Thursday, May 26, 2011

Wild West Train Robber Killed by Engineer

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A few years ago, my brother and I published a book entitled, Outgunned! True Stories of Citizens Who Stood Up to Outlaws--and Won. The book described a dozen cases from the Wild West through the Prohibition-era in which the good guys took on the bad guys and came out on top. The following story, similar to those in our book, came directly from an old newspaper. Notice the decidedly politically incorrect way of looking at things from a bygone era.

Sterling Evening Gazette
September 7, 1896

Locomotive Engineers Do This Sort of Trick.

Sacramento, Cal., Sept. 7. — An attempt was made Saturday night to hold up the overland express eight miles west of this city. Engineer Ingles killed one of the robbers, and then pulled out and the train reached this city. Sheriff Johnson and posse went at once to the scene on a special train. The body of the train robber was found lying near the track. In his hand was grasped a loaded pistol.

The man's name is thought to have been F. J. Morgan, and he probably came from San Francisco. Engineer Ingles, in speaking of his adventure, said: “After passing Swingle station, a man climbed over the tender, and looking over the coal board commanded me to throw up my hands. I could see from his attitude and his tone that he meant business, and I also got the impression that he was an old hand at the business. He told me to stop the train, which I did. As I stopped the train another masked man climbed up the bank and asked the train robber on the cab if everything was all right.

“The young fellow answered: ‘Yes, all fixed.’ The man on the engine then ordered me to pull the train up two car-lengths further. He told my fireman to go back with the masked man who had climbed up the bank and uncouple the express car from the rest of the train.

Engineer Makes a Good Thug.

“Burns and the masked robber started back along the train. The conductor and brakeman came out on the platform of one of the cars to see where the train stopped. The masked robber shot at them twice with his revolver and with a string of oaths ordered them back into the train. At the sound of the shooting the robber with me on the engine stepped to the side between the cab and tender and looked back. He turned his back to me. That was my opportunity and I lost no time in taking advantage of it. I reached down into my locker, got my revolver and shot him in the back. I shot again and he pitched forward from the engine to the earth and rolled down the bank.

“As he fell his revolver went off. Then I pulled the throttle wide open. I had business in Sacramento right away and I got there. The fireman was back on the train. I fired all the way in myself and kept poking coal into her all the way. We got in thirteen minutes late. Fireman Burns says that the robber who was guarding him jumped from the train when he heard the shooting and the train commenced to move.”

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