Daniel Buck
Re: my two cents worth
Tue Jun 4, 2019 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 in social settings, staying at the same hotels, hanging around the same clubs, restaurants, and bars. BC&SK were in the northern Chile and Bolivia from, say, mid/late 1905 through early November 1908. Per Francis, they arrived in Tupiza in August 1908, meaning they moved around just in that town and region for about three months.

The question is when did the Americans and Europeans they interacted with learn who they really were? Was it only/mainly after they died?

When Frank Aller wrote to the American Legation in 1909, he knew BC&SK's aliases. Did he know their actual identities? (As far as we know, Aller never said a word to anyone about his brush with history.) Francis writing in 1913 thinks they were famous America outlaws, tho he bollixed one of their names. Regardless, at some point between 1908 and 1913 he found out they were Wild Bunch members. Was it scuttle in Tupiza, of an "I have it on good authority" variety?

Francis Lowe's release after his May 1913 arrest in La Paz on suspicion of being George Parker was based on "information from certain Englishmen and others" that Parker had been killed some years earlier "in one of the provinces." The Englishmen included the British consular officers in Uyuni and Oruro.

Thus I think we can say that by the early 1910s, if not earlier, word was out in the expatriate community that the Wild Bunch was down two members. And of course once a story like that gets going, it gets repeated, improved, changed etc., as it circulates.

Why it did not circulate beyond the region I know not. Why did no one in the American legation send a report up to Washington? Hey, that Butch Cassidy guy, he got shot near Tupiza, etc. In fact, it's worse than that, a legation was required to report to Washington the deaths of American citizens within its jurisdiction. As far as I know, the legation in La Paz never reported the deaths of the two men Aller inquired about, and whom the Bolivian government confirmed had been killed, even if their names were in doubt.

Based on having read thousands of pages of diplomatic post files, all I can offer is the further one got from Washington, the less exacting were the practices. Larger bureaucratic fusses were made about someone's death if the family had inquired or if the person was important. But beyond that, it was hit or miss. Dan

  • my two cents worthBob Goodwin, Mon Jun 3 6:44am
    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... more
    • Re: my two cents worth — Daniel Buck, Tue Jun 4 7:05am
    • 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 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
Click here to receive daily updates