Last week at the museum we had a treasurer hunt, looking for any clues that we might have that could help them find the loot hidden away by the thief Edward Kelly, aka Bull Dog Kelly. The story of the robbery and murder follows.
On November 27, 1884, near Golden, the infamous outlaw named Bulldog Kelly, ambushed and killed Robert Baird.
A salesman for Eddy-Hammond & Co., a liquor company from Missoula, Montana, Baird hired local guide and outfitter Manuel Dainard together with a native named Harry to escort him safely back to Montana with a season’s liquor sales of $4,500 in cash and gold.
Shots rang out through the early morning quiet, about three miles south of the Hog Ranch Inn (Parson) killing Baird and wounding Harry. Unarmed and unaware that Harry was still alive, Manuel Dainard set out to get help.
Taking the money and leaving Harry for dead, Bulldog Kelly disappeared into the rugged countryside. Manuel Dainard reached Golden at about the same time as a battered, bleeding Harry reached the railway construction camp called Kicking Horse. Joined by outraged construction workers, posses were formed with the North West Mounted Police and the Provincial Police.
A description of Kelly read: “A loudmouthed, redhaired American of questionable employment, about five feet eleven inches tall with blue eyes, a light colored mustache that turns up at the ends, wearing a dark suit and a sack coat.”
As the posses fanned out over the area, it became apparent that Kelly had been able to slip through and although many reports of Kelly in the area were heard, none turned out to be Kelly. Telegrams with Kelly’s description were sent off as far away as Winnipeg and it was just such a description that led North West.
Mounted Police Colonel Irvine to riding an eastbound train. Irvine and his partner set off to make a quick check through the train when Irvine came across Kelly. Kelly ran out of the train with Irvine in pursuit.
As Irvine approached, Kelly jumped from the train and disappeared into the trees. Although an immediate search of the area was made, it failed to turn up Kelly.
Believing that Kelly would make a break for his homeland in the U.S., border patrols were tightened but to no avail as Kelly was able to slip through.
Kelly, a very popular American, fought extradition with the help of some well placed friends and was able to stay in the U.S., a free man. Had he returned to Canada he would have been hanged.
Six years later, just before Kelly was killed in a train accident he told close friends that he was making a trip to British Columbia where he would come into money, enough to retire on.
As Kelly didn’t have the gold on him when he jumped from the train it seems likely that he had stashed it before boarding the train.
The description of the scene of the robbery is 24 miles south of Golden where the Kootenay Trail meets the Kicking Horse River. Although we think that this description isn’t entirely accurate as the Kicking Horse doesn’t run to the south of Golden, we feel a good detective would have a reasonable chance of finally putting this mystery to rest.