DescriptionJames Albert "Ab" Saunders: Two Original Tintype Photos of this Lincoln County, New Mexico Character. Born in Iowa in 1851, Saunders arrived in New Mexico Territory in the 1870s and owned a Lincoln County ranch together with his cousin, Frank Coe. He appears to have had some connection to the Regulators and was said to have taken part in several posses and lynchings. On April 29, 1878, Ab, Coe, and Frank McNab ran afoul of a posse on its way to pursue Regulators accused of murder, including Billy the Kid. Reputedly the posse included several members of the Seven Rivers Warriors and the Jesse Evans Gang. Shooting first and asking questions later, they killed McNab and shot Ab in the left ankle and hip, leaving him with wound from which he would never fully recover. He died in San Francisco in 1883.
It is generally a dangerous practice to identify alleged photos of Western personalities purely on resemblance, and regrettably no provenance accompanied these two images. However, they were reputedly found together in New Mexico, and bear an unmistakable resemblance to the one known photo of Saunders often reproduced in books and online. While there are no guarantees, it is our belief that these two photos depict Ab Saunders. Sizes are 1.75" x 3" and 1.875" x 2.5" respectively. Both images are strong and clear. There is a horizontal bend in the lower portion of the chest-up image, and some minor flaws in the emulsion, but overall, both tintypes display nicely.
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