A reading from America’s historic newspapers in the golden age of yellow journalism.
A True Crime from the Wild West
Until recently, I presumed that Black Bart was a fictional character, like the Lone Ranger or Dudley Do-right, but I was recently set straight on that account and subsequently discovered a story that COULD pass for pretty outlandish romantic Wild West fiction.
Charley Bowles did get the monicker Black Bart from the villain in a dime novel, but I think he used it ironically because it didn’t really fit his gentlemanly style.
He only robbed coaches carrying treasure belonging to the Wells Fargo Company, apparently in revenge for a mining dispute in Nevada.
When he left his doggerel poetry at the scene of the crime, he would sign it “Black Bart PO8” spelling poet with a numeral, text messaging style before the internet, ahead of his time.
Musical direction by Dave Sams