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Chapter 30: South American "Sightings"

Mark T. Smokov University of North Texas Press ePub

CHAPTER 30

South American “Sightings”

Lowell Spence’s statement is true in that there were never any more official sightings of Kid Curry, at least nothing that could be proven, after the suicide in Colorado. But many people could not accept the fact that the infamous outlaw was gone, and continued to attribute later bank robberies to the Curry gang (despite the fact that Curry’s criminal career clearly shows he much preferred robbing trains).

One of these was the attempted robbery by two men of the First National Bank of Cody, Wyoming, on November 1, 1904. The holdup was thwarted when the larger of the two bandits shot down the cashier when he ran out into the street. There was speculation that of the two robbers, the shorter, slender one was Kid Curry. This could not be considered seriously after the November 3 Cody Enterprise reported that during the holdup, “the slender one was plainly rattled, throwing his gun around and shooting almost at random.” This was not the actions of a veteran outlaw of the Wild Bunch. After trading shots with the citizens of Cody, the robbers raced out of town with a posse following close behind. Although the posse eventually gave up the chase near Thermopolis, law officials continued the hunt for the bandits. During the year following the robbery, a number of suspects were arrested. They were all able to provide an alibi or witnesses at the time of the robbery and were ultimately released.1

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Chapter 20: Winters' End

Mark T. Smokov University of North Texas Press ePub

CHAPTER 20

Winters’ End

Kid Curry and his cohorts most likely hid out in the badlands between the Little Rockies and the Missouri River until the majority of manhunters left the area after mid-July 1901.1 This would have been the most opportune time for Curry to leave his hideaway for a visit to his friend Jim Thornhill and Jim’s common-law wife, Lucy Tressler. She was most likely the “old lady” Curry had in mind as the recipient of the bolt of green silk he lifted from the Wagner robbery. He would have been greeted at the door by three curious children, one his four-year-old namesake, Harvey D. Thornhill, nicknamed “Man.” When Jim later moved to Arizona, Man became a top roper and won several rodeo competitions. The others were three-year-old Sarah, and Jim’s son George, born December 27, 1899.2

Some histories state that Curry even took time out to visit his friend Sid Willis in Great Falls. He first took a room in the Minot block, not bothering to hide his identity. He then supposedly asked the Mint Saloon owner to act as a go-between in finding someone who would forge signatures on the unsigned Bank of Montana money. Whether Willis refused or just couldn’t find anyone willing to sign the bills, Curry nevertheless left Great Falls without the desired forgeries.3

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Chapter 21: Caught in the Act

Mark T. Smokov University of North Texas Press ePub

CHAPTER 21

Caught in the Act

Kid Curry didn’t waste any time getting to Mena, Arkansas, to meet his girlfriend Annie Rogers. The short time they were there, they rented a frame house using the names Mr. and Mrs. Bob Nevilles.1 On September 18 they left for Shreveport, Louisiana, registering for a week’s stay at the Serwich Hotel.2 Their hurried departure from Mena may have had something to do with the imminent arrival of a Pinkerton operative. He may have picked up Curry’s trail in San Antonio, or had possibly been alerted to the appearance of Montana bills that the couple was spending. Nevertheless, within a few days the agent was in Mena, canvassing the neighborhood for any leads. One neighbor recognized a photo of Curry as the man he knew to be Bob Nevilles.3

During their stay in Shreveport, the couple played cards and drank in various saloons. Curry was generous with his worthless money, and gave Annie a number of ten-dollar bills to spend. Tiring of Shreveport, they traveled to Jackson, Mississippi, and found lodging for a few days near the state capitol. They generally had a good time making the rounds of the saloons.4 Next, they took the train to Memphis, Tennessee, arriving in late September or early October, according to a Miss Corrine Lewis. She was the proprietress of a red light district “resort” that the couple stayed at for nearly two weeks.5 They registered as R. T. Moore and wife of St. Joseph, Missouri.6

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Chapter 29

Mark T. Smokov University of North Texas Press PDF

CHAPTER 29

Kid Curry in His Grave?

A

great crowd came to view Curry’s body when it arrived at Glenwood Springs Thursday evening, June 9, 1904. Several people recognized the dead man, including Globe Express Company agent

Otto Barton. It was the same man who gave his name as J. H. Ross on

Tuesday morning, and asked to have his valise sent to Pueblo.1 After viewing the body, Barton checked his files for a circular he had recently received from Wells Fargo Express Company on one George W.

Hendricks (or Kendrick), alias James Keith, George W. Kayser, George

Hess, and A. S. Keith. He was wanted for robbing their office at Sparkill,

N.Y., and the United States Express Company office in Bernardsville,

N.J., both in April 1904. There was a reward of $500 for his capture. Barton, accompanied by a Dr. Hotopp, “examined the body very minutely and found it to tally to the smallest particular with” the description of

Hendricks. Although the general physical characteristics really weren’t a close match, and the comparison was never considered seriously, it is interesting that the tally included a “small scar above right wrist.”2 The significance of this scar will be seen in the subsequent controversy that occurred over the identification of the bandit’s body. For some reason, researchers have failed to observe the importance of Dr. Hotopp noting this scar in an early examination of the body before serious decomposition began.

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Chapter 17

Mark T. Smokov University of North Texas Press PDF

CHAPTER 17

The Tipton Train Robbery

I

n August 1900, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were sighted in the region of Baggs and Dixon, Wyoming.1 They and other Wild

Bunch members had many friends among the residents in the Little

Snake River Valley area of southern Wyoming and northern Colorado.

These included Mike Dunbar, John P. “Jack” Ryan, Jim Hanson, Bert

Charter, Jim Ferguson, Chippy Reid, Sam Green, Charles F. Tucker, and

Robert McIntosh. Consequently, they were all under surveillance from agents of the Pinkerton Detective Agency.2 Ferguson and Ryan both played important parts in helping the gang prepare for the strike on the

Union Pacific near the small railroad town of Tipton, Wyoming. Jack

Ryan owned a saloon in Rawlins, while Jim Ferguson had a ranch on the

Little Snake River near Dixon.3 Bert Charter tended bar for Ryan, and was a good friend of “Harry Alonzo,” the Sundance Kid. They had both ridden for Ora Haley’s Two Bar and A. R. Reader, and Charter said that

“Harry was an extra good cowboy with a wonderful personality.” Charter was probably introduced to Cassidy through Sundance.4

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