Saturday, January 9, 2016


Another illustration from the PhD
thesis of Timothy Urbaniak (2014)
identifies "Kid Curry, 1901."

"While inscriptions of "outlaws" have been documented further south into Wyoming, evidence of them roaming eastern Montana is scarcer, with the exception of the inscription "Kid Curry 1901" (Figure 5.77), located on a lone sandstone outcrop north of Ingomar, Montana." (Urbaniak 2014:130)

"Kid Curry came to Montana when he was about 16 and eventually started a ranch south of Landusky with his brothers. But when a feud erupted and Curry shot Pike Landusky, owner of the brothers’ favorite saloon, Curry skipped town for Wyoming." (Tribune Staff 2014)
The Wild Bunch, Logan is on
the right in the rear, public
domain photograph.

In Wyoming "he joined a gang of bandits led by “Flat-Nosed” George Currie (no relation) and Harry Longabaugh, alias the “Sundance Kid.” George Parker, alias “Butch Cassidy,” later joined the gang, eventually known as the Wild Bunch. The group’s legendary robberies include a bank hold-up in Belle Fourche, S.D., and Union Pacific train robberies." (Tribune Staff 2014)

"On July 3, 1901, Kid Curry and the Wild Bunch pulled off one of the most successful train robberies in U.S. history. At Exeter Creek, about six miles west of Malta, they held up the Great Northern Railway passenger train. They disappeared with $41,500 in unsigned tender. 
No one was ever convicted for the Great Northern robbery, but Kid Curry was arrested later that year in Tennessee for forging bank notes — presumably from the same train heist. 
He was sentenced to 41 years in prison but escaped in 1903." (Tribune Staff 2014)

The 1901 inscription of Kid Curry at Ingomar, Montana, would likely have been carved before the July 3, 1901 train robbery because, afterward the gang (including Kid Curry) would have been concentrating on evading the law. Indeed, if you are being chased by a posse, or just sought by Pinkerton agents, you are not likely to leave your name carved on a rock to give a clue towards where you had gone. Urbaniak concluded that the inscription was connected with the train robbery. "It has been speculated that the inscribing is connected with a trip to rob the Great Northern train near Wagner, Montana, which he did on July 3, 1901." (Urbaniak 2014:130)

Harvey Logan, AKA Kid Curry,
public domain photograph.

"Curry’s later activities are debated, but Nate Murphy, curator of Outlaw Lawmen Collections at the Phillips County Museum, said the most reliable information comes from the Pinkerton detective agents who trailed the Wild Bunch’s crime spree. Their records say Curry’s corpse was identified in Colorado. He was wounded in 1904 during a gunfight after a botched train robbery in Parachute, Colo. To avoid being captured, he shot himself in the head." (Tribune staff 2014) Kid Curry was buried in Linwood Cemetery, in Glenwood Springs, Colorado (Doc Holliday is also buried there).

Although the popular movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid glamorized the details of the gang's activities, including train robberies, we will do well to remember that these were violent acts and innocent people were injured and killed.

Linwood Cemetery, Glenwood Springs, Colorado.

Such historic inscriptions can provide us with a direct emotional and intellectual link to events of the past, to the deeds and circumstances that have led to our society today. Indeed, I have been to Parachute and Glenwood Springs, Colorado, many times, and I have even ridden the train through them. I love these historic inscriptions because of such feelings of connection, and the way they allow us to better  understand the history of who we are and where we live.

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NOTE: This material is presented through the generosity of Tim Urbaniak, who compiled much of this material for his 2014 PhD thesis, HISTORIC INSCRIPTIONS OF THE NORTHERN PLAINS IDENTITY AND INFLUENCE IN THE RESIDUAL COMMUNICATION RECORD at the University of Montana, in Missoula.


Staff, Great Falls Tribune, 2014.

Urbianik, Timothy Rostov,
2014    HISTORIC INSCRIPTIONS OF THE NORTHERN PLAINS IDENTITY AND INFLUENCE IN THE RESIDUAL COMMUNICATION, Dissertation Presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Anthropology The University of Montana Missoula, MT,  July 2014.


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