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Cowboy detective dies in California

October
18
1928

On this day in 1928, famed cowboy detective and author Charles Siringo died in Altadena, California. Siringo, born in Matagorda County in 1855, worked as a cowboy for a number of prominent Texas outfits, including those of Shanghai Pierce and George Littlefield. In 1877 he drove a herd into the Panhandle to establish the LX Ranch. During his years as an LX cowboy Siringo met the young outlaw Billy the Kid. Later he led a posse of cowboys into New Mexico in pursuit of the Kid and his gang. In 1884 Siringo left the LX to become a merchant in Caldwell, Kansas, and began writing his first book. Published in 1885, A Texas Cowboy; or, Fifteen Years on the Hurricane Deck of a Spanish Pony established Siringo's fame as the first cowboy autobiographer, and went on to become a range literature classic. In 1886 Siringo moved to Chicago, where he obtained employment with Pinkerton's National Detective Agency. For the next twenty-two years he was an exceptionally shrewd and successful cowboy detective, tracking outlaws as far as Alaska and Mexico City. After leaving the Pinkerton agency Siringo retired to his ranch in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and authored several other books, including A Cowboy Detective (1912); A Lone Star Cowboy (1919); History of "Billy the Kid" (1920); and Riata and Spurs (1927). Siringo's experiences as the quintessential cowboy and determined detective helped romanticize the West and its myth of the American cowboy.

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