Old West Catacombs

Doomed To Die By Black Jack’s Gang

December 5, 1897, Call, San Francisco, California – Black Jack’s gang was seen camped twenty miles south of here, across the line, today by a prominent cattleman on his way from Mexico.  There were nine men, all well- armed, having good horses, and they had apparently gathered for some new exploit. The Mexican knew three of the outlaws well, they having been cowboys in this vicinity for a number of years. A cowboy whom he met before reaching them told him that the cutthroats were in the vicinity for the purpose of killing three men whom they had marked.

Burt Alvord

The first man they want is Burt Alvord, the Willcox, (Arizona) constable, who shot and killed Bill King a few weeks ago while resisting arrest for drunkenness. King was a cowboy who assisted Black Jack and his gang to escape when they were so closely pursued last fall, just after the robbery of the depot at Huachuca siding, and they have sworn to avenge his death.

The other men are Deputy Sheriff Bill Hildreth and Line-rider Sam King.  Hildreth has been hunting these men down for months, and it was he who first connected them with the Grant-station train robbery.  Sam King is a marked man, because he caused them trouble after they had killed Line-rider Robinson nearly two years ago.  Two of these men have been warned to be on their guard. 

Hildreth left Tombstone this morning for the line alone in pursuit of a clue to the whereabouts of the gang, and could not be warned.  Should he run upon them alone he is a doomed man, and his friends here tonight are very uneasy. 

For certain reasons the posses were taken off the trail.  The impression is that it was because they thought it useless to pursue the robbers no the fastnesses of the Ajo Mountains, but such is not the case. 

The three members of the gang who were arrested on Thanksgiving Day at Fronteras—Jessie Williams, Tom Anderson and an unknown are still separated from the main gang and were seen yesterday by a cattleman named Fisher near the Souse ranch at the base of the Ajo Mountains.  These three outlaws, who were thrown into jail at Fronteras on Thanksgiving Day for “shooting up” the town, were held nearly four days awaiting word from the United Sates authorities.   At the end of that time a notorious Mexican outlaw arrived at Fronteras. had some conference with the authorities and the men were heavily fined and turned loose.  They rode to La Morita Custom-house and slept there Sunday night and made for the Ajo Mountains in the morning.  They left an old stocking in a room at a hotel there with fourteen silver dollars, which are in the hands of Fred Dodge, Wells, Fargo & Co.’s detective. 

The coins are very badly mutilated, some being bent double by the force of the explosion of the safe in the express-car.  From persons at La Morita it was learned that they inquired as to the time when the paymaster went through there to Nacozari to pay off the men at work in the mines there, and this may be the reason for their gathering here. 

Telegrams are being sent in all directions tonight reporting the whereabouts of the robbers.  Officers have been working very quietly, and it is thought the drawing oft of the posses is a blind to gain time to notify all small frontier towns in Mexico to be on the lookout and arrest the outlaws should they show up.  As soon as this is done a raid will be made on the gang from several quarters.