Historical Details

Hat Creek Dateline: 1877/10/26

Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 01/23/1991

Blackburn and Wall nearly captured
by Ed Cook, Contributing Writer

Dunc Blackburn and Jack Wall were nearly captured in Deadwood yesterday. Wall's brother Jim was arrested, jailed and charged with aiding the escape of the other two.

A few days ago, Lawrence County Sheriff, Seth Bullock, had been tipped off that Blackburn and Wall were in the vicinity of Deadwood. Bullock stationed himself and three deputies on the stage road in the outskirts of Crook County to watch for the pair.

Two men appeared from the brush about midnight. As Bullock ordered them to halt, one of his own men accidentally discharged a gun. Shots were exchanged, but the outlaws regained the brush and escaped.

Blackburn appeared at a nearby ranch the next day and sought assistance in the dressing of two wounds in his arm. He was bitter in his denunciation of Bullock, and declared he would kill the sheriff within 24 hours.

Wall's brother, Jim runs a dance hall in Deadwood. Bullock planned a trap at the dance hall for Blackburn and Wall, but their blockade of the hall failed and the outlaws escaped. However Jim Wall was arrested, put in jail and charged with aiding the escape of Dunc Blackburn and Jack Wall.

Deadwood is the county seat of Lawrence County, Dakota Territory. The Lawrence County Commissioners have a standing offer of $200 reward for any of the robbers operating on the stage and freight routes. The reward is offered for the capture or arrest of each robber or for the dead body of any robber killed while resisting arrest or capture. Bullock and his deputies, including an outstanding officer, Capt. A. M. Willard, continue to wage war on these outlaws every day.

Even with all of the trouble from road agents and horse thieves, the Cheyenne and Black Hills Stage and Freight lines have been receiving much praise. Their messengers exercise courtesy, care and caution; the drivers are prompt and skillful; their horses are strong and fleet; the coaches are easy riding and comfortable. Eating stops all along the route continue to provide good meals.

The regular weekly treasure coach with its "salamander" safe full of gold dust and bullion, has been going through to Cheyenne, unmolested for the last several weeks. Boone May is now riding as messenger while Scott Davis is recovering from the wound in his leg.

The stage company has been laying in a supply of grain for the winter. Charley Hedges, with his train of 24 wagons, has just finished transporting 109,000 pounds of grain along the line for the feeding of stage stock.

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

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