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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
September 5, 2001     Feather River Bulletin
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September 5, 2001

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41~ Wednesday, Sept• 5, 2001 A World for Kids Bulletin, Progressi~, There be bandits out there! The streets of Plumas Charles's wanderlust, and so County may be safer today, he left his family and set out but a little over a hundred to find silver in Idaho and years ago, these woods were Montana, and then continued home to the infamous Black on to California to search for Bart, a robber of legendary gold again. proportions. Incredibly, Charles Boles He robbed stagecoaches didn't like horses, so he from Sonora to Quincy, right walked everywhere he went. here in Plumas County. He walked all the way from Black Barfs real name was Iowa to California. Charles E. Boles (or Bowles). The first robbery attrib- (Some historians think his uted to Charles Boles hap- real name was Charles pened on July 26, 1875. A Bolton. Still others insist it stagecoach, traveling from was Boles.) Sonora to Milton, was robbed He was described as a well- by a man with a flour sack dressed man in his mid-fifties mask over his head. who liked to wear derby hats He told the stagecoach dri- and fine jewels and clothing• ver to give him the express He had a large mustache and box, which held all of the whiskers, and clear money and jewels the stage blue/gray eyes. He was 5 feet, was transporting. 8 inches, tall and had a deep, Although he was armed pleasant voice, with a shotgun, and dis- Charles was born in Nor- guised himself by wearing a folk, England, in 1829, and long coat and sacks onhis moved with his large family shoes to hide them, he (he was child No. 7) to up- seemed very polite• He used state New York, where his fa- no bad language, and simply ther became a farmer, asked for the box, which the He started out as a fairly driver gave him. Charles's regular guy, going west in gentlemanliness became the 1849 with his cousin, David, trademark of Black Bart. to look for gold. Charles was very clever. They mined in Butte, E1 He propped sticks up in the Dorado, and Tuolumne coun- brush at the side of the road ties. They also mined for gold to make them look like guns. L~ Shasta~nd Trinity court- This made the stagecoach ties, and were somewhat suc- driver think there were sev- cessful, eral other armed robbers hid- It only took a few years for ing in the bushes• Charles to become tired of gold mining• He headed back IlI,AtI I[ IMMIrr i[5 home again, but stopped BOIll along the way in Illinois, Charles came up with the where he met and married name "Black Bart" from read- Mary Elizabeth Johnson. He ing pieces of stories, called had two daughters with her. serials, published in newspa- But, Charles's life wasn't pers. enough for him. He itched to One such serial, called be a part of the Civil War, "The Case of Summerfield," and enlisted for several in the Sacramento Union, fea- years, tured a character named Being in the military Bartholemew Graham, a taught him how to march for frightful villain. long periods of time, and to He was called "Black" Bart sleep outside, on the ground, because he was so evil, and skills he would later use as had committed horrendous "Black Bart." crimes against his fellow The war had not satisfied man, and against Wells Fargo iii iiiii ii i Outlaw Vocabulary : B a ndit: An outlaw who lives by taking loot by force, especially a member of a band of marauders Des perado: A bold or violent crimi- nal; a bandit of the western U.S. during the 19th century Hifl hwayman: A person who robs trav- elers on a road L 0 o t : Goods, usually of great value, of- ten taken by force Marauder: One who roams about and raids in search of plunder (loot) Road a g cnt : A highwaymanwho op- erated on stagecoach routes in unsettled areas S t a g ¢ c o a q. h: A horse-drawn passen- ger and mail coach running on a regular schedule between established stops kl,,OVINcY DRUG STORE 493 W. Main-St. Quincy. 283-0480 and Co. It was just the kind of disguise Charles was looking for, and he decided to use the character. For the very first time, in August of 1877, the character "Black Bart" robbed a stage- coach. Charles left a poem at the scene of the crime, and the legend began. He left several poems, such as this one: "here I lay me down to sleep to wait the coming morrow perhaps success perhaps de- feat and everlasting Sorrow let come what will I'll try it on well liked. He often wore a derby hat, carried a bundle wrapped in a blanket, and had boots slit open at the sides to relieve pressure on his sore feet. Black Bart was so good at walking long distances, he once robbed two different coaches 30 miles apart in 24 hours. IM,.AC:lil: IULR'r II COgliTl' On July 25, 1878, he robbed the stage from Quincy (and another to La Porte five days later} to Oroville in Plumas E. Bolton -- atic¢ "Black Bart. | ! License #320316037