Robert Leroy Parker’s teenage years transpired on this homestead. Born on Friday, April 13, 1866, he would become known as the infamous Butch Cassidy. Butch’s parents, Maximillian and Annie Parker, moved Butch and his five younger siblings to this homestead when he was thirteen years old. Maxi and Ann had thirteen children total, and Butch started working to help provide for the family at thirteen years old.
In 1879 when the Parker family bought the homestead, there was already a two-room cabin on the property. As the family grew, Maxi added a kitchen on the east side and two bedrooms on the south side, expanding the house to its current size. The Parkers covered the ceiling in white cloth to make it feel less rugged. Each year, they also cleaned the homemade rag carpets and replaced the straw padding underneath them.
Though there was much hard work to be done, the Parkers still made time to have fun together. Butch, or Bob as his siblings called him, loved to take the children on pony rides or invent new games to play. They also shared a love for music, and Butch would often accompany everyone’s singing with his harmonica. There was also a fair amount of mischief. Once, Ann came home and noticed that the chickens were acting funny; reeling and stumbling around the yard. After some investigation, she figured out that the children had stolen some of their neighbor’s wine and filled pans with it for the chickens to drink.
Butch’s religious and family-centered upbringing does not match the typical origin story of an Old West outlaw. His grandparents were Mormon pioneers who crossed the plains in handcart and wagon train companies to follow their faith. But Butch started finding excuses not to go to church at a young age. Then he began to rub shoulders with outlaws like Mike Cassidy when he started working at Jim Marshall’s ranch located twelve miles south of Circleville. Mike took Butch under his wing and taught him about handling horses and guns. Butch looked up to Mike and many believe that Butch took his alias from this outlaw and cattle rustler. When Butch turned eighteen, he decided he didn’t want to scrap out a living in Circleville and wanted to go somewhere to get, “hard, solid gold.” When some thieves stole cattle in the area, Butch signed a false bill of sale and took the blame, riding out of town the day before it became known to the public. He left the homestead on an early April morning in 1884, leaving his mother to hold back his dog while he rode off on his mare Babe and lead his young colt Cornish. He sent money home often for the first few years and is considered one of the most well-liked and respected outlaws of the Old West.