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Fort Wayne Daily Gazette / December 11, 1883

Capture of a Frontier Town by Five Armed Desperadoes,

Who Kill Three Men, Wound a Woman and Ride Off With Twelve Hundred Dollars Booty.

dancerTOMBSTONE, Ari., Dec. 10. -- About 11:30 a couple of couriers reached Tombstone from Bisbee with news of a bloody tragedy enacted in that camp a few hours previously. Shortly after 7 o'clock a party of men well mounted and heavily armed rode into town, and when within a hundred yards of the store of A. A. Castanada dismounted, and, leaving their horses in charge of two of their number, five of them boldly walked up to the store. Three of the party, it is stated, entered the store and the others remained on the outside. Just what transpired in the store is not yet known, but a few minutes afterward, the sound of rifle shots rang out from the neighborhood, desultory at first, but rapidly resolving into a regular fusillade. The inhabitants, wonder-struck at the sound, hastened to the scene and saw the party of men mentioned mount their horses and deliberately ride off in the direction from which they came. But a minute elapsed, however, before it was known that the reports of the rifles were not the echoes of bravado, but the death knell of two human beings and the death in a few hours of two others.

The names of the parties killed outright are:

J. C. Tappeiner, assayer at the Copper Queen mine, D. T. Smith, a well-known rancher at San Pedro, who had business interests in Bisbee; J. A. Nolty, better known as “Texas,” and is engaged in the lumber business there, was shot in the breast, receiving a wound from which he cannot recover; Mrs. Roberts, keeper of a boarding house, received a wound which will undoubtedly cause death.

Tappeiner and Smith were both shot in the head in instantly killed, the former falling with his head into the Bon Ton saloon, and Smith fell short distance from him. Mrs. Roberts, hearing the noise of the firing, came to the door of her house and received her death wound while looking in the direction of the shots. Nolty met his fate in about the same manner. All of the parties were in the immediate vicinity of Castanada's store, and it is supposed were assassinated in a spirit of pure demoniacal murder.

Besides the carnival of blood instituted by the gang they also robbed the store mentioned of about $1,200 in money. The entire transaction occurred in the space of five minutes. The reports of the rifles were followed by the immediate departure of the bandits, and before the citizens could realize the danger that was upon them they had ridden far out into the night, going in the direction of Sulphur Spring valley. It is generally believed that the party are the same who robbed the train of the Southern Pacific railroad a few days ago.

Three large parties are in pursuit.

The following is from Bisbee:

Bisbee, A. T., Dec. 8. -- H. M. Ellsworth and Judge Wallace: Train-robbers, five in number, robbed Bisbee fifteen minutes ago. Three men were killed and one woman was wounded. They killed John Tappeiner, Texas, J. A. Nolty and D. T. Smith, Mrs. Roberts was wounded. Send Hatch and all the extra horses you can, as no horses are to be found here. A posse can be obtained here. Castanada’s store was robbed and the safe broken into and $1,200 taken. Please notify Ward. Over 100 shots were fired.

W. A. DANIEL, Deputy Sheriff.



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