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    Description

    Tom Horn: Relics from the Famous 1903 Hanging of Horn for Murder. This beautifully matted and framed display includes:

    1. Early copy of a Tom Horn cabinet photo, marked in vintage ink: "Tom Horn was hang [sic] in 1903 in Cheyenne for the murder of Willie Nickell."
    2. An ornate brass cufflink which Horn was wearing when executed.
    3. A 5" piece of the rope used to hang Horn.
    4. A 1940 letter for Dr. J. H. Conway, who was present at the hanging, to Sheriff George J. Carroll authenticating the rope and cufflink and stating that he personally removed the cufflink. Carroll was sheriff of Laramie County from 1921-1942. His collection was auctioned after his death, and a tag attached to the back of the frame confirms his ownership.
    5. A shell casing purported to have been fired by Horn.

    Like so many famous personalities of the Old West, Horn played on both sides of the law. At various times he was a scout, rancher, prospector, detective, lawman, and gun for hire. Born in 1860, he began his career as a scout for the U. S. Army at the age of 16, serving during the Apache Was and participating in the capture of Geronimo. He later worked as a hired gun for big cattle ranchers, and some 17 killings were attributed to him. Horn was respected and feared, and his mere presence in the area was enough to chase off would-be rustlers. In the late 1880s he was a deputy sheriff in Arizona during the "Pleasant Valley War" and subsequently did a stint as a Pinkerton detective. When a "war" broke out in Colorado and Wyoming between cattlemen and sheep-raising homesteaders, Horn was a feared gun for hire.

    In July 1901 14 year-old Willie Nickell, the son of a sheep farmer who was feuding with a friend of Horn's, was found murdered. There was no clear evidence in the case, but in January 1902 a deputy marshal asserted that Horn had confessed and even bragged about hitting his target from 300 yards away. There was no conclusive evidence and potentially exculpatory information and testimony was suppressed. The jury brought in a verdict of guilty and Horn was sentenced to hang. His appeals exhausted, Horn was executed on November 20, 1903. While in jail he wrote his autobiography, Life of Tom Horn, Government Scout and Interpreter, Written by Himself, considered one of the classic books of the Old West.

    Whether viewed as famous or infamous, Tom Horn certainly left his mark. The group offered here is an evocative relic of one of the last of the great Western personalities.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2015
    25th Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,334

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