550: Butch Cassidy's Amnesty Colt Saa.45 And Documents
One of Cassidy's first acts as a free man was to rearm himself, and he purchased a .45 caliber Colt Single Action Army model from a hardware store in Vernal, Utah. 4.75" barrel and, except for a blued frame and back strap, wears a nickel finish. This is the Colt serial #158402. Butch contacted Sheriff Parley P. Christison of Juab County, Utah, late in 1899 pursuing a meeting with Governor Heber C. Wells of the state of Utah. As a friend of Matt Warner and Governor Wells who were both from Juab County, he believed they could obtain amnesty for him. Upon meeting Christison, Butch turned his two weapons in, the Colt Single Action #158402 (with the holster made by August Brill) and his Winchester. It is said Butch often patted the grip of his gun and said with a smile, "the combination to my retirement lies in a Denver Bank" undisturbed. Cassidy carried the colt from 1896 - Oct, 1899, the period that made the man due to his leadership in countless heists. Former owner E. Dixon Larson launched a pilgrimage from 1967-1970 documenting and interviewing people who knew Cassidy and remembered this Colt." One of those people was Lula Parker Betenson, Cassidy's younger sister who can be seen holding the Colt on page 2 of her book "Butch Cassidy, My Brother." Pages 159-160 verify the serial number 158402, A number of photographs Larson took (one of which Betenson used) and original letters between Larson and Betenson are offered with the colt in addition to is his "Brill" Jacket holster and over a hundred pages of research and verification documents. Never before seen documents like an original letter and photo of William Darby who 'rode with [Cassidy] ...into the 'hole', he recollects: "Butch's coat gun that he carried under his arm most of the time and without a question, this is it. (#158402) He was the only one that I can recall who had a nickel one. I handled it a few times ...I remember the 'eagles' on the grips as most of the boys had wood handles, except Logan who had white ones...Reason I remember it so well, is that I always wanted one just like it. It was a 45 and most others were 44's." In additional to Darby's testimony a never before seen conversation with Charles Hanks from 1969 confirms he visited with "Butch" in Vernal Utah after he was reported killed in Bolivia. He also claims that he visited him again in Salem, Oregon in 1924. He remembers being 12 years old and seeing Butch with the Nickel Colt, holster and black eagle grips. Two Binders with well over 100 pages of documents are included with the original manila hand tag Parley P. Christison placed on the colt signed with matching serial in Juab County, Utah where Cassidy turned in this colt and his Winchester. An original photograph of the Justice document filed Jan. 2nd 1900 (after Cassidy did not return) also verify the Colt 158402 and his Winchester. Correspondence with he Owner of the Cassidy Winchester, Jim Earle proved to have an exact copy of the same Docket. Bill of Sale 1967, Colt Letter, plus many of the magazine articles featuring this Colt are included. Cassidy's attempt for Amnesty with the help of his friend Matt Warner, Sheriff P.P. Christison and his lawyer Orlando Powers to to go to Salt Lake and meet Governor H.C. Wells is well documented. (Coincidentally Warner, Christison and Governor Wells were all from Juab County, Utah). It was perhaps Cassidy's last attempt on American soil 'to lay down his sword and shield,' and in doing so he left behind his Colt SAA - 45; the jacket gun that Hanks claims could be seen poking out of his vest, under his jacket next to his heart. A true relic of the Wild West left by perhaps it's most beloved Outlaw.