Harry Alonzo Longabaugh
alias "The Sundance Kid"
Conrad Longebach arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on the MORNINGSTAR from Rotterdam on December 24th, 1772. He came, like many of our ancestors, as an indentured servant, whose contract was bought by John Hunter of Chester County, Pennsylvania. The contract terms called for a 5-year indenture, to work off the price of passage from Europe.
In 1781 Conrad married CATHARINA and settled in New Hanover, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. To them was born: JONAS, in 1798; Jonas married CHRISTIANA HILLBERT. They had: JOSIAH, born 14 June 1822 in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania; Josiah married ANNIE G. PLACE on 11 August 1855 in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. Annie was born on 27 September 1828 to HENRY PLACE and RACHEL TUSTIN of Phoenixville. Annie died in May of 1887. Josiah was a Baptist who attended the First Baptist Church in Phoenixville, located on Church and Bay Streets, across from their home. Annie's father, Henry, was a Deacon there and had helped establish the church. To Annie and Josiah were born 5 children:
- ELWOOD PLACE LONGABAUGH, born 21 June 1858 in Mount Clare, Pennsylvania. Elwood died unwed on 11 May 1930 in San Francisco, California. He worked as a sailor on whaling ships.
- SAMANNA, born 22 April 1860 in Phoenixville; Samanna married OLIVER HALLMAN in 1878. Oliver was a wrought-iron worker.
- EMMA T, born in 1863 in Zieglersville, Pennsylvania. Emma was a seamstress for Wannamaker's Department Store; she also was a dressmaker and co-owner of McCandless and Longabaugh of Philadelphia. She died unwed on 23 January 1933.
- HARVEY SYLVESTER, born 19 May 1865 in Upper Providence Township, Pennsylvania; Harvey married KATHERINE GERCKE in 1886. They had three children; however, only one son lived to adulthood: WILLIAM HENRY LONGABAUCH, who married ROSE SOPHIE SIPPLE.
HARRY Alonzo LONGABAUGH, born in 1867;
By 1880 (age 13) Harry was working as a hired servant and boarding with Wilmer Ralston and family in West Vincent, PA. As a youth Harry was mothered by his older sister, Samanna. One of the entries in her business book states, "30 Aug 1882; (Harry) left home for the West". (Home was at 14 Church Street, Phoenixville, Pennsylvania) Harry moved west with his cousin, George Longenbaugh, [who was a descendant of BALTZER AND ELIZABETH LONGENBAUGH, of Hagerstown, Maryland, who later settled in Shelby County, Illinois]. At the time of their departure, George's wife, Mary, was pregnant, and they also had a two-year-old son, Walter. George's family and Harry arrived in Durango, Colorado and began homesteading.
By 1884 Harry had moved to Cortez, Colorado (Cortez was 48 miles from Durango) with George and his little family, where Harry worked as a horse wrangler with Henry Goodman, foreman of the LC Ranch. Harry stayed two years with George, Mary and the two boys.
In 1885 Robert LeRoy Parker was also living in the area, as were Willard Erastus Christiansen (a.k.a. Matt Warner) and Bill Madden. A young and impressionable Harry was in the wrong place at the right time.
By 1886 Harry had found work with the N-Bar-N Ranch, and worked a cattle drive from Texas to Montana. He was laid off after winter began. The winters of 1886-87 were harsh winters, with the ranch losing 20,000 head of cattle.
In 1895 the N-Bar-N moved its headquarters to Oswego, Montana, and we find Harry working for them once again. One of his fellow ranch hands was Dutch Henry Ieuch. When the ranch was sold in 1897 Dutch Henry headed a small gang of rustlers just north of Culbertson, Montana, and occasionally used the "Hole in the Wall" hideout in Wyoming to hide from the law. Harry, by this time, was a member of the gang.
Harry was indicted in Sundance, Wyoming on three counts of grand larceny for the theft of a few horses, which was attributed to him. He pleaded "not guilty". He was provided with a court-appointed attorney, Joseph Stotts, who convinced Harry to plead guilty to horse theft in exchange for dropping the other two charges. He was sentenced to 18 months of hard labor and confined to the Sundance jail because he was under twenty-one. Harry was granted a full pardon on February 4th, 1889, one day before his scheduled release. It was at this time that he became known as The Sundance Kid.
Butch Cassidy was born Robert LeRoy Parker on April 13th, 1866 in Beaver, Utah, the eldest son of a large Mormon farming family. While still a young boy Robert and his father moved onto the "Old Jim Marshall ranch," which was located 12-miles south of Circleville, Piute County, Utah. The ranch had formerly been the headquarters for a gang of horse thieves and rustlers. Mike Cassidy, leader of the gang, remained on the ranch to work for the Parkers. From Cassidy, young Robert soon learned riding, roping, branding and shooting. Before he was 16 he was known as the best shot in Circle Valley. Robert was arrested once and jailed, presumably for the theft of a saddle.
Robert admired Cassidy, and eventually adopted his last name. Robert became known as "Butch", a nickname he earned when he worked as a butcher near Rock Springs, Colorado.
Mike had managed to get together herd of cattle, holding them in the breaks of Bryce Canyon, in Utah. When the herd became too large he moved them over to the Henry Mountains near the Colorado River, a section known as "Robber's Roost." When Mike got into trouble with the law and headed for Mexico, young Parker took over the cattle as well as Cassidy's last name.
In 1892 Butch and Al Hainer established a "horse ranch" near Lander. It was some time before it was noticed they sold but never purchased their livestock. Bob Calverly, foreman for the Carter outfit, was then doing detective work for the Wyoming Stock Growers Association. He trailed a bunch of horses to Star Valley, surprising Butch and Hainer there. During the ensuing gunfire, one of Calverly's bullets plowed a deep furrow in Cassidy's scalp, stunning him. Calverly was then able to slip handcuffs on Cassidy. Butch stood trial, being prosecuted by J. L. Torrey, of the 2-Bar Ranch, later to become leader of Torrey's Rough Riders in the Spanish-American War. Butch was sentenced to 2 years, in July of 1894. He was later pardoned by Governor Richards after promising to stay out of Wyoming.
Upon release Butch went to Brown's Park, making it his headquarters. He made the decision while in prison to give up rustling, planning instead, to go for the big money. He started looking around for others to join him, and when Elza Leigh and Bub Meeks from Huntington, Utah, drifted into the park later that spring, Butch chose them for his lieutenants. They established a hideout upon a rocky point on the face of Diamond Mountain, a place still known as Cassidy Point.
The gang packed in whisky, cards, and ammunition from Rock Springs, Colorado. They attended the local dances and by their practical jokes and dare-devil stunts, became known as "The Wild Bunch."
The "Wild Bunch" had a constantly changing membership which consisted of about thrity men. An inner circle developed with leadership under Butch Cassidy. Harvey Logan, alias "Kid Curry" gained a reputation as a cold-blooded killer after killing two prominent townsmen . Nearly all of the shootings involving the Wild Bunch were credited to him.
In 1897 the Wild Bunch was joined by delegates from the "Hole in the Wall" gang:
With them, Butch organized his Train Robbers Syndicate. They planned and carried out the Castle Gate Payroll hold-up, then hid out at Robber's Roost.
- "Big Nose" George Curry
- Lonny and Harvey Logan, and
- Harry Alonzo Longabaugh
Along the cattle trail which extended from Montana to New Mexico, were three well-known hideouts, which became safe places of refuge for those on the run because there would be no questions asked:
Hole in the Wall; located 16 miles from Kaycee, Wyoming. It was not really a hole in the wall, but rather a canyon wall with a notch through which cattle could be run. It was a good hide-out because you could see for miles in any direction from the top of the canyon wall.
Brown's Park; Brown's Park was the most populated of the three hide-outs. Located along the Green River, it was in a valley 40 miles long by 6 miles wide. It was split between Utah and Colorado, with a small section in Wyoming. The mountains provided protection from severe winter weather, and the river provided the valley with fertile grazing land. Those who chose to stay there were accepted on the face of their local behavior, which was expected to be peaceful.
Robber's Roost; located in the desert canyons of Utah midway between Moab and Hanksville, near the Utah-Colorado border. Numerous twisting, maize-like canyons provided ample hiding places. The terrain was intimidating to those unfamiliar to the area; therefore, few lawmen ever followed their quarry into Robber's Roost. The Roost was the best-known to Sundance, who was said to have wintered there with Etta Place.
They returned to Browns Park and from there descended on Dixon and Baggs. They bought new clothes and rode back to Browns Park, leaving a slice of their money behind.
From Browns Park Cassidy engineered the Wilcox Train Robbery in 1898; then went south to pull off another hold-up at Folsom, New Mexico. He then tried unsuccessfully to obtain a pardon from Governor Wells of Utah. He also entered into negotiations with the Union Pacific Railroad to take a job with them as express guard...the idea being that his presence would scare away other outlaws. He changed his mind in the middle of negotiations, and held up a train near the little station of Tipton, Wyoming in august of 1900. Although it was a daring hold-up, it only netted him $50.40!
Cassidy, Harvey Logan, and Harry Longabaugh held up a bank at Winnemucca, Nevada for $32,000, then went to Fort Worth to celebrate. In the border town of San Antonio, they bought "dude clothes", and while there, they posed for a formal group picture with a couple men from Black Jack Kitchum's gang. They sent a copy to the bank they had just robbed! The picture was picked up by a Pinkerton detective, which put him hot on their trail. The gang scattered, heading for Montana, where the Wild Bunch pulled off their last robbery near Wagner.
The following is a Headline from that robbery:
"GREAT NORTHERN PASSENGER TRAIN HELD UP AND ROBBED IN BROAD DAYLIGHT
Six Miles West of Malta the Train Is Stopped,the Express Car Wrecked With Dynamite, the Safe Blown Open and All Its Contents Stolen...The Job Consumes an Hour, During Which the Passengers Are Terror-Stricken...Traveling Auditor Douglass, a Brakeman and a Girl Passenger Shot by the Robbers...Nobody Allowed to Poke His Head Out of the Window...Posses Are in Hot Pursuit."
To read the whole story, which appeared in The Anaconda Standard, Anaconda, Montana; Vol. XII-No. 298; on Thursday, July 4th, 1901, p. 1; Columns 3-7, click here.
Sundance was a man of strong, often conflicting characteristics, one of them being a strong family loyalty. According to family history he had a tender spot in his heart for children. He was described by author Charles Kelly as pleasant, friendly, and cool-headed in an emergency.
Walter Punteney, who participated in the Belle Fourch robbery with Sundance, once said that "Sundance and Butch Cassidy were no murderers. They would slip into town and get money, then slip out again as they didn't want to hurt anybody". Sundance was said to have been an excellent gunman.
In an autobiography attributed to Butch Cassidy, Sundance was described as a natural-born gentleman: immaculate in appearance and champion of the underdog. He was reserved and distant to those not close to him. A sister of Butch Cassidy described him as a "handsome man, quite tall and dark".
There has been much speculation as to the identity of Sundance's female companion. "Mrs. Harry A. Place" was described in May of 1902 by a doctor who treated her as around 23-24 years old, 5 ft. 5 in., 110 pounds, with medium complexion, medium-dark hair and blue eyes. In 1904 she was referred to as "Ethel Place", Longabaugh's wife. During a visit with family in Phoenixville, Pennsylvania in 1901, Sundance introduced Ethel as his wife, and told of the decision to move to South America, where he was going to settle down, buy a ranch and go straight. While there, Sundance visited the graves of his parents in the Morris Cemetery in Phoenixville.
Although it is apparent that their life of crime resumed in South America, neighbors described them (Sundance, Etta and Butch) as likeable, honest ranchers active in local society. The ranch was located in the Cholilo Valley of Bolivia. Butch Cassidy wrote to a friend in the states that the ranch had 300 head of cattle, 1500 sheep, 28 horses and 2 ranch-hands. It was a 4-room log house with a stable and chicken coop.
There is much speculation as to the remainder of their lives. Did they die in the infamous shoot-out depicted in the film, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, or did they quietly ride off into the sunset, to lead a normal, quiet existence for the remainder of their lives? In 1969, when 20th Century Fox released its box office smash "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," reporters came to Cassidy's childhood home, looking for his family. They found Mrs. Lula Parker Betenson, 86, Butch's youngest sister. Among other things, she told reporters that Cassidy had not died in South America in 1909, as was widely believed, but had come back to visit her some 16 years later, in 1925. Lula said that Butch instead died in Spokane, Washington, in 1937, and spent his last years as a trapper and prospector.
One would think his sister would know the truth of his life and death. Which is correct? DNA samples taken from the graves purported to be those of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid proved inconclusive. To read more of this visit the websiteUtah.com, a History of Butch Cassidy.
What is the real story? Perhaps we'll never know...
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