Burrell and Theil Store Robbed
By Pat Wilde
It was December 12, 1915 and a gang had just robbed the Burrell and Theil store in Montpelier. They had taken dynamite, guns and ammunition, a few watches and a few tools. The town of Montpelier was alerted and several groups of men were checking the area. Jim Sherrod, a railroad night watchman, was making his rounds along the tracks.
Sherrod spotted a man crouching behind a car and noted on the ground beside him was a shining new rifle. He challenged the stranger. The man said he was a sheep herder from Soda Springs waiting to hop a freight back that way. Further questioning convinced Sherrod that he was lying and they began a march toward the depot. The stranger walked ahead with Sherrod holding the light, his weapon and that of the outlaw.
Suddenly in a quick catlike movement the outlaw whirled and got the drop on the watchman. With the tables turned the outlaw forced the watchman to walk ahead of him with his hands held high. The walked along the track toward Hufftown. At what he considered an opportune time, Sherrod dropped the lantern and rolled in the darkness pulling a pistol as he rolled. He fired three shots and which one struck the fleeing outlaw is unknown but he crumpled to the ground with a groan.
The shots brought other searchers. Night patrolman Buck and Rex Ruff, night clerk of the Burgoyne Hotel were soon on the scene just in time to hear the confession from the dying man. He said he was really Jim McCenstry, known also as Jim Hardy, an escapee from the Idaho Penitentiary. He admitted he was part of a gang.
In his pocket was found a diagram of the Paris bank and the names of D L Ferson, Lee Gillett and Eddie Anderson. His gang was at the hobo camp north of town and he had returned to buy some whiskey. His last words were "mother forgive me". A raid on the camp turned up the other men and in their possession were the rest of the stolen equipment and another diagram of the Paris bank.
The men were returned to the State Penitentiary and it turned out that they had also robbed the Lava Train Depot and the hotel in Soda Springs.