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Mail Tribune 100, Dec. 4, 1919

The following news items were drawn from the archives of the Mail Tribune 100 years ago.

Dec. 4, 1919


Wounded Bandit Gives Account of Experiences Since Escape From Pen—Lived With Friends of Cow Punching Days Near Laramie—Didn’t Reach For Gun When Shot.

Douglas, Wyo., Dec. 4. — William Carlisle, train bandit, who was shot down and captured Tuesday, was on his way out of Wyoming when overtaken by the posse, he said in a statement to Union Pacific officials Tuesday night, He said he intended to go either to Canada or Mexico.

Because of his condition the statement largely was in the nature of answers to questions. Details of the statement, withheld by the officers, became known late last night.

He said that after his escape from the state prison at Rawlins on November 15, he went to a Rawlins hotel and registered as J. Archer. He boarded an eastbound freight train, representing himself as a train inspector and was not molested by the train crew. He rode the freight as far as Laramie, he said, and then boarded the Los Angeles limited, westbound, which he robbed on the night of November 18, near Medicine Bow.

Carlisle denied reports he had robbed aged persons or service men. He said the robbery netted him but $75, of which he had $35 when captured. The sheriff’s bullet passed through this roll of money.

After the robbery, while persons from the train were searching for him, Carlisle went west, he said, crossing the tracks again about a half mile form the scene of the robbery. He then struck out in the direction of Laramie Peak, where he was captured Tuesday. He has been in that country since that time, he said, with people he had known in his cow punching days.

No Grudge Against U. P.

“I have no grudge against the Union Pacific,” he said. “I held up one of its trains because it happened to be handy. I have been accused of saying that I intended to get Jeffers (general manager of the road). That is not true. I would only shoot in self defense and I never would shoot from ambush. If I got into a place where I had to fight I would be doggoned sure it would be a square scrap.”

Not A Killer

Concerning the capture in the Williams cabin, Carlisle said:

“I did not reach for a gun when Sheriff Roach ordered me to throw up my hands. I started to throw up both hands, but my wounded hand (his right hand was wounded by a bullet in the train robbery) pained so much when I moved it that I may have made a quick move to lower it but not for the purpose of reaching for a gun.”

Carlisle denied that he had been given any assistance in getting away from the train after the robbery or had received any help from train men in perpetrating the robbery. He had remained away from all towns, living from one ranch house to another in the wild country in the Laramie Peak district.

Asked by Irwin why he escaped, Carlisle said: ”They gave me a good jolt, and I decided to take a chance.” Irwin asked him if he intended to be a good prisoner when he got back to Rawlins. Carlisle’s only answer was: “I am going back because I have to.”

The bandit was serving a term of from 25 to 50 years for train robbery in 1916.

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