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Mail Tribune 100, Dec. 12, 1919

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

Dec. 12, 1919


Now along with the other bad storm conditions the city of Medford is faced with the danger of a water famine, and a warning was issued this noon to the people to conserve the water supply as much as possible, because of ice at the intake 30 miles distant from the city.

Water has stopped flowing into the city reservoir. City Water Superintendent Davis and a force of men are making herculean efforts to remedy the condition at the intake. The city’s only water supply is now coming from the reservoir, and unless the water is carefully husbanded the reservoir may be emptied in 24 hours.


Rawlins, Wyo., Dec. 12. — The Union Pacific train robber, William L. Carlisle, who held up passengers of the Los Angeles limited on its way through Wyoming on Tuesday, November 18, and was recently captured betrays a rare contradiction in character.

Armed with a revolver and facing a carfull of passengers, or twisting and turning to elude the sheriff’s posse, he became a daring criminal. In prison he knitted sweaters for soldiers and bought Liberty bonds with the money he earned from manufacturing small articles for sale.

His boldness has startled and alarmed not only the passengers he robbed, but the authorities who have endeavored to apprehend him. Even while troops were hunting for him he entered a telegraph office to send a message to the Union Pacific officials thanking them for the “contributions” he had collected from the passengers on the last train he robbed. It is said that he even entered a newspaper office, and asked for news about the search for himself, read the dispatches and vanished.

One of his peculiarities is to announce when engaged in a holdup that “I am not robbing women, children, old men, soldiers or sailors,” but he went through the pockets of all other passengers without compunction.

Carlisle was sentenced to prison here on May 11, 1916, after a spectacular career in the previous winter in which he robbed several Union Pacific trains.

He was taken prisoner in April, 1916, the day after he had held up a Union Pacific train near Hanna. Two days later he was convicted.

He told his captors, “I am not a killer.” It is said that from his hiding place in the brush he might have slain many of the posse to which he surrendered.

So model was his conduct in prison that his sentence was commuted from 50 to 25 years. He is less than 30 years old and his happy, smiling, boyish face, is in sharp contradiction with his record as a bandit.

He worked in prison as a bookkeeper and often boasted that he could escape whenever he wished. He disappeared from that institution in a box of shirts which was being shipped by train from a railroad station nearby.


In order to avoid the danger of a water famine, as noted elsewhere in this paper, the people of Medford are urgently requested by the city water department to use as little water as possible until the danger is removed. In view of the possibility of very cold weather during tonight and tomorrow morning, in every home precautionsshould be taken against freezing of pipes, but this should not be done by allowing water to run during the night from faucets, as such procedure would quickly empty the water reservoir.

News from 100 years ago