Along with Billy, Billy Wilson and Dirty Dave Rudabaugh were also captured and given new suits. Pickett who was also arrested was sent away on a change of venue. Of course within a few days prior of this picture being taken both Folliard and Bowdre had been killed, shot by Pat Garrett.
Wilson looks older here, but he was not. Sadly the camera focused on his hands. He is neither wrinkled or gray. He has a new suit, but his boots are his originals; fragrant too I'll bet. He has a new hat. Everyone wore a hat and his old one was probably pretty "greasy". Rudabaugh has a new hat, and Billy probably got one too, but since he was photographed inside he removed it. He does not have "hat hair".
Billy Wilson was described as slight with blond hair and mustache. He was not locked down and was allowed to wander around in the alley by his cell among the deputies. He was not considered an escape risk. He was described as being depressed. He looks kind of depressed here, don't you think?
How do you know if this suit was "off the rack"and where in North America was a ready made suit available for about $1.50 in the latter 1870's or beginning of the 80's?This photo depicts a suit made of unfinished worsted and the purported Rudabaugh photo has the sitter in a wool broadcloth Prince Albert.Both were(and still are)expensive materials.
In 1875 Montgomery Ward was a midwest regional business that didn't have anywhere near the line of goods or distribution that they did ten years later and Sears,roebuck wouldn't come into existence for over a decade.Now,by the mid 1890's both had established themselves nationwide.Sears undersold Ward,and their cheapest wool/cotton blend sack suit sold retail at $2.98 and they didn't recommend it for durability.Catalogues in my collection dating from the 1890's that dealt wholesale to the trade only sold cheap cotton sack suits for 2.25 to 4.00 on average before freight and the small town merchant's often dear mark up.
Now,let's look at the mercantile enviornment in both rural and southwestern America.Most merchants bought from drummers paying a middle man price and then marked up their goods,usually as much as 50-100%over their cost.Both Ward's and Sears' success in the end of the 19th century arose from establishing enough volume sales to undercut most everyone else and the public,tired of poor selection and high prices embraced them wholeheartedly but that took quite a bit of time to establish.What the heck is"Rudabaugh' doing in a broadcloth formal day suit usually worn by professionals?A broadcloth P.A.frock usually cost &20 to $40!
If suits were supplied to them the cheapest of sack suits would have sufficed.This feels very much as if you have out your penknife whittling away at a square peg to make it fit into a round hole.
Well, I'll tell you Tony, I'm not as good on the history of clothing as you are! I was trying to recall what suits cost in those re-pro cataloges that we see. So I was guessing.
All three men are wearing new suits, and we know that they were given them by Mike Cosgrove after they were captured at Stinking Springs. Rudabaugh had been shaven. He had a salt and pepper beard when captured. His heavy jaw and "v" shaped mustache match his decapitated head.
We also know that they were unshakeled so that they could change clothes. We can't see if the kid or Rudabaugh had been locked up again when the pics were taken. I can't tell about Wilson. People in handcuffs usually pose with their hands like he is holding his.
Remember these pictures, all tintypes, were collected by Sallie Chisum herself and I found them with others.
Wouldn't it have been great if Sallie had labeled those photos. Still there would be people who would say NO, CAN'T BE. Maybe all of Sallie's photos are photos of people she didn't know. Now how dumb does that sound.
Certainly Sallie knew her family, whose images make up most of the collection. Here's a wonderful picture of her younger son, Fred T. Robert. This was taken on a family trip to visit Wm. Robert's parents, John and Agnes Robert, who were still living in Pritz Germany. Wm's father died soon thereafter and the collection includes a pic of his mother in mourning. Here's little Fred.
Anthony, I am assuming that you are an expert and know what was available in New Mexico Terr in the late 1870's and 80's. I'm not claiming to have any expertise and I don't have that particular photo in front of me at this second but the suit the purported Billy is wearing does not appear to be an expensive suit. In fact it looks a little big for him in my opinion.
Yeah, Polly, it doesn't look like Billy's suit was taylor made does it.
Too big does not equate with inexpensive.If you look carefully at the photo you will note that the shoulder fit of the frock coat is normal .Only the vest seems loose.
New Mexico territory at that time--tailors for really good work and general mercantiles for a limited selection of clothing goods.
Photos are not particularly hard to date once one learns about when certain photographic techniques were employed.Types of photo mounts,colors of card stock,clothig,jewelry and hairstylesof the sitters,even the photographer's painted backdrop all provide vital clues to dating an item accurately within a 4-5 year period,sometimes even within a year or two of when the image was taken.That's why some claims made are patently absurd-the visual evidence of the image refutes the claims of someone who does poor historical research.
Anthony, I'm sure that's true. One thing though. If it was that easy to tell how come the experts can't make any real determinations on the major photos put forth. Like the one of the purported Billy and Joe for example. I just don't think you can date a photo just by looking at it on the internet. Are you an expert? Not trying to be smart. Just asking. I admit I'm no expert. Just an old lady who loves to discuss a mystery and you can't fine anymore of a mystery than Billy's life and what he may have looked like.
If I was going to buy an expensive suit you better believe I would expect it to fit well. I'll just bet that they had a lot more available that you think. It's going to be available wherever there was a demand for it. Be it clothing or anything else.
Hi Tony: The men's suits had to be off the rack because they were purchased the day before they donned them. Let's see if I can get the time line straight. BTK and the others were captured at Stinking Springs on the laternoon of the 22nd of December. They slept that night on the ranch.. near by (Can't think of the owner's name as I write this.) The next day Garrett sent out a wagon for Charlie's ramains and they took them to Fort Sumner, where Manuella nearly brained him with a branding iron. She was just a tad upset.
The posse left Fort Sumner either on the morning of the 25th or the night before. (can't recall, but the people in the town were pretty riled up) so they may have pulled out that night. It was cold and hard going. On the 25 they stopped over at Pablo Pollack's place, at Anton Chico where they were fed, in stages, Christmas Dinner. The Kid and Dirty Dave were chained together but Billy still locked into a romantic embrace with his girlfriend (Paulita?). They left for Las Vegas on the morning of the 26th and must have arrived there late in the afternoon. A crowd tried to get to Rudabaugh to string him up. He had murdered a popular jailor six months prior.
Pickett was removed and taken somewhere else. The trio were shackled and BTK and Dirty Dave were locked down. Garrett had the prisoner's cleaned up. DD was shaven. They got a well needed bath. Probably a spongue bath, which was the practice in the colder months in those days.
On the morning of the 27th Garrett treated his posse to breakfast. After breakfast they went down to the jail and loaded the three men into a wagon. The prisoners had their cuffs and leg irons removed so they could put on their new suits. (I think that before they left their cells, and while Garrett was still at breakfast, the trio were photographed, the images to be used as mug shots.)
Garrett had a heck of a time with the crowd that had gathered at the new train station. They got away 45 minutes late. On the train ride to Sante Fe Billy impressed the assemblage how he could stuff a slice of pie into his mouth and then removed it unscathed. He was quite a trickster.
Three months later, the men took the stage to Mesilla and stood trial. Rudabaugh was convicted and escaped. I can't recall what happened to Wilson. I think he got off and the kid was convicted for the murder of Brady. Charges against him for the death of Roberts were dropped due to jurisdictional issues.
The kid was taken by wagon and heavily armed guards (that included Olinger and Bell) to Lincoln. He was to be hanged on Friday the 13th of May 1881. He killed his guards and escaped on 28 April. He was killed on the evening of 14 July.