Located in New Salem, North Dakota, Salem Sue stands a mighty 38 feet (12 m) high and 50 feet (15 m) long and can be viewed from several miles around. (Roadside Attraction / USA / United States)
Butch Cassidy worked hard to help provide for his family as a teenager on this homestead. It was the last place he lived with his family before going on to become an infamous outlaw
During our road trip through Nevada and Utah, we were travelling from Cedar City to Capitol Reef National Park when we came across signs for the ‘Childhood home of Butch Cassidy’. We love history and I have fond memories of watching western movies with my dad in my youth and remember watching the 1969 movie ‘Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’.
A brief history of Butch Cassidy
Born Robert LeRoy Parker in Beaver, Utah on April 13, 1866, he was the first of 13 children. His Mormon parents had come to Utah from England in 1856 and moved the family to Circleville in 1879. Things didn’t go well for the Parker family in Circleville and Roy ended up in the clutches of a local dodgy rancher, Mike Cassidy, who became the young man’s hero. By 1884, Roy was rustling cattle, and he changed his name to Butch Cassidy.
In the years following Cassidy drifted west to Telluride, Colorado which is where he commited his first major crime robbing the San Miguel Valley Bank in Telluride, on June 24, 1889. During this time Cassidy’s reputation as an outlaw grew as did his gang, which became known as the ‘Wild Bunch’. They established a series of hideouts, including the famous ‘Hole In The Wall’ in Central Wyoming. The first robbery credited to the Wild Bunch took place in August 1896, a holdup of a bank in Montpelier, Idaho. Over the next several years the Wild Bunch conducted several holdups across the western states of the US. As their notoriety grew so did the the array of law enforcement agencies trying to capture them, including the Pinkerton National Detective Agency.
By 1902 the group disbanded and Butch had gone to England and then to Argentina, where Butch, Harry Longbaugh (known as the Sundance Kid) and his girlfriend Etta bought a small ranch. Everything looked good until a stock buyer and former Wyoming deputy came through the country and recognised the pair, This drove Cassidy back to a life of crime. On November 7, 1908, the Bolivian Army was dispatched to the town of San Vincente, where two English-speaking suspected robbers were staying in a boarding house. As the soldiers approached the building to investigate, they were shot at from within and returned fire. After a brief shootout, screams were heard from inside the house. A few minutes later, there was a pair of gunshots and then silence. The soldiers waited until daylight to enter the building and found that both men inside were dead. Although the bodies weren’t properly identified before their burial, it is widely believed that they were of Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.
The Parker homestead
|Location||Circleville, UT 84723|
The Parker family homestead is located just south of Circleville, Utah, on highway 89. There is plenty of parking.
The cabin itself is very small and unassuming – it is difficult to see how such a large family (parents and 13 kids) was raised here. But that is how things were at the time.
This is not somewhere you would go out of your way to visit but if you are passing it is worth taking a few minutes to stop and take a look inside the cabin, which has been well restored by the State of Utah.