April 3rd, 1926, will be the thirty-first anniversary of the robbery of a south bound express train, eight miles from Kingfisher and one mile south of Dover, then a water station.
Such was the statement made this week by William S. Hurt, who now live a retired life in his little home on East Roberts avenue, but who at the time of the robbery was a deputy United States marshal and who went in pursuit of the bandit party.
The holdup occurred at 11:49 p.m., Mr. Hurt recalled, in the open country in bright moonlight, in a region where a settler lived on every quarter section of land. The grain had just pulled out of Dover, where a stop was made to take water, and had gone out for about a mile, when there was a shot fired on the engine and the grain stopped suddenly
When the train stopped, the passengers saw men lying flat against the embankment, who jumped up and made a demand on Messenger Jones, of Kansas City, to open up. This he declined to do, when several volleys were poured into the express car from Winchesters. Jones, luckily escaped with only slight wounds.
The messenger, seeing that there were no chances to successfully fight off the robbers, signaled to them to cease shooting. He opened the door and two robbers entered. They overhauled the local safe, but got nothing of value. The through safe was closed with a time lock and after thirty minutes of unsuccessful chiseling the bandits ceased efforts to open it.
Then they went through the train, robbing all male passengers, but did not molest women, getting about $300 in all. The robber went through all the cars deliberately, except the sleeper. The porter had put out the lights in this and the robbers declined to risk entering it.
Local Men On Train
Ex-United States Marshal Grimes, J. P. Brough, Joe Kaufman and Mr. Cooley of Kingfisher, were in the chair car. When the two bandits came to Grimes, recognition was mutual and courteous. Both had in the past been his prisoners at Guthrie when he was marshal. The colored porter was forced to carry a small sack and go in advance. Bailey, one of the men, stayed with him to see that everybody chipped in and Wyatt, the other, stood ready to pick off anyone who made resistance.
After detaining the grain one hour and a quarter, the seven or eight members of the gang left, all going toward a small piece of timber. The train came on to Kingfisher, and one the 4:3t trains going north there were posses of marshals, who had no trouble in finding the place where the gang had their horses hitched.
Bill Hurt was in a group of four deputy marshals, the other being "Cap" Prater, T. P. Christie and J. M. Wells. Hurt tells the story of the chase as follows:
"Wells and I went west to Todd's ranch and we were to meet Prater and Christie at the mouth of Deep Creek, which empties into the Cimarron about twenty-five miles west of Hennessey. We got there just about dark.
"None of us had heard or seen anything of the outlaws, so we went into camp there in a little dugout for the night. One at a time we stood guard outside for a two-hour stretch, soldier fashion.
"Next day we took a northerly route up through the Strip, but never an across their trail or head anything of them, so we came back to Hennessey and returned home the next day.
Another part of Marshals, headed by Bill Banks, was more successful. The gang crossed Turkey creek bridge west of Dover, and the Cimarron twelve miles west of that, going toward Blaine county. Officers followed the trail to a point thirty-five miles west of Hennessey.
At three o'clock on the afternoon of April 5th, the posse came suddenly upon the gang part of who were asleep. The officers immediately opened fire, which was returned. Two of the horses of the outlaws were shot from under them and one man was killed, while another's leg was broken. A third was hit, but he succeeded in getting away with the rest of the gang.
The copyright (s) on this page must appear on all
copied and/or printed material.