William Carver (Wild Bunch)

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Will Carver
Carver will.jpg
Fort Worth, Texas, 1900
Born William Carver
(1868-09-12)September 12, 1868
Coryell County, Texas, United States
Died April 2, 1901(1901-04-02) (aged 32)
Sonora, Texas, United States
Cause of death
Gunshot
Nationality American
Other names News Carver
Occupation Cowboy
Criminal charge
Robbery
Allegiance Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch

William "News" Carver (September 12, 1868 – April 2, 1901) was an American outlaw and a member of Butch Cassidy's Wild Bunch during the closing years of the American Old West. His nickname "News" was given to him because he enjoyed seeing his name in newspaper stories of his gang's exploits. He was ambushed and killed by Sheriff deputies in 1901.

Biography[edit]

Early life, outlaw life[edit]

The Sundance Kid The Tall Texan Butch Cassidy News Carver Kid Curry Click for larger image
Carver is on the left on the back row; Fort Worth, Texas, 1900 Click a person for more information.

Carver was born in Coryell County, Texas, in 1866. He worked, for a time, as a cowboy on the "Half Circle Six Ranch" in Tom Green County, before venturing west to Wyoming and Utah. He met and married Viana E. Byler, who was the aunt to future female outlaw Laura Bullion. Byler died from fever less than six months into their marriage, and Carver entered into a life as an outlaw. He became involved romantically with female outlaw Josie Bassett, sister to female outlaw Ann Bassett, then later with Byler's niece, Bullion, less than a year after his wife's death. By 1896 he was riding with the "Black Jack" Ketchum gang, taking part in numerous robberies in New Mexico, and becoming friends with outlaw Ben Kilpatrick.[1]

After a failed robbery, he fled to "Robbers Roost" in Utah, where he began riding with Cassidy's Wild Bunch gang. He gained the nickname "News" for supposedly enjoying seeing his name in newspaper stories of the gang's exploits. He reportedly maintained a close relationship with Josie Bassett throughout that time. By early 1900, Carver was involved with a prostitute named Lille Davis, whom he'd met at Fannie Porters brothel in San Antonio, a place frequented by members of the Wild Bunch gang. This led to friction between him and Bullion, who in turn became involved with Kilpatrick. Within a year, Carver and Bullion were again involved romantically, and Cassidy was planning another big robbery. The gang headed north, and into Wyoming.

Laura Bullion 1893 Pinkerton mugshot


On August 29, 1900, Carver, Kid Curry, Cassidy, and the Sundance Kid robbed a Union Pacific train near Tipton, Wyoming, with a take that exceeded $30,000. The gang split up to avoid pursuing posses, and Carver fled south. Carver was later involved in the robbery of a "Great Northern" train near Wagner, Montana.

He was shot and killed in Jack Owens Bakery the night of April 2, 1901 in Sonora, Texas, by Sheriff E.S. Briant and his deputies. With guns drawn on entry, they attempted to arrest Carver and George Kilpatrick on suspicion of the murder of Oliver Thornton in Concho County. Kilpatrick made a fumbling motion and Carver's gun never cleared leather before he was shot six times. Before he died, he was heard muttering "Die game, boys!" - defiant last words that have become legend in the folklore of Wild West outlaws. Kilpatrick lived, and later cleared Carver of the murder. It was later thought that Harvey "Kid Curry" Logan was responsible for Thornton's murder.

Will Carver's grave marker only has the date he was killed. It is thought that his old friend George Hamilton of Sonora did not want to publicly admit that it was truly his old partner Will Carver, now the outlaw that was buried there.

In popular culture[edit]

References[edit]

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