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Dart, Isom (1848–03 October 1900), black cowboy and rustler, also known as Ned Huddleston, was born in Arkansas. Dart’s early life is an enigma. Biographical accounts give a lively “Wild West” picture of an itinerant cowboy and occasional gang member based on legend and folklore. What is known is that sometime in the mid-1880s, Dart settled in Brown’s Hole, an isolated area where the borders of Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah meet. He worked initially for the Middlesex Land and Cattle Company but later found gainful employment on the Bassett Ranch....

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Mandelbaum, Fredericka (27 February 1827–26 February 1894), criminal entrepreneur, was born Friederike Weisner in Hessen-Kassel, Germany to Regine (Rahel Lea) Weisner (nee Solling) and Samuel Abraham Weisner, a merchant. Their occupations are unknown. Nothing specific is known of her early life and education....

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Murrell, John Andrews (1806?–01 November 1844), archcriminal according to legend but in reality a minor thief, was born in Lunenburg County, Virginia, and raised from infancy in Williamson County, Tennessee, the son of Jeffrey Murrell and Zilpha Andrews, farmers. He was the third of eight children; his three brothers also became felons, and at least one sister married a criminal. The reasons for this moral collapse are obscure. Jeffrey Murrell was a respectable, hard-working farmer who owned 146 acres and as many as three slaves. His estate, however, was frittered away in court costs, confiscated bail money, and other expenses connected to the villainy of his sons. Shortly after his death in 1824 the family was reduced to penury....

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Railroad Bill (?–07 March 1896), thief and folk hero, was the nickname of an African-American man of such obscure origins that his real name is in question. Most writers have believed him to be Morris Slater, but a rival candidate for the honor is an equally obscure man named Bill McCoy. But in song and story, where he has long had a place, the question is of small interest and Railroad Bill is name enough. A ballad regaling his exploits began circulating among field hands, turpentine camp workers, prisoners, and other groups from the black underclass of the Deep South, several years before it first found its way into print in 1911. A version of this blues ballad was first recorded in 1924 by ...

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Wyman, Seth (04 March 1784–02 April 1843), thief and author, was born in Goffstown, New Hampshire, the son of Seth Wyman and Sarah Atwood, farmers. Wyman documented his life and career in his posthumously published autobiography, The Life and Adventures of Seth Wyman, Embodying the Principal Events of a Life Spent in Robbery, Theft, Gambling, Passing Counterfeit Money …...