Historical Details

Hat Creek Dateline: 1878/02/15

Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 04/10/1991

Road agents arrested despite their inactivity
by Ed Cook, Contributing Writer

The cold and deep snow has had the road agents in "hybernation" for the last couple of months. They have not been holding up any of the stages, however stage company officials and law officers did manage to arrest three of the outlaws last month.

George Healy, a road agent was arrested in Deadwood City. Deputy U.S. Mmarshal M.F. Leach also arrested Thomas Flood in Sidney, Neb. Flood is suspected of being one of the gang that shot Johnny Slaughter in an attempted robbery of the Black Hills Stage near Deadwood City last March 25.

The big news as far as getting road agents out of circulation was the arrest of "Reddy" McKemma (Robert McKimmie). He, too was one of the gang that shot Johnny Slaughter. He was also identified as one of the gang that held up the stage coaches north of here on June 25, 26, and 27. These hold-ups were all near the Cheyenne River.

"Reddy's" arrest came about after ex-Laramie County Sheriff Seth Bullock received a tip that Reddy was in Hillsboro, Ohio. Bullock proceeded at once to Ohio to investigate. He found that McKimmie had bought a fine farm, traded it for a store, then had settled down in Ohio as a merchant. The ex-sheriff at once recognized McKimmie as a road agent who had worked in the Black Hills, and placed him under arrest.

However complications immediately developed because Reddy had enough money to employ good lawyers, who fought his extradition to Wyoming Territory. At Bullock's request, stage line superintendent Luke Voorhees went to Hillsboro to help out with the case. After realizing that there would be considerable delay before the prisoner could be brought west for trial, Voorhees returned to Cheyenne. Bullock traveled on to Michigan on other business.

Before leaving, Bullock warned the sheriff at Hillsboro to use utmost precaution in handling Reddy, as he was a desperate character. The local authorities evidently regarded Reddy as a "home town boy." They permitted his wife and friends to visit him in his cell, without being searched.

On Feb. 11, "Little Reddy" escaped from jail. The Cheyenne press has dubbed the Hillsboro authorities as "The Buckeye boobies," for their careless handling of the prisoner. (Note: "Reddy" did not return to his old haunts in the Black Hills. He was caught a year later, after being involved in robberies in Kentucky and Ohio. He was then returned to Hillsboro for trial. Wyoming saw no more of this "scourge of the road.")

(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