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Daniel Buck
William G. Johnson letters
Thu Dec 28, 2017 12:31pm

for sale on eBay are 17 1880s letters from Wyoming rancher William G. Johnson to Miss Fannie Burton, Greensboro, NC, for $3,799.00. Search eBay: "Wyoming Territory Cattle Rancher Antique Letters Archive 1880s Butch Cassidy" The lot description notes a Butch Cassidy link to Johnson, but not in the letters themselves.

What I'm assuming the seller is referring to is that in 1936 William G. Johnson -- presumably the letter writer Johnson -- told Wyoming treasurer Mart T. Christensen that the previous year Butch Cassidy, "known as William Phillips," had been in Wyoming, and was "now dying of cancer of the stomach and is not expected to live much longer."

Per the Spokane Spokesman-Review, 7 July 1940, Christenson had recently told the Cheyenne Tribune that Johnson "was personally acquainted with the 'Butch Cassidy' of 50 years ago." It's not clear what Christensen or the reporter meant was that Johnson knew Cassidy 50 years earlier, or that he knew in the 1930s Phillips who was the Cassidy of 50 years earlier, which of course he was not.

Jim Dullenty, Butch Cassidy Collection (1986), p. 51, said that Johnson had concluded that Phillips was Cassidy and amassed a collection of documents on the subject, which the University of Wyoming had mislaid.

    • DanPat, Thu Dec 28 2:04pm
      William T.Johnson was a Montana and Sheridan ,WY rancher . This info can be found on Mike's page Incidents newly downloaded this morning. In any case he had nothing to do with the real Butch . He may ... more
      • Re: DanDaniel Buck, Thu Dec 28 2:46pm
        Pat, thanks. I'm reading notes off my 3x5 card on "William G. Johnson." ullenty referred to Johnson as a state official who concluded that Phillips was Cassidy. The rest of the card is re WGJ and... more
        • Dullenty's commentsBob Goodwin, Fri Dec 29 6:18am
          Pat and Dan, Dullenty was making comments concerning a 7 July, 1940 article in the Spokane newspaper, the "Spokesman-Review," Titled: "Wyoming Outlaw, Records Reveal, Spent his Last Years in Spokane... more
          • Re: Dullenty's commentsDaniel Buck, Fri Dec 29 6:26am
            Bob, you are up early, just as I was fishing Dullenty's The Butch Cassidy Collection (June 1986) out of the closet. You covered the major points. All I will add is that the 1940 article is not... more
            • re: DanBob Goodwin, Fri Dec 29 6:45am
              One last little comment here. Looking at the article it does say that Johnson "was personally acquainted with the "Butch Cassidy" of 50 years ago." What is not clear is if he knew, or had even met... more
              • re: DanDaniel Buck, Fri Dec 29 9:34am
                Bob, good observation as well, that it's not clear from the 1940 article if William G. Johnson had ever met William T. Phillips, or was just reacting to reports of his 1930s activities. Meaning, that ... more
              • re: DanDaniel Buck, Fri Dec 29 7:02am
                Bob, thanks. The ambiguity I see is in the "of" in "personally acquainted with the 'Butch Cassidy' of 50 years ago," which probably means Johnson said he knew Cassidy in the 19th century, though... more
        • Dan, start digging. (nm)Pat, Thu Dec 28 2:49pm
          • For what it's worthPat, Thu Dec 28 3:11pm
            Right here in River City err.. I mean Lander. William Gale Johnson born Oct 4, 1861 died March 27 ,1952 Buried in Mt Hope just up the hill from me. Had 3 kids. Wife was Emma D,Heenan.
      • oopsPat, Thu Dec 28 2:10pm
        Correction. Mike has Anderson not Johnson. Sorry.
    • Re: William G. Johnson lettersVince Garcia, Thu Dec 28 1:10pm
      I think these have been up before at the same or similar outrageous price
      • Re: William G. Johnson lettersDaniel Buck, Thu Dec 28 1:53pm
        It is a pile of moola for what amounts to association letters, and a not altogether definite association.
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