Wild Bunch Circulars Issued by the Pinkerton’s National Detective Agency, 1900-1907

October 4, 2022

The Pinkerton’s National Detective Agency pursued the Wild Bunch from the late 1890s up through the 1910s, although by then the gang was kaput and the agency’s pursuit was more desultory than methodical. Lorenzo Dow “Lonie” Logan and his cousin Bob Lee were the only gang members whose capture directly involved the Pinkertons, as members of posses that killed Logan in Missouri and arrested Lee in Colorado in 1900.

That’s not to say that agency detectives, most famously Charles Siringo, did not log many miles and hours hunting the men. Part of the effort was bureaucratic, however, such as disseminating the serial numbers of stolen currency, which contributed to the arrests of Ben Kilpatrick and Harvey Logan in 1901. Or distributing among clients and law enforcement officers, wanted circulars with descriptions and photographs of Wild Bunch members. The flyers referred to most of the wanted men – Robert LeRoy Parker, Harry Alonzo Longabaugh, Harvey Logan, Lonie Logan, Bob Lee, and O.C. Hanks – by a bewildering array of aliases and misspelled names. These six were but a fraction of the 20 or more outlaws numbered in the spurtive gang that came to be known as the Wild Bunch. That’s because the others were dead or jailed before the Pinkertons were on the chase, or had never robbed a Pinkerton client.

All in all, between 1900 and 1907, nine Pinkerton circulars were prepared, eight in the United States and one in Argentina.

23 February 1900, Denver: $18,000 reward for the men who held up the Union Pacific train and robbed the Pacific Express Co. safe at Wilcox, WY, 2 June 1899, naming three of the suspects as “Louis Curry, alias Lonny Curry”; “Harvey Curry, alias Kid Curry”; and R.E. Curry, alias Bob Curry, alias Bob Lee. The circular includes a purported photo of Lonie Logan. Source: Pinkerton’s National Detective Agency records, Library of Congress, Washington, DC. (Hereafter, Pinkerton records.)

15 May 1901, Denver: $6,000 reward for First National Bank of Winnemucca, NV, robbers, describing three unnamed suspects, suggesting “George Parker, alias ‘Butch’ Cassidy” and “Harry Longbaugh, alias ‘Kid’ Longbaugh” as two of the suspects. This circular is not numbered, but is identified in circular no. 3 as circular no. 1. Source: Pinkerton records.

30 July 1901, St. Paul: $6,500 reward for the “three highwaymen” who held up Great Northern Express at Wagner, MT, 3 July 1901. Names as suspects “George Parker (right name) alias George Cassidy, alias Butch Cassidy”; “Harvey Logan, alias Harvey Curry, ‘Kid’ Curry”; and “Harry Longbaugh.” Cassidy’s actual name, which the Pinkertons never discovered, was Robert LeRoy Parker, and he and Longabaugh were in Argentina at the time of the holdup. Source: Pinkerton records.

5 August 1901, St. Paul: $6,500 reward for “the highwaymen” who held Great Northern Express at Wagner in 1901. Names as suspects “Harvey Logan”; “George Parker”; “Harry Longbaugh”; and “O.C. Hanks.” Logan is illustrated with a photo of him with a beard and wearing a hat, taken in 1897 in Deadwood, SD, following his arrest for a Belle Fourche bank robbery; Parker with his 1894 Wyoming prison mugshot; and O.C. Hanks with an undated mugshot. There is no photo of Longabaugh. Source: Pinkerton records.

8 November 1901, Chicago: $5,000 reward for four men implicated in the 1901 Great Northern Express robbery. Names “Harvey Logan” as a suspect, includes a cutout of Logan from his December 1900 Denver photograph with Annie Rogers. and suggests that Butch Cassidy and Harry Longabaugh are suspects as well, although they were in Argentina at the time of the holdup. Source: Pinkerton records.

24 January 1902, circular no. 2, Denver: $4,000 reward for three men implicated in the 19 September 1900 robbery of the First National Bank of Winnemucca, naming two of the suspects as “George Parker,” alias Butch Cassidy, George Cassidy, and Ingerfield; and “Harry Longbaugh,” alias Harry Alonzo, Kid Longbaugh, Frank Jones, Frank Boyd, and Sundance Kid. This is the first known Pinkerton circular to cite Frank Boyd as a Longabaugh alias, and to use headshots of Parker and Longabaugh from John Swartz’s November 1900 Fort Worth portrait. Parker’s 1894 Wyoming prison mugshot is also included. “Camilla Hanks alias O.C. Hanks” is also named and pictured, but in connection with the 1901 Great Northern Express robbery. The death of Will Carver and captures of Harvey Logan and Ben Kilpatrick in 1901 are also mentioned. Note: circular no. 3 dates circular no. 2 as 3 February 1902, which is either a typo, or indicates a second circular no. 2. Source: Pinkerton records.

March – May 1903: In his handwritten notes of his March – May 1903 visit to Buenos Aires, Pinkerton detective Frank P. Dimaio wrote that he had “left descs in Spanish of all 3 [Cassidy, Longabaugh, and Ethel Place] — also photos, aliases [etc.] with Francisco Beasely [Beazley] and his Sec Antonio Ballee [Vallee].” In a 1941 report to the Pinkertons, the now retired Dimaio said he had “furnished Chief Beasely with descriptions of these outlaws,” and “a circular was gotten up, and I personally delivered one to each steamship office and ship’s broker’s office” with instructions to alert the city’s chief of police “if these criminals apply for passage.”

In a 1949 letter to Wild Bunch writer James D. Horan, Diamio said he issued “about 150 posters,” which were printed by Buenos Aires chief of police Beazley. No copies have ever been found. Source: Frank P. Dimaio March — May 1903 notes and 17 September 1941 report, Pinkerton records; and Dimaio letter to James D. Horan, 14 June 1949, author’s collection.

14 November 1904, circular no. 3, Denver: $2,000 reward for robbers of the First National Bank of Winnemucca, 19 September 1900. Names two suspects as having “been positively identified” as “George Parker” and” Harry Longbaugh.” Illustrated with headshots of Parker and Longabaugh from Swartz’s Fort Worth portrait, and with Parker’s 1894 Wyoming prison mugshot. Source: Pinkerton records.

4 February 1907, New York: A Spanish-language circular, no reward specified, that identifies “George Parker” and “Harry Longbaugh” as wanted for the 19 September 1900 holdup of the First National Bank of Winnemucca, and “Harvey Logan” for the 3 June 1901 holdup of the Great Northern Express. Parker, Longabaugh, and Logan are also identified, along with “Sra de Harry Longbaugh, alias Sra. de Harry A. Place; Sra. Ethel Place,” as wanted for “bank robberies in cities in southeastern Argentina in June 1905,” perhaps a reference to the 14 February and 19 December 1905 bank robberies in southern and west central Argentina, respectively. Parker and Longabaugh’s headshots from the 1900 Swartz portrait, Parker’s 1894 Wyoming prison mugshot, a Logan cutout from the December 1900 Denver portrait of him and Annie Rogers, and an Ethel Place cutout from the December 1901 DeYoung portrait of her and Longabaugh in New York illustrate the circular. Source: Pinkerton records.

– Daniel Buck