The Stagecoach Robbery at Jarbidge Nevada by Edward Conavay

The tale of the stagecoach robbery at Jarbidge Nevada which was carrying a shipment of Gold from the mines. The stolen Gold was buried in secret and is still missing, waiting to be found. Possible clues to the location of the buried treasure of Gold are provided and the Gold would be worth a fortune in today's Gold market.

 

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The Stagecoach Robbery at Jarbidge, Nevada by Edward Conavay

 

The town is overgrown with trees and brush, hidden in a remote corner of northeastern Nevada. It's surrounded by high plateaus that trap the cold air in winter and the hot sun in summer. Nearby is a deep canyon with a small river that brings cool, clear water when the snow melts high up. You wouldn't see the unpainted clapboard buildings even if a major highway passed that way, and from all indications that suits the fifty-some-odd residents that live there just fine.

Like many small Nevada towns Jarbidge rode in on the coattails of the California gold rush. At a time when every creek bed had the lure of gold, and every store clerk or delivery boy learned how to wash the gravel in a flat pan, the town of Jarbidge sprang up overnight. Fortune seekers from the four corners of the young United States flocked to the California-Nevada mountains, looking for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. And the Jarbidge Mountains gave up some of its gold to those that braved the rugged existence required to find it.

By the beginning of the 1900s commercial mining in Jarbidge had gotten a good foothold, and wagons hauled by mules made the trip up the winding road to where the small town had taken root. Cars and trucks had to take a back seat to mules, the winding road was just too steep. And the gold had to be taken for deposit by stagecoach, a real wild west thriller. the stagecoach brought the mail, along with an assortment of visitors, and once a week it carried the gold back down the winding road to Wells, where civilized baking was found.

The cold of winter had set in that December evening in 1916, and what activity there was in Jarbidge centered around pot bellied stoves and bars opened late at night to help lonely miners lighten their pouches of nuggets. The talk of the town that night was about the stagecoach...it was overdue. Unlike trucks that break down, the mules and horses used to pull the coach were pretty reliable. The miners were concerned because their payroll for the week was on that coach, $3,000 of it. The local constabulary had decided that if it hadn't arrived by morning they had better send some riders down the road to look for it. When the sun began to warm things up the following morning a sort-of posse mounted up and started down the winding road towards the highway almost sixty miles away. No one was looking forward to the ride. But they didn't have far to go. Around a few curves and about a quarter mile from town, they found the stagecoach, its driver dead from gunshot wounds and the horses still hitched but shivering from a cold night.

After the driver was taken into town a search was made of the area, and some old the mail was found. Apparently the driver had put up a valiant fight to keep from being robbed; his killer had wrestled with him smearing blood on his hands. Bloody finger prints and a palm print were found on several pieces of mail. This evidence would become a first in the nation, just as the robbery had become the last stagecoach robbery in U.S. history.

The local constable had several things working for him. As remote as Jarbidge was, he suspected that someone local had committed the crime, someone that knew about the payroll, and probably a stranger in town. It wasn't long before he had a suspect in custody, as well as an accomplice who provided the gun used in the robbery. The case went to court, and an up-and-coming prosecutor used the bloody fingerprints as matching evidence that the accused was guilty. It was the first time in U.S. history that such evidence was admissible, and it was enough to find the man guilty as charged. He was sentenced to life in prison, and his accomplice received a lighter sentence of eight years for turning state's evidence.

The gold taken in the robbery was never recovered, and the robber hadn't had time to spend it. The rumors provided gossip in Jarbidge for years to come, "Where do you think he stashed the gold?" That rumor had died out long before the robber was released from prison, and this is where the story becomes interesting. The young prosecutor who gained the conviction was now governor of Nevada, and he pardoned the killer, after twenty years in prison!

Upon release from prison the killer had no money and, literally, no place to go nor means to get there. By that time the gold boom at Jarbidge had dried up like many of the creeks in the area, and only a few grizzled miners remained behind to remember the "good ole" days. For reasons we can only suspect, the killer began hitch hiking along the highway back to Jarbidge. Somewhere along the way he was hit by an automobile...and killed. His secret died with him, but the rumors and speculation were again kindled. Was he going back to Jarbidge to recover the gold he had hidden? It caused a great flurry of activity, but the result was the same. If the killer hid the gold in one of the rocky canyons that the Jarbidge Mountains are noted for, he must have hidden it well. Judge Johnny still lives there, and he was the one that had recovered the gun used in the robbery. He's up in age now and spotting a gray beard that hides the many wrinkles. But the twinkle in his eyes is still there as he spins a tale of the great Jarbidge stagecoach robbery.

Like many others, Johnny feels the gold is still hidden somewhere close by. with the help of today's metal detecting technology, chances are the gold--if it's still there--could make the long trip to Jarbidge worthwhile.

Ed Conavay

This article and more valuable information is available in Treasure Quest Magazine, May - June 1998: Click Here

 

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