Although there is only one known photograph of Ben Hall, many reproductions of the Ambrotype image have been altered. Here are some examples:- The Ambrotype below was the photograph held by William Hall and first published in Jack Bradshaw's book The True History of the Australian Bushrangers, Frank Gardiner, Ben Hall and Gang. Available to read on the Links Page. There are also some newspaper images produced at the time of Ben Hall's death. (All colour images on Gallery Page and main site of Ben Hall and John Gilbert and others were photo-shopped by the author, including the background photo and Frank Gardiner, Daniel Charters, Patrick Daley, etc. The painting on the Home Page depicting the gang is from the mural at Eugowra and was photographed by the author.) 

In this photo, I photo-shopped the previous scratches out for a better view.

This is an Albumen copy print on set paper of the Ambrotype seen here above. However, the riding stick or cane across the knee's might have been added, as it is excluded from the original portrait as is the cabbage tree hat held in left hand.

A woodcut image of Ben Hall produced on the 16th May 1865, in
the Illustrated Sydney News, no doubt copied from the above image. 
Of interest is this attached woodcut print (a woodcut is a relief printing technique in printmaking whereby an artist carves the image into the surface of a block of wood, typically with gouges leaving the printing parts level with the surface whilst removing the non-printing parts) of Ben Hall, produced shortly after his death and is an excellent likeness as it depicts Ben Hall as he was often reported, as quite a stout man, and at times was also reported as fat. It should be noted that the NSW Police Gazette's of early 1862 illustrated several robberies with descriptions of Ben Hall as; "...rather above the medium height, 5ft 6-8in tall and rather stoutly built, lame in one leg and weighed 13 st 7 lbs...", or around 86kg, which for the men of the 1860s, in today's terms, would be considered overweight. (according to today's standard B.M.I.) During a later robbery in 1864, this was noted about Ben Hall’s appearance; "...Hall is the only one of the three who cultivates any moustache or whiskers, and he is getting fat."
Images of Ben Hall reproduced in Charles White's 'History of Australian Bushranging'. Charles White was an eyewitness to Ben Hall's raid on Bathurst in 1863.
This portrayal of Ben Hall's death is taken from Charles White's, History of Australian Bushranging, Vol. II.
The period lithograph above depicting Ben Hall's death is a good example of how Ben Hall was ambushed. However, as illustrated here dressed in police uniform, the troopers were on the morning of the killing dressed in civilian attire.
Another view of the death scene at the Billabong Creek, 5th May 1865.
Ben Hall left c. 1861/2 and Ben Hall's great-grandson right 1973.
Note the striking resemblance to his Great Grandfather: the nose, the eyes and jawline, high forehead, short neck and chin. In modern parlance almost a clone. Sadly, Ben Hall passed away in 2011, aged 85, at Shepparton, Victoria.

See the link below for 'A conversation with Ben Hall.'
The above dramatic painting of Ben Hall's death provides a graphic illustration of the last moments of Hall's life. Inspector Davidson and troopers portrayed in police uniform are inaccurate. The police wore civilian attire and removed both coats and boots to move more freely on a frigid May morning. Moreover, there is some evidence to support the hypothesis that Hall was shot dead in his bush bed and not as depicted above. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend!
This coin was reputedly expropriated from Ben Hall's body in the wake of his death. However, in his report, Inspector Davidson only refers to £74 in notes found on his remains. This is not to say that Hall did not have some coins upon his person, and this particular coin was most probably souvenired. I believe it is a King George IV Half Crown that was in use from 1820. The coin can be viewed at the Forbes Historical Museum.

The above images are depicted from a newspaper serial titled 'Bold Ben Hall', which ran for seven and a half years and 392 episodes from late 1977. Illustrated and penned by the late Monty Wedd (1921-2012). ©Family of Monty Wedd. I believe that the strip is to be reproduced shortly and was tremendous.

This map is reproduced from Des Shiel's work
and his book 'Ben Hall, Bushranger'.© It shows the wide area of operations Ben Hall and Co. operated in from 1862-1865. (for best view, open in new tab.)
Inspector Davidsons hand drawn map of Billibong on 5th May 1865. Showing police and Hall's movements. To enlarge open in new tab.

The link below is one of the favourite songs of the Ben Hall gang, 
"O'er the hills and far away," they were known to sing it regularly whilst riding through the bush often between public houses as stated below, quite a jolly song. 

'Hall has again appeared in all its pristine vigour and reckless audacity. Unmolested, proceeding down the Main Creek to Heffernan's public house, where they had drinks, taking with them a revolver, a silver watch, and seven bottles of brandy. They then visited Regan's Hotel, near White's station singing as they approached the house, the very appropriate song of O'er the hills and far away.'

Originally written in 1706, the lyrics refer to the War of the Spanish Succession (1701-1714), the Duke of Marlborough, and Queen Anne of England (1665-1714).
Another one of the Ben Hall gang's Favourite songs known to sing it regularly was 'Ever of Thee', written in 1858.
The above audio link is a description of life on a prison hulk. Although it was set in 1862, the narration would still relate to Ben Hall's father's pre transportation of 1826.

Hyde Park Barracks painting by artist Wayne Hagg ©
The above audio link describes Benjamin Hall senior's process on arrival at Sydney Cove on the 15th February 1827, on his trek up to Hyde Park.

The link below is a virtual tour of the Women's Prison at Cork, Ireland, where Eliza Somers was held before Transportation to New South Wales. (Follow the yellow circles to navigate the prison. There is also a 360° view in each area of the prison.)
My composite of how John O'Meally may have looked based on his often reported striking
resemblance to his brother Patrick.
The above photograph is reputed to be John O'Meally. However, evidence suggests this is inaccurate. This photo clearly does not depict O'Meally, based on police his bona fides. In October 1863, the NSW Police Gazette described O'Meally as: About 24 years of age, 5ft 10 inches, reddish brown hair, worn rather long, no beard or whiskers, close set grey eyes, with a scowling expression, nose inclined to turn up, large sensual mouth, thick lips. Printed after the death of Micky Burke, a few weeks later on the 19th November 1863, O'Meally was dead. The image appears to be photographed circa 1870/80s. The fellow in the image is around 5ft 5/7 in tall. Many reports illustrate that John O'Meally was said to stand near six foot tall. However, when he was shot dead, it was noted: "under the verandah of an out-building hard by lay the disfigured corpse of the dead bushranger, the body covered by part of a woolpack and the face by a towel. It was clad in a corduroy, buckskin, high-boots with spurs, and three Crimean shirts, underneath his neck lay a white comforter. Underneath the ear on the right side of the neck was a gaping wound extending through the vertebrae, which was completely shattered by the ball. Decomposition had set in, and the wound was discharging freely. The hair, which was dark auburn, was saturated, with blood, as was also the beard under the chin. The features wore a scowl, and the mouth an expression as if the man had died uttering curses and imprecations."
Charles Darcy Gilbert (with Daughter c. 1870s) absconded from Inspector Pottinger in July 1862 after his brother John's rescue. After events with brother James, the three sailed to Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand, for gold mining.

The above photos are of brothers James (top) and John Gilbert. The centre is a composite I did of their faces overlapping; interesting?
James Redmond Gilbert, nephew of John Gilbert. Note the uncanny resemblance to the photo above. c. 1900s. James died from wounds received at Gallipoli in October 1915, aged 29.
Bridget Hall c. 1857 © Penzig
( See the image with her grand-daughter below)
Susan Prior.
A hand-coloured Ambrotype.
(This Locket can be viewed at the Forbes Historical Museum)

Susan Prior c. 1862.
Possibly controversial and even today provokes some interest is the locket photo (above) of a woman who is reportedly unknown but reputedly found on the body of Hall at the time of his killing at Billabong. In December 1863 Hall robbed a mail coach and as part of the goods stolen was a gold brooch containing a photographic likeness. It would be doubtful that for 16 months Hall would have carried the likeness of a stranger. Therefore Hall may have replaced the photo and retained the frame with Susan Prior's image.

As such having viewed this photo intimately against the existing portraits of Susan Prior, mother to Ben Hall's daughter Mary, which were taken some twenty to 25 years after Hall's death. Whereby using a composite created of the two pictures in an animated format, the facial structures allowing for age and portrait positions, as well as hairstyle and the fact that the lady is not wearing a 'wedding ring', give a good indication of the same person in both portraits. Furthermore, by the end of 1861, Bridget was in a relationship with James  Taylor. Therefore, it would be doubtful that Bridget sat for a portrait with her former husband. A relationship, full of acrimony by the commencement of 1862.

The portrait I would go so far as to state is Susan Prior and taken simultaneously as the Ben Hall and Daniel Charters portraits, most probably at Ryan's Photographic studio in Forbes, reportedly operating in 1862 or possibly at Lambing Flat. Ben Hall had met Prior in the first months of 1862, with Susan falling pregnant as per matinee jacket in photo around April/May 1862, just as Ben Hall's road to full-time bushranging commenced. It was also reported 'arguably' after Hall's death. With Susan moving to Sandy Creek (along with her mother and siblings), Ben Hall resumed his earlier enthusiasm for Sandy Creek and the station's operation. 

Therefore, on the morning of the 5th May 1865, when Hall was gunned down while he slept, the list of items recovered from his bullet-riddled body included £74, a Gold Watch, 3 Gold Chains and a Portrait of a female. 

The photo on the left is Esther Stonham, youngest daughter of Susan Prior right. The similarities and resemblance between the two are striking. Esther demonstrates that the portrait above is, no doubt, Susan Prior.
Although fuller in the face at 17/18 years old, the eye spacing, nose and down-turned mouth point to unique similarities, hairstyle with middle parting was a feature of this period, and most ladies maintained it their whole life. Due to the time taken for portraits were photographed with a stern look about them. Finally, the photo of Susan's youngest child Esther provides clear evidence of the portrait as that of Susan Prior. (Note as well the tablecloth in the three portraits of Hall, Charters and Susan.)
An animation of the above photo's.
Susan Prior c. 1889.

The above portraits are of Daniel Charters c. 1862, Ben Hall's closest friend.
Ben Hall's former wife Bridget Taylor nee Hall c. 1919.
Private Source.

The photo of Bridget Hall left at the time of her marriage to Ben Hall. As per Penzig. The photo on the right is Bridget's granddaughter Bridget May Costello, daughter of Catherine Costello nee Taylor. Note the similarities in eyes and cheekbone structure and lips. Although the Bridget Hall image is from a drawing of the original. There is no doubt that as recorded, Bridget Hall was an attractive woman, as was her granddaughter. The above photo of Ben Hall and his great-grandson Ben Hall also demonstrates a striking resemblance. The similarities between the women are as well striking. I believe these two photos eliminate Bridget from the small locket shown above and indicates that the woman is more than likely Susan Prior. Bridget May Costello was born in 1891 and passed away in February 1973. She was never married.— Courtesy of a private source.
The above Link is a recording of Ben Hall's Great Grandson, Ben Hall, as interviewed by Rob Willis for the Folklore Collection, 2006. Ben talks about his early life; working in historical re-enactment; his travels around Australia in a Cobb & Co. coach; details of the Hall family and their arrival in Australia; some members of the family preferring not to be associated with Ben Hall the bushranger; some stories about the life of his great-grandfather as handed down in the family. The duration is 1hr 46min very interesting. Ben Hall's Great Grandfather was often referred to as quietly spoken, as is his Great Grandson. (see photo above.) Courtesy NLA.
Silas Jones Interview Part One.

Part Two
Audio interview with Silas Johns. Silas Johns lived on Charters families Carcoar property. Silas recalls a time when an old man came riding past the place and after he left, some other local said it was Dan Charters. Silas was very old when this was recorded. Many thanks to Craig Bratby.


In March of 1863, the police led by Sir Frederick Pottinger burnt and destroyed the former home of Ben Hall and, where after the escort robbery of June 1862 and Ben Hall's subsequent arrest in August 1862 and forced sale of Sandy Creek to Mr John Wilson, Hall's friends and relatives had continued squatting on the run. Under the direction of his friend and new owner of Sandy Creek Station, Sir Frederick said John Wilson went about utilizing the power of the Crown Land Occupation Act of 1861, created to rid those deemed unfavourable from Crown Lands. Wilson, thru Sir Frederick Pottinger, now made a move to evict the women who were residing there, they were Susan Prior along with Ben Hall's new baby daughter Mary, Ellen McGuire and Susan's mother Mary and her siblings as well as Ben Hall's older brother William and wife Anne and a Henry Gibson a mate of Gilbert's, off the property. After some days’ notice, their belongings were removed, and the home fired. This act was perpetrated on the 14th March 1863 and is recorded in constable Hollister's diary as follows; Saturday 14th March 1863- "At Wheogo burnt Ben Halls house down and myself and constables Bohan and Hamilton went to Pinnacle station Hamilton to proceed to Gooloogong to take charge of the Gooloogong station."  (For Hollister's life story, please read 'A Yankee Mounted Trooper' by Dick Adams.)
Constable William Hollister diary entry for 14th March 1863.
Constable William Hollister, born in Connecticut, the USA, in 1836.
William Hollister joins the NSW Police in 1862, resigns as a trimmer on the City of Sydney sailing ship, meets Sir Frederick Pottinger, then a passenger.
The no ifs and buts actions of Sir Frederick Pottinger generated outrage in some of the more sympathetic sections of the Lachlan community towards Ben Hall. However, in other quarters of the same community, those actions of Pottinger garnered widespread support, even praise. Consequently, a lengthy letter of support for Sir Frederick Pottinger and his actions in enforcing the moving on of Hall's support base. Subsequently, destroying Ben Hall's former Hut to a smoking charcoaled ruins is transcribed below;

SIR FREDERICK POTTINGER AND THE EMPIRE - To the Editor of the HERALD - Sir, -Some fortnight or three weeks ago I perused a leading article in the Empire newspaper, narrating and commenting upon a list of enormities said to have been perpetrated by Sir Frederick Pottinger and the Forbes Police, which, if true, would be a lasting disgrace to the force, and equally so to the Government which did not promptly visit such conduct with dismissal and consign punishment. Through the medium of the said article, I was shocked to learn that the houses of suspected people in the region of the Weddin Mountains were burned to the ground, innocent women and children turned into the wild bush, and, if I recollect right, one or more females who had very recently been confined, or were on the point of confinement, being similarly treated. Were this true, or half-true, or were it based upon anything like the truth, I could understand the ebullition of manly indignation with which the article in question teemed, and would speedily join chorus with its writer. But, unfortunately for his case, there is very little truth about it, and the sympathy which your contemporary's narrative was intended to arouse has been expended upon imaginary individuals and fictitious incidents. There has been no case of burning out-no single eviction except that of one of the most notorious villains ever bred even in the Weddin Mountains, and the word-painting of the EMPIRE, wheresoever its Information has been derived, is neither more nor less than the romance of the day.

No man, Mr. Editor, was more surprised than myself to hear of the barbarous practices of our brutal police upon the unfortunate innocents of Wheogo; and my astonishment was shared in by scores of others, resident in Forbes, and who had, therefore, better opportunities than the EMPIRE of knowing what was passing in the bushrangers' territory. Except for Ben Hall's hut, not a single homestead has been burnt down by Sir Frederick Pottinger or his myrmidons; and even this hot-bed of rascality was not destroyed until after frequent notice had been given, and the occupant had threatened to scatter a considerable quantity of brains, to whomsoever belonging, if his mansion were in any way interfered with. This formidable individual, a considerable portion of whose business and pastime consists of threatening honest wayfarers' bodies and brains, is notorious in these regions as a bushranger and outlaw. His hut has long been known to the police as a rendezvous of Gardiner and his infamous gang, and therefore, socially speaking, as a pestilence and plague-spot in the community. He, however, held no property in the land which he occupied, not even as a lessee; and as it was wisely judged that the presence of such a man, even if occasional, and the existence of such an establishment were a constant menace to the peaceable and well-disposed who sojourned in those parts, in obedience to an expressed wish of the lessee himself, who was desirous of being ridded of such a neighbour, the place was finally burned down. The act, however, was not accompanied by all those circumstances of heartlessness and brutality by which the EMPIRE surrounds it. On the contrary, as I have before stated, frequent notice was given to the occupants to clear out, but instead of doing so they pertinaciously held on, and when at length it became necessary to eject them and destroy their den, the furniture and other valuables were first removed, and left at the disposal of their owners.

And now as regards the wives and children who were turned loose and shelterless into the wild and boundless bush, to become, at one and the same time, pariahs of society and victims of constabulary misrule. The lady proprietress of Ben Hall's household is a single female, who nevertheless luxuriates in the blessings of maternity, having, it is said, usurped that place in the outlaw's affections which properly belonged to the married Mrs. Hall. The real Mrs. Hall is a sister of Mrs. Brown, who is now supposed to be enacting the character of female Bedouin with General Gardiner, and also of the boy Welsh, Gardiner's tiger or groom, who died whilst in custody at Forbes some two months since. I would hardly go to the extent of saying that the married Mrs. Hall some time ago transferred her person and affections to another suspected quarter, was it not necessary that I should show what manner of people the EMPIRE has taken under its especial guardianship, how utterly worthless and unreal is the cause it has undertaken to champion, and how completely devoid of truth are the statements and allegations upon which its sensation articles are based. Were one-fourth of its charges against the police of this district, and their chieftain, either true or anything like the truth, I would be as prompt to denounce both one and the other, as its sensitive and sentimental leader writer. But they are utterly false and unfounded, and it is a pity that it cannot discover worthier objects upon which to expend its vast stores of virtuous indignation than outlaws and their paramours the veriest outcasts of the fag-end of the Western Districts.

As regards Sir Frederick Pottinger and the part he has played here, I unhesitatingly assert, from a long observation of his career, that New South Wales does not contain a more assiduous and indefatigable police officer. In stating this I do not pretend to become responsible for all his acts, nor am I prepared to endorse his every official transaction. In short, I could say this of no man. But I firmly believe that the amount of active service he performs, in the saddle and out of it, is equal yes, fully so, to that performed by any police officer in the colony. True, he has not caught Gardiner, neither has any other police inspector or superintendent and most of the outrages in which Gardiner and his gang of freebooters have been concerned, have taken place outside the limits of Sir Frederick Pottinger's district.   Why, therefore, all the odium of not doing what nobody else appears able to do, should be cast upon him I cannot understand? It is a fact well known hereabouts that the Weddin freebooters are all splendid horsemen, having been almost reared on horseback that they ride the best horses in the district, which they find little trouble in stealing-that they are intimate with the country and equally intimate with a large portion of its inhabitants,-many of whom whilst contriving to present a respectable exterior to the world, connive at their malpractices, and are privy to their movements, the "quid pro quo" for their silence being that they will not be interfered with. In a community so constituted, the present police are, as any police would be, un-popular, and find it almost impossible to obtain information. They operate, to a great extent, in an enemy's country, and can only preserve something like a condition of law and order so long as they remain in actual occupation.
In penning the above letter, Mr. Editor, I have no motive but a desire to disabuse the public mind from the effect exercised upon it by the publication in the EMPIRE of a tissue of arrant and mischievous falsehoods which can have found their way into the columns of that journal only at the instance of the bushrangers themselves or some of their connections; and, also, to say a few words in vindication of the official character of a public servant, upon whom half the newspaper writings in the country have felt called upon to expend their brainless sarcasm. In taking this part, I have nothing to hope from Sir Frederick Pottinger's friendship, and would as readily take up cudgels with the EMPIRE, did circumstances require it. The HERALD has been openly charged by its daily contemporary with maligning and libelling the character of the colony in its summaries for England. I now tax the EMPIRE with misrepresenting the criminal history of this district and vilifying the character of its police through a similar medium. That it has done so wilfully I do not aver, but before adopting statements which are notoriously false, and basing upon them a monstrous grievance, I imagine it to be its duty to see to their correctness, and if incorrect, as I unhesitatingly assert they are, that it is morally responsible for them, and for the injury that may accrue in consequence. Whilst affecting an ardent desire for the suppression of crime in the interior, its advocacy, if not its sympathies, has been consistently on the side of the criminals. In proof of this I need only point to the course it thought proper to pursue towards the convicted miscreants who fired upon and robbed the gold escort.

The EMPIRE can congratulate itself upon the fact that it is held in high estimation amongst the plundering rascals who infest the country around the Weddin Mountains. In any event, they feel assured that they may calculate upon its powerful influence should the worst overtake them, whilst they plundered public may look in vain for that protection from the laws for which they pay, and to which they are justly entitled. The sickly sentimentality which that journal has sought to excite in behalf of as ruthless a horde of ruffians as ever outraged society in any civilized country, i.e., no doubt, correctly appreciated by every honest Englishman who believes in the sacredness of human life, and the right of every citizen to the property he has earned by his labour or purchased by his capital. The social condition of a vast tract of country stretching from Forbes towards Burrangong, and a considerable distance beyond, is perfectly horrible and requires the best efforts of an honest, able, and respectable Press for its expurgation. The gallows and Cockatoo Island have not yet had their own, and there are men now in the possession of abundance whose claims upon the country entitle them to gaol rations, and liberty to roam within the four walls of a prison. But the discussion of this phase of the question would afford subject matter for another letter, with which ere long, I may probably trouble you. In the meantime, permit me to subscribe myself,


Finally, I have received some inquiries regarding the official warrant for removing Hall's Sandy Creek home occupants, namely William and Ann Hall and Susan Prior and family, followed by its incineration reputedly signed by Sir Frederick Pottinger. Let us be very clear, no such authentic document exists. There was circa the 1920s a paper surface that indicated that Sir Frederick hand wrote an eviction order for Ben Hall, and in some cases, it has been claimed as authentic, again nonsense. It appears to have been complied, I believe, in tarnishing Sir Frederick from some supporters or even family of Hall's well after his death. A malicious effort. Furthermore, Hall's eviction was on 14th March 1863 and those residing there were given some seven days notice which would have been c 6/7th March 1863. The document right is dated 1861 and signed Morringer, not Pottinger. Sir Frederick was promoted to an inspector from March 1862 under the new police act. John Wilson took control of Sandy Creek in September/October 1862. Hollister confirms the date and who was present at the lighting of the flames.

Miner's Petition 4th July 1863, addressing the murderous actions of Ben Hall, John Gilbert and John O'Meally to the NSW Parliament; To the Honourable, [sic] the Legislative Assembly of New South Wales in Parliament assembled. The petition of the undersigned traders, miners and other residents on the Burrangong Goldfields. Humbly sheweth -

1st That for nearly two years this district has been infested by a gang of ruffians who have taken every opportunity to rob and plunder its inhabitants of their property, and when resisted, to cruelly and brutally murder them.

2nd That many thousand pounds worth of property have thus been forcibly taken by robberies of the person, of stores, and dwellings, and of carriers entrusted with goods for transmission to the various places of business within this district.

3rd. That two cruel and brutal murders have been perpetrated in broad daylight, on the Sabbath day, namely, Mr. Cirkel, storekeeper, residing on Stony Creek, four miles from Young, who was shot dead by two armed bushrangers in his own house, in February, and Mr. John M'Bride, a highly respectable miner, residing at the Twelve Mile Rush, on this gold-field, who was mortally wounded by two armed men on the public highway, about seven miles from Young, on the 21st June 1863.
4th. That so reckless and daring have these ruffians become that they have within the past few weeks plundered six stores situated within one mile and a quarter of the Police Camp, Young; In one instance, namely, at the stores of J. McConnell and Co., firing twenty-two gunshots through their store to the imminent risk and danger of the lives of the persons residing in it.

5th. That robberies of the person have become so common that your petitioners are compelled to submit to them as an inevitable infliction, and suffer great personal inconvenience and danger in transacting their ordinary business.

6th. That your petitioners have, at various times, in public meetings assembled, asked the Executive Government to afford proper protection to life and property, by providing an adequate and efficient police force to repress the crime of bushranging now so extensively and systematically perpetrated.

7th. That immediately after Mr. Cirkel's murder the inhabitants of this gold-field tendered their services to the Government as special constables for "bush duty,'' or to supplement the number of constables available for bush-duty, and so enable the Inspector in charge of this district to take efficient steps to capture the bushrangers who infest it, and restore that protection to life and property which should be characteristic to every British community.

8th. That the Government refused to accept the services thus offered, alleging as a reason that they had instructed Mr. Zouch, superintendent of police for this district, to proceed to Young with a sufficient body of police and remain there until the order was restored.

9th. That Superintendent Zouch arrived here with additional police, but his measures have not had the effect of diminishing bushranging as is evidenced by the murder and robbery of Mr. M'Bride, and the many other robberies now of daily occurrence.

10th. That your petitioners consider that the extent to which bushranging has increased, is wholly attributed to the defective organisation of the police force, by which every incentive is held from the constable to diligently discharge his duty, and risk his life in the apprehension of notorious offenders, by the grossly unfair manner in which promotion to the inferior grade of officers is carried out, and the regulation of the force, which provides that all rewards will be added to the Police Reward Fund.

11th. That another great defect in the organisation of the police force is in the manner of their equipment being so cumbersome, heavy, and defective, as to entirely deprive them of making any quick movement in pursuit of bushrangers, and that spirit of centralisation which provides the whole or the "regulations of the police force," preventing any instant independent action being taken without reference to a gradation of superior officers.

12th. That your petitioners hope that your Honourable House will consider and adopt some effective and stringent measures, as well as restrain the occupants of Crown lands on this district from harbouring the gang of ruffians who now infest it.

13th. That your petitioners view with regret the very importune removal from this district of that energetic and indefatigable officer Captain Battye, whom they feel assured would if a sufficient officer had been placed under his command have rid this district of many of these offenders, who now roam at will throughout it, marking their tracks with deeds of blood and violence.

14th. That your petitioners are thus compelled to seek the aid of your honourable House in being afforded that protection to life and property which they are entitled to by the laws of the colony; despairing of receiving it from the Executive Government who have treated their representations with silence, compelling them in pure self-preservation to take the law almost in their own hands, and thus bring disgrace on the colony, its institutions, and its rulers.

Your petitioners, therefore, humbly pray that your honourable House will consider the serious grievances which they are suffering under and devise such measures as will restore that confidence in the laws of the colony, if properly administered, to repress crime, and afford that protection to life and property which they have a right to demand, but which does not at present exist in these districts.
Christina McKinnon c. 1870's.

Ben Hall accompanied Christina to the Binda Ball, and afterwards, she was charged regarding her part in the burning down of Edward Morriss's store on the evening of 26th December 1864.
Below are the testimonies of Mr And Mrs Morriss and their neighbour Mr Hadfield, the pound-keeper in connection with the burning down of the Flagstaff Store at Binda and the festivities at the Flag Hotel soon after Christmas 1864, and the relationship between the bushrangers and the girls on the night;  "I was walking in my paddock after tea and observed five people riding down the hill towards my place; three did not come to the place; I saw that two were females; the three who were mates branched off towards my fence, and I lost eight of them for a time; two females rode up towards the house; they were riding two bay horses; I observed them go into my house, and I still remained walling about the paddock; my wife was alone in the house; I was some twenty or thirty yards off; I went in and found Ellen Monks and Christina M'Kinnon; they were purchasing crinolines from my wife; we were laughing about crinolines when a tap came to the door; I went to it and six revolvers were pointed at me by three young men; there was a light in the house; each of the men said "bail up;" the girls heard what was said; I said "all right," and the three came in; Hall at once said, after putting his revolver on one side, "how do you do, Miss McKinnon; how do you do, Miss Monks; "I said to Hall "I suppose you are Ben Hall" and he replied, "I am that gentleman;" I know Gilbert before; they asked me how much money I had in the house, and Hall then went and searched the house; Hall reached down a quart pot, in which there was a large sum of money, but Gilbert at this time interfered, and I do not know what became of the money. We drank together, Hall making me drink of the gin first. Hall then said they must go to the ball they took nothing away except money, and I cannot tell whether that was taken then or subsequently; they said I and my wife must go with them to the ball; I remonstrated, and Hall said it should be at his expense; Hall said, "let your wife put on a clean dress;" Hall told me to lock up the place, and I did so; we then went down to the ball; the bushrangers marched the four of us the two girls, my wife, and me to the next door, Hadfield's; Joseph Hadfield is his name; Hall asked me who lived there, and I informed him; he then told me to bring him out, and I did so; the whole five of us were then marched to Hall's public-house; when we got there we found a housefull, about 100 persons, men, women, and children...", Continues, "during the evening the girls were very intimate with the bushrangers; two of the girls, M'Kinnon and Ellen Monks; I saw Hall with his arm round Christina M'Kinnon, and pulling her clothes up; I saw Gilbert doing the same with Ellen Monks; they were kissing each other; at Hadflield's door I heard Hall say, speaking of Ellen Monks and Christina McKinnon, "I have had the pleasure of escorting these young ladies to the ball."-Edward Morriss.

"I saw the bushrangers skylarking with M'Kinnon and Ellen Monks; Ben Hall was kissing Christina M'Kinnon; and Gilbert Ellen Monks; I heard Ben Hall say that he would burn down the b----y dog's house, that he was the only dog in Binda who would take them; This was said before everybody, and in the presence of the prisoners; This was said to Morriss; the bushrangers went outside, and I heard shots fired; I begged of Hall not to burn our place down; he said it was all very fine, that he would burn the place down, and that he would blow out my brains or those of anyone else that went outside except the two girls; Hall and Dunn went outside; I asked Gilbert to spare my clothes; he said he would: the three prisoners left two or three minutes after the bushrangers;" Mary Morriss.

"I did not take notice of the third prisoner(Margaret Monks); I spoke to Ellen Monks at Morriss's about the bushrangers; I asked her if they were her sweethearts; she said, "Yes," or " Yes to be sure; " I did not see by whom, Morriss's house was burned;" Joseph Hadfield.
Initial arrest of Ellen and Margaret Monks and Christina McKinnon,
Margaret would not face court.
Ellen Monks and Christina McKinnon were released on £100 bail, not a small sum for a housemaid to produce. The jury could not reach a Verdict.
On the 28th February 1865, the three women appeared at the Goulburn Court; GOULBURN. - Three young women named Christina McKinnon, and Ellen and Margaret Monks (the latter two, daughters of Mrs. Monks, who was hanged here some time since for murdering her husband): were brought before the bench for aiding and assisting Hall, Gilbert, and Dunn in burning down Mr. Morriss's store in Binda, in December last. All three were remanded till Monday.- Christina McKinnon arid Ellen Monks, on remand, for assisting Hall, Gilbert, and Dunn, to burn Mr. Morriss's stores at Binda, were committed for trial, Margaret Monks, charged with the same offence, was discharged.

'Sydney Mail', Saturday 15 July 1865. ARSON. This morning, the jury in the case of Monks and Mackinnon (having been locked up all night), notified to his Honour that although they had agreed upon one of the points his Honor had submitted, there was still no probability of their agreement on the other.

The two points were these:— I. Did prisoners take any part in the burning of this house, or act in concert with others: that is, were they in any manner assisting at the time or in the act. 2. Do the jury believe that prisoners incited them to the commission of that act beforehand, and then that they were present at the burning to assist if necessary, and that they remained during the burning with that intent.

In discharging the jury, his Honor (wishing to speak cautiously, and not to convey the impression that he thought prisoners guilty), said he believed the story told by Morriss was substantially true, and that Morriss was entitled to public thanks for what was no doubt, a gallant effort to capture a set of ruffians. His Honour, in discharging the prisoners, adjured them to free themselves from all associations of this character. 

They were released on their own recognisance of £100-each, to appear when called upon.
Ben Hall's Aunt, Catherine Delaney sister of Eliza Somers
This Photo is reputed to be of Eliza Somer's; however, it is not! In 1834, Eliza was described as 5ft 3in, ruddy and freckled with a pock-pitted complexion, dark brown hair and hazel eyes. This portrait appears to have been taken late 1870's, and Eliza died in 1869. Another interesting point is that the lady appears to be in her early to late '40s. Unless this was taken in the late 1840s, from a historical point of view is highly unlikely as the Freeman Brothers (one of the few) commenced photography after c. 1854. Unless this photo has been touched up, Eliza's smallpox scars would have been very prominent as she was severely afflicted by the hideous disease. However, the lady may well be Honora Hall, Edward's wife, or not a Hall at all. I will debate this fact. I understand this, and the photo below are being exhibited at Forbes. That is a grave mistake.
Furthermore, this photo also is not Benjamin Hall Sr. Hall was 5ft 6in and had a sallow complexion (sallow skin, which is when a person's face looks sickly yellowish because of illness), dark brown hair in his youth and grey eyes and stout or heavyset, (like his son Ben, short and stout as was Henry, Ben Hall's son) this person is very slim. Hall was born in 1805; therefore, this photo appears to have been taken late 1870's and is not of a man in his 70th+year. No doubt Hall would have had Grey Hair by then. However, it must be kept in mind that by the mid-1870s, Benjamin's health deteriorated so much that he became bedridden with afflictions, including gout. Benjamin died in 1877, aged 76, at the Liverpool Asylum after he was maliciously dumped there by his children (daughters) after enduring a torturing dray ride from Blandford to Liverpool. For a family who today bath in the spotlight of a malevolent bushranger ancestor, their avoidance of the memory of the disposing of a patriarch is laughable! I will debate this fact. It is also interesting to note that James Tucker, convict shipmate of Ben Hall from the Midas, also died at the asylum. You can read Tucker's book on the Links Page. I believe that this photo may be either Catherine or Ellen's husbands. Joseph Wood or Daniel Meehan. Unless disputed otherwise.

Lastly and of interest is when Benjamin Hall arrived on the Midas in 1827, there was embarked as well one Henry Zouch. When Benjamin Hall's son commenced, his rampage Zouch, a Captain, had been in New South Wales for thirty-four years. "Ensign Zouch, arrived as a fourteen-year-old cadet, onboard the convict transport Midas which had also brought Benjamin Hall, Senior, to the colony in 1827. Ensign Zouch was thereafter stationed at Newcastle for a while. He was a military jury member, which tried the case of Hitchcock, Pool, and the other mutineers of Castle Forbes at Sydney in 1833." Clune 
Benjamin Hall's Liverpool Asylum death, 1877 aged 76.
The old Liverpool Asylum Morgue, here no doubt old Ben Hall was interned and then
unceremoniously dumped in an unmarked grave!

Courtesy NSW State Archives.
The following weapons were most prominent with the bushrangers and NSW Police:-

Johnny Gilbert's supposed pistol on display at Eugowra Historical Museum & Bushranger Center (above)
Ben Hall's revolver supposedly hidden at Tomanbil on display at Eugowra Historical Museum & Bushranger Center (above). Interestingly, the weapon owner was a Mrs Newell of Bandon, a niece of the Eugowra informer and mate of Hall's, Daniel Charters.
The above link is for Ben Hall's revolver. Manufactured by Colt's Patent Firearms Manufacturing Company. PIC MSR 12/1/3 #A40009084. This is a Colt 1849 Pocket Model revolver. It is a .31 calibre, a five-shot revolver with a 5-inch (12.7-centimeter) barrel.
Courtesy NLA.
Close up. These revolvers were
often taken by Ben Hall and
The gang from NSW troopers.
Original Colt 1851 Navy New South Wales Police. Barrel:
7.5” long. Serial: 130287
Marked NSW POLICE No. 482.

1856 T ranter .38 caliber, double trigger, five-shot, percussion revolver,
a revolver of this make was found with Ben Hall at the Billabong. Ben Hall also interchanged 
the cylinder with a Dean & Adams type.

A Callisher and Terry .53 caliber breech-loading percussion carbine
issued to NSW Police after March 1862. Image 2 breech closed.

Image 3 breech open.
A double-barrelled percussion dagger-pistol, Dumouthier, Paris, circa 1850. This type of pistol was used by Ben Hall to un-bog his horse in November 1863 as well as in the robbery of William Davis, who said, "Hall then advanced on me, armed with a double-barrelled pistol with a dagger." on the 5th March 1865.
Dean & Adams 14" revolver noted as used by Frank Gardiner c. 1861.

1860 English Double Barrel Shotgun
the type used by Gardiner at Eugowra Rocks

A close-up of the above shotgun
One of the Revolver's used by Ben Hall in 1865 near Goulburn. NLA.

An armed party of NSW police mounted troopers c 1860's displaying various weapon types, including, Callisher & Terry .53 caliber, single shot, English Henry .45 caliber carbine and 1851 Colt Navy and holsters.
This photograph is of Mr Edgar Penzig holding the Tranter revolving rifle which Johnny Gilbert was using when he was shot dead by Constable Bright at Binalong (although Constable Hales has also historically been attributed with firing the shot) as seen in Mr Penzig's fabulous book, The Sandy Creek Bushranger, Ben Hall©. Mr Penzig wrote that the rifle's stock had been repaired after "the rifle's stock was broken by Gilbert falling on it when he received his mortal wound." Mr Penzig passed away on November 19th, 2010. Mr Penzig was a prolific writer of books covering the bushranger era and was largely responsible for sparking the renaissance of our turbulent colonial history in the early '70s. For this, I thank him for his work. 

Two photo's of the stool seat carved out by John Gilbert at the
 Cropper's home 'Yamma Station', April 1865, now held at the
Forbes Historical Museum, the B&W photo was snapped in 1937.

 The stool is made of gum slab.

The door of Keightley's Dunns Plains Homestead peppered with bullet holes fired by the gang on the evening of the 24th October 1863. The door was originally donated by Mr R.L. Gilmour, who held Dunns Plains and Henry Rotton's Blackdown station. It can be viewed at the Bathurst Historical Museum. (I had had the pleasure of holding this door in my hands when I took the photo's, awesome.)
Photo of Fred Lowry taken at Goulburn Hospital, 30th August 1863 by a Mr Gregory.
 "Tell ‘em I died game"
List of Bushrangers Killed 1862-1870

List of NSW Police Officers Killed or Injured

The advertisement above is from March 1863. Phrenology, which focuses on personality and character. The phrenologists emphasise employing drawings of individuals with particular traits to determine the character of the person. Phrenologists would run their fingertips and palms over their patients' skulls to feel for enlargements or indentations. Phrenology was one of the first practice's to bring about the rehabilitation of criminals by the idea that reorganizing a disorganized brain could bring about change. Wonder what John Bow thought of this malarkey.
Ben Hall's grave marker was photographed at the turn of the century and burnt down sometime after 1906 by vandals. In 1916 his grave-site was thought to be lost, and it was noted that "Ben Hall wasn't a saint-he was a bushranger; still his name and his story form a link with the past. He was buried in Forbes cemetery, but to find his grave now involves a search of microscopic exactitude, and even then often-ends in failure. Surely the spot should be marked in some permanent and suitable way."  In 1923 Mr E Plunkett replaced his parent's monument then passed it on to Mr Shakespeare, a monumental mason who removed the old inscription and placed the headstone on Ben Hall's grave inscribed simply "In Memory of Ben Hall" Furthermore, the photo below of Ben Hall's grave was taken in October 1906 by a photographer for the Town and Country Journal. The comment is attached.

Me with my sister Josephine and my mother at Forbes 1973, a photo taken by my late father, Bob Matthews. I personally do not like the currently enclosed grave site as it detracts from the effort of  Mr  Shakespeare, monumental mason, of Wellington in 1923, "...who had been doing monumental work in Forbes cemetery at the time. The improvements include kerbing and a headstone with name 'Ben Hall' thereon, which is erected over the grave. Mr Shakespeare was anxious to have the grave permanently marked, and carried out the work at his own expense,  and thus has increased the permanency of a link between Forbes of the future and the very early days." The wooden barrier detracts from that sentiment, and I think it should be restored to the look above and not portrayed as an exhibit. I believe Mr Penzig also added the words shot and Hall's age to the Headstone.

Rolf Bolderwood's Robbery Under Arms. 1957 film with Peter Finch.

Notable American Bushrangers

Jessie James; "Just able barely to mount a horse and ride about a little in the spring of 1866, my life was threatened daily, and I was forced to go heavily armed. The whole country was then full of militia, robbing, plundering and killing." - Jessie James.

Reputed Photo of
Jesse  James
c. 1864.
Aged, 17.
Jesse Woodson James (September 5, 1847 – April 3, 1882) James was born in Kearney, Missouri. Jesse James and his brother Frank served in the Confederate Army. Jesse was 17 in 1864 when he joined his brother Frank and became a Confederate guerrilla soldier, riding alongside William Quantrill and “Bloody Bill” Anderson. Also part of the guerrilla soldiers outfit was Cole Younger, who would form part of the James gang after the Civil War. It was during this time that as part of “Bloody Bill” Anderson guerrillas, the James brothers participated in terrorizing pro-Union enemies in the Missouri countryside, Jesse still an impressionable teenager, participated in multiple atrocities, including the notorious 'Centralia Massacre', where on September 27, 1864, “Bloody Bill” Anderson with 80 guerrillas, some dressed in stolen Union Army uniforms, moved into Centralia to cut the North Missouri Railroad, Anderson blocked the rail line, the engineer of the approaching train failed to realize until too late that the men waving the train down saw were Confederate guerrilla soldier as they were wearing Union uniforms. The guerrillas swarmed over the train. The 125 passengers were divided between civilians and soldiers. A total of 23 Union soldiers were aboard, all on leave after the Battle of Atlanta and heading to their homes in northwest Missouri or southwest Iowa. The Union soldiers were ordered at gunpoint to strip off their uniforms. Anderson called for an officer, and Sergeant Thomas Goodman bravely stepped forward, expecting to be shot and sparing the rest. Instead, Anderson's guerrillas ignored Goodman and began shooting the others. The bodies were then maimed and scalped. The guerrillas then set fire to the train and sent it running down the tracks toward Sturgeon, Missouri. The Confederate guerrilla then torched the depot and rode away from the town.

'Bloody Bill' Anderson
In retaliation, a Union Major, A.V.E. Johnston, with 155 men of the newly formed 39th Missouri Infantry Regiment (Mounted), rode into Centralia. The townspeople warned him that Anderson had at least 80 well-armed men, but Major Johnston nevertheless led his men in pursuit. The Union soldiers soon encountered Anderson and the guerrillas. Johnston decided to fight them on foot. He ordered his men to dismount and form a line of battle. Johnston then reportedly called out a challenge. Anderson's men responded by making a mounted charge. Armed with muzzle-loading Enfield rifles, the Union troops were no match for the guerrillas armed with revolvers. Johnston's first volley killed several guerrillas, but then his men were overrun. Most were shot down as they attempted to flee. Anderson and his men crushed faces, disembowelled corpses, took scalps and cut off noses. It was said that no Union soldier ended up with the same head he had begun the day with. Frank James later recounted that his younger brother Jesse fired the shot that killed Major Johnston. Of the 155 Union soldiers, 123 were killed. Many of Anderson's guerrillas returned to civilian life after the war ended, putting down their weapons and returning to their farms. Jesse and Frank James felt no peace; therefore, the brothers chose to continue fighting,  targeting a bank in Gallatin, Missouri, thought to be run by the man who had killed Bill Anderson. On December 7, 1869, Jesse and Frank rode in during daylight, shot dead an unarmed cashier, and rode off with some worthless paper. This was reported in the 'The Kansas City Daily Journal of Commerce'9th December 1869; THE BANK ROBBERY AT GALLENTIN, MO.- The Cashier Shot and Killed. - We learned yesterday that John W. Streets, the cashier of the Davis county Savings Bank, at Galletin, was shot and killed last Monday. The following are the particulars as told to us: Two men rode up to the banking house and getting off their horses, one of them went in and asked Mr. Sheets to change a one hundred dollar bill. While doing so the other man went in and said: "If you will write out a receipt, I will pay you that bill."

Mr. Sheets sat down to do so, and while he was writing, the man drew a revolver and shot him twice -- once in the breast, and once through the head. The unfortunate banker fell from his chair dead. The ruffians then turned upon Mr. McDonald, the clerk, and fired upon him twice, one of the shots taking effect in the fleshy part of one of his arms. At time of the shooting, one of them said with an oath, that "Sheets and Cox had been the cause of the death of his brother, Bill Anderson, and that he was bound to have revenge."

The two then robbed the bank of all the money in the outside drawer, and mounting their horses deliberately rode away. As soon as they had left the bank the alarm was given, and a number of the citizens started in pursuit. The men were overtaken a short distance from town, shots were exchanged, and in the running fight, one of the rascals was hit. He fell from his horse, and the animal galloped off free. The man's companion came to his rescue, and assisting him to mount behind himself, the two made their escape. There is a boldness and recklessness about this robbery and murder that is almost beyond belief...". They made a daring escape through the midst of a posse sent to capture them. Later they declared that "they would never be taken alive." For the first time, the newspaper reports like those above mentioned Jesse James, which James soon came to enjoy. Before long, Jesse James began constructing his robberies to attract as much press coverage as possible through the sympathy of an editor John Newman Edwards, an ex-Confederate soldier.

First National Bank
Northfield, Minnesota
Jesse James sent letters that Edwards published, where Jesse simultaneously proclaimed innocence for specific crimes while wearing the general outlaw's mantle. "We are not thieves," he wrote, "we are bold robbers. I am proud of the name, for Alexander the Great was a bold robber, and Julius Caesar, and Napoleon Bonaparte." 1874 saw Jesse James marry his first cousin and longtime sweetheart, Zerelda Mimms. They had two children. Both of the James brothers were reputed to be good family men who loved their wives and spent time with their children, but they still continued with a life of crime. During the early 1870s, Jesse and his gang robbed banks, stagecoaches, and trains near impunity. Sheltered by Confederate sympathizers, they eluded authorities again and again. In September 1876, Jesse badly overreached, attempting a bank robbery in Northfield, Minnesota, some 500 miles from his normal operation base. The robbery was a disaster. The townsfolk had no tolerance for former rebels. They killed two of the robbers there and then and hunted down the others. Only Jesse and Frank escaped and were forced to live in Tennessee under assumed names, after the Northfield Bank robbery this appeared in the 'The Kansas City Daily Journal of Commerce'27th September 1876; THE JAMES-YOUNGERS - "At last all doubt is cleared up, the bank robbers at Northfield, Minnesota were the James-Younger "boys." There is no longer a question as to their being the perpetrators of all the bold, open daylight bank, and day and night train robberies of the past ten years, not only in Missouri, but in Illinois, Kentucky, West Virginia, Iowa, and Kansas. Not only have we direct testimony, but the internal evidence, the common features of all the robberies, point to their commission by the same men. They were all planned upon the same model; they were all executed in the same way, and with a cool and desperate courage which but few men are capable of. Their exploits all partook of a semi-military character and could only have resulted from experience. And these men were among the most noted of those half-robber, half-soldier organizations, led by Quantrell, Todd, Bill Anderson and others, on the Missouri and Kansas border. They were no common thieves or vulgar robbers, but had an ambition to make themselves famous in, as they termed it, "a fair, square and honorable" way of doing such things...".

The Northfield robbery was a complete disaster. The aftereffect was the end of the James- Younger gang; - Cole, Jim and Bob Younger, Frank and Jesse James, Charlie Pitts, Clell Miller and Bill Chadwell took the train to St. Paul, Minnesota early September 1876. After stopping at St. Paul, the gang divided into two groups, one going to Mankato, the other to Red Wing, on either side of the Northfield Township. They purchased horses and scouted the layout around the town, agreeing to meet south of Northfield along the Cannon River near Dundas on September 7, 1876. The gang attempted to rob the bank in the afternoon of the 7th of September 1876. Later at the Younger trial, Northfield residents stated that they had seen the gang leave a local restaurant near the mill shortly afternoon.

Three of the outlaws, Bob Younger, Frank James and Charlie Pitts crossed the bridge by the Ames Mill, secured their horses and entered the bank; the other five members, Jesse James, Cole and Jim Younger, Bill Stiles and Clell Miller, stood guard outside with Miller and Stiles riding up and down Division Street firing off their revolvers to clear the street. Townsfolk soon realized a robbery was taking place, and several residents took up arms from a local hardware store. The brave citizen quickly organised their positions and commenced shooting from behind cover. They unleashed a deadly fire at the outlaws. One civilian sharpshooter, Henry Wheeler, shooting from a third-floor window of the Dampier House Hotel across the street from the bank, shot dead Clell Miller. Another sharpshooter named A.R. Manning, who took a position at the corner of the Sciver building down the street, killed Bill Stiles as he wheeled his horse around. Other civilian sharpshooters cool under pressure, continued firing, and one by one wounded the Younger brothers. Cole was shot in his left hip, Bob suffered a shattered elbow, and Jim was shot in the jaw. The only civilian fatality on the street was an unarmed recently arrived Swedish immigrant Nicholas Gustafson, a 30-year-old, shot and killed by Cole Younger at the corner of Fifth and Division Streets.

With the battle having commenced outside the bank, inside the assistant cashier, Joseph Lee Heywood, refused to open the safe and was shot dead for resisting. The two other employees at the time were teller Alonzo Bunker and assistant bookkeeper Frank Wilcox. Bunker escaped from the bank by running out the back door despite being wounded in Pitts' right shoulder as he ran. After hearing the shooting, the three men then ran out of the bank. Outside they mounted their horses to make a run for it, having only taken some bags of coins from the bank.

James brothers
Miller and Stiles, now both dead, the remaining members took flight, but the citizens of Northfield had held their own as every one of the rest of the gang had been wounded, the injuries were Frank James and Pitts, both shot in their right legs. Jesse James was the last to be shot, taking a bullet in the thigh as the gang escaped. The six surviving gang members rode out of town by the Dundas Road toward Millersburg, where four of them had spent the night before. Minnesotans formed posses and set up picket lines by their hundreds. Several days after the robbery, the gang had only reached Mankato's western outskirts, where they decided to split up, believing this would give them a better chance of escape (despite persistent stories to the contrary, Cole Younger told interviewers that they all agreed to the decision). The Youngers and Pitts, wounded, remained on foot, slowly moving west until finally they were cornered in a swamp called 'Hanska Slough', just south of La Salle, Minnesota on September 21, two weeks after the Northfield raid. In the gunfight that followed, Pitts was shot dead, and the Youngers were wounded further. The Youngers surrendered and, to avoid execution, pleaded guilty to murder. Frank and Jesse secured horses and galloped west across southern Minnesota, turning south just inside the Dakota Territory border. Frank and Jesse escaped in the face of hundreds of pursuers and a nationwide alarm, but the infamous James–Younger Gang was no more.

Jesse and Frank went to the Nashville, Tennessee area, where they went by Thomas Howard and B's names. J. Woodson, respectively. Frank seemed to settle down, but Jesse remained restless. He recruited a new gang in 1879 and returned to crime, holding up a train at Glendale, Missouri, on October 8 1879. The robbery began a spree of crimes, including the federal paymaster's hold-up of a canal project in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, and two more train robberies. But the new gang did not consist of old, battle-hardened guerrillas; they soon turned against each other or were captured, while James grew paranoid, killing one gang member and frightening away another. The authorities grew suspicious, and by 1881 the brothers were forced to return to Missouri. In December, Jesse rented a house in Saint Joseph, Missouri, not far from where he had been born and raised. Frank, however, decided to move to safer territory, heading east to Virginia.

Charlie Ford
Jesse thought he had only two men left whom he could trust with his gang depleted by arrests, deaths, and defections: brothers Bob and Charley Ford. Charley had been out on raids with Jesse before, but Bob was an eager new recruit. To better protect himself, Jesse asked the Ford brothers to move in with him and his family. Little did he know that Bob Ford had been conducting secret negotiations with Thomas T. Crittenden, the Missouri governor, to bring Jesse James to heal. Crittenden had made the James brothers' capture his top priority; in his inaugural address, he declared that no political motives could be allowed to keep them from justice. Barred by law from offering a sufficiently large reward, he had turned to the railroad and express corporations to put up a $10,000 bounty for each of them.

On April 3, 1882, after eating breakfast, the Fords and James went into the living room. James noticed a crooked picture on the wall and stood on a chair to straighten it. James was not wearing his guns, and Bob Ford took advantage of the opportunity and shot James in the back of the head.

Bob Ford
Robert Ford wired the governor to claim his reward. He then turned himself into the law but was dismayed to find he was charged with first-degree murder. The Ford brothers were tried and convicted. They were sentenced to death by hanging, but within two hours, were granted a full pardon by the Governor of Missouri. Ford then received a portion of the reward money.

The assassination proved a national sensation. The Fords made no attempt to hide their role. As crowds pressed into the little house in St. Joseph to see the dead bandit, the Ford brothers surrendered to the authorities, pleaded guilty and were sentenced to hang. However, they were promptly pardoned by the governor. Indeed, the governor's quick pardon suggested that he was well aware that the brothers intended to kill, rather than capture, Jesse James. (The Ford brothers, like many who knew James, never believed it was practical to try to capture such a dangerous man.)

Jessie James
The implication that Missouri's chief executive conspired to kill a private citizen startled the public and helped create a new legend in James. The Fords received a portion of the reward, some of it also went to law enforcement officials active in the plan, and the Fords fled Missouri. Zerelda, Jesse’s mother, appeared at the coroner’s inquest, deeply anguished, and loudly denounced Dick Liddil, a former gang member cooperating with state authorities. Charley Ford committed suicide in May 1884. Bob Ford was later killed by a shotgun blast to the throat in his tent saloon in Creede, Colorado, on June 8 1892. His killer, Edward Capehart O'Kelley, was sentenced to life in prison. O'Kelley's sentence was commuted because of a medical condition, and he was released on October 3 1902.

Jessie James' mother at the graveside.
 Some sections of this text are utilised from the following sources;–Younger_Gang

The Wild Bunch

Butch Cassidy was born Robert Leroy Parker on April 13, 1866, in Beaver, Utah. The oldest of 13 children in a poor Mormon family, Parker was a teenager when he left home in the hopes of carving out a better, more prosperous life than what his parents had been able to provide. In 1900, he partnered with Harry Longabaugh, nicknamed the “Sundance Kid,” to rob banks and trains as leaders of the Wild Bunch, a group of outlaws. The group hit banks and trains in South Dakota, New Mexico, Nevada and Wyoming. The men hid out at the Hole-in-the-Wall Pass between their robberies, located in Johnson County, Wyoming, where several outlaw gangs also had their hideouts.

With each new robbery, the Bunch became better known and liked by an American public eager to read about their exploits. Their robberies, too, became bigger. One of the largest was a $70,000 haul from a train just outside Folsom, New Mexico. They eluded police by escaping to South America. In 1906, they returned to crime. They believed they were trapped and killed by police in Bolivia in November 1909, but reports vary.

Harry Longabaugh (a.k.a. the "Sundance Kid"), William Ellsworth Lay ("Elzy Lay"), Ben Kilpatrick (the "Tall Texan") and Harvey Logan ("Kid Curry") -- a group known as “the Wild Bunch” -- Cassidy embarked on what is considered the longest stretch of successful train and bank robberies in American history.

Some sections of this text are utilised from the following source. For more in-depth information, see the link below;
Billy, the Kid
Billy the Kid was born William Henry McCarty Jr. on November 23, 1859, in New York City. McCarty had a slim physique, sandy blond hair and blue eyes, and a signature sugar-loaf sombrero hat with a wide decorative band. He could be charming and polite one moment, then outraged and violent the next, a quixotic nature he used to great effect during his heists and robberies.

On the run from the authorities, McCarty moved to Arizona briefly before joining up with a gang of gunfighters called The Boys to fight in the Lincoln County War. Known as "The Kid," McCarty switched to the opposition to fight with John Tunstall under the name "The Regulators."

He stole horses and cattle until his arrest in 1880 for killing Sheriff Brady during the Lincoln County War. After being sentenced to death, he killed his two guards and escaped in 1881. He was hunted down and shot dead by Sheriff Patrick Garrett on July 14, 1881, in Fort Sumner, New Mexico.

The Kid.
Some sections of this text are utilised from the following source. For more in-depth information, see the link below;
John Wesley Hardin

John Wesley Hardin was born in Bonham, Fannin County, Texas. On 26th May 1853, his father was a Methodist preacher and circuit rider James "Gip" Hardin, and his mother was Mary Elizabeth Dixson. Hardin was named after John Wesley, the founder of the Methodist persuasion of the Christian church. Hardin's father travelled over much of central Texas preaching. In 1859, the family settled in Sumpter, Trinity County, Texas. There, John Wesley attended school.

When aged 15, Hardin was involved in a wrestling match with a former slave of a relative, Maje. Hardin won. Hardin later stated that Maje was angry about the defeat and ambushed him. In response, Hardin drew his revolver and fired five shots into Maje. Hardin then rode to get help for the wounded ex-slave (who died three days later). His father believed Hardin would not receive a fair hearing in the Union-occupied state, where many police were ex-slaves. Hardin advised his young son to flee, but the authorities eventually discovered his location and sent three Union soldiers to arrest him. At that time, Hardin was informed by his brother Joesph that the soldiers knew Hardin's location. Hardin "chose to confront his pursuers", Hardin stated later; "I waylaid them, as I had no mercy on men whom I knew only wanted to get my body to torture and kill. It was war to the knife for me, and I brought it on by opening the fight with a double-barreled shotgun and ended it with a cap and ball six-shooter. Thus it was by the fall of 1868 I had killed four men and was myself wounded in the arm."

Hardin was now a fugitive; initially, Hardin travelled with Frank Polk in the Pisgah, Navarro County, Texas area. Polk was known to have killed a man named Tom Brady. The authorities sent soldiers from Corsicana, Texas, to pursue the duo without success.

On January 5, 1870, Hardin played cards with Benjamin Bradley in Towash, Hill County, Texas. Hardin was winning almost every hand, which angered Bradley, who threatened to "cut out his liver" if he won again. Bradley drew a knife and a six-shooter. Hardin, who was unarmed, excused himself. Later that night, Bradley came looking for Hardin. Bradley reportedly fired a shot at Hardin but missed. Hardin then drew both his pistols and returned fire, one shot striking Bradley in the head and the other in his chest. Dozens of people saw this fight, and from there eyewitness account is a good record of how Hardin had used his guns. It was stated that Hardin's holsters were sewn into his vest so that the butts of his pistols pointed inward across his chest. Hardin crossed his arms to draw the revolvers. Hardin stated that this was the fastest way to draw and was seen to practice every day. Hardin ran into trouble with a person known as "Judge Moore, " who held Hardin's winnings and a pistol but had refused to give them up without Bradley's consent. Hardin eventually admitted killing two men in Hill County, Northern Central Texas, one of which was believed to be "Judge Moore".

After killing Bradley, Hardin was pursued by 15 men. Hardin soon captured two of them and took a shotgun, two six-shooters, a rifle and two derringers from his captives, then set them free.

Hardin was next heard of in Kosse, Texas, where a man tried to rob him. Hardin stated: "I told him that I only had about $50 or $60 in my pocket, but if he would go with me to the stable I would give him more, as I had the money in my saddle pocket ... He said, "Give me what you have first." I told him all right, and in so doing, dropped some of it on the floor. He stooped down to pick it up, and as he was straightening up, I pulled my pistol and fired. The ball struck him between the eyes and he fell over, a dead robber."

Wild Bill Hickok
In 1871, laying low, Hardin took a job taking cattle to Abilene where he met the already legendary Wild Bill Hickok, where on August 6, 1871, Hardin, his cousin Gip Clements, and a rancher friend named Charles Cougar put up for the night at the American House Hotel after an evening of gambling. Clements and Hardin shared one room, with Cougar in the adjacent room. All three had been drinking heavily. Sometime during the evening, Hardin was awakened by loud snoring coming from Cougar's room. Hardin called out to Cougar to "rollover" several times but received no response and was still under the influence drunkenly fired several bullets through the shared wall in an apparent effort to awaken him. Unfortunately for Hardin, Cougar was hit in the head by the second bullet and was killed instantly. Hardin had not intended to kill Cougar and was unaware that he had done so until sometime later. Hardin then realized that the town sheriff Wild Bill Hickok's would soon arrive for firing his gun within the city.  Half-dressed, Hardin and Clements climbed through the second-story window and out onto the hotel's roof, just in time to see Hickok arriving with four policemen. "Now, I believed," Hardin would later write, "that if Wild Bill found me in a defenseless condition, he would take no explanation, but would kill me to add to his reputation." Within weeks of the killing, the Governor of Texas placed a $4,000 price on his head. Hardin was now in the gun sights of several bounty hunters.

On August 7, 1872, Hardin was wounded by a shotgun blast in a gambling dispute at the Gates Saloon in Trinity, Texas. Hardin was shot by Phil Sublett, who had lost money to Hardin in a poker game. Two buckshot pellets penetrated Hardin's kidney, and for a time, it looked like Hardin would die.

While recuperating from his wounds, Hardin decided he wanted to settle down. Hardin made a sick-bed surrender to Sheriff Reagan of Cherokee County, Texas, handing over his guns, asking to be tried for his past crimes "to clear the slate". However, Hardin soon learned of how many murders Reagan was going to charge him with, Hardin soon changed his mind. A relative smuggled in a hacksaw, and Hardin escaped after cutting through a prison window's bars.

Texas Ranger
John B Armstrong
The Texas Rangers finally caught up with Hardin when an undercover ranger, Jack Duncan, intercepted a letter sent to Hardin's father-in-law by his brother-in-law, the outlaw Joshua Robert "Brown" Bowen. The letter mentioned that Hardin was hiding out on the Alabama-Florida border under the assumed name of "James W. Swain". On August 24, 1877, Hardin was confronted on a train in Pensacola, Florida, by the Rangers and local authorities. When Hardin realized what was going on, he attempted to draw a gun but got it caught in his suspenders. Hardin was knocked out, and two others arrested. During the event, Texas Ranger John B. Armstrong shot and killed one of Hardin's companions, Mann, who had a pistol.

Just before his capture, two former slaves of his father's, "Jake" Menzel and Robert Borup, had tried to capture Hardin in Gainesville, Florida. Hardin killed one and blinded the other. Hardin was tried for killing Webb and was sentenced to serve 25 years in Huntsville Prison on June 5, 1878. During his prison term, on February 14, 1892, he was convicted of another manslaughter charge for the earlier shooting of J.B. Morgan and given a two-year sentence to be served concurrently with his unexpired 25-year sentence. In 1892, Hardin was described as being 5 feet 9 inches tall and 160 pounds, with a fair complexion, hazel eyes, dark hair, and wound scars on his right knee, left thigh, right side, hip, elbow, shoulder, and back. Hardin made several attempts to escape. In 1879, Hardin and other convicts were stopped while attempting to steal guns from the prison armoury.

John Wesley
Hardin eventually adapted to prison life. While there, Hardin read theological books, becoming the superintendent of the prison Sunday School. He also studied law. Hardin was plagued by recurring poor health in prison, especially when the wound he had received from Sublett became re-infected in 1883, causing Hardin to be bedridden for almost two years. During Hardin's stay in prison, his first wife Jane died on November 6, 1892.

Hardin was released from prison on February 17, 1894, having served seventeen years of his twenty-five-year sentence. He was forty years old when he returned to Gonzales, Texas. Later that year, on March 16, Hardin was pardoned, and, on July 21, he passed the state's bar examination, obtaining his license to practice law.

On January 9, 1895, Hardin married a 15-year-old girl named Callie Lewis. The marriage ended quickly, although it was never legally dissolved. Afterwards, Hardin moved to El Paso, Texas.

Killed 1895
An El Paso lawman, John Selman, Jr., arrested Hardin's acquaintance and part-time prostitute, the "widow" M'Rose (or Mroz), for "brandishing a gun in public". Hardin confronted Selman, and the two men argued. Selman's 56-year-old father, Constable John Selman, Sr. (himself a well-known gunman), approached Hardin on the afternoon of August 19, 1895, and the two men exchanged heated words. That night, Hardin went to the Acme Saloon, where he began playing dice. Shortly before midnight, Selman Sr. entered the saloon, walked up to Hardin from behind, and shot him in the head, killing him instantly. As Hardin lay on the floor, Selman fired three more shots into him. Selman Sr. was arrested for murder and stood trial. He claimed he had fired in self-defence, and a hung jury resulted in his being released on bond, pending a retrial. However, before the retrial could be organized, Selman was killed in a shootout with US Marshal George Scarborough on April 6, 1896, following a card game dispute.

Hardin was buried the following day in Concordia Cemetery in El Paso, Texas.

The El Paso police found Hardin's unfinished autobiography in the house he rented in the town. This was handed over to his children, and the book 'Life of John Wesley Hardin' as Written by Himself, was published in 1896. ( See Links page)

This website is designed, researched and written by Mark Matthews. It may alter with updated information and research as it comes to hand. This section is a work in progress...

1 comment:

  1. Wonderful blog that brings Mr Hall's plight to light. Although long-gone he may be, long-more will his legend live