Monday, June 17, 2013

Nickname #26 -- June 17, 2013

Black Bart robbed 28 Wells Fargo stagecoaches in northern California.  He was always polite, never fired his shotgun, which later turned out to have been unloaded, and hid his face with a mask made from a flour sack.  Bart got his name from the signature he left on poems at two of the robbery sites.  Wells Fargo got tired of being robbed and its detective Jim Hume tracked down elderly, respectable British-born Charles Bolles.  Bolles went to San Quentin Prison, and disappeared a month after he was released in 1888.  This story, from the 06-June-1900 San Francisco Call, tells of a bartender who bore a startling resemblance to the bandit.  I don't see it in the photos. 


 TO be mistaken day after day for a convicted stage robber— no less personage than "Black Bart," is the unhappy fate of  W. T., better known as "Dick" Richardson, an employe of the Baldwin Annex saloon.

Richardson applied for a position at the saloon a few days ago, stating that he was willing to try his hand at anything.  "Jim" Orndorff, .the proprietor of the Annex, put the old man to work as an extra bartender and billiard-room attendant.

The following day John T. Dare, the States Customs Appraiser, visited the Annex, and after ordering a drink, called up Orndorff and informed him that the barkeeper who had just served him was "Black Bart."

"There is no chance for a mistake on my part." said Dare, "for during 'Black Bart's' trial my business brought. me in contact with him daily and I am sure it is the man."

Mr. Orndorff became interested in the officer's tale, and while admitting the resemblance, said that the man had identified himself satisfactorily to him.

During the day Captain Jules Callunden of Morse's Patrol, who was an important factor in the capture of the noted stage robber, had occasion to visit the Annex and as he stepped to the bar a look of surprise showed plainly on his face. It was some little time before he realized that he was mistaken in the. man and a few minutes' conversation satisfied him of the fact. In speaking of it later Callunden said:

"I confess that at first glance I thought that I was being served by the noted stage robber, Black Bart, and it would be an easy task to get any number of men who are not accustomed to studying faces to positively swear that Richardson is the man. "He is indeed a 'dead ringer.'"

Of himself Richardson has but little to say except that he had been a cattle man in Arizona for twenty years and had failed for a large sum.

"This is the first time in my life that I have worked for wages," he said. "I have seen Black Bart, but do not know him. Since I came to work here I have been accosted by many men who have been in San Quentin, who claim to have met me there and will not be convinced that I am other than Black Bart. It is at times annoying, but I can content myself with the knowledge that there is nothing in my record of which I need be ashamed except perhaps that I am broke."

1 comment:

Kathleen Foster said...

Would you know who could help me get an appraisal for a Colt pistol, with the stagecoach scene, and was owned by Wells Fargo stagecoach driver Clint Radcliffe of Jackson. He was with Mike Tovey when he was killed by a bandit and had the gun on him at the time. Prior to owning the gun, he was held up by Black Bart near Ione. The gun has been passed down and I have all verifying documents. Not sure who to trust for an appraisal. I may want to sell but definitely need to insure. Thanks!