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Word Count: 745
Black Bart On August 3 of 1877 a stage was making its way over the low hills between Point Arenas and Duncans Mills on the Russian River when a lone figure suddenly appeared in the middle of the road Wearing a duster and a mask made from a flour sack the bandit pointed a double- barreled shotgun at the driver and said Throw down the box Ive labored long and hard for bread For honor and for riches But on my corns too long youve tred You fine-haired sons of bitches When the posse arrived later all they found was a waybill with the above verse painstakingly written on its back each line in a different hand Almost a year later on July 25 of 1878 the PO8 struck again A stage from Quincy to Oroville slowed to make a difficult turn a long the Feather River the masked man stepped out of the bushes and asked that the box be thrown down His soils included 379 in coins a silver watch and a diamond ring Once again when the posse reached the scene all they found was a poem Here I lay me down to sleep To wait the coming morrow Perhaps success perhaps defeat And everlasting sorrow Let come what will Ill try it on My condition cant be worse And if theres money in that box Tis munny in my purse Once again the lines were written in varying hands and the work signed Black Bart the PO8 In order to make the highways safe once again Governor William Irwin posted a 300 reward for the capture of the bandit to which Wells Fargo Co added another 300 Another 20 contributed by the postal authorities The reward went unclaimed for five years during which Black Bart seemingly robbed at will Often laying low for several months Bart would suddenly go on a spree
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