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August 2, 1860 Lewistown Gazette, Pennsylvania
Express Robbery by Highwaymen.
Entertaining At count of the Proceedings.
The San Francisco Herald gives
the subjoined account of the robbery recently
committed by four highwaymen, on
Wells, Fargo and Co.'s Express, near Chico,
in Butte county, California. The sum obtained
The outrage was Committed at about nine
o'clock in the evening. The night was
dark, and as the stage was emerging from
a wood, and about to descend into a creek,
the bed ot which was dry, some person
ahead of the coach called on the driver, in
a loud voice, to stop. The driver supposing
that a team or some other obstruction
was iu the way, suddenly reined in his
horses. On looking around somewhat
to his astonishment, he discovered two men,
with double barreled guns leveled at the
passengers on the box scat, and another
covering the four or five persons inside.
The captain of the gang, with cocked
revolver in his hand, stepped up to the
driver and informed him in a clear and
cool voice that he must have the money in
the treasure box, and then turning to Mr.
Bowen, the express messenger, said, 'Charley,
it will be of no use to resist. Nobody
shall be harmed, if you dont make any fuss.
And, in the meantime,' pursued the highwayman,
'gentlemen will be kind enough
to hold up their hands.' It is not necessary
for us to say that the passengers dropped
the reins, and each man's lingers pointed
instantly to heaven. ' Now, then, Charley'
said the robber, ' I must have your
pistol to prevent accidents' and he proceeded
to disarm the expressman, notwithstanding
the outraged man's remonstrance's.
As the robber took the pistol, with a
naive affectation of surprise and ominous
shake of the head, he said, ' Why, Charley
the pistol is actually cocked. Don't
be foolish, Charley.' Thereupon Charley
immediately subsided with the remark that
it was very hard that he should be treated
in such a manner. 'Not at all, Charley'
answered the robber; ' I am not robbing
you-you cannot help yourself- but your
company advertise that they have a capital
stock of $500,000, and 35,000 to divide
among the boys would not be missed, you
know.' By way of mortifying Charley's
feelings, the highwayman politely assured
him upon his honor 'as a gentleman' that
lie was not a murderer, and did not desire
to take a dollar from any person then present.
At this time Mr. McDuffie suggested
that there existed no absolute necessity for
the strange gentleman's friends on the
road to persist in holding their guns in so
direct a line with his head, as lie had known
men under such circumstances sutler from
nervous excitement, and although he could
not doubt of their peaceful assurances, or
the honesty of their intentions, if the triggers
chanced to be finely set, an explosion
might take place unconsciously. Thereupon
the robber bowed very politely, and
expressed his desire to make the interview
as pleasant a one as possible, and directing
his men to elevate their pieces, but still to
keep the enemy 1 well covered.' After
this he unhitched the horses, fastened them
securely to a fence near by, declining, in
affectionate language, the assistance of the
driver, and drew from the stage the box of
He was about to split open the box with
an axe, when be remarked to Charley that
it would be a pity to spoil the furniture,
and asked for the key. Observing some
hesitation and grumbling on the part of
the messenger, lie brought forward a bundle
of cord and expressed the opinion that
it would be necessary for him to tie Charley,
as he was talking a great deal too much.
' What would you give to know me (his
face was masked,) Charley?' he asked.
' Two-and-a-half,' was the sullen reply.
' Ah, your liberality will be the death of
you, replied the highwayman, who then
very coolly opened the treasure box, filled
the pockets of his comrades with the contents,
placed Charley's pistol in the bed of
the coach, fastened horses again to the
stage, expressed the delight he experienced
in meeting with gentlemen who were so
unexceptionable in their deportment, and
bade a graceful adieu. 'The robbers then
left lor the woods. During whole proceedings
not oath was heard, and the captain of the
gang did his utmost, says
our informant to soothe the affright of the