomach. However, the first one to fall was McCluskie, after Anderson emptied his pistol into him. Unfortunately for Anderson, McCluskie wounds were not fatal, and the two resumed their duel with knives. The second round saw Anderson and McCluskie repeatedly stabbing each other, and ultimately McCluskie fell for a second time, which ended the duel. He was rushed to a boarding house but died a day later. It was said that Anderson lived a short time longer before dying from his wounds as well. The duel was recorded in an article in the New York World on July 22, 1873.

Although some records said that Anderson died after his duel, there were also reports that he survived his ordeal and came back to live with his family. Three years later, Hugh was said to have moved with his young son and several other family members to McCullock, Texas, and the 1880 Federal Census listed Hugh, 28, and son, Oscar, 7, living with his parents and working as a “stock raiser” in McCullock County. In 1884, at age 32, Hugh married a second time, Mag Cooke and moved to Chaves County, New Mexico Territory, continuing his as a stock man. The U.S. Census for 1900 listed Hugh as a widower. In 1910, Hugh is listed as a stock man and living with his married son, Oscar, and three grandsons. Hugh Anderson was listed to have died on June 9, 1914 at the age of 62 while herding cattle in Lincoln County, New Mexico and getting struck by lightning. 

Kitty Leroy - from Wikipedia

Kitty Leroy (1850 – December 6, 1877) was a gambler, saloon owner, prostitute and trick shooter of the American Old West.

Leroy was born in Michigan and by the age of 10 she was dancing professionally. By the time she was fourteen she was performing in dance halls and saloons. She also had developed shooting skills that few could match, including the ability to shoot apples off people's heads. A good-looking young woman, she married for the first time by 15, but the marriage was short-lived as she was promiscuous and difficult to tame. She ventured west seeking a wilder lifestyle, settling for a time in Dallas, Texas. By the age of 20, she had married a second time and was one of the most popular dancing attractions in town. She soon gave up dancing to work as a faro dealer and became known for dressing in men's clothing, and at times like a gypsie. By this time, Leroy had developed into a skilled gambler.

She and her second husband headed to California, where they hoped to open their own saloon. Somewhere along the line, she left him for another man, marrying for a third time. However, this marriage was extremely short-lived. According to an unconfirmed legend, the two became involved in an argument, during which she attacked him. When he refused to hit her because she was a woman, she changed into men's clothing and challenged him again. When she drew her gun, he did not, and she shot him. As he did not die right away, she called for a preacher and the two were married. He died within a few days.

Leroy made her way to Deadwood, Dakota Territory, in 1876, traveling up on the same wagon train as Calamity Jane and Wild Bill Hickok.[citation needed] There, she worked as a prostitute in the brothel managed by Mollie Johnson. She opened the Mint Gambling Saloon and married for a fourth time to a German prospector. However, when his money ran out, they began to argue often. She hit him over the head with a bottle one night and threw him out, ending the relationship.

Her saloon was successful. In addition to the gambling income, Leroy occasionally worked as a prostitute but mostly managed her own girls. On June 11, 1877, Leroy married for the fifth and final time, this time to prospector and gambler Samuel R. Curley. This marriage, as her others, was volatile. Curley was alleged to have been extremely jealous and Leroy did not help matters, as she had numerous affairs, one of which was with her latest ex-husband. On the night of December 6, 1877, Curley shot and killed Leroy in the Lone Star Saloon, then turned the gun on himself and committed suicide. The pair were laid in state in front of the saloon the next day, then buried together. The January 7, 1878 issue of the Black Hills Daily Times of Deadwood, under "City and Vicinity", reported:

    The estate of Kitty Curley upon appraisment, amounted to $650. More than one-half of which is claimed by and allowed to
    Kitty Donally, and the expenses have doubtless consumed the balance. P.H. Earley has been appointed trustee or guardian for the child.

She is mentioned in the HBO series Deadwood, portrayed as a beautiful murder victim.

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