Rattlesnake Dick, aka Richard A Barter, was born in Quebec, Canada.
Like many of the outlaws in the Wild West that came after him, he ended up being killed young.
Miner to Outlaw
Lured by the California Gold Rush, Rattlesnake Dick journeyed from the great north to California.
It did not turn out great for Rattlesnake, and instead of striking it rich, he became an outlaw and joined a gang known for its robbery of stagecoaches.
The gang he was involved with consisted of the following outlaws:
- Bill Carter
- Big Dolph Newton
- Romera Carter
- An unidentified Mexican
- Cyrus Skinner
- George Skinner
The gang had much success and stole $80,000 in 1856.
However, they were caught, and half of the loot was buried while the other half was returned to the law. The loot that was buried still remains a mystery to this day, and there are treasure hunters looking for it.
George Skinner was interrogated about the whereabouts of the loot, and he never gave it up.
Rattlesnake Dick and Cyrus Skinner escaped from jail. However, the other members of the gang were either killed or remained in jail.
Rattlesnake Dick then formed a new gang around San Francisco, but the Vigilantes forced his gang to move elsewhere.
On July 11, 1859, Rattlesnake Dick and a friend were met in Placer County, California, by undersheriff George C. Johnston, deputy tax collector George W. Martin, and sheriff W. M. Crutcher.
When confronted, Rattlesnake Dick drew his gun and killed George W. Martin, but also Barter also received serious wounds despite being able to escape.
Rattlesnake Dick refused to return to jail and, rather than allowing the law to catch up to him, shot himself in the head.
He was buried in Old Auburn Cemetery, Auburn, Placer County, California.
RATTLESNAKE DICK1833-1859 RICHARD H. BARTER, EARLY DAY RESIDENT OF RATTLESNAKE BAR, FAMED AS THE OUTLAW RATTLESNAKE DICK. FATALLY WOUNDED IN A GUN DUEL WITH THE LAW JULY 11, 1859, NEAR MARTIN PARK FIRE STATION IN AUBURN. ORIGINALLY BURIED IN THE OLD AUBURN CEMETERY ON EAST STREET, MOVED TO THIS SPOT IN 1893.
NO FURTHER SEEK HIS MERITS TO DISCLOSE NOR DRAW HIS FRAILTIES FROM THEIR DREAD ABODE. THERE THEY ALIKE IN TREMBLING HOPE REPOSE, THE BOSOM OF HIS FATHER AND HIS GOD