Thanks to much more than 70 donors indigenous Abilene and throughout Kansas, "Shotgun" Ben Thompson’s Bulls Head Saloon Longhorn is return to Abilene.

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“We are beyond excited to lug this unique piece that Abilene’s background back to our community,” said Julie Roller Weeks, Abilene Convention & tourists Bureau director.

According come a signed record from the late Jack Glover, an old west collector and also its most recent owner, the bull head is native the saloon that belonged to “Shotgun Ben Thompson” in Abilene, Kansas. The name of the saloon to be the “Bull Head” and was headquarters for the drovers that trailed cattle from Texas to Kansas in the critical 1860s and 1870s.

Glover attested the purchased that from Marvin Tong. Tong to be the curator of the Museum of the an excellent Plains in Lawton, Oklahoma. Exactly how Tong came right into possession the the longhorn is unknown.

“When visitors concerned Abilene, they desire to view pieces from our Chisholm follow days, this longhorn is crucial part of telling that story,” Roller weeks said.

Purchased during the live auction on Saturday, Abilene’s donors challenged several various other bidders but ultimately dominated with a bid of $11,000.

Now, the volunteers at Old Abilene city will start work on a secure case to display the longhorn’s 40” horn spread. Lowell Westfall volunteered to travel to Santa Fe, brand-new Mexico to choose up the longhorn to carry it earlier to Abilene. A special “first look” reception will be held for the donors at a later on date. Anyone still wishing to support this effort, consisting of donations for provides for the screen case and signage can donate digital at or straight to the Community structure of Dickinson County, 418 NW 3rd Street.

“The community rallied about this effort to preserve and promote our history,” Roller mainly said. “It’s a great day in Abilene!”

Thanks come a Google Alert, a team of citizens are trying to carry a historic set of longhorns back to Abilene.

“I obtained a Google Alert because that Abilene, Kansas and also was surprised to watch an auction for a carved bull head and longhorns indigenous Ben Thompson’s Bulls Head Saloon,” claimed Julie Roller Weeks, Abilene CVB Director. 

The hand-carved wooden bull head has real horns and a special ar in wild west history. The piece is composed of a 40” horn spread, 30” tall, and also 21” deep. It originally hung in Abilene’s Bulls Head Saloon the belonged to remarkable Old West personality “Shotgun Ben Thompson”.

The authenticity of the longhorns has actually been substantiated by the Kansas State Historical culture and a notarized letter attesting to its history from noted collected Jack Glover accompanies the piece.

Bulls Head Saloon

According come Abilene Historian, Michael Hook, the Bulls Head Saloon was one of the most famous saloons in Old West lore. The Bull"s Head was lugged to attention by the townsfolk after a racy mural to be painted on the side of the saloon. The public outrage led marshal Wild bill Hickok to the saloon asking the owner to transform the questionable area, however owners Phil Coe and Ben Thompson refused. Wild Bill changed it himself and thus began a rivalry between the 2 owners for the next couple of months.

In October, 150 year ago, Wild Bill eliminated Phil Coe external of the Alamo Saloon. He also accidentally shot and also killed a young lawman, Mike Williams. This is considered Wild Bill’s last gunfight. 


Community members space being asked to donate come a unique Old Abilene town – longhorn fund at the Community structure of Dickinson ar to assist bid to bring ago this vital piece of background to Abilene. Follow to Brian Lebel’s Old West Auction, the item is valued at $6,000-$8,000. 

The live auction will certainly take location Saturday, June 26. Ar member john Kollhoff has actually agreed to it is in the community’s bidder.

If successful, the donors will then help find a an ideal and safe place to screen the longhorns. If unsuccessful, the donors will work-related together come identify one more project for their cumulative donation.

Donations must be obtained by Friday, June 25, and are considered charitable contributions. To date, nearly $4,000 has actually been raised to lug the longhorns home.

To learn more or donate, you re welcome visit or send a inspect to the Community structure of Dickinson County, 418 NW 3rd Street, Abilene, KS 67410.

“So few artifacts stay from Abilene’s Chisholm Trail and also cowboy days that this set of longhorns needs to go back to our community,” Roller main said. 


Photo credit: Brian Lebel’s Old West Auction.




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About Shotgun Ben Thompson

From the Kansas State historical Society

Born: November 2, 1843, West Yorkshire, England. Died: march 11, 1884, mountain Antonio, Texas.

Ben Thompson to be born in Knottingley, Yorkshire, England in 1843. His family members soon moved to Austin, Texas, whereby he prospered up. He came to be a skilled gambler while yet a teenager and also killed a guy at the young period of 17. The man had actually been harassing a young woman, and also threatened Thompson with a knife as soon as he faced him. Thompson was acquitted of all charges.

Thompson served with the Confederate military during the civil War, exiting his company with a an excellent record. Quickly after but he was sent to prison for murder. He quickly escaped prison and headed to Mexico, whereby he joined up v Emperor Maximilian. After the arrest of Maximillian, Thompson went back to Texas. Quickly after showing up home he got news the his sister to be being abused by she husband. Thompson attacked his brothers in law, shoot him in the ribs, and also was sentenced to 4 years in prison.

When he to be pardoned from prison after 2 years, Thompson relocated to Abilene, Kansas, ~ above the Chisholm Trail. He opened up the Bulls Head Saloon there v a partner, Phillip H. Coe, and prospered together the city grew as result of the livestock trade. Coe to be later killed in a shootout through the town’s marshal, James servant “Wild Bill” Hickok.

After the fatality of his partner, Thomson relocated to one more cattle town, Ellsworth. There Ben’s younger brother, Billy, coincidentally shot and killed the town’s sheriff during a dispute with gamblers. The younger brother fled the state when Ben rental a legal team because that his defense. Billy was later on tried and acquitted that the killing.

Ben Thompson returned to Texas and there met Bat Masterson and Doc Holliday. The Santa Fe Railway rental the men to safety in right-of-way problems in Texas. At Ben Thompson’s request, Masterson visited Dodge City to aid Billy Thompson, who had actually been jailed in a bar room shooting.

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After working for the railroad Thompson walk on to carry out in bill Cody"s Wild West Show. The city that Austin, Texas, in 1881 hired Ben Thompson as city marshal. He later resigned his position as soon as he was indicted in another shooting. Quickly after the resignation Thompson took to drinking, and also lost all popularity. He was eliminated in 1884 in a retribution shooting at the vaudeville theatre in mountain Antonio, Texas.

Ben Thompson said, “I always make that a dominance to permit the other fellow fire first. If a man wants come fight, i argue the question with the and try to present him just how foolish it would certainly be. If that can"t it is in dissuaded, why then the fun begins but I constantly let that have very first crack. Then as soon as I fire, friend see, I have the decision of self-defence on mine side. I understand that that is pretty particular in his hurry, come miss. I never do.”