C. S. Fly Cabinet Cards of Tombstone Sheriff John Slaughter, His Wife, Daughter, and In-Laws.Tombstone, Arizona: Vintage Photograph Album from the John and Viola Slaughter Family, with Four Original C. S. Fly Cabinet Cards- John, Viola, Her Parents, and Their Daughter Nellie. Also includes dozens of photographs likely of the historic and important Howell family of Missouri. A vintage leather-bound family photo album of the late 1800s era almost completely filled with dozens of images of various sizes and types- albumens mounted on cabinet cards and cartes de visite, as well as several small sixteenth plate tintypes in CDV mounts. Four extremely rare, pristine cabinet cards stand out as they are C. S. Fly Studio images related to John Slaughter, the legendary western lawman and rancher, as follows:
(1) John Slaughter: Head and shoulder portrait likely taken about the time he took over as Sheriff of Cochise County. On front of mount: "Fly's Gallery, Tombstone, A. T." On verso: "Fly's Photographic Gallery,/ 312 Fremont Street,/ Tombstone, A. T./ Copies may be had at any time."
(2) Viola Slaughter: Head and shoulder portrait likely taken in the early 1880s, soon after her marriage to Slaughter and move to Tombstone. On front of mount: "Fly. . . . . . -Tombstone, A. T.". Blank verso.
(3) Addie Slaughter: Full length portrait with hand-colored highlights. Markings on mount identical to John Slaughter's photo.
(4) Amazon and Mary Ann Howell: Full length portraits of Viola's parents, Mary Ann (standing) and Amazon (seated). Not marked on front of mount. On verso (diagonally): "Camillus S. Fly,/ Photographic Artist,/ Tombstone, Ariz./ Photography in all its branches. Old Pictures Copied and Enlarged./ Stereoscopic views of Arizona for sale."
See biographical information on Fly and each subject below.
These images are well-known and have been published in various definitive sources. Ben Traywick's That Wicked Little Gringo, The Story of John Slaughter (Tombstone: Red Marie's Bookstore, 2001) shows the image of John on page thirty-one and the Viola image on page thirty-two. The book by Susan L Krueger with Reba Wells Grandrud titled Addie Slaughter, The Girl Who Met Geronimo (Chandler, AZ: Five Star Publications, 2011) shows the photo of Addie in chapter one. The official website for the Slaughter Ranch Museum uses the photo of John.
The balance of the images are unidentified and run the gamut of what you would expect to find in a sophisticated family's album of this period. All are portraits and subjects run the gamut from small infants to single adults to couples to matriarchs and patriarchs. The majority of the photographers are from the St. Charles area, particularly Rudolph Goebel who set up his studio there in 1856. But other images originate in California and the west coast. Based on the preponderance of Missouri photographs, we assume that many of these individuals were members of the Howell, Tyler, and/or Calloway families. Likely many are unknown and unpublished. What a treasure for the genealogist interested in these particular lines. A late 19th century lady's necklace of unknown origin is included with the lot as it was present with the album when our consignor obtained it. Original Fly Studio images of any subject matter are extremely rare and desirable. These of a Western legend and his family are worthy of the finest collections. Fly cabinets in excellent condition as are most of the other images. The album is separated at the hinges and in good condition.
The man who tamed Tombstone...
John H. Slaughter (1841-1922). Cowboy, Texas Ranger, Confederate soldier, trail driver, professional gambler, cattle baron, rancher, Sheriff, state representative, father, husband. Slaughter wore many hats during his long life, one that was a symbol of what we now call the Wild West. He is possibly best known as the sheriff who finally brought order to Tombstone and Cochise County, Arizona "...with the law in one hand and a pearl handled .44 in the other." (Ben F. Traywick: That Wicked Little Gringo, v). He faced numerous hardships in his life including the loss of his first wife to smallpox, the early death of two of his four children, health problems, and the loss of multiple fortunes. His intelligence, quick wit, courage, loyalty, and character enabled him to overcome all of these obstacles, find fulfillment as a lawman and then as a rancher, and enjoy forty-three years of happiness with his second wife, Viola. There weren't many men of his ilk who lived eighty years and peacefully died at his beloved ranch with his boots off!
Slaughter was born in Sabine Parish, Louisiana, though his family moved to Caldwell County in Texas soon afterward. When he was fourteen, they settled in the San Antonio area. Although Slaughter received little formal schooling, he quickly learned the Spanish language and cowboy skills from the Mexican vaqueros. Just before the Civil War, he joined the Texas Rangers in order to fight the Comanches. In 1862, he joined the Confederate Army but was sent home in two years because of an illness thought to be tuberculosis. As a member of the Burnet County Texas State Troops, Slaughter honed his skills as a fighter and a marksman. After the war, he and his brothers started a ranching operation to not only raise cattle but to transport them. On these long drives, he developed a compulsive gambling habit. In 1871 he married Eliza Adeline Harris, the daughter of a neighboring rancher; they had four children together though only two lived to adulthood. Eliza tragically died in 1877 while John was in the process of moving the family to Arizona. He later met Amazon and Mary Ann Howell in New Mexico and fell in love with their young daughter, Cora Viola. He convinced them to allow him to marry Viola and then to move to Arizona with them to live. They settled near Tombstone before he bought the 65,000 acre San Bernardino Ranch near Douglas, Arizona, in 1884. The massive ranch extended down into Mexico and Slaughter employed numerous families and cowboys to run it.
In 1886, Slaughter was elected sheriff of Cochise County and tasked with bringing law and order to the wild frontier boomtown of Tombstone, Arizona. Romanticized accounts often give Wyatt Earp and his brothers credit for cleaning up Tombstone, but the truth is that when they left, crime was likely more rampant than ever before. In his four years in office, he put the fear of the law into most of the outlaws in the area. He would often ride off in search of a desperado or gang. Upon his return, he didn't often talk about what happened during his absence, but usually the subjects of his pursuit were never seen in the area (or anywhere) again. His fearlessness can be credited in part to his belief that a "guardian angel" was watching out for him. Many anecdotes are told of situations where he a warning "buzz" received from this unseen protector saved his life and those of his loved ones. He often said: "No man can kill me. I wasn't born to be killed. I cannot explain it, but I know it. When my time comes, I'll die in bed." (Ben F. Traywick: That Wicked Little Gringo, 14).
"Though not a large man physically, his brilliance and ability to come quickly to the heart of a situation made him a man to reckon with, His footsteps on the sands of time were big and powerful, and a beacon to men who followed." (Allen E. Erwin: The Southwest of John Horton Slaughter, 22-23).
Southern belle and lady rancher...
Viola Howell Slaughter (1860-1941). Born in Missouri to Amazon and Mary Ann Howell, Viola was the great-great-granddaughter of the explorer Daniel Boone. Both sides of her family were genteel southerners from many generations back and she was raised to follow in that tradition. Viola was born just before the Civil War started, a war that saw her father fight on the Confederate side and a war after which her father lost much of his wealth. After moving several times with her family, they settled for a time in New Mexico while on their way to Texas. There she met John Slaughter, a recently-widowed cattleman nineteen years her senior with two small children; they soon fell in love. Her father overruled her mother's objections to the union and they were wed. It was Slaughter's intention to leave the children with his brother to be raised. Viola fell in love with young Addie and Willie and wanted them to stay together as a family. Both the Slaughters and the Howells moved to Arizona together, eventually purchasing and settling on the gigantic San Bernardino Ranch. Viola settled in to the life of a rancher and the ranch was a gathering place for the rich and poor, friends, family, the occasional outlaw, cowhands, and lots of children. Though she never had children of her own, she loved John's children as her own, and the couple "adopted" others to raise as their own.
After their ranch foreman was murdered in 1921 by robbers, one of whom turned out to be one of their adopted children, they moved to Douglas, Arizona. John died peacefully in his sleep the next year after forty-three years of marriage to his beloved Viola. She stayed in Douglas for the rest of her life. In 1941, Addie was there to visit and died suddenly of a heart attack. Viola's grief was inconsolable and she died just a month later.
The young lady to whom Geronimo bowed...
Addie Slaughter (1872-1941). Born in October of 1872 in San Antonio, Texas, Adeline was the daughter of John Slaughter and his first wife, Eliza. She had one brother who lived, William, born in 1878. Soon after his birth, Eliza took Addie and Willie on a stagecoach trip to meet their dad in Phoenix; he was there looking for a ranch to buy. When they arrived, Slaughter wasn't there as he was in California on business. All three had contracted smallpox on the trip and they were placed in the "Pest House." Addie and Willie recovered but their mom succumbed to the horrible disease and was dead and buried when John arrived back in Phoenix. He took his children to the home he had bought and nursed them back to health. Soon afterward, he met Viola Howell and married her. Addie now had a new, doting and loving mama as well as an uncle who was about her age. They eventually moved to a ranch near Tombstone. Life at the San Bernardino Ranch was exciting for the young girl. She loved her grandparents and uncles and had lots of children to play with.
When General Miles finally caught Geronimo and his men in September 1886, Addie happened to be at the Bowie station where Geronimo was placed on a train on his way out of Arizona. As Addie would have told the story: "There was a big, noisy crowd at the station because, of course, everyone wanted to see the famous Geronimo. There he stood, head held high, as proud as ever, looking at all the people who had come to see him... I was with the Olneys when he saw me. He motioned with his hand for me to come over... I couldn't move at first, but after a second or two...I walked over and stood in front of him. I was shaking even though I knew he couldn't hurt me. This was Geronimo! He looked me right in the eye, took off one of his bead necklaces and very slowly held it out to me until I took it. And then, he did the most surprising thing of all. He bowed. To me. Like I was someone important instead of a fourteen-year-old girl. All I could think of, was that he was bowing to the daughter of John Slaughter." (Susan L. Krueger with Reba Wells Grandrud: Addie Slaughter, The Girl Who Met Geronimo, chapter nine).
Addie got her advanced education in Topeka, Kansas, and Oakland, California. When she was at home, she helped her parents with the business side of the ranch. She met a young doctor named William Arnold Greene in Douglas, Arizona, and with the blessings of her family, they were married in 1903. They named their first child John Slaughter Greene, after her famous father. She lived until 1941.
Named by his great-grandfather, the legendary Daniel Boone...
Amazon Calloway (1817-1890) and Mary Ann (Hannah) Howell (1836-1920). The Howell family had deep and early connections to both Daniel Boone and to the settlement of Missouri. Their Welsh ancestors left England in 1684 for opportunities in the New World. First settling in Chester County, Pennsylvania, they gradually migrated down the east coast and then, in 1795, Francis Howell Sr. moved his large family from North Carolina to the far western border of the United States, a small town named St. Louis. His father John Howell had been a friend of Daniel Boone's but missed out on Boone's exploration trip through what would be known as Kentucky because of an illness. The younger Howell, also acquainted with the Boones, had heard that Daniel was planning to move to Missouri and he didn't want to miss out on a great adventure like his father had. Boone did take his extended family to St. Charles in 1799. The Howells moved from St. Louis after the great flood of 1800 and settled nearby in an area known as Howell's Prairie. Thomas, the son of Francis Sr., married Susannah Calloway, the daughter of Jemima Boone, and the granddaughter of the great explorer Daniel in 1806 at St. Charles. One of their children was Amazon C. Howell who was born three years before Daniel Boone died and purportedly was named by him.
Amazon got married in 1859 to Mary Ann Tyler, a beautiful Southern belle from a Virginia family. Their first child, Cora Viola, was born in 1860. "Before the war Amazon had been a successful and prosperous river boat captain and had been called 'Cap' by everyone who knew him. He owned a number of riverboats, numerous slaves, and was truly a staunch 'Son of the South'." (Ben F. Traywick: That Wicked Little Gringo, 25). "Cap" fought on the Confederate side during the war and was captured multiple times, often escaping. Near the end of the war, he was released on bond from a Union prison (copy of document included). The war brought on tough times for his family and he applied to the U.S. Provost Marshal for permission to move to Montana (copy of document also included). A few years later, they moved to Nevada. Mary Ann was homesick for the South and Amazon decided to move his family again, possibly to Texas where she had relatives. In 1878 they met John Slaughter for the first time in Arizona. Slaughter had just lost his wife and thought he would never remarry. He did, however, notice their young daughter Viola "riding sidesaddle and helping her father with their stock... her hair flying all about." (Ben F. Traywick: That Wicked Little Gringo, 24). They met again in New Mexico where Slaughter fell in love with their daughter and asked for her hand in marriage. Amazon was fine with it but Mary Ann went into hysterics at first. She eventually relented and in 1879, they John and Viola were wed and both families moved to the Tombstone, Arizona area where they would all live out their lives.
Witnessed the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral...
C. S. Fly (1849-1901). Born in Missouri but raised in the Napa Valley of California, Fly moved to Tombstone soon after his wedding in 1879 to Mary Goodrich, also a photographer. They opened a boarding house at 312 Fremont Street and set up their photography studio, Fly Gallery, in the rear. This put him in a position to witness one of the most famous gunfights in Old West history, the "Shootout at the O.K. Corral" which happened between his boarding house and the next house to the west. Sheriff John Behan and Ike Clanton both took refuge in his house to watch the fight. It was C. S. Fly, armed with his Henry rifle, who disarmed Billy Clanton as he lay dying against the house next door. Strangely enough, there are no known Fly photos of the shootout. If he took any, they have been lost. Mary ran the boarding house and the studio as Camillus travelled around taking photographs. In 1886, he accompanied General George Crook to the negotiations with Geronimo where he captured a number of powerful images. Fly was elected sheriff of Cochise County in 1895 and served one two-year term.
Beside the wonderful photos of Slaughter and his family members offered here, Fly is known for his images of Geronimo during the surrender negotiations with General Crook, and a photograph of Billy Clanton along with Frank and Tom McLaury in their caskets (the only known photo of Clanton). Much like Slaughter, Fly was also a rancher. He died in 1901, and even though they had been separated for some time, Mary went to be by his side at his deathbed and then brought him back to Tombstone for a funeral and burial. She continued to run the boarding house and studio, and after her retirement, donated his plates to the Smithsonian. "Fly's Peak" in the middle of the Chiricahua Mountains was named after him.
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