1875 Holdup in Umatilla

Robberies of treasure carried by Wells Fargo Express aboard stagecoaches, unfortunately did take place. But Wells Fargo’s crack detective force pursued the bandits with cold calculation and didn’t stop pursuing till they netted the bad guys and locked them away. The legend “Wells Fargo Never Forgets” is the single best artifact from those years.

The town of Umatilla, Oregon Click here to learn about third-party website links is nestled on the Columbia River Click here to learn about third-party website links about three hours east of Portland. On October 21st, 1875, six miles outside of Umatilla, two men robbed the stagecoach from Boise City Click here to learn about third-party website links and made off with gold from the Idaho mines Click here to learn about third-party website links.

H.C. Paige's reward posterWells Fargo’s detective force immediately sprang into action. Portland’s Special Agent H. C. Paige sent a telegram to John J. Valentine, General Superintendent of Wells Fargo, to inform him that the extent of loss was unknown — but agents were in pursuit of the robbers. On October 29th, Paige wrote a letter to Valentine from Baker City Click here to learn about third-party website links, reporting a loss of up to $4,000, based upon the value of the gold listed on the manifest. Once the loss was known, Paige distributed a reward poster Click here to learn about third-party website links.

At first, Paige went after a red-headed fellow he had been suspicious of, based on a comb with red hairs found at the crime scene. A nearby hotel keeper confirmed the comb belonged to the suspect. On November 5th, Paige wrote Valentine from Pendleton Click here to learn about third-party website links. Two other suspects had confessed to the robbery and were in custody.

Paige had solved the case.

There is more about Wells Fargo’s detective force at the Portland Museum. Our new exhibit, “Crime Scene Investigation: Officers in Pursuit,” officially opened on January 16th. Check it out!

This entry was posted in Miscellaneous, Museums, Perspective, Remember, Stagecoach. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to 1875 Holdup in Umatilla

  1. Matt says:

    I’m a team member here and I had no clue there was a Wells Fargo museum in Portland. Where is it at?

  2. Steve Greenwood says:

    Hi Matt:
    The Museum is at 1300 SW Fifth Avenue in
    Portland. Admission is free.
    All the info you’ll need to contact us is on the web at http://www.wellsfargohistory.com/museums/museums_port.htm
    See you soon!

  3. Charles Riggs says:

    PLEASE leave contact info, or send me by email at “contact us” below. Maybe I can help.

  4. Aris Walter says:

    Hallo, I am interrested to know if there are any list with the name of the coachmen working for well fargo between the years 1886 to 1905. We suppose that the oncle of my grand father went from Switzerland to RENO, NEVADA and work there as coach men. The name was MARTINO BELTRAMETTI. Are there any relatives in GENOA, GARTNERVILLE or CARSON CITY? Thanks a lot in advance for your commentary. Regards Aris Walter, Switzerland

  5. Charles Riggs says:

    Hi Aris:

    Thanks for your interest in Wells Fargo’s stagecoach history. There is nothing about Mr. Beltremetti in our collection. See, the Archives has very few employee records.

    Check out this post that explains it in detail:

  6. Mike from San Antonio, Tx. says:

    While cleaning out my Grandmother’s garage back in the early 70’s, I came across a wanted poster that read,
    Five Hundred Dollars Reward!
    Wells, Fargo& Co.
    will pay
    Five Hundred Dollars,
    For the arrest and confiction of the robber who stopped the Quincy Stage and demanded the Treasury Box, on Tuesday afternoon, August 17th, near the old Live Yankee Ranch, about 17 miles above Oroville.
    By order of
    J.J. VALENTINE, Gen’l Supt.
    Oroville,August18,1875. RIDEOUT,SMITH&CO..,Agents.

    Now My question is did this take place and where is Oroville, and if possible what happen?
    was the robber ever caught and what was his name, I’m woundering if Great Gramps hung out with these guy’s, so I’m reserching it. Why Else would he have had this Wanted Poster? Oh and if this poster is authentic is it worth anything?

  7. Mike says:

    If you do or could let me know more about Oroville and the robbery. thanks for any help you can provide.

    MODERATOR’S NOTE: Just so you know, we removed Mike’s email address from his comment to protect his privacy of the commenter, in accordance with our Comment Guidelines. Nothing else has been changed or altered in any way!

  8. Dick Swan says:

    Hello, I am curious to know what the answer is to Mikes question about the robbery near the live yankee ranch and the reward poster for the wells fargo hold-up, and is the poster real?

    • @Dick Swan and @Mike – Thanks for your inquiries! I found the answer below after a little digging through the California Digital Newspaper Collection online. This stagecoach robbery did take place near Oroville, which is located 23 miles southeast of Chico, California. There was quite a hoopla about the arrest that you can read about in the Daily Alta from September 12, 1875. Col. A. W. Von Schmidt prevented the robbers from making off with the treasure box and its contents. Wells Fargo’s President Valentine presented Von Schmidt with a gold watch and chain for his valor. Von Schmidt responded, “The assistance I was so fortunate as to be able to render your Company on the 17th of August, was the fruit of natural impulses belonging, as I believe, to all men, and which I was at the moment in condition to put into action.” I can’t answer why your grandfather had this reward poster, but you can authenticate it by taking it to a professional appraiser. I hope that helps, and thank you again for your comments!

  9. Karina eckard says:

    I found a poster in my grandfathers things that read reward for wells Fargo coach robbery with the oct 1875 date on it. I was wondering if there was a way to find out how many prints were made of my particular poster and how many have been recorded of still being around or circulating??? Thank you

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