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Wild West - August 2012 - Letters From Readers

Originally published on HistoryNet.com. Published Online: May 31, 2012 
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Someone's at the door. For decades in the White House it was Major Charles D.A. Loeffler, perhaps that tall fellow in back, near the door? (Library of Congress)
Someone's at the door. For decades in the White House it was Major Charles D.A. Loeffler, perhaps that tall fellow in back, near the door? (Library of Congress)

Doorkeeper to the President
In the February 2012 issue on P. 47 of Johnny Boggs' article "The Road to Statehood, Southwest Style" is a picture of President William Taft signing the bill for New Mexico statehood. Can somebody identify the other men in the photograph? I believe one of them is my great-grandfather Major Charles D.A. Loeffler, "doorkeeper to the president" from President Ulysses S. Grant to President Teddy Roosevelt.

John R. Monson
Sun Valley, Idaho

The editor responds: We don't have the answer, but we are reprinting the uncropped Library of Congress photograph, above, in the hope someone can identify Loeffler.

News From Newell
We enjoyed reading R. Eli Paul's fine April 2012 article "Red Cloud and the Bull Bear Shooting," especially noting Joan Pennington's map "Red Cloud Country" on P. 34. We have a family history in our library of Johannes "John" Flaigg, a soldier in Company G, 18th U.S. Cavalry. He was one of the 10 survivors of the Hayfield Fight on August 1, 1867, near Fort C.F. Smith. After serving the cavalry (1866–69), he was discharged as a private from the 27th Infantry post at Omaha, Neb. Flaigg and his family immigrated to Deadwood, Dakota Territory, and the Black Hills. Later he filed for homestead on Horse Creek, near Newell, S.D. The Newell Museum includes the Flaigg Cabin, a fully restored 1890 building with hand-hewn logs and dovetailed construction. A few of John Flaigg's heirs continue to live in the area.

Linda Velder
Curator, Newell Museum
Newell, S.D.

Buck Taylor's Art
I purchased two Buck Taylor ["Art of the West," February 2012] watercolor prints for our house in Angel Fire, N.M., and when I did, I inquired if Buck had done a picture of the Earps and Doc Holliday walking down the street to the O.K. Corral. The following day I decided to leave for lunch a little early, and when I returned, there was a voice mail message from Buck himself. How disappointed I was to miss the opportunity to talk to him directly and ask him some questions about the making of the movie Tombstone and about some of the other actors involved. Anyway, we love the paintings, and they look awesome in our home. If you haven't purchased any of Buck's artwork, you are missing out.

Duff Hale
Midlothian, Texas

Cowtown Memories
Your February article on actor-artist Buck Taylor and his involvement in the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo provided a fond remembrance of Cowtown to me. In 1950 I was living on Exchange Avenue, Fort Worth, the hub of cowboy activity. That February I was a contestant in saddle-bronc riding at the Will Rogers Coliseum. As a teenager I had once met Turk Greenough (who at the time was a well-known bronc rider), and now I thought I saw him again in a Western clothing store on Exchange. I said "Hello, Turk," but he only looked bewildered. I backed off when I realized my blunder. It was actually "Wild Bill" Elliott, the movie star. Those were interesting times for young bronc riders. Texas Kidd's Wild West show, which had started in 1917 (the year William "Buffalo Bill" Cody died), was still going in the early 1950s and was a great practicing job. Brothers Grafton and Reno Nuckles proctored many a young man in saddle-bronc riding in those daily shows at various Texas towns, a week at a time. Reno, known as the Texas Kidd Jr., participated in rodeo saddle-bronc riding up until his 40s and won many a go-around.

Barney Giordan
Sebastian, Fla.

'Someone who lived in the time span of Ezra Meeker (1830–1928) saw much more radical change than someone born in 1914 and still alive today'

In the Age of Meeker
Ezra Meeker (1830–1928), the subject of "Westerners" in the February 2012 Wild West, certainly had an interesting life, traveling the Oregon Trail in 1852 by wagon train and flying over it in 1924. Yet his lifespan itself is even more fascinating. Someone who lived in his time span saw much more radical change than someone born in 1914 and still alive today. In 1830 there was no remote communication such as telegraph or radio, and the only nonhuman motive forces were wind and animal traction. By 1914 there were railroads, automobiles, ocean liners, submarines and early aircraft, not to mention telephones, movies, electricity, bicycles, refrigeration, indoor plumbing, phonographs, early radios and other things undreamed of in 1830. Although there were no televisions, computers or space vehicles, those things were foreseen. I just wanted to share this thought, since those personally involved in Old West history lived during this era (Meeker's time) and experienced these changes.

Marc S. Russo
Brooklyn, N.Y.

The editor responds: Interesting thought. As one who does not own a cell phone, who thinks an iPad is where bachelors used to live, and who is totally befuddled by every invention since the 1970s, I'm certainly no expert in radical change.

Alan Ladd Rode Tall
In regard to "R. Eli Paul's Favorite Novels Turned into Classic Western Movies" (the Top 10 list on P. 8 of the April 2012 issue): I am tired of pundits criticizing Alan Ladd's lack of stature in Shane. It seems they overlook his best acting role to concentrate on his height. He left behind a role that will live forever. Ladd may not have been of commanding height, but as the title character in Shane he rode tall in the saddle.

Gene Mosher
Colorado Springs, Colo.

The editor responds: I agree that Alan Ladd, all 5 feet 6 inches of him (or whatever), rode tall in the saddle as Shane—and even stood tall out of the saddle when he outdrew nasty gunfighter Jack Wilson, portrayed by the 6-foot-3 Jack Palance. What's more, my mother (who stands 5 feet 10 inches) once adored Ladd above all other celluloid heroes.

Buffalo Soldiers
I was pleased to see in the June 2012 issue the "Collections" article on the Buffalo Soldiers National Museum in Houston. I hope it draws many visitors. The image on P. 77, opposite the story, shows a "1st Sgt. William Moses," identified as a Medal of Honor recipient. Presumably, the caption writer meant 1st Sgt. Moses Williams of the 9th Cavalry. More significant than this error, perhaps, is the claim by the museum founder that the "nickname [buffalo soldier] was given out of respect and the fierce fighting ability of the 10th Cavalry." This assertion has often been made. But, as far as I know, it remains unprovable and is, as you correctly note elsewhere in the article, subject to debate.

Those of your readers interested in a summary of the mythology that has grown up around the buffalo soldiers might want to take a look at my article, "The 25th Infantry at Brownsville, Texas: Buffalo Soldiers, the 'Brownsville Six,' and the Medal of Honor," in the October 2011 issue of The Journal of Military History. Tom Phillips' "Sobriquet: A Chronological Commentary on the Name 'Buffalo Soldier,'" in the spring/summer 2010 issue of The Journal of America's Military Past, is particularly useful concerning the use of the nickname.

Frank N. Schubert
Via e-mail

Please send letters to Wild West, 19300 Promenade Dr., Leesburg, VA 20175 or via e-mail.


5 Responses to “Wild West - August 2012 - Letters From Readers”


  1. 1
    Christine says:

    I am not sure who the people are in the picture either but I am in posession of the autograph book that Charels Loeffler compiled while employed as the Doorkeeper to the President. It is an amazing book that has been in my family's posession for about 40 years and it has now come time to think about selling it.

  2. 2
    Jeannette Smith says:

    As a fellow descendent of Charles D A Loeffler, as far as I know, by Taft’s administration he was only in the White House once a month, to report to the President. The closest likeness to him in the above picture would be third from the left in the background. If you wish to compare it with a known picture of Loeffler as Doorkeeper here is a link to the Library of Congress page with the photo of the signers of the Spanish American War Protocol. Loeffler is on the far right: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/cph.3b34894/ . Always looking for new information about my ancestors, and wondering how we are all related. Also, I’d love to see the autograph book mentioned by Christine above!

  3. 3
    Bob Kiesel says:

    I am the great, great, grandson of the Major and would love to see the book you have Christine. Please do not sell it without letting me know first! Jeanette, I also have a framed copy of the photograph you referenced from my Great Grandmother. I don't believe the Major is in the picture with President Taft signing the bill for New Mexico Statehood.

    • 3.1
      Christine says:

      I still have the book and have not sold it yet. I would love to have it go to a good home. There are news paper articles about this book, one of which is attached inside the back cover of the book. I have taken some pictures of some of the pages in the book and can forward them to you via email. I am not sure your location but I am in Canada. This book is an amazing collection of autographs of people that visited the White House while your great great grandfather was there.

      • 3.1.1
        Bob Kiesel says:

        I just visited his grave at Arlington National Cemetary and have been compiling information on the Major and his sons. I would love to see the photos you have taken. I live just outside Washington D.C. and my email address is rkieselclan@aol.com. Thank you so much for the reply!



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