The stage left
San Antonio early
that morning. It traveled to Boerne;
then swung north in the direction of Sisterdale
With a little luck, the stage would slide to a stop in front of
the Nimitz Hotel
by 11 o'clock that evening
It was a beautiful
moonlit night when the stage reached the Gillespie
County line. Giles, the only passenger, rode on top with the
At 9:15 that evening, 3 and ½ miles southwest of Fredericksburg,
two bandits leaped from the brush and ordered the stage to halt.
A quick look at Google Maps puts the location near the Pedernales
crossing on the Old
San Antonio Road.
One bandit stood 10 feet away, as still as a tombstone - his nickel-plated
six-shooter, full cocked, gleaming in the moonlight. The bandit-in-charge
checked the coach for passengers and when he found none, ordered
Giles and the driver to climb down from the driver's box.
Giles, the wealthy London architect, took the episode in stride.
He had been in Texas long enough to know that a stage holdup, while
somewhat unnerving and certainly annoying, was one of the hazards
of frontier travel.
On this night
the bandit-in-charge was unusually charitable. He took $20 from
Giles, but allowed the architect to keep his watch and diamond ring
- gifts from his mother in London.
for 15 minutes with hands in the air, Giles complained that his
arms were tired. The bandit let Giles lower his hands to his side.
When Giles remarked that the cold night air had given him a chill,
the bandit allowed Giles to retrieve his overcoat from inside the
"He even helped me on with it," Giles told a San
Except to check
for weapons, the bandits never bothered the driver. They were men
of principle. They never robbed from working stiffs like themselves.
Then, just as the bandit-in-charge ripped into a mail sack, he heard
the sound of pounding hooves and creaking harnesses coming from
the direction of Fredericksburg.
The night stage to San
Antonio was right on schedule.
"Quick, get under that tree," the bandit told Giles and the driver,
"Remember, if shooting starts, you'll get it first."
"If the shooting starts," Giles assured the bandit, "I'm getting
BEHIND the tree."
The bandit waived the southbound stage to a halt. He ordered the
driver and one passenger to step down; then checked both men for
weapons. To his surprise there wasn't a firearm in the entire crowd.
The bandit quickly rifled through the mail. He found a small amount
of money and was grateful for it.
"God is good to the kid," he said as he put the money in his pocket.
"Every damned fool has his profession. Stage robbing is mine."
He then ordered drivers back to their boxes and when all were seated
called out "Now drive like hell."
The smile on his face reflected, in his mind at least, a job well
done. He and his partner robbed two stagecoaches in one night without
firing a shot.
A stage robbery, after all, was just business. No need to be unpleasant