Samuel Thomas “Booger Red” Privett Papers, 1895-2007
Samuel Thomas “Booger Red” Privett was born in west central Texas sometime in the 1860s. His nickname came from his red hair and scars from a childhood accident. Booger grew up on ranches and became known for his skill with horses. The stories say he often challenged local residents of towns his wild west show performed in to bring their rowdiest bucking horse to the show, and if he was tossed off while riding it, he would give the owner a hundred dollars. Legend says he never had to pay up.
In December 1895, Booger married Mollie Webb. They decided to start their own traveling Wild West show, The Booger Red Wild West Wagon Show, in which both of them performed with Booger Red as the chief attraction. They had six living children: Roy (1896), Ella (1897), Thomas (1902), Luther (1906), Alta (1908) also known as “Lady,” and William (1915) also known as “Bill,” who travelled and performed with them. As the children grew older, they began branching off and joining different circuses. Ella and her husband Frank Linton worked as performers in Tom Mix’s circus for several years.
Booger died in Miami, Oklahoma, in 1924. Because of financial difficulties, he was buried without a headstone. In January of 2011, through the efforts of people around the state, a grave marker was dedicated.
Scope & Content Note
The Papers contain original photographs, newspaper and magazine articles, and two date books owned by Ella Privett Linton with occasional entries about her daily activities while working for a circus. There are also copy photographs and negatives taken by Charlsie Poe, and the resulting books: World Champion Cowboy: Booger Red by Charlsie Poe and Texas Cowboys: Memories of the Early Days edited by Jim and Judy Lanning.
The Family series contains original documents from Linton and concerns all members of Booger Red’s immediate family. It contains mostly photographs, grouped by sitter, but also a few letters and data books.
The Books and Research Materials series concerns items gathered by Jim and Judy Lanning and Charlsie Poe, when they were writing their books about Booger. These items include correspondence with other writers, copies of newspaper articles, and copies of original Privett family pictures.
The Miscellaneous series contains magazine articles unrelated to any specific member of the Privett family.
Futch, Alta “Lady” Privett
Privett, Samuel Thomas “Booger Red”
Privett, William “Bill”
In November 2010, Jim Lanning donated the materials after Ella Privett Linton had given them to him. Much of the Papers had previously been loaned from the family to author Charlsie Poe to be used in the biography she wrote about Booger Red.
The Samuel Thomas “Booger Red” Privett Papers is the property of the Donald C. & Elizabeth M. Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Literary right, including copyright, belongs to the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, with the exception of copyrighted artwork images and published literary works, which are the property of the respective copyright holders. It is the responsibility of the researcher, and his/her publisher, to obtain publishing permission from individuals pictured, relevant copyright holders, and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.
Restrictions on Access
The collection is open for research. It is advisable for researchers to discuss their proposed research with staff prior to visiting the Center.
Samuel Thomas “Booger Red” Privett Papers, MS 102, Box # Folder #, Donald C. & Elizabeth M. Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
|1||1||Outline of “The Life and Times of Booger Red,” by Chris R. Hurd, April 12, 1990|
|2||List of names of people from Bronte and Ballinger, Texas, undated; Printed excerpt from a book, undated; Printed articles from the internet, printed April 4, 2003|
|3||Newspaper, Raton Advance-Roby Star, January 18, 2007|
|4||Photographs of Booger Red, Mollie, and family group, undated|
|Ella Privett Linton and Frank Linton|
|6||Datebooks with daily information, 1927-1929|
|7||Newspaper, The Billboard Weekly, December 24, 1949|
|8||Newspapers: unknown from 1915, The New York Evening Journal, March 19, 1937, The Kansas City Times, February 27, 1984|
|9||Magazines: The Wild Bunch, February 1980, True West, January 1984|
|10||Letter from circus performer W.L. Simms, January 1, 1951|
|11||Postcard present from Hank Privett, 1914|
|12||Photographs, undated; postcards, 1908-1913|
|14||Photographs thought to be Luther, undated|
|Alta “Lady” Privett Futch|
|William “Bill” Privett|
|2||1||Group circus photograph, ripped, undated|
|2||Group circus photograph, ripped, undated|
|3||Group circus photograph, rolled, undated|