Thursday, November 19, 2009

Nov 19: North Idaho Train Robbery

On this day in 1891, a Thursday, two robbers boarded a Northern Pacific train as it slowed to ascend a long steep curve three miles or so east of Mullan, Idaho. Making their way to the Express car, they forced the messenger, one R. R. Case, to open the safe. Their take included the Hunter Mine payroll , which was to be paid out the next day. (Steam locomotive and cars, ca 1893. Library of Congress photo.)

With $2,800, “and perhaps much more money,” the holdup men fled, apparently with no one, except the Express messenger, the wiser. The Illustrated History said, “The affair was well planned and well executed and the perpetrators of the crime were never apprehended.”

The Hunter Mine, one to two miles northeast of Mullan, was probably the most valuable property of the Gold-Hunter Mining Company. Mullan had been established in 1885, growing from the discovery of the Hunter property as well as others in the area. In the time span before the Illustrated History was published, the Hunter had produced $25-30 millions worth of silver (at today’s prices) and an even greater value of lead.

An Illustrated History of North Idaho, Western Historical Publishing Company (1903).

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