Sam Bass
Died at age 27
  Sam Bass, outlaw, was born on a farm near Mitchell, Indiana, on July 21, 1851, a son of Daniel and Elizabeth Jane (Sheeks) Bass. He was orphaned before he was thirteen and spent five years at the home of an uncle. He ran away in 1869 and worked most of a year in a sawmill at Rosedale, Mississippi. Bass left Rosedale on horseback for the cattle country in the late summer of 1870 and arrived in Denton, Texas, in early fall. For the winter he worked on Bob Carruth's ranch southwest of town. But, finding cowboy life not up to his boyhood dreams, he went back to Denton and handled horses in the stables of the Lacy House, a hotel. Later he worked for Sheriff William F. Egan, caring for livestock, cutting firewood, building fences, and spending much of his time as a freighter between Denton and the railroad towns of Dallas and Sherman.
Before long Bass became interested in horse racing, and in 1874, after acquiring a fleet mount that became known as the Denton Mare, he left Egan's employ to exploit this horse. He won most of his races in North Texas and later took his mare to the San Antonio area. When his racing played out in 1876, he and Joel Collins gathered a small herd of longhorn cattle to take up the trail for their several owners. When the drovers reached Dodge City they decided to trail the cattle farther north, where prices were higher. After selling the herd and paying the hands, they had $8,000 in their pockets, but instead of returning to Texas, where they owed for the cattle, they squandered the money in gambling in Ogallala, Nebraska, and in the Black Hills town of Deadwood, South Dakota, which was then enjoying a boom in gold mining.
In 1877 Bass and Collins tried freighting, without success, then recruited several hard characters to rob stagecoaches. On stolen horses they held up seven coaches without recouping their fortunes.
Next, in search of bigger loot, a band of six, led by Collins and including Bass, rode south to Big Springs, Nebraska, where, in the evening of September 18, they held up an eastbound Union Pacific passenger train. They took $60,000 in newly minted twenty-dollar gold pieces from the express car and $1,300 plus four gold watches from the passengers. After dividing the loot the bandits decided to go in pairs in different directions. Within a few weeks Collins and two others were killed while resisting arrest. But Bass, disguised as a farmer, made it back to Texas, where he formed a new outlaw band.
He and his brigands held up two stagecoaches and, in the spring of 1878, robbed four trains within twenty-five miles of Dallas. They did not get much money, but the robberies aroused citizens, and the bandits were the object of a spirited chase across North Texas by posses and a special company of Texas Rangers headed by Junius Peak. Bass eluded his pursuers until one of his party, Jim Murphy, turned informer. As Bass's band rode south intending to rob a small bank in Round Rock, Murphy wrote to Maj. John B. Jones, commander of the Frontier Battalion of Texas–the rangers. In Round Rock on July 19 Bass and his men became engaged in a gun battle, in which he was wounded. The next morning he was found lying helpless in a pasture north of town and was brought back to Round Rock. He died there on July 21, his twenty-seventh birthday. He was buried in Round Rock and soon became the subject of cowboy song and story.
"BASS, SAM." The Handbook of Texas Online.

In July 1878,. Richard Clayton Ware (1851-1902), Texas Ranger, sheriff, and United States marshal, was among the rangers sent to accompany Maj. John B. Jones to Round Rock to intercept Sam Bass and his gang.
Ware was in a barbershop being shaved when the outlaws entered the town and killed Deputy Sheriff A. W. "High" Grimes. He rushed from the shop only partially shaved and fired his gun at the fleeing outlaws. One shot killed Seaborn Barnes, and another, it is thought, was the bullet that fatally wounded Sam Bass. Although Lieutenant Nevill's official report, based on the coroner's verdict, credited George Herold (or Harrell) with the fatal shot, several eyewitnesses, including fellow ranger Chris Connor, attributed it to Ware.
Even the dying Bass declared that the man who felled him had lather on his face. The controversy over who really killed Sam Bass was never entirely resolved.
The Handbook of Texas Online.

According to local lore, the outlaw Sam Bass used the vicinity of Rosston, Texas (twenty miles from Gainesville) as a rendezvous, and the community celebrates Sam Bass Day annually on the third Saturday in July.
July 21, 1851

near Mitchell, Indiana

Orphaned, he ran away and worked in a sawmill at Rosedale, Mississippi.
age 18

Early fall1870
Arrived in Denton, Texas
Worked as a cowboy for the winter, but didn't like it.
Handled horses in the stables of the Lacy House hotel.
age 19

Later worked for Sheriff William F. Egan
Cared for livestock
Cut firewood
Built fences
Freighted between Denton, Dallas and Sherman

Became interested in racing horses
Won most of his races
age 23

Drove a small herd of longhorns, along with Joel Collins, for several owners from Texas to north of Dodge City, Kansas.
age 25

They sold the herd, payed the hands and then kept the $8,000 instead of returning to Texas to payoff the owners.

They squandered the money in gambling in Ogallala, Nebraska, and in the Black Hills town of Deadwood, South Dakota.
age 25

He and Joel Collins tried freighting unsuccessfully.
The recruited several hard characters, stole some horses and held up seven stagecoaches.
age 26

September 18 1877
A band of six, including Sam Bass, led by Joel Collins, held up an eastbound Union Pacific train at Big Springs, Nebraska.
They took in $60,000 in gold coins, another $1,300 and four gold watches from passengers.
age 26

A few weeks later,
Sam Bass, disguised as a farmer, made it back to Texas and formed another gang.
The gang held up two stagecoaches.
age 26

Spring 1878
The gang robbed four trains within 25 of Dallas.
age 26

Spring 1878
Texas Rangers, headed by Junius Peak, and posses chased the gang across North Texas unsuccessfully. However, credit is given for forcing them south towards their ultimate ends.

One of the gang members, Jim Murphy, turned informer. He wrote to Major John B. Jones, Texas Ranger commander, Frontier Battalion.
age 26

July 19, 1878
On the way to rob a small bank in Round Rock, Texas, the gang became involved in gun battle with Rangers.
Sam Bass was wounded.
age 26

July 21, 1878
Sam Bass died the morning after having been found helpless in a pasture north of Round Rock.
age 27 - on his birthday

Buy the Book
Sam Bass & Gang

Books about Sam Bass
Sam Bass & Gang - book Sam Bass & Gang
The exploits of the outlaw Sam Bass led to his legendary status of an amiable rogue who took on the widely disliked railroad corporations and who followed the code of the outlaw by refusing to give up his companions to the pursuing lawmen. Beginning his life of crime by robbing stagecoaches in the Black Hills of the Dakota Territory, Sam Bass and his gang were soon holding up trains in Nebraska and Texas.
A Sketch of Sam Bass: The Bandit, Vol. 6 A Sketch of Sam Bass: The Bandit
From the Publisher
Best known for his robbery of the Union Pacific at Big Springs, Nebraska, on September 19, 1877, Sam Bass is perhaps the most notorious Texas outlaw of the 1870s. Within four years he and his band robbed trains, stages, and stores from the Dakota Territory to the Mexican border. He was not a killer, and because the railroads and their high freight rates were unpopular, Bass quickly became a legendary hero. Nevertheless, Wells Fargo agents, railroad detectives, Texas Rangers, and posses of private citizens chased Bass from his hideout in Denton County, Texas, throughout the old Southwest until he was shot by Texas Rangers in an attempted bank robbery at Round Rock, Texas, in 1878. According to Ramon F. Adams, in his introduction, Charles L. Martin's account, first published in 1880, is the most complete of several contemporary books about the outlaw. For this edition, Robert K. DeArment updates the story of Sam Bass in a new foreword.

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