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The Life and Times of Gideon Truesdell
By Richard C. Fritz

A meticulously researched story of the life and times of Gideon Truesdell (1811–1882), who struggled to amass a fortune, only to lose everything, and had to start over in one of the roughest towns in the old Southwest, where his family became intimately acquainted with Billy the Kid.


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Newspapers of the day described young men with a burning desire to get rich on the frontier as having a bad case of “western fever,” and by 1836 Gideon Truesdell had surely caught it. He struggled with life on the frontier until he amassed a million-dollar ($68 million today) fortune in the lumber, agricultural, cattle, and mining businesses. Late in life the Chicago Fire nearly wiped him out, and at the age of sixty-three he started over in Silver City, New Mexico, in one of the roughest towns in the old west. He made a good living in the cattle business, and it was at his son’s hotel that the family became acquainted with teenager Henry Antrim, also known as Billy the Kid, who lived with them for five months. Academic scholars agree that the Truesdells knew him well, and that they liked him. When silver was discovered in Tombstone, Arizona, Gideon organized a cattle business that made him affluent. A year later, he died at the age of seventy-one after an accomplished life during a fascinating period of history.

In 1980, Richard Fritz wrote a thesis while at the University of Wisconsin that, forty-years later, became the basis of Western Fever: The Life and Times of Gideon Truesdell. He spent most of his career as the owner/operator of bowling centers, was a partner in the Kenosha Redskins semi-pro football team, an Indoor baseball franchise, and as president of Southport Properties.

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6 x 9, Illustrated
ISBN: 978-1-63293-535-9
544 pp.,$60.00

6 x 9, illustrated
ISBN: 978-1-63293-461-1
544 pp.,$48.95

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