Historical Details

Hat Creek Dateline: 1878/09/28

Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 07/10/1991

$2,500 reward offered for the return of money, valuables
by Ed Cook, Contributing Writer

The following notice has just been posted:

$2,500 REWARD
Will be paid for the return of the money and valuables and the capture (upon conviction), of the five men who robbed our coach on the 26th day of September 1878, at Canyon Springs (Whiskey Gap), Wyo. Ter., of twenty-seven thousand dollars, consisting mostly of gold bullion. Pro rate of the above will be paid for the capture of either of the robbers and proportionate part of the property.

LUKE VOORHEES, Supt. Cheyenne and Black Hills Stage Co.
Cheyenne, Wyo., Sept. 28, 1878

The news of the holdup of the iron clad treasure coach (named the Monitor after the iron clad Civil War ship) struck the people of Wyoming and Dakota like a bombshell. There has been so many minor holdups that the public was starting to accept them as a matter of course. Now with the killing of Campbell and the wounding of Hill and Smith, along with the huge robbery, the public is outraged. Many law-abiding citizens now have "blood in their eye."

Bounty hunters and posses are heading for every known outlaw hideout in the area. The size of the rewards offered for the capture of the culprits has probably also helped arouse so many men to action (equivalent to $50,000 in today's dollars).

There are many conflicting stories as to just what happened during the plundering of the coach. William Miner, the stock tender, made the following statement to Voorhees soon after the robbery:

"Shortly before time for the stage to arrive from Deadwood, a man on horseback rode up and asked me for a drink of water. Upon dismounting, he ordered me to throw up my hands, which I did. He then pushed me in the grain room of the stable. By this time the band of five (I thought there were six of them) all got in the stable and proceeded to make arrangements for the capture of the coach.

"They removed the mud or chinking from between the logs near the door of the stable, where the coach always stops, and on its arrival they opened fire from their position on the inside. After the killing of Campbell and the wounding of Gale Hill, Scott Davis got away from the coach and, taking a position behind a tree, opened fire on the robbers.

"Soon after this, the band rounded up all of the men about the place and tied them to trees, saying that at 10 o'clock a man would be along to release them. Immediately upon securing their victims, they removed the safe from the coach and opened it...This required several ours of work."

Meanwhile, everyone else is anxiously awaiting for more news of the robbery and from the robber hunters.

(Information sources: "Robbery of the Bandit Proof Safe," by Joe Koller, Real West, Vol. VIII No. 42; "The Cheyenne and Black Hills Stage and Express Routes," by Agnes Wright Spring.)

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Record Type Name
Obituary Voorhees, Luke (11/29/1834 - 01/16/1925) View Record