Sunday, April 3, 2011

Queho the Renegade Indian

Stories from the Hoover Dam

During his lifetime, Queho (pronounced KEY-ho) was credited with the deaths of 23 people, was declared Nevada’s "Public Enemy No. 1,” and the state’s first mass murderer.  He committed several brutal crimes, was the scapegoat for many others and was the resident “boogeyman” to the children living in Black Canyon during the building of the Hoover Dam.  He was a killer, no doubt, but also a misunderstood outcast of mixed blood living during a time dominated by white men.    

Although he has been credited with crimes dating as far back as the late 1800’s, newspaper accounts of his exploits began in 1910.  He was last reported seen on the streets in Las Vegas in 1930.  However, when his mummified body was found ten years later in a cave in Black Canyon, there were several items amongst his possession that had been stolen from the Six Companies worksite during the building of the dam.  It is unknown when he actually died, but his body showed evidence that he had succumbed to the venomous bite of one of the local residents, a rattlesnake.    

The story of his life, pieced together from fact and legend, is fascinating to say the least, and I encourage you to read more about Queho at the links below.  But the story does not end with the finding of his remains, and it is Queho’s story, after 1940, that I want to tell you.

Helldorado Days began in 1935 and was an annual cowboy themed celebration sponsored by the local Elks club in Las Vegas.  Complete with rodeo, parade and a carnival, it was, at one time, quite an affair, drawing visitors from all over the state.  When the remains of Queho found their way into the hands of the Las Vegas Elks Club, Queho found his way to Helldorado Days. 

The Elks built a model of Queho’s cave and enclosed it in glass.  Inside, Queho, surrounded by his last possessions, became a favorite attraction for the visitors to Helldorado Village.  This was not a one time event.  Queho was on display at the annual event for twenty years and at least once, rode in the back of a convertible during the Helldorado parade. 

Visitors began to lose interest by the early 1960’s and the Elks reported that his remains and possessions had been stolen.  In 1962, his mummified remains were found at the city dump. On an order from the county coroner, Queho's corpse was finally buried, twenty-two years after they were found, in an unmarked grave in the public portion of the local cemetery.

But that is not the last of Queho. 

In my upcoming novel, Ragtown, the Renegade Indian comes alive once again…

Read the story of Queho’s life at the following links:


-RWWGreene said...

Interesting stuff. So there are so many directions you could take a story about this guy. p.s. the check is in the mail.

Anonymous said...

love this blog ... what a great idea! I just read your interview in WOW too. Congrats :)