Black Bart, The PO8 Highwayman

YESTERDAY’S NEWS

A reading from America’s historic newspapers in the golden age of yellow journalism. 

A True Crime from the Wild West

Until recently, I presumed that Black Bart was a fictional character, like the Lone Ranger or Dudley Do-right, but I was recently set straight on that account and subsequently discovered a story that COULD pass for pretty outlandish romantic Wild West fiction.

Charley Bowles did get the monicker Black Bart from the villain in a dime novel, but I think he used it ironically because it didn’t really fit his gentlemanly style.

He only robbed coaches carrying treasure belonging to the Wells Fargo Company, apparently in revenge for a mining dispute in Nevada.

When he left his doggerel poetry at the scene of the crime, he would sign it “Black Bart PO8” spelling poet with a numeral, text messaging style before the internet, ahead of his time.

Musical direction by Dave Sams

Clips:

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The Pollock Diamond Robbery


PULP NONFICTION

A reading from the pioneers of true crime.

From the Archives of the Pinkertons by Cleveland Moffett

This episode begins with a daring train robbery and tells the story of how one of America’s most famed detectives, the esteemed William Pinkerton, solves a string of seemingly unrelated robberies while tracking the lone bandit down.

Three free meals! Tell 'em I sent you...
Three free meals! Tell ’em I sent you…

The exciting tale is told by Cleveland Moffett, a New York journalist who wrote mystery stories on the side and in 1905 syndicated a series of articles about the exploits of the Pinkerton Detectives that was published in newspapers across the country.

Musical direction by Dave Sams

Clips:

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