The Canyon Diablo Train Robbery occurred in March of 1889. According to all written documents and articles four men held up the train at Canyon Diablo and got away with the sum between $500.00 to $70,000. No two articles give the same amount of money taken from the train. The most recent article written by Paul Heitter states that the sum of $1.300.00 dollars was taken from the train. The title of the article is: “No Better than Murderers.” He states that the records at the Yavapai County Court House in Prescott, Az. say that the above amount of money is correct. This is impossible due to the fact that the records on the train robbery were burned in a fire around 1900 and no one knew the correct amount was lost in that fire. Two important records add serous questions as to the exact amount. Number one: If only $1,300.00 was taken from the train than why was a U.S. Secret Agent operating under cover out of Santa Fe, New Mexico was ordered by his superiors to go and join the posse in pursuit of the outlaws. Number Two: Why did federal officers search for three months after one of the outlaws, named Jack Smith, who had served 3years and 9 months at the Yuma Territorial Prison for the crime committed and released with a full pardon go after him. He had paid his debt to society so there was no reason for the feds to worry about a mere $1,300.00 supposedly taken from the train. They did find him living with a Mexican family in Guaymas, Mexico. Federal agents watched the movements of this man until 1905 waiting for Smith to make a move to recover the buried money. Smith never went to northern Arizona until 1915. So it is obvious that a large amount of money was taken from that train in March of 1889, and the money taken belonged to the federal government. More will be discussed in future posts. Below are photos of the four outlaws. Also more will be discussed about the other four outlaws who were involved and not captured by the posse.
Long John Halford, Dan Harvick, William Stiren, and Jack Smith.
Train on the Canyon Diablo bridge and insert of The Canyon Diablo Train Station
Another view of the 1909 bridge on the 1859 Beale Bridge abutments. The old river channel can be seen below now dry as the river changed course in 1948. Thanks to Gene Mccluney of Fort Smith Arkansas for this discovery. He is an expert on old bridges and abutments. Photo by Mike Shockley of Holdenville, Oklahoma.
This photo shows the south Beale abutment with the remains of the 1909 bridge still attached. The mystery has been solved as to where the 1859 Beale Bridge was located across Little River in Oklahoma. This location is a few miles south of Holdenville, Oklahoma in Hughes County. The only reason that the 1909 bridge is still attached to the abutments is the fact that Little River changed course in 1948 creating an oxbow, leaving the bridge high and dry and isolated from seeing eyes who might want to tear it down.
Remains of the Beale Bridge abutments across Little River, Oklahoma The remains of the 1909 bridge are setting on the abutments of the 1859 Beale Bridge. In other words When the built the 1909 bridge it was placed on these older abutments. In previous photos as to the location of the Beale Bridge are wrong. We were mislead by Historian Grant Foreman who was shown that location by a Mr. Bilby in 1930. There was a low water bridge constructed there shortly after the Beale Bridge was destroyed in 1865 during the Civil War.
Dr. David Miller of Norman, Oklahoma sitting on the east abutment for the 1859 Beale Bridge across Little River, With Miller are farmer Tom Turner’s two dogs that traveled with us to the bridge site. Photo by Jack Beale Smith.
Jack Beale Smith standing on the east abutment looking across the river at the west abutment. of the Beale Bridge across Little River. Photo by Dr. David Miller of Norman, Oklahoma.
Across the river can be seen the abutment to the Beale Bridge across little River. Photo by Dr. David Miller of Norman Oklahoma.
Jack Beale Smith pointing to one of the rock bases for the Beale bridge in the river that can be seen at this time because the river is low. Photo by Dr. David Miller of Norman Oklahoma.
Part of the support beam to the Beale Bridge across Little River can still be seen in the water. This is an excellent example of the type of masonry used at that time. The pipe brace is still attached to the base under water at this time. The building of the bridge was done in 1859 by Beale’s brother-in-law Henry Edwards. Photo by David Miller of Norman, Oklahoma.