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72 CHAPTER 10 Deadwood and Escape T he Deadwood Daily Pioneer-Times of September 30, 1897, reported the robbers’ arrival. Although Kid Curry and the Sundance Kid had given their names as Tom and Frank Jones in Billings, and also at their arraignment in Deadwood, the newspaper referred to them parenthetically as “the notorious Rober ts brothers.” (If these tw o had been considered brothers all along by both the Hole-in-the-Wall residents and officers of the law, it could mean that Lonie Curry may not have been involved in any of the gang’ s rustling activities or the bank robbery at Belle Fourche.) Walter Punteney did not long persist in gi ving his name as Charley Frost, eventually admitting his real identity, although the press spelled it as “Putney.” The report went on to say that all three men proclaimed innocence and insisted they didn’t know anyone named George Currie. It had been determined that Currie split from the rest of the gang at Red Lodge.1 Wyoming rancher Robert Tisdale later reported that the outlaw was seen in central Wyoming about late October.2 Nevertheless, the posse members quickl y put in a claim for the promised re ward of $625 each for the three bandits who had been caught.3 The following day, October 1, the prisoners had their pictures tak en at H. R. Locke’s photograph gallery. It was reported that Punteney and Tom Roberts acted well, submitting to the process, but that F rank Roberts “acted ugly.” He dropped his head and closed his e yes as the photo was snapped, with the result that only the top of his head was taken. Presumably Frank Roberts was Sundance, since clear photos e xist of Punteney and Curry.4 On October 13 the Eighth Judicial Circuit Cour t for Butte County indicted Thomas O’Day, Walter Punteney, and Thomas and Frank Jones for first degree robbery. Also indicted, in absentia, w ere George Currie and Harve Ray. Judge Adronriam J. Plowman set bail for the four Deadwood and Escape 73 at $10,000 each. They obviously couldn’t come up with that kind of money, so the sheriff hauled them back to the Deadwood jail. Two days later the judge set the trial date for October 28. 5 The court had assigned Frank McLaughlin and W. O. Temple (O’Day’s lawyer) as counsel, and they immediately filed an affidavit for more time to pro ve their clients’ innocence. Material witnesses needed time to come from as f ar away as Savery, Wyoming, on behalf of Frank Jones (Sundance), and near Thermopolis , Wyoming, on behalf of Puntene y. A continuance was granted and a new trial date was set for December 29, 1897.6 Curry’s attorneys wrote his cousin Bob Lee at Cripple Creek, Colorado , saying that a man in the Deadw ood jail requested fi nancial help, but would not give his name. However, from their description, Lee stated in a later interview that he knew it was his cousin Harvey Logan.7 Lee Tom O’Day in Deadw ood, SD, October 1, 1897, after being arrested for the Belle F ourche bank robbery. (Courtesy Adams Museum, Deadwood , SD) Walt Punteney in Deadw ood, SD, October 1, 1897, after being ar rested for the Belle F ourche bank robber y. (Courtesy Adams Museum, Deadwood , SD) 74 Chapter 10 owned a mining claim and w as known to work as a poker dealer in the saloons.8 Before he could round up the la wyer fees, and before any defense witnesses had time to reach Deadw ood, however, the prisoners escaped. The Lawrence County jail contained a thir ty-foot-square room with steel-barred windows and an iron fl oor. In the center of this w as a twenty-foot-square cage with individual cells on one side, and a bull pen on the other. At certain times during the day, the prisoners were allowed the freedom of the bull pen for e xercise. In addition, there w as a tenfoot -wide corridor around the perimeter of the cage. F rom this corridor the jailer was able to safely lock the men back in their cells b y throwing a lever that dropped a steel bar across all the cell doors simultaneously . They were supposed to be locked in their cells every night, but on Sunday evening, October 31, 1897, the four outla ws and one William Moore had somehow...


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