Album, approx. 8 in. wide, 11 in. tall, 5 in. deep, covered in canvas and showing much wear, containing 71 photographs, including 34 CDVs and 37 cabinet cards of identified Western outlaws and other criminals, mostly credited to Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, and Kansas photographers. A majority of the criminals committed offenses against Wells Fargo. Many of the photographs included in the album are similar to those that have been located in a Wells Fargo photographic record identifying notorious criminals (dead and alive) who robbed their banks and stagecoaches. Despite the absence of the Wells Fargo folio, the lot is accompanied by a 1967 letter from the Railway Express Agency attesting that it was "the official office copy kept by Wells Fargo in New York...to be used by the special officers, detectives and officials of the company." This is further corroborated by a 1990 letter to Norm Flayderman from noted collector and dealer of Western Americana Tom Martin stating "I'm confident that this book was, if you will, THE corporate mug book which was kept in New York for the use of officials and special officers."
Of the 37 cabinet cards, personalities of note include nearly every member of the infamous Oklahoma Cook Gang, such as: a seated portrait of Bill Cook, leader of the Oklahoma Cook Gang, by Gannaway Ft. Smith, AR; a seated bust portrait and full standing portrait of “Cherokee Bill”, by Gannaway, Ft. Smith, AR; Henry Munson; 2 views of Elmer “Chicken” Lucas; Curtis Dayson; Lou Gorton in his casket; 3 cabinet cards of Thurman “Skeeter” Baldwin, the first by Garnaway, Ft. Smith, AR and 2 standing portraits of Baldwin by Chalmers, Dallas, TX; 2 full standing views of William Farris by W.A. Lloyd, Wichita Falls, TX; 2 of Jess Snyder by W.A. Lloyd, Wichita Falls, TX; Joe Blake by the Ames Brothers, Okarche, OK; and Charles Turner by W.A. Lloyd, Wichita Falls, TX.
The Cook Gang terrorized Oklahoma, robbing banks and stage coaches and murdering at least eight men over the span of one year. Henry Munson was the first to die. He was killed in the middle of a shootout, while the rest of the men fled. Despite their narrow escape, they continued to hold up various banks and stage coaches until they were finally caught. Curtis Dayson, Thurman Baldwin, Jess Snyder, and William Farris were all sentenced to long prison terms. Jim French, George Sanders, and the Verdigris Kid (not pictured in the album) were shot to death by lawmen when they resisted arrest. Crawford Goldsby was captured and later hanged at Fort Smith. Bill Cook was apprehended and tried for his offenses in 1895. The courts sent him to federal prison at Albany, NY to serve 45 years. He died of consumption on February 15, 1900 before completing his sentence (http://www.legendsofamerica.com/we-billcook.html).
Other identified cabinet cards of outlaws include: Josh L. Craft, train robber and cop killer, credited to J.C. Stonemen, South West City, MO; Jim Wallace, alias George Bennett, who was killed during an 1894 bank robbery in Longview, TX, headed by Bill Dalton of the Dalton Brothers; Texas Ranger, Noah Armstrong, who was one of two Armstrong brothers arrested and acquitted for the shooting of Sheriff John Olive in the early 1890s; Marion Hedgepeth, a.k.a. Handsome Bandit, the Debonair Bandit, the Derby Kid, and the Montana Bandit, a devilishly sharp dandy outlaw who maintained a gentlemanly appearance by wearing a bowler hat, diamond stick pin, and well-polished shoes. He was a shot and killed by police during a botched Chicago saloon robbery after being released several times from prison for various ill deeds; Joe Turner a.k.a, Kiowa Jack, killed near Vinta, Indian Territory, in 1894, by Fowler while in Vinta, his blood still shines near the bullet wound in his side in his casket; a member of the Rogers Brothers Gang, Willis Brown, who died of wounds from the same shootout that killed Turner, by photographer McKnight at Fort Smith, AR; William Chadburn, a train robber who successfully robbed six traveling men at a Kansas hotel only to be fatally wounded by a lawman, then gunned down by a group of citizens, by E.R. Rose, Oswego, KS; Sam Smith, an outlaw responsible for a Wells Fargo train robbery in Andover. He was captured and sentenced to death by a jury, but served life in prison because the governor never signed off on his sentence; his accomplice, Tom Wind who suffered the same fate as his partner; and Joe Hardin.
Of the 34 CDVs, 22 are stamped on the reverse with a template from the St. Louis Detective Department with spaces for officers or owners to fill in the information of the suspect including the height, weight, defining features, birthplace, and more. Others are penciled or inked on the reverse by a previous owner with identifications and sometimes their fates. Identified criminals of note include:
J.S. Vallarta, whose annotation says he was captured in Mexico in 1892; John Barber, a.k.a. George Wright, by Callaway, San Antonio, TX, with a newspaper clipping announcing his death pasted on the reverse of the card; a man identified as McGill who was supposedly a chicken thief; Henry Starr, train robber and murderer who robbed more banks than both the James-Younger Gang and the Doolin-Dalton Gang combined; Starr’s partner “Kid” Wilson; and Chris Evans, a member of the Evans-Sontag gang. Most of the other felons are train robbers, thieves, murderers, forgers and larcenists.
Exhaustive supplementary research and documentation with more detailed biographies of the most notable felons accompany this rare album.
Provenance: Property of N. Flayderman & Co.
The CDVs and cabinet cards range in condition. Most are in good condition with some toning of the images and annotations from previous owners. Others have some light soiling or surface scratching and minor surface damage to the image. The album is in rough condition with separated and frayed cloth covers with loose binding; consistent of its age and similar to some of the hardened criminals.
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