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Armed men hold up a Northern Pacific train in Washington's first train robbery on November 24, 1892.

HistoryLink.org Essay 5614 : Printer-Friendly Format

On November 24, 1892, three armed men wearing masks and long coats rob a dozen passengers aboard a Northern Pacific sleeper pulling out of Hot Springs, near the Green River in King County. They steal some $1,500 in cash and $400-$500 in watches and jewelry. This is the first train robbery in the state of Washington.

They Fled Into the Night 

The men boarded the last car of the train as it pulled out of Hot Springs late at night. While one man took up station at the front of the car, the other two "went through" (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) the passengers. One bandit fired a shot into the car and clubbed a male passenger on the head with a revolver.

When the robbers were finished, one pulled the bell cord twice. This signaled the engineer to stop the train and they fled into the night. The efficiency with which the men boarded the train and the way that one of them stuffed money and valuables into his coat, "Just like a conductor," led many witnesses to speculate that the perpetrators had worked for a railroad.

One robber took 70 cents from the pocket of Seattle businessman T. C. Taylor, who asked, "Won't you let me have that to get my breakfast with?" The robber said, "Oh, I guess so," and returned the change. Mrs. Guamares of Seattle had sewn $2,700 in cash into her dress and did not lose it to the thieves. Her husband, however, lost several hundred dollars in Canadian currency.

Sources:
Thomas W. Prosch, "A Chronological History of Seattle From 1850 to 1897," typescript dated 1900-1901, Northwest Collection, University of Washington Library, Seattle, 421; Seattle Post-Intelligencer, November 25, 1892, p. 1; Ibid., November 26, 1892, p. 2.


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Related Topics: Crime | Firsts | Roads & Rails |

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