Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Have you heard the story about Elmer McCurdy?

Elmer was born January 1, 1880 in Washington, Maine. His mother, Sadie, was unmarried and no one knows who his father was. Sadie's brother and his wife adopted Elmer.
His adopted father died in 1890 and both his mother and grandfather died a month apart in 1900. After he joined the army, Elmer learned about nitroglycerin. McCurdy began drinking heavily and turned to crime.

Elmer McCurdy became an outlaw in the old west, albiet, not a famous one like Billy the Kid or Jessie James. He used his knowledge of nitro to rob banks, although he never quite got the hang of the right amount.
After spending hours trying to break through a bank wall with a hammer, McCurdy placed a nitroglycerin charge around the door of the outer vault.

The blast blew the vault door through the bank destroying the interior, but did not damage the safe inside the vault. McCurdy then tried to blow the safe door open with nitroglycerin but the charge failed to ignite. After the lookout man got scared and ran off, McCurdy and his accomplices stole about $150 in coins that were in a tray outside the safe and fled.

Even though he wasn't very well known, he was one of the last wild west criminals He told everyone he would never be taken alive, and he wasn't. He was killed at the young age of thirty-one in a shoot out with the law.
Nearly sixty years after his death, he finally gained notariety when the crew of The Six Million Dollar Man rented an amusement park fun house.
A member of the crew was moving a dummy when its arm came off in his hands. The dummy was a mummy. An autopsy was performed and it proved the mummy was Elmer.
The story goes, after McCurdy was shot, someone who identified himself as Elmer's brother claimed the body. Instead of a brother, the man was the carnival owner. It seems outlaw corpses were a big draw for carnivals of the era.

The body later was used as repayment for a bad debt and collected dust in a wax museum.
He was buried on Boot Hill in Guthrie, Oklahoma sixty-six years after he died.
We'll never know where he'd have ended up, if the crewman from a television show hadn't made a clumsy move.

Stories from the old west are amazing at times and unbelievable at other. I wonder if Elmer would be happy knowing he'd finally become famous.

It's getting close to Christmas and I'm in a group of six authors who have an anthology out titled A Cowboy Under The Mistletoe. My book is the third in my Rodeo Road series, called Saving A Cowboy's Christmas. Get your copy today and find out all about Drew and Gina.

1 comment:

Alicia Haney said...

Wow, what an interesting story about McCurdy, I had never heard of him, Thank you so much for sharing his story. The book series sounds like very good reads. Thank you for sharing about the books also. Have a Great day.