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To most people, it’s just a grassy hill, but to those of us with ties to Ocheyedan, it’s our grassy hill, and we’re proud of it.
Betty - Hartley, Iowa
Delta, Colorado, Well-Known for McCarty Gang Take-Down
Robbing banks was the McCarty Gang’s specialty. Brothers Tom and Bill McCarty, along with Bill’s son, Fred, targeted the bank in Delta, Colorado, in 1893. Butch Cassidy and Matt Warner were also members, but weren’t part of the Delta robbery.
On the morning of September 7, 1893, the outlaws rode into town and stopped in the alley behind Farmers and Merchants Bank. Tom held the horses and guarded the back door, while Bill and Fred entered the bank’s front door.
As the men approached Trew Blachly, cashier and co-founder of the bank, Bill pulled out a six-shooter. Assistant cashier H.H. Wolbert then pulled out a gun, too, but dropped it when Bill told him to. Suddenly, Blachly reached for his own pistol, and Fred shot him.
Citizens heard the shots, realized the bank was being robbed and rushed to help. Fred grabbed a bag of gold from the open safe, then filled his pockets with a few dollars’ worth of paper currency and coins. The two hurried out the rear exit, and in no time were riding away with Tom.
Ray Simpson, owner of the hardware store, was cleaning his rifle when he heard the gunshots. He loaded his rifle and ran toward the bank. Glimpsing the outlaws a half-block away, he fired, and father and son toppled to the ground.
Tom McCarty escaped, despite a posse’s best efforts to apprehend him. His capture, dead or alive, carried a $500 reward, but no one ever caught him.
A local business now boasts a mural of Ray Simpson and his hardware store – a tribute to the man who wrote the conclusion to an ugly chapter in Delta’s history.
Vicki - Hotchkiss, Colorado
Red Cloud, Nebraska, Was Author’s Window to the World
Anyone familiar with American literature knows that Red Cloud, Nebraska, has been the subject of more books than any other town. The community and beautiful countryside will forever live on through the vivid descriptions in many of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Willa Cather’s writings. Having lived in Red Cloud from 1884 to 1890, the small prairie town was the prototype of six fictional villages in Cather’s novels, and as the town in several of her short stories.
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