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This report references one or more of the enduring lies that the inept horse thief and train robber Thomas Vernon told about himself:
that he was "Buffalo" Tom, the rodeo star; and that he was Thomas Averill, the fantasy love child of Jim Averill and Cattle Kate.
He was neither.
The governor of Oklahoma, after hearing the claims of both California and Wyoming to Tom Vernon, honored the claims of California and the prisoner held at Pawnee was delivered to California officers.
A reason given by the Oklahoma governor for giving preference to the request of California was the showing of authorities of that state that Vernon's presence was needed there as an important witness in an attempt being made to break up a bandit gang of which an attorney of Los Angeles was alleged to have furnished the brains in carrying out several holdups.
Relative to the attempt that was made by Tom Vernon, bandit who was recently arrested for wrecking and robbing two passenger trains, to establish his claim to being a son of Tom [sic: should be Jim] Averill and "Cattle Kate," who were hanged as rustlers in 1892 [sic: should be 1889], Eugene Alexander, old resident of this section, says he is positive that the claim is false.
Mr. Alexander was for a few days in the vicinity of the Averill ranch on Sweetwater in October preceding the lynching of Averill and Ella Watson (known as Cattle Kate) the following April. He states that he sold a couple of cows to Cattle Kate, at that time while passing through the country with his cattle, and that from a neighbor with whom he stopped he got considerable of the history of the rather notorious pair. He says they had one child, a little girl, with them at the time and that the neighbor knew nothing of any other children.
It was not after the train robberies (as some of the newspapers have it) that Vernon was in correspondence with Mrs. Beard, state historian, relative to his claim to being a son of Averill and Cattle Kate. The letters received, as stated by Mrs. Beard, were written some time ago, from a prison in California, while he was serving time for some other crime.
Vernon, it appears, is not a stranger in Wyoming. He has participated in rodeos in various places, and was familiarly known as "Buffalo Vernon." The Rock Springs Rocket states that he was a contestant in rodeo events at that place two years ago.
Webmaster's note: Vernon lied about being the famous rodeo bulldogger Buffalo Vernon. Read this.
Newspaper courtesy of Donna Roth Phipps