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 Albert John Bothwell

Albert John Bothwell

Galena, Jo Daviess County, Illinois, USA
Death 1 Mar 1928 (aged 74)
Los Angeles County, California, USA
Burial Inglewood, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Memorial ID 97354006 · View Source
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Albert J. is the other really bad guy in the family. Born about 1854 in Illinois, he was still at home in Dubuque when his brothers went off to seek their fortunes - but he didn't let his late start handicap him. By 1880, he was in Colorado, calling himself a stockman. He apparently had over 1000 acres in Colorado and Wyoming, and he, alas, was the model for the bad guy in the movie Shane.

1880 Colorado - Custer - Wet Mountain p. 313 (ED33, pl 39) - 18 June line 8 30-31
Bothwell, Albert wm 26 stockman Ia Ia Ia

In 1880, Albert's property in Custer Co. was on the delinquent tax rolls to be put up for sale. Two years later, Charles' property in Custer Co. went on the same list. Don't know what happened in either case. Albert moved north to Wyoming where he became a successful cattle rancher and lynch mob leader and traveled quite a bit from his ranch on the Sweetwater, near Rawlings, to Denver.

It was in 1889 that he led the gang that lynched Jim Averill and Ella Watson (Cattle Kate)# 57378038. There are several websites devoted to this affair.

This one is a brief summary
This one is a longer summary, written by George W. Hufsmith who also wrote a book called The Lynching of Cattle Kate
This one is by a great nephew of Ella Watson - it has pictures (of the area) and a very detailed account.

Watson and Averill homesteaded on land that Albert had been using to graze his cattle. He tried several times to buy them out, but they refused. Then Watson made the mistake of buying some cattle of her own. Albert used them as a causus belli: he claimed she had stolen them. And we all know what happens to cattle rustlers.

from brother Kearney: Albert was arrested, but the county prosecutor ruled the original inquest illegal and a second inquest turned the matter over to the courts. A grand jury was convened in Oct. 1889 to investigate the lynchings but since by then all the witnesses had died or disappeared, the jury was dismissed and the defendants freed with no charges. No trial was ever held. Bothwell added the homestead of Jim and Ella to his ranch and later went on to become a member of the Executive Committee of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association. In later newspaper accounts, Ella became "Cattle Kate" and the whole affair was part of the background incorporated into the plot of the movie "Shane."

In 1891, he was in Connecticut where he married his wife, Margaret Gray, widow of Henry S. Church, an employee of Albert's who died in Cheyenne in 1885 leaving her with two chldren, ages 2 and 4. The moved back to the ranch in Wyoming shortly after the wedding and Albert soon took up with his housekeeper, Alice E. Wadsworth, who presented him with twin daughters in 1906. Margaret filed for divorce in Denver in 1908 and finally received it in 1910. Albert fought it tooth and nail -- primarily to keep her from getting any of his land/money, which it appears he did successfully. Margaret apparently had left Albert by 1906 and moved to New York where she was prominent in The New Thought Federation (she was a member of the executive committee in 1904) and ran a company called The Progressive Literature Co.

1900 Colorado - Arapahoe - Denver 9th ward (SD 24 ED 72 Sheet 3 stamped 68) 4 June
1560 Lincoln Ave - several families - line 6
Bothwell, Albert J head wm Feb 18, 1854 46 m9 Il Ire Can stock grower 0months unemp.
Margaret G wife wf May 24, 1868 m20(crossed out)9 2ch/2liv Oh Ky Pa
Church, Katherine G step-daughter May 6, 1881 19s NY NY OH
Henry S stepson April 12, 1883 17s NY NY OH

1902-3 Denver City Directory
Albert J. Bothwell, president of the Western Breeders Association, residence 1601 Franklin, Denver.

I can't find him in 1910, but in 1920 he is in California with two young daughters:

1920 California - Los Angeles - Los Angeles SD8, ED228, Sheet 12b? - 13 Jan
Bothwell Albert J mw64 wd. Iowa unknown unknown no occ
Edith 13 daughter, Missouri, Iowa, unknown
Ada 13 daughter ditto
The daughters are in Missouri in 1910, but with no sign of Albert around. They are boarders.
1910 Missouri Holt Benton Twp - Bothwell Ada and Edith both 4 - boarders

Albert died 1 March 1928 in Los Angeles County, California. According to Hufsmith: A story persists around the valley today that Al Bothwell died utterly insane. Maybe it's wishful thinking - maybe it's not! I have found evidence either way. He was still trying to accumulate property until the very end. His final land acquisition was back in Colorado: 80 acres in Weld County on 1 Feb 1928 (doc# not given) - this was just a month before his death (although I have not confirmed his death date).

Family Members






  • Created by: Cindy Lopez
  • Added: 18 Sep 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 97354006
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Albert John Bothwell (14 Feb 1854–1 Mar 1928), Find A Grave Memorial no. 97354006, citing Inglewood Park Cemetery, Inglewood, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Cindy Lopez (contributor 47294034) .