Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sam Bass, Outlaw

Sam Bass 1851-1878 Died at age 27

Sam Bass was born on a farm near Mitchell, Indiana on July 21, 1851. He was orphaned before the age of thirteen. He ran away from an uncle and worked at a sawmill for about a year in Mississippi. In early fall of 1870, he arrived in Denton Texas to work as a cowboy for the winter, but the life of a cowboy didn't live up to his boyhood dreams. He returned to the town of Denton and worked as a horse handler for the Lace House Hotel. Later, he worked for Sheriff William F. Eagan, caring for livestock, cutting firewood, and building fences.
At the age of 19, he became interested in racing horses. When this played out, he joined a group of drovers and helped drive a small herd to Dodge City, Kansas. He squandered his money on gambling. Drifting to Deadwood, South Dakota, he enjoyed a small boom in gold mining.

In 1877, he and Joel Collins tried freighting, without success, then recruited several hard characters to rob stagecoaches. On stolen horses, they held up seven coaches without much monetary success.

Next, in search of bigger loot, a band of six, led by Bass and Collins, they rode to Big Springs, Nebraska and robbed the Union Pacific passenger train. Their haul was $60,000 in newly minted twenty-dollar gold pieces from the express car and $1,300 plus gold watches from the passengers.

On July 20, 1878, Major John B. Jones, commander of the Frontier Battalion of Texas Rangers engaged in a gun battle with Bass and his men. Bass was wounded. the next morning he was found lying helpless in a pasture north of town and brought back to Round Rock. He died there on July 21, which happened to be the date of his twenty-seventh birday. He was buried in Round Rock

According to local lore, the outlaw Sam Bass used the vicinity of Rosston, Texas as a rendezvous, and the community celebrates Sam Bass Day annually on the third Saturday in July.



Celia Yeary said...

Loretta--he was only 27?? Wow. I'd say he needed some training in being an outlaw, too. I alwasy thought Sam Bass was an older man.I suppose he's famous, but not among the greats--right? I enjoyed this--thanks--Celia

Loretta C. Rogers said...

Very young to die and on his birthday, too. Thanks for dropping by Celia.

Tanya Hanson said...

I remember seeing a movie about him years ago, starring Richard Harris, I think. Which is why I guess I believed he was older, too.

great post, Loretta.