CHARLES E. "BLACK BART" BOLES
Small clipped signature of notorious bandit Charles E. Boles, also
known as Black Bart. Mounted to a sheet of black cardstock with a sepia-toned
magazine photo and the caption "'Black Bart' strikes again".
Clipped signature: "Charles E Boles". Signature is on
2x¼ ruled paper, mounted to a 5¾x8 sheet of cardstock with a 1¼x2½ sepia-toned
b/w magazine photo of Boles and a 2¼x1¼ magazine caption: "'Black Bart'/strikes
again". A Union army veteran of the Civil War, Boles, (c. 1820-c.
1917, born in New York State) fought at Vicksburg in 1863 and was seriously
wounded while part of Sherman's "March to the Sea" in 1864. After the war, in
1867, Boles went to the silver mines of Idaho and Montana then, in 1871, to the
gold fields of California. On July 26, 1875, the Sonora to Milton stage in
Calaveras County, California was robbed by a man wearing a flour sack over his
head with two holes cut out for the eyes. He carried a double-barreled shotgun
and wore a long linen duster and sacks on his boots as well. His voice was deep
and resonant and the only thing he said was: "Please throw down the box!" He was
polite and used no foul language. These became his trademarks. Boles,
like many others, read dime novel-style serial adventure stories that ran in the
newspapers. In the 1870s, the Sacramento Union ran a serial called The
Case of Summerfield. The story's villain, Bartholomew Graham, had unruly
black hair, a large black beard and wild gray eyes and dressed in black.
Called "Black Bart", he was wanted for crimes including robbing Wells Fargo
stages. Boles decided to build on this fictional legend. On Aug. 3, 1877,
the stage from Point Arena to Duncan's Mill in Sonoma County was robbed of $300
in coin. The posse that went to the site of the robbery found a poem on a sheet
of paper under a stone atop a tree stump. It began: "I've labored long and
hard for bread/for honor and for riches/But on my corns too long you've tred
(sic)/You fine haired sons of Bitches/Black Bart..." On July 25, 1878, after stealing $379
and a $200 diamond ring, Boles left another poem, again signing it "Black Bart".
From 1875 to 1883, there were 28 recorded robberies attributed to Black
Bart, whose annual "income" was a respectable $6,000. When Black Bart held
up the stage from Sonora to Milton on Nov. 3, 1883, he dropped his
handkerchief, which had a laundry mark. It was traced to a San Francisco
laundry. The laundry's owner said it belonged to a respectable mining engineer
named Charles E. Bolton. It was Boles. Coincidentally, both his first and
last robberies were the Sonora to Milton stage. Boles was sentenced to six years
and was taken to San Quentin prison on Nov. 21, 1883. He was released after
four years for good behavior on Jan. 22, 1888. He was seen at the Nevada House
in San Francisco on Feb. 28, 1888. The next day he disappeared and was never
heard from again. Signature is lightly toned with random ink stains. Signature
and caption have random ink stains. Otherwise in fine condition.
For more documents by these signers click the names below:
CHARLES E. BOLES
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