Historical Details

Hat Creek Dateline: 1878/09/20

Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 06/26/1991

Newspaper article tips road agents to shipments times
by Ed Cook, Contributing Writer

Officials and “shotgun messengers” of the Cheyenne and Black Hills Stage line were irked at the following item that appeared in the Sept. 18 “Cheyenne Leader” newspaper:

Special telegram to the Leader, Deadwood Dak.

Such items are, no doubt, valuable to the road agents, but they are especially disliked by the postal special agents and the Laramie County special deputies” assigned to the task of stopping the robberies and capturing the road agents.

For months the western press has been crying for a “war of extermination” against the road agents but at the same time it continues to exercise its right of a “free press” to publish all news concerning the shipments of gold.

It should be admitted, however, that the “Leader” tries to print all of the news. For instance, on the same day that it headlined the shipment of gold bullion, it published a report that the dead bodies of two well-known horse and cattle thieves were found hanging from a tree. The bodies of the thieves, O.B. Davis and George W. Keating, were found five miles north of Spearfish. The hanging was thought to be the work of vigilantes, “as the tracks of a dozen men were found to and from the spot.”

Out new governor, John W. Hoyt, has been actively trying to obtain protection for the railway and stage lines against the inroads of robbers. He appealed to the war department for help, saying that “Threatened depredations are imminent, points of attack uncertain. The laws of Wyoming territory do not fully meet the exigency, and the end to be gained is clearly and properly within the duties and powers of the federal government…”

There has been a recent report from the Black Hills that some packers found a camp of outlaws. They were in a dell completely hemmed in by rugged and steep hills in the vicinity of Harney’s peak. The packers claim to have seen 14 men and two women in the hideout.

Stageline Superintendent, Luke Voorhees has proposed changing the northern end of the route almost entirely. The changes would be in response to two problems: the constant threat of holdups by road agents, and the difficulty experienced because of severe damage to the northern end of the route as the result of unusual rains this summer.

The proposed new route would leave the present road near the new Rawhide Buttes station, veer in a northeasterly direction leaving Custer City to the left, thence proceed to Deadwood by the way of Crook City. Voorhees has ordered some new stations built and plans to have everything in readiness to make the switch in routes, without loss of time, and with no inconvenience to passengers. Thirty head of new horses and additional stage equipment has been acquired.

(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