- It was a wild time back in the 1800s and here are some things you probably didn't know.
Everyone has heard the term, the “Wild West,” but what do we really know about it? Here are a bunch of facts about the “real” Wild West.
It was the efforts of Captain Wheeler and his team that resulted in topographic maps of the United States. The Wheeler Survey group had one of the most notable expeditions during the real wild west. They traveled across the United States under direction of Captain George Montague Wheeler. This project kept the group on the road for a decade, spending almost all of the 1870s traveling and pulling the maps together. There are several places in the US that are named after Wheeler.
Loving an Outlaw
Rose Dunn loved an outlaw and things got rough from there. Famous in the real wild west in her own right, Rose Dunn was linked to crime as well. But it was her love of George “Bittercreek” Newcomb who ran with the Wild Bunch that she was most known for. In a family twist, Rose’s brothers were bounty hunters interested in the reward on Newcomb’s head. They were said to have ended his life while he was attempting to visit his sister, and the brothers made $5,000.00 each. (Around $176,300 a piece these days.) Rumors said that Rose might have tricked the outlaw, but they were never substantiated.
Stagecoach Robbing Poet
What a combination. Who would have thought there’d be stagecoach robbing poets in the real wild west? One of the most famous outlaws of the time, Charles Boles, was also known as ‘Black Bart.” He liked to hold up stagecoaches and rob them, and it turned out he was pretty good at it for a while. Between the years of 1875 and 1883, he supposedly robbed more than two dozen of these vehicles without being caught. Apparently this criminal was a good dresser and he spoke well, too. Along with that, he had a passion for poetry. He would leave his work at the crime scene for law enforcement to discover. He was eventually caught but only spent six years in jail before disappearing.
First Train Robbery in the US
There were a few firsts for crimes when it came to this era. But there had supposedly never been a robbery on a moving train before 1866. The Reno Gang pulled off one of the biggest heists in history when they made off with $18,000.00 or roughly $335,200 today, in cash. The money, jewelry, and other goods the men allegedly stole put the gang in a financially well off position. The first robbery in the real wild west happened at a place known as Hangman Crossing.
Cowboys in the 1800s spent a lot of time away from home, some for as long as months. Because of their modes of transportation at the time, being that they didn’t have fast or efficient modern-day vehicles, it makes sense that time away took a long time. Cattle drives were the worst for this, keeping cowboys away from home for as long as three months. During cattle drives, the cowboys reportedly spent all day traveling before camping under the night sky. The work was hard and sweaty but the men would go for weeks without bathing. They were said to bathe in the river once they finished a trail.
Kit Carson, also known as Christopher, was an American frontiersman who lived between 1809 and 1868. He reportedly helped to shape California during a time when California was still pretty undeveloped. Not only was his impact on California something notable about him but he was also illiterate and married three times. (Though, in his memoir, he speaks only of his third marriage.) Across all of his marriages, he reportedly fathered ten children.
Weapon Handler Turned Dentist
Friend of Wyatt Earp, Doc Holliday was notable during the real wild west. He was good with handling weapons and played a role in the showdown at O.K. Corral. But he was a dentist too, on the side. You know? His side gig. He started as a dentist at 20 and remained in the field until he developed tuberculosis and made money in other ways.
Did you know these facts about the real wild west? Want to see a part two of wild west facts, because here it is. Click here for 7 Things You Didn’t Know About The “Real” Wild West: Part Two.