Historical Details

Hat Creek Dateline: 1877/07/00

Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 10/31/1990

Bevans arrested, has stolen items
by Ed Cook, Contributing Writer

Early July - Bill Bevans (Blivens) was arrested a few days ago near Lander after a fight with some miners from whom he had stolen some fine horses. He is suspected of being a member of the outlaw gang that robbed the Cheyenne-Deadwood coaches on June 25, 26, and 27. At the time of his capture, Bevins was in possession of a fine gold watch, which had been taken from J.H. Holliday on June 26 near the Cheyenne River. Sweetwater County Sheriff J.W. Sykins of Green River City has turned Bevans over to Laramie County Sheriff T. Jeff Carr in Cheyenne.

Only five years ago, Bevans had been a well-to-do and respected citizen of Montana. Then through gambling he lost everything he had. His first arrest was in October last year, when he was charged with stealing some horses from Robert Foote of Elk Mountain. He was tried, convicted and sentenced to serve 10 years in the penitentiary.

While his case was being appealed, Bevans with several others, escaped from jail in Laramie City. Two of the escapees, Clark Pelton alias Billy Webster (The Kid), and Dunc Blackburn, became partners in crime with Bevans along the Black Hills trail.

(Note: Bevans attempted an unsuccessful jail break in Cheyenne, July 28, 1877. Thereafter he served his sentence and was released from prison in 1886 and died soon afterwards).

Apparently Bevans, Webster, and Blackburn, along with James Wall and "Reddy" McKemma were all in the gang that held up the stages near "Robber's Roost" on June 25, 26 and 27. After these robberies the gang struck out for Sweetwater country. While McKemma and Webster went into South Pass to buy supplies, a "disreputable woman," Bevans' lover, who had accompanied the road agents from the Hills, remained in camp and overheard Bevans and the others planning to kill "Reddy" and Webster.

Upon his return to the camp, the woman, who had been growing tired of Bevans, told Reddy of the plot being cooked up by the others. With her help, Reddy got the others drunk, took $8,000 in gold, nearly all of the greenbacks, and the best of the arms and fled. He and the woman headed for the Point of Rocks station on the Union Pacific railroad some distance to the south.

Who is this woman road agent that left the Black HIlls with Bevans and the rest of the gang? Some think that it might be Calamity Jane.

(Information source: "The Cheyenne and Black Hills Stage and Express Routes," by Agnes Wright Spring).

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