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As It Was: Stage Driver Robs His Own Stage Near Lakeview

Robert Oglesby, driver of the Paisley-Lakeview stage tore into town late on the night of Dec. 20, 1901, to report the stage had been robbed. The sheriff returned with Oglesby to the Lakeview, Ore., cemetery just outside of town and found the empty mailbags just inside the fence. One hundred dollars in gold and currency was missing.

What the robber did not know was that the Paisley, Ore., postmaster always marked bills he sent in the mails with a code number. The sheriff circulated a number from a $10 bill that had been stolen. A local merchant found the marked bill and remembered who had passed it. It was Robert Oglesby, the stage driver himself, who had bought several items with the stolen money.

Oglesby was arrested on his wedding day, convicted of robbing his own stage and sentenced to one year in the Oregon State Penitentiary. At his trial, it was generally assumed he had needed money for his upcoming marriage.

After serving a year in prison, Oglesby headed for Ager, Calif., and sought out his sweetheart. Minnie Robinson had waited for him and they were married in Medford on Dec. 27, 1902.

Sources: "The Lakeview, Paisley Hold-up." Medford Enquirer 5 Jan. 1901: 1. Print; "Year's Wait for Imprisoned Lover." San Francisco Chronicle 29 Dec. 1902: 3. Print.

Alice Mullaly is a graduate of Oregon State and Stanford University, and taught mathematics for 42 years in high schools in Nyack, New York; Mill Valley, California; and Hedrick Junior High School in Medford. Alice has been an Southern Oregon Historical Society volunteer for nearly 30 years, the source of many of her “As It Was” stories.