• “The Monitor,” a stage that supposedly couldn’t be stopped, was robbed in this area in 1878
• A historic trek follows much of the stage route
• Legend has it that between $140,000 and $400,000 in gold is buried in the Hills north of Newcastle
The Canyon Springs area of Weston County was the site of one of the more famous stage robberies. Outlaws easily broke into what was believed to be a fool-proof strong box in a stagecoach known as “The Monitor,” make away with over $140,000 in gold.
If these Hills could talk, they’d surely share the tale of the Cheyenne to Black Hills stagecoach that brought numerous characters through this area from 1876 until the 1887 arrival of the railroad. Thousands of passengers, tons of freight and express, and millions of dollars in gold passed over this trail.
One of the more famous stage robberies took place right here in the Newcastle area. According to WyomingTalesandTrails.com, on Sept. 26, 1878, “The Monitor,” a fortified stagecoach built specifically for precious cargo, was stopped at the Canyon Springs Station north and east of Newcastle. “The coach was driven by Gene Barnett with Galen ‘Gale’ Hill riding ‘shotgun’ next to the driver,” reads the account. “Inside were messengers Scott Davis and Eugene Smith and company telegraph operator H. O. Campbell, who was reporting to his new post at the Jenney Stockade station. When the coach pulled into the station, no one was to be seen. Normally as a coach nears a station, the driver would blow for the horses. The station attendant, in this case, William Miner, would have a fresh team out and ready. Barnett and Hill alit from the box, with Barnett going to look for Miner and Hill chocking the rear wheels of the coach. Shots rang out. Hill was wounded, Campbell killed and Davis lit out for the woods. The road agents had little difficulty in breaking open the supposedly impregnable safe used for carrying the gold.” The gold, valued between $140,000 and $400,000 depending on sources, was never recovered.”