Mormon Joe – The Robber

“‘Can’t I do anything for you, Mr. Rokesby — for Rachel’s sake?’

“‘No — yes, you can, too, young man; you can grant me a pardon for a worse crime nor murder, if you will — for — for Rachel’s sake.”

“‘It’s granted then.’

“‘Good! that gives me heart. Now, Mr. Hogg, to business, it was me that robbed the Black Prince mine. I took every last cent there was, and I used you and Rachel to do the work for me and take the blame if caught. Sanson was honest enough, I fired the mill myself.

“‘It was me that sent Rachel to you; I admired your face, as you rode by the claim every day on your engine. I knew you had nerve. If you and Rachel hadn’t fallen in love with one another, I’d ‘a lost though; but I won.

“‘Well, I took the money I got for the claim and sent Rachel back to her mother’s sister, in England. You may not know, but she is not my daughter; she thinks she is, though. Her parents died when she was small, and I provided for her. I’m her half-uncle. I got avaricious in my old age, and went into a number of questionable schemes.

“‘After leaving New Mexico, I worked the dust off, a little at a time, an’ wasted the money — but never mind that.

“‘It was just before she got aboard the ship that Rachel sent me a letter containing another to you, to be sent when all was right — I’ve carried it ever since — somehow or other I was afraid it would drop a clew to send it at first, and after it got a year old, I didn’t think of it much.’

“He fumbled around inside of his dirty flannel shirt for a minute, and soon fished up a letter almost as black as the shirt, and holding it up, said:

“‘That’s it.’

“‘I had the envelope off in a second, and read:

“‘Dear Joseph:

“‘I am going to my aunt, Mrs. Julia Bradshaw, 15 Harrow Lane, Leicester, England. If you do not change your mind, I will be happy to talk over our affairs whenever you are ready. I shall be waiting.


“I turned and bolted toward a door, when Gardiner yelled:

“‘Where are you going?’

“‘To England,’ said I.

“‘This door, then, sir,’ said a Mexican.

“I came back to the old man.

“‘Rokesby,’ said I, ‘you have cut ten years off my life, but I forgive you; good-by.’

“‘One thing more, Mr. Hogg; don’t tell ’em at home how I went — nothing about this last deal.’

“‘Well, all right; but I’ll tell Rachel, if we marry and come to America.’

“‘I’ve got lots of honest relations, and my old mother still lives, in her eighties.’

“‘Well, not till after she goes, unless to save Rachel in some way.’

“‘Good-by, Mr. Hogg, God bless you! and — and, little Rachel.’

“‘Good-by, Mr. Rokesby.’

Union Pacific Train, late 1800s

Union Pacific Train, late 1800s

“The next day I left Mexico for God’s country, and inside of ten days was on a Cunarder, eastward bound. I reached England in proper time; I found the proper pen in the proper train, and was deposited in the proper town, directed to the proper house, and street, and number, and had pulled out about four yards of wire attached to the proper bell.

“A kindly-faced old lady looked at me over her spectacles, and I asked:

“‘Does Mrs. Julia Bradshaw live here?’

“‘Yes, sir; that’s me.’

“‘Have you a young lady here named Rachel R?’

“The old lady didn’t wait for me to finish the name, she just turned her head fifteen degrees, put her open hand up beside her mouth, and shouted upstairs:

“‘Rachel! Rachel! Come down here, quick! Here’s your young man from America!'”

John A. Hill and Jasper Ewing Brady, 1898. Compiled and Edited by Kathy Weiser-Alexander, updated January 2018.

Author & Notes: This tale is adapted from a chapter of a book written by John A. Hill and Jasper Ewing Brady, entitled Danger Signals, first published in 1898, and again in 1902 by  Chicago Jamieson-Higgins Co. The tale is not 100% verbatim, as minor grammatical errors and spelling have been corrected.

Also See:

An Encounter with Train Robbers (Hill and Brady 1898)

Bill Bradley, Gambler And Gentleman (Hill and Brady 1898)

Blue Field, Arizona & An Indian Scrimmage (Hill and Brady 1898)

Some Freaks of Fate (Hill and Brady 1898)

The Railroad in the American West (main page)

Railroads & Depots Photo Print Gallery

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