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River Camp: c1905

Ghost Cowboy is about real tales from the 19th-century American frontier, when the Old West was young. Most of the posts here are actual news items from the 1800s and early 1900s. We'll be adding "new" content every week. Travel with us and sign up for an account, and you'll be able to leave comments and post in our forums. Your trailmasters, Ken in Alabama and Dave in Virginia, don't get to saddle up and vacation out west as often as they'd like, so they started this site. Drop us a note.



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Ohio Democrat / November 1, 1883

MINERAL RIDGE, O., Oct. 27. — A terrific gas explosion, which fatally injured Dr. A. J. Leitch, a prominent physician and President of the School Board, and seriously injured several others, occurred Friday. Workmen struck a rich vein of gas, and many spectators came to see it. Dr. Leitch very foolishly, and against the remonstrance of the bystanders, rolled a newspaper around a stone, lighted the

Dragged to Death by Runaway Team.


A major hazard of the horse-and-buggy era was the runaway team. Herewith some examples of equestrian mishaps major and minor.

Ohio Democrat / November 1, 1883

A Runaway Team Drags an Iowa Farmer to Death.

Dubuque, Oct. 27 — A tragedy of a horrible character occurred about a mile beyond Thompson’s Mill Wednesday night. Monday last Charles Besanec, a farmer who owned a fine farm in the above vicinity, came to the city with a load of flour. When near his home on his return his team ran away. The wagon was discovered Thursday morning upon the side of the hill between some trees, and

Whirling Horse


Whirling Horse, probably a member of Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show. Circa 1900 photograph by Gertrude Kasebier.

A Policeman and Desperado Killed.

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San Antonio Daily Light / Sept. 20, 1893

CHICAGO, Sept. 20. - Early this morning Policemen Brown and
Fitzmorris tried to arrest Chick McMullen, one of the most notorious crooks in the west, and his mistress Nell Foley, equally notorious. McMullen drew a pistol and began firing at the officers, the latter also drew their weapons and a regular


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PatentRoom  Patent illustrations from the 19th and early 20th centuries. Buy as prints.

Plan59  Retro 1950s illustrations. Cars! Happy wives! Demonic Tots!

Box of Apples  Fruit-crate art from the turn of the century, available as fine-art prints.

AdventureLounge  Aircraft patent drawings and early aviation history. Will it fly?