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Billy the Kid Played Croquet...Who Knew?

(26 posts)
  • Started 3 years ago by johnnyreb
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  1. johnnyreb

    johnnyreb

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    When you are running antique malls looking for pipes be sure & take time to look for old photographs of historical figures; it could be worth your while. A Tintype of Billy the Kid and his Lincoln County gang relaxing & spending a day playing croquet shortly after the Lincoln County War has been found & authenticated. Kevin Costner will narrate a two-hour documentary for National Geographic Channel, to air October 18th. The Kid looks so young!

    https://madmimi.com/p/0867c6

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    Posted 3 years ago #
  2. warren

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    You can't be out killin' folks all the time. Even the "Kid" needed to relax now and then. I read that what really got Pat's knickers in a twist was when Billy roqueted his ball out of bounds in the "Lincoln Open". He was just about to "peg out" when Billy did this, Pat nearly chocked on his lemonade and the chase was on.

    It's my understanding that they brought a pro in from Westminster to teach Costner the subtleties of the game for the movie.

    A man without a shillelagh is a man without an expedient.
    Posted 3 years ago #
  3. papipeguy

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    Knowing what we do now, I'd probably let him win. Just sayin'.............

    Blowin' smoke since 1970.
    Posted 3 years ago #
  4. mso489

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    Croquet was big in the 19th Century and on through the 1950's. When I was growing up, it had lost it's high tone where people played in jackets and ties, and it was just a backyard thing that all generations could manage. On the other hand, despite its gentle domestic appeal, it could be played on a highly competitive basis, knocking a competitors ball off the course, etc. Yes, there's cut-throat croquet. Billy the Kid really was a kid in the picture. He was one of these juvenile outlaws elevated to legendary status before people had radio and TV as entertainment, amplified by the newspapers, but mostly embellished by word of mouth. Be interesting to see what tack the documentary takes. It's always hard to sort out the grievances these outlaws expressed for the public, and the degree to which they hid behind those to garner sympathy in evading the law. That they were often daring is inarguable. Robin Hood, maybe not so much.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  5. phil67

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    They didn't exactly dress like Roy Rogers back then did they.
    People have so many misconceptions about the old west from watching T.V. and movies. Not everyone wore a cowboy hat and had a gun strapped to their hip and there was never such thing as a fast gun showdown. That whole idea was a Hollywood invention. Live in the troubled sections of Chicago, Detroit, etc. and it makes the so called 'wild west' look like Disney World.

    ~I started out with nothing, and still have most of it.~
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    Posted 3 years ago #
  6. johnnyreb

    johnnyreb

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    From what I've read about the upcoming program narrated by Costner it will be about the quest for authenticity of the Tintype, how it was determined to be Billy the Kid & to be authentic, & what was learned about the Kid's activities on the day it was taken in 1878. It seems the game of croquet was played after a wedding; I've wondered if the bride & groom are the couple to the far right about ready to depart on horseback, her setting sidesaddle.

    Mso, I'm not so sure that Billy the Kid was the product of dime novels. I believe he was a deadly pistolero as advertised and things might have turned out differently if Pat Garrett had not shot him in the dark. So like papipeguy said, I would be inclined to let him win at croquet too! I'm sure there is probably a pistol sashed up under that sweater he's wearing! And as far as being Robin Hood, going into the Lincoln County War most people would agree that the Kid was on the right side of things even though there was no law.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  7. huntertrw

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    Posted 3 years ago #
  8. jpmcwjr

    jpmcwjr

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    Nice PS work, hunter!

    And the close up seems to show a wire hoop, not the stiff iron types used in GB. And probably one ball per player, not two as they do in the Olde Country. Hell, it's on dirt in any event!

    Thanks for the post, Johnny. I look forward to watching the program.

    I know that you believe you understood what you think I said, but I'm not sure you realize that what you heard is not what I meant.
    Posted 3 years ago #
  9. johnnyreb

    johnnyreb

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    Good observation on the wicket; it doesn't appear to be cast iron. But it looks heavy to be wire & it doesn't look to be twisted wire. Perhaps it's steamed hickory willow or bamboo? Don't know. The article does say something about seeking the assistance of experts on vintage croquet sets during authentication of the Tintype. Perhaps we'll learn more during the program.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  10. 12pups

    12pups

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    Wait till you see the special on Al Capone. He'll be at the "family" picnic playing badminton.

    Shit. Too much Maker's Mark. Again. (Sorry fellas).

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    Posted 3 years ago #
  11. johnnyreb

    johnnyreb

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    More here at the link, including other period Tintypes of those identified with Billy including the bride & groom:

    http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/galleries/billy-the-kid-new-evidence/at/billy-the-kid-new-evidence14-2100466/

    Posted 3 years ago #
  12. brian64

    brian64

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    Very cool...thanks for posting. I'm always interested in just about anything related to the old west. Here is a thread I posted a while back regarding another (alleged) Billy the Kid photo:

    http://pipesmagazine.com/forums/topic/for-those-interested-in-old-west-trivia

    “Bipartisan usually means some larger-than-usual deception is being carried out.” – George Carlin
    Posted 3 years ago #
  13. johnnyreb

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    Thanks for the link to your thread. I've been in the area and to the gravesite so I will read through the thread later.

    Here is another unverified image that surfaced a few yrs ago. Facial recognition experts failed to confirm that it is Billy the Kid. There are similarities in the corners of the mouth and nose but the eyebrows and ears are not similar. I don't know if facial recognition software has been used or not.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  14. brass

    brass

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    The Upham tintype sold for $2.3 million to William Koch. Wonder what the new tintype is worth if validated? I read that it insured for $5 million.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  15. huntertrw

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    "Nice PS work, hunter!"

    Thank-you, but unfortunately the Photoshopping of that image was not my doing. Rather, I found it as a stock image on Yahoo Images.

    Posted 3 years ago #
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    jmd110

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    Lew Wallace was territorial governor. He was busy writing Ben Hur and minimized the capture of Billy or so I have read. This was all soon after the Civil War. Billy worked at the Coe Ranch in Lincoln County and sold meat to the Army here in Tularosa NM.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  17. kcghost

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    Fascinating stuff.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  18. johnnyreb

    johnnyreb

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    Not sure I would buy this photo as being Jesse James & Bob Ford taken together shortly before Ford shot & killed Jesse in 1882. The owner who inherited the photo after it came down thru her family is trying desperately to get it certified; she wants to sell it. The only expert to certify it so far is a forensic analyst & artist for the Houston PD by the name of Lois Gibson. Ms. Gibson in recent yrs has been involved in controversy over her identifications of photos of (oddly enough) Billy the Kid, & Belle Starr. No information as to whether this photo has been scanned by facial image software or not.

    http://www.sfgate.com/national/article/Lost-photo-of-Jesse-James-assassin-Robert-Ford-6540749.php#photo-8717877

    Posted 3 years ago #
  19. johnnyreb

    johnnyreb

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    Some additional info on the authentication of the Billy the Kid tintype among other things confirms the use of facial recognition software:

    Quote:

    Simple resemblance is not enough in a case like this - a team of experts had to be assembled to address each and every detail in the photo to insure that nothing was out of place,” he continued. “After more than a year of methodical study including my own inspection of the site, there is now overwhelming evidence of the image’s authenticity.”

    McCarthy said experts began believing the tintype was real after they were able to determine that four people in the photo - using facial recognition software - were those who spent time with Billy the Kid. Then, they began looking for events in which they were all together around that time.

    They stumbled upon a diary of Sally Chisum, in which she described a cattle drive featuring all the players in the photo as well as a wedding that took place between Charlie Bowdre (seated on the horse in the photo) and his wife Manuella.

    The cattle drive helped researchers narrow the location of the photo to New Mexico and the former ranch of one of Billy the Kid's employers, John Tunstall. But to confirm the site of the photo, McCarthy actually flew out to the site near Roswell and examined a building that turned out to have been built "over and around" a structure that was actually in the photo.

    “I was standing at an angle from the building and I could see the texture of the stucco on the front of the building,” McCarthy said, adding they were tipped off by an investigator who saw what the thought was a building from the photo on ranch. “You could see the vertical wooden supports through the stucco and I looked at the picture and they were in the exactly the same place. I was amazed. That clinched it.”

    (Snip)
    “The historical importance of a photograph of Billy the Kid alongside known members of his gang and prominent Lincoln County citizens is incalculable - this is perhaps the single most compelling piece of Western Americana that we have ever seen,” Kagin's President Donald Kagin said, in the press release.

    End Quote

    http://www.foxnews.com/science/2015/10/12/new-image-shows-billy-kid-playing-croquet.html

    Posted 3 years ago #
  20. foggymountain

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    When we were children we moved from the east Bronx to the suburbs. Probably because she read Alice in Wonderland, our mother decided that we should play croquet. (She was always doing ridiculous things.) It was the most boring game I can recall, worse in that respect than golf. Even badminton was more fun. Personally, my favorite activity was smoking a pipe.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  21. warren

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    You guys just didn't play viciously enough. It's a good feeling when you thump another ball into the next county. We often used the ball and mallets to play a rather serious game of roller skate polo. Impact proof kids! Gotta luv 'em. No helmets, pads or gloves in sight. I think our parents knew that getting bruised and broken up a bit was a necessary part of growing up.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  22. johnnyreb

    johnnyreb

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    I watched the program & thought it was very good. They were on a very remote part of the Tunstill ranch for the wedding. I found it interesting that when the groom was shot & killed sometime later he still carried a pic in his pocket of his bride & him taken that very day! At that time the only way they could identify him was by the wedding pic he carried.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  23. kcghost

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    I watched the program and I would have a hard time convincing myself to drop $5M on this picture (assuming I had that kind of jack). All the evidence was very circumstantial and there was no clear provenance (i.e. chain of possession) for the item.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  24. johnnyreb

    johnnyreb

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    I watched the program and I would have a hard time convincing myself to drop $5M on this picture (assuming I had that kind of jack). All the evidence was very circumstantial and there was no clear provenance (i.e. chain of possession) for the item.

    I'm not saying this Tintype is worth $5M or that it will bring anywhere near that amount. Supposedly there are two interested buyers negotiating to buy it. One of those buyers is very likely to be William Koch who owns the only other authenticated Tintype of Billy the Kid ($2.3M). I hope the two Tintypes can be brought together for the first time ever in a private collection. As a collection their individual values will increase & sometime down the road Koch (or his estate) will be rewarded for his investment, as it should be. In the meantime the Tintypes will be preserved & well cared for.

    As far as the authentication process, the building & the location, the identification thru other Tintypes of most everyone present that day, the diary, etc were more than enough to convince me. At this point in time all evidence of authentication can only be circumstantial and there can be no provenance in support of a lost Tintype photo.

    Posted 3 years ago #
  25. okiescout

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    Great thread, Johnnyreb.

    I wonder if everyone let "the kid" win?

    "Work as if you were to live a hundred years. Pray as if you were to die tomorrow."
    Benjamin Franklin
    Posted 3 years ago #
  26. johnnyreb

    johnnyreb

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    Thanks Okie.

    Concerning authentication & provenance, imposters usually can't get their facts right anyway. One prime example that usually trips up all the people thru the yrs who have made the claim that Jesse James was their great-grandfather & lived past the turn of the century is the fact that when Jesse was ~15 yrs old, shortly before he joined Quantrill & rode under Bloody Bill Anderson, he accidentally shot off one of his finger tips while loading a cap & ball pistol. It is true that Jesse was greatly embarrassed by that fact and in postwar photographs it was common for him to either roll the fingers up on his left hand or otherwise hide his hand whenever photographs were taken. Nevertheless photographs do exist where his nubbin of a ring finger can be seen on his left hand. To date none of the imposters who have come forward claiming their great-grandfather was Jesse James have ever produced a photograph of "Grandpa" later in life with a nubbin for a ring finger. Even J. Frank Dalton who made a living as a story teller claiming to be Jesse didn't know about the nubbin.

    Posted 3 years ago #

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