Monday, March 20, 2006

Orphans Preferred

The ad in the California newspaper read: ”Wanted. Young skinny, wiry fellows. Not over 18. Must be expert riders. Willing to risk death daily. Orphans preferred.”

The pay was $100 a month.

At age 11, Charlie Miller became the youngest person ever to ride for the Pony Express and he lived to be one of the last. He was, in his day, the West’s most famous bronco buster and carried his prowess across the ocean when he went to England with Buffalo Bill to display his horsemanship before Queen Victoria, the crowned heads of Europe, and Li Hung Chang of China.

He also met General Custer in North Dakota in 1876, visited with Chief Joseph, of the Nez Perce Indians, got shot in a saloon at Butte, showed General U.S. Grant how to bust a bronco, was scolded by a young rancher named "Teddy" Roosevelt, rode with Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show and, at age 68, he lied about his age to join Queen Mary’s 18th Hussars and rode in World War I.

Such was the life of Broncho Charlie.

We have his autobiography, as told to Gladys Shaw Erskine on the terrace of her Manhattan penthouse, up for auction on Ebay this week. Please click the "Our Ebay Auctions" link on the sidebar for more information.

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