Historical Details

Hat Creek Dateline: 1878/07/03

Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 05/08/1991

Injured passengers arrive at station
by Ed Cook, Contributing Writer

Early this morning the down (southbound) coach arrived with three wounded passengers in it. The coach had left Deadwood at 5 a.m. yesterday and was held-up in the afternoon at Whoop Up Canyon about mid-way between here and Deadwood.

The wounded passengers were Daniel Finn, a former freight conductor on the Union Pacific Railroad, E.E. Smith from New York and A. Liberman of Chicago. Their wounds were cleaned and dressed here to make them more comfortable on the rest of the trip to Cheyenne.

John Flaherty was driving the coach when it was stopped. Only two of the road agents came into view. After compelling the passengers to get out of the coach, placing them in a line and robbing four of them, they advanced to Finn, who drew his revolver and shot one of the robbers. The robber fell to his knees, then rallied. As Finn was about to shoot again, an accomplice of the robber, who was lying in ambush, fired hitting Finn in the face. The robbers then retreated, firing several shots and wounding some of the other passengers. Before the shooting started the robbers had obtained some money and two gold watches from the passengers.

Finn was shot through the nose and mouth, inflicting a painful but not serious wound. E. E. Smith was shot in the leg below the knee. A. Liberman was shot in the thigh. Both were flesh wounds, and, although painful, were not dangerous. The one lady passenger, Mrs. M.V. Boughton of Cheyenne, was not molested.

Northern division superintendent of the stage line, William M. Ward, Boone May and Billy Sample attempted to trail the robbers but were unsuccessful. (Two of the robbers were later identified as John H. Brown and Charlie Ross alias James Patrick. they were eventually brought to justice.)

There have not been any attempts to rob the heavily guarded, steel-lined treasure coach "The Monitor" since it was put into service in late may. Road agents have confined their depredations to the robbing of passengers.

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

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