Tom Horn Testifies at The Inquest

This post is a part of our series on Tom Horn – full collection of links at the bottom of the page.

“My occupation is that of a detective…”

Tom Horn was called to the stand on Friday, August 9, 1901.

STOLL. State your name, occupation and residence.
HORN. My name is Tom Horn; I suppose my occupation is that of a detective, as near as I can get at it. When I am at home I reside at Mr. Coble’s ranch in Albany County; that has been my home for a number of years.
STOLL. Mr. Horn, we understand that you have been up around this section of the country a good deal and have laid around the hills a good deal of the time and have had an opportunity to observe people, things etc. We would like know if there is anything you can tell us about the killing of Willie Nickell. If you saw anything or recollect around there at that time?
HORN: I was in the country just prior to the killing of that kid a day or two.
STOLL. Do you know what day he was killed?
HORN: No, I do not.
STOLL. It was Thursday the eighteenth of July?
HORN. Now, I will tell you I don’t know about the dates, but I know on Monday of the week on which he was killed, on Monday morning, whatever date that was, I left Billy Clay’s….

Billy Clay’s place, where Tom Horn frequently stopped (author’s photos)

I went over to Miller’s ranch…. I went to the head of a hay valley this Monday and went to Miller’s ranch Monday night.
“…my business was ended…”

I was there all day Tuesday, and on Tuesday I went up [i.e., to the west] to the head of the creek that Miller lives on. Passed down to where Nickell [might have] had his sheep in Johnny Coble’s pasture. I went up there and found they hadn’t [the sheep had not gone into Coble’s pasture] and my business was ended. I went back to the Miller’s ranch and stayed there again that night. That was Tuesday night; I left there Wednesday morning.

STOLL. The kid was killed Thursday, did you say?
HORN. Yes, sir. I left there Wednesday morning; it was along before the middle of the forenoon after I got breakfast.
STOLL. Up to this time did you see any stranger in that locality, anybody riding along?
HORN. No, sir.
STOLL. Did you know Willie Nickell yourself?
HORN. I don’t believe I ever saw him. I know Nick [Kels] very well himself but I don’t think I ever saw any member of his family, only at a distance.
STOLL. Are you acquainted with the Miller family?
HORN. The family I do not know at all, only as I met them that night. I met Jim Miller before over on the [Laramie] Plains. I met him one evening, he and Whitman. Coble and myself got there in the springtime ?? the river was up pretty well ?? and went over to the Bosler Station to get a barrel of beer. We got it and came back. That was the first time I ever see him. He invited me to visit if I ever come through that part of the country. I happened to have a little business in there and I called….

Left, interior of an old saloon in Bosler. Right, Bosler Station depot (author’s photos).

STOLL. When you went away Wednesday, which way did you go?
HORN. I went down the river [toward the southeast] and up to what we call Colcord Place [a pasture owned by the Two Bar, one?half mile east of Nickell’s land]. I thought maybe the sheep might be in there. I pulled across through the hills over on the head of the Sybille. This is the time [of year] you shift the cows outside…. I have been doing that except six or seven days. I was [going] in[to] Laramie to see Colonel Bill [sic]….

This essay was originally published on Chip Carlson’s personal website, which has since expired, and is re-published here as a way to preserve some of the content of this historical figure. If you would like to continue learning about Tom Horn, please explore the links below. If you’d like to read the complete story, and help to support the author, his book can be purchased here.

More about Tom Horn:

Tom Horn (main page)

The Tom Horn Story (summary)



“Bound To See Trouble”

A Pinkerton’s Agent

The Langhoff Gang

April, 1895

The Killing of William E. Lewis

Murder of Fred Powell

The Wilcox Train Robbery

Murder for Welfare

“More Trouble Ahead”

Killing of Willie Nickell

Glendolene M. Kimmell

Tom Horn Testifies

A Confession?

Tom Horn’s Trial

Tom Horn Hanged

About Chip Carlson (author)

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