Monday, October 28, 2013

"and several men seized their shotguns and rushed to the aid of the officers...."



Of the Six Heavily Armed Desperadoes That Ravaged
Wright County, One Is Dead, One Mortally Wounded
and the Other Four Are Shot, but Not Fatally—
Sheriff Young Defends Prisoners With Revolver.

By a Staff Correspondent.
   BUFFALO, Minn., Oct. 3.—Ten days ago a gang of six heavily armed desperadoes came into Wright county. Tonight, in justification of the law, one lies dead, one is mortally wounded and the other four are pierced with bullets, but will recover.

   A reign of terror existed in this county for several days. Tonight the marauding bandits are powerless. But it was not without a terrible struggle that the gang was successfully corralled by the sheriff and his posse of farmers and tradesmen, for when the desperadoes finally surrendered all had fought gamely, and their large supply of ammunition was about exhausted.

   Surrender would have brought no quarter to the bandits had it not been for the prompt action of Sheriff William C. Young, for the infuriated citizens were so overcome with the excitement of battle that they were about to murder their prisoners when Young interfered.

   "Stand back men and don't fire!" cried Young, as a dozen or more of the posse aimed their rifles at the men kneeling before them and praying for mercy.

Sheriff Saves Them.

   The citizen-army hesitated for a moment.

   Some one yelled, "Kill the brutes," and the command was about to be obeyed. Young rushed forward, placing himself between the posse and the desperadoes. With cocked revolver he dared anyone to open fire on his prisoners. His cool, but determined counsel finally prevailed and the men were saved from a massacre.

   For several days the small towns and villages of Wright county have practically been at the mercy of the gang of bandits. Stores have been pilfered, houses have been looted and the farmers' gardens and hen roosts have been nightly relieved of their contents.

   Bolder and bolder the marauders had become. Women and children feared to leave their homes after dark, while the men folks grew more thoughful each day that the enormity of the depredations increased.

   Thursday night the climax of the gang's deeds of boldness was reached. Early in the evening the large general store of H. T. Gunnery, at Annandale, was pillaged and hundreds of dollars worth of clothing taken. So secure did the robbers feel and so little did they fear the authorities that they hung around the village for several hours after the store was looted. Towards midnight they left for South Haven, where they made their headquarters in a Soo Line box car.

   Sheriff Young received word Friday morning that a gang of tramps, probably the marauders were at South Haven. Accompanied by his deputy, John Nugent Jr., he left for the village, which is twenty-miles west. Arriving there at noon time, one of the hoboes was pointed out to him by a citizen. The man had just purchased a newspaper from a train boy. Young called upon him to halt, which he did, and after being placed under arrest was turned over to Constable Marquard, who took him to the elevator a few yards north of the railroad tracks.

In the Car.

   "The other 'Willies' are in the car," said Marquard to the sheriff.

   "All right, replied Young, "we'll get 'em."

   Young and Nugent entered the car. There were five men there sitting around a small stove.

   "You are under arrest," said Young, quietly.

   "Well let's eat our dinner first," replied a man who had since given his name as Martin.

   "You'll get your dinner at the hotel," the sheriff answered. "Come, let's get out of here."

   "I won't move. See?" Martin answered.

   "You will," responded the officer, and in an Instant the man was covered with a six-shooter.

   "All right, pal. I go."

   Young turned. The distraction was fatal, for when he faced about again six guns, held by three men, were stuck in his face.

   Meanwhile Nugent was searching two other men in the opposite corner of the car. His back was turned and he was unable to see what had happened to his superior. But the bandits were on the lookout, and the at-[Continued on Third Page.] tack upon Young was a signal to make away with the other officer.

   Without a moment's warning one of the gang struck Nugent a terrific blow on the head with the butt of a gun. The deputy staggered, but did not fall. He reached for his revolver, but was unable to get it, and before he could make any resistance he was covered and ordered to throw up his hands.

   "Now, you guys back out of here," commanded Martin, who apparently was the leader of the crowd.

   At this moment Constable Walters, of Annandale, climbed into the car. At a glance he took in the situation and scrambled out again before he could be apprehended by the desperadoes.

   Running to the elevator, he told Marquard, who was guarding the prisoner captured by Young. The two constables disarmed the man and started to return to the car. But when they reached the door they were met by the bandits, who were approaching the elevator, marching Young and Nugent before them.

Fired to Scare.

   By way of terrifying the officers, the gang fired their revolvers several times. The noise from the discharge was the desperadoes undoing. For the reports were heard up town, and several men seized their shotguns and rushed to the aid of the officers.

   But before help arrived, the bandits, using their prisoners as a shield, covered the two constables, ordered them to lay down their arms and release their prisoner. It was useless to disobey. In a moment the four officers were marched into the elevator drive-way.

   "Stand up against the wall there, and be quick," shouted Martin. "We'll show you Rubes how to do the real Western stunt."

   While five of the men covered the captives, one collected the prisoners' firearms. During this brief intermission the marauders amused themselves by shooting several volleys into the wall against which this sheriff and the other officers w«re standing.

   When all were thoroughly searched Martin ordered the men to face about. Just then one of the bandits spied the crowd of citizens rushing down the main street, armed with shotguns. The noise of the firing at the elevator had hurried the rescue party.

   "Run, boys, run!" called the lookout. "We can't fight the whole town."

   The desperadoes began a hasty retreat. When they reached the door Shannon, one of their number, turned about and deliberately aimed his revolver at the sheriff.

Shoots at the Sheriff.

   As he fired he cried. 'Til fix you so that you'll never again lock a man in the calaboose."

   The noise of the report drowned his oath, as he departed from the building.

   And three hours later he lay dead, pierced with several rifle balls. The bullet grazed Young's right temple, making a small scar.

   So long did the marauders delay that when all were finally out of the building the citizens' rescue party was but 100 feet in the rear of the fleeing bandits. In the vanguard were C.M. King, an attorney; Dr. A.D. Haskell, John Effinger and Chet Butler, a lad fifteen years of age. All carried shotguns but Butler, who was armed with a large Colt's revolver.

   Young at once took command of the posse. Taking possession of a hand car that was lying near the siding, the four citizens, accompanied by the four officers, began a mad race down the track after the fleeing criminals. Rapidly they gained, and it looked as if the entire gang would be captured without further fight, when the bandits suddenly halted.

   The next moment a shower of bullets flew by the pursuers. It was followed by another and still another, but none did damage and all went wide of the posse. But the volley served its purpose. It halted the advance of the sheriff and his men and gave the desperadoes another chance to gain their liberty.

   Young ordered his men forward but told them not return the shots until at closer range. When within twenty rods of the gang the order to fire was given. The men were just leaving the railroad tracks to seek shelter in a woods, when the heavy volley of shot was fired. One fell but was only slightly injured, for in a moment he was again on his feet. Butler, who carried a revolver, fired away at the retreating figures, but his shooting was of no avail. Before the shotguns could be reloaded, the men had made good their escape for the time being and were lost in the heavy underbrush.

   Six of the sheriff's party were placed as guards around the woods. Young and one of the others hurried back to town to secure reinforcements and additional firearms. When he reached South Haven the town was filled with farmers. County Attorney Cutting had spread the alarm.

Armed Farmers Appear.

   Men came from their homes armed with every conceivable kind of a weapon. In the collection were twelve Winchesters, which were at once taken by the sheriff.

   A party of young men came over from Annandale just as the sheriff was about to return to the fighting ground. Among some of the Annandale volunteers were John Gallady, William Macdonald, a banker, Charles Mahew, Oran Cofield, Owen Graves, John Cavanaugh and Steve Snider. All were armed with rifles. These men and a dozen others returned with Young to the woods. They were followed by at least a hundred farmers and tradesmen, who were armed with shotguns and other weapons.

   When Young reached the timber patch he organized his posse into two parties. One he placed in command of Nugent and the other he himself lead.

   While the sheriff was away looking for reinforcements, the bandits crossed a marsh and laid their camp in a small woods about eight rods from the Annandale road. They hid themselves in a piece of heavy brush, from where they could overlook the actions of the pursuing party.

   Young, with his small army, soon surrounded the timber, and the advance into the woods was begun. Shots were fired at intervals of a few seconds to frighten the men from their hiding place. But they did not show themselves.

   Suddenly Nugent and his party came upon the underbrush. They could not see the gang of bandits, but could hear the murmur of their voices.

   "Surrender!" called Nugent.
   There was no response.

Two Simultaneous Volleys.

   Simultaneously two volleys were fired; one from the gang of desperadoes and the other from the posse.

   The outlaws shot wild, but the Winchesters did deadly work.

   One man rose from the brush. He waved his arms frantically and cried:

   "Don't fire any more, boys. For God's sake don't fire! You have sent us all to hell now. Don't fire!"

   But the bandit's appeal fell on listless ears. The pursuers raised their guns to fire again into the brush.

   Young, several yards in advance of his party, rushed ahead when he heard the heavy firing. He came just in time to hear the cry for mercy. His call to the citizens' guard delayed their contemplated action.

   In another moment he was before the body of pursuers with drawn gun. He commanded Nugent to stand by him, and although there were cries "To kill the brutes," Young won the day and prevented a massacre of the surrendered prisoners.

   The fallen bandits were hurried to Annandale in farm wagons, where their injuries were dressed.

   Shannon was killed instantly. He never moved after being hit with one of the rifle balls. Burns is mortally wounded, more than a hundred shot piercing his flesh. Some of the shot entered his lungs. Desmond is wounded about the abdomen, and Martin's head is filled with shot. Rice and  Moran were hit in the legs with several pieces of shot.

   After the wounds were dressed the men were taken to the county building at Buffalo, where the large court room was turned into a hospital and prison. Armed deputies guard the wounded men.

Talk With the Sheriff.

   When interviewed today Sheriff Young said he had but little to say regarding the capture of the desperadoes.

   "If it were not for the loyal support the citizens of South Haven and Annandale gave us we could never have taken the men," said he. "The posse was an ideal one, and was easily handled.

   "That the men captured are desperate characters is certain. Each was armed with two Colt revolvers of a large caliber and carried a big supply of ammunition. Besides, we found several hundred signal torpedo caps in the car which they occupied.

   "It is my opinion that they were preparing to hold up the Soo line's express, and that their maraudings about this county was only preliminary work. I am sure that we have rounded up the whole gang and that none escaped us. However, there was a report from Annadale today that there were seven in the roginal party, but I hardly think that is so, as there were only five men in the car when we entered to make the arrest."

And With a Prisoner.

   "It is all a mistake," said Tommy Burns, one of the captured bandits. "We were bumming our way to the West, and are not the desperate characters that the sheriff says we are. However, he is all right, and If it was not for him we'd all been slaughtered.

   "The whole gang was drunk Thursday and Friday, and when the sheriff disturbed us we all got nasty. That's how the affair started. Later there was some shooting, but I tell you we never fired a shot after entering the woods.

   "We intended to give up when asked to surrender, but we didn't get the chance. Some one yelled 'surrender' and then fired. Martin yelled to the fellows not to shoot, but they paid no attention to him. Then, when we were all hit, the rubes were going to finish us, but Young stopped them. If he'd been present when they found us there would have been no shooting. The other fellows got rattled.

   "If I'd known they were going to pepper us, anyway, why I would have taken a shot or two at the push."

   More than 500 farmers and tradesmen from all parts of Wright county visited the jail here today to look at the captured desperadoes. The bandits complained to Sheriff Young against the exhibition game and tonight were moved from the court to the jail proper.

Finally Give Their Names.

   The men refuse to answer all questions concerning themselves. Until tonight they refused to give their names,but finally consented to do so, If Sheriff Young would promise to let no more visitors into the cell rooms.

   The following were the names given: Gerald Shannon, aged twenty-three, home at Rochester, N.Y.; Frank Moran, age twenty-six, Boise, Idaho; Ed Rice, age forty, Boise, Idaho; James Martin, age thirty-three. South Omaha; Tommy Burns, age thirty-six, Seattle; James Desmond, age twenty-tree; Denver, Col.

   Monday the men will be given their preliminary examination and will then be moved to the Hennepin county jail at Minneapolis.

   Shannon, who was killed, is said to have been the son of a wealthy shoe manufacturer who lives at Rochester, N.Y. The other members say he was a well educated chap, having graduated from an Eastern college three years ago. They say he worked in the harvest fields this fall.

[The Saint Paul Globe, Sunday Morning, October 4, 1903. Vol. XXVI.--No. 277. Pg. 1 & 3]

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