The Wild West
Born Robert Leroy Parker in Beaver, Utah, on Apr. 13, 1866, Cassidy was the oldest of 13 children and had no formal education. Cassidy became a cowboy while still in his teens when he met Mike Cassidy, adopting Cassidy's name after he joined him in rustling cattle in Utah and Colorado.
Robert Clay Allison worked on his parents' farm near Waynesboro, Tenn., until he was twenty-one. Immediately upon the outbreak of the Civil War, he enlisted in the Confederate Army and went off willingly to fight for the South. He had a clubfoot that did not seem to hamper his ability to perform active duty. He saw action in several battles but was sent home in March 1862 to recuperate from wounds that seemed more mental than physical, a Confederate doctor stating that Allison was suffering from a condition that was "partly epileptic and partly maniacal." He had reportedly threatened to shoot his superiors following one battle because they refused to pursue and execute retreating Union troops.
One of the most unusual stagecoach robbers in American history was an old man known in the annals of the West as Black Bart. He used many aliases, including Charles E. Bolton and Charles E. Boles, the latter, most probably his true name. Bart, in addition to being an expert lone bandit who robbed more than two dozen stages in California in 1877-78, he was a jokester whose laughing nature endeared him even to his victims.
Billy the Kid was reportedly born in New York City on Nov. 23, 1859, the son of William and Kathleen (or Catherine) McCarty Bonney, and named William H. Bonney. Another story has it that he was born on Sept. 17, 1859, as Patrick Henry McCarty to Catherine and Patrick McCarty. And still another account has it that he was born in Indiana to Joseph McCarty of Cass County. The first report seems to be the most reliable, especially since the Kid used the name of William H. Bonney, signing his letters as such. Yet a reliable account has Mrs. Bonney or McCarty living in Indianapolis, Ind., with William Antrim and moving west with him and her two sons, Henry and Joseph in 1870, settling first in Wichita, Kan., where Mrs. Bonney ran a laundry and dabbled in small real estate holdings. One report has it that the family lived for a while in the newly establish town of Coffeyville, Kan., and it was here that Billy first got into trouble, arrested for pilfering butter and other items from a local store.
John Wesley Hardin was born May 26, 1853, in Bonham, Texas. He had two brothers, Joe was the oldest, three years older then John and several younger sisters. His father sometimes taught school and practiced law in addition to preaching. Hardin's forefathers had illustrious positions in the history of Texas. One had fought at San Jacinto and another had signed the Texas Declaration of Independence in the fight against Santa Ana. Hardin's grandfather served with distinction in the Congress of the Texas Republic. Hardin County, Texas, was named after...