Several robberies occur in two days
by Ed Cook, Contributing Writer
There has been four hold-ups of the Cheyenne-Black Hills stage coaches north of here within the last two days. All of the robberies took place near the Cheyenne River, an area that is living up to its name of Robbers Roost. It must not have taken Blackburn, Webster, and Wall long to get back into this area after Bevans was arrested near Lander, and Reddy McKemma and Bevans's "girl friend" fled to the railroad. At least those three are suspected in one or two of yesterday's robberies.
The down coach (southbound) was stopped near the Cheyenne River on the night before last. The passengers were forced to get out of the coach and stand in a line while the robbers relieved them of their money and valuables. However they found the treasure box to be empty.
Last night, in nearly the same location, five masked road agents again stopped the coach. After making the passengers get out of the coach and line up, they were also forced to take off their boots, coats, and pants so that a more thorough search could be made for loot. T.A. Kent, a banker and cattleman, and J.T. O'Connor of Cheyenne were among those robbed. Another passenger said that he was searched three times. The coach was then unloaded and the agents went through all of the baggage. They took what bedding and clothing they wanted, then opened the treasure box which did not contain any gold. All of the plunder obtained by the robbers was worth about $300.
After the robbers departed, the coach was reloaded and continued on its way, having been detained for about an hour. a couple of hours later this same coach was stopped a few miles north of Lance Creek station. This time by four robbers. they took all of the arms and part of the remaining blankets. This gang also opened the treasure box, which still did not have any gold in it.
The up coach (northbound) was also stopped by road agents in the Robber's Roost area last night. This time the outlaws only got about $13.
Stage line superintendent Luke Voorhees was notified of these robberies by telegrams from Hat Creek and Deadwood when the respective coaches arrived at these stations. Jack Gilmer, senior partner of the stage line owners, has long objected to carrying treasure on the passenger coaches. However, he has been overruled by other members of the firm who think it can be done satisfactorily if more shotgun messengers are used.
Salisbury, Gilmer and Voorhees are all headed for Deadwood now to size up the situation. (Note, Salisbury made the 266-mile through trip from Cheyenne to Deadwood in 40 hours, a record run for the stage line.)
The road agents are also preying on the other routes to the Hills like a plague. The Fort Pierre, and Sidney routes are having their share of similar holdups.
(Information source: The Cheyenne and Black Hills Stage and Express Routes by Agnes Wright Spring.)