Who is Glendolene Myrtle Kimmell? She defends Tom Horn’s actions in a 1904 letter to the governor of Wyoming.

John J. Tiffany II

Lyme, Connecticut

She was an intelligent, strong-willed, attractive, 22-year-old woman who stood only about 4’6” and hailed from a good family in Hannibal, Missouri. She came to Wyoming to teach school at the Nickell-Miller School at Iron Mountain. At the time, Kels Nickell and Jim Miller were feuding. Glendolene boarded with the Millers but was also friendly with the Nickells. She met Horn only once, when he visited the Miller’s place, but she apparently found him attractive and charismatic.

Kels Nickell’s son, Willie, was assassinated in 1901. Some believed Horn, intending to shoot Kels, shot Willie by mistake. After a drunken confession to lawman Joe LeFors, Horn was arrested and charged with the shooting. On October 23, 1902, he was found guilty and sentenced to hang on November 20, 1903.

During the trial, Glendolene testified for the defense, finding herself also defending her own chastity—one report claimed she was Horn’s lover, while another called her a saloon girl. She was even charged with perjury and jailed briefly.

After the verdict came in, Glendolene said Jim Miller’s son, Victor, confessed that he’d killed Willie, and that Horn’s lawyers had assured him Horn would be declared innocent—obviously a bad prediction.

You know the rest of the story. Horn was hanged, and historians still debate whether he was guilty or innocent.

As for Glendolene, she returned to her family in Hannibal, where she remained until 1913. By 1915, she moved with her widowed mother, Frances, to California. She never married. After her mother died in 1930, she lived in poverty and eventually became a ward of the state. She moved to a rest home in Long Beach, remaining there until she died in 1949 at 70. Her body is buried in an unmarked grave in Westminster, California.

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