Hat Creek Dateline: 1876/03/15
Wyatt Earp visits Hat Creek
by Ed Cook, Contributing Writer
Wyatt Earp and his brother, Morgan, were on the down coach today. They were on their way to Cheyenne and then back to Dodge City, Kan. Wyatt, the famous gun-handy ex-marshal was one of the special shotgun messengers protecting the spring "cleanup" gold shipment valued at about $200,000. The Earp brothers had been prospecting in the Spearfish area for several months with discouraging luck and were on their way home.
The Wells, Fargo office had collected this shipment in their coffers over the winter months while the roads were closed with snow. Their Chief of Detectives, James B. Hume, had been sent to Deadwood to make sure this large shipment would get through safely. Hume was standing at the counter in the Deadwood office, conversing with the local agent on the day before the treasure chest was to leave when the Earps came in to buy passage to Cheyenne.
Recognizing Wyatt, and knowing his reputation since cleaning up Dodge City, Home said, "Well, Fargo will give you and your brother free transportation to Cheyenne and $50 in gold if you will ride shotgun for us tomorrow." They agreed to the deal and shortly the following sign appeared in the Wells, Fargo office window.
"The spring cleanup will go out on tomorrow's stage with Wyatt Earp of Dodge City, riding shotgun."