Famous outlaws with strange noses. At least that is what I thought I might call this post.
Maybe, Flat Nose Currie and Big Nose George Parrott were not the same man would be a better title. The fact is, likely only because of their noses these two men are often mixed up, but they shouldn’t be.
George Sutherland Currie often called Flat-Nose, because of his, well, rather flat and wide nose, was a well known and somewhat written about robber in Wyoming and the old west. He mentored cold-blooded killer Harvey Logan, who took the name Kid Currie out of respect for his friend and teacher. The two robbed banks before joining Butch Cassidy and his Wild Bunch.
Big Nose George Parrott, who went by several aliases, never rode with, and never met Butch Cassidy. This is a certainty as Parrott was lynched when Butch Cassidy was still Robert LeRoy Parker, a 14-year-old, growing up in Utah.
Parrott claimed he rode with the famous James brothers, another story that has been mostly debunked. Much of the fame Big Nose George has today, is because after his death he was partially skinned with the skin being made into a medical satchel and a pair of shoes for Dr. John Osborn. Osborn who was involved in a gruesome autopsy where he and a Doctor friend searched Parrott’s brain for evidence of a criminal lobe.
Governor Osborn - Dr. Osborn, a few years later, wore the shoes to the governor's inaugural ball when he was elected Wyoming’s third governor and the first Democrat to hold the office. Osborne declined a chance to run for another two-year term and instead served as Wyoming’s representative in the 55th Congress of the United States.
So why all the above about the two outlaws? Recently I ran across a list of members of the Hole in the Wall Gang from a familiar source, one that many modern day, old west writers use in research. This was one of the listings. “George L. ‘Flat Nose’ Curry, also known as George Parrott, was a veteran bank robber. . . . . .”
And if that was not bad enough, not surprisingly, multiple sources on the web have the two mixed up. I Googled a photo of George “Flat Nose” Curry, and the first few that came up were all photos of Big Nose George.
Nope, not the same guy – fake news, er, a, fake history.