Murderer mystery

Museum offers reward for information on gunman who disappeared in 1926

Gunman Bob Meldrum was a wanted man on several occasions during his roaming of the western United States in the early 1900s.

One hundred years later, he is still a wanted man -- at least by Museum of Northwest Colorado Director Dan Davidson.

Wanted signs have been posted in the museum, and will soon be posted throughout Northwest Colorado seeking evidence that leads to the final resting place of Meldrum.

A $500 reward is being offered.

Meldrum, whose life is featured in a display at the museum, made a name for himself in parts of Colorado, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming in the early 1900s as a lawman, saddle maker and artist.

But he might have been best known for having a quick trigger and is believed to have killed as many as 14 men.

While the exhibit at the museum displays newspaper clippings, letters and photographs of Meldrum, Davidson has been unable to track down any information about the "bad man" after 1926, when a fire destroyed his home in Walcott, Wyo.

He was last seen driving out of Walcott shortly after the fire.

Davidson first stumbled upon the mystery when he read magazine articles from the 1960s about Meldrum.

"In 1960, people still didn't know what had happened to him," Davidson said. "That's what got me interested. What happened to this guy?"

Meldrum left his mark in the Craig area in 1912.

While working as marshal for the city of Baggs, Meldrum was called to a local diner, where John "Chick" Bowen, a well-known

cowboy from the Craig area, was dining with some friends.

Reports say the group had become rowdy, and Meldrum was called to the scene, at which time he shot Bowen.

Prior to that day, Davidson said Meldrum had been well liked in the area, but Bowen must have been more popular because the public was outraged at Bowen's death.

Meldrum served time for the killing, and while in jail in Wyoming, discovered a talent for drawing.

The museum has some of Meldrum's work on display.

Davidson said Meldrum's wide range of talent is what sparked his interest in the old gunfighter.

"He was a really good saddle maker," Davidson said. "He had a lot of talent and was a dog-gone good artist."

His talent, combined with the mystery of his disappearance, is why Davidson has researched him for more than a decade.

"He had so many different sides to him, and it's such a mystery as to what happened to him," he said.

Davidson said the museum is looking for

any leads as to what might have happened

to Meldrum after his disappearance in

1926.

"We're looking for a death certificate or an obituary. An actual record or something that can lead to an actual record," he said.

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