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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.


Trial of a Horse Thief

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Trial of a Horse Thief: Trial of a Horse Thief. Chromolithograph, 1877. Jno. Mulvany; Clay, Cosack & Company, Buffalo and Chicago.Trial of a Horse Thief: Chromolithograph, 1877. Jno. Mulvany; Clay, Cosack & Company, Buffalo and Chicago. (So which one is the horse thief?)




New York Times / March 22, 1886

horseBISMARCK, Dakota, March 22. -- A desperate struggle between cowboys and horse thieves is reported from the Upper Missouri River country, and it is believed the former are on a general raid in search of men who have robbed them of ponies and cattle. A report which reached here today is to the effect that a party of cowboys came upon a number of horse thieves in the timber on the river bank, about 100 miles north of Bismarck, and after the exchange of several shots the thieves gave up the fight and attempted to escape.

Cow-Boy Band

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[img_assist|nid=17|title=Dodge City Cow-Boy Band|desc=Members of the Dodge City, Kansas, Cow-Boy Band pose with their instruments while in St. Louis, Missouri in 1885. Instead of using a baton, the band leader used a revolver to keep time. Despite dressing in flannel, cowboy hats and chaps, the band was comprised of professional musicians from Denver, St. Louis, Chicago and Kansas City. In 1889 the band traveled to Washington, D.C., to play at the inauguration of President Benjamin Harrison.|link=none|align=left|width=512|height=412]


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New York Times / Sep 29, 1898

Dozens Die of Exposure and Others Commit Suicide -- Chicago Man's Sad End.

skullTACOMA, Washington, Sept. 29. -- Rather than return to Chicago penniless, James Gardiner committed suicide on the banks of the Stickeen River, near Glenora, on Aug. 28. After losing his outfit and becoming broken in health through hardships on the trail, he deliberately blew his brains out when within sight of Glenora, where he could have taken a steamer to Fort Wrangell, and thence to civilization. Gardiner started for Dawson last Spring, and was unfortunate enough to choose the Canadian overland route via Ashcroft, which involves 2,900 miles of overland travel in order to reach Dawson. Five hundred men are stranded on this trail, prolonging their lives by eating horse flesh.


Shorpy  The 100-Year-Old Photo Blog!

Juniper Gallery  Fine-art prints of the photos on this site.

Turnpike Cruiser  Photos of the present-day West, with an emphasis on Arizona and Bisbee, and the Canadian Rockies.

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?