The Wild West has always been depicted as rugged and action-packed, with cowboys who worked before the sun came up and after the sun went down. Various movies have shown their versions of various characters, shootouts, and robberies. There is always something new to learn about the Wild West, so check out five fun facts about the Wild West that we discovered.
1. Camels once roamed Texas plains
In 1856, the U.S. Camel Corps was an experiment by the United States Army. They suggested using camels as pack animals in the Southwest, which the Army declined. Shortly after the Civil War started, this experiment was abandoned. Any and all camels were sold at auctions.
2. The California Gold Rush wasn’t the first in America
1799 – in Cabarrus County, North Carolina, a young boy found a gold nugget while fishing on his property. When he showed his father, they were unsure as to what it was. It wasn’t until a few years later that he took it to a jeweler. After he sold it, he learned its true value and began searching for more gold on his property, successfully finding more pieces.
The second major gold rush was in Georgia, in 1828. It is unclear as to who made the first discovery, but many claims came from Northern Georgia and soon, many prospectors were flocking to find the gold. Eventually, in the East in White County, more gold was being found in creeks and rivers.
The famous California Gold Rush occurred in 1848 at Sutter’s Mill. James Wilson Marshall was constructing a saw mill along the American River when he found gold. Although he discovered it in January, no one believed the account at first. It wasn’t until May of 1848 when a store keeper brandished bottles with gold dust that thousands made their way to California to get their gold.
3. The Oldest Settlement in the US is Acoma Pueblo
Jamestown was settled in 1607 but Acoma Pueblo in New Mexico has been established since 1150 A.D., making it the oldest community in North America that has been continuously inhabited. It is a federally recognized Indian Tribe, home to 4,800 tribal members, and is known as their “Sky City”.
4. Elmer McCurdy’s body traveled more in death than in life
During his first train robbery, Elmer McCurdy only escaped with less than $500, causing his partners to drop him. After finding another group to run with, he was shot dead during another robbery. No on claimed the body so the funeral home owner decided to claim him, embalm the body, and turn him into a display piece. In 1916, someone impersonating a relative of McCurdy’s was able to take the body and put it on display. This started the journey his body took, being passed from shows to carnivals. After enough moving around, people seemed to forget that this was the real body of Elmer McCurdy and not a prop. It wasn’t until December of 1976, during an episode shoot of “The Six Million Dollar Man”, that people discovered it was a real body. His body was finally laid to rest in April of 1977.
5. The famous O.K. Corral Shootout wasn’t much of a shootout
The well-known shootout occurred between the Earp Brothers – Morgan, Virgil, Wyatt – Doc Holliday, Billy Claireborne, Billy and Ike Clanton, and Frank and Tom McLaury. It has been discovered that this ‘major shootout’ only lasted thirty seconds and it wasn’t at the O.K. Corral at all. But, it was close. This gunfight occurred near the intersection of Third Street an Freemont Street in Tombstone, Arizona. Although, there still was a lot of bloodshed, as three lawmen were injured and three cowboys were killed.
The Wild West is Full of Fun Facts
There is always something new that we can discover about the Wild West. Each new detail gives us a better ideas as to how it used to be. Some fun facts are gross, like poor Elmer McCurdy, and some are downright interesting, like the U.S. Camel Corps.