Ozarks History

Information and comments about historical people and events of the Ozarks region and surrounding area.

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Location: Missouri

I'm a freelance writer specializing in the history of the Ozarks and surrounding region. I've written fifteen nonfiction books, two historical novels, and numerous articles. My latest books are Bushwhacker Belles, Wicked Women of Missouri, and Yanked Into Eternity: Lynchings and Hangings in Missouri.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Olyphant Train Robbery

One of the chapters in my upcoming Desperadoes book is about the train robbery that occurred at Olyphant, Arkansas,in early November of 1893. It's sometimes called the last great Arkansas train robbery, although that title seems a little misleading, because it suggests that there were a number of other great train robberies in Arkansas when, in fact, there were very few others, if any, as far as I know. At any rate, the train robbery in question happened when Train No. 51 of the St. Louis, Iron Mountain and Southern Railway stopped during its run from Poplar Bluff, Missouri, to Little Rock about ten o'clock on the night of the 3rd to let off a passenger at Olyphant, a small community a few miles south of the Jackson County seat of Newport. During the holdup, the train's conductor fired shots at the bandits and was killed when they returned fire. The bandit gang was composed of eight men, all of whom were captured over the next few weeks. Most of them had previously been law-abiding farmers from the Siloam Springs (Benton County) area of Arkansas, and they had hatched the robbery plan as a get-rich-quick scheme. Three of the desperadoes paid with their lives for their greed when they were executed the following spring in the only triple hanging in Jackson County history.

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