Lawmen & Outlaws
 O. T. & I. T.




Train Robbers Blow Express Safe Get $10,000
Submitted by: Mollie Stehno


The Oklahoma Leader
October 26, 1916

Ponca City, Oct 19-A posse of officers and citizens, headed by Chief Detective Emmett Gregg of the Santa Fe and Wm. Vampner, of Guthrie are in pursuit of the bank robbers that held up Santa Fe passenger train No. 405 about 9 o'clock last night, killed Mail Clerk Charles Norman and rifled registered mail and express packages.
It was reported here at noon that three of the six bandits had been sighted in the Osage hills and were being surrounded by the officers.
The robbery was one of the boldest that has been pulled off in years.
It is thought by officers that the robbers are part of a gang of men who have been following a motion picture outfit now camped near Red Rock.
It is said the robbers secured $10,000 from the safe in the express car, which they blew open with a charge of nitroglycerine.

The Oklahoma Leader
October 26, 1916

Guthrie Officers Take Fast Ride
Deputy Sheriff Grand Redman and Ed Robertson accompanied Detective Emmett Gregg and Vampner on a special train to the scene of the robbery last night. The trip was made to Perry in just 32 minutes. Perry is 34 miles north. A special composed of a boxcar and caboose constituted the "special." The boys say the ride was a wild one. They were first on the ground, but were soon joined by officers from other cities and counties along the line. Pursuit began immediately.
"Mail Clerk Norman was shot with a rifle ball" said Mr. Redman today. The ball entered just above the right hip and came out near the left nipple. He was killed instantly."
The local post office and express agent here, say they know of no money losses
Officers reaching the scene soon after the bandits had hurriedly left are generally agreed as to who were in the gang and know about where to find them, and it is almost certain that most of them will soon be under arrest.
The killing of Postal Clerk Norman makes it a government case and Uncle Sam never ceases his man hunts.
The Guthrie officers who rushed to the scene of the hold up found a fine lariat cord, such as is used by the fancy 'roping" artists and are certain it belonged to some cowboy from the ranch or wild west show gang.
The leader of the gang, who was freely talking with Conductor Dutcher said they were after the agency money. But he did not know the Indian department nearly a year ago quit sending any money on night trains. The money they wanted will reach the Otoe agency today or tomorrow, and will be under usual guard.
Postal Clerk Norman was "killed while on duty," which assures his family of $2,000 from the mutual insurance fund.

The Oklahoma Leader
October 26, 1916

Two Boarded Train at Ponca
Two of the robbers, it is said, boarded the "blind" at Ponca City and crawling over the tender of the engine, covered the engineer and fireman and ordered them to slow down when they saw a fire near the track. This order was complied with and when the train came to a standstill, four more of the gang appeared. The conductor, brakeman and porter were forced to the front of the train, ordered on the engine; the engine; mail and express cars were uncoupled and the engineer forced to move a half-mile. Three explosions were used on the express safe. It was at this point that the mail clerk was killed.
When the door of the mail car was opened Clerk Norman was shot to death by one of the bandits, and a charge of nitroglycerine was placed in the safe door and the registry safe blown open.
While the robbery was in progress two of the bandits stood guard over the train crew and two stood at the end of the baggage coach. After taking several packages from the safe two bandits jumped from the car, were joined by their four companions and disappeared.

The Oklahoma Leader
December 7, 1916

Four persons, charged with the robbery of the Santa Fe train at Bliss recently, in which Percy Norman, mail clerk, was killed, are in jail at Ardmore and it is probably that their examining trials will be held Monday before United States Commissioner, William Hutchinson. Members of the party give their names as John Brogan, John Courtney, W. F. Wells, alias Webber, and Lula Cobb, alias Mrs. Joe L. Mays. The alleged leader of the gang, Joe Davis, is being held at Muskogee. The arrests were made north of Guthrie.

Documents & Clippings

Updated: Sunday, 10-Apr-2016 22:41:07 EDT

This site may be freely linked, but not duplicated
in any way without consent.

© for the Oklahoma Lawman and Outlaw Website

The copyright (s) on this page must appear on all
copied and/or printed material.

All rights reserved! Commercial use of material within this site is prohibited!