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Would-Be Train Robbers Give Up in Disgust

It was June 1911 when a gang of outlaws learned that robbing trains wasn’t a piece of cake. The desperados halted the California Express near Glendale, Ore., by jumping on board in the middle of the night and threatening to shoot everyone.

Guns drawn, they ordered the mail, express and baggage cars detached and moved a distance from the passenger coaches, according to a report in the Rogue River Courier.  Passengers desperately tried to hide their valuables, but the robbers ignored them and went to work looting the mail and trying to break into the express car, presumably where the money was kept. 

After a fruitless search through endless pieces of mail and failing to pry open the express car, they gave up in disgust and took off, just in time to avoid a volley of shots fired by Engineer Schmidt, who had borrowed a gun from a passenger. 

The crew informed the sheriff when the train reached the next station.  A posse hit the rails on a hand car, reaching the crime scene just two hours after it happened.  It returned to Roseburg empty handed at dawn.


Sources: "Hold Up Gang Rob Mail Car on No. 16." Rogue River Courier 30 June 1911 [Grants Pass OR] : 1+. Web. 19 Sept. 2015. .

Lynda Demsher has been editor of a small-town weekly newspaper, a radio reporter, a daily newspaper reporter and columnist for the Redding Record Searchlight, Redding California. She is a former teacher and contributed to various non-profit organizations in Redding in the realm of public relations, ads, marketing, grant writing and photography.