History Moment 13 of 20

by | Jun 24, 2024 | History Moments | 0 comments

On April 26, 1898, Together Butch Cassidy and Elza Lay came upon the Darling ranch just outside of Vernal with some chickens outside. Hungry, Butch proceeded to shoot the heads off several chickens as he rode in the yard. Mrs. Darling came screaming out of the house upset about the loss of her chickens. Cassidy soon calmed her down by giving her $20 gold pieces for each of the chickens. They then had a chicken dinner with Mrs. Darling.

During the meal, Mrs. Darling told Cassidy and Lay about her husband’s “gambling fever” and how he spent most of his day and money at the Antlers Saloon in Vernal. Leaving Mrs. Darling to care for the ranch and tend the children with little food or money to provide for the family.

Cassidy and Lay waited for Mr. Darling to return home later that evening. Once home, they proceeded to lecture Mr. Darling on the neglect of his family and then instructed him to harness his team to the wagon. They then followed him into town just at dark.

18 year old, Tom Vernon, was coming down the street in front of the Coltharp Mercantile store when two men rode up, dismounted and handed him the reins of their horses, offering him $20 in gold to hold them for “a little while”, which he did.

Mr. Darling was then instructed to back the wagon up to the closed rear door of the Coltharp Mercantile, which Cassidy and Lay then broke open. They then forced Mr. Darling to aid them in loading the wagon with groceries, linens, clothing, and even a new washing machine. Cassidy again lectured Mr. Darling once more on the evils of gambling and the neglect of his wife. Cassidy instructed him to take the items back to his ranch and give them to his family. He warned Mr. Darling not to report it or the sheriff would surely think he had robbed the store by himself.

The two men emerged from behind Coltharp Mercantile and grabbed the reins of their horses. Cassidy yelled to Tom, “You had better get out of here boy, we have just robbed the store!”

History was found at the Uintah County History Center — The Outlaw Trail Journal “Prominent Men”

Photo Credit: Uintah County History Center

History Moment 13 of 20