I thoroughly enjoyed “The Bleeding Ground,” by John H. Monnett, in the December 2015 issue. I have read a couple of books by this author and know he’s in the upper tier of Western Indian wars historians. As he relates in his article, long-lost documents were made available to him concerning the events leading up to Lt. Col. George Custer’s utter destruction of Black Kettle’s Southern Cheyenne village in November 1868.
As the newly uncovered National Archives report indicates, the Southern Cheyennes were not as complicit in raids and atrocities as previous history records. General Phil Sheridan probably ignored this report in his zeal to start his winter campaign against the southern Plains tribes. He was determined to destroy the power of the Southern Cheyennes and their allies.
St. Petersburg, Fla.
Could you give me any information on a man named Robert North? All I know is what I’ve read—a sidenote in Dee Brown’s Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. It reads that some people called him insane, that he was a white renegade who married into the Arapaho tribe, and that white men hanged him and his wife out on the prairie. Sounds like a very interesting story. I’m sure there had to be quite a few stories about white Indians/renegades.
Editor responds: In the December 2011 issue we ran the feature “Thomas Twiss & His Twist of Fate,” by John Koster, about a West Point graduate who became an Indian agent and then a white renegade, siding with Red Cloud’s Lakotas. Koster’s accompanying sidebar is all about “Regretful Renegade Robert North.” Regarding North’s death, Koster writes, “Frontier yarn-spinner Joseph Henry Taylor claimed North was permanently hanged in Kansas in 1869—but there are no known official records of such an execution.”
On P. 9 of Letters in your April 2016 issue is a Tombstone photo neither sender Allen Williams nor the staff could identify. It is of the wagon yard of the primary company that hauled the ore from the mines close to the town to the mills about 10 miles away on the San Pedro River. In regard to the “Tombstone Fire” on P. 11 of that same issue, I have a map that locates Chandler & Forsyth’s C.O.D. Store on Fremont, about the third lot east of Fourth Street in 1881, which raises three questions: Did Forsyth move the store after the 1881 fire? Is Forsyth misidentified? Or is my map wrong?
Tombstone researcher/collector Dr. David D. de Haas responds: The map in question, “Tombstone, Arizona Territory, Circa 1881–82,” was published in 1971 by John D. Gilchriese and is based on an original sketch made in 1916 by Robert N. Mullin. It depicts Chandler & Forsyth’s C.O.D. Store three lots east of Fourth Street, on the south side of Fremont and not on the same block (one block to the east) as the O.K. Corral. Various modern-day maps list different locations for many well-known sites at the time of the October 1881 gunfight, including the post office. In Lee Silva’s copy of the C.S. Fly photo (reproduced on P. 11 of the April Wild West) such locations are identified by someone who was there, W.B. Forsyth, rather than a latter-day reconstruction based on such documents as fire insurance maps; tax, court and deed records; and newspapers (Epitaph and Nugget) of the day; as well as oral histories of pioneers. (Mullin himself pointed out the difficulty in pinpointing locations based on such methods). In my research, with the assistance of authors Silva and Don Chaput, I was only able to confirm two locations for the Forsyth store—originally on Allen near Fifth and subsequently moved to just east of the O.K. Corral at 328 Fremont, as pointed out by W.B. Forsyth in the May 1882 fire photo. I was unable to find post-fire records of the Chandler & Forsyth store, so most likely, after their huge uninsured losses, they closed up shop and moved to Orange, Calif. The Gilchriese map is probably wrong. There is no way Forsyth is misidentified, as he identified himself, and in later years this was confirmed by his son, cowboy artist Victor Clyde Forsythe (who spelled his name with an “e”). For more information see my articles “Revisiting the ‘O.K. Corral Aftermath’ Photo” and “Victor Claude Forsythe – Art of the West” online.
Another Kid Event
I read your December 2015 issue featuring Billy the Kid’s escape from custody in Lincoln, Lincoln County, N.M. (“Billy the Kid’s Final Escape,” by Paul Andrew Hutton). Your readers might be interested in a New Mexico historical marker [at right] just outside Corona that describes a little-known Billy the Kid event in a state chock-full of them.
Jay L. Warner
Send letters to Wild West, 1919 Gallows Road, Ste 400, Vienna, VA 22182 or by email. Please include your name and town/state of residence.