Train Robbing Becoming More and More Unsafe.
EXPRESS CARS GENERALLY LOADED.
A Texas Industry in Peril-Night Robbers Get All They Want and Don't Get Any
Money Either-The Scoundrels Cause the Bad Wounding of an Engineer,
However-Tragedy in the Ring-Full James Receives a Death Blow.
SCHULENBURG, Tex. Sept. 24-The eastbound Southern Pacific express train was
stopped by train robbers Saturday night three miles east of Harwood. The
engineer, fireman, and conductor were covered with revolvers. The mail-car was
uncoupled from the rest of the train and the engineer was forced to pull it down
the road two miles. The robbers had intended to cut out the express car instead
of the mail car.
Information reached the railway officials several days ago that the night
express would be held up Saturday, and preparations were made for the fight.
United States Marshals Bud West and J. B McNeil were concealed in the mail car,
while in the express car were United states Marshall John T. Rankin with Deputy
Van Riper and Detective J. S. Kelley of the Southern Pacific service.
When the engine and rail cars were finally brought to a halt, the robbers
compelled the engineer, Dan Tooley to open the door and climb in. As soon as
Toomy's head appeared through the open door Deputy Marshal West, taking Toomy
for one of the robbers, opened fire. Toomy fell back with an ugly wound plowed
through his left cheek three inches long and an inch wide, and a number of buckshot in his left shoulder. The bandits then forced Grosser to enter the car. West fired at Grosser but missed him. The fight then began in earnest. The robbers fired a broadside at the car and threatened to burn it if the occupants did not surrender. Deputy West and McNeil from within kept on firing and after three of their number were wounded the bandits took to the woods.
The fireman ran the engine to the nearest station, where the wounded engineer was left for medical attention, and then the engine was run back to where the main track had been left. The bandits were fortunate in carrying off the wrong car. Had it been the express, which was armed with more men and guns, the ground would probably been strewed with dead train robbers.
As soon as Conductor Shackford was released by the robbers he sent his brakeman to the rear to flag a freight, which was brought to a halt only a few yards from the passenger train. The wounded robbers were heard to beseech their companions not to desert them.
Yesterday morning bloodhounds were put on the trail. There were eight robbers in the party. The engineer's wounds are dangerous." ("Growing Hazardous," Rochester (Rochester New York) Republican, 27 September 1888; Newspaper Access (http://access.newspaperarchive.com :
accessed 8 June 2013))
ELMER ELLSWORTH SHACKFORD (1862-1938)
Elmer Ellsworth Shackford (known as E E Shackford) was born Sept 9, 1862 in Fitchburg, Worcester, Massachusetts[i], the second son of Nathaniel Shackford, a stone quarrier, and Emeline E Lovering. He joined the railway service in 1876[ii] at the age of 15 working as a locomotive fireman with the Boston Barre &Gardner Railroad[iii], a small railroad running out of Worcester Massachusetts. He then moved west in 1879 to work for the Galveston Harrisburg & San Antonio Railroad and Southern Pacific Company as locomotive Fireman and Engineer and by 1887 had moved to the position of freight conductor[iv]. On September 24, 1888, as the newspaper article above describes, his train was held up three miles east of Harwood, Texas[v] Elmer's wedding was held two weeks after the holdup and he did remain in the railroad business for many more years.
[i] Busby T. Addison, Editor, The Biographical Directory of the Railway Officials of America (Chicago: Railway Age Publishing Company, 1906), p. 542; digital images, (http://books.google.com : accessed 13 June 2013
[ii] Busby T. Addison, Editor, The Biographical Directory of the Railway Officials of America (Chicago: Railway Age Publishing Company, 1906), p. 542; digital images, (http://books.google.com : accessed 13 June 2013
[iii] Busby T. Addison, Editor, The Biographical Directory of the Railway Officials of America (Chicago:
Railway Age Publishing Company, 1906), p. 542; digital images, (http://books.google.com : accessed 13 June 2013
[iv] Houston, Texas Directories, 1882-95
[v] "A TRAIN ATTACKED. But the Train Robbers are Beaten Off by the Guards," San Antonio Daily Light, 25
September 1888, 6/8/13; Newspaper Archive (http://accessnewspaperarchive.com : accessed