"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 branding iron for only 6 mules would be a waste of time and guarantee a blurred brand."
I would like to know your source for stating that a running iron would do a cleaner job, particularly if one wanted the brands to be as identical as possible. (Source Joyce's many years living on a cattle ranch with a cowboy and living that life.)
According to some sources, even having a running iron in one's possession could be reason for a quick appointment with a tree limb and a rope (google "running iron"). (I believe that is correct but I believe the total loss of ranchers and outlaws south of Tombstone over rustling apparatus was zero?) Correction if you have one?) In terms of whether making a DS branding iron would be worth it, based on the following referenced article, you be the judge. On May 18, 1867 the Arizona Miner reported the theft of five “splendid mules” by Indians from Toll Gate Station, valued at $1,200 ($25,056 in today’s dollars). That was 5 mules in 1867, when there were fewer people and mules in Arizona, so the value may have gone down, but I imagine 6 government mules in 1881 would be worth a pretty penny. If the price of mules, especially mules that had been certified for government service by an Army purchasing agent, had dropped by 50% by 1881, that would still be in excess of 13-14 thousand dollars in today's money for six mules. Cut that in half again, would it be "a waste of time" (your words) to make a special branding iron for 5 to 6 thousand grand of free money? (Lots of figures there. I asked what a mule would cost now and Google said 1000 to 8000 with a $3000 average. Divide by 30 and you have $100$ cost back then. But the point about cost may be something to consider? It would stil leave you with a blurred brand though which might not go over well with the buyer?)
Tom, you say, "Also US mules would have a second brand on them. The US would be on the right side of the mule near his front shoulder. Another brand would be on the left side near his rear shoulder naming the military unit that owned him.
"This being true how could Wyatt think changing just one brand would hide the true ownership of the mule?"
(That is the point. Wyatt didn't know and thought the D8 would do the whole job. When Wyatt was stealing horses when he was younger, they were privately owned and probably had only one brand.)
I have to thank Joyce for reminding me about the "card" placed by Lt. Hurst in the EPITAPH that helped me to answer this one. In describing the mules, the only brand he refers to is the "U.S.". He makes no mention of another more complex brand that would have been even harder to alter than the simple "U.S.". To pose your question in a slightly different manner: This being true how could Lt. Hurst think changing just one brand would hide the true ownership of the mule? (Hurst didn't comment on the second brand one way or the other. Perhaps he was hoping the rustlers were as uninformed as Wyatt and it might help him identify the mules later?) The mules obviously did not have the second brand on them) or Hurst would have mentioned it. (why?) Also, why would the Cowboys steal six double branded mules in the first place? (Perhaps they didn't know any more than Wyatt or intended to blur the brand and claim it was too small to do right?)?) If so, how would they intend to cover up the one identifying the unit? (If they knew they would need a running iron or another specially made iron to blur the brands and maybe we are not to know?
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
A subject or two, maybe — Tom Gaumer,Tue Aug 23 2022 2:13
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
Howdy Butch I believe in Idaho Wyatt was testing a law that required the person claiming some land for a mineral claim to actually be there. The idea was you could not claim land under another person's... more
I do not believe Wyatt's intentions were to test any law. The victims of Wyatt's claim-jumping scheme had to file law suits against him. By the time the court got around to separating the wheat from... 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
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... 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 somewhere in Parsons' diary he mentions being at the McLaury ranch (and this could have been during the mule search incident, but I am not sure) when Virgil Earp "greeted warmly" the outlaw Curly Bill.... 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