Historical Details

Hat Creek Dateline: 1877/10/10

Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 01/16/1991

Both stages robbed yesterday
by Ed Cook, Contributing Writer

Dunc Blackburn and Jack Wall held up both the north- and south-bound stages yesterday. John (Jack) Bowman proprietor of the stage station here at Hat Creek was a passenger on the up coach. He was riding on the front boot with the driver, George Chapman, when they were stopped. Here is Bowman's account of what happened:

"We were booming along at a pretty good pace, when we heard the command to halt. The night was dark and we could see no one. George didn't pull up quick enough, and we heard the gun locks click. They halloed to George to 'make that man get down.' I at once recognized the voice of Blackburn, as he used to work for me, so I replied, "O, no you don't want me to get down.' They came up to the coach and inquired who in the hell I was, and ordered me to get down. I laughed at Dunc and he recognized me. They pulled off their masks, and passed up a flask of whiskey, and then wanted to know if they (the passengers) had any money. I said 'No,' but told them I had some. Dunc asked me what was being said in town about the frequent robberies, and who was getting credit for it, and when I replied they were, Dunc said, 'O I suppose so.' I told them that soldiers were on the road, which made both of them laugh and drew from Wall the remark, 'I wish they would put a company of cavalry on our trail, we could make some money out of their horses.' I asked Dunc if they were mixed up with the Homan robbery and he said, 'No,' although he knew he had the credit for it. Turning to the driver he said, "Well George, I will never ask you to put on the brakes again, we are going to quit the road; business is too damned bad."

A short time before stopping the up stage with Bowman on it, Blackburn and Wall had held up the down stage near the Cheyenne River. From the six passengers they had obtained about $150 dollars in cash, arms, ammunition, jewelry, blankets and several articles of under clothing. Before they left, the robbers informed the passengers they they were going "to take" the new treasure coach without fail.

(Note: Blackburn must have spoken the truth to George Chapman, for this was the last time he was identified with a coach robbery.)

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

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