Saturday, 16 November 2019

1231) William Frank "Doc" Carver

William Frank "Doc" Carver (1851 – 1927). American sharpshooter and creator of a popular diving horse attraction.
Carver was trained as a dentist and hence acquired the nickname "Doc". He migrated to the West in 1872, where he practiced dentistry at Fort McPherson and North Platte, Nebraska. He later attempted to distance himself from his early profession as a dentist, but the name "Doc" clung for life.
He migrated to California in 1876, where he honed his shooting skills.
Later, Carver went into partnership with Buffalo Bill Cody to put a Wild West show on the road. The grand opening of the "Wild West: Hon. W. F. Cody and Dr. W. F. Carver's Rocky Mountain and Prairie Exhibition" was in Omaha, Nebraska, on May 17, 1883. The show was an immediate success, but the relationship between the two showmen, Carver and Cody, was contentious from the beginning. At the end of the season they parted ways and divided the assets by the flip of a coin. Cody then formed a partnership with the promoter and showman Nate Salsbury, and the show continued as Buffalo Bill's Wild West.
After the breakup of his show Carver put together a smaller show, which featured trained animals and shooting exhibitions. His biographer wrote that Carver added the diving horse act to the show in Kansas City, Missouri, in August 1894. Over the next few years the other acts were eliminated, and the diving horse exhibition became Carver's primary endeavor. Included in the touring company were his son, Al, who helped train and take care of the horses, and his daughter, Lorena, said to be the first rider. By the time his future daughter-in-law, Sonora Webster, joined the show in 1924, Carver had two diving teams on the road, each performing in a different city.

- "The six foot four inch Carver weighed some 200 pounds and long red hair fell in well combed ringlets over massive shoulders. Historians often referred to him as the most handsome man who ever held a gun."

- "His auburn hair was a flowing, wavy mane, and his ruddy face was splashed with a vivid red mustache."

- "A study in thigh-high boots and shoulder-length red hair...

- "At six foot four, with flowing red hair and a prominent jaw, he was an imposing figure and natural star..."

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