Most everyone is familiar with some of the outlaws of the American “Old West”and one of their most famous hideouts – The Hole in the Wall.
The outlaw period in Western History lasted only about 30
years (1875-1905), but the cattle rustlers, horse thieves and train robbers of this era still capture our imagination.
Between escapades, the Wild West outlaws fled to hideouts to plan their next move. The Hole-in-the-Wall in Johnson County, Wyoming, was one of the major hideaways.
The Hole-In-The-Wall refers to both the fertile valley where gang members pastured stolen livestock, and to the narrow trail up over the red wall – the only way into the valley from the east.
Some of the famous outlaws who used this area between escapades include Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Jesse James, Tom “Black Jack” Ketchum, and Kid Curry. However, P.E.I. has a connection to The Hole in the Wall.
On PEI in October 1949, John Currie was born on PEI. In 1866, he married Annie MacDonald; the couple eventually had 6 children–Flora Ann, George Sutherland, Jessie May, Hugh, Barbara, and Donald. Donald was born in 1880 and sometime thereafter, the family moved from Pierre Jacques PEI to Chadron, Nebraska.
George was a bit of a troublemaker and began ‘liberating’ cattle at the young age of 15. A kick in the face earned him his nick-name “Flat Nose” Currie (sometimes Curry). He hooked up with Cassidy’s Wild Bunch Gang and was involved in several robberies. While there, a young man named Harvey Logan took a liking to Flat Nose and restyled himself as Kid Curry. Two of his brothers, Lonny and Johnnie Logan also adopted the surname Curry.
These three and several others formed their own gang, fronted by Flat Nose. A robbery at the Butte County Bank at Belle Fourche, South Dakota led to an initial escape, but to the eventual capture of Flat Nose and two others. They were imprisoned in Deadwood, South Dakota but overpowered a guard and were on the loose again.
(Flat Nose) Curry participated in the Wild Bunch raid on the
Union Pacific Overland Flyer train at Wilcox, Wyoming, on June 2, 1899, which became famous, as well as taking part in several other robberies. The Overland Flyer’s train crew provided descriptions of the robbers, which local Converse County Sheriff recognized as being Butch Cassidy, Kid Curry, Flat Nose George Curry, and Elzy Lay. Hazen formed a posse immediately but Kid Curry and George Curry shot and killed Hazen during his posses pursuit of them, which slowed the posse.
In the ensuing confusion the Wild Bunch were able to wade downstream and escape without their horses. The outlaws walked to a sheep ranch at Castle Creek, where they rested before continuing to the Tisdale mountains on the north fork of the Powder River. Here they were able to obtain replacement horses and resupply. Local Deputy Sheriff William Deane came into contact with the gang there, and also was shot and killed by Kid Curry.
In April 1900, the law caught up to Flat Nose. He was killed while rustling cattle in Grand County Utah. In May, his body was relocated to the family plot in Nebraska.
Kid Curry was enraged by the deaths of his brother Lonnie and Flat Nose and took his revenge on Sheriff Tyler and his deputy. In 1902, he took his own life to avoid capture.
Flat Nose had no known children, but the descendents of his siblings still live in the area.
UPDATE: Feb 2013
I had been informed that the original post had a photo that was not George Curry. George’s great-grand-nephew sent me the picture that now accompanies the article. This photo was taken before he had acquired his sobriquet.. He also informed me that the train robbers got their fresh horses from the Salisbury Ranch in Wyoming, and that Edwards Salisbury was the husband of Jessie Curry sister of George.
Jessie was the grandmother of my corespondent.
Thank you Richard.