Copperas Cove Leader-Press (Copperas Cove, Tex.), Vol. 117, No. 87, Ed. 1 Friday, August 3, 2012 Page: 4 of 14
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Help Us Put It Together”
All the High Fives Gang had to show on
Aug. 6, 1896 for the comedy of errors they
had the nerve to call a bank robbery was the
posse hot on their heels.
A century or more ago, little boys
dreamed of running away from home to join
the circus, and big boys fancied themselves
footloose highwaymen living off the fat of
the land. Sick and tired of roping and brand-
ing for starvation wages, five cowboys with
Texas ties decided to give crime a try.
As far as anyone can tell, the original
members of the band that borrowed the
name of a popular card game were: Tom
Harris, a 24 year old Texan whose favorite
alias was Cole Estes; George Musgrave, 22,
bom somewhere in Texas but raised in New
Mexico; escaped convict Sam Hassels of
Gonzales County, who went by the name
Bob Hayes; Will Christian Jr., originally
from Fort Griffin and an Indian Territory
fugitive, known simply as Black Jack; and
Tom or Frank
may have been
Will’s brother Bob.
Fives started out
small with a twi-
light raid in July
1896 on Separ, a
one-horse town in
comer of the New
They relieved the
post office and
general store of
$250 in cash and
firing a shot.
they had the bandit business down pat, the
overconfident amateurs raised the ante and
the risk. At high noon on the sixth of
August, the gang tried to break the bank at
the Arizona border town of Nogales.
Musgrave, Hayes and an unidentified
accomplice entered the bank, while the two
remaining robbers stood guard outside.
Musgrave was collecting the paper currency,
when the bank president suddenly broke free
and the cashier came up with a gun.
Hayes and the anonymous participant
followed the president out the front door
leaving Musgrave holding the bag. He
slipped out the back but tripped over the
threshold falling hard on his right knee and
spilling the cash on the ground. The clumsy
criminal limped to his horse and galloped
Two county sheriffs combined forces to
chase the bumbling badmen across 120
miles of scorching desert. The High Fives
discouraged further pursuit with a canyon
ambush that took the life of a customs agent.
The quintet came out of hiding two
months later for the purpose of plundering a
passenger train 30 miles south of Albu-
querque. The railroad robbery was foiled by
a deputy U.S. marshal, who caught Cole
Estes in his sights.
“Go ahead, boys. Em done for,” Estes
called out in the darkness. His four compan-
ions heeded their mortally wounded leader’s
dying words and fled the scene.
With Will Christian, alias Black Jack, at
the controls, the desperadoes finally got out
of the red. The stagecoaches running
between San Antonio, New Mexico and the
mining town of White Oaks were such easy
pickings the gang kept going back for more.
The fourth stage stick-up in two weeks
was pulled by Black Jack and Anderson.
They casually inquired about the contents of
the express box and took the driver’s word
that it was empty. Their blind trust cost
them $2,000 in silver bullion.
George Musgrave was absent because
two days earlier he had settled a personal
score. Returning to the Circle Diamond
Ranch south of Roswell, he chewed the fat
with former co-workers until the cattle boss
“I have come all this way across this
territory to kill you,” Musgrave told George
Parker as he drew his pistol, “and now I’m
going to do it.” Without another word he
pumped four bullets into his tongue-tied tar-
Sam Hassels, a.k.a. Bob Hayes, held the
dozen and a half witnesses at gunpoint,
while Musgrave explained his motive. He
claimed the dead man not only sicked the
law on him for his own crimes but also
swindled his poor old mother out of her
Before the foursome reunited, two again
called on Separ, scene of the gang’s original
See HISTORY, Page 5A
I have a confession to make. It’s a secret
I’ve held close to my heart for many years —
all my adult life, really — though I suspect my
close friends and family have long ago figured
it out. I . . . oh, golly. I can’t bring myself to
say it. It hurts to even think it, for honestly, I
don’t want you, my dear friends, to think less
But I really need to get this off my chest.
Honesty is the best policy, and all that. I have
a feeling that once I come clean, I’ll feel like
the weight of the world has lifted off my frail
shoulders. So before I tell you, promise me
one thing. You’ll still love me, even when you
know the ugly truth. Even when your image of
me as the polished, has-it-all-together kind of
woman has shattered into a million tiny pieces,
say that you’ll love me anyway.
Okay. Here goes.
(Heavy sigh. Deep breathing helps calm
I, dear friends, am that woman. Don’t ask
me what woman. You know what woman. I’m
that woman in the
checkout line in front
of you who can’t get
her act together, who
forgets to get her dri-
ver’s license out until
after the cashier has
rung up the total, who
forgets that she meant
to get skim milk instead
of 2% and sends the
sacker back to the dairy
section to change them
out, who asks the
cashier to count out the
exact change, and who
doesn’t move on until
she’s put said change
back into her wallet
because she knows if
she just dumps it down
in her purse, she’ll never find it again.
I’m very sorry. I don’t mean to drive you
crazy. Honest, I don’t. I can tell by the tap-tap-
tapping of your foot that you’re in a hurry and
I’m slowing you down. But I did not wake up
this morning with your name on my mind, say-
ing, “Today, I’m going to drive_crazy.”
Really. I drive people crazy all the time with-
out ever planning to do so. It comes quite nat-
urally to me.
I’m also that lady at the intersection who
lets traffic pile up behind her, simply because
she’s too scared to make a left turn across 190
until it’s clear for four blocks at least. Please
accept my humblest apologies. I know you
could have turned five times. But I’m not you.
And, while we’re on the subject of driving,
I also apologize for leaving my turn signal on.
I thought I was going to turn. I meant to turn,
but then I remembered that I had one more
errand to run while I was in town. And I meant
to turn my signal off, but I got distracted by all
the people honking at me because I didn’t turn,
and I’m just trying to get out of the way.
See BRUMBAUGH, Page 5A
The drug war recedes?
Chris Christie is not a wimp, a
hippie or a countercultural icon. He's
not known for taking time out from
budget negotiations to smoke dope, or
for his sympathy for drug dealers.
Yet he is a soft-liner on the war on
drugs. That the combative New Jersey
governor and Republican rock star —
just tapped to keynote the GOP con-
vention in Tampa, Fla. — vocally dis-
sents from drug-war orthodoxy is
another sign that the tectonic plates of
the drug debate are shifting. Perhaps
our appetite for spending billions and
incarcerating millions, in the service of
pieties immune to rational analysis, is
not limitless after all.
In a speech at the Brookings Insti-
tution, Christie called the war on drugs
"well intentioned," but "a failure." He
just signed a law to mandate treatment
rather than jail time for nonviolent
drug offenders. The Democratic rising
star in New Jersey, Newark Mayor
Cory Booker, recently condemned the
drug war in strikingly similar terms as
"big overgrown government at its
worst." In Jersey, the drug war is get-
ting it from both barrels and both par-
Exhaustion is finally setting in
with the enormous human and fiscal
costs of attempting to eradicate the
ineradicable. People have always used
intoxicants, and always will, in ways
ancient and new. The Good Book tells
that no sooner had Noah planted a
vineyard than "he drank of the wine,
See LOWRY, Page 5A
Copperas Cove Leader-Press
(254) 547-4207 Fax 542-3299
web site: www.coveleaderpress.com
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Distribution: Alex Perez
Staff writer: Kyle Herrera
Associate Publisher: Joyce Hauk
Staff writer: Lynette Sowell
Photographer: Dennis Knowlton
Advertising: Linda Goode
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Sports editor: David Morris
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Copperas Cove Leader-Press (Copperas Cove, Tex.), Vol. 117, No. 87, Ed. 1 Friday, August 3, 2012, newspaper, August 3, 2012; Copperas Cove, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth627541/m1/4/: accessed December 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; .