Historical Details

Hat Creek Dateline: 1877/08/31

Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 12/12/1990

Robber-proof safes installed
by Ed Cook, Contributing Writer

Cavalry escorts, from Company F, Third Cavalry, have been provided for the last two treasure coach runs on the Cheyenne-Black Hills route. The troops, under the command of Captain Alexander Moore at Camp Hat Creek, have also been assigned to special patrol duty along the stage route during the last few weeks. The treasure coach escorts meet the coach at Jenny Stockade and ride with it to Hat Creek.

Holdups have slowed down, now, for several days. The main reason is that the stage company has been holding back on gold shipments while they installed a special "salamander" safe in the treasure coach. The salamander is a specially designed, green, oblong, iron box or safe, 16 x 30 inches, lined with chilled steel. The top, ends, sides, and bottom of the salamander are three inches thick, with a 10 x 24 inch space for the storage of valuables. The salamander was manufactured for the stage company in Cincinnati, Ohio. It is warranted that with the latest style of Yale lock, the safe can not be opened inside of six days, by any means except a knowledge of the lock combination.

Stage line superintendent Luke Voorhees, and (quick shot) Scott Davis, captain of the shotgun messengers, guarded the salamander on its first trip, on Aug. 24. This shipment of gold went through unmolested by road agents.

The second trip for the new safe brought it through here last night, and it also arrived safely in Cheyenne today. On this trip the salamander held a dozen or more sacks of gold and retorts, valued at $30,000. Along with the cavalry escort, Scott Davis and another of his trusted shotgun messengers were on the boot, guarding this valuable shipment.

Much of the Black Hills gold that is delivered in Cheyenne by the stages is shipped to New York by the bankers, Stebbins, Post and Company.

Since the killing of Johnny Slaughter in March, Luke Voorhees has been doing everything he can to catch the road agents and put a stop to the holdups. He has employed detectives that follow every clue, purchased the "robber proof safes," and made arrangements for the cavalry escorts. His detectives are scouring the northland, visiting ranches and hangouts of the robbers in their constant search for the outlaws.

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

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Related/Linked Records

Record Type Name
Obituary Voorhees, Luke (11/29/1834 - 01/16/1925) View Record