The Long Riders' Guild

Frank Hopkins' first known interview with the press

On Sunday, March 28th 1926, an article about Frank Hopkins was published on the front page of the Philadelphia Public Ledger.  In this article, Frank bragged, as he usually did, about his imaginary exploits in the Old West.

Hopkins told the naive reporter he was the inspiration behind Zane Grey's novels, looked after Buffalo Bill's horses during the winter, and did "some fancy roping and riding" in the Wild West Show.  Oh yes, Frank also claimed that episodes of his life were made into a silent motion picture, starring William S. Hart!

Despite the fact that Hopkins was foreman of a construction crew, digging a subway tunnel in downtown Philadelphia, the reporter apparently believed Hopkins' Pecos Bill-style tales.

What is electrifying about this "Subway Story" is that it reveals a previously-undiscovered wife and children whom Frank and Gertrude Hopkins conspired to hide from the world!

Click on either image to enlarge.

The Long Riders' Guild unearthed Page One of this "Call of the Wild Subway" article (left) at the American Heritage Center in Wyoming, in March 2003.  The article had been sent to biographer Robert Easton by Frank's widow, Gertrude in the late 1960s. 
But Page Two was nowhere to be found.
Where was it?
And why was it missing?
After several months of intensive searching all over the United States, The Guild finally managed to locate the missing Page Two.

These old newspaper clippings are hard to read, so please click here for a transcribed version of the complete article.

When we read Page Two, we immediately realised why Gertrude Hopkins had been so anxious to conceal the rest of the newspaper story from Robert Easton. 

Gertrude was desperate to hide the fact that Hopkins had been previously married and had boasted of having ten children!

A Canadian wife and children? 

This certainly didn't fit into the legend that Frank and Gertrude had laboriously woven, which depicted Frank as the chaste, asexual, hard-riding, gallant hero of the Old West.

Even more dangerous was Easton's determined pursuit of any "facts" that could confirm the Hopkins mythology.  Easton would certainly have followed this unexpected avenue of research, asking the ex-wife and children to confirm the many stories Hopkins had told. 

Had Frank worked for Buffalo Bill Cody?


Had he won hundreds of endurance races?


Had he raced a mustang stallion across Arabia?


Was he a close personal friend of Teddy Roosevelt?

A wife and children would have been able to answer all those questions, and more - and Gertrude was terrified that they might do just that.  So she hid Page Two from Robert Easton and the world.

What is also important about this article is that it is the first confirmed public sighting of Frank Hopkins in his role as 'legendary hero of the Old West.' 

Curiously, Frank forgot to mention to the reporter the hundreds of endurance races he would later claim to have won, including the non-existent Arabian race.  In fact, Hopkins failed to mention many of his subsequently-claimed exploits.

The Counterfeit Cowboy also told the reporter that he left the Wild West show in 1906 in order to spend more time with his Canadian wife and their children.  This statement directly contradicts later assertions made by Frank and Gertrude Hopkins that Frank worked with Buffalo Bill until the show ended in 1916.

With the discovery of Page Two, The Long Riders' Guild is now seeking answers to the following questions:


Why did Frank's Canadian wife tell the Census taker she was still married to Frank in 1930?


Did Frank Hopkins abandon this wife and children, at the beginning of the Great Depression, between 1926 (when the article was published) and 1929, when he married Gertrude? 


Would this explain why the two oldest sons were still living at home in 1930, aged 25 and 23 - because they had to support their mother and younger siblings?


Does Frank Hopkins have living descendants today?

The Long Riders' Guild believes so, and is searching for them!

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