While looking through a box of my Grandmother’s genealogical research I ran across the following:
L.L. White – Entered Wells Fargo Express Co. in 1890. Midway between Coleman and Santa Anna Texas he foiled the boldest train robbery ever to be held in this part of Texas. He refused to open the door and they fired at him. He was hurt on nose.
What do you do when you find something like this? It is always exciting when you find an interesting family connection. Especially when it is on the right side of the law. Perhaps someday I will share the family connection that is on the other side of the law during a train robbery ;-).
First, I looked to see what more information I had about him in my files. Leslie L. White was the brother-in-law of my great, great grandmother, Henrietta Shafer VanDuzor. L.L married her sister, Dellie. I also found that several more Shafer siblings married members of the White family.
Then I did an internet search and found that L.L. White had been presented a watch for the part that he played in foiling the train robbery. His great grandson brought the watch to the Antiques Road Show in Memphis back in 2004, and you can watch a video of the appraisal at the PBS website.
I also found him mentioned in the RootsWeb’s Weekly E-zine in July 2005. One of his second cousins was watching the Antiques Road Show and saw the watch being appraised. In the article, I also found out a little more about the train robbery.
Briefly, on June 9, 1898, when the train had stopped at Coleman Junction, Coleman County, Texas, bandits forced the crew to get off and then tried to enter the Wells Fargo car. The express manager, L. L. WHITE, thwarted the attempt by refusing to unlock the door even when the robbers started shooting through it and one bullet “shaved off one of his eyebrows” and continuing to refuse when they threatened to dynamite the car. They were driven off when a passenger on the train began to fire at them and two of them were wounded.
The cousins were able to make contact and hopefully I will also be able to find them. I would like to share pictures and family stories with them. Here is a nice picture of L.L. and Dellie when they were visiting my great, great grandmother in Coin, Iowa.
My research of the Shafer and White family is only beginning. There are several more interesting stories that I want to track down more information on. Keep tuned, as I will share some of them in the future.