Beginning in California in the 1830s flying dragons have been a fixture in the West. They appear to be an amalgamation of western European and Native American lore. There’ve been flying crocadiles, dog-headed monsters, dinosaur-like and various sundry flying amphibious monsters.
The Tombstone Epitaph ran an article on April 26th, 1890 about two cowboys out in the desert between the Huachuca and Whetstone Mountains who came upon a “winged monster resembling a huge alligator with an extremely elongated tail and an immense pair of wings.” The creature could only fly short distances so the cowboys chased it for several miles and finally got close enough to shoot it. The wounded dragon then turned on them but was too exhausted to make a fight and they finished it off with their Winchesters.
The creature’s snake-like body was 4 feet wide and was 92 feet long with a wingspan of 160 feet. Its head was 8 feet long and was said to resemble an alligator. The eyes were large as dinner plates. The beak was about eight feet long had sharp teeth and the feet had huge claws. To prove their claim they cut off a wing tip to prove they weren’t spoofing. The newspaper reported the creature’s corpse was to be sent to a museum. But there never was a follow up to this bizarre story and no photograph ever produced.