Western Dictionary

Dictionary of The Wild West
Dictionary of The Wild West

Dictionary of The Wild West

ABBEY EDWARD – 1927 – 1989
Author of cowboy novels The Brave Cowboy (1956) & Fire on the Mountains (1962)

ABBOTT EDWARD C – 1860-1939
Cowboy and writer His memoirs were published as We Pointed Them North (1939), which did much to explode the popular myth of the cowboy.

Western artists. Was considered to have been the most prolific woman artist in the west in the period from 1860 until 1885 when she died.

ALLISON CLAY – 1840 – 1887
Fought on the confederate side in the American Civil War and was discharged from the Tennessee Light Infantry after receiving a blow to his head that rendered him epileptic and is thought to have made him mentally deranged. He became a rancher and a cowboy and became notorious for his violent gun fighting escapades, especially when he was suffering from the effects of alcohol.

Bill Anderson known as “Bloody Bill” Anderson was a gunman who took part in the guerrilla warfare that existed on the borders of Kansas and Missouri in the 1850s and 1860s. He was part of the band of men, led by William Quantrill, who attacked and destroyed the town of Lawrence, Kansas, in 1863. Later he became leader of his own band of men, two of his gang members being Frank and Jesse James. In 1864 he was ambushed and killed near the hamlet of Albany, Missouri.

Red Angus was sheriff of Buffalo at the time of the Johnston County war

Arizona Mary was one of the new style women that the opening of the west created in America. She worked alongside the men doing the same kind of work. She was of this new breed and she guided her team of oxen dragging their freight down the wilderness trail with the best of the men.

ASTOR, JOHN JACOB – 1763 – 1848
Was the founder of the American Fur Company (1808) Born in Germany, he went to New York at the age of twenty and found employment with a fur merchant. Later he set up his own fur trade company exporting furs to China and at one time was regarded as one of the wealthiest men in America. He later formed the American Fur Company with help from Thomas Jefferson. In 1810 he created the Pacific Fur Company. Astor sent two expeditions to the Pacific. One of those went by sea and was led by Jonathan Thorpe and the other went overland led by Wilson price Hunt. Neither met with good fortune.

AUSTIN STEPHEN 1793 – 1836
Was one of the first Americans to settle in Texas. He was the eldest son of Moses Austin, who having suffered financial setbacks in Missouri, decided to go to Texas. However, Moses fell ill on the journey and caught pneumonia and died. His dying wish requested that his son Stephen go on to Texas as he himself had intended to do.

AUTRY GENE 1907 – 1998
Famous for his appearances as a film actor and singer in many western films. Born in Texas, his own background was based in the west and his father was a cattle dealer and horse-trader.

AVERILL JIM 1851 – 1889
Was a victim of the struggle between the cattle barons of Wyoming and the homesteaders after the Homestead Act in 1862. He owned a store with his partner Ella Watson (1861-1889) in Sweetwater County. They were both warned to get out of the area but refused. In July 1889 they were attacked by a lynch mob and were hung up in a nearby tree without any trial. The reputation of Ella Watson was blackened. She was depicted as a notorious rustler and given the nickname Cattle Kate. The hanging of Jim Averill and Emma Watson were just the start of a relentless campaign organized by the stockmen. From then on violence spread and lynching followed lynching.

BILLY THE KID 1859 – 1891
Was born Henry McCarty into a slum area of New York occupied mainly by Irish immigrants. During the Civil War the family moved to Kansas and his father died in Coffeyville. His mother suffered from tuberculosis and moved to warmer climate in Colorado. Her second husband was William Henry Antrim, a prospector and a bartender. The new family lived in a mining settlement of Silver City where Billy’s mother died of her tuberculosis infection when Billy was fourteen. At fifteen he became a fugitive of justice when he escaped from jail after stealing some washing from a laundry. He then went to Mount Graham, Arizona where he found work as a teamster and cowboy but because the pay was too low he turned to rustling and horse thieving. He also learned to handle a gun with dexterity. In 1876 he was imprisoned in Camp Grant for stealing a horse belonging to a cavalry sergeant. He escaped and later returned to Camp Grant. In august 1877 he killed a man called Windy Cahill who had been teasing him while playing cards. The kid was arrested but once again escaped. He then went to New Mexico and called himself William Bonney. Here he got involved in the Lincoln County war while he worked for John Tunstall . When Tunstall got killed Billy swore revenge on anyone connected to Tunstalls death. Pat Garrett who was the sheriff of Lincoln at the time was relentless in his pursuit of Billy the Kid and he finally tracked Billy down to a friend’s house on the night of 14th July 1881 where he shot Billy dead. Billy the Kid was only twenty-one when he died. Billy was small, lithe and wiry. He became notorious as a gunman and is one of the best known of the figures in the legend of the west. It is believed a lot of the information which circulated about Billy is thought to have been fictitious or highly exaggerated.

Cochise was the son in law of the great chief Mangas Colorados, chief of the Chiricahua tribe. In 1861 Cochise was accused of kidnapping a white boy named ward. The accusation was false as the boy had been stolen by a member of the Pinal Apaches. George Bascom of the seventh Cavalry refused to believe in Cochise’s innocence so he arranged for Cochise and his family to be taken hostage. While captured Cochise slashed his tent and escaped taking three hostages. Bascum wouldn’t do an exchange of hostages so Cochise killed his three hostages and Bascum hanged three of his Indian hostages. After this Cochise went to war against the white man with a vengeance.

Geronimo was a great Apache warrior who continued to harass the white men until he was captured by a trick in 1877 by John Philip Clum, the agent of the San Carlos reservation. He eventually escaped to continue war against the white men until May 1883 when General George Cook captured him. In May 1885 Geronimo escaped again. Later on General Cook promised Geronimo that if he surrendered that he could go back to Arizona. The surrender didn’t last long and Geronimo escaped again and fled south. Cook resigned to hand of the task of capturing Geronimo to General Nelson Miles. In 1886 Geronimo surrendered again to as the terms were more to his liking. He agreed to the peace terms and was sent by train to Florida in exile. The Apaches were later removed to Mount Vernon barracks in Alabama and later to Fort Sill, Indian Territory.