I am follicly challenged (ala Telly Savalas). Were there any bald-headed folks of note in the Old West?

I am follicly challenged (ala Telly Savalas). Were there any bald-headed folks of note in the Old West?

Joe Rios

Adkins, Texas

Since men covered their heads with hats back then, we tend to think they all had thick manes, but baldness was as common then as it is now. Certain famous guys, like Wild Bill Hickok and Buffalo Bill, wore their hair long (not for comb-over purposes, so far as we know).

Burt Alvord, a Willcox, Arizona, constable-turned-train robber, was bald headed. The late grassroots historian Dr. Leland Sonnichsen once quipped that if Burt would have had a thick, bushy head of hair, he’d have been right up there with other famous outlaws of the past.

For more on Alvord, read Sonnichsen’s wonderful, informal history Billy King’s Tombstone or Don Chaput’s biography Spawn Gone Wrong: The Odyssey of Burt Alvord.

What do you think?

Marshall Trimble

Marshall Trimble is Arizona’s official historian and the Wild West History Association’s vice president. His latest book is 2018’s Arizona Oddities: A Land of Anomalies and Tamales. Send your question, with your city/state of residence, to marshall.trimble@scottsdalecc.edu or Ask the Marshall, P.O. Box 8008, Cave Creek, AZ 85327.