History: "Outlaws and desperadoes" 1875
Contact: Vickie

----Source: The Clark County Press Date: 7-31-1875

Humbird Correspondence Humbird, July 29, 1875 - On the morning of the 22d, about two o-clock a.m. as the night express on the W. W. R’y, going east, was running at full speed and nearing a deep culvert, about two miles east of Fairchild, the engineer, John McClaughlin, discovered obstructions, in the shapes of ties, piled on the track, just ahead. With all possible haste the train was stopped, but not until the engine had struck and even passed over several of the ties. She remained on the track, however, and after a few minutes spent in clearing away, she was again speeding on her way with no damage done, thanks to the vigilance of the engineer. But had there been a neglect of duty for but a moment, or had the engineer been unable to bring the train to a halt just as he did, train and passengers must inevitably have been hurled down an embankment of nearly thirty feet; and it is painful to dwell on what would have followed. The fact coming to the ears of the people at Fairchild, early in the morning, caused some excitement and let to an immediate investigation. The section men, accompanied by the station agent, Mr. Jno. Stansell, and Mr. J. H. Acker, a gentlemen known to most of the business men along the road, and who has been stopping at Fairchild for a few days, repaired at once to the scene to see if the perpetrators of such a diabolical deed could be brought to justice. All the clue they could get were the tracks of the party, which were of peculiar shape and were scattered about over the scene in many places, and led both to and from the culvert. The peculiarity in the track was made by a tap on one side of the sole of the right boot, about an inch wide, and six inches in length. The track came from the direction of Humbird and after passing the trestle a short distance left the road. From here the trail was lost, and all were inclined to give it up, but the gentleman spoken of, Mr. Acker, who, by keeping on in the direction taken by the party after branching off, came again upon the trail in some ploughed ground, and followed it from thence to the house of a German by the name of Michael Drauham, who was, at the time, at work in an adjoining field. On-going to him and examining his boots Mr. Acker was convinced that he had spotted his man. He was taken to Fairchild, and the nest day to Black River Falls, the crime having been committed in Jackson County, where the evidence, together with his own crooked and contradictory statements, were sufficient, in the eyes of the justice, to bind him over in bonds of $500, in default of which he is now a gentleman of leisure at the county’s expense, awaiting the fall term of court. On the same night, about one o’clock a.m., a saw mill, the property of Thomas, Hine & Graves, of Fairchild, two miles west of town, was fired by some fiend and totally destroyed, together with several surrounding buildings. Loss not estimated. There is not a shadow of doubt, but that it was set on fire, as the watchman could distinctly see and hear the man running to make good his escape. The next evening an attempt was made to steal a valuable team from a stable situated near the ruins, and on the day following another attempt at incendiarism was made in the lumberyard, but which was happily frustrated by the entire population of Fairchild turning out and fighting the fire down. Comment on the atrocity of such acts is unnecessary. Shakespeare’s words "Hell is empty, all its devils are here," is the most appropriate language we can give for the occasion. There is known to be a set of outlaws and desperadoes frequenting the vicinity where these lawless acts were committed, and it is with the greatest satisfaction we are allowed to chronicle the probability of even one being brought to justice.



© Every submission is protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998.


Show your appreciation of this freely provided information by not copying it to any other site without our permission.


Become a Clark County History Buff


Report Broken Links

A site created and maintained by the Clark County History Buffs
and supported by your generous donations.


Webmasters: Leon Konieczny, Tanya Paschke,

Janet & Stan Schwarze, James W. Sternitzky,

Crystal Wendt & Al Wessel