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Sallie Chisum's Photo Album

Recently, I was contacted by a man claiming to have several important photos related to Lincoln County War history. In his possession, he said, were photos possibly depicting many key figures of this era, including William Brady, Alex McSween, and Billy "the Kid" Bonney himself. Of course, to anyone familiar with Billy the Kid lore, claims of this nature are very common; hardly a month passes without someone claiming to have discovered a lost photo of Billy the Kid. Such frequency is understandable, as there is but one undisputed photo of the Kid, and simply put, everyone wants to find a second.

Alas, most of these claims are discredited almost as quickly as they're made. Despite our desire to find a second photo of the Kid, those purposed always have something wrong with them, be it the date of the photograph, the location where it was made, or telling characteristics in the alleged Billy Bonney that don't match our authentic Kid. Many, also, remain in limbo as possible Kid candidates, lacking the necessary documentation (i.e. the aforementioned where and when of the photo's origins) to make historians declare them as genuine articles. Ironically, it seems documentation can always be found to discredit a potential Kid photo, but never to support it.

This photo collection stands unique from that paradigm though, as it has the backing of some compelling provenance. To begin with, it seems these photos come directly from the album of Sallie Chisum, niece of cattle baron John Chisum and friend of Billy Bonney. As near as can be discerned, the collection passed from Sallie, to her favorite niece, to her son, to his daughter, to the current owner, the man who contacted me with his find.

The links below feature several of these photos. Most of them are not 100% identified as the person they're claimed to be, but are alleged to be said person based on similarities to other known photos. On each page, I have included an authenticated photo of the subject, allowing the viewer to immediately compare the prospective photos.

Billy the Kid
Sheriff William Brady
Alexander McSween
Sallie Chisum
Juan Patron
Tom O. Folliard
George Coe
Frank Coe
Dan Dedrick