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Published: August 7th 2019
GAGE TRAIN ROBBERY SITESHERIFF HARVEY WHITEHILL
This is the reported distance both from the Gage Station and Deming.
Harvey was born in Ohio in 1838 and stuck around there until he was 19 years old, then headed off to California Gulch, near what would later become Leadville in Colorado. He got there early enough to strike a fairly nice pocket of placer gold. Within a year he sold his claim for fifteen thousand dollars and then wisely left town before the new owners found out his claim was about played out. From there he ventured into New Mexico and like any prudent miner he kept right on prospecting until the money was all gone. In the meantime he had married a girl named Harriet Stevens, built one of the first homes in Silver City, and started up a boisterous family that eventually included ten youngsters. During those early years in Silver City he had been earning his livelihood by hauling freight, but by 1874 he had been elected Sheriff of Grant County. A little scamp named Henry McCarty had recently been orphaned in Silver City and Harvey had to arrest him for stealing some butter. He let Henry off with a stern warning to go forth and sin no more, but a
HORSES NEEDED WATER
That site also has the advantage of cover for the bandits, and a possible source of water for the horses.
short time later Henry stole some laundry from a Chinaman and had to be arrested again. He soon broke out of jail, stole a horse and headed off to Arizona. History would remember him better as Billy the Kid. Harvey was not much of a fighting man, but he was good sheriff because he hired deputies who were, and treated them well. He continued to be sheriff until 1882 when he was elected to the territorial assembly. One term of that nonsense was plenty, and he ran for election as sheriff again for the term beginning in 1884. On November 23, 1883 a gang of bandits robbed the train near Gage Station west of Deming. The bandits made off with booty amounting to $830.60 after killing the engineer, Theophilis Webster, and the express messenger, T. G. Hodgekins. It was a senseless act of brutality but was not getting much attention from the deputies because they were busy with other things. He took on the investigation himself and during a visit to the crime scene he found an out of state newspaper. He began showing it around and eventually found a butcher who had wrappeda sandwich in that newspaper for a
A LIKELY HANGING TREE
This looks like a fine tree to hang some miscreants who had just broken out of jail and killed a posseman
black fellow named George Washington Cleveland. He found George up in Socorro and brought him in for questioning. During the interrogation he told George that the others were already in custody and they were saying that George was the killer. George denied it, of course, and ratted out the others and named Kit Joy as the killer. All of them were soon rounded up and in custody by the time George and Harvey arrived back in Silver City. The others were Kit Joy, Mitch Lee, G. S. Collins, and Frank Taggart. Before the trial came up on the docket Lee and Taggart overpowered the jailer, Dick Ware. Kit stole all of the guns and ammo he could find in the sheriff’s office, Then they released all of the other prisoners, stole some horses, and made for the hills. Harvey quickly learned of the escape from Ware and rounded up a posse and they were soon in pursuit. Just after daybreak the following morning they located the miscreants watering their stolen horses beside a creek on the road to Pinos Altos. When the gunplay began Kit immediately killed George Cleveland for being a rat. When the smoke cleared Lee had also
BACK OF JAIL
This the back entrance of the jail in Hillsboro. Kit Joy would have had a hard time with those steps.
been killed, and so was a posseman named Joe Le For. The posse then hung Collins and Taggart, and everyone else who had participated in the fight. Kit Joy had been shot in the leg and escaped into brush without a horse. A rancher named Rackety Smith found him, but the leg had gangrene and could not be saved. Smith amputated the leg, but Kit was caught. He was convicted in the murder of the train engineer on the testimony supplied by George Cleveland, who he had also killed. Kit served a long stretch in the state pen but was finally paroled as an old man. He died in 1926 down in Bisbee. In 1888 Pat Garrett ran for sheriff against Harvey Whitehill, but Harvey easily won the election. In 1891 Harvey was indicted for embezzlement because the county did not pay funds owed to his deputies. He then became a farmer and rancher and died on September 8, 1906 in Deming.
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