At least three of the various history
books about Vinita contain fascinating references to a man named George
Goldsby. According to these historical accounts, Mr. Goldsby lived in
Vinita during the 1880ís.
As with all historical narratives, there
will be differing viewpoints and occasional conflicting versions of an
event or character. The chronicle of George Goldsby is a fine example of
contradictions in written history.
In one book, he was married to a Negro
woman who worked as a cook In the home of the Tom Knight family. In
another book, It is Mr. Goldsby himself who was the Negro working in the
Another book states that George Goldsby
was a mixed-race gentle men, of Indian, Mexican, and Negro blood, but does
not mention his employment at all.
Two of the accounts tell us that Mr.
Goldsbyís son, Luther worked at the Cobb Hotel.
The one thing that all the books clearly
stated: Mr. George Goldsby was actually
the famous Mexican rebel outlaw, Pancho Villa.
He was in the Vinita area in order to
escape the lawmen who sought to capture him. One story claimed that local
bankers and ranchers had unwittingly helped this murderous bandit by
buying the cattle that Pancho herded up from Mexico.
After reading these accounts of Pancho
Villa living and hiding out in Vinita, I became intrigued with the whole
romantic idea of this infamous outlaw. The conflicting details also made
I thought it would make a nice column: a
local version of "The Rest of the Story." How the mild-mannered
Vinitan George Goldsby, whose wife cooked for the Knight family and whose
son worked at the Cobb Hotel, was really the rebellious bandit... Pancho
The only trouble is that if Pancho Villa
did actually live in Vinita during the 1880ís when all the local history
books and news paper say he did, then he would have been between the ages
of 2 and 12 years old.
Pancho Villa was born in 1878 and died
at age 45 in the year 1923. It Is unlikely that he had time in all his
murderous rampaging to come live In Vinita with his wife and have a son
who was old enough to work at the Cobb Hotel, especially if he was such a
tender age himself.
It is a disappointing discovery. But now
Iím wondering who was George Goldsby? He had a story; a life of love and
hurt and hard work. Maybe his son Luther be came a successful hotel
manager or owner. Maybe his wife became the chef at the White House. But
George? I guess he will always be remembered around here for being someone
he was not.
By Kathleen Duchamp, Vinita Daily Journal, Oct 2002