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Steve Gatto
Curly Bill - Reality Check!
Thu Nov 9, 2017 10:47

William Bresnaham aka Curly Bill Brocius shot Marshal Fred White in Tombstone during October 1880. There is ample proof based on contemporary evidence from Arizona and Texas and Graham’s own brother’s accounts that William Hanks Graham (“Cack” ) was not Curly Bill Brocius.

Curly Bill Brocius and a man named George did shoot up the San Pedro after his release from the Pima County Jail, but it was not Cack Graham and his brother George. Curly Bill Brocius was shot in Galeyville during May 1881. Whether Cack Graham was also shot or not at some time is not relevant. Cack Graham was not at Iron Spring but since he was not Curly Bill Brocius it does not really matter.

The only two contemporary references to a “Curly Bill” in Tombstone or around the San Simon during 1880-1881 are Curly Bill Brocius and Curly Bill Rogers. There is no known contemporary evidence that Curly Bill Brocius was actually known as Graham, but even if he used the name William Graham, he was a different man than William Hanks Graham.

Melvin Jones later claimed that he knew William Graham and his brother George from a cattle drive and that it was on this cattle drive that William Graham was dubbed Curly Bill. However, we know that Jones’s claim is false since William Bresnaham was using the name Curly Bill before that cattle drive took place. In fact, there is evidence that Curly Bill Brocius did not know Melvin Jones at all. Instead, Melvin Jones likely embellished his 1932 account of “How William Graham was dubbed Curly Bill” Melvin Jones by adding details to the cattle drive where he claimed he met William Graham, on how William Graham was dubbed Curly Bill on that cattle drive, and to his so-called recollection of later encounters with Curly Bill to make his stories better.

    • What planet are you on Steve Gatto ?Robert Buckley, Thu Nov 9 18:41
      William Hanks Graham was shot in the neck exactly how Doctor Lewis described the gun shot wound . William was shot in the left side of his neck, just slightly behind his ear and about three inches... more
      • Why - Planet Earth where . . .Steve Gatto, Fri Nov 10 06:58
        an individual cannot be physically in two places at the same time. For example, Curly Bill Brocius being locked in the Pima County Jail on the same day that Bill Graham is at the San Simon Polling... more
        • Billy BrociusEddie Lanham, Sat Nov 11 04:30
          This is some good stuff!!! Got up an hour early, on a Saturday, to read the latest posts on BJs. Maybe you 4 or 5 who have a dog in this fight could meet up at high noon, Big Nose Kates, gather... more
        • But a brother can pinch-hit. That’s what happened in the case of William Hanks Graham. George Gordon Graham, aka George Ross, was hired by James Longwell in July 1879 to assist at the San Carlos... more
          • and that's what happened when Bill Graham voted as George Ross for his brother George who went by the alias George Ross. Robert claims the testimony was perjured and now you're stating everyone was... more
        • More contemporary evidence. . . Robert Buckley, Fri Nov 10 07:37
          The Arizona Weekly Citizen , January 30 , 1881 called the testimony in the San Simon court case for what it was , perjury . The vote that was counted was for George Graham , not William Graham . The... more
          • Re: More contemporary evidence. . . Steve Gatto, Fri Nov 10 08:37
            You might want to revisit some of the newspaper coverage. Claiming it was all perjured testimony so it doesn't count as evidence is ridiculous for the mere reason that several men would not conspire... more
            • James Johnson's motivation for perjury..Robert Buckley, Fri Nov 10 18:48
              James A.Zabriskie was the motivation for the perjury . Zabriskie was one of Shibell's lawyers during the voting fraud case, he also was the man who prosecuted William in 1878 in Texas . This could... more
              • Re: James Johnson's motivation for perjury..Bob Cash, Sat Nov 11 09:42
                I guess you are saying that Johnson was trying to make it appear that Bill Graham and Curly Bill were two different people by identifying George as Bill at a time that Curly Bill was in jail. If he... more
                • Re: James Johnson's motivation for perjury Robert Buckley, Sat Nov 11 10:18
                  Along with James A . Zabriskie , you also had James C. Perry on Shibell's legal team . During questioning of Bob Paul , another member of Shibell's legal team , Charles Silent , asked Bob Paul a very ... more
                  • A note about James K. Johnson . . .Lynn R. Bailey, Sat Nov 11 11:12
                    Born about 1847, James K. Johnson worked as a butcher in the San Francisco Bay area of California. He migrated to Arizona Territory to labor as a hider for Jeremiah Collins at Maxey. Moving to San... more
              • Re: James Johnson's motivation for perjury..Steve Gatto, Sat Nov 11 06:01
                Johnson testified on Bob Paul's behalf and against Shibell, so its doubtful that Zabriskie (a lawyer for Shibell) can be cited as motivation for any perjury by Johnson.
            • Re: More contemporary evidence. . . Bob Cash, Fri Nov 10 14:11
              The "Anonymous" above was me. I posted it accidentally before I was through. Here's the rest: The main thing that gives me pause, guys, is this: If Cactus Bill Graham was "Arizona's most famous... more
              • Re: More contemporary evidence. . .Robert Buckley, Sat Nov 11 10:42
                Ranching remote areas of the Blue with a pack outfit is hardly ranching out in it the open . Yes Bob Cash , some people knew William by the name Curley Bill on the Blue . In the recollections of... more
                • Re: More contemporary evidence. . .Bob Cash, Sun Nov 12 10:23
                  Robert, you maintain that "Ranching remote areas of the Blue with a pack outfit is hardly ranching out in it the open", but as the newspaper articles below shows, the Grahams were well known enough... more
              • Re: More contemporary evidence. . . Steve Gatto, Sat Nov 11 07:09
                Bob, Exactly. The obvious reason Curly Bill was known by the name Curly or Curly Bill was because his friends and the people who knew him called him by that name since at least 1878. For example,... more
              • Good Question, Bob . . .Lynn R. Bailey, Fri Nov 10 16:34
                I suspect that William Graham being Curly Bill was common knowledge for years among the cowboy element in the San Juan Basin and Apache County. In late September 1882 the Carlisle Company drew cattle ... more
      • Mr. Buckley When will your information be published and where? Everyone is eager to see it and evaluate same. Keep Laughing Tom
        • The photo's and True West ....Robert Buckley, Wed Nov 15 10:12
          A little more than a month ago , Bob Boze Bell emailed me and asked if I would give him a call . During the phone conversation,Bob Bell informed me that the photos have gone missing from True West .I ... more
        • Thanks Tom. . . Robert Buckley, Thu Nov 9 20:09
          I sent all my research to Lynn R. Bailey. He is working on the manuscript now .
          • “It is written.“ (nm)Anthony Quinn, Mon Nov 13 13:52
            • Begs the question, KtK..Randie O'Neal, Mon Nov 13 22:09
              What other boards are out there, likely many, but this one is priceless..
              • Re: Begs the question, KtK..K.t.K., Tue Nov 14 16:56
                There have been major discussions and debate in the past regarding "Curly Bill" on Texas Jack's Board. I'm talking about when we had Curly Bill experts Paul Cool, Peter Brand and Steve Gatto all... more
                • My hands are up in confusion, not disgust.Tom Gaumer, Wed Nov 15 15:11
                  Ken I think after all the contradictory talk of Curly Bill in the last few years, I remember a quote, but not it's source, from Wyatt Earp. He was asked about the claims he had not killed Curly Bill... more
                • Why Kenny Vail , is this like the 3rd meltdownRobert Buckley, Wed Nov 15 09:53
                  You've had this year ?;article=178472;search_term=Understanding +
                • HA!! Randie O'Neal, Tue Nov 14 19:24
                  Again, I love the community around the history of Tombstone, it is a true gathering of characters and that story is almost as interesting as the history itself. Yes, it is very hard to imagine... more
            • Re: “It is written.“ K.t.K., Mon Nov 13 16:20
              I thought it was written and already submitted to True West with the "photo." Or was that claimed made on another discussion board?
              • Yes Ken. It was written . . .Lynn R. Bailey, Tue Nov 14 05:55
                and submitted to True West, along with photos, more than a year ago. True West lost the manuscript and the flash drive which contained the graphics and text (composed with InDesign). That material... more
          • The wasp's nest..Randie O'Neal, Sat Nov 11 23:12
            I am not sorry for stirring it up again, cuz to hear the conversations back and forth was brilliant. It goes to show that even though a lot of ground has been plowed over the years since the early... more
            • Thank you, Steve, Lynn, Robert, Bob, Tom...Bob Cash, Sun Nov 12 10:04
              ...Eddie, and Randie for this thread. I got a feeling it's going to go on for a while longer.
              • The Death of Curly Bill ?Eddie Lanham, Wed Nov 15 13:47
                Here is another log to throw on the fire. From the late Richard E. Erwin, "The Truth About Wyatt Earp". “There is little doubt that Wyatt Earp killed Curly Bill Brocius (aka Graham), but it is... more
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