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OUT OF THE VAULT: Novel weapon used in Pendleton holdup

Published on December 2, 2017 3:00AM

An East Oregonian employee walking through Pendleton in December of 1898 was accosted by three “holdup” men employing a very different kind of weapon.

W.L. Shiverick, the secretary and treasurer of the Pendleton newspaper, was walking down Webb Street (Southeast Emigrant Avenue) toward the newspaper office, then located on the corner of Webb and Main streets, around 7 p.m. on Dec. 8, 1898. At a point halfway between the Pendleton Woolen Mills and the Robert Forster planing mill and sash factory, Shiverick noticed three burly men in a farm wagon “pulled by two fleet footed plow horses ... dashing up Webb street at a rate not less than four miles an hour.”

As the wagon pulled alongside Shiverick, one of the “highwaymen” fell out of the wagon, grasping at his pistol pocket as he hit the ground. He advanced on his nervous target and uttered a blood-curdling challenge: “Who (hic) goes there?”

Shiverick recognized the man as someone who was behind on his newspaper subscription payment, and blustered, “I’ve a bill against you, sir, for $4.80 for the weekly.”

His challenge silenced the man for a time, but then, recovering his courage, the would-be holdup man continued his attack. “Zhat don’t make (hic) any (hic) differensh. You got (hic) to take a drink.” Drawing the pistol from his pocket, he shoved it into Shiverick’s face with a command to drink. The pistol was loaded to the muzzle with cream whiskey.

To save his skin, Shiverick complied with the demand, and the “highwaymen” continued on their way. The EO employee then hunted up a policeman and related his harrowing tale.

Law enforcement immediately began a search for the trio, having no clues to their identities except their full names, addresses, physical and mental condition at the time of the attack, and their current whereabouts.


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