Turning Back the Pages: The “Kid” could have played a role in Jesse James gang

By Colleen Palumbo

I have always felt a responsibility to thoroughly research each story that I submit for publication, whether in the Golden Star or others.

Sometimes there’s a great deal of information to work with, sometimes very little, but always in the past I’ve used cold hard evidence to back up the story. But not this time.

This time I’ll lay out the facts I can back up, recorded and verbal remembrances of others, and the rest is up to you.

Charles Percival Price was one of 13 children born to William and Amanda Price. He was born December 6, 1860, and was raised in Colorado City. Times were hard and it was necessary for the children to leave home as soon as possible to make their own way in the world. Charles Percival Price was one of the elder children and was soon bitten by the gold rush bug. He eventually ended up living here in the Valley in a little shack at Beavermouth.

It’s the time in between leaving home and coming to Golden that is in question. By the time Charles Percival Price came to Golden, he was already known as “Kid Price.” It seems that prospecting was not as lucrative as first hoped and Kid found it necessary to turn to other means of employment. It has generally been accepted that Kid Price picked up the name as part of a gang that works in the USA.

Other’s who knew Kid will say that the gang was none other than the famous Jesse James gang. The history books say that Jesse James, his brother Frank James, Coleman Younger, and others formed a gang in 1866 and spent the next 16 years robbing trains and banks in the Midwestern United States. There are a couple of lists of members of the gang found on the internet but Price’s name doesn’t appear in them.

A reward of $10,000 was put up for the taking of the James brothers in April 3, 1882, two members of Jesse’s gang, Charles and Robert Ford turned on Jesse and killed him in his own home. Some members of Jesse’s gang were caught, some were never convicted.

Kid Price came to the Columbia Valley in the spring of 1883. So the timing makes it possible that he truly was a member of Jesse’s gang.

Kid once again went back to prospecting, taking up a claim on Bush River called Excelsior and one on the Columbia River at the Big Bend called Whistler.

He led quite a lonely existence and only came into town if it was absolutely necessary.

He made many friends over the years who would stop by his cabin and stay for a visit but he was very closed-mouth about his past and wasn’t ready to tell anyone how he came to have the name “Kid”. Finally the shack became too run down and Kid was getting on in years, so he moved to Victoria.

The Star, dated September 6, 1958, tells the story of the “Kid” at 100 years old, meeting his 92 year old sister for the first time in 81 years. His sister, thinking him dead, sent a letter to the postmaster of Beavermouth asking for information about where the “Kid” was buried. The letter was forwarded to Price himself, who responded with an invitation to visit.

In his own words, Kid said, “I came here in 1883 and went prospecting around the Beavermouth and Golden. I think they thought I was an American spy, so, in 1889, I fooled them – I took out Canadian Citizenship papers. I’ve lived in B.C. ever since, and it’s the best place in the world. I’ve grown old with the province and I’ll stay here ‘til I die. My grandmother lived to be 115 years and I may beat her record yet – I never refused a drink in my life and I used to smoke. I’ve broken both of my legs and my hip bone at different times.”

It could be that Charles Percival Price was a member of Jesse James gang, but for sure he was a very happy man who was content to live a simple life in a time much simpler than today.

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