Cherokee Bill

$ 1,195

by Aaron Hazel


20″ x 20″

SKU: AH1067C Category:


This is a portrait of Crawford Goldsby aka Cherokee Bill. Cherokee Bill was said to have been “one of the roughest, toughest, meanest outlaws of the Old West.” Born in 1876, Bill’s dad was black and white, serving as a Buffalo Soldier. His mom was black, white and Cherokee. Bill had a tumultuous upbringing, bouncing from household to household as a youth. His father, who was dealing with his own issues, (shooting up a bar of men who had racially provoked him) was not around much, and his mother eventually remarried. This did not sit well with Bill, as he did not get along with his stepfather. Bill consequently quit school at the age of 12 and began drinking, and getting himself into trouble. It was this same year that Cherokee Bill reportedly killed his first person, his brother-in-law, for telling him to do his chores. He was acquitted of murder charges on account of his young age. At the age of 18, Cherokee Bill, while at a county dance, had a confrontation with a 35-year old rival of one of his older brother’s. The man got in Bill’s face, and Bill subsequently punched him in the jaw and shot him in the chest several times. Thinking he had killed the man, Cherokee Bill fled to the Creek and Seminole nations of Oklahoma. It was there that he met and formed an alliance with Cherokee men Jim and Bill Cook of the famed Cook Gang. For the next year they went on a rampage, robbing banks, stagecoaches, stores, and killing anyone who got in their way. A $1,300 reward was given to any information leading to the capture of the gang . By January 31, 1895, an acquaintance of Cherokee Bill offered a tip, and Bill was was eventfully subdued and arrested. With a delayed trial for murder, Bill sat for months in his jail cell, scheming. By July, Bill attempted to execute a jailbreak, killing one guard. He again was subdued, and sentenced to hanging. This painting is based on an image of his moments before his death. When asked if he felt any contrition for the crimes he had committed, the 20 year old Bill replied, “I came here to die, not make a speech.”

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