1884, Mississippi River, Arkansas: Filbert McHattie Raises Funds for the Bigfoot Preservation Guild


1884, Mississippi River, Arkansas: Filbert McHattie Raises Funds for the Bigfoot Preservation Guild

Famed confidence man, Filbert McHattie boarded the newly christened City of Providence riverboat operated by the Anchor Line out of Illinois, armed with a carpet bag full of disguises, coupon receipt books, and large parchment guarantees. All worth nothing more than the price of the paper they were printed on.

Filbert McHattie spent the first leg of the City of Providence‘s journey dressed as a frontier priest enticing the good widows and prune faced gentlemen to help the poor Indian savages who had burned all their bibles to stay warm during last year’s brutally cold winter.  McHattie’s tale of Christianizing the Savages brought in nearly four dollars.  A fine two days worth of work.

McHattie, during the return trip, attempted a confidence that was as timely as it was risky.  A few years prior, in about 1882, noted American frontier’s man, Daniel Boone was reported to have encountered a wilderness monster – called in the popular press  – Bigfoot.  Of all the very real dangers out in the wilds of the ever expanding Nation, all these were overshadowed, at least in the popular imagination, by the looming shadow of a real, live monster.

McHattie capitalized on this fascinated panic. Spinning a tale of how the creatures were ancient descendants of Cain and who were taunted and hunted by man.  Depending on how this story went over with McHattie’s mark, he either withdrew the Bigfoot Preservation Guild stocks or the Bigfoot Hunter’s Sustaining Bill.  The latter being slightly more expensive since, McHattie felt it was favored by unsavory brutes prone to drink.

A few of these momentous documents survive, mainly in private collections, and in the Sanford Library’s Grifters’ Collection, which can only be viewed every third Wednesday of each month and by only then by prearrangement.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s