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Diamond Dick. Diamond Dick was created by “Delta Calaveras,” the pseudonym of William B. Schwartz, and appeared in several hundred stories in a variety of dime novels from 1878 to 1911, beginning with “Diamond Dick; or, The Sarpint of Siskiyou County” (New York Weekly, 1878).
Diamond Dick’s real name was Richard Wade, and at some point in his past, for reasons which were never revealed, he was hanged and left for dead, which left his face a ghastly white. Wade inherits a silver mine and moves to the West, where events lead him to become a lawman. He is called “Diamond Dick” because of his clothing, which is Spanish-influenced and embellished with diamonds. His revolvers are also encrusted with diamonds. Wade is accompanied by his son Bertie, a.k.a. “Diamond Dick, Jr.,” and by their friend Handsome Harry, a bearded strong man of eccentric expressions (“I’m the ol’ Sarpint of Siskiyou, wi’ seventeen rattles and a button!”). Over the years Diamond Dick and his son both age, Dick growing old and his son growing from child to man. At one point in 1894 Richard left the series so that Bertie could become the main hero. Richard returned when the original stories were reprinted in Diamond Dick, Jr., alternating with new stories. Diamond Dick, Jr. eventually stopped the reprints and offered new material which focused on Richard and Bertie’s adventures on the frontier, including train robberies, cattle thieves, Wild West shows, and even the occasional Yellow Peril.
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