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    Actual Hangman's Noose Used in Tombstone in 1884 to Hang Notorious Killer "Red" Sample. Even in wild and woolly Tombstone, Sample's crime was appalling: on a December evening in 1883, Sample and five associates held up a general store in the copper camp of Bisbee. Three of the thieves systematically cleaned out the store, while the other two stood guard outside and wantonly killed three men and one woman. The brazenness and brutality of the crime created widespread outrage, and the criminals were quickly tracked down and brought to trial. Held in the Tombstone jail, they were convicted, sentenced, and hanged together on the same scaffold on April 8, 1884.

    This noose came from the estate of Sid Wilson, born in 1879, who came to Tombstone in 1898 to break broncos for Texas John Slaughter. He enjoyed a colorful life, including seven seasons riding in Buffalo Bill's Wild West, and later served as the stunt double for Hollywood's first cowboy star, "Bronco Billy" Anderson. He eventually returned to settle in Tombstone, where he became an important local figure. At one point he owned the stage line which still carried the U.S. mail, and himself drove the last stagecoach into Tombstone before the railroad assumed that function. Wilson was instrumental in preserving the O.K. Corral and old courthouse in Tombstone and for years operated the O.K. Corral Museum, where this hangman's noose was a featured display.

    Included with this lot are vintage photographs and captions from the display, one of which depicts Wilson clowning around with "Red" Sample's nephew, who is shown wearing the noose which hanged his uncle! The fitting backdrop for the shot is a late nineteenth century undertaker's hearse.

    Sid Wilson would live to the age of 102, becoming a Tombstone institution. In 1957, at the age of 79, he was elected mayor of the city, and in 1977 his birthday was declared by mayoral proclamation to be an official Tombstone event. Near the end of his life he was asked in what ways the West had changed over his lifetime. His reply: "The West had changed in every way that's imaginable. The sun and moon comes up the same - and that's about it."

    This historic hangman's noose from the OK Corral Museum is wonderfully evocative of the violent early days of Tombstone, and a remarkable purchase opportunity for the Western collector "who has everything." In excellent condition, length 22". Accompanied by a small archive of research materials, period newspaper clippings, etc.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    Nov-Dec, 2011
    30th-1st Wednesday-Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 14
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 2,320

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