DEADWOOD — Deadwood City Commissioners recently approved the purchase of four historic artifacts from Dakota Plains Auction totaling $8,512, which were acquired during Wild Bill Days at the Old West Firearms and Collectibles auction.
The purchases, which include a McDonald Deadwood saddle bag for $3,100, a Henry Frawley Office docket from 1894 to 1898 for $450, an original 1898 map of Northern Ore District $550 and rare 1877 D.T. reward poster for $3,500 will be paid for from the acquisition line item in the Historic Preservation budget.
“These four artifacts interpret and provide insight into early Deadwood, including two profiles of two former early mayors of Deadwood,” said Deadwood Historic Preservation Officer Kevin Kuchenbecker. “With the territorial era wanted poster, it is ‘real west’ memorabilia, not a replica or something you would find in a gift shop. It’s the real deal.”
The rare D.T. 1877 $500 reward poster is for the capture of person who murdered Deadwood stage coach driver Johnny Slaughter two miles outside Deadwood on March 25, 1877 later proven to be Robert “Reddy” McKinnie ex-member Sam Bass gang.
Tracked through four states by Deadwood Sheriff Seth Bullock, McKinnie was caught and jailed in Ohio later escaping to Canada and never returning to stand trial. The purchase includes a hard-to-find book “The Life and Adventures of Robert McKinnie.
This document will also be used as part of the interpretation in the proposed trail access area connected with the DOT Highway 85 reconstruction project.
The original 1898 map of the Northern Ore District of the Black Hills, Deadwood SD is drawn and compiled by HS Vincent US Deputy Mineral Surveyor. The map measures 27 inches by 36 inches and is double matted and framed.
“It shows many of the early mining camps in Deadwood,” Kuchenbecker said. “That’s important, so people have a better understanding of Deadwood City, which was an early conglomerate of several mining camps.”
The city owns three maps created by Vincent, who was a prominent railway and mining engineer, former director of the Deadwood Business Club, superintendent of the Clinton Mining & Mineral Company and was mayor of Deadwood from 1918 to 1920. Vincent is buried in Mt. Moriah Cemetery.
The original 1894-1898 attorney’s office docket from the Henry Frawley Law Office is leather bound nine and one-half inches by 11 and one-half inches and lists various cases handled by Frawley.
It is a fascinating insight into early Deadwood history with cases such as Star and Bullock Hardware versus Harry Gregg, the opposing counsel Martin & Mason Law Firm, Black Hill and Ft. Pierre Railroad versus Big Missouri Mining, etc.
The docket is part of the Henry Frawley estate and provides a good cross reference to the city’s collection of Lawrence County district, circuit and civil cases.
The rare maker marked McDonald Deadwood, DT saddle bags stamped on both flaps with inner revolver holster showing extremely good condition, with original buckles and straps intact.
McDonald was in Deadwood as early as 1881. By 1884, he established a saddle and tack shop on Main Street and was known as “Mac the Saddler.” Countless advertisements appear in the locl newspapers. McDonald was involved in city politics of Deadwood and openly supported the horse-drawn trolley in Deadwood from 1888 to 1894. He also ran and was elected mayor of Deadwood from 1902 to 1906. He died in 1922.
Commissioner Georgeann Silvernail asked why the potential purchases identified prior to the auction in the catalog weren’t reviewed by the full commission prior to the auction as they had been in years past.
Kuchenbecker said that the catalog came out late this year.
Historic Preservation commissioner Jim Van Den Eykel said that letting the public know of the city’s intent may have inflated the price of the items they intended to bid on.
Consequently, as in the past few years, the Archives, Archaeology and Acquisitions Committee met with Van Den Eykel and Deadwood Mayor Chuck Turbiville to review items of significance which related to Deadwood.
Kuchenbecker created a matrix of the items relating to Deadwood. The table allowed detailed discussion on each item, the ability to determine the importance, prioritize the list and set budget constraints to the amount willing to be offered for each item.
The group identified six priority items and successfully secured four of the items at auction.
“I hope these will be going out on display,” Silvernail said. “We have enough in the archives.”