Saturday, December 8, 2012

December 8: Bisbee Massacre

On this date in History .... 1883:

Five desperadoes rode into the mining town of Bisbee, Arizona to get the $7000 payroll from the Bisbee Gen’l Store vault. Their leader, Daniel "Big Dan" Dowd, and his gang barged into the store demanded the payroll but they were too early--the payroll had not yet arrived.
The outlaws gathered up what money there was, (between $900-$3,000), and took jewelry from the unlucky customers before they turned the robbery into a slaughter, killing four people (including Annie Roberts who was pregnant), and was dubbed The Massacre of Bisbee.
Deputy Sheriff Bill Daniels formed a posse and tracked the group for days.  Local saloonkeeper John Heath claimed to know who the men were, offered to lead the posse, but took the posse the opposite direction.  When he was called out by a rancher, Heath admitted to planning the robbery, was tried separately and was given life in prison.
When Daniels' posse tired and turned back, Daniels continued the search alone, finally capturing them one by one. The 5 were hung simultaneously.
Heath didn't get off so easily, though.  The townspeople thought his sentence was too light, especially considering a pregnant woman had died in the gunfire, so they broke into the jail and hung Heath from a telegraph pole.

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