Historical Details

Hat Creek Dateline: 1877/09/27

Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 01/09/1991

Davis seriously injured in hold-up

by Ed Cook, Contributing Writer

Scott Davis, captain of the stage line's "shotgun messengers," was seriously wounded during a hold-up of the down stage yesterday. Dr. A.P. Frick, surgeon for Company F of the Third Cavalry here at Camp Hat Creek, attended to Davis's wound when the coach arrived here last night.

The coach had left Deadwood early yesterday morning with Scott Davis and John Denny as messengers on the rear boot. Alex Benham, the new northern division superintendent, and a stock tender were on top. Three soldiers, from company F, were taken on at Jenny Stockade as additional guards.

The stage was stopped by road agents about 50 miles north of here along the Cheyenne River bottoms, in a vicinity that is earning the name of "Robbers Roost."

According to Davis, when they heard the command to halt, he and Denny jumped to the ground and cocked their guns. The robbers then ordered everyone to get down and leave their arms on the coach. Benham and the driver took hold of the horses, while the soldiers and the stocktender fled. As soon as Davis located the robbers lying nearby he opened fire, and when at last his Henry rifle jammed, he was shot by the outlaws. He was attempting to get another gun when he was shot in the leg, just below the hip. the bullet passed through the leg and fell into his boot.

The robbers wore heavy black masks. They knew who David was and called him by name. They took Benham's "bulldog" revolver which he was carrying in a side pocket, then gathered up all of the other arms. They then inquired if the "salamander" safe was on the coach. When they found out it was, they did not try to open it, but said they thought that they were tackling a regular passenger coach and had expected to get a few hundred dollars.

The Cheyenne and Black Hills Stage Company is offering a reward of $1000 for the arrest and conviction of the men who attacked the coach, or $200 each for their dead bodies.

(Note: A few days later, Dunc Blackburn and James Wall visited a hay camp nearby and told of the hold-up. They said that Denny fired the first shot and did not "show the white feather").

(Information sources: "Pioneering on the Cheyenne River," by Malcolm Campbell; "Cheyenne and Black Hills Stage and Express Routes," by Agnes Wright Spring; "Fort Laramie 1876," by Paul Hedron.)

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