Butch Cassidy, Wayward Mormon, Surfaces Again

The outlaw Butch Cassidy was born as Robert LeRoy Parker on 13 April 1866 in Beaver, Utah, son of Maximilian Parker (a 12-year-old handcart pioneer of 1856) and Ann Gillies Parker (a 9-year-old traveler with the Hodgetts Company, the wagon company that followed after the Martin Handcart Company and shared their disastrous experiences in the Wyoming blizzards). While Robert Parker was still a small child, the family moved across the mountain range to the smaller, newer town of Circleville in Piute County. All the evidence (and I’m something of a Piute County history fanatic), the Parkers were an industrious, well respected, compassionate family. I find Max Parker, for example, riding almost 50 miles on horseback to the nearest telegraph station to send word to distant family members that Max’s neighbor – a passenger with Sam Brannan on the 1846 Brooklyn voyage to San Francisco – had died in a cabin fire in 1897. The next year, Max drove a wagon all the way to Salt Lake City to take a neighbor with appendicitis to the hospital. Max’s obituary reflects his neighbors’ opinion of his service: “He was a quiet, unassuming man and was often called the silent giver.” Butch, on the other hand … well, everybody knows something about the outlaw Butch.

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