Robberies in Wright County
Wright County saw its share of “two-legged varmints” back in the day. Three towns were the scenes of robberies!
The Wright County Monitor reported on the sensational robbery at Cornelia in January,1904. Three men broke into the Johnson Brothers General store. Albert Johnson was asleep at the store, however, a revolver pressed to his temple woke him right up. Mr.Johnson was forced to open the safe, and the robbers got $140 cash and $20 in postage stamps. Albert was left tied up to his bed, and not found until the next morning when his brother arrived. No tangible clues were left behind and the robbers got away.
The Dows bank lost over $60,000 in a bold robbery in December, 1925. Although the sheriff was notified and there within 30 minutes of the robbers leaving, they were not caught. The bandits made captives of August Welzine, night marshal and Harry Little, telegraph operator tat the Rock Island Depot. At the depot, they took $15 and cut wires. They then went to the telephone exchange and the night marshal was instructed to tell the phone operator that a visitor needed to make a long-distance call. Mrs. Hubble, the operator, felt something was amiss and called for Mr. Joseph Hubble. He was disabled by a blow to his head from a shotgun. Telephone wires were cut and the hostages were taken to the bank. AS they did so, the robbers shot out all top lights in “electrollers”,including the community Christmas tree! Six or seven men were involved in the robbery. Charges of nitroglycerin were used to open the safe. The explosion did some damage to the interior of the bank.
The Goldfield bank was broken into in 1913, losing over $4,000. They also tried to steal a “very fine team” of horses, but they ran away. The men were captured in St. Paul, where two of them stayed to stand trial. The third was brought back here. R. S. Russell was only 24; whereas his two pals, Charles Wheeler and M. B. McDermott, were older and had records.
In 1924 the bank at Rowan, plus some other businesses were robbed. The thieves also made a stop at Holmes, Iowa before heading for Fort Dodge. They were found asleep in their beds and arrested. In Rowan, over $800 was taken, Holmes had over $250. Three of those robbers were from Sioux City, a fourth from Ft. Dodge.
In 1922 a robbery was foiled when Mr. H. Fritze arrived home early. In his basement were furs valued at over $2,000. Jay Mikelson, owner of the Hi Way Café in Clarion was not so lucky in 1966. A robber made off with $168.00.