Valley County Historical Society / For The Courier
Hugh Calderwood, right, one of this area's early deputy sheriffs, became know for shooting the infamous Pigeon-Toed Kid. A family has placed the gun believed to have killed The Kid on display at Valley County Pioneer Museum.
The recent Courier photo of Hugh Calderwood (Yesterday's Courier Memories, July 31), early lawman and philosopher, brings to mind a new acquisition of an old gun at the Valley County Pioneer Museum.
Calderwood sold a Luger pistol, purportedly the one that killed The Pigeon-Toed Kid at Bonnabel’s Ranch on Poplar Creek near Richland in North Valley County in 1908, to a local young man in the mid-1930s. That family has now placed the Luger on display in the museum’s law enforcement exhibit.
Corroborating the story is the transcript of the Coroner’s Inquest of the death of the Pigeon-Toed Kid. That transcript, provided by current Valley County Sheriff Glen Meier, is added provenance to the oft-told legend surrounding the death of the young outlaw.
Of especial interest is the transcript itself, replete with the names of the jurors impaneled, the interrogators and the witnesses. Called to testify were those present at Bonnabel’s that fateful day in May: Bonnabel, Maxwell, Merch, Baker.
Lawmen who appeared included Sheriff S. C. Small, Deputy Sheriff Sid Bennett, and Hugh Calderwood, who identified himself as a rancher deputized by Sheriff Small.
R.W. Getty, M.D., coroner of Valley County presided over the proceedings, with questions also proffered by Mr. Slattery, evidently an assistant to the coroner. (Mrs. Slattery’s Emporium was an early Glasgow business.) The jurors were free to interrogate directly and often did.
The jurors, many still recognizable community names, included W.C. Beede, clerk of District Court; foreman H.D. Coleman (Coleman Hotel); George Klein (Klein Street still exists north of the tracks); C.R. St. Clair, longtime jeweler; dairyman C.S. Hurd; J.E. Dawson (think of the county); and an M.J. Peters.
This document – and others – offers ample substantiation to the story. The curious minded are invited to come and glean even more interesting details – and look at the gun that shot The Kid.