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Gad's Hill, Missouri Train Robbery

January 31, 1874---Between five and eight members of the James-Younger Gang had been waiting for the train at the Iron Mountain Railroad depot at Gad's Hill, Missouri, to come by. The night before, the gang spotted several men walking on the train platform. The gang captured them and tied them up. Then, the gang put a flag in the middle of the tracks. The next day, the first of February, the gang set a pile of brush on fire in order to get the train conductor's attention when the train would come by sometime that day. At about 4:45 in the afternoon, the train came down the tracks. Conductor C. A. Alford stopped the train once he saw the flag and the fire. Alford got out of the train to investigate, but was instantly captured by the gang. Two other gang members boarded the train and dragged engineer William Wetton, fireman A. Campbell, and brakeman Ben van Stumit out of the train. Another member of the gang began riding his horse down the sides of the train while shooting in the air and shouting for the passengers to remain inside. The other robbers boarded the train and began looting the safe. After the safe was looted, the robbers walked down the rows of seated passengers. They looked at every man's hand. Any man with nice, unworked hands, was robbed of money and jewelery. When one passenger was thought to be a Pinkerton agent, he was strip searched. No weapon was found on him. Two bankers were also on the train, namely John F. Lincoln and John L. Merriam. The two were taken outside of the train and forced to strip to their underwear. Laughing, the robbers took all the possesions of Lincoln and Merriam. The robbers then mounted their horses. As they began to ride off, one robber, probably Jesse James, tossed engineer Wetton a piece of paper. After this, the robbers rode off. The piece of paper Jesse tossed Wetton was a newspaper article Jesse wrote himself. The article read: "The most daing robbery on record. The southbound train on the Iron Mountain Railroad was robbed this evening by five heavily armed men and robbed of _____ dollars. The robbers arrived at the station a few minutes before the arrival of the train, and arrested the Agent, put him under guard, and then threw the train on the switch. The robbers are all large men, none of them under six feet tall. They were all masked, and started in a southerly direction after they robbed the train, all mounted on fine blooded horses. There is a hell of excitement in this part of the country." This shows how truly invincible the gang thought themselves to be. It was after this that the James-Younger Gang killed Pinkerton agent Joseph Whicher. Jim and John Younger were involved in a gunfight with three Pinkterton operatives after this robbery as well. John Younger, and two of the operatives, Louis J. Lull and Ediwn B. Daniels were killed in this fight.


Amount of Money Stolen

Citizens Killed/Wounded