Letter to the Editor: Butch Cassidy
I refer to an article in the Sun Advocate submitted by Tom McCourt, titled a letter from Butch Cassidy, Hello Uncle Spud dated April 1, 2006. Ghost Rocks, San Rafael.
Through the years, there have been many, many stories told of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Many stories have Butch and the Kid killed in South America where they fled after the Castle Gate payroll robbery. Many stories claim him and the kid escaped and returned to the United States.
Let me tell you a story which is true, no fabrication just facts and you, gentle reader, form your own opinion. But for me, I did see Butch Cassidy in person after the South America incident.
I was born in Huntington in 1919, and grew up there until I went into World War II in 1942.
In Huntington, on the west side of Main Street between Center Street and 100 North, was Charlie Green's Pool Hall. As you entered the pool hall, just inside was a panel making a walkway or hallway from the city street directly to the rear where the pool room and the card tables were set up.
On entering the building you could turn left and enter the bar room, where there was a long bar that extended nearly the full length of the bar room, with the exception of a small half door that connected the west end of the bar to the east wall of the card and pool room.
Behind the bar was a wall to wall back bar mirror that extended from the back bar counter to the ceiling. As I recall the mirror was about 4 feet tall and 24 feet long.
I was in a group of teenagers that Charlie Green would let go down the hall to the pool and card room to watch the players play pool or cards, but he would not allow us to go beyond the doorway into the pool room and we never pushed his ruling.
In the group we traveled with were myself, my brother June (Al), Dee, Norman and Burke Gardner, Bruce Kinder, Chet Brasher, Shirl McArthur and Bert Collard. Many times we were all together and other times only three or four of us would come together.
This particular afternoon in the summer of 1935, myself, June, Norman and Burke Gardner were standing in the door way entering the pool room. Norman and Burke were the closest into the pool room as they wanted to watch their father, George Gardner playing cards. I was in the rear standing in the opening from the bar room into the card room looking over their shoulders. At this moment there were four men standing at the bar having a beer, all wearing suits and one was wearing a round hard top derby hat; the others western hats.
The front door coming off Main Street opened and Saad Moran (Murning) came through the door. She entered the opening leading into the card room as she was walking towards me to go into the pool room where her son Pete was playing pool with three other young men, all above the legal age. She turned and looked into the big back bar mirror and stopped, turned opened up her arms and cried out, "LeRoy" and the man in the derby hat turned around, outspread his arms and cried out, "Aunt Saad". He took one step towards her, she immediately turned calling out, "I'm sorry sir I thought you were someone I knew." She came charging through the doorway and called to Pete her son, "Peter you must come home immediately, the cows have busted out of the pasture and are in the alfalfa and will bloat and die." She turned and ran down the hallway that divided the walkway from the bar room out through the front door into her buggy cracked her whip made a U turn on Main Street and headed north towards her farm. Pete immediately laid down his pool stick and rushed down the hallway to the outside. We watched this big black car back away from the curb make a U turn on main Street and head north going in the same direction Saad Moran took. Did she see and recognize LeRoy Parker? alias Butch Cassidy. Yes.
All of the old timers of Huntington, including both my grandfathers, commented they all knew the wild bunch did, at different times, spend some days and nights at the Jack and Saad Moran place located north of the Huntington Creek and northwest outside the city limits of Huntington.