Story: Express Train is Held Up Ten Miles West of Detroit

Robbers Make Off With One Pouch of Registered Main - Booty Not Known


Fireman is Beaten Into Unconsciousness - Mail Clerk is Locked In Car

From The Associated Press

Detroit, September 28 (1916) --- Search was being vigorously pressed today for a gang of men, believed to number five or six who late last night held up the New York - Chicago express, eastbound on the Michigan Central near Dearborn, ten miles west of here, and after beating Fireman John Doherty into unconsciousness, made off with one pouch of registered mail.  How much they obtained will not be known until postal authorities in Chicago and New York check up the registered matter.  The coaches and Pullmans were not entered.

While only two men participated in the actual work of the hold up, it is believed they had several accomplices waiting at a point previously decided upon for the deed.  The two men boarded the train somewhere east of Ypsilanti, concealing themselves between two cars. Shortly before Dearborn was reached, they climbed over the tender and covering the engine crew with revolvers, ordered them to continue until told to stop.  Before climbing over they had uncoupled the mail and baggage car from the rest of the train.  The order to stop was given two miles beyond Dearborn and as the train slowed down, one of the men hit Fireman Doherty over the head with the butt end of a revolver, rendering him unconscious. 

Engineer Charles Palmer was taken from the cab to the door of the mail car.  Showing him a bottle which the robbers said contained nitro-glycerin, they told him to tell the mail clerk to open the door or they would blow the car to pieces.  The door was opened and the two hold up men entered the car with the engineer between them.  One mail pouch was thrown out and picked up by a third member of the gang.

The mail clerk was then locked in his car and the engineer returned to the cab where he was kept covered while one of the men drew the fire from under the boiler.

The hold-up men then disappeared.  Engineer Palmer declares he heard the sound of an automobile shortly after he re-entered his cab and believes the machine was waiting for the gang.

The New York-Chicago express, which was train No. 14 on the Michigan Central, left Chicago at 3 p.m. and was due in Detroit at 10:25 p.m.


Jackson, Mich., September 28 --- Fireman John Doherty of Michigan Central train No. 14, held up by bandits near Detroit last night is at his home in this city, suffering from blows on his head administered by the bandits.  Doherty's face and eyes are bruised and discolored, his left eye being nearly closed by the swelling of his wounds.

Engineer Perry P. Palmer of the robbed train also resides in Jackson but is still in Detroit.

Doherty says that as the engine was scooping water from the trough east of Ypsilanti, he observed the forms of two men lying on the rear of the tender, their heads covered with coats to protect them from the water.  The train had sped eastward a few miles when the two men climbed over the coal and into the tender.  Both wore masks and flourished nickel-plated revolvers.  They ordered the engineer and himself to stop near Dearborn, threatening him with death if he refused.  As the train came to a stop, Doherty says he was beaten on the head, being rendered partially unconscious.  His injuries, while painful, are not serious and he expects to be out in a day or two.

[This clipping was provided to RRHX by Mark Worrall]