This Day…

1878-California- Black Bart held up another Wells Fargo stage, one traveling between Quincy and Oroville, Calif. Again, he wore the same weird outfit, the long flowing duster and the flour sack, and again, his voice, described as “hollow and deep,” ordered the driver to “throw down the box!” This time Bart made off with $379. He also helped himself to a passenger’s $200 diamond ring and a gold watch worth $25. Once more, pursuing lawmen found the empty strongbox with another note which stated: “Here I lay me down to sleep, To wait the coming morrow, Perhaps success, perhaps defeat, And everlasting sorrow. Yet come what will, I’ll try it once, My conditions can’t be worse, And if there’s money in that box, ‘Tis money in my purse.”

This Day…

1878- Round Rock , Texas- Sam Bass, Frank Jackson, AKA Blockey , and Seaborn Burns, arrived at Round Rock with the intention of robbing the town bank the next day. Lawmen were waiting for them, having been tipped off by Jim Murphy, a remaining gang member. In a store next to the bank, the gang killed Deputy Ellis Grimes and wounded Morris Moore. As they left the store, outlaw Seaborn Barnes was shot to death . Bass and Jackson shot their way out of town. Sam Bass was hit in the back. Later that day a company of Texas Rangers found him under a tree dying. He died without revealing Jackson’s destination, and the final member of the Bass gang was never found. If, in the end Bass revealed the location of the loot he acquired over a lifetime of crime, Jackson may have retired as a prosperous man.

This Day…

1897- the Klondike gold rush began with the arrival of the treasure ships Portland and the Excelsior at Seattle, Washington bearing miners from the Yukon, who carried suitcases and boxes full of gold. Thousands began to book passages north after the miners spread tales of fortunes waiting to be made. The gold had been discovered in August 1896 on a tributary of the Klondike River later named Bonanza Creek. News of a strike in Nome, Alaska, ended the stampede in 1898. It’s estimated that by then prospectors had spent $50 million reaching the Klondike, about the same amount taken from the diggings in the five years after the first strike.

This Day…

1861-Rock Creek, Nebraska-Gunman David McCanles, enraged at Hickok’s seeing his mistress, went to the Rock Creek station, standing outside the cabin and calling for Hickok to come outside. Hickok refused and McCanles went to a side door. It is unclear whether or not he pulled his six-gun. “Come out and fight fair!” McCanles shouted. Hickok did not step outside. Then McCanles shouted that he would go inside the cabin and drag Hickok outside. “There’ll be one less s.o.b. if you try that,” Hickok shouted back. McCanles then entered the side door of the cabin and Hickok shot him through the heart. McCanles’ 12-year-old son, Monroe, ran into the cabin to hold his dying father.

This Day…

1890- Wyoming became the 44th state. Wyoming was named after an Algonquin Indian word meaning ‘large prairie place’. Appropriately, the Indian paintbrush that covers much of the large prairie is the state flower and the meadowlark, frequently seen circling the prairie land, is the state bird. Another Indian term, Cheyenne, is also the name of the state capital. Wyoming is called the Equality State because it is the first state to have granted women the right to vote (1869).

This Day…

1876- Otterville, Missouri- Jesse and Frank James, Cole, Jim and Bob Younger, Clell Miller, Charlie Pitts, and Bill Chadwell were waiting for the Missouri Pacific as it slowed to cross an old railroad bridge east of Otterville. They took $15,000.

This Day…

1881- Tombstone, Arizona Territory- Judge Spicer issues a warrant for the arrest of Doc Holliday for complicity in the murder of Bud Philpot, and the attempted stage robery near Contention several months before. Cochise County sherff John Behan arrests Holliday, who is immediately released on $5,000 bail put up by Wyatt Earp and the proprietors of the Alhambra saloon.

This Day…

1888- Pinal, Arizona Territory- Wyatt Earp’s second wife, Celia “Mattie” Blaylock, committed suicide. Mattie had accompanied Wyatt to Tombstone and separated from the lawman after his Tombstone days and tragically wound up living in the seedy gold and silver towns as a prostitute.