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About Etta Place

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There is a lot of speculation and suggestion surrounding the life and death of Etta Place. Many historians have tried to verify hard facts about her, but many just present different theories regarding her life and ultimate fate. However, one thing is for certain – Etta Place remains the mystery woman of the Wild Bunch.

  • Sources claim she was born out of wedlock to an American mother and an English father named George Capel, alias George Ingerfield. Ingerfield was also one of the numerous aliases used by Butch Cassidy. (Carl W. Breihan, Lawmen and Robbers, p. 73.)
  • Etta was known for her classic good looks, which did not fit the pattern of the typical outlaw’s moll. (Richard F. Selcer, Hell’s Half Acre, p.250.)
  • She was a Fort Worth wife and schoolteacher before she met the Sundance Kid at a community dance. (The Good Housekeeping Woman’s Almanac, p. 501.)
  • Some stories claim Etta was a housekeeper in Fannie Porter’s sporting house before running off with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. (Richard F. Selcer, Hell’s Half Acre, p. 250.)
  • When Etta learned that the robbery of a Union Pacific train outside of Tipton, Wyoming, netted Butch and Sundance only $50, she decided to assume responsibility for future heists. In 1901, pursued by the law, she left with them for South America; in Argentina, the trio stole almost $30,000. (The Good Housekeeping Woman’s Almanac, p. 501.)
  • Most authorities agree that Butch and Sundance met their end in South America, shot down by Bolivian soldiers. However, recent research finds that Butch and Sundance might have slipped back into the United States after a few years and lived out the rest of their lives out west somewhere. (Richard F. Selcer, Hell’s Half Acre, p. 264.)
  • Etta Place returned to the United States, with or without Sundance, in 1907. Thereafter, she lived out her life as a schoolteacher, in Denver or in Marion, Oregon. (Richard F. Selcer, Hell’s Half Acre, p. 265.)
  • The most absorbing legend about Etta Place has her dying in Fort Worth, the victim of a fire in a run-down boarding house that she owned and operated under the alias Eunice Gray. (Delbert Willis, “Woman Dies of Fire in Small E. 15th Hotel,” Fort Worth Press, January 26, 1962, p. 1.)
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