Thanks to even more than 70 donors from Abilene and also throughout Kansas, "Shotgun" Ben Thompson’s Bulls Head Saloon Longhorn is returning to Abilene.

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“We are beyond excited to lug this distinct item of Abilene’s history ago to our community,” sassist Julie Roller Weeks, Abilene Convention & Visitors Bureau director.

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

Glover attested he purchased it from Marvin Tong. Tong was the curator of the Museum of the Great Plains in Lawton, Oklahoma. How Tong came into possession of the longhorn is unknown.

“When travellers pertained to Abilene, they desire to check out pieces from our Chisholm Trail days, this longhorn is a crucial part of informing that story,” Roller Weeks said.

Purchased in the time of the live auction on Saturday, Abilene’s donors confronted a number of various other bidders yet inevitably prevailed with a bid of $11,000.

Now, the volunteers at Old Abilene Tvery own will start work-related on a secure situation to display the longhorn’s 40” horn spread. Lowell Westfall volunteered to take a trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico to pick up the longhorn to lug it ago to Abilene. A special “initially look” reception will certainly be held for the donors at a later date. Anyone still wishing to assistance this initiative, consisting of donations for offers for the screen instance and also signage can donate online at or directly to the Community Foundation of Dickinchild County, 418 NW third Street.

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

Thanks to a Google Alert, a group of citizens are trying to carry a historic collection of longhorns ago to Abilene.

“I received a Google Alert for Abilene, Kansas and also was surprised to see an auction for a carved bull head and also longhorns from Ben Thompson’s Bulls Head Saloon,” said Julie Roller Weeks, Abilene CVB Director. 

The hand-sculpted wood bull head has actual horns and a unique location in wild west background. The piece consists of a 40” horn spreview, 30” tall, and 21” deep. It originally hung in Abilene’s Bulls Head Saloon that belonged to remarkable Old West personality “Shotgun Ben Thompson”.

The authenticity of the longhorns has been substantiated by the Kansas State Historical Society and a notarized letter attesting to its background from provided accumulated Jack Glover acsuppliers the piece.

Bulls Head Saloon

According to Abilene Historian, Michael Hook, the Bulls Head Saloon was one of the many famous saloons in Old West lore. The Bull"s Head was brought to attention by the townsindividual after a racy mural was painted on the side of the saloon. The general public outrage led marshal Wild Bill Hickok to the saloon asking the owners to change the questionable location, however owners Phil Coe and also Ben Thompkid refused. Wild Bill changed it himself and therefore started a rivalry between the 2 owners for the following few months.

In October, 150 years back, Wild Bill killed Phil Coe external of the Alamo Saloon. He also accidentally swarm and eliminated a young lawguy, Mike Williams. This is thought about Wild Bill’s last gunfight. 


Community members are being asked to donate to a unique Old Abilene Town – longhorn money at the Community Foundation of Dickinchild County to aid bid to bring ago this crucial item of background to Abilene. According to Brian Lebel’s Old West Auction, the item is valued at $6,000-$8,000. 

The live auction will take place Saturday, June 26. Community member John Kollhoff has agreed to be the community’s bidder.

If successful, the donors will certainly then assist find a suitable and also safe location to screen the longhorns. If uneffective, the donors will occupational together to recognize one more job for their cumulative docountry.

Donations must be obtained by Friday, June 25, and are considered charitable contributions. To day, almost $4,000 has been increased to lug the longhorns house.

To learn even more or donate, please visit or sfinish a inspect to the Community Foundation of Dickinchild County, 418 NW third Street, Abilene, KS 67410.

“So few artefacts remain from Abilene’s Chisholm Trail and cowboy days that this collection of longhorns requirements to go back to our community,” Roller Weeks sassist. 


Photograph 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, San Antonio, Texas.

Ben Thompkid was born in Knottingley, Yorkshire, England in 1843. His family soon relocated to Austin, Texas, where he prospered up. He came to be a professional gambler while yet a teenager and also killed a male at the young age of 17. The guy had actually been harassing a young womale, and endangered Thompkid through a knife once he faced him. Thompson was acquitted of all charges.

Thompboy served via the Confederate army during the Civil War, exiting his business via a great document. Shortly after but he was sent to priboy for murder. He conveniently escaped priboy and headed to Mexico, where he joined up through Emperor Maximilian. After the arrest of Maximillian, Thompkid returned to Texas. Shortly after getting here home he received news that his sister was being abused by her husband also. Thompchild struck his brother in regulation, shooting him in the ribs, and also was sentenced to four years in prikid.

When he was pardoned from priboy after two years, Thompboy relocated to Abilene, Kansas, on the Chisholm Trail. He opened the Bulls Head Saloon tright here with a companion, Phillip H. Coe, and flourished as the tvery own flourished due to the livestock profession. Coe was later on eliminated in a shootout through the town’s marshal, James Butler “Wild Bill” Hickok.

After the death of his partner, Thomchild relocated to another cattle tvery own, Ellsworth. Tbelow Ben’s younger brvarious other, Billy, accidentally swarm and killed the town’s sheriff in the time of a dispute through gamblers. The younger brvarious other fled the state while Ben hired a legal team for his defense. Billy was later tried and also acquitted of the killing.

Ben Thompson went back to Texas and tright here met Bat Masterboy and Doc Holliday. The Santa Fe Railmeans hired the males to guard in right-of-way disputes in Texas. At Ben Thompson’s repursuit, Masterboy saw Dodge City to assist Billy Thompkid, who had been jailed in a bar room shooting.

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After working for the railroad Thompchild went on to percreate in Bill Cody"s Wild West Show. The city of Austin, Texas, in 1881 hired Ben Thompson as city marshal. He later resigned his place as soon as he was indicted in another shooting. Soon after the resigcountry Thompson required to drinking, and also shed all popularity. He was eliminated in 1884 in a retribution shooting at the vaudeville theater in San Antonio, Texas.

Ben Thompchild said, “I constantly make it a preeminence to let the other fellow fire initially. If a guy wants to fight, I argue the question through him and also try to present him how foolish it would certainly be. If he can"t be dissuaded, why then the fun begins yet I always let him have actually initially crack. Then when I fire, you check out, I have actually the verdict of self-defence on my side. I understand that he is pretty specific in his hurry, to miss out on. I never execute.”