Big Nose George
Posted by Darrell Petorak (+13) 18 years ago
The following is an excerpt from my great great grandfather, Niels Sorenson, writings from the early 1900's. The brackets are my corrections or comments otherwise everything is his uncorrected writings. Although he didn't quite have all the facts correct after George was sent to Rawlins I guess he did okay without the help of radio or television.

"The last holdup the boys made that I know of was in Buffalo, 2 miles below the post. They held up the store and robbed it out of all kinds of goods, provisions & clothing. The man that owned the store was by the mane of Trabes [I'm unsure of the spelling on this name but this is as close as I can make it out]. But this brought a calamity to the boys as the settlers organized a vigilante committee to hunt them down. So they had to scatter out through the country. Big nose George and *McCarty [Carey] came down Tongue River to Miles City and camped at the mouth of Tongue River in the brush and was discovered by a fisherman who reported to the sheriff of 2 strangers being camped in the brush. And that they acted rather strange but they talked to him several times and inquired about the town. So he thought it strange of them not going up [to the] town to see for themselves of [what] kind of a town we had. The fisherman described the man's [men's] identity and he at once knew who they were and he had George's picture. (And) there was [a] $1,500 reward for him [Big Nose George] dead or alive and a $1,000 for *McCarty [Carey].

Now Schmalsle and all the rest except Irvine the sheriff who knew me thought that perhaps they had another man. But for the sheriff, he spoke up saying that I was all right. Whereupon Big Nose George said yes, that I was a great deal more amiable than they were as I attended to my own business and was not trying to make money out of someone's life. He came up and shook hands with me and told my partly how they came to get him and how long it was since they got him.

He was sent to Rawlins and locked in a jail there but the first night he broke his shackles and broke jail and left a note in the jail that the next time they looked for him to look for him in South Africa as he was going [there] direct. But as he had no guns and no horse and could not travel very fast on account of the Oregon Boots he still had on his legs so he could not catch a horse. He got down on the riverbank and was trying to duck in out of sight. But when they found that he had gotten out they got some bloodhounds on his trail and they tracked him up to where he was trying to hide. So they threw a rope around his neck and hauled him over to a telegraph poll and hung him. After they had thrown the rope over the crossbeam he climbed up the poll himself and wrapped the rope around the poll and told the fellows that they were not going to hang him as a dog. So he jumped off and broke his neck. It was rumored that they skinned him alive but I don't think it was so. They filled him full of holes but after he had broken his neck it mattered little to him what they done."
Posted by Kenny Vail (+118) 18 years ago

Thanks so much for sharing this excerpt from the writings of your g-g-grandfather. This is great stuff and fits into the picture of some other activities involving M.C. area vigilantes in 1879 - ones that never made it into history books.

According to "This Last West," Niels Sorenson arrived in M.C. in the fall of '79. Can you tell me if that fits into the general time-line that you understand to be true?

Also, I am interested in the McCarty individual mentioned along with Big Nose George. Can you tell me the source of his first name 'Carey?' Evidently there were more than a few McCartys working on the wrong side of the law back then who show up in accounts from all over, from Montana to Arizona.

Thanks again, Kenny