Black Bart

When I was a kid my grandfather lived with us and often told us stories about his youth and childhood growing up in San Francisco in the 1800s.

Gramp (as we called him) had worked for Wells Fargo Railway Express in San Francisco and had often heard the detective Harry Morse tell visitors in the lunch room about how he had caught the bandit, Black Bart.

This week I bought the book, Black Bart Boulevardier Bandit by George Hoeper, and enjoyed reading it.

My grandfather had told us the detective who had caught Black Bart had done so by finding a shirt cuff with a laundry mark and tracing it through the laundry in San Francisco used by that outlaw. Back in that time laundry was done by hand and people wore the same clothes all week, except for Sundays. Men’s shirts had detachable collars and shirt cuffs that were changed every day to look clean.

Other things I’d read about Black Bart had said the detective had found the laundry mark on a handkerchief. This book says Harry Morse had found both shirt cuffs and a handkerchief with the laundry mark. That is probably correct.

I once knew a kid who turned out to have an anti-social personality disorder. In other words, he was a psychopath. Hoeper’s book shows that Black Bart had similar personality traits.

I wish George Hoeper was still alive so I could tell him how much I enjoyed his book.

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Janet Ann Collins