Charles Bingham Penrose (1862-1925) was a gynecologist, surgeon, zoologist, and conservationist. He was also a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, wrote several editions of a textbook on medical problems in women, and was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences. A native of Philadelphia, Charles was the son of prominent physician and University of Pennsylvania obstetrics professor Richard Allen Fullerton (R. A. F.) Penrose Sr. Charles’ older brother was powerful U.S. Senator Boies Penrose (R-Pennsylvania). After contracting tuberculosis in 1891, Charles left his Philadelphia medical practice. On the advice of his college friend Amos Barber, who was by then the acting governor of Wyoming, Penrose came to Wyoming and Barber had him put up at the Cheyenne Club, one of the wealthiest and most exclusive establishments on the frontier. Barber encouraged Penrose to accompany the invaders in the Johnson County War to act as a physician. Charles fell behind the main group and did not participate in the actual raid on the KC Ranch but was arrested near Douglas, Wyoming, for being a member of the party. His connections with Governor Barber and his family’s political ties helped in his release and return to Philadelphia. Around 1913, he wrote an account of the Johnson County War and corresponded with others regarding the events. Correspondents included historian Grace Raymond Hebard, Amos Barber, and William C. Irvine, a stock grower and one of the leaders of the raid into Johnson County. For the last two decades of his life, Charles directed much of his attention to zoology and conservation issues.
Additional content for this collection can be found in the "Inventory for collection."
Telegram from R. H. Repath to Boies Penrose, April 13, 1892, 11:39 PM
Richard H. Repath - Wyoming Acting Governor Amos Barber's private secretary - telegraphs Charles Penrose's brother Boies that Charles has been caught up in the Invasion and has been arrested and imprisoned at Fort McKinney. Barber and Repath supported the large cattlemen behind the Invasion. Repath refers to Charles as "Charlie White" to protect Charles' identity. Repath urges Boies to come at once with a legal advisor.
Telegram from Lewin to Boies Penrose, April 14, 1892, 12:30 AM
A man with the last name of Lewin from Philadelphia (possibly an attorney) writes to Boies his opinion that U.S. authorities, not state authorities, have jurisdiction over Charles.
Telegram from Charles B. Penrose to Dr. R. A. F. Penrose, April 15, 1892, 7:56 AM(?)
Charles writes a short message to his father that he is in prison in Douglas, Wyoming, and to send him $500. His father was prominent physician and professor Dr. Richard Alexander Fullerton Penrose of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Telegram from Boies Penrose to Dr. R. A. F. Penrose, April 15, 1892, 2:30 PM
Boies, an influential Pennsylvania politician, reassures his father by saying that he has contacted the U.S. War Department and has received assurance that the Invaders will not be hurt.
Telegram from R. H. Repath to Boies Penrose, April 15, 1892, 6:44 PM
Repath writes that he is handling Charles' predicament and that Charles is not hurt. Repath notes that he has heard Charles is frightened and "talking too much," implying that Charles is revealing details about the Invasion.
Telegram from R. H. Repath to Boies Penrose, April 15, 1892, 8:49 PM
Repath informs Boies that Charles is expected in Cheyenne that night. Charles was taken from the Douglas jail and escorted to Cheyenne by a U.S. Marshal. Repath recommends Boies take no action until Charles arrives in Cheyenne.
Telegram from Lewin to Boies Penrose, April 15, 1892, 9:00 PM
Lewin informs Boies of his plans. Lewis also asks if he can help with Charles' situation in Wyoming.
Telegram from Dr. R. A. F. Penrose to Boies Penrose, April 15, 1892, 10:25 PM
R. A. F. Penrose tells his son Boies to return home to Philadelphia because a number of people have volunteered to help with Charles. He lets Boies know that Charles contacted him from Douglas.
Telegram from Boies Penrose to Dr. R. A. F. Penrose, April 15, 1892, 10:54 PM
Boies informs his father that it's best to in Washington, D.C., but he'll will return home the next day. Boies explains that he has "things at good shape at the "War Department," meaning he is helping to keep the Invaders and Charles in federal hands rather than local or state authorities. The fear was that the Invaders and Charles would be lynched if not for federal custody. Boies also informs his father that Charles is expected in Cheyenne at midnight.
Telegram from Charles B. Penrose to Dr. R. A. F. Penrose, April 15, 1892, 11:40 PM
Charles informs his father that he is on the train to Cheyenne.
Telegram from Charles B. Penrose to Boies Penrose, April 15, 1892, 11:42 PM
Charles informs Boies that he will be in Cheyenne that night and needs no assistance at present.
Telegram from telegraph office to R. A. F. Penrose, April 15, 1892, no time indicated
Telegram to Charles' father indicating that Charles has arrived in Cheyenne from Douglas.
"The Wyoming Raid," Public Ledger (Philadelphia, PA)?, April 16, 1892
The Penrose family was prominent in Philadelphia, so Charles' arrest made news in that city. The article states that Charles was ready to testify against the Invaders, a claim Charles later denied (see ah09626_021-039).
"Dr. Penrose's Peril in Wyoming," The Philadelphia Press, April 16, 1892
Another newspaper article describing Charles' arrest in Johnson County.
Telegram from Boies Penrose to Dr. R. A. F. Penrose, April 16, 1892, 10:19 AM
Boies informs his father that he'll arrive in Philadelphia that afternoon and will go straight to his office. He indicates that a legal advisor will be in Cheyenne to assist Charles.
Telegram from E. Riddle to Boies Penrose, April 16, 1892, 1:57 PM
Colleagues of Boies Penrose, such as E. Riddle, asked if they could be of help to the family regarding Charles' situation in Wyoming.
Telegram from Charles B. Penrose to Boies Penrose, April 16, 1892, 3:26 PM?
Charles lets Boies know he made it to Cheyenne and has legal representation. He notes that newspaper accounts of the Invasion are "untrue."
Telegram from Chester A. Reed to Boies Penrose, April 16, 1892, 10:15 PM
Another of Boies' friends and colleagues asks if he can be of help to the family as they deal with Charles's situation in Wyoming. The sender of the telegram, Chester A. Reed, was a prominent artist, photographer, writer and naturalist. Most likely he was a family friend.
"Dr. Penrose is Free in Cheyenne," Sunday Press (Philadelphia, PA), April 17, 1892
Newspapers in the Penrose family's home city of Philadelphia continue to follow events in Wyoming involving Charles.
Letter from Charles B. Penrose to Boies Penrose, April 17, 1892
Although still under arrest, Charles is now safely housed in the luxurious Cheyenne Club in Cheyenne, Charles writes a long letter to his brother explaining in detail his recollections and involvement in the Invasion. Original letter with transcription provided.
Telegram from The Record (Philadelphia, PA) to Boies Penrose, April 18, 1892, 12:30 PM
A reporter from the Philadelphia Record is in Cheyenne to cover Charles' court trial. The reporter informs Boies that the trial has been postponed at the state's request. The reporter also states that the "sheriff who arrested [Charles] don't [sic] think he can be held."
Letter from Charles B. Penrose to Boies Penrose, April 18, 1892
Charles writes that he is refusing reporters' interviews and asks Boies to remedy his portrayal in Eastern newspapers. Charles blames the unflattering coverage on Emerson H. Kimball, editor of the Graphic in Douglas, Wyoming and the town's deputy sheriff. Kimball held an unfriendly view of the Invaders and let his views be known in the Graphic.
"Dr. Penrose's Hearing," The Philadelphia Press, April 19, 1892
Press coverage in Philadelphia continues. This article in The Philadelphia Press pertains to Charles' habeas corpus hearing in Cheyenne. A habeas corpus hearing is to determine if a person can be legally detained. The article describes Charles' arrival in Wyoming, discusses his desire to experience the West, and notes that he did not intend to become involved in the Invasion.
"Dr. C. B. Penrose Arrives Home," The Philadelphia Press, undated
This news article relates that Charles has returned home to Philadelphia after posting bail of $1000 in Cheyenne, a small amount, the article states, in light of the murder charges and an indication that Charles will not be further charged. Charles now grants an interview to a reporter and is quoted in the article. A comparison between Charles' story to the Press and his April 17 letter to Boies (ah09626_021-039) is of interest.
Letter from Charles B. Penrose to Bob, April 22, 1892
Charles provides his friend U.S. Attorney Robert "Bob" Ralston with his version of events in the Invasion. Charles also comments on the story circulating in Wyoming that he had "poison pills" to be used against cattle rustlers and to poison water and flour. Charles explains the pills were actually a medicinal compound for washing wounds.
Letter from Charles B. Penrose to Owen Wister, May 11, 1892
Charles was friends with the novelist Owen Wister, a famous author best known for his work The Virginian, a fictionalized version of the Johnson County War published in 1902. In this letter, Charles may have inspired the most well-known line in The Virginian (son of a bitch), a particularly improper insult at the time. In this letter Charles uses the phrase frequently.
Letter from Richard H. Repath to Charles B. Penrose, June 9, 1892
Repath references Douglas Graphic Editor E. H. Kimball who was charged in June 1892 with criminal libel by prominent cattlemen and former Wyoming Territorial Governor George W. Baxter, a participant in the Invasion. Kimball claimed in May 1892 that Baxter was planning a further raid on Johnson County.
Letter from Charles B. Penrose to Owen Wister, November 19, 1913
Twenty-one years after the Johnson County War, Charles is writing a memoir of the events before he forgets too many details. He asks Wister for letters he sent to him about the Invasion.
Letter from Charles B. Penrose to William C. Irvine, November 19, 1913
Charles thanks Irvine for information he already sent about the Invasion. He goes on to ask Irvine many more questions.
Letter from William C. Irvine to Charles B. Penrose, November 21, 1913
Irvine writes to Charles in great detail of his recollections of the Invasion after the Invaders left David Robb "Bob" Tisdale's ranch.
Letter from William C. Irvine to Charles B. Penrose, December 6, 1913
Irvine provides details about the Invasion from why and how it was organized to its aftermath. He also provides a handwritten map. He mentions Ben Jones and William Walker, two trappers who were with Nate Champion and Nick Ray in the cabin when the Invaders attacked. He staunchly defends the actions of the Invaders. Original letter with transcription provided.
Letter from Amos W. Barber to Charles B. Penrose, December 10, 1913
Barber informs Charles that stenographer R. H. Repath will soon provide Charles with Barber's dictated account of the "Dinner Episode of C. A. Campbell at the Cheyenne Club and as much as I much as I remember of your arrest and “illegal” proceedings." This is the dinner referred to in item ah09626_100-101. At the time of the Invasion, Charles A. Campbell was a cattle buyer for WSGA President John Clay and was one of the Invaders.
Letter from William C. Irvine to Charles B. Penrose, December 14, 1913
Charles began writing a memoir about the Invasion for himself and friends. Irvine's informs Charles that his son wants to publish about the events and to save letters he has written to Charles so his son can have them. Original letter with transcription provided.
Letter from Charles B. Penrose to William C. Irvine, January 5, 1914
Irvine adds to his previous letter to Charles with more details about the Invasion. Irvine mentions that he is assisting Grace Raymond Hebard of the University of Wyoming with her comprehensive history of Wyoming. Original letter with transcription provided.
Letter from Charles B. Penrose to William C. Irvine, January 16, 1914
Charles writes that he does not think his memoir will interfere with Grace Raymond Hebard's history of Wyoming since it's not for publication. He asks Irvine about the book On Special Assignment by Samuel Travers Clover, a reporter from the Chicago Herald who accompanied the Invaders (more here).
Letter from William C. Irvine to Charles B. Penrose, January 22, 1914
Irvine relates that he read Sam T. Clover's book On Special Assignment (published in 1903) and was not impressed. He writes that Clover's account was self-important and untrue.
Letter from Grace Raymond Hebard to Charles B. Penrose, January 26, 1914
Historian Grace Raymond Hebard informs Charles that she is sending him her copy of On Special Assignment. She asks Charles to share his writings about the Invasion.
Letter from Charles B. Penrose to William C. Irvine, February 11, 1914
Charles asks Irvine another set of questions for his memoir. Within his series of questions, Charles alludes to Tom Horn murdering 15 people on the Invaders' hit list.
Letter from Charles B. Penrose to William C. Irvine, February 16, 1914
Charles asks Irvine about the definition of an estray and how rustlers were able to make money off the shipment of estrays.
Letter from William C. Irvine to Charles B. Penrose, February 22, 1914
Irvine answers at length the questions from Charles' letters dated Feb. 11 and 16. Original letter with transcription provided.
Manuscript titled "The Johnson County War: The Narrative of Dr. Charles Bingham Penrose" with cover letter from Penrose to A. W. Barber, March 30, 1914
Charles' draft memoir regarding the Invasion. He asks Barber for his comments.
Letter from Charles B. Penrose to William C. Irvine, July 23, 1914
Charles complains to Irvine that he sent Barber his draft memoir but has not heard back despite repeated efforts and asks Irvine to prod Barber about it if he sees him.
Letter from William C. Irvine to Charles B. Penrose, July 29, 1914
Irvine responds to Charles' letter (ah09626_151-152) writing that Barber is a procrastinator and provides an anecdote about it. Original letter with transcription provided.
Letter from William C. Irvine to Charles B. Penrose, December 11, 1914
Irvine writes, in part, that he saw Barber and found that a person who has great influence over Barber, Judge John W. Lacey (he spells the name incorrectly as "Lacy") of Cheyenne, warned Barber that printing of Charles' memoir could be detrimental to him. Original letter with transcription provided.
Letter from Amos W. Barber to Charles B. Penrose, March 1, 1915
Barber describes health issues and is at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. He remarks that Charles' account is so factual that it's best not to share it and that Judge John W. Lacey advises secrecy. Barber mentions a photo of the Invaders for which Charles is gathering names (see item ah09626_331-334). Barber has asked Elias W. "Pops" Whitcomb why he joined the Invaders and shares Whitcomb's answer. Original letter with transcription provided.
Letter from Amos W. Barber to Charles B. Penrose, March 7, 1915
Barber is still at the Mayo Clinic under treatment. Although optimistic about regaining his health, he asks Charles to help his family if he doesn't recover. He reiterates that Charles' manuscript will be important for history, but it not be shared or published. Original letter with transcription provided.
Telegram from A. K. Barber to Charles B. Penrose, May 19, 1915
Telegram from Barber's wife Amelia Kent Barber informing Charles that her husband died the previous night.
Papers from the desk of Amos W. Barber sent to Charles B. Penrose
Document listing titles of cases brought in District Court for Laramie County regarding the Invasion. The document was sent to Charles from Barber's wife after her husband's death. The list of names (some are pseudonyms) includes Frank Canton, one of the Invasion leaders. Although Johnson County prosecutors gathered evidence and intended to file a number of indictments against those involved in the Invasion, most of the invaders were released on bail.
Photograph with handwritten and typed identifications of the Invaders
Photograph of the Invaders with handwritten and typewritten identifications. The document with typewritten identifications is dated October 1936. Charles Penrose died in 1925, thus this document appears to postdate him.
Photograph with handwritten numbered identifications of the Invaders
Photograph of the Invaders with handwritten identifications.