In August 1870, Governor Davis Butler issued a Proclamation setting the boundaries of the new County of Cheyenne, designating Sidney as the County seat and Officers were appointed.
Date of Cheyenne County's First Election - October 8, 1871.
GEORGE C. COOK was elected but did not qualify, so JOHN J. ELLIS was appointed.
JOHN J. ELLIS served 5 yrs, 4 mo, 1870-1875
and the main suspect in the 1880 Gold Bullion Robbery in Sidney.
HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT THE GREAT GOLD BULLION ROBBERY IN SIDNEY, WHERE 4 BARS OF GOLD BULLION WORTH $80,000.00 WAS STOLEN?
As the story goes, the stage from the Black hills arrived too late to catch the east bound train, and Mr. Allen, Express Agent, locked the bullion, totaling $120,000.00 in the freight room and went to lunch. When he returned, he a hole had been sawed through the floor which led to a tunnel to another building, which had required several days of digging.
Robert Law, U.P. Superintendent, and James
"Whispering" Smith, a R.R. Detective from
Cheyenne, were called into the case. Upon
investigation of the robbery, it was found
that all but 4 bars of gold bullion
were recovered within two hours of the
crime. The case
McCARTY had extreme influence in the county and
was friendly with the tough element
That night, the prisoner was told that he would
in the morning, and that the
McCARTY never came back to Sidney, and it was
told that "Whispering" Smith had
Several of us who have lived around Sidney for
some time will remember about the gold-painted
brick just above the door of Tobin's Capitol
Saloon, now the location of Wilson & Tobin
Drug Store, 10th and Illinois. Changes in
the building have covered
JOHN ZWEIFEL & ROBERT C. HOWARD, each served 2
not hang him -- he gave a young man $5.00 to pull the lever.
JOHN DAUGHERTY & DANIEL McALEESE, each served 2 yrs, 1894-1897
FRANK H. KING served 4 yrs, 1898-1901
S.H. BABB & J.W. (BILL) LEE, each served 2 yrs, 1902-1905
JAMES W. McDANIEL served 11 yrs, 1906-1916, & 10 yrs, 1919-1928 for a total of 21 yrs.
over Cheyenne County with an iron hand. He had one Deputy and a powerful black
horse, and he always carried a big stick. If someone offended him or talked back, he
would hit them with the stick. This was before Miranda. Sheriff McDANIEL cleaned up the Hobo Camps along the railroad. Hoboes knew about McDANIEL from coast to
coast and avoided Cheyenne County, just to keep away from McDANIEL and the big stick. A curfew for kids was not needed. Sheriff McDANIEL would ride his big black
horse down the streets at night, so kids stayed home." My oldest sister told me that she remembered Sheriff McDANIEL - he was a very kind person - when he would see kids
on the street, he would come up and talk - pat you on the head and give you a shiny dime!
W.W. (BILL) SCHULZ served 36 yrs, 10 mo, 1930-1966
Hospital. Sheriff NELSON died on Feb. 22, 1930, and three days later, SCHULZ was appointed Sheriff of Cheyenne County.
More comments from Jack Lowe: "SCHULZ became a
legend in law enforcement in the Panhandle of
Nebraska. He retired on Jan 1, 1967, after
nearly 38 years in law enforcement and almost 37
years a Cheyenne
County Sheriff. He decided not to run
Here are some of the happenings: In Jan 1931, SCHULZ & his Deputy, George Sheldon, were searching for men suspected of a robbery in Kimball. (Remember, this was before radios were in use by police officers.) They waited on Highway 30 and the vehicle with the suspects came along and the authorities pulled along side of the suspect car. SCHULZ got to the driver's side and was leaning with his hand on the car, when the driver pulled a gun and shot at him, but the bullet went between two of his fingers, cutting his glove but not hurting him. (The glove is on display in the Cheyenne County Museum.) In the meantime, Sheldon opened the door on the other side and the other 2 men dropped their guns. Sheldon shot the driver, but he recovered.
Another incident in the late 30's involved an
estranged couple. The wife came to
SCHULZ & other authorities tried all day long
success to get the man to come down, but he
refused. They were afraid
to shoot because of the child and finally decided
In later years, the mother brought the young lady to meet Sheriff SCHULZ and they exchanged Christmas Cards for many years.
One more item _ SCHULZ was involved in a shooting
when some bank robbers from
There were hardships in the Depression Days of
1930 and 1931, when as Sheriff,
KERMIT BRUMBAUGH served 8 yrs, 1967-1974
I have just read your take on the Lawmen of Cheyenne County. I note some errors, and would appreciate you updating your records, as documented accuracy is of prime importance. Sheriff McCarty was a suspect in the robbery by James "Whispering Smith," but Cheyenne County court records show that on the day ;of the robbery, March 10th, 1880, McCarty and wife were in court before the Judge. His appearance ended at about the same time that the robbery occurred. He had nothing to do with it! The robbery was worth $119,000.00 at that time, 6 bars of 75 pounds each, found within 24 hours, and four 8 pounds bricks, totaling 480 pounds of gold bullion, with a leather pouch of over $1100.00 in minted coins, 20-10-5-and 21/2 dollar coins. Patsy Walters was a bar keep in the Capitol Salon,
and at about 3AM while all were drunk, Smith shot Walters, not killing him at this time. 3 years later Hugo Hoppy had that honors. The barber, Dennis Flanagan was working in Omaha when this robbery occurred, and did not locate to Sidney until late May or early June, same year.
The night of fright in Sidney was a year later, April 1, 1881, and "Con" was rounded up with 14 other men and was to be the second one lynched, they did lynch
"Red" McDonald, but "Con" was set free when his 22 year old wife appeared with $500.00 cash, and they stated that they would never return to Sidney, and they
did not, as old "Con" headed to Oregon and went into the bar business there. James "Whispering" Smith was also going to be lynched, but ran to the westward bound freight leaving Sidney at that time, and he was only seen in Sidney once, some 25 years later.
Thanks for doing all you have, and can for us folk here in Sidney.
I have found court records in the District Court, Cheyenne County, that James Whispering Smith received his divorce in Sidney in 1885. Smith has three appearances in Court here, his wife never showed, and subsequently was granted his divorce. He lists his occupation as a lawman in Sioux County, Nebraska. It appears that Smith did show up in Sidney at least on these three occasions. I am doing a book on Cornelius McCarty, the sheriff, and have found so much documentation of his real character, and he has been portrayed falsely by the rumor mill of Sidney.
|From Allen P. Bristow author of WHISPERING
SMITH His Life and Misadventures published
by Sunstone Press.
My research into Whispering Smith led me to trace McCarty after his escape. Smith didn't follow and kill him as some suppose. McCarty's wife and children migrated to Montana/Idaho where she had more children by him. . .thus he was alive in Idaho at least until 1891. Thomas Ryan, a McCarty cohort, also migrated to Boise. See my book (p. 71) for details and documentation. I was born at Kearney and have always had an interest in Nebraska cops & crooks although my own law enforcement career was in California. Allen P. Bristow