Born Robert Leroy Parker in Beaver, Utah, on Apr. 13, 1866, Cassidy was the oldest of 13 children and had no formal education. Cassidy became a cowboy while still in his teens when he met Mike Cassidy, adopting Cassidy’s name after he joined him in rustling cattle in Utah and Colorado.
Robert Clay Allison worked on his parents’ farm near Waynesboro, Tenn., until he was twenty-one. Immediately upon the outbreak of the Civil War, he enlisted in the Confederate Army and went off willingly to fight for the South. He had a clubfoot that did not seem to hamper his ability to perform active duty. He saw action in several battles but was sent home in March 1862 to recuperate from wounds that seemed more mental than physical, a Confederate doctor stating that Allison was suffering from a condition that was partly epileptic and partly maniacal. He had reportedly threatened to shoot his superiors following one battle because they refused to pursue and execute retreating Union troops.
One of the most unusual stagecoach robbers in American history was an old man known in the annals of the West as Black Bart. He used many aliases, including Charles E. Bolton and Charles E. Boles, the latter, most probably his true name. Bart, in addition to being an expert lone bandit who robbed more than two dozen stages in California in 1877-78, he was a jokester whose laughing nature endeared him even to his victims.
Billy the Kid was reportedly born in New York City on Nov. 23, 1859, the son of William and Kathleen (or Catherine) McCarty Bonney, and named William H. Bonney. Another story has it that he was born on Sept. 17, 1859, as Patrick Henry McCarty to Catherine and Patrick McCarty. And still another account has it that he was born in Indiana to Joseph McCarty of Cass County. The first report seems to be the most reliable, especially since the Kid used the name of William H. Bonney, signing his letters as such. Yet a reliable account has Mrs. Bonney or McCarty living in Indianapolis, Ind., with William Antrim and moving west with him and her two sons, Henry and Joseph in 1870, settling first in Wichita, Kan., where Mrs. Bonney ran a laundry and dabbled in small real estate holdings. One report has it that the family lived for a while in the newly establish town of Coffeyville, Kan., and it was here that Billy first got into trouble, arrested for pilfering butter and other items from a local store.
John Wesley Hardin was born May 26, 1853, in Bonham, Texas. He had two brothers, Joe was the oldest, three years older then John and several younger sisters. His father sometimes taught school and practiced law in addition to preaching. Hardin’s forefathers had illustrious positions in the history of Texas. One had fought at San Jacinto and another had signed the Texas Declaration of Independence in the fight against Santa Ana. Hardin’s grandfather served with distinction in the Congress of the Texas Republic. Hardin County, Texas, was named after another of Hardin’s relatives, Judge William B. Hardin. Somehow, Hardin’s father believed that his son would follow in his footsteps and named him after the esteemed Methodist leader, John Wesley.
Joaquin Murieta was born in 1830, in the Mexican province of Sonora. In 1850, Murieta along with his bride, Rosita Feliz , he moved to Northern California. The Murietas were lured by the mine fields. The white miners didn’t like the thought of the sharing the gold fields with Mexicans, so they assaulted the couple. Murieta was beaten and his wife was raped. They left Stanislaus County and moved to Calaveras County, where they were joined by Joaquin’s half-brother. Joaquin borrowed his half-brother’s horse not knowing it had been stolen from a member of the community. The horse’s owner accused Murieta of the theft. Joaquin told the owner he had borrowed the horse, and his half-brother could explain. A mob formed and wouldn’t listen to the explanation. They hung the half-brother, and Joaquin was horse whipped. Murieta vowed to get revenge.
Isom Printice Olive was born February 7, 1840 in Mississippi, the son of James and Julia Brashear Olive a quiet, religious, churchgoing couple. At the age of three, the family moved to what was to be Williamson County, Texas and it was here Print Olive grew to manhood.
Henry Starr is no doubt one of the most interesting characters who ever came out of the Old West. During his 32 years in crime, he claimed he had robbed more banks than both the James-Younger Gang and the Doolin-Dalton Gang put together. However, in all of his life as a criminal he only killed one man, a U.S. Deputy Marshall who was about to arrest him. He started robbing banks on horseback in 1893 and ended up robbing his last in a car in 1921. He was the first bank robber to use an automobile in a bank robbery. A total of 21 bank is what he is alleged to have robbed. If he did pull all of those robberies, he would have made off with nearly $60000.00.
Tomas Edward Ketchum was born on October 31,1863 in San Saba County, Texas, son of Green Berry Sr.Ketchum and Temperance Katherine Wy*censored* Ketchum. Tomas Edward Ketchum had four siblings two brothers and two sisters His father died when he was only five years old and his mother was blind several years before she died in 1873.
Judge Roy Bean was not a Judge, there nothing about this uneducated man that would qualify him as one! Despite this, Roy Bean considered himself the only Law West of the Pecos in Langtry, Texas. His tenure as the Judge lasted almost twenty years.
William Milton Breakenridge was born in Watertown, Wisconsin and ran away from home to join the Union army. After the war, he moved to Denver and work at numerous jobs in and around the city. Looking for fame and fortune, he enlisted in the Third Colorado Cavalry under Colonel Chivington and was at the infamous Sand Creek Massacre. After the cavalry, Breakenridge became a train brakeman for the Southern Pacific Railroad and then a storekeeper in Sidney, Nebraska. In 1878, he moved to Phoenix, Arizona where he took the job as deputy Sheriff. He then moved to Tombstone and became deputy sheriff under Sheriff John Behan.
During the late 19th Century no area in the United States was a haven and a refuge for criminals like the Indian Territory, pre-statehood Oklahoma. The jurisdiction of this territory fell to the United States court for Western Arkansas, located at Fort Smith, Arkansas. The court was the largest federal court in United States history covering over 75,000 square miles. In 1875, Judge Isaac C. Parker, was given the task of cleaning up the territory by President Ulysess Grant. It would not be an easy task. Parker authorized the hiring of 200 deputy U.S. marshals to sweep out of the territory and arrest felons and fugitives.
William Bat Masterson was born on Nov. 24, 1853, in Quebec, Canada, he was one of seven children. When William was still a child, the Materson moved to a farm in Illinois. On the farm, he learned how to shoot, hunt, and about hard work. His first gun was an old black powder rifle musket and he practiced shooting whenever he had a chance. He was 17, when William and his older brother Ed left the farm and looked for adventure in Kansas. They went to work for the Santa Fe Railroad. They contracted with the foreman, a man named Ritter, to grade the railroad bed. They were to be paid $300 when the job was done. When finished, the two went to collect their money, but were told by Ritter, that there was no money available and to come back next spring. Ed went back to the farm, but William stayed in the area and joined a buffalo hunting outfit. His first job was to spend 12 hours a day staking buffalo hides in the sun. Because of his shooting ability, he later became a buffalo hunters in the camp, where he earned up to $100 a day.
Born July 29, 1852, Commodore Perry Owens was named after naval hero Commodore Oliver Perry. He left his Tennesse home at an early age and spent some time in Indiana before following the cattle trails west in his late teens. With his long blond hair, hand-tooled chaps, sombrero, and a long barreled Colt .45 with a double row of ammunition on his gun belt, Perry was a site to be seen, even in the Wild West. In 1882, he rode into Arizona and he became a foreman in Navajo Springs. During this time, he chased and killed several rustlers and his reputation as a fast draw and deadly gunman started.
Charles Angelo Siringo was born in Texas and worked as a cowhand from the time he was thirteen. At twenty-two he went out to join the search for 17-year-old killer Billy the Kid but was forced to give up after he lost all his money gambling. Siringo later worked as a grocer in Kansas for two years.
Dallas Stoudenmire stood about six-foot-four, had dark brown hair and green eyes. He was born in Macon County, Alabama, in 1845, and after enlisting three times in the Confederate Army (the military kept discharging him because of his age), he came West at war’s end. In the vicinity of Columbus, Texas, he built a reputation as a gunman.
William Matthew Tilghman was born at Fort Dodge, Iowa, on July 4, 1854. His parents moved to Fort Ridgeley, Minnesota, where his father was an army seargent, then on to a farm near the Missouri River, several miles from Atchison, Kansas, when the boy was only two years old.On the outbreak of the Civil War the father joined the Union Army as a quartermaster, and his oldest son, Richard, became a drummer boy. Young Bill, only eight, was left behind to help on the farm. It was quite a job for an eight-year-old boy to plough the fields, reap the crops, and keep food on the table.It was during this period that Bill Tilghman became an expert with rifle, shotgun, knife, and pistol. When his father returned from the war he was blind, and Bill’s brother had married and moved from the farm. Two years later, however, Bill’s father regained the use of one eye and was able to resume some of the work on the farm.
Calamity Jane’s may have been second only to Buffalo Bill in exaggerating her early life exploits into something that only a dime store novelist would believe. Many of those exciting adventures came from Calamity herself, and most of them could not be corroborated by others. With this is mind, it is difficult to determine which stories should be retold as fact. Calamity was born in Princeton, Missouri, on May 1, 1852. Her maiden name was Martha Cannary. Her parents were natives of Ohio, and she had two younger brothers and three younger sisters.
Pearl Hart was the last person ever to rob a stagecoach and the only woman ever known to have robbed one. Pearl Taylor was born in Ontario, Canada to a well to do family. Her family sent her to the finest schools available during the early 1880’s and in 1888 she met and fell in love with Frederick Hart. Frederick Hart was a gambler, who lost more money then he won, and Pearl’s life with him was a tough one. The couple traveled to the Columbian Exposition of 1893, in Chicago, where Pearl worked odd jobs. At the Exposition, she saw various Wild West shows depicting the heroes and myths of the Old West. She was so completely overwhelmed by these story’s and theatrics that she abruptly left her husband and moved to Colorado.
Born in 1848 in the town of Carthage, Missouri, Myra Belle Shirley (later to become the notorious Belle Starr) was one of three children. After her older brother was killed, the family moved to Scyene, Texas, just outside of Dallas.