•Sam Bass was born in the town of Mitchell Indiana on July 21, 1851.  Later Bass Moved to the state of Texas where he took up the business of train robbing

• Sam’s parents died when he was a youth, his mom Jane, in 1861, Dad Daniel, in 1864.

• Sam and his Twelve siblings moved in with relatives. Poor Sam was sent to his uncle David L Seeks whom deprived Sam of a proper education and made him work on the farm when he was old enough.

• While working as a teamster at the age of eighteen he drove a herd of cattle to Denton Texas and stayed working for the local Sheriff, WF “dad” Eagan. • When Sam saved up enough money he bought a prize winning horse that won him enough money to quit working for Eagan.

• With the money he had Sam started mixing with the “rowdies”.

• One day Sam And Underwood, one of the “rowdies” bought melons from the local store, and in an attempt to slice his Bass dropped the melon causing two blacks to turn around and stare at the men. Bass and Underwood started throwing stones at them and were chased out of town by the sheriff and from then on Bass was known as an outlaw.

• As an outlaw Bass formed a gang made of four men Tom Nixon, Bill Heffridge, and Jim Berry. The Gang would rob stagecoaches but when the money got low they concentrated on trains

• The Bass gangs first big train strike was on a Union pacific carrying money from Wells Fargo going west. The gang boarded the train at a water stop in Big Springs Neb. On Sep. 19, 1877, taking more than $60,000 in newly minted twenty- dollar gold pieces, an additional $1,300 from passengers, and $450 from the mail car. Following the robbery Basses first gang split up and most of the gang was captured by lawmen save Bass.

• When the first Bass gang split Bass composed an new gang of Frank Jackson, Tom Spotswood, Henry Underwood, Tom Johnson, and the Traitor Jim Murphy who would later betray Bass and set Bass up for his, Jim Murphy’s own advantage. They started on stagecoaches too but when the take was only $43 dollars they swore to concentrate on trains.

• There were many robberies before the one that would turn the gang upside-down.

• The gang planed to rob the Round Rock bank with the “fat cash”.

• Now Murphy had been captured before for housing the criminal gang and made a bargain to capture the bandits if the charges against him were dropped. So being the man of his word Murphy tipped of the law that the Bass gang was going to strike the Round Rock bank on July 20th , 1878 Major Jones sent men out right away

• Unexpectedly, the Bass gang rode into town to look things over about a week before to “look things over”. Jackson thought that there were too many cowboys with guns that might be lawmen ready to jump on command but being the one setting them up Murphy suggested there was a cattle herd coming through and that explained all the cowboys with guns.

• The day before the robbery, which was July 19th , 1878 they rode into town to make sure everything was safe.

• In pursuit to separate himself from the others to tell the lawmen and rangers he told Bass, “I think I’ll go look around here to see that things are safe, maybe buy some grub for the horses.” Bass nodded. Once Murphy left Bass, Barnes, and Jackson went into Koppel’s store to buy food and other supplies.

• The local deputy and sheriff, Morris Moore and sheriff Grimes spotted them and not thinking twice about who they were saw them with long overcoats with suspicious bulges in them and followed them inside. Grimes still not thinking that they might be the criminals put a friendly hand on Barnes shoulder asked him if he was armed Barnes tore open his coat and shot two rounds into the startled Grimes, who died on his feet Bass and Jackson put four more shots through the sheriff before he hit the ground and two of those shots struck Deputy Moore in his lungs while falling to his knees the deputy got one shot off which ripped through Sam Bass’s hand. The bandits ran for their horses and were followed by a surprised ranger Ware who was getting a haircut and ran out of the shop with a striped bib. He turned the alley he saw Barnes in one stirrup and twisting to shot him. Ware shot deliberately hitting Barnes in the forehead and immediately killing him. Bass was struggling on to his horse Ware fired the bullet went into his back and splattered out the front of his chest. Another ranger crouched down fired and shattered Bass’s arm. Jackson helped the “bandit chief” back on his horse and they rode out of town When the lawmen found Bass he had told Jackson to take all the money and get out. They took Bass back to town were On the morning of July 21, 1878, his 27th b-day, he asked the doctor if he was going to make it and shortly after he said, “The world is bobbing around.” These were the last words of Sam Bass and he was buried next to Seaborn Barnes in the little round rock graveyard.

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William Anderson (Schoolworkhelper Editorial Team)
William completed his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts in 2013. He current serves as a lecturer, tutor and freelance writer. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, walking his dog and parasailing. Article last reviewed: 2022 | St. Rosemary Institution © 2010-2024 | Creative Commons 4.0

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