Man, you hit the mother lode!!!
Thank you, Dave. I did hit the mother load. It has been an exciting challenge to chase these pictures down. I found their source, which was Sallie Chisum and her niece. The pictures were forgotten and off loaded in a yard sale! I found the photographer's personal album in his hometown. Many of the tintypes have his name embossed along the bottom of the frame: George W. Morgan. He worked from a wagon while he was still making tintypes between 1871 and 1882, which were the years these pictures were taken. I do not believe, however; that all of the pics are Morgan photos.
People have been searching for a picture of a living, breathing Dirty Dave Rudabaugh. Here he is wearing his new suit that was given to him by Mike Cosgrove. The kid and Wilson got one too. I have their images taken at the same time. Dave and the kid are locked down and sitting in their cell. Wilson is not. He was allowed to go outside and walk around.
Well, Polly: that pic you see of the kid above a few spots was kept by Sallie Chisum herself until soon before her death. She gave it to her niece for safekeeping, who stored it in her attic with about 70 others. The collection was forgotten, Sallie's niece died and her home was locked up tight for almost two decades. Then the family had a yard sale and these pictures were thrown into old donut boxes and sold, probably sight unseen.
The collection arrived in a local antique store. I came along, recogized them and bought them one at a time.
That's the kid alright. I don't think he is very handsome, but he's not actually bad looking either. He's about 17/18 here. He looks disarmingly youthful, but he has already killed a man, actually three; Cayhill, Morton and Baker.
Could this photo have been folded up and put in a wallet or a pocket????
Speculating here, but I think the kid took Sallie's picture, folded it and put it in his shirt pocket. When he learned that she was engaged to Wm. Robert he returned it. It is not proper for someone to carry a pic of another man's wife. The kid did have scruples.
I own the pic of the kid and this pic. Holding them, I figure that the kid and Sallie did too. Pretty amazing feeling! Magical almost. I have several pics of Sallie and her first husband Wm. Robert. Here's one.
I think Sallie is wearing "widow's weeds". Her first child, Reinhardt died in childbirth or soon there after. In those days women wore black for a year. Here I think she is pregnant with her second son, John Ernst Robert, named after his paternal grandfather who was a banker in Pritz, Germany.
The original of this is a 5x7, is the largest of the bunch. Nor is it a very good tintype. It's out of focus.
This post was meant as a reply to Polly's post about Billy's appearance. I somehow hit the wrong "reply" button.
Paulita Maxwell, who knew the Kid very well, described him as "not handsome" but did state something to the effect that he had boyish good looks. Several people who met him in passing did describe him as handsome and most or all commented on his buck teeth with several commenting on his chin, so there must have been something out of the ordinary about his facial structure.
Here we have a guy who is not handsome but rather boyish looking, with a long chin and possibly buck teeth. Also, his ears are the best match I've seen on an alleged BTK image (given some margin for error based on the poor quality of the authenticated image). Plus, I think he "looks" like the Kid, both as depicted in the authentic image and as described by various reporters who met and/or saw him. That doesn't really mean much because most of these alleged images are presented precisely because there is some resemblance.
If the provenance on this one pans out and it does prove to be from Billy's era and it can be confirmed with some certainty that it came out of New Mexico, it will move way up on my list of possible BTK images.
One major concern I have is whether or not it's a photographic medium that existed (at all or out in the west) by 1881. I don't know much about that technology but I'm sure there are history buffs here who do.
Chris, There is no doubt that Billy was very special no matter what he looked like. I've read that he was extremely intelligent. Tunstall didn't teach Billy anything. He had a way of getting people to underestimate him. 130 years after his death he is still remembered. We still talk about him. Dig for any tiny bit of info or photo we can find. His tiny little badly damaged tin type sold for 2.3 million dollars. What does that say??? I certainly don't know if the photo I posted has any provenance. I hope more info can be found. One thing about the photo I posted that got to me was when I enlarged it and concentrated on the eyes and brows. The eyes just look alot like the authenticated one to me. Of course each person will see what they see and without provenance it's just another nice old photo.
Polly, let's not get too carried away with our fascination with Billy the Kid to where it turns into admiration. The fact that we are fascinated with certain historical bad guys such as BTK and other western outlaws, or mafiosi, or pirates, does not mean they are candidates for either sainthood or knighthood. That many, including Billy, had tragic, pitiful starts in life, which in his case never went beyond a start, may make their antisocial and violent acts understandable, but can never make them excusable. There were many individuals who rose above such unfortunate circumstances to become truly admirable for their accomplishments and positive contributions to society. So while we may be intrigued by the bad guys and delinquents like BTK, let's celebrate the true heroes.