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The Old Stagedriver’s Yosemite Yarns (1962) by Laurence Degnan and Douglass Hubbard


HOLDUP!

Farnsworth's stage being held up on the Ahwahnee Grade, 1905. Top: telegram sent by passenger to San Francsico Examiner
[click to enlarge]
FARNSWORTH’S STAGE BEING HELD UP ON THE AHWAHNEE GRADE, 1905.
TOP: TELEGRAM SENT BY PASSENGER TO SAN FRANCSICO EXAMINER

THE OLD STAGEDRIVER scratched his whiskers with a gnarled finger and said, “Well, seems like I’ve been takin a lot of your time with this yarn-spinnin’ of mine, but let me tell you one more thing before you go. You know, I reckon that there have been more holdups on the Ahwahnee Grade, down a ways below the Wawona Hotel, than any other place in these hills. One lone bandit held up seven stages at one time—waitin’ for each to come around the hairpin turn, then motionin’ it politely into place with his sawed-off shotgun.

“Probably the most agreeable of these road agents was the one who let a lady tourist take his snapshot while he was holdin’ up Walter Farnsworth’s stage. Guess she wanted to have proof for the folks back home that she had been in a real holdup. That feller was a slippery one — tied homemade trackers on his feet so he left tracks like a horse. They found the trackers but never found him.”

“I reckon the most embarassin’ was the time when a robber held up an entire troop of cavalry as they were cornin’ up for summer duty patrollin’ Yosemite National Park. You probably know that the cavalry did that for quite a few years before they had national park rangers. Seems the soldiers had been shootin’ up the little towns in the foothills—they rode their horses all the way from the Presidio in San Francisco—so they took all their ammunition away from them and put it in one of the quartermaster wagons. Imagine their red faces at ridin’ up on the tail end of one of these holdups and not havin’ a cartridge among them. By the time they broke out the ammunition the bandit was over in the next county!

“Well, happy travelin’ to you, and keep your eyes peeled for these bad men I’ve been tellin’ you about!”

Holdup of Calvaryman
[click to enlarge]


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