Bob Goodwin
my two cents worth
Mon Jun 3, 2019 6:44am
73.228.72.237

In an effort to make everyone here on the OWR board mad at me, from both sides of this argument, here is a portion of a rough draft of something have been working on:

Of the five who wrote about the North American Bandits, the two most widely quoted are Percy Siebert’s interviews as told through Arthur Chapman in the Elks Magazine article, and as printed in James Horan’s various books, most notably Horan, The Authentic Wild West: The Outlaws and Horan and Sann, Pictorial History of the Wild West. The other is A.G. Francis “The End of an Outlaw” Wide World Magazine, May 1913. Both Seibert’s stories and A.G. Francis’ tales are the most detailed as they both were dealing exclusively with the subject of Butch and Sundance in Bolivia and their supposed personal dealings with them.
Siebert’s tales as told through his interviews with both Arthur Chapman and James Horan, were recorded 20 to 50 after the events he describes. As such there is no way of knowing what is completely factual and what is faulty memory, or worse. We just have to take his word for it. For instance, he elevates himself as being the Superintendent of the Concordia Tin mine while Butch and Sundance were supposedly there. In actuality, Rolla Glass was the superintendent and Seibert was only his lieutenant during most of that time. Seibert also places himself into many of the stories that he tells, even though they were probably second hand, or even third hand stories at best.
How much of the two versions are factual, and how much of Seibert’s accounts with Horan, or Chapman, are actually Horan or Chapman engaging in their own hyperbole can only be guessed at. Arthur Chapman’s story seems to be the most straightforward of the two. However, Chapman’s account suffers from several inaccuracies or mistakes in the non-South American portions of his article, could these have been continued into the South American portions as well? Horan, on the other hand often engaged in exaggeration, conflation, and sometimes even “story telling” in his various books. Does that include his Seibert portions as well?
It is also interesting, that before 1930 while on return visits to the U.S. Seibert was interviewed repeatedly about his work in South America, but until 1930 he said nothing of Butch or Sundance even though they were celebrated outlaws and his stories would have made great press. He seems never to have approached the Pinkertons, though he had probably read stories of the Pinkerton’s interest in the pair. He had information they wanted. He could have easily approached the Pinkertons and told them to stop looking, they are both dead. But he never did. Why? We will never know. Was he protecting them, as some have said? If they were both dead, he had no reason not to tell. But if one or both were still alive, then. . . ? Maybe he really was scared of them.
In Seibert’s retelling of his stories he seems aware of the tales of at least Hiram Bingham, Percy Fawcett, and A.G. Francis. All were published before his interviews. It is difficult to believe that Seibert, with the amount of time he had spent in Bolivia and Chili, and as well read as he was, that he would not have known or read of their adventures. How many of his stories were influenced by them?
A.G. Francis’ article “End of an Outlaw” has been quoted extensively by those who have written on Butch and Sundance in Bolivia. Francis’ story is a supposedly first-hand account of his meeting with Butch and Sundance just immediately before and after the Aramayo Payroll theft. In his story, Francis befriends the pair, whom he names as Kid Curry (Frank Smith) and Butch Cassidy (George Low), rather than “Sundance” and Butch, a few weeks before the Aramayo robbery while hauling a gold dredge from the village of Verdugo to Esmoraca in Bolivia. While staying with Francis the pair went only by the names of Smith and Low. Francis never indicates that he learned their “true” identities while they were with him. Just that they were pleasant company. Smith (Curry) stayed mostly with Francis and the transport crew, while Low (Cassidy) made repeated trips into Tupiza. The pair, just before the robbery and leaving Francis and his dredge in Tomahuiaco, confess to Francis that they were off to “get a nice little packet” and left for Tupiza. After the robbery, just as word was getting out about the robbery, Smith and Low return to Francis’s camp tired and worn out. After they arrived T\they confess to the author that they had held up the Aramayo and Franke payroll and were on the run from the authorities. The next morning they demanded that Francis go with them to show them the way to Estarca. Upon reaching Estarca the two left Francis and proceeded on their way to San Vicente and their demise. The next day, when he learns of the shootout, Francis immediately rides to San Vicente where he gets, first- hand, the account of the fight.
Francis’ retelling of the shootout roughly coincides with Arthur Chapman’s Seibert account. In fact so much so one is left wondering if either Chapman or Seibert was actually using Francis’ account for the retelling of the San Vicente shootout and the events both before and after. Seibert by 1930 would have been well aware of Francis’ story, and may have used that, along with his newspaper clippings for the basis of his version, and not any personal knowledge of his own.
Francis’ account was not universally received when it was written. The Pinkertons dismissed it as fiction. W.A. Pinkerton going so far as to saying: “The whole story to be a fake.” It was not until the story was resurrected by Anne Meadows and Dan Buck in 1994 that it was taken seriously.
Authorship of the piece has even been under dispute. Was it written by A.G. Francis, an English mining Engineer working in South America in the early 20th century, or was it written by an Edward Graydon, under the pseudonym of A.G. Francis? Graydon was also an English mining engineer working for the same company that was moving the dredge and was involved in the moving operation. Graydon’s name actually pops up in the inquest papers of the Shootout as being questioned about his involvement with the two in Estarca the morning before the shooting. He seems to be the one who guided the pair to Estarca, not Francis. If Graydon was the author, why did he write under a pseudonym, and not his own name? Or did Graydon tell Francis of his adventures with the pair, and Francis, seeing an opportunity, write up an adventure story based on what Graydon had told him?
Lastly, there is the question as to why Francis named the pair Kid Curry and Butch Cassidy? Was he simply mistaken about Sundance, naming the outlaw Kid Curry rather than the Sundance Kid? Or, did he even know who he was talking to and camping with at the time? Is it possible that he came up with the Curry and Cassidy names later, while writing his story after seeing any number of English and Spanish press reports concerning both Harvey Logan and “Butch” Cassidy in South America? It is also curious that in identifying George Low as Cassidy Francis calls him “George Leroy Parker alias ‘Butch’ Cassidy,” which seemingly was taken straight off of the currently circulating wanted posters (both English and Spanish) of the time.
Hiram Bingham’s account, published in 1911 was the first to be published. According to Bingham, recounting his journey from Bueno Aires, Argentina to Lima Peru stated that on Nov. 15, 1908, eleven days after the Aramayo payroll robbery, and eight days after the shootout at San Vicente, having just arrived in La Quiaca, Bolivia, Bingham received a call from two rough looking “Anglo Saxons” who started almost immediately to tell Bingham stories of the dangers of the Bolivian roads, where bands of North American highwaymen were roaming and robbing at will. The robbers, or outlaws, having come to Bolivia after being hunted and “hounded to death all over the world” by the Pinkertons. Bingham gave no indications as to who these two men were, but revealed that he was later told, probably by Santiago Hutcheon, that at least one of the men he had met with was “one of this same gang of robbers.”
One of the two men, explained to Bingham, that “it was necessary for them to make a living, that they were not allowed to do so peaceably in the States, that they desired only to be let alone and had no intention of troubling travelers except those that sought to get information against them. They relied entirely for their support on being able to overcome armed escorts accompanying loads of cash going to the mines to liquidate the monthly payroll. This they claimed was legitimate plunder taken in fair fight. The only ones who had to suffer at their hands were those who took up the case against them.” He then proceeded to tell Bingham what a “reckless lot they were and how famous had been their crimes, at the same time assuring us that they were all very decent fellows and quite pleasant companions.”
Later, while taking the stage between La Quiaca and Tupiza, Santiago Hutcheon explains to Bingham that his coaches, despite carrying hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash had never been molested or robbed by the outlaws. Bingham concluded that Hutcheon “must lead a charmed life.”
Later, after arriving at Tupiza Bingham learns of the Payroll holdup, and the shootout in San Vicente. He states “Two weeks before our arrival a couple of bandits, one of whom had been hunted out of Arizona by Pinkerton detectives, had held up a cart containing twenty thousand dollars, on its way to pay of the laborers in a large mine.” He then goes on to describe the shootout stating that a party of fifty Bolivian soldiers found the pair lunching in an Indian hut, “They carelessly left their mules and rifles several yards away from the door of the hut and were unable to escape. After a fight, in which three or four of the soldiers were killed and as many more wounded, the thatch roof of the hut was set on fire and the bandits forced out into the open where they finally fell, each with a half a dozen bullets in his body.”
Hiram Bingham’s account was the first published English account of the deaths.
So who were the North American Outlaws that Bingham mentioned in his book? Bingham never gave names, only hints. Of the two that he ran across in border town of La Quiaca, shortly after the incident in San Vicente, he only indicates that one had been a western outlaw wanted and hunted “all over the world” by the Pinkertons. His companion he says nothing of. Were these Walter and Murray? The two that the Bolivian Police had detained the two shortly after the Aramayo payroll heist, questioned, and then released them after it was found out that the actual robbers had been killed in San Vicente. Bingham ran across his pair two weeks after the shootout, Were Walters and Murray were still hanging around the area two weeks after being questioned? Logic would have them leaving the area as fast as possible, before they were further scrutinized. Given the time lapse, the pair could have easily been in Buenos Aires, or elsewhere by the time Bingham got to Bolivia. If not Walters and Murray, then who? That question remains unanswered. But one definitely was wanted by the Pinkertons and had been a western outlaw. We are left with the impression, that though he was rough looking, he was also gregarious and pleasant to talk to. His explanation that he just wanted to “make a living” and that they were “not allowed to do so peaceably in the States.” This puts him into a small but elite group of U. S. outlaws. His description of holding up mine payrolls reminds us of the Aramayo robbery. Just the kind of work Butch and Sundance were accused of doing.
If it was Walter and Murray, then that would put Walters, the American as a U.S. outlaw, run out of the United States and hounded by the Pinkertons. It also leaves the question hanging: Was the outlaw that Bingham encountered a partner or former partner of one of the outlaws killed in San Vicente? Bingham indicated that both had been hunted by the Pinkertons in the United States, and all over the World.
As for the two that were killed at San Vicente, Bingham was in all likelihood told much more than what he recorded. He again indicated that one of the two dead bandits, not both had been hunted out of Arizona by the Pinkertons. Or, at least that is what he had been told. This information was probably relayed to him, by Santiago Hutcheon, or possibly others. But seeing that Hutcheon seemed to have the Mules used by the bandits, and that he let Bingham use one of them for his journey it would seem likely that Hutcheon was Bingham’s informant. Also it leaves the question as to why Bingham did not name the bandits as Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, or even Butch Cassidy and Kid Curry? If Hutcheon had been Bingham’s informant, he apparently knew the bandit’s background, why did he not name the two? Or if he did mention names to Bingham, why did Bingham not pass those names on in his book?

  • San Vicente EvidenceChrisV, Wed May 22 4:47am
    From the lack of evidence that dan has provided the robbers could just as easily be......
    • my two cents worth — Bob Goodwin, Mon Jun 3 6:44am
      • Re: my two cents worthDaniel Buck, Tue Jun 4 7:05am
        The question of how and when stories of BC&SK circulated and evolved in Bolivia and Chile is a good one. We've discussed before about how expatriate railroad and mine workers interacted, at work and... more
      • Re: my two cents worthDaniel Buck, Mon Jun 3 12:15pm
        Bob, Mind-numbing detail, but there's a note I sent a colleague about the Seibert/Glass/Chapman/Horan matter awhile back. Dan ============================== Note how Arthur Chapman (1930) introduces... more
      • Re: my two cents worthDaniel Buck, Mon Jun 3 12:01pm
        Bob, This one will be mercifully short, I'm pressed for time. Many, including AM and I, have commented on the yarning inclinations of Seibert, Chapman, and Horan. It's something old-timers are prone... more
      • Re: my two cents worthDaniel Buck, Mon Jun 3 11:02am
        Bob, I'm going to start with the Hiram Bingham episode -- yes, I'm working backwards, which is my wont. Suggestion: Rather than paraphrasing and thus changing Bingham's description of his... more
        • correctionDaniel Buck, Mon Jun 3 11:13am
          Bob, two corrections to my post (I'm sure there will be more): Murray and Walters were arrested 5 November 1908 in Salo, not Cotani; and they were released on 9 November, not 7 or 8 November -- all... more
    • It's been posted before but...Dave, Thu May 23 5:44pm
      The Aller inquiry. July 1909, Frank D. Aller, US vice consul in Antofagasta, wrote the American Legation in La Paz for "confirmation and a certificate of death" for two Americans--one known as Frank... more
      • Re: It's been posted before but...Daniel Buck, Thu May 23 7:17pm
        Dave, in short, the evidence supporting the case that the two outlaws died in Bolivia in 1908 is better than the evidence supporting some other scenario. That's what it boils down to. One can easily... more
        • Frank Boyd and his buddy Mark A Mszanski, Fri May 31 11:32am
          The fact that Aller who was friends with BC and SK is making the inquiry is a " tell " in itself. The evidence that they were shot in 1908 in Bolivia is better than any alternative evidence . - IE (... more
          • Be careful Mark. Nicholas, Sat Jun 1 11:42am
            The fact that Aller who was friends with BC and SK is making the inquiry is a " tell " in itself. The evidence that they were shot in 1908 in Bolivia is better than any alternative evidence . - IE (... more
            • Evidence mark, Sat Jun 1 5:49pm
              I am pretty certain these guys did not come back to the USA. The evidence that they were dispatched in Bolivia is not Mr.Bucks alone. There are many others who believe based upon the evidence... more
            • Tweety & MicawberDaniel Buck, Sat Jun 1 1:52pm
              Speaking of tells, your "I'm not exactly sure what it is but I believe that there is something there," takes the prize. That falls somewhere between Inspector Clouseau's "Yes, I kneow that, I kneow... more
              • TellNicholas, Sat Jun 1 4:13pm
                I have a pretty good idea what to believe but I am not sharing it here. Prepare to eat your words. Butch Cassidy did not die in South America. You have no evidence that he did. I am tired of you... more
                • Re: TellDaniel Buck, Sat Jun 1 6:03pm
                  "I have a pretty good idea what to believe but I am not sharing it here." Crikey. A short while ago you were of an open mind, now you're mind is made up but you're playing "I've got a secret." In... more
                  • I still have an open mind. Nicholas, Sat Jun 1 7:48pm
                    Its not what I believe. Its what I know.
                    • The good news isvince garcia, Mon Jun 3 3:12am
                      The good thing is, whether it's you, Marilyn, Jim, Chris or whomever, we can now prove the contention w/DNA, and any body parts won't be in SV where a bunch are jumbled together and they won't let... more
                    • Re: I still have an open mind. Daniel Buck, Sun Jun 2 6:39am
                      Your comments all in the space of 24 hours -- "I have a pretty good idea what to believe but I am not sharing it here" "I still have an open mind." "Its not what I believe. Its what I know" The pesky ... more
              • Re: Tweety & MicawberAnonymous, Sat Jun 1 2:03pm
                Can you say they 100% died in SA? Until then, Id have an open mind.
                • Re: Tweety & MicawberDaniel Buck, Sat Jun 1 2:32pm
                  In outlaw history there are very few if any certainties The events happened a century ago, the participants were not wearing GPS devices, the evidence is muddled. You do the best you can with the... more
          • Mark*ChrisV, Fri May 31 3:31pm
            WOW! Case closed. Well done geography champ
        • Frank Boyd and his buddy Mark A Mszanski, Fri May 31 11:32am
          The fact that Aller who was friends with BC and SK is making the inquiry is a " tell " in itself. The evidence that they were shot in 1908 in Bolivia is better than any alternative evidence . - IE (... more
    • talking to BrettChrisV, Wed May 22 5:06am
      he thinks it might be.....
      • If you got em show em Mark, Sat Jun 1 5:41pm
        Showing again the photos you think are butch and Sundance is always amusing. In term of the conclusion that lula saw her Brother post Bolivia I think it is a tale made up by her. If you have... more
      • Picture Rocky, Wed May 22 7:27pm
        Now that’s funny.
Click here to receive daily updates