Wyoming is stuck in my mind lately—probably because my current WIP is set there—so I decided to share an interesting historical tidbit about Big Nose George and his Wyoming demise and what still remains of him there.
Last summer we spent the night in Rawlings, Wyoming. As we were exiting the interstate my husband told me about a car that used to be there when he lived in the state as a young child. It had two front ends and could drive in both directions. We both laughed as we headed down the main drag toward our hotel and there sat the car. (No, that’s not the tidbit I want to share.)
While in town, we wanted to visit the local museum to see the shoes made out of Big Nose George (yes, made out of) but to our disappointment, the museum hours didn’t coincide with our schedule unless we extended our vacation by a couple of days, which we couldn’t. So, though I didn’t see the shoes in person, here’s the story:
George Parrott (he had several aliases) was an outlaw, mainly a cattle rustler but participated in many other robberies, who met his demise after killing a Wyoming deputy and a railroad investigator. The lawmen had been pursing Big Nose George and his gang for train robbery. After a shootout in which the lawmen were killed, George and his gang made their way into Montana, and for whatever reason, in a saloon there they began bragging about killing the lawmen. George was apprehended and returned to Wyoming for a trial. Found guilty, he was sentenced to hang on April 2nd. However, on March 22nd he attempted to escape while being held in the Rawlings jail, and failed which led to an earlier death than scheduled. The jailer’s wife heard her husband calling for help when Big Nose George, (who’d managed to relieve himself of the heavy shackles on his legs with a pocket knife and a piece of sandstone) hit her husband over the head. She grabbed a gun and persuaded Big Nose George back into his cell. The jailer’s skull had been fractured, and while he lay healing, word spread of the attempted jail break. Over two-hundred local residents stormed the jail and proceeded to lynch Big Nose George from a telegraph pole that very day.
But that is only half the story….A local doctor wanted to study the brain of an outlaw, believing it would assist him in treating other patients. When Big Nose George’s brain revealed no out of the ordinary findings, the doctor then peeled the skin from George’s chest and thighs and had them made into a pair of shoes. The doctor, John Osborne, went on to become other things, but ultimately, the Governor of Wyoming. And wore those shoes at his inauguration. (For more information and pictures you can visit RoadsideAmerica.com)
I haven’t used any of this in a story, and don’t know if I will, but found it too amazing not to share.
I’d also like to share that my next book, Testing a Lawman’s Honor, will be released on February 1st.
El Dorado, Kansas, 1881
Della Cramer has tried her hardest to ignore the way Deputy Spencer Monroe stirs her desire, believing he doesn't share her feelings. Little does she know that Spencer has been harboring years of regret for not preventing her marriage to a scoundrel, despite the searing kiss they shared.
When her long-lost husband's sudden death leaves Della's future uncertain, only Spencer can help her. But first, he will have to convince her to trust him and finally give free rein to her passion....
Her lips had gone dry, but Della didn’t dare lick them. Spencer might take it as a sign she wanted him to kiss her. And she did want that, more than she wanted to breathe, but kissing him wouldn’t solve anything.
His gaze continued to encompass her, as if he could see inside her head and read her deepest, most private secrets. Startled, terrified he might be able to do just that, Della ducked under his arm and didn’t stop until several feet separated them.
“Spencer,” she started. It was a moment before she could snatch on to a dwindling ounce of willpower. “I’ve just learned of my husband’s death, and the loss of my home, I-I—”
He cocked his head, and the gaze in his eyes was too charming. Too endearing. “I don’t have time to play games with you,” she whispered.
“Funny you should mention games, Della.” He took a step forward. “I think it’s time we both stop playing them.”
“Spencer.” She pressed a hand over her heart, fearing it might explode.
His hands, gentle and warm, and big and so precious her breath stalled, ran down her upper arms and then back up to settle on her shoulders, stirring up a delicious heat deep within. “You know what I’m talking about, Della.”