March 2019 ~~~~ Editor:  Cliff Hanger ~~~~
Jarbidge Stage Robbery - from Wikipedia
The Jarbidge Stage Robbery was the last stage robbery in the Old West. On December 5, 1916, the driver of a small two-horse mail wagon was ambushed as he was riding to the town of Jarbidge, Nevada. The driver was killed and $4,000 was stolen, however, three suspects were arrested shortly afterward, including a horse thief named Ben Kuhl. Kuhl would eventually become the first murderer in American history to be convicted and sent to prison by the use of palm print evidence. The stolen $4,000 was never recovered and is said to be buried somewhere in Jarbidge Canyon. According to author Ken Weinman, the Jarbidge Stage Robbery is one of the "best authenticated buried treasure stories in Nevada's long history."


In 1916, Jarbidge, Nevada, was one of the state's most isolated communities, located within Jarbidge Canyon, along the Jarbidge River, about 100 miles north of Elko, Nevada, and sixty-five miles south of Rogerson, Idaho. There was a Native American village nearby, called Owyhee, but it was just as remote as Jarbidge. The town was founded as a tent city in 1909, due to a gold rush, which brought about 1,500 people to the area. The winters there are very severe though and by the spring of 1910 the population had reduced to just a few hundred. Ken Weinman wrote: "The miners had staked their claims on the snowdrifts covering the ground to a depth of as much as 

December 5, 1916
At Jarbridge, Nevada
Taken $4000.00
1 dead (driver)
18 feet, but when the snow melted in late spring, it exposed the exaggeration of the newspaper reports, and about 80 percent of the prospectors became disgusted and pulled up stakes and headed elsewhere."

In many western states and territories, the turn of the century was no great change. Technological advancements were often slow in reaching isolated communities. Jarbidge was no exception. There was only one treacherous dirt road that led to the town and only one means of communication with the outside world, the United States Mail stage. Furthermore, in winter, twenty to thirty foot snow drifts could cut off the community for several weeks at a time. Automobiles had not yet made it to Jarbidge, so riding horses and driving wagons were still the main modes of transportation. Because Rogerson, Idaho was the closest railroad town to Jarbidge, the wagon driver, Fred Searcy, made round trips to and from, not only delivering mail, but also company payrolls for the local miners.


December 5, 1916 was payday for the miners. When Searcy failed to arrive in town at the expected time, a small group of men began to assemble at the post office, assuming that heavy snow was the cause of the delay. But, as the day went on, Searcy did not appear. Postmaster Scott Fleming asked a man named Frank Leonard to ride up to the top of Crippen Grade, a 2,000 foot decline in the road that led down to the canyon floor and the town. Leonard returned a few hours later, saying he could not find Searcy or the wagon. Fleming and the others were very concerned at that point. Over four feet of snow had fallen that day, which made the idea of sliding down the grade into the Jarbidge River seem like a real possibility. Fleming quickly formed a search party, but before leaving he telephoned a woman named Rose Dexter, who lived about a half mile north of Jarbidge, along the grade. According to Ken Weinman, Rose Dexter said that the stage had passed by her house earlier that day and that she waved to the driver. She also said that the driver was "huddled up on his seat with his collar pulled up over his face to form some protection from the blinding snow." The search party quickly found the mail wagon, less than a quarter of a mile from the town's main business district. The stage was pulled over on the side of the road and hidden behind a patch of willow trees. Fred Searcy was found "slumped in his seat and almost covered with snow." An unopened mail pouch was also uncovered, but the second pouch, containing $4,000 (approximately equivalent to $97,560 of 2019[4]) was missing. Weinman says that at first the search party thought that Searcy had frozen to death in the extreme cold, but closer examination revealed that he had been shot in the head at a very close range. Powder burns in his hair and on his scalp were observed.

Because the snow storm that was raging showed no sign of letting up, the search party returned to town with the intention of continuing the investigation of the area on the following morning. So, on the next day, the search party attempted to re-enact the crime using evidence found at the crime scene. According to Weinman, it was determined that the assailant must have hidden in the sagebrush along the road and jumped aboard the little wagon to kill Searcy and take control. However, the Nevada State Archivist, Guy Rocha, claims that Ben Kuhl later confessed to the murder and said that he killed Searcy over a dispute about how to split the money, alleging that Searcy was in on the crime. After the re-enactment, another patrol around the area was made and the searchers found both human and dog footprints in the snow. The tracks led down to the river and at its bank a blood stained shirt was found lying on the ground. While the search party was looking around, a stray dog that had been following the group began scratching at the dirt. A few seconds later, the dog unburied the second mail pouch. The bottom was cut open and $4,000 in bills and gold coins was missing. The clue was an important find, but the fact that the dog seemed to know right where it was buried raised suspicions that the animal tracks the group was following were made by the very same animal. The search party compared the dog's feet to the footprints in the snow and it was a perfect match. Then they wondered about who the dog would follow through the storm and they decided that Ben Kuhl was the one the dog was most attached to.


Kuhl and two of his associates, Ed Beck and William McGraw, were arrested at their cabin without any trouble and a .44 caliber ivory-handled revolver was found in their possession. According to Ken Weinman, Kuhl proclaimed his innocence, saying that he spent the night in the Jarbidge saloon. Witnesses confirmed that they saw Kuhl in the saloon, but because they could not say at what time their testimony was meaningless. Kuhl could have left the bar, committed the crime, and then returned in a relatively short amount of time. After his arrest, a background check revealed that Kuhl had a long criminal record. In 1903, he served four months in jail at Marysville, California for petty larceny and, at some other time, he was sent to the Oregon State Penitentiary for stealing horses. Furthermore, Kuhl had recently been released from jail on a $400 bond and had already been arrested in Jarbidge previously, for trespassing on private property. The trial was held in the Elko County Courthouse, District Judge Errol J. L. Taber presided over the case and District Attorney Edward P. Carville was the prosecutor. The evidence gathered by the search party was all circumstantial, but two forensic scientists from California linked a bloody palm print on an envelope to Kuhl. For this, Judge Taber sentenced Kuhl to death and gave him a choice as to how it should be done. Kuhl chose execution by firing squad, but the Nevada Board of Pardons later voted to commute his sentence to life in prison. Beck received a life sentence as well and McGraw turned state's evidence. All three were transferred to the Nevada State Prison together in October 1917.

Kuhl spent almost twenty-eight years in prison before his release on May 16, 1945. At the time of his release, Kuhl had served more prison time in Nevada than anyone else in the state's history. Weinman says that the $4,000 was never recovered and that Kuhl never admitted to the crime or the existence of buried money, even though the police offered him time off his sentence if he revealed its location. Beck was paroled on November 24, 1923.

Today the town of Jarbidge remains a small and isolated place with a population of less than 100. Many of the old buildings that stood during the time of the robbery are still intact, including the jail house in which Kuhl was held. In 1998, a plaque was placed in front of the jail, it reads:

    Jarbidge Jail. Built after the town was removed from the U.S. Forest by a 1911 Presidential proclamation it replaced the constable's home or Forest Service cabin to restrain rowdy miners and hold suspects for arrival of a sheriff deputy. A colorful story tells of a burly miner frequently using the bunk to raise the roof to slip out and return to the saloon, climbing back in his cell before morning. Most noted prisoner was Ben Kuhl, who robbed the Rogerson-Jarbidge stage in December 1916, killing Fred Searcy the driver, the last mail stagecoach robbery in the U.S. and the first conviction based on a bloody palm print. It was last used about 1945. Dedicated June 13, 1998 by Lucinda Jane Saunders. Chapter 1881 E. Clampus Vitus.

Stagecoach attacks - from HistoryNet

More stories of real events. Read at HistoryNet.

Hanging Trees (USA) - from Wikipedia

In the United States, a hanging tree or hangman's tree is any tree used to perform executions by hanging. 

Hanging trees by state


   * Greaterville Hanging Tree: Oak tree outside of the ghost town Greaterville, Arizona, where Pima County police officers lynched two Mexican
       men for alleged cattle rustling and other crimes in 1915. Located along a dirt road in the northern Santa Rita Mountains, near the historic
       Greaterville townsite.
   * Vulture City Hanging Tree: Ironwood tree located in the ghost town of Vulture City, Arizona, next to the remains of Henry Wickenburg's
       stone cabin built circa 1863. Eighteen men were hanged from this tree in the late 19th century for "high grading" (stealing gold ore).


   * Calabasas Hanging Tree: Oak tree once located next to a small jail building in Old Town Calabasas, California. Died in the 1960s and felled
       by a storm in 1995. A second tree that still stands in Calabasas is also rumored to have been used for hangings, though there is debate as
       to which tree was the real hanging tree.
   * Hangman's Tree: Juniper tree in Holcomb Valley, California, where the legal executions of at least four condemned men were performed in
       the late 19th century.
   * Hangman's Tree: Sycamore tree located on the Irvine Ranch in Orange County, California. In 1857 General Andres Pico hanged two bandits
      from this tree. A historical marker now commemorates the event.
   * "Hangmans" Tree: Oak tree, now dead, in the ghost town of Second Garrotte, California. First settled in 1849, Second Garrotte is Spanish
      for "Second Hanging". As many as 60 people were hanged from this tree. The remaining tree stump is now preserved and is located on
      State Highway 120.
   * Jackson Hanging Tree: Live oak tree that once stood at 26 Main in Jackson, California, before being cut down following 1862 Jackson fire.
      Ten men were lynched from this tree between 1851 and 1855. A historical marker now marks its original location.
   * New Almaden Hanging Tree: Oak tree located at the New Almaden Mine site in San Jose, California.


   * The Hangin' Tree: Located in Montrose, Colorado, and used in the 1878 hanging of George Bikford, who was accused of robbery and horse
       theft. The tree, now dead, has been preserved and a historical marker has been placed at its location.
   * Pueblo Hanging Tree: Formerly located on Union Avenue in Pueblo, Colorado. Felled June 25, 1883.


   * Savannah Hanging Tree: Live oak located in Colonial Park Cemetery in Savannah, Georgia.


   * Hangman's Tree: Located in the Boot Hill Cemetery in Dodge City, Kansas.


   * Gallows Hill: A large tree once located at Proctor's Ledge, near the base of Gallows Hill in Salem, Massachusetts, was probably the site of
       19 executions in the 1692 Salem witch trials.


   * Hangman's Tree: Ponderosa pine tree once located in Helena, Montana. Ten men were lynched from this tree between 1865 and 1870 by the
      Helena Vigilantes. Felled by landowner, Methodist Minister W. M. Shippen, in 1875. Two pieces of the tree now reside in the collection of
      the Montana Historical Society in Helena.
   * Jefferson County Hanging Tree: Ponderosa pine tree allegedly used for hangings in the territorial period of the state's history. Located near
      Clancy, in Jefferson County, Montana.

New Mexico

   * Chloride Hanging Tree: Large oak tree in the ghost town of Chloride, New Mexico.

New York

   * Hangman's Elm: English Elm located in Washington Square Park in Manhattan, New York.
   * Patchogue Hanging Tree: Located along the Swan River on Grove Street in Patchogue, New York.


   * Creek Hanging Tree: A 200-year-old bur oak used for the hanging of cattle rustlers and Creek tribesmen. Located on Lawton Avenue in
       Tulsa, Oklahoma.


   * Dallas Hanging Tree: Oak tree used in the 1887 lynching of Oscar Kelty, who murdered his wife, and as recently as 1900 for legal hangings
       as Polk County, Oregon's official gallows. Located near the Polk County Courthouse in Dallas, Oregon.
   * Lafayette Hanging Tree: First used in 1863 and finally in 1887, when convicted murderer Richard Marple was hanged in what became known
      as "The Lafayette Gypsy Curse" incident. Formerly located on private property in Lafayette, Oregon; cut down by property owners in the
   * Salem Hanging Tree: Located in Salem, Oregon.

South Carolina

   * Charleston Hanging Tree: Located in Charleston, South Carolina, and reputed to be the site where Denmark Vesey and 34 of his followers
       were hanged in 1822.

South Dakota

   * Hangman's Tree: Located on a ridge, formerly known as Hangman's Hill, in Dinosaur Park in Rapid City, South Dakota.


   * Bandera Hanging Tree: Oak tree, also known as the "Tragedy Tree." Site of the July 25, 1863, hanging of seven of nine traveling German
      immigrants by Confederate soldiers on patrol from Camp Verde during the Civil War, for reasons unclear and still disputed. Members of the
      patrol decided to execute the immigrants on pretense of fleeing military service, even though they had willingly surrendered and were
      accompanying the patrol back to base to sort out the nature of their travel. Their remains were looted and left naked and un-buried, leading
      many to believe they had been murdered by the roving patrol for their belongings. Some of the soldiers with the 25-strong contingent that
      apprehended the immigrants rode for base when they learned over night camp that their comrades planned to change plans and hang the
      captives, while the remaining soldiers and commanding officer were seen the next day passing back through Bandera wearing the
      immigrants' clothing and leading their horses. $900 known to have been carried by one of the immigrants for the purchase of livestock was
      never found, along with a teenage boy who had accompanied them. Located on the Hanging Tree Ranch south of Bandera,
   * Brazoria Hanging Tree: Located in Brazoria, Texas. Known as the Masonic Oak for the formation of the first Texas Masonic Lodge by early
      Texans (including Anson Jones, future third Republic of Texas President) who met under its branches in 1834, it is preserved and located in
      a park of the same name. Urban legend has it that from this same tree "two slaves were unjustly hanged" and their ghosts now haunt the
      area, causing horses to freeze under the tree and cars to stall. However, no details, evidence, or source material to confirm this internet claim
      can be found. The Brazoria area, which contains low moss-laden oaks, dense marshy woods and lots of wildlife along the river bottom, is
      the subject of many such fantastic horror tales, including other hangings of "unidentified" people, screams from the woods in the night,
      and devil worship.
   * Centerville Hanging Tree: Formerly located in front of the courthouse in Centerville, Texas. Used to hang two outlaws shortly after the end
      of the American Civil War and later in 1915 to hang a black man accused of murdering Centerville resident Jim Sinclair.
   * Coldspring Hanging Tree: Oak tree in Coldspring, Texas, near the historic San Jacinto County jail building.
   * Columbus Hanging Tree: Live oak located just outside Columbus, Texas. Long after Texas enacted laws banning the act, two
      African-American teenagers named Bennie Mitchell, Jr. and Ernest Collins were lynched from this tree in 1935, after being forcibly taken
      from the Sheriff's protective custody by a masked mob who surrounded his car as he transported the young men to court. The teens had
      confessed to raping and murdering a local 19-year old high school valedictorian named Geraldine Kollman, but were too young to face
      any severe penalty under the law. The two teens had also implicated a third older man, who had earlier been questioned and released, but
      he could not be found again. The tree still stands on the outskirts of Columbus, Texas, not far from where Miss Kollman had been murdered
      near her family's home.
   * Goliad Hanging Tree: Large oak tree in Goliad, Texas. For 24 years the Goliad County court was held under this tree. Many hangings were
       performed here, including several during the 1857 Cart War between American and Mexican settlers.
   * Hallettsville Hanging Tree: Live oak tree located in the Hallettsville, Texas, city park. Used for the September 12, 1879, execution of a Native
      American man known as "Pocket," who was found guilty of murdering an Englishman named Leonard Hyde in 1878. After breaking into the
       family home of a former slave named Frank Edwards, a drunken Pocket threatened to kill Edwards after Edwards had "knocked him down."
       Pocket then rode his horse on an attempt to procure weapons, a pistol and shotgun, the latter from a farmer whom Hyde happened to be
       assisting. Pocket claimed he needed the shotgun for hunting a flock of wild turkeys he had just spotted, but when Hyde attempted to
       accompany Pocket on the alleged hunt, Pocket killed him with the pistol.
   * Kyle Hanging Tree: Oak tree in Kyle, Texas. According to local lore, in the 1840s a group of cowboys stumbled across this tree and found
      a dead man hanging from it. The cowboys cut the man down and buried him at the base of the tree. Later the Kyle Cemetery formed up
      around the tree.
   * Orange Hanging Tree: Pin oak tree once located on Main Street in Orange, Texas. In use between the 1840s and 1880s. Cut down in 1892.
   * Page's Tree: Used in the 1837 execution of a murderer named Page and two others. Located in the Clarksville, Texas, pioneer cemetery.
   * The Old Hanging Oak: 400-year-old live oak tree in Houston, Texas. Said to have been used to hang eleven individuals between 1836 and
      1845, and this or an unknown tree close to nearby Founder's Cemetery, several murderers after the Civil War. Now preserved by the City of
      Houston Civic Center Department.

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