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    Description

    Gates Gang: Reward Circulars. This lot has two reward posters or flyers, each measuring 8.5" x 11". Both deal with George Gates and his cohorts. One, issued by Wells, Fargo & Company, titled "Look Out For Train Robbers and Murderers", offers an $850 reward for Gates, his brother Ed Lee, and their accomplice James Arnet. The other, simply titled "Reward!", offers a like sum for the capture of George, his brother Edwin Vernon and James Arnett for the robbery of train No. 15 at Copley, California and the murder of Wells Fargo messenger William O'Neil. The Gates brothers grew up in Amador County which is in Northern California in gold country. With no success as a prizefighter in his early 20's, George Gates worked as a miner. On April 11, 1902, his first act of crime was robbing a saloon in Jackson, Amador County, where he was shot in the left hip and forearm before escaping. On November 18, 1902, George and an accomplice attempted to rob a train at Beshoar Junction, outside of Colorado. The accomplice was shot dead by the Wells Fargo messenger. On June 9, 1903, George and his brother Vernon robbed a stagecoach near Four Mile House in Shasta County, California, not only stealing the express boxes, but also $400 and two gold watches. The Gates brothers then embarked on widespread crime spree in California, Oregon and Washington. Right before the Copley train robbery, the Gates brothers rented a room at a boarding house from a married couple in the local area. George had a love affair with the wife. Right before the Copley robbery, the trio robbed saloons in Edgewood and Redding, California. An abandoned cabin was used as a hideout. Copley was 10 miles north of Redding in Northern California. It was a tiny town consisting of a general store, a railroad depot, several rows of houses, and a watering tank. Besides Wells Fargo messenger O'Neill who was shot dead in the express car during the robbery, an off-duty guard, Frank Rockwell, was along for the ride. After O'Neill was murdered, Rockwell surrendered after the robbers threatened to blow up the express car. Eventually, the safe in the express car was dynamited. The explosion was so great that it completely destroyed the safe and and its contents along with the express car. A small dog was in a shipping crate near the safe when it exploded. The dog was blown through the roof of the express car and landed 50 feet away, ran unharmed from the scene yelping. The robbers escaped the scene without any loot. Unknown to them, at the bottom of the destroyed safe covered by concrete debris were sacks of gold. C. C. Crowley, the Southern Pacific railroad detective whose name is at the bottom of the poster was instrumental in gathering evidence in identifying the Gates brothers and Arnett as the robbers. For a year, a widespread manhunt failed to locate the trio. On March 16, 1905, the Gates Gang robbed the Gem Saloon in Lordsburg, New Mexico. The next day at a boarding house in Separ outside of Lordsburg, the brothers were shot and killed by lawmen. They were then buried in a potter's field in Lordsburg. James "Shorty" Arnett was never apprehended.

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    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    June, 2012
    10th Sunday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 3
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,129

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