Newspaper Coverage of the Evans & Sontag Story

The Examiner, San Francisco, Tuesday Morning, June 13, 1893, Vol. LVI, No. 164, p1:



The Words Come Slowly and Painfully--

He Realizes That He Speaks as One

Near the Grave -- He Reviews the

Weary Months of Hostillity and Ban-

ishment and Proclaims the Innocence

of Himself and Evans of Participation

in the Robbery -- His Sufferings as He

Lay Secreted in the straw -- A Desper-

ate and Futile Effort to End His Life.



[Special to the EXAMINER.]

VISALIA, June 12. -- The story of the fight is a short one. Evans and Sontag simply ran into a body of their pursuers who were ready for them and who did not run at the first fire. The outlaws themselves were in the open, when four men shooting at them from cover. To run meant almost certain death. Evans and Sontag sought the only thing approaching cover, and, lying flat on the ground behind a stack of straw, they fought the fight out.

What happened is only what would have happened months ago had men gone against them who realized that hunting outlaws is a serious business. In last night's fight nobody's gun slipped out of his hand, no officer ran. The manhunters were prepared for a fight with desperate men and they mad just that sort of a fight.



Rapelje's Story

This is Rapelje's story of the battle: "Burns and Marshal Gard were resting and Jackson was on guard. About sundown I got up and went to the back door and looked up over the field. I had not any particular purposes in looking out there, but we were keeping a sharp lookout, because we know that if Evans and Sontag went to Visalia they would have to pass that way. And while I was looking out the back door two men came over the ridge in the rear of the house, and 800 yards away. I called Jackson's attention to them. We looked through field-glasses.

"`They are our men,` he says.

"As quickly and quietly as possible we woke Gard and Burns and told them what was up. I had a shotgun loaded with wire-wound buckshot cartridges and a Winchester. Jackson was similarly armed, except that his rifle was a 45. Burns had a 45 Winchester and Gard had his shotgun. Of course, we all had six-shooters.


The Game Approaches.

"We stepped out of the front door, and while Jackson and I went to one corner, Gard and Burns went to the other. We cocked our shotgun and waited for the men to come up close. I was peeking around the corner, and Evans, who was then a hundred yards off, caught sight of me.

He [got] up with his Winchester and fired. We dropped our shotguns -- the range was too long for them -- and got our rifles.

"Can't we got a whack at them!" said Jackson.

"Hold on; let me get right up with you," I said.

"All right," he responded, "I will take Chris, and you take John." But before I had time to get a line on Sontag's breast, Fred fired. Evans fell endway, with both hands up. Sontag dived for the straw pile, and I let go as him. Then both of them, from behind the strawstack, turned loose their big Winchesters. Bullets whizzed through the house. Fred and I fired again.

"`I'll slip around to the other side," says Jackson. `We'll cross-fire them and give it to them.'

"He went around and presently comes limping back.

"`I'm done up; my leg's shot to pieces,' he said.

"I asked him if I couldn't do something for him, but he says: 'No; I'm all right; don't let them get away; keep pouring it into them.'"

"I dropped back to my corner and fired ten more shots.

"`I worked around back of `em on the hill, but they had quit shooting and buried themselves in the straw clean out of sight. There was not anything for me to do but blaze away at the straw pile, and I did that. They did not answer my shots, so I thought they were dead. I ran back to the house and got my own guy. I worked to the other side of them and shot some more at the holes in the straw. By this time it was so dark I couldn't see the sights on my rifle.

"Presently I saw Evans crawling through the long grass about sixty feet from the straw pile. I shot at him. He kept on crawling, and in the uncertain light I fired a dozen shots. Suddenly he jumped up and started to run. I followed him a couple of hundred yards, shooting wherever I got a show. He ran down the eastern slope of the ridge, and I lost sight of him in a pile of rocks.

"It was too dark to shoot any more and I didn't feel like feeling for Chris Evans, so I went back to look after Fred. I found him in the wheatfield 150 yards form the house. I sent Burns to the nearest neighbor to borrow a wagon, and I brought Jackson to Visalia, leaving Gard and Burns there. Burns slept all night at the house where he got the wagon. Gard stopped near the straw pile where Sontag lay wounded till we got back at sunrise."

"We had been out after them a week. Jackson and I left Fresno a week ago last Sunday afternoon and made to a station near Monson, where we met Burns, and went right on to Stone Corral. We watched from the big rock off the road that night. We know Evans would have to pass that way if he paid another visit to Visalia. We all watched that night. In the morning we crawled up on the mountain and watched for them. This we kept up. Thursday night Gard arrived, and we watched and waited until they came."







The Dying Outlaw Tells a Pitiful

Story of His Sufferings.

(Special to the EXAMINER)

VISALIA, June 12. -- There was nothing heroic in John Sontag's appearance as he lay on a cot near a window in an upper room where they had brought him. The look in his eyes was that of the animal driven to death, worn out, fainting, tortured beyond endurance, unable to suffer any more. A rat looks that way sometimes when it has been cornered and beaten. A dog has a pleading look, but there was no plea in Sontag's face. He had nothing to ask for, not even life, and he knew it. If it had occurred to him he might have pleaded for a charge of morphine to lull his senses till the end should come, but, it did not cross his mind. He had tried to end his own life and failed, and after that it seemed to him that fate was not worth fighting.


A Pitiful Spectacle.

He could not speak coherently for many minutes together, and when he told about the suffering he had felt and the pain and horror of a night alone, wounded and praying for death, it was very hard to listen to him. The man was a murderer, an outlaw, a hunted thing, a foe to society, but you could not forget that he was human as he told of his sufferings, and the feeling that it was only proper mercy to put him out of his misery at once would intrude itself. It seemed worse than useless and more than cruel to keep a human being alive when a dumb beast would, under the circumstances, received a shorter shrifts.


The Horror of Thinking.

"I was lying all night in some loose litter and dry manure near the ranch," said Sontag, after he had talked of many other things, "and the pain of my wound was awful. I knew that I was done to death, and I knew that they would come back in the morning and kill me or take men to prison. A little time I was suffering and praying for water; and then the cold came, and it was bitter cold. That made the pain worse, and then there was the pain in the mind. It was awful to think, and there was no way to stop thinking. The night would be short, and when the sun broke they would be shooting at me again, and I could make no defense."

This was told with long pauses--so long that one could write the words out in full and wait between them. There did not seem to be any wish to excuse what he was about to tell, but John Sontag wished to explain before he died -- and death seemed very near to him then -- that he had not given up the fight for his life so long as there was one chance left. He had a make an effort to keep his mind from wandering, and it was very hard for him to force the words from his tongue. His eyes would turn upwards and the brow come down when memory failed, and there was every appearance of struggle as he went along.


The Attempt at Suicide.

"The cold grew more bitter," he said, "and I knew that what I wanted to do must be done soon or my hand would be too weak to serve me. My right arm was absolutely powerless. I could not move it, for the shoulder was shattered and that was what hurt most. But it was not the hurt that made any difference; there was no more chance. I got out my revolver and put it to my temple to end it all, and fired. The ball only stunned me, you see. Presently I cam to and it was worse than before. The agony was dreadful to bear and I wanted water. I wanted water so badly that I cried out for it -- cried out, though I knew that there was no one who could answer except the hunters who had shot me down. Thirst and fever are hard to suffer."

This was said in an explanatory and apologetic way.

"But no one came with water," he continued. "No one heard me, and I lay there in the cold and burned up inside till they took me away."

It was pathetic to see even an outlaw suffer and tell of still more suffering, as John Sontag did. His face was covered with bandages and only those upturned eyes visible. His useless right arm lay be his side and across his chest his left arm was brought so that his hand could press on the lower part of his right side. I asked him if he suffered very much, and he said: "The pain is fearful. It hurts to talk, but there are some things I want to say. I want to say so much, but I cannot get it in my mind, I suffer so much." I asked him to tell me about the trouble of last August at Collis. This seemed to arouse him, and a glimpse of his old determination came into his eyes. He fought with the pain, and said disjointedly:


Denying the Train Robbery,

"At Collis, the train robbery! It is a lie; I never had anything to do with a train robbery."

Was it possible that he told the truth? He was dying, and knew it, and had nothing to fear. But sometimes men in desperate straits hold out the last and die with sealed lips or repeating the falsehood of their lives.

"You know you are dying," I said. "You have nothing to fear in this world. There is only the next to think of. Why not tell it all truthfully!"

The eyes came down and he said: "I have told the truth. I had nothing to do with the Goshen robbery; I had nothing to do with the Goshen robbery, " said Sontag, and he spoke with more firmness than he had been able to master before.

"How about the Pixley robbery?"

"No," said Sontag.

"At Ceres?"

"I had nothing to do with the Ceres robbery. No, nor any robbery at any place."


Truth or Discipline?

There was no mistaking the tone in which John Sontag made those denials. He either spoke the truth or he had schooled himself to make his story consistent. I explained to him that everyone regarded him and Evans as guilty of the Collis robbery, because when Will Smith and George Witty went to Evans' house they were fired upon, a reception that would hardly be looked for from innocent men. John Sontag had evidently thought of all that before. It was no new thing for him to feel that his action on the occasion was regarded as conclusive proof of his guilt. It was one of the things he had been thinking about for months, and, truthfully or not, he had his explanation ready. It cost him another struggle to talk, but he stified the pain and said:

"I will tell you all about that. I have never told any one this before because I have not had the proper opportunity and was not ready, but I have talked it over with Chris a hundred times since we have been together in the hills, and Chris has expressed a thousand regrets that he fired on Witty."

It was plain that Sontag did not think his explanation would be readily received as satisfactory, for he is not a dull man, and months of the life he and Evans have been leading is apt to make reflection rather clear. He could only talk in gasps, but his manner said, "I want you to believe this."


Why He Turned Outlaw.

"I will tell you," he continued, "what caused the trouble on that day, the trouble that start all this suffering and bloodshed. You know I once worked for the Southern Pacific Railway Company, and some time ago I got seriously hurt in Fresno. I was sent to the hospital at Sacramento where I lay for some time suffering a great deal. One day the doctor came to me and told me that I was quite well again, and that he was going to discharge me. I begged of him not to do so, saying that if he did I would not be able to work, as I was still far from well. He told me that I was all right, and the next day I had to leave. You may think this has nothing to do with the trouble at Evans' house in August last," he said, as though he was doubtful of his ground," but it has.

"When I left the hospital I was without money, and I went to the office of the Southern Pacific in San Francisco and asked them to employ me. They treated me as though I was asking them to make me a present of their road and rolling stock, and said in a very off hand way that if I wanted to work I could go to breaking. I told them that I was unable to do any work like that, that I was still a cripple, and if they could find me something lighter to do I would appreciate it. Then they told me that if I did not choose to take that I could go without. That was the last I had to do with the Southern Pacific.

"On the 5th of August last we were surprised that they came and took my brother from Evans' house. It was not long after they had left that we learned that he had been taken to jail and locked up on a charge of having robbed the train at Collis. I talked the matter over with Chris, and told him that after the way I had been treated by the railroad company it was pretty hard to be arrested by their detectives and charged with robbing their trains.

"Evans said that I would be no man if I allowed the railroad detectives to take me.


The First of the Shooting.

"I then asked him if he would stand by me, and he said he would. With this we got our guns and prepared to defend ourselves. When Smith and Witty returned they were allowed to come in the house, but when they saw us with our arms they scampered off. I did not fire a single shot at them. All the firing was done by Evans.

"Time and again have we talked about this during our solitary, watchful days and nights in the mountains. Evans declared over and over again that had he known a Deputy Sheriff was of the party he would have made no resistance, and would have gone with them."

I asked Sontag what difference it could have made to him and Evans if they were innocent whether a Sheriff or a railroad detective arrested him.

"Evans said that the detectives of the railroad had no right to arrest me," said Sontag, "they were no law officers and might make an excuse to do me an injury, and say that I resisted. He said that no man who had any manhood would permit a Southern Pacific blood-hunter to take him to jail and fix up a charge against him and swear his liberty and life away."

"Were you or Evans really afraid that the detectives would hurt you?"

Sontag seemed to think this was in some sort of reflection on their courage and he exclaimed:

"Not afraid, but we did not propose to let them do what they had no right to do, and I did not want to put myself in their power."

I asked Sontag if Evans was hurt at all when he went away.

"He was not hurt when he left me," he said. "I knew I was done for and begged him to save his own life. He saw he could do no good for me and he went out through the lonely pass. He had a rifle, and left his shotgun behind the straw stack. You say that he dropped his rifle when they shot at him and they found it with blood. Then you may be sure that he was shot and crippled, or he would not have left his rifle.


Begged Evans to Kill Him.

"I begged Evans to shoot me through the head before he left, but he would not do it. I begged so hard, too, but he would not shoot me."

I asked Sontag about the fight. He did not seem to care to talk about it. "You can hear all about that from the detectives. They will tell you," he answered. "We came down into the open, not expecting to find any one there. When we saw them there was no chance for us. We dared not run, for that would give them a fair shot at out backs, so we did the only thing for us to do -- lay down flat and shoot."

I asked him how often he had shot himself, for the doctor saw there was evidence of three shots. He did not seem to know, and replied that maybe he had tried to kill himself several times. "I wanted to end the journey," he said.

The pain became unendurable and he went into a comatose condition. The ball had evidently reached far into the lung cavity, for his breathing was in gasps.

The doctor came in again and I think gave him morphine. Sontag lay still and the look of anguish left his eyes. Then they closed up and it seemed to me that he had said his last word.









REDWOOD RANCHO, April 18, 1893.

EDITOR EXAMINER -- Dear Sir: As the editors of the Fresno "Republican" and Tulare "Times" called the Bigelow interview a fake, I will give you a few particulars in regard to it that have not appeared in public print. On that morning when we went to Coffee's house the door was open and we stepped inside. Mr. Coffee was in his bedroom and came out. He shook hands with us and we told him we had come to get another chicken dinner. We asked him the news, and he told us that Clarke Moore would be there in a short time, and that he had a fellow with him, calling himself an EXAMINER reporter, but, he added, he may be a detective. We said if he was a detective we would take care of him. In a short time Ed Hollingshead and Mr. Parker came, and I introduced them to Mr. Sontag. Clarke Moore and Bigelow came soon after, and Clarke came into the room and told us that Bigelow would like to see us and that he was a brother of George Bigelow, who was a grain buyer for G. M. Thompson the same year that I was warehouse manager for the Grangers' Bank at Pixley and Alila and who was a dear friend of mine. I was glad to see him, but we told Clarke Moore that we would ask him (Bigelow) a few questions, and if he was a detective we'd kill him. He assured us that he was EXAMINER reporter and all right. We said bring him in. Mr. Bigelow came and we had him sit between us on the bed. Mr. Sontag had on a pair of brogans two sizes too large for him, and Bigelow pulled off a pair of long riding boots and wanted to trade, but the boots were too small. He had a small pocket flask of whisky which he had invited us to try, and wee did. He took down our statement in long-hand writing, and, with the exception of stating that we both shot from the window in Young's cabin, it was perfectly correct. When Manwaring went out of the house with the bucket the door was wide open, and was left that way. We sat down on the floor under the window and watched our enemies approach, through a chink between the logs. When about fifteen feet from the door I said "Now!" and rising up drove my shotgun through the window-pane, and killed Wilson. Mr. Sontag at the same moment fired from the doorway and shot McGinnis, who said as he fell: "O my God, John!" We sprang past them and I fired at Witty as he ran. He bawled and Mr. Sontag said: "You hit that fellow in the side." While shooting at the Indians I felt a bullet strike me from behind, back of the eye, which knocked my head sideways. I was in the act of making Pelon a good Apache, but McGinnis' bullet struck me as I was pressing the trigger and spoiled my shot. I whirled around, throwing in a cartridge as I did, and see McGinnis trying to shoot me again. I shot him in the left temple; the gun dropped from his hands; he quivered one instant, and Andy McGinnis climbed the Golden Stairs. I parted from him in Modesto the previous year, the best of friends, to meet him in deadly combat at Young's cabin. During our interview with Bigelow dinner was announced, and we sat down to eat. Mr. Sontag asked the boys what they would do if a posse rode up then. They all said in a chorus that they would get the bucket and for the spring. Mr. Sontag said that wouldn't work any more -- they were onto that racket; at which all hands laughed. When the EXAMINER reached us containing the interview we laughed heartily over the driving of the eight little burros over a trail that wound along the edge of the precipices. Fancy Pete driving donkeys on such a trail.






One Man Badly Scared by the Living

and Dead.



VISALIA (Cal.). June 12. -- Louis Draper, a young man living at Kingsburg, tells a graphic story of the fight as he saw it. The event will make a lasting impression on his mind, he says.

It appears that on Sunday last a man named George Boyer, who had been living for some time at Bill Ward's place, three miles east of where the shooting took place, died suddenly of heart disease, and word was sent to a Kingsburg undertaker to fetch the body. Draper was selected for the work, and went out early in the day with a coffin in a spring wagon. To avoid the heat of the day he was instructed to leave just before sundown and drive by night. The distance is nearly thirty miles, and under ordinary circumstances he would have made the trip in about six or seven hours. He got over the ground, however, in about half that time.


As the Sun Set.

"The sun was setting," he said to-day, "when I left Bill Ward's place, and I drove leisurely on without thinking of anything in particular, when suddenly I heard the rattle of several guns not far ahead of me. I did not pay much attention to it until I came to within a short distance of the house where the bloody work was going on.

"I am not in the habit of driving with dead bodies through the mountains at night time, and I did not care for my work at the start, but when I saw this shooting in front of me I confess I became much alarmed. My first impulse was to turn, but as I was about to do so I saw two men, bareheaded, standing within a hundred yards of me. One of them held up his hand for me to stop, and I did so.

"Then he ran down to me and begged of me to drive to a house some distance away and get him a gun. He said that he had lost his. Fearing that he would shoot me with a the six-shooter he held in his hand I consented to do so, but instead lashed my horses and kept lashing them, and did not stop till I reached the stable in Kingsburg."

That the man made exceptionally good time and was fairly scared out of his wits was vouched for by the stableman, who declares that Draper's face was as white when he arrived as was the foam upon his horses.





Officers Find His Wife Unconscious

and Her Children Weeping.



VISALIA, June 12. -- Shortly before 8 o'clock this evening information reached the Sheriff's office to the effect that Chris Evans had reached Visalia under cover of darkness and was concealed in an upper room of the house in which his family has been living for the past few months. Sheriff Kay, who left to-day with an inmate for the Stockton Asylum, left the jail in charge of Under Sheriff W. F. Hall. He at once made inquiry regarding the truth of the report and was assured by some one who was certainly in a position to know that Evans had really arrived and was in bed in an upstairs room, where he declared he would remained until taken out dead.

Acting upon this, Hall went to the house of Perry Byrd, a brother of Mrs. Evans, and asked him to allow his wife to go to the house and instruct the ladies to withdraw, as it was his intention to secure Evans, dead or alive. Byrd replied that he would not permit his wife to go, but would go himself. When he arrived at the house he found Mrs. Evans in a fainting spell, and her mother and children gathered around her. There was also present James Evans, a cousin, from Fresno, who had come to Visalia on the evening train.

When young Evans heard this he declared that the women and children should not leave the house, and all the Sheriffs in the State and all their men would not compel them to, unless they did so over his dead body.

Mrs. Byrd, however, who has done much to throw oil upon the turbulent waters of the past ten months, counseled moderation have and said it would be better to allow the officers to enter if they presented themselves. Shortly afterward they came and were allowed to go through the house. Under Sheriff Hall and Deputy George Witty entered while several other deputies remained outside. Every room upstairs and down was searched and there was no Chris Evans there.

They found Mrs. Evans in an unconscious state in bed in a lower room with her weeping children around her, and they found Eva Evans prostrated with grief upon a bed in an upper room. But the man who has set the laws and the officers of the law at defiance for so long there was no trace.





A Grim Silence Succeeds to Last

Night's Excitement.


VISALIA, June 12. --There is a grim silence in Visalia to-night, and crowds of men are gathered at the street corners waiting for the end of Visalia's tragedy. Rumors are received with eagerness, for all the gun-fighters in the two counties are known to be on the trail of Chris Evans, and at any moment his body may be taken. Since the days of Joaquin Murietta this town has been the scene of just such fevers of excitement, so perhaps that is why the emotion of its citizens is suppressed at the present moment.

When Evans and Sontag first started on their career of blood there were threats of lynching and vows of violent revenge, but now so desperate and dark is the case that public opinion seems divided between admiration of bravery shown in the hot flights of the past year and a certain awe at the quick, fierce bullets which stung to death the bandit now gasping for life on his bed in Visalia jail.

In the anteroom of this building are seated a band of Deputy Sheriffs, headed by Overall. Their chief is out on a hunt for Evans, and the fact that it was a deputy from the balliwick of his neighbor Sheriff, Scott of Fresno county, who gave Sontag his death wounds, spurs Kay and his posse to bolder deeds. Without the jail and on the steps and curbstone are seated half a hundred citizens discussing the dozen different tales that arrive hourly, while around the corner at the northern side are gathered scores of men watching a grated window on the second story which guards the cell of the dying man. On the still can be seen a vase of flowers and a night lamp which flickers in the night breeze, illumining the features of the tall, white-bearded physician as he bends over a white cot. On the outskirts of the town in the home of old Mrs. Byrd are gathered the family of Chris Evans awaiting the end. Mrs. Evans is prostate on a narrow bed, her children and her mother administering restoratives when she falls into periodical insensibility.


Repeije the Hero of the Hour

The barrooms are crowded with men who have but one topic and very red eyes. They have been sitting up all night, and will continue to do so for a week. Saloon keepers will reap a fortune for several days. Mysterious whispers and startling reports stimulate the nerves. Ghastly photographs of Sontag, as he lay wounded on the manure heap at the cabin, are shown around. Rapeije is the hero of the hour, and stories of his bravery are on every tongue.

He did not wait an hour to delay his chase for Evans, and his story of the hot battle of Stone corral will have to be gathered by the gossips when he has ended the hunt.

The story is dramatic, however, in its inception. It seems that Sheriff Scott felt confident that Evans and Sontag were using an old-abandoned cabin near Stone corral as a rendezvous. Stone corral is the same for an inclosure. Stone corral is the name for an inclosure on the ranch of a wealthy capitalist named Patterson, who resides in Visalia. It was made in 1868 by a cattleman known as Doc Russell to gather the sheep driven down in the autumn from the meadows of the high Sierra. The cabin where the fight occurred was built by Russell, and has a history of its own. A week ago last Friday Sheriff Scott had a consultation with Captain John Thacker, at which it was agreed that Rapeije should take charge of a small company of fighters that should wait till the bandits came. Of course they understood that it was simply to be a duel to the death. Hiram Rapeije is a big, burly man with a close mustache -- for he shaved his beard for the occasion -- and weather-beaten countenances. As a stage driver and gun fighter he has few equals in the West. On one occasion he was met by a desperado who got the drop on him, and snapped a 44-caliber revolver ineffectually. In an instant Repeije had the man's wrist in a vise-like grasp and was emptying the contents of his revolver into his assailant's abdomen.

Fred Jackson, the Well-Fargo messenger, was chosen to be the second man. On Monday they were joined by Burns, who had recently tried to help Black at Camp Badger. He has been out for months and he was not particularly welcome, it is said, by the other men. Thursday United States Marshal Gard arrived on the scene and the party of four waited the climax.


A Drama From the First.

It was drama from the first. Fancy the silent watching of the ambush for a contest that must end in desperate bloodshed. Not hot-headed ferocity, but calm, deliberated waiting for a toss of the dice to see whether life or death would be cast. It cannot be said that the odds were in favor of the ambush, for the bloody career of the bandits has shown that they were equal to any surprise and that the quick rush which they always make is as deadly as the volley of a Gatling gun.

In the fight things were just reversed from what they were at Young's cabin. There the desperadoes had the drop on the officers, while a Bacon's cabin the officers had the drop. The first shot fired last night was by Evans. Deputy Sheriff Rapeije of Fresno went out of the cabin just at sundown and he spied two men coming towards the cabin. He went inside to wake up the posse sleeping there and while doing so he made a noise on the loose floor that the bandits heard. They changed their course immediately. Then Jackson went to the door and saw that the men were the ones wanted.


A Two-Hour Fight.

The officers went out of the cabin and one of them was looking around the corner when Evans fired. Then a fusillade commenced. Luke Hall, who lives near the scene, says the fighting lasted two hours, and he stood in his door until quiet reigned. Next morning at daylight he went to the cabin to see what had been done and the posse from Visalia having just arrived, they thought Hall was one of the bandits, and commenced searching for their cartridges to commence a fight. Then all the posse started to the straw pile and found Sontag.

Marshal Gard had lain out all night within fifty yards of the cabin with Tom Burns. At 4 o'clock that morning he sent Burns to a house a mile away for water. The first thing Gard found was a fine pair of field glasses that the bandits had been using. Then their firearms were captured, and then some one said, supposing it was Evans under the straw pile:

"Chris, where is John!"

A voice came from the straw pile:

"I am John."

Then it was that the wounded bandit was dragged from his hiding-place and taken into Visalia, where he now lies in extremis.





Mourning and Rejoicing strangely Inter-

spersed by the Fugitive's Family.


[Special to the EXAMINER]

VISALIA, June 13. -- I went to the Evans house to-night and found the wife in the throes of hysteria and the children rejoicing over their father's escape. It was a curious scene, this, in the rough, two-story farmhouse.

The grandmother walked about with reproaches in her mouth over the fate which had befallen her issue, and in her quaint Texas dialect consoled her fainting daughter at one moment and upbraided her at the next. "Say, honey, don't you take on like that. It ain't worth it. I don't see why we ain't all dead. What have we got to live for, anyhow! I don't care about nothing any more. I wish we was all of us killed. Say, wake up there. Have some of this tea. It's hot honey, and it will settle your stomach so you won't faint."

Eva Evans was seated in a large old fashioned rockingchair, swathed in one of those ancient quilts which her grandmother makes periodically. She was pale and trembling, and her sisters, Ines and Winnifred, were bathing her head. The two sisters were rejoicing in a sort of uncanny mirth over the escape of their father from the officers. "He's all right," said Ines, "add now they'll never catch him. I feel perfectly sure of it."

Then Winnifred added that they were all sure papa had not been hurt at all and was safe from the posses, and that he could beat anybody in the State in a race. Both of these younger girls seemed to be endeavoring bravely to keep up the spirits of Mrs. Evans and Eva. The latter said: "Yes, I saw John to-day and we talked in whispers. Last night I felt all this was coming and when I went into the jail this morning I walked up to John's bed and said: `Are you in pain, dear!' He said `No,' and then added, "Well, I have been euchred at last.' Afterwards he referred to the Joaquin Miller interview and asked me if I liked snow plants. Then he wanted to know how the children were. He said that he thought that it was Burns who had given him the shot in the body, but he told me nothing of his attempt to kill himself. I hope the papers will never put in his picture as he is now, it is so dreadful to see him. He was such a magnificent looking man and now his face is scarred terribly. I am glad that he will die for he told me he knew he could not alive. I have always been fond of him since I was a little child, and when I kissed him good-by to-day I knew I should never see him again."




LATEST -- 3 A. M.



[Special to the EXAMINER]

VISALIA (Cal.), June 13--3 o'clock A. M.

A{t} 10 o'clock a majority of Visalia's fighting men started for the house of Lije Perkins, who married the sister of Perry Byrd's wife. Perry Byrd is the brother of Mrs. Evans, and with the instinct of a badly wounded man. Chris Evans has sought their retreat. The Perkins house has ever been an object of observation by the detectives, and in consequence Evans, who was aware of this fact, only sought the house of refuge in his extremity.

Just now I saw Frank Byrd, the brother of Mrs. Chris Evans. He said that Chris Evans was helpless and riddled with bullets at the house of Lije Perkins, and that he expected his arrival almost as a corpse in the morning.

Sontag's death is hourly expected, and if the rumor be true he will pass away at about the same time as his comrade.

The Perkins house is three miles from Stone Corral, and lies in the mouth of Ishom valley. Chris Evans, so the authorities state, is surrounded by inevitable cordon of adversaries, and at the moment it seems impossible he can escape.





The Speed of the "Examiner's"

Special Train to Visalia






A Corps of Reporters and Artists Sent to

the Scene Experience a Thrilling

Ride--Vain Attempts to View the Scen-

ery by the Way--People Cheer as the

Train Flashes By--On the Ground.



[Special to the Examiner]

VISALIA, June 12.--Visalia is eight miles from Goshen Junction, the Goshen is 240 miles from Oakland. The Southern Pacific fast train takes ten hours to make the trip from Oakland to Goshen, but this afternoon a train was pulled from Oakland in five hours and sixteen minutes. It was a special train for the EXAMINER, and the Southern Pacific let out a few links and cut the schedule in half, and showed that it could railroad, because the EXAMINER wanted to get a staff of artists and correspondents to Visalia in time to get a complete report of the capture of Sontag for its readers tomorrow morning.


Regular Trains Too Slow.

The EXAMINER knew that it readers would expect all the news for breakfast tomorrow, and there was no time to wait for a regular train that takes ten hours. It took some time to collect writers and artists and some time to make the arrangements. The special had to be made ready and the track cleared, and it was seven minutes past 3 o'clock when Conductor Moffett sang "All aboard!" and Engine 1,177 gave a screech of defiance and pulled out down the Oakland mole. Engine 1177 was coupled to car 1804, an ordinary day coach that had once formed part of the equipment of the California Pacific, and the prospect of 240 miles in her at top speed was, hot very alluring to five EXAMINER men, who were all that Conductor Moffett had to look after.

Engineer Stokes were in charge and he said that his orders was to run as fast as he consistently could with safety to Mendota, seventy-one miles from Goshen, where another engine would be ready to do the rest of the work. Stokes has a record as a runner, and when he was told that his passengers would take as many chances on safety as he would he smiled and said: "You will have all you want before you get there."

And Engineer Stokes kept his word.


A Sedate Spin.

The special had to maintain a decent appearance of slowness as it ran through the corporate limits of Oakland, for coroner's juries and apt to make disagreeable remarks when people are run over at level crossings, and that seemed to be a very slow part of the trip.

Solly Walters, the artist, said that if this was a special he would hate to crawl along on a regular train, but later on he held to his seat with both hands and explained some of the dangers of rounding curves at a high rate of speed.

At Melrose, a few miles from Oakland, the special was sidetracked and had to wait ten minutes for a Sacramento train, while Stokes poured oil all over his machine and said: "We will have a clear track after this delay."

The route was by way of Niles canyon, Livermore pass, Tracy and the west side of the San Joaquin. Niles canyon has some beautiful scenery, which was not appreciated as it deserved by the special's passengers.


Nearly a Mile a Minute.

The run from Melrose siding to Livermore, thirty-six miles, was made in forty-two minutes, and that is the reason why the scenery was overlooked. Henry Bigelow attempted to show Charles Michelson were he and Ambrose Bierce used to go fishing, but after he was picked up out of the corner by the stove he said he could not locate the place. But it was not until the hill was passed and Sunol was in sight that Stokes felt confidence enough in himself and the machine to do some spectacular railroading. It was down grade and there were a few curves, and every time 1177 took a curve she jumped like a baby carriage running away down hill. But the memory of this part of the run was wiped out by what came later. There was water to take at Livermore and more oil to be poured on.

"A clear track," was Stokes' report, and all hands prepared for some quick work. Moffett said that the track was in pretty good order, but then he was thinking of ordinary runs that average twenty-eight miles an hour. There was a short climb into the mountains and then came a dash down the southern slope that will never be forgotten by those who were in the special.


Moments of Interest.

The engine and the car were going at the rate of fifty miles an hour down a steep grade and around curves that are as sharp as any known in the State. To add to the interest, the track is on a side hill with the nearest ground from 200 to 400 feet below, and the passengers could not help wondering how they would look if the rails were jumped by the time another special brought another detail from the EXAMINER to write up the accident. The car swayed from side to side like an old stage coach, and when a curv{e} was met the shook was enough to pitch all out of their seats. It was the crack of the flange as it struck the in-curve that made the run seem dangerous, for every one knew that wheels will break, and they also knew what a broken wheel meant.

Up the hill and down the hill from Livermore to Tracy is twenty-four miles, and the run was made in thirty-four miles, and the run was made in thirty-three minutes. Water was taken at Tracy, and Mr. Stokes, remarking that now he had a straight track, proceeding to put on style. He was burning wood and coal, his fireman was shoveling for a record, and the orders were just what he wanted.


Like a Shot.

Signal switches were passed like a shot; the fences looked as close as lattice work; the duet at the end of the car obscured the track, lumps of dirt crashed against the windows and poured in through the ventilators. Still the rocking and the nasty thumps at the curves were not there and the passengers felt a sense of relief. There was one bad stretch on the road that cut up the time, but the thirty-eight miles to Newman were run in forty minutes, and the people of Newman came out to cheer as the train went by. They asked for papers, thinking that the Monarch were sending out an extra instead of being out to get the nows.

Los Banos is twenty miles from Newman, and it took No. 1177 twenty-seven minutes to get there. There was considerable new track to be passed, a lot of cattle got in the way, and gangs of track men were at work all along the line. At Los Banos Editor Willard Beebe of the Herald and the Enterprise man came on board for news, while Stokes was pouring some more oil over his machine. They said a few words of congratulation, but there was not much time to talk, and Stokes was soon off to make the record of the trip to Mendota, thirty-four miles away.


A Mile a Minute Now.

The track was done too good, but he kept at it, and the thirty-four miles, start and stop, were made in exactly thirty-four minutes, which may not be as fast as the New York Central, but is the fastest that track was ever covered in.

At Mendota Stokes said good-bye, and engine 1846, in charge of Pearl Webb, was hooked on to the car. Webb said he had hoped to make Stokes feel tired, but half a dozen miles of water would destroy his expectations. Still he would do his best. He jumped into a fifty-five mile gait before he had gone 400 yards, and kept that up till the water was seen on the track. When that was passed he reeled off miles in less than sixty seconds, completing the seventy-one-mile run to Goshen in less than an hour and twenty-three minutes.

At Goshen the Superintendent of the Visalia and Goshen road was ready for the eight-mile jaunt to Visalia. He had some news. "The EXAMINER'S man, Stilwell, beat you in three hours," he said, "by driving forty miles from Fresno. He had been with Sontag and got his story. I tell you, the EXAMINER men seem to hustle."

There was a slight delay in hitching on the new machine, and Visalia was reached at 8:40, making another train record for the EXAMINER that will not be beaten for some time to come. The special was expected at Visalia, and her passengers found every one ready to show them the way around town.






The Poet Draws a Scriptural Parallel

From the Case.


It is the old Bible tradition: Live by the sword and perish by the sword. It could not have ended any other way, and when I went up as forlorn hope to say a word for men who had no one else to speak for them I didn't believe, and don't believe now, that they robbed that train. I sat up in the smoker, traveled as a tramp, mingled with everybody even to the "genial" Judge and Prosecuting Attorney, and while these officers seem to think the men guilty and asked me to use my influence to have Evans and Sontag come in and surrender they are the only ones who thought they had robbed that train.

My plan was to have the officers pledge the outlaws protection from the mob and then give bonds for them, but the District Attorney said that while he felt sure they would not be mobbed he thought the idea of giving bonds absurd and impossible.

However, I reckon all the truth will come out now. If Sontag is dying we shall know where they robbed the train or not.

After all is said, we cannot run a State this way. The crime of resisting the law is a fearful one--very bad in its example to the youngsters. It is something to know that we have thrown no romance around these men, nor did they seem to affect any.

This Canadian Evans seems to be the most unromantic of men. Fancy Claude Duval in a cart, or Dick Turpin on foot in the dust, with a State full of horses.

But to tell the truth I, sympathize with Evans sincerely, and more especially with his family. I met them and know them.

And now that the sad episode draws to a close, let it be distinctly understood that I am Evans' friend so far as I can be. Perhaps this is the time he may need a friend.

By the way what mistakes of type is my little snow-plant sketch. It all came of course from haste, and I blame no one. But Mr. Abbott, whom I quoted, is not a timber but a liquor merchant. I did not say, `no one is afraid of the detectives.' I said no one is a friend of them up there. I mean to speak of Mr. Black as a `brave,' but the types made me call him a `butt.'

But that is all behind us. I have nothing more to say except that I sympathize with the under dog, as I always have done and always expect to. If Evans is shot and taken, all the more reason I should sympathize with him and help him if I can.






Injuries Inflicted by Pursures and

by Himself.



[Special to the Examiner.]

VISALIA (Cal.), June 12.--Dr. Mathewson attended the wounded bandit when he was brought into town. He expresses the opinion that the wound in the shoulder is a dangerous one. It is thought that this was received while he was in a reclining position. The right shoulder is shattered. The bullet ranged downward in his right side and evidently lodged in the region of the abdomen. The wounds about his head are not considered as serious. His upper lip is raw, as though it had been grazed by a bullet. There are a number of buckshot wounds about the nose, the left side of which is badly powdered burned, evidently from the revolver when he attempted to end his sufferings. The bullet grazed his left temple, leaving a huge blackened lump at the place where he tried to make the bullet enter. It is generally expected that the wounded man will not live long, although as no positive examination has taken place, it is impossible to tell the extent of his injuries.




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