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120 CHAPTER 14 The Law Closes In A reward poster issued by the Union Pacific Railroad and Pacific Express companies, dated January 12, 1900, and a Pinkerton National Detective Agency poster dated February 23, 1900, stated there was “satisfactory evidence” and it had been “defi nitely ascertained” that three of the robbers were Kid Curry, his brother Lonie, and their cousin Bob Lee, with the $18,000 reward still in effect. By this time the Pinkertons were publicly vacillating on the issue of w hether there were more than three involved. Their poster stated there may have been five or six men in the robbery.1 “In the files of the Union P acific Railroad,” one writer states, “Har vey Logan was listed as the leader of the gang at Wilcox. What proof the UP officials had of this f act isn’t known, though it may have been because they considered him the most callous and dangerous of theWild Bunch.”2 Kid Curry’s leadership role should more likely be attributed to his possessing the intelligence to plan and car ry out a successful train robbery. How did Lonie Curry and Bob Lee become suspected of participating in the robbery? Before this is ans wered, some background on the tw o men after the time of the June 1897 Belle Fourche bank robbery is in order . Kid Curry biographer Alan Lee Brekke, of Harlem, Montana, does not include Lonie at Belle Fourche. Although he acknowledges that most accounts assume Lonie went to Hole-in-the-Wall with the Kid, he states, “I have found no e vidence as yet to indicate such … To date [1898] Lonie has not showed any tendency toward being a criminal.”3 On April 23, 1898, Lonie, with Jim Thornhill, filed an indenture on water rights to Warm Springs Creek which flowed into Rock Creek south of the Little Rockies. 4 The following September 3, Lonie sold a 160acre tract of land in Chouteau County to a Mrs. Alice Doores of Malta, The Law Closes In 121 Montana, for $2,000.5 Lonie and Elfie had an addition to their family by the birth of daughter Della Rae on July 20, 1898, in Landusky.6 Lonie was apparently also spending a good deal of time in Harlem. Sometime in 1898 Chris Malone y, who owned a sheep ranch nor th of Augusta, Montana, traveled back to Massachusetts to mar ry his fiancée Agnes Murphy. On the way home they stepped off the train in Harlem to spend the night. “Agnes told about the polite bell bo y at the New England Hotel,” local history relates, “his name was Lonnie Currey.”7 Carrying luggage and escorting guests to their rooms cer tainly does not fit the image of a badman or a member of a gang of bank and train robbers. From about May 12 to Ma y 27, 1899, Lonie tra veled to Giltedge, Lewistown, Rocky Point, Landusky, and several ranches along the way, for the purpose of visiting friends and purchasing mining equipment and properties. He was accompanied by a Miss Hattie Nichols, daughter of a Lewistown rancher, and who may have been related to Jim Thornhill by marriage. While they were in Lewistown Lonie looked into purchasing the Shufelt works, a large quartz mill for use in the Little Rockies mining district.8 Mrs. Tressler, who was living with Jim Thornhill at this time, joined them for par t of the trip. Luc y had been tak en in by Thornhill after John Cur ry’s death more than three y ears earlier. After stopping at the Thornhill ranch, Lonie retur ned Hattie to Le wistown, and spent some time with his family in Landusky before returning to Harlem. The Harlem News issues of May 28 and June 3 reported Lonie’s presence in town during that week, the time of the Wilcox robbery.9 Also at this time, Lonie is said to ha ve been a par tner in a Harlem saloon with one Bill Hart. Hart operated the bar in what was to become the New England Hotel. According to Phil Buckley, sometime prior to the Wilcox robbery Lonie was approached in the saloon by a stranger in town. They had a long private conversation, after which Lonie told Hart that he would be away for about a month, and for him to take care of the business.10 Although Buckley was an ex-lawman...


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