Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Dec 29: Stagecoach Robbery Near Grangeville



On this day in 1897, citizens in Grangeville, Idaho, learned that the stagecoach from Lewiston had been robbed during the night. The stage had apparently arrived within 4 or 5 miles of town when two highwaymen stopped it. The robbers then relieved the two passengers of their valuables, such as they had, and ordered the driver to toss them the mail sacks. (Stagecoach with Camas Prairie in the background. Retouched U.S. Forest Service photo.)

The driver threw off a sack he knew contained nothing of particular value, but surreptitiously retained a second. (Evidence would soon confirm that these crooks were not too bright.) The robbers directed him back the way he had come. The driver started that way, but then retraced his path after the highwaymen were out of sight. The stage continued on into Grangeville.

Investigators traveled to the holdup site during the day to look for clues and perhaps tracks. They apparently found the looted mail sack because they were able to link another specific clue to the robbery: They found a “get out of town” notice served on one Charles A. Frush, identified as a “half-breed.” Such notices were generally handed out to drifters with no visible means of support who hung around town too long.

Frush was quickly arrested and he immediately “ratted out” his accomplice, a man named Daniel Hurley. Frush’s guilty plea and testimony that convicted Hurley did him no good. The Illustrated History said, “Both received life sentences.”

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

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