Well, first I appeal to any actual working cowboys that are on this board to jump in and correct me if I am wrong on any of this branding thing.
Tom's source for the examination of the branding iron and the running Iron is none other than myself. I am no cowboy, but my husband was, and I put in my fair share of helping out working cattle and in the corrals when we were short-handed. AS a result, I was exposed to the old ways of doing things.
The stamp irons were government issue and were US and the one for the regiment, which I identified in my lower post. The US would be on the horses and mules left front shoulder. Small, about 3 and 1/2 inches, not large like the cattle brand. The4y were only for identification; did not have to be seen from far off like cattle brands. The right rear flank would have the regiment and company brand the same size; for example, for Company B, 4th Regiment; the brand would read 4-B. Do you really think the military men, Lt. Hurst and his soldiers, did not know that? Wyatt sure didn't, or he wouldn't have tried to pass this nonsense off.
Wyatt didn't know it because the mules were not there. He never saw them. He claims he saw a branding iron reading DS and that "...afterwards some mules with that brand were found..." A DS branding iron the same size as a government issue iron? Really? Wyatt didn't know enough to just say they had a running iron to change the brand with. That might have worked. You cannot stamp over an existing brand as it will blur the brand. A running iron could make the change better for such a small adjustment.
From the ranch where the McLaurys and Patterson were squatting near the Whetstone mountains to steal the mules, only six, from Fort Kearny, is about two hundred miles round trip by horseback. The time involved and the distance covered and the fact that they would have to have buyers ready would never be worth it. It would take them a week or more. The mules could not be bought across the border as no one over there would have the money. On the American side, the mules could not be sold unless someone would move them out of the territory and far away. Brands do not grow hair over them. They don't disappear. These guys were never in a position to pull off such a stunt.
The McLaurys established a good reputation with their neighbour ranchers and were seriously trying to get a future built. That's why they bought or homesteaded in the Sulphur Spring Valley later. They would not likely take the time and effort to steal six government mules from the other side of the territory.
The information on government brands comes from Fort Huachuca records. Mules often had notches in their ears and often had their tails shaved in different ways to indicate if their were troublesome in certain harness hitchings. They were not easy to deal with.
Your last comment doesn't work. The mules and horses would have both brands and done at the same time. They were government issue animals. Why would Hurst have to mention either brand? He knew how they were branded and had no idea that a year or so later Wyatt would be trying to pull off this ridiculous story in a courtroom! And of course, the cowboys knew they could not cover both brands. The story falls apart.
If the mules were there when they talked with Patterson, though the military could not go on private land, The Marshal could. So why didn't Virgil & Co., Federal, just round up the mules and take them, right then and there? Because the mules were not there. Virgil had the authority but the mules had been turned out and that is why Hurst foolishly had to wait for delivery in Charleston and it never happened. By then, there was nothing he could do about it.
I was hesitant to move my debate with Tom and Joyce up here because I don't want anybody to miss the excellent and informative interview with Chuck Parsons. Anybody interested in learning new and interesting... more
Bob "Wyatt said a special branding iron was there that was specially made to make US into D8 in one burn. Most rustlers knew to use a running iron because it would do a cleaner job and making a complete... more
about Wyatt. He was attempting to fleece J. Y. Patterson out of $2,500 in the early 1900s in Los Angeles. Los Angeles police arrest Wyatt and, I believe, two other guys for a "bunco" scam. Wyatt was... more
Tom, you say, "That is the point. Wyatt didn't know and thought the D8 would do the whole job." Hurst's "card" in the EPITAPH was actually a reward poster seeking informants as to the whereabouts of... more
...because, once again, Hurst does not explain his position very well in his reward post. He says "...it is believed that they were there branded on the left shoulder over the Government brand, U.S., by... more
Lt Hurst's card to the EPITAPH was basically a reward poster. He knew he was addressing it to a non-military audience, so he would have had every reason to describe two brands on the still missing mules.... more
The Pattersons appear to be the ones Hurst was dealing with according to his post. He claimed other names too but does not indicate whether or not he actually had contact with them. Perhaps I was... more
Joyce - I'm very impressed by your interpretation of events. It's confusing which "Frank" was approached or offered to help Hurst. When you wrote this: "It looks like Hurst waited, got no response... more
....Well, sometimes I run ahead of myself when I am wound up on these things, but I should have differentiated between Frank Patterson and Frank McLaury. Of course, I am sure you realized I was referring... more
Joyce - I didn't think you were confused. The confusion between Frank Patterson and Frank McLaury has come down through the many times this 'mules incident' has been reported and written up by others... more
Paul, since you have studied this entire situation probably more than any other researcher/author, what is your opinion on whether the stolen mules had a second brand unmentioned by Hurst or Wyatt, the... more
Bob, if you go back and look at my original posts on this subject and also in my book when you get it, you will see that Wyatt's story about tracing the McLaurys to the ranch is indeed full of holes. There... more
... but anyway, I do believe, based on Hurst's reward posting, that the mules were stolen and were somewhere on the vast property where the Pattersons and McLaurys were squatting, running their own bunches... more
For those not familiar with this board, I just want to point out that Tom and Joyce and I are good friends and I consider both exceptionally fine human beings. I'm fairly certain they are better than me.... more
Thank you for assuring everyone that we have been having a great time haggling these points for years, and that we are indeed good friends and will manage to get you straightened out somehow or other... more
Sorry for the short post; got so excited about SOMEone's finding a confrontation between Clay & Wyatt in 1902 & 1905, I hit the wrong key.... In FACT, Clay Allison died in a horse-drawn wagon accident... more
Here's a thhread on different Wyatt and Clay (and Bat) articles. The most important is the one discovered by Chris Penn written by Judge Ed Colborn and published in 1896 before Wyatt's article of the same... more
Bob, The original article for the Colborn account was published by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on March 3, 1896. The Chicago Chronicle published the account on April 26, 1896. The account Chris Penn... more
Thee's been a lot of research done since DeArment wrote Bat's bio, and a lot of it was done by people who learned how to resarch Western characters by emulating DeArment's methods. I don't have DeArment's... more
DeArment has the date as Sep. 17 or 18, 1878. Did the "Rogers" factor the Cheyenne renegade activities into their timeline? DeArment sets his dates for the event and Siringo's arrival on this and... more
Erik, Roger Myers has not passed on. I said he "is now absent" as in absent from this board. It is my understanding that he recently had an article published in the WWHA Jornal. I wish he would begin to... more