Wild, Wild West | “Big Nose” George Parrot: the Outlaw Who Was Turned into Human Shoes & an Ashtray


“Big Nose” George Parrot | Shoes made from his skin | George Parrot’s skull and bones | First to Know

[In February 1879, ‘Big Nose’ George and his gang executed a risky daytime robbery on a very wealthy merchant named Morris Cahn. Cahn was traveling with a military convoy that included 15 soldiers, two officers and an ambulance. Wearing masks, the gang first surprised and then captured the first element of soldiers and the ambulance with Cahn and the officers. They waited and finally captured the rear element of soldiers with the wagon. They robbed Cahn of an exorbitant amount between $3,600 and $14,000 (different amounts were reported in different papers at the time).

It was July 1880 when Big Nose George was finally apprehended by police after he drunkenly boasted to people about the robbery. Parrot was sent back to Wyoming to face murder charges.

Parrott was sentenced to hang on April 2, 1881, following a trial, but he soon tried escaping from Rawlins, Wyoming prison. When news of the attempted escape reached the people, a 200-man lynch mob snatched George from the prison at gunpoint and strung him up from a telegraph pole. After two botched attempts, they successfully killed ‘Big Nose.’

But the story only gets stranger after his death.

Doctors Thomas Maghee and John Eugene Osborne took possession of Parrott’s body after his death, in order to study the outlaw’s brain for signs of criminality, something that was commonly done at the time. The top of Parrott’s skull was sawed off and the top portion was given to a then-15-year-old girl named Lilian Heath, who would later become the first female doctor in Wyoming. She used Parrott’s skull as an ashtray, pen holder and doorstop.

Skin from George’s thighs, chest and nipples were sent to a tannery in Denver, where the skin was made into a pair of shoes and a medical bag. The shoes were kept by Dr. John Eugene Osborne, who wore them at his inaugural ball after being elected as the first Democratic Governor of the State of Wyoming.]

‘Big Nose’ George Parrot: the Outlaw Who Was Turned into Human Shoes & an Ashtray


‘Big Nose’ George’s death mask and shoes made from his skin | Carbon County Museum, Rawlings, WY


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