Historical Details

Hat Creek Dateline: 1878/10/28

Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 08/14/1991

Reward offered for recapture of bandit
by Ed Cook, Contributing Writer

After following a party of the outlaws from the Canyon Springs robbery to Fort Pierre, William Ward's posse captured Archie McLaughlin. Two of the other outlaws, "a miner and a sick friend," had already headed downstream on a river boat called the Rector. Ward, northern division superintendent of the stage line, had telegraphed officers downstream to take the two into custody.

The "sick miner" was Frank McBride who had been wounded in the robbery. He was put ashore at Fort Thompson Agency, for emergency medical attention. When the Indian Police discovered that he was wounded instead of sick they placed him under arrest. He had no gold with him, and like McLaughlin, refused to talk.

The other "miner" managed to elude the U.S. marshal's search party at Yankton, Dakota Territory. Ward followed his trail to Atlantic, Iowa. Here Ward discovered a bar of gold on display in a bank window. It "belonged" to "Duck" Goodale who had recently returned from the Black Hills. The bullion was impounded and Goodale placed under arrest.

The highly respected Goodale family was shocked and resentful of the implication. Young Thomas Jefferson Goodale, who had been known as "Duck" since infancy, had left Atlantic the previous May. He had been sending back favorable reports of what he was doing in the West. At a hearing Goodale said that he had sold a mine in the Black Hills and, due to a shortage of currency in camp, had taken the gold bullion in payment.

Upon his return to Atlantic, Goodale had given a 20-pound gold brick to his father, Almond Goodale, a banker. he asked that it be put in the bank vault for safekeeping. It was marked "No. 12" and was valued at $4,300.

At the time of his arrest, Goodale was found to have in his possession, in addition to the gold brick which weighed 247.87 ounces, one ladies' gold watch and chain, two silver watches, a seven set diamond ring, two plain gold rings, one shotgun and two revolvers.

Ward started back to Wyoming territory with the prisoner, shortly after Governor Gear of Iowa granted, a requisition. Shackles were riveted on Goodale's leg by a railway blacksmith at the depot in Council Bluffs, Iowa. They were accompanied by Goodale's father and attorney.

Near Lone Tree, Neb., Ward gave Goodale permission to go to the wash room at the rear of the railway car. This was the last time anyone saw him. When his escape was discovered, the train was stopped and backed up to where he might have jumped off. Later the shackles were found in the toilet room.

Ward accused the father and the lawyer of collusion in the escape but could not prove it. He returned to Cheyenne "under a cloud" as it was rumored that he had received $3,000 for the "escape." The stage company is offering a $700 reward and Laramie County an additional $200 reward for the recapture of Goodale.

(Information sources: "Robbery of the Bandit Proof Stage," 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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Related/Linked Records

Record Type Name
Obituary Ward, William (01/19/1954 - 12/11/1986) View Record