Our readers remind us of the variables and vagaries of historic truths, “well-established” facts, headlines and historical photographs.
A Case of Mistaken Identity
I enjoyed your recent cover story (September 2020) on Alchesay. Corydon Cooley was my great grandfather and through his wife, Mollie, I am related to Alchesay. I wanted to let you know that Alchesay is misidentified in the small photo with Corydon Cooley that is included in John Langellier’s article “A Man for All Seasons.”
I know this because that photograph belonged to my grandmother and was passed down to me. I donated the only original tintype to the Arizona Historical Society in Tucson several years ago. I gave a digital copy to the Pinetop-Lakeside Historical Society Museum along with other old family photos. I see that you credited the Navajo County Library. I don’t know how, but they somehow got copies of all the photos I shared with the Pinetop-Lakeside Museum. They have since posted them on their website, with false information in some cases.
For your records, you should know that only two people in the photo that you used in the article have been positively identified. [They are] Corydon Cooley (top left) and Captain George M. Randall (with big mustache and wearing a sombrero). The others pictured are unknown, but I will say that, after comparing other pictures, I have speculated that the man next to Cooley in the uniform jacket could be Alchesay’s brother Petone. It is definitely not Alchesay.
Lonnie A. West (Mesa, Arizona)
Mr. West, bravo on several counts. First and foremost, your informative letter is a cautionary tale about relying on the information provided on the internet, even if it is from an historical society. Not only should the institution have been more careful to avoid posting an inaccurate description, but they should not have made copies for use by another institution, which uploaded erroneous details on the web. More to the point, shame on us for taking the information at face value without confirming its accuracy. We appreciate you taking the time to provide these corrections and confirming Corydon Colley and George Morton Randall of the 23rd U.S. Infantry appear in this extraordinary tintype.
John Langellier, Tucson, Arizona
Author of “A Man for All Seasons,”
True West, September 2020
The December Dude
I must say that the “Dude” on the December cover doesn’t seem authentic. His beard is too trim. And there is no bear grease on his jacket; also, no scars on his face. I suggest a contest asking readers to submit their image of a mountain man.
The Dude’s face is too darn pretty.
While we don’t completely disagree with your assessment
of ZS Liang’s painting Mountain Man, we do love your idea of readers submitting their image of a mountain man. They can
be sent to the editor at
stuart@twmagcom. We will publish our favorites in the October 2021 Western art issue.
On page 77 of the December 2020 issue the Magoffin Home was incorrectly listed as a state historic site to visit in San Elizario, Texas, when in fact it is located in El Paso; on page 43 of the January 2021 issue, the date in the caption referring to the 50th Reunion of the Battle of Little Bighorn should have read June 24, 1926; on page 92 in the January 2021 issue, the Best Living History Farm Museum, Grand Encampment, Wyoming, listing contained an incorrect description. It should have read:
Dedicated to the history of the Upper North Platte Valley, the Grand Encampment Museum is home to one of the finest collections of pioneer buildings in the state of Wyoming. A tour of the living history museum and the 12 historic structures tells the region’s rich history of ranching, timber and copper mining. Visitors who tour will also learn about day-to-day life and the cultural heritage of the Encampment area pioneers.