17 – RARE “Bad Bob” Meldrum Holster

By Museum of Northwest Colorado

You can probably count on one hand the number of leather goods known to still exist by Bob Meldrum – two of which belong to our museum. But “Bad Bob” Meldrum was more than just a saddle maker… MUCH more!
As one of the fastest gunmen in the American West, English-born Bob Meldrum spent time as a Pinkerton informant, strikebreaker for the Tomboy Mine in Telluride, CO, range detective and even a town marshal. However, nearly every job on his resume left men needlessly dead – at least 4 known.
While employed at the Tomboy Mine, Bob Meldrum could freely intimidate and occasionally kill armed miners. When asked why the miners wouldn’t band together against Meldrum, a former mine worker recalled, “We knew that Bob Meldrum had 5 cartridges in his revolver. That meant that he could get 5 of us before we could get him. Nobody wanted to be among the 5.”
He eventually did some time in prison for a murder while marshal of Baggs, WY in 1912; however, he emerged on the other side focused on another of his exceptional talents: art. He made pen/ink drawings behind bars that could easily adorn the walls of an art gallery. The likenesses of the real-life characters he drew from memory are simply remarkable. In the early 1920s he expanded his art to leather goods and opened a saddle shop in Walcott, WY. Here he made beautiful leather goods that rival some of the top saddle makers of the day. He was a renaissance man in every sense of the word.
Meldrum’s saddle shop burned in 1926. Soon after he simply packed-up, left town and was never seen nor heard from again. The museum has a standing $500 reward for any information leading to the discovery of Bob Meldrum’s death and his ultimate whereabouts. This remarkable holster is currently on display in our Bob Meldrum: Lawman; Artist; Killer exhibit along along with a pair of original Meldrum chaps and his leather tools.