Philadelphia: Barclay & Co.
Presumed first edition (title page undated, copyright 1875; a later issue had a copyright date of 1881). 95 pp, with nine wood-engraved plates. Lacking rear wrapper, otherwise complete. Front wrapper is chipped around the edges and has a stain measuring about .75 x 1.25 inches. Good. Although most of the sensational crime pamphlets published by Barclay were based on actual events, we find no evidence that Anson Bunker was a real person. The 1870 murder of philanthropist and investor Benjamin Nathan was real, however, and remained (and remains) unsolved. This pamphlet may have been commissioned by Barclay for the publicity boost associated with "solving" a notorious crime. It purports to be memoir by Bunker himself, discovered on his dead body after he was savagely murdered and dumped in--of all places--a cave in the lava beds of far northern California. Several gruesome murders are described in typically graphic detail, allegedly perpetrated by Bunker in the course of a crime spree across that took him across the United States, with action in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, St. Louis, New Orleans, and San Francisco, among other places. At the end, Bunker finds himself in Utah, where he learns "that there was a league between the Mormons and most of the Indian tribes, extending throughout the United States among a class of people known as Free Lovers. The object to be attained by the League was the overthrow of the U.S. government. Enthusiastic about this idea, Bunker heads off to confront the Modoc leader Captain Jack in order to gain the cooperation of the Modoc people in this plan. Evidently it did not go well -- thus his death in a lava cave." Flake 3637a. Not in McDade.