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Historic Unedited Photos They Don't Want You To See
Publication: Historical Archives. Posted by
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Entertainment
Historic Unedited Photos They Don't Want You To See
Publication: Historical Archives.
Posted by
760a631d0dea2ae92cb6e9f7b157b927
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Rose Dunn

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Where:
Unknown
When:
Late 1800s
Summary:
Rose Dunn became involved with a group of outlaws as a teenager, elevating her as a legend of the Old West
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Rose Dunn


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  Where:
Unknown

  When:
Late 1800s

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People in the old west seemed to have much better nicknames, and that includes Rose Dunn, who was known more as Rose of the Cimarron. Born in Oklahoma and raised in Kansas, Dunn could hand with all of the other cowboys of the old west and developed quite a reputation for herself.

Dunn was born in 1878, and when she was just around 14 years old started a relationship with the notorious gangster George “Bittercreek” Newcomb. The gang, known as the Doolin Gang, quickly grew to like Dunn and made her one of her own. She joined in the action as the gang would rob both banks and stagecoaches, putting her life on the line multiple times during shootouts.

There are conflicting reports regarding just exactly how much danger she got herself into, but some accounts have painted Dunn as one of the most daring outlaws of the old west. After one particular shootout, Newcomb was injured and the gang had to go into hiding for months, with Dunn serving as the nurse to the wounded members.

Dunn’s first relationship wouldn’t last long, as just two years after being involved with Newcomb, her life would take a dramatic turn. Newcomb’s actions caused a large bounty of $5,000 (which would be well over $125,000 in today’s money) to be placed on his head. The bounty said that Newcomb was wanted either dead or alive, and it was Dunn’s own family that would claim that bounty.

When Newcomb and fellow gangster Charley Pierce went to Dunn’s house to visit her, Dunn’s two outlaw brothers came by as well. They would shoot both of the gang members and claim a total of $10,000, making them independently wealthy at the time. Some thought that it was a setup by Rose Dunn herself, but she went her entire life denying these claims.

After the death of her lover, Dunn decided that a life of crime wasn’t for her, and she decided to live the normal life for many years. Still, it’s her relationship with Newcomb and the fact that she could hold her own as an outlaw that made her a memorable name in the old west. This photo of Dunn shows that she wasn’t one to be messed with, but it’s actually very misleading.

This photo was believed to be Dunn for decades, but it was eventually found out that the woman in the portrait isn’t Dunn herself. Instead, a prisoner from the old west that resembled Dunn was used for this photo for a newspaper story, and it circulated as the legend of Rose of the Cimarron grew.

So whatever came of Dunn after her life of crime came to an end? For the most part, she led a very quiet life. She didn’t serve time in prison for being part of the Doolin Gang, and settled down into a life that most people would live. Dunn’s mother would pass away two years after she lost Newcomb to her brothers, and four months after that she would marry her first husband, Charles Noble.

Following their marriage, Dunn and Noble headed even further west to New Mexico, and her brothers tagged along with her. It was a great way for Dunn to get away from the life that she had before as an outlaw, establishing a new identity that allowed her to keep some anonymity. The two were married for 33 years, until Noble passed away in 1933.

Another 13 years later, Dunn would marry for the second and final time, this time to Richard Fleming. The two moved up the west coast to Lewis County, Washington, where she would live out the rest of her days. Dunn didn’t have any children during her life, but did live to be 76 years old. For someone that grew up in the old west and had quite the background, that’s considered to be an accomplishment.

Dunn passed away on June 11, 1955, and was buried under her married name of Rose Fleming. In her memorial, it reads that Dunn was “often said to be the sweetheart of one of the outlaws,” and that “She was dubbed ‘Rose of the Cimarron’ not because she was a sweetheart of an outlaw, but because she could ride a horse better than most men and loved riding her horse across the sandbars of the Cimarron River which ran close by to where her brothers lived.”

Even though she didn’t have children of her own, Dunn did have quite the extended family. Dunn’s parents (William and Sarah) had a total of 10 children, with Rose being the youngest daughter, and second youngest child overall. Of her siblings, only her brother John Dunn would outlive his outlaw sister, and he was one of the brothers that made their way out to New Mexico with Rose when she headed there.