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[Written tor the Herald.]
AN ATTEMPT TO JOIN THE HIGHWAYMEN. A Reminiscence of Early Times. BY W. F. SANDERS. [I make no apology that the frequent nee of the tiret per*on singular of the personal pronoun appears with sufficient frequency to cause old Boswell to roll over in his graye. Who so thinks he can write his personal experience and omit that part of speech, let him try. It will not be attributed to personal vanity when the reader reflects that I confess to the verdancy which this episode implies under no compulsion whatever.] On the morning of the 14th of November, 1863, I arrived at Bannack City, which was then my home, from Virginia City where I had been as one of a committee of three to interest the citizens of that place in a movement looking to the creation of a new Territory out of that part of Idaho which was east of the Rocky and Bit ter Root Mountains. Upon my journey from Virginia City to Bannack I was accompanied by Samuel T. Hauser, Esq., theretofore a miner in Bivens' gulch, near*Virginia City, who was on his way to St. Louis, and Henry Plummer, then in many respects the most conspicuous citizen of eastern Idaho. Upon arriving at Bannack I learned from Samuel McLain, Esq., then a citizen of that town, that it was an open secre that mines of silver were known to exist in that vicinity and that the announcement of that fact would be made public as soon as they should be recorded. Theretofore mining in Eastern Idaho was exclusively confined to placer mines. A few gold quartz lodes had been discovered near Bannack but the existence of silver bearing quartz was not generally known or conceded. At this period the silver mines of Colorado and Nevada were being developed and revealing fabulous richness, and it was the universal be lief, of persons who had given the subject atten tion, that silver mines were much more valuable than those exclusively bearing gold. Col. McLain had requested if an opportunity oc curred for me to secure him a claim upon the silver lodes to be recorded that I would do so, and reciprocally had promised me if an oppor tunity occurred for him to secure a claim for me that he would do it ; and as to the discover ies then supposed to have been made and about to be made public, we agreed to ow n whatever either procured in common. During the day a number of horses belonging to the bold riders of the mountains, who then lived in or frequented Bannack, were driven from the Horse Prairie ranch or pasture grounds to Bannack, and dur ing the afternoon a cavalcade of ten or a dozen horsemen had mounted and perambulated the streets of Bannack, frequenting the various sa loons of the town. Their horses w ere uniform ly the best the country afforded and their horse manship was perfect. They remained in Ban nack for two or three hours, apparently for con vivial purposes, and late in the afternoon began to depart from the town in the direction of Vir ginia City, by twos. After some of them had left, Col. McLain came to me and stated that, in his judgment, this party was going to stake and record the silver lodes which he had mentioned as having been discoverd. I expressed to him my dissent from that opinion and told him 1 would ascertain. Seeing Mr. Plummer mounted on his horse and a short distance on the opposite side of the street from me, I went to him and asked him where he was going. He told me that he and his party were going that evening to the ranch of Parish, Bunton & Co., on Rattle snake creek, about fifteen miles east from Ban nack, where they would remain all night, and that upon the succeeding day they were going to Blacktail Deer creek, upon the opposite side of Beaverhead river, to take possession of a herd of horses which Frank Parish had taken to keep during the winter ; that Parish was sick and would not probably survive ; that his wife was a Bannack squaw' and that the instant he died she, with some of her tribe, w ould take possession of these horses and drive them away, and inasmuch as they were owned by citizens of that vicinity he felt bound to protect their prop erty and preserve it against these Indian thieves. The story was a plausible one. I knew that Parish was sick from a fever and not expected to live, having left his place that morning. I also knew that his wife was an Indian woman and presumed he had the horses mentioned. Im pressed, however, with the superior information of Col. McLain, I denied to Plummer that he had truly related to me his purpose, stating to him my conviction that he, with his party, were going to stake and record the silver quartz lodes which rumor said had been discovered, and stated to him my inclination to accompany him. He replied : "All right; get your horse and come along;" at the same time, however, assur ing me that, as far as his knowledge extended, there was no one going with him who knew of the discovery of any silver mines and stated his conviction that no such purpose was in the mind of any of his companions, and assured me he knew nothing of the matter himself. Upon my intimation of a continued belief that this was his purpose, or that of some of the party, and that it was still my design to accompany it for that object, after a moment's hesitation he re peated his invitation to me to go with him, and at the same time stated to me that if I did not, and it should occur that such an event as I had signified should transpire while they were absent, he would see that one of the claims was staked in my name as certainly as if I were there. I said to him that h : * companions might object to the staking or recording of claims loi any person not present on the ground, which he assured me would not be the case, and saying it such an to in a event did occur he would deed to me the claim which should be recorded for him, that he could get quartz claims when he pleased, and upon his assuring me that I should fare as well in this respect as he or any of his companions, I returned and reported my conversation to Col. McLain. At this time it is probable that half of the par ty had already left town, and the balance w'ere scattered through the hamlet, occasionally gal loping wildly from one saloon to another through the Main street. I do not remember all of these horsemen. There were Plummer, the Sheriff, two of his deputies, John Gallagher, George Ives and probably six others, one of whom, I am certain, continued to reside in the Territory of Montana until a veiy recent period, who pursued an honorable avocation and who was highly esteemed as a man of integrity by all who knew him, to the time of his death. An hour or two after my interview with Plum mer Col. McLain returned to my office accom panied by the H011. Sidney Edgerton, then Chief Justice of the Territory of Idaho, the Hon. F. M. Thompson, a merchant then trading in Ban nack, and Leonard A. Gridley, who had crossed the plains with me, and expressed the conviction that it was desirable that I should go to the ranch on the Rattlesnake and accompany this party the succeeding day. I volunteered to do so at their request, and I went for my blankets and revolver while they proceeded to find for me a horse in town. Upon the morning of this day, shortly after my arrival from Virginia City, a large cavalcade of teams, driven by a number of Mormons, had left the town of Bannack for Salt Lake City. These teams were principally mules, although there were some horses. When we had alighted from the coach I had accompanied Mr. Hauser to the store of George Crissman, then the prin cipal place in the town, where the citizens gath ered to discuss the mining interests of the coun try and relate the tragedies and hair breadth es capes which daily occurred. Mr. Hauser de livered to Mr. Crissman, for safe keeping, several purses of gold dust and proceeded to make ar rangements with Mr. Nathaniel P. Langford to start upon his Journey to Salt Lake City. Upon my arrival from my residence with my blankets, I found saddled and bridled for my use a diminutive mule, the only animal at that time in Bannack w'hich could be obtained for such a purpose as I had in view, and I mounted and started up the hill on the road which the horsemen had traveled. Just before doing so Mr. Gallagher, known as Jack Gallagher, rode to the door of my office, dismounted, came in and proceeded to blacken his boots, exchanging the customary salutations. At this time the sun was probably an hour high. Near where the cemetery at Bannack now is, about a hundred rods from the main street, my mule, true to the spirit which characterizes his kind, became balky, and refused to budge an inch for half an hour, to the great amusement of several gentle men who witnessed his gyrations from the main street of the village, which lay beneath me Patience, however, conquered at last, and I pur sued my journey, arriving at the top of the hill, five miles from Bannack, before daylight had entirely faded from the sky. I had frequently observed the tracks of horses which had pre ceded me in the highway, and when I reached the top of the hill, failing to discover any of them, I dismounted for that purpose. Readily persuaded that these wild horsemen were famil iar with shorter trails to the Rattlesnake ranch than the main road, I concluded they had taken such a trail, for it was certain that the last travel over the highway was a team on its way towards Bannack. The animal which I rode, by h[s ap parent weariness, justified the resolution he had formed near the town, not to accompany me on my journey, and I soon discovered he was wholly unfit for the task imposed upon him. About dark a snow storm commenced, the wind blew' W'ith considerable fury, and the ac cumulations of snow r upon the feet of the mule rendered his step uncertain and very laborious. I therefore dismounted and for the last eight miles drove him to the Rattlesnake ranch. En tering the office and bar-room, a cheerful fire w'as blazing upon the hearth ; a medical gentle man from Virginia City, stupified by intoxica tion, lay upon the floor in one corner of the room ; a mattress, filled with hay, was spread down in front of the fire for a bed, and behind the bar stood Erastus Yeager, universally known at that time by the soubriquet of "Red." He greeted me cordially, but expressed some sur prise at my sudden return to theplace. I in quired of him where Mr. Plummer and his party were. He disclaimed all knowledge on the subject; informed me they had not been there, to which I expressed some surprise, and said that Mr. Plummer had left Bannack for that place during the afternoon, with eight or ten in his party. I requested him to take care of my mule, w'hich he did by putting him in the corral belonging to the stage line of A. J. Oliver & Co., feeding him some hay, and bringing the bridle, saddle and blankets into the house. Wearied w ith the labors of the last day or two I soon commenced to spread my blankets upon the floor preparatory to a night's rest, but Yeager asked me to put them on the mattress on the floor, saying I could sleep with him—a tempting invitation which was readily accepted, and I was soon asleep. About midnight I was awakened by boisterous and rude raps upon the outer door, and ' Red" arose, lit a candle, took a shotgun from be.-*-t d the bar, and proceeded to unbar the door, w*. 'T in stepped Gallagher, saying that in the storm h%. hr*d lost his way, had finally found Rattlesnake creek, and had been riding up and dow'n it for two hours at least, unable to find Rattlesnake ranch, then the only house upon that creek, and which w as sit uated upon the crossing of the stream, about three or four miles below' Argenta. He said his horse was worn out; himself nearly frozen and nearly starved, and as a relief against all these ills he said he warned something to drink. He also asked for something to eat. His first request was instantly complied with, but he W'as told there was nothing in the house to eat, as Mr. Parish was very sick and would not probably live until morning, and they had no time to prepare for travelers. He replied that he would take another drink, and that he must have something to eat, if it w'as nothing but cold bread or cold meats ; and after he was supplied with his drink Yeager retired to the rear of the house to see w r hat could be done to allay his hunger, and soon returned w'ith a pan of cold boiled beef, to which Gallagher did a justice as complimentary to his hunger as his attention to the bottle was to the intensity of his thirst. During the time he was discussing the viands set before him he proposed to trade horses, he having a very valuable animal w'ell known to the proprietors of Rattlesnake ranch. Yeager told him they had no horse there to trade ; that the horses that belonged to the ranch were with the herd. Gallagher protested that he must have a fresh horse, until Bunton, who was lying by my side, called Yeager to the side of the b;d and whispered to him that he might trade the horse of A. J. Oliver & Co., which was in the corral, for Gallagher's horse if he could get $50 to boot. Yeager returned to his post be hind the bar and continued to assert there was no horse in the corral which they were w illing to trade away ; but finally, being thereto inter rogated, confessed there w r as a horse in the cor ral, which he said was a very valuable one, not suited to Gallagher's uses, and w hich they did not wish to dispose of. But Gallagher w'as importunate and expressed a desire to have the horse, saying it W'as fresh, w'hile his was worn out, and he must proceed on his journey that evening. To this time I, though thoroughly awakened, had said nothing, but knowing that Gallagher had been with Plummer's party in Bannack dur ing the afternoon, I presumed I could learn something of its whereabouts, and so, still lying upon the bed on the floor, I asked him if he knew where Plummer was. Instantly he jump ed to the bed-side with his revolver cocked, put it w ithin a foot of my head, and with the vilest profanity said he would shoot the top of my head off, and continued in the most angry and boisterous manner his threats and de nunciations. I do not suppose this situation lasted more than five seconds, but the sensa tions which I experienced at that time are as vividly impressed upon my mind as if it was an event not an hour passed. "Red" was behind the counter; Bunton was lying by my side. I had seen "Red" return his shotgun to the wall behind the bar, and I instantly moved my head from under the muzzle of the revolver towards Gallagher's feet, jumped from the bed, sprang behind the counter and seized the shotgun which Yeager had used, cocked it and pointed it across the counter with the muzzle directed towards Gallagher. Standing nearly in a line between the bed and bar where I stood was a rude pine table, the principal use of which was for playing cards, and this table being in reach of Gallagher, by the time I had got the shotgun in position, he laid his revolver upon it, pulled his soldier's blue overcoat apart and told me to shoot. I re plied I had no desire to shoot, but if there was any shooting to be done, I did desire the first shot. He again invited me to shoot, and at this stage of the controversy Yeager and Bunton both interposed—Yeager w'ith the assurance to Gallagher that he had been to blame, and ought to be ashamed of himself, and Bunton w'ith the consolatory statement that he would not have such a noise in the house, as Parish was sick and likely to die at any moment. Gal lagher finally gave signs of relenting, saying to Yeager that perhaps he w'as blamable, and sang that universal truce of the times which consisted of an invitation for me to drink with him. to ed on it ser the pal but and and had and After a delay, which satisfied me of the sincerity of his intentions, I accepted his invi tation, and still protest that the circumstances of duress which surrounded me ought not to oper ate to impair my standing as a Son of Temper ance. Gallagher w r as profuse in apologies, and, so soon as I could withdraw from the conversa tion, I returned to the fireplace. Gallagher and Yeager went to the corral, traded horses, re turned for the purpose of weighing $60 of gold dust, the agreed difference of the value of the tw o horses, and Gallagher departed on his ur gent but untold errand. Yeager, barring the door and congratulating Bunton upon the trade which they had made of another person's horse for one of their own, then laid down on the side opposite to me from Bunton, and we were shortly again w rapped in slumber. About tw'o o'clock in the morning there was an other tempestuous noise at the door and Yeager, procuring the shotgun, unbarred the door, when Gallagher came in with his saddle, bridle and blankets, saying he had become lost in the hills, could not tell where the road was or which way to go, and finally, having found the Rattlesnake ranch, had abandoned his journey and proposed to stay the remainder of the night; and having spread his blankets at our feet, laid down and slept. Not far from five o'clock there was another alarm at the door of the house, and with the same precautions manifested by Yeager the door was again opened, and from the darkness with out I heard a familiar \r e inquiring i r I was there, to which Yeager eplied that I wv: and invited the gentleman in. This invitation "as declined, with a requestjhat I would come out ; and so, after dressing, I stepped into the dark ness out of doors and found George Brown and Mr. Gridley standing there, and after con gratulating me upon my safety, they asked me to accompany them back to Bannack. At once returning and getting my overcoat and blankets, I saddled my mule and we started before day light, and without a breakfast, from the ranch. The story which they related will bring us back to the party of which I was in search. Upon my arrival in Bannack the day before, I had sent Henry S. Tilden, a young man who had accompanied me from Ohio to Bannack, to Horse Prairie to get some cattle which had been left there in the fall and drive them to town. About 9 or 10 o'clock in the evening he had made his appearance at my house on Yankee Flat, and related to my wife his experience of the day and evening. Having found but a por tion of the cattle during the day he had driven them into an enclosure on Horse Prairie creek, leaving them there with the expectation of re turning the following day, finding the balance and returning with them all to Bannack, and had started in the evening for that place. About half-way between Horse Prairie and Bannack he saw in the distance, in front of him, several horsemen, and upon approaching them in the road they commanded him to halt, dismount and throw up his hands. Some of them dismounted and presented their revolvers at him, while one of them proceeded to search his pockets for money, with a result somewhat discouraging, whereupon they proceeded to say to him that they did not wish his money; that they did not desire him to say what had been his experience that night, and that if he did, notwithstanding this request and notice, he need not hope to es cape death at their hands. With this precau tion, enforced by some repetition and much pro fanity, they permitted^him to remount his horse and proceed on his way. He was a boy of 15 or 16 summers, thoroughly frightened by this episode, unlike all his former experience, and he gladly availed himself of the hospitality which permitted him to depart alone into the darkness. Thenceforth his journey into the town was rapid. Riding across Yankee Flat at a gallop, his horse stumbled and threw him upon the ground, and for a time he w'as insensible, but upon recover ing his consciousness he proceeded on foot to the residence of Mr. Edgerton and told the family what had occurred to him and who sev eral of the party were that had stopped him in the highway in the manner described. He then came to my house, repeated the story, and my wife accompanied him to the residence of Mr. Edgerton, where several of the neighbors were called and consulted, each of whom expressed some apprehension as to my own safety. The result wa§ that Brown and Gridley were mount ed upon two horses which had been at work during the day out of Bannack, and were sent to Rattlesnake ranch to ascertain my where abouts. It thus appeared that the horsemen, under the command of Plummer, had proceed ed in an opposite direction to near the top of the hill toward Rattlesnake ranch, had doubled up on their track, crossed the Grasshopper creek about four miles above Bannack, and had pro ceeded to Horse Prairie with the intention, as it afterwards appeared, of robbing Messrs. Hau ser and Langford, who had left Bannack during the evening, having in the morning, without the knowledge of Plummer and his companions, made an arrangement with the Mormon train to join it that evening on Horse Prairie and pro ceed with it the next day. Upon my return to Bannack I was disinclined to believe that young Tilden's identification of Plummer as the princi pal actor in the attempted robbery was correct, but the young man was of undoubted integrity, and he was certain that if the identification of in dividual faces was a possible thing he there saw and knew Henry Plummer. The facts were concealed from the general public until the af ternoon of the 10th of January, 1864, after it had been determined to hang Plummer, Ray and Stinson, when, for the further satisfaction of those who might possibly indulge in captious doubt, we sent for young Tilden and had him relate the story. Of the four actors in the scene at the Rattle snake ranch that night, within sixty days I was the sole survivor, the other three having fallen victims of the Vigilance Committee. — ♦< Cl 11 1 — ♦< Cl CATTLE ON SHARES. A large and increasing percentage of the cattle of Montana are owned by persons who lo not manage them themselves, and some of whom do not reside in this Territory. Nearly all the leading merchants and bankers of Helena are interested in bands of stock. A man who desires to invest in stock, and who has not the time or inclination to attend to the business himself, takes as an associate some man of experience and integrity but destitute of capital, and gives him entire charge of the herd. This man selects the range, moves the animals when necessary, attends to the rounding up, and drives those that are sold to the place of delivery, paying all expenses, and being entirely responsible for the management of the business. For this he receives one-half of the increase of the herd, the man who furnishes the capital taking the other half. The returns which capitalists obtain on their money invested on this plan in a herd of cattle is never less than 15 per cent, per annum. A Military Granary. The military granary at Fort Ellis, near Bozeman, M. T., contains 1,000,000 pounds of oats. This grain averages 42 pounds to the bushel. It is a small part of the past season's product from Gallatin county farms. VESTEL, BELMONT ANS ABOST. Mining and Milling Notes by "Observer." The Penobscot mine and mill employ about 120 men. The main shaft has reached a depth of 265 fi.et ; have 20 feet of ore in the bottom. The arastra is not running at present, for what reason we did not learn. At Mount Pleasant we found the mill had started up on the 5th of December with ten stamps, five running on Blue Bird ore and five working on custom ore from the Sandford lode. Messrs. Haskell & Co. are working the Mount Pleasant lead by lease, and are having their ore worked for gold and silver in Mayger's milk Business in this burg has been at nearly a stand still for some months, abiding the time the mill was being enlarged. Now more men are em ployed than ever, and the town feels the benefit thereof. The Gloster mill had been running about 24 hours when your correspondent arrived on the scene. Quite a change has taken place at this mine since my first visit there some six months ago. Instead of the two tumble-down log cab ins being the only habitations in sight, we find quite a number of neat and cosy cabins, and a large, comfortable boarding house occupied by Mr. Pat. Powers and family. Last but not least is the neat little mill building, equipped with a 15-horse power Fraser & Chalmers engine and boiler and five stamps, with frame and battery blocks for five additional stamps, which we were informed would probably be added this winter. Six tons per 24 hours is crushed. Mr. George Johnson, an old experienced amalgamator, has charge of the mill. The mine has been spoken of so often that I shall only say that they are at present sinking through 7 feet of very good ore. The copper plates in the mill show well consid ering the short time they had been running. At the Whipporwill mine 16 men are em ployed, under the foremanship of Mr. Ed. Mc Grath. The whim shaft has reached a depth of 250 feet. Hoisting from the 100 foot level is done with a whim'; below that level hoisting is done with a hand windlass. An engine is to be placed over this mine in the spring, so we are informed. The mill is not running at present. At Belmont everything seems to be pursuing the even tenor of its way. It is useless to say that the Belmont mill is running, for it is never known to stop except a few hours during the semi-monthly clean-ups. In spite of wind and storms J. Warren De Camp & Co. are pluckily searching for a hidden treasure on their Star of the West location May the success of such persevering and industrious boys be as great as their expectations. Marysville is the euphonious name by which the new town, one-fourth of a mile below Bel mont, has been christened. The Mayger mill, built ostensibly to work quartz from the Drum Lummond, is the important feature of the place. Thos. Cruse, owner of the Drum-Lummond, has purchased 20 stamps, engine and boiler, at Cable City, and report says he will have a mill running by spring. Charles Mayger is sinking on his St. Louis lode (west extension of the Drum-Lummond) with gratifying results. The Pinafore and Last Hope lodes, owned by sev eral prospective millionares of Belmont, show signs of bustling activity. Should the owners of these mines become bonanza kings, your cor respondent will keep you posted, or he is not an Observer. FREIGHTING-. An Open Letter from Commo dore Power. Capt. Bob Fisk , Editor Herald : Your favor of this day received. Am I to understand that you will not admit an adver tisement to the Holiday Herald at any price? This will never do. Allow the edition of thirty or forty thousand copies to go out to the w'orld and no steamboat versus railroad talk ! No notice of when our river flotilla intend to start in the spring, or where from ! Listen to me a moment ; not for my own cause, but for the general good. 1st.—I know you do not want to stop emigration. Then how can you overlook the reliable route up the Missouri river? 2d.—I feel assured your intelligent readers, who are liberal to a fault in everything but the freighting business, know from long tried experience that they do not want to pay a higher rate on their coffee, wine and alco hol than their neighbors who happen to be in direct railroad connection. Now, you know that freight is laid down cheaper in Helena by Missouri river than at Ogden and Salt Lake by rail, notwithstanding we have to haul by wagon over a "bottomless road" 140 miles, at a cost of $1 per 100 lbs. per 100 miles. 3d.— Do not let your readers forget that water trans portation is the only cheap way of moving the productions of the sons of toil as well as fur nishing them with the necessaries of life at rea sonable rates. Another notable fact, too, should not escape attention: all large commercial towns have gained their position by being situ ated on or contiguous to favorable water routes. 4th.—Unless we utilize the water privileges we are blessed with we cannot aspire to great com mercial importance. Boats should be navigat ing the Missouri many miles above Helena. Alas ! our Montana Navigation Company, I fear, consists of more critics than boat-builders. 5th.—If the people of Montana desire to keep up a spirited competition they must not neglect the Missouri river. We will endeavor to give shippers early boats, cheap rates, and, as far as in our power, entire satisfaction. With these objects in view the steamer Butte, now at Bis marck, will leave that port on the opening of navigation, about April 10th, reaching Benton April 25th. The stpamer Helena will leave Sioux City at the same date, April 10th. The Benton will follow a week later, and ply regu larly between Bismarck and Benton during the season. Pardon me if I trespass upon, forbid den ground. You know that spirited competi tion in freighting business has nearly been the death of me—not the close rates given by rail, but rivalry ori the river. So I cannot holler as loud as formerly, nor walk around to see my friends. The first whistle in the spriug time will wake us all up ready for the fray. Tom C. Power. Helena, December 27th, 1879.